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      CommentAuthorCoasterdude
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2015 edited
     
    Hey guys,

    My girlfriend and me just booked our flights for our 3 weeks US car trip end of april a few hours ago :)
    I'm really excited because it makes one of my biggest dreams come true. We are going to start our roadtrip from L.A. where we are going to spend the first nights. Then heading inlands to see the typical tourist destinations such like: Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Arches N.P., Monument Valley, Lake Powell (Antelope Canyon), Death Valley, Vegas, Yosemite N.P., Sequoia N.P. and all the little things in between. Back to the Coast we are going to stay a few nights in San Francisco. Finally we are going to head south to L.A. again driving Highway No.1.


    As i hope there are quite a lot people from the US i've got a few little questions:

    1. How difficult is it to find hotels/B&B's or motels along the way. Especially in smaller towns/villages? We don' want to book everything previously.

    2.Are there any things you really need to see which are not listed on top? Especially nature locations because we are not really too interested in cities. Maybe some insider tips?

    3. If you had to choose ONE themepark, which one would you recommend if you're looking for some good adrenaline?

    4. How dangerous are the south western states according to crime rates really. Cause everyone here in Germany tells us it's quite bad. I mean you have to be a little careful anyways but.... Yeah, any tips to not look like a dumb tourist?

    If you have any other tips/ trick, suggestions or stuff you may need to know as a european tourist please feel free to comment below. I appreiate every little hint!

    Thanks a lot in advance,
    Coasterdude
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      CommentAuthorParadox
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2015
     
    I can't really help you out here as I am on the other side of the country, but if you are in L.A. then definitely head up to SFMM.
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      CommentAuthorcheetah
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2015
     
    I can help a bit, though I am a bit biased with stuff lol, I'm usually the tourist in foreign countries, seldom my home country.

    1: it's pretty easy to find hotels/motels anywhere you go, from really crummy ones to luxurious, I would recomend staying away from the super crummy ones though, those are never fun, but luxorious are always way overpriced.

    2: The Sierra Nevada mountains are amazing to be in but not always worth a long stay, you've got most of the stuff covered though.

    3: SFMM, most rides in that area, will do you more for a day or two of visiting over the other parks in that area.

    4: Just stay out of the sketchy looking places and you will be fine I've found.
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      CommentAuthorjpaufsc
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2015
     
    If you are driving the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1), be prepared to stop frequently to take in the views. It is spectacular. If I remember correctly, there is a nice little shop/ restaurant thing somwhere along the route with amazing views.
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      CommentAuthorMorganFan
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2015
     
    I second everything that everyone above me has said. Some miscellaneous tips:

    Definitely add Muir Beach Lookout to places to visit. It's just outside of San Fran, and the view is spectacular. San Francisco is, by far, my favorite city so I am really jealous.

    While you're in San Francisco, it's worth it to take a day-trip by ferry to Sausalito. It's the most charming little town I've ever been, and there isn't a minute in my life that I don't want to go back there.

    To be honest, I wouldn't go to Alcatraz. You can if you want, but it's full of tourists and it's literally an island of concrete. It's not even that cool unless you're into weird prison history.

    If you are planning on doing the highway 1 trip in 2 days, I would highly recommend staying a night in Big Sur. It's not much of a town/city but there are tons of cute motels and the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen.

    I hope these really random tips can help you.
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      CommentAuthorstejorin
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2015
     
    If you are heading up to the Grand Canyon, I would recommend also checking out The painted desert, the petrified forest, and Meteor crater. They are kinda far and aren't as cool as the grand canyon, but if you got some spare time...
  1.  
    I always kind of laugh inside when Bryce Canyon is mentioned since my name is Bryce :3
    Anyways on to answering your questions:

    1.It usually isn't that hard. I was able to travel across the U.S. while I was moving and had no troubles finding one.

    2.I can't think of any on your route :/ that and have never been a nature person.

    3.It is kind of hard since there are so many good ones. Probably want to check out Six Flags Magic Mountain though.

    4.Just drive really fast if you find yourself in a ghetto-like area.
  2.  
    So, which one of you is a photographer (since I have only ever heard of Antelope Canyon from photographers)?

    Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon are both sort of one stop deals, unless you plan on hiking down into the Grand Canyon. I personally love Zion more than either of those two, although if you aren't really into hiking it might be less interesting. I'd also consider hitting Capitol Reef, which is largely deserted but just as beautiful as Bryce with more to do IMO.

