It’s one thing to be comfortably cruising up the Pacific Coast highway with nostrils full of salt air and doing hand acrobatics as it hangs out the window riding the breeze. It’s quite another to be transversing mountainous hairpins against a big sky sun, bloodless white fists crushing the wheel. As our road trip sneaks up on my rear view mirror and is now “closer than it appears,” I’m closely examining rural routes and the Yosemite-Las Vegas express has me stuttering and stalling like a rental with a 469 mile capacity coughing up one last barren incline of a 500 mile stretch while cursing its driver for not fueling in Fresno. That run-on sentence aside, drives like that can be maddening and the thought of me glancing from the GPS and looking up to some Death Valley gorge conjures an image of Chris Farley screaming, “OH, NO! WE’RE GONNA DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” I’m fairly certain it won’t be so Dante-like, even though going through Death Valley in August (Average high 117.9F) is a perfect spot for living the Italian’s poetic nightmare.
That’s enough drama. Now I need solutions! For any of you who’ve driven the Southwest:
- What routes to you recommend?
- What should we not miss?
- What should we definitely ignore?
Here’s the draft itinerary for Kyle (17) and his dad:
Day 1 – Arrive Phoenix/Tucson (friends)
Day 2 – San Diego (Drive)
Day 3 – San Diego (Zoo, Beach)
Day 4 – Long Beach/San Luis Obispo (friends)
Day 5 – San Jose (friends)
Day 6 – SF/Napa/Sacramento
Day 7 – Sacramento (friends)
Day 8 – Yosemite (nature stuff)
Day 9 – Vegas (Drive)
Day 10 – Vegas (wave pools, sharks, shows)
Day 11 – Canyon (Hoover Dam, big hole, Flagstaff)
Day 12 – Sedona/Phoenix (colors and friends)
Day 13 – Phoenix (chill by pool)
Day 14 – Depart