    You should also be aware that in order to get across the Sierras in April you will have to either go all the way south to LA or go north to Lake Tahoe and then go south again to get to Yosemite since Tioga Pass will almost certainly still be closed. I would highly recommend driving north on Hwy. 395 along the eastern Sierras, which is truly stunning, while driving the I5 up the Central Valley is about as boring as it gets.

    By late April Death Valley will probably be hitting 35* C on a regular, if not daily basis. Carry tons of water if you plan on any sort of excursion and try to stay on the signed roads when driving, heat exhaustion/dehydration can be deadly there.

    The some parts of the Eastern Sierras might be hikable by April depending on how the next month or so goes in terms of snowfall, if they are then I might recommend trying a hike or two out of the Mammoth Lakes area, its really hard to go wrong with any of them.

    To be continued later when I have more time...
    • CommentAuthorTOGO Fan
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2015
     
    Seems like in America everyone drives way over the speed limit. Everyone goes about 65 MPH in a 55 MPH speed limit highway.
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      CommentAuthornolimiters
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2015
     
    ^Because 55Mph is to slow, America is a damn large country, you want to travel fast :P
    • CommentAuthorTOGO Fan
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2015
     
    I think the speed limit of most highways in Virginia should be 65 or 75 MPH. Then maybe people won't speed as much.
  3.  
    Cause everyone here in Germany tells us it's quite bad. I mean you have to be a little careful anyways but....
    Stereotyping; everywhere is going to have it's bad places, but they're not everywhere.

    4.Just drive really fast if you find yourself in a ghetto-like area

    Yeah... would definitely not do that. Even in the ghetto, people aren't going to just run up to your car and mug you, unless you look suspicious (eg driving fast).

    Just have a good time here, be friendly; it will become clear where you should and shouldn't be when you're here :]
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      CommentAuthorCoasterdude
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2015 edited
     
    Big thanks to everyone above! So it will be SFMM then :)
    Are there any good, not too expensive motel chains you could recommend? just to get a feel for what's not too crappy?!


    Posted By: bottom_feeder_13So, which one of you is a photographer (since I have only ever heard of Antelope Canyon from photographers)?

    Well i like photography, but isn't it just nice to walk around there a bit. I know it's not worth a longer stay but it looks pretty impressive on pictures.
  4.  
    I have personally never been, I never really thought that it would be worth the $40+ of the tour compared to all the other natural wonders of the Southwest.
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      CommentAuthor6FlagsManiac
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2015 edited
     
    Posted By: TwinTailedGamer4.Just drive really fast if you find yourself in a ghetto-like area.

    Lmao what?
    People dont just run up to your car and cap you, just drive normally there's no reason not to.

    The hotel right across from Magic Mountain is nice, however there are a few inexpensive motels a couple miles away from the park that are pretty nice.
    • CommentAuthorBrawly
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2015
     
    Posted By: TOGO FanI think the speed limit of most highways in Virginia should be 65 or 75 MPH. Then maybe people won't speed as much.


    I-95 has 70/75 MPH limits at some places, 80-90 is about what people tend to do. Source: Took a roadtrip to Florida recently.

    Also, 80 is the norm in a 65, I drive one almost every day. Got pulled over for 88 though, so don't do that.
    • CommentAuthorJAKool
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2015
     
    Yeah so don't time travel on a freeway
    • CommentAuthorBrawly
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2015
     
    Although that's on the East coast, not sure about speeding leniency in the West. Don't speed too much with out-of-state tags anywhere.
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      CommentAuthorMorganFan
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2015
     
    I've seen an 80 mph sign out in West Texas. But nobody lives there so that might explain it.
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      CommentAuthorBolt789
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2015
     
    Posted By: JAKoolYeah so don't time travel on a freeway
    Someone give this man a cookie
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      CommentAuthorjpaufsc
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2015
     
    Fun Fact: Texas State Highway 130 has a speed limit of 85mph which is the current fastest limit in the US.
    • CommentAuthorBrawly
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2015
     
    I wish US had an autobahn-like highway. My car only goes to 112 though :(
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      CommentAuthorMr. Laptop
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2015
     
    There should be a highway in which a propulsion system drags your car 200mph to wherever you steer it. Something like real life slot car.
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      CommentAuthorjpaufsc
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2015
     
    I dug up a couple photos from my trip back in 2010. This is what you have to look forward to on Highway 1.

    • CommentAuthorTOGO Fan
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2015
     
    I think you should get a 4 wheel drive Ibishu Pigeon and drive it down the highway at 600 MPH. That what I like to do in Beam ng Drive game.
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      CommentAuthorlamewad
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2015
     
    As far as motels/hotels:

    Motels:

    Motel 6
    Super 8

    I would avoid these if possible, they are basically just a room with a bathroom but sometimes are not clean and not well run. You can usually get the room for $30-40 per night if you aren't close to a major attraction.

    Hotels:

    Holiday Inn Express
    A little nicer and a bit more expensive than an average motel, but they are usually nice.

    Hampton Inn
    I love Hampton Inn as a cheapish hotel. Its not going to be the best for a budget, usually 99-129 a night, but you really get what you pay for.

    Embassy Suites
    If you can find a good deal for one of these, like 89 or 99, they have amazing benefits like free beer and liquor every night for a happy hour and a hot breakfast including omelette bar in the morning.

    Not really sure what your budget is, but this is a pretty basic rundown of the chains in the US
  5.  
    ^Thanks a lot this was very helpful! Well we'll most likely stick to motels i think. Not only because it's cheaper but we don't really need more than a bed and a small bathroom as long as everything is clean. We're not gonna spend a lot of time there.
    I don't know how it works but is it possible to check out the rooms before you decicde to stay or not? It's no problem here in Germany, so....?!

    @jpaufsc: Really looking Forward to see all this myself! Looks beautiful!

    @bottom_feeder_13: Also big thanks for the bunch of infos. Especially for the highway 395 tip. I looked it up and this route seems to be awesome! We're definately gonna drive it.

    Haha, nice discussion about speeding :D We're not gonna spped on purpose for sure! I think just sticking to the speed limits will save us a lot of money and trouble :P
    • CommentAuthorgeek87de
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2015
     
    Last year when i did a similar trip to the west coast, i stayed at the Best Western in Woodland Hills, which was quite ok for the price.
    And it's not too far from SFMM so you can avoid a bit of the traffic on the highways in the morning ;)
    • CommentAuthorElvenage
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2015
     
    ^^ from my experiences living here in the states my whole life, no, you can't physically go look st the rooms before you rent them for the night. Most websites will have pictures, so you know what you're getting, but it could vary by establishment, who's working front desk, and what time it is.
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      CommentAuthorlamewad
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2015
     
    ^ I have, however, entered a room and immediately went back to the front desk to ask for a refund because the room was so bad. They accepted in that case. Your experiences may vary though.
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      CommentAuthorrcrider4
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2015
     
    ^^You absolutely can ask to see a room before you book one. They won't necessarily show you the exact room they will be giving you, but my mom was the kind to always ask to see a room when staying at a hotel chain she had never been with or didn't trust as much, and never once have we been told no.
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      CommentAuthorCoasterdude
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2015 edited
     
    Hey guys,
    obviously I'm back. Unfortunately... It was epic! I just wanted to share some pictures with you. I wasn't sure whether to put them in the photography thread or here, but i decided for this one. So here we go with a few unsorted best of shots. All of them are shot with my Nikon d5300 and a Tamron 10-24mm f3.5 wide angle lens:

    Antelope Canyon:



    Arches National Park:



    Canyonlands National Park:


    Capitol Reef National Park:


    Zion National Park:




    Las Vegas:


    Sequoia/ Kings Canyon National Park:


    Yosemite National Park:





    San Francisco:



    I could have posted hundrets! It's such a beautiful Country and I really can't wait to go there again and see more!
    • CommentAuthorInkyz
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2015
     
    Holy God, those are stunning.
    • CommentAuthorBrawly
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2015
     
    Woah.
    • CommentAuthorgeek87de
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2015
     
    stunning photos.... although i would prefer the non-HDR versions.
    they look a bit over the top.. normally you use HDR to improve dynamics of the picture for more realism.

    anyway... great impressions of a beautiful country.
    i wanna go there again too :)
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      CommentAuthorMorganFan
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2015
     
    I thought the HDR wasn't that bad. Only on a few of the pictures were over-the-top.
    • CommentAuthorsprog
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2015
     
    The Yosemite and San Fran shots are fantastic, nice work!
  6.  
    As a native Californian and fellow photographer, I wholeheartedly approve these photos (not like you needed my approval anyway). They're fantastic!
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      CommentAuthorbaadrix
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2015
     
    These are some amazing photos you took on your trip. I can't even decide which is my favourite one since they all look so great.
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      CommentAuthorzampano
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2015
     
    Wow nice! It would be really cool to have these in a bigger resolution, I would gladly add them to my wallpaper folder if you don't mind! I especially love the one from Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park!