USA apr-17 to may-17

Discussion in 'Holidays & Travel' started by GTR27, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Woohoo. Only a few days now, fly out monday morning.

    All our shit is sorted (as far as I can tell :lol::lol::lol: ) and its pretty much rock up to the airport on time and see how we go :)

    Have $300 USD in various notes ($40 in $1 for tips etc) which should see me OK for tips for maybe the first week? Planning on using credit card where possible and just transfer money onto that as required - also have a savings linked to that so can also take money out at ATMs too.

    Just a question - for kids, does Qantas do "kids" meals? As much as the braised deer penis seems interesting, I dont think my kids will give it a go. Chips or chicken nuggets will make the trip go lots easier!
     
  2. josh1990

    josh1990 Member

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    We took equivalent $5k AUD in cash, with extra in QANTAS cash card (made money when got home on that anyway) as it was better rate than credit card. Tips are fucking annoying, some fuckers wanted 18% too on receipt. Just remember it's not mandatory, I started by giving the recommended tips. By the end I couldn't give 2 hoots, I'm a tourist FFS. Don't know about plane meals for kids, they certainly aren't on the menu card handed out. You certainly won't be getting nuggets or chips :lol:. Get the the airport early, shit happens! Enjoy your trip!
     
  3. GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Hmmmmm. Might call qantas and see what the go is. The kids are very good with trying new stuff (ie will give it a go), but 9/10 times its "yuck" and they just want plain stuff. All the menu looks pretty exotic compared to what they normally eat. I just want them to eat a decent amount so they sleep!
     
  4. munka

    munka Member

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    Can I suggest taking the coastal route and stopping in big sur valley for the night. It was one of my favourite stops. The kids can likely see some sea lions too!
    I know it is a road trip. But do this by chopper. The side of the GC you will see from the car is not the most spectacular anyway (neither for day trip chopper rides). But the drive is a lot further than it looks. You'd make it there, 15 minute peer over the edge and back to Kingman in a day, but doing the full round trip in a car in a day would be miserable. Helicopter is far more affordable than it sounds if you ask around once you are there (dont book from the hotel or an online package place), has a novelty of its own and you'll not be wishing for your day back just to tick GC off the bucket list.
     
  5. die_piggy

    die_piggy Member

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    I completely disagree! I absolutely LOVED the drive from Vegas to the Grand Canyon. Left the strip at about 2am, got to the Canyon about 9am,and started heading back about 4pm.

    Then again I was just with my wife, probably wouldn't want to try that with kids :shrug:
     
  6. josh1990

    josh1990 Member

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    We drove;

    Vegas - Grand Canyon - Death Valley - Lake Tahoe (attempted anyway, shut by snow no chains at time) - Carson City - Reno (bought chains to get through mountains here :lol:) - Sacramento - Redding - Eureka - then down coast via highway 1 which is the coastal route btw Munko) to San Francisco via the valley of giants. After San Francisco we continued along the coast (camped one night on Big Sur) to L.A deviating from the coast (highway 1) to highway 101 at San Luis Obispo so we went through a little town called Solvang. Solvang is a quaint little Danish village. (We stayed in flying flags RV park up the road in Buellton for 3 days for a break. I highly recommend this place, use the toilets/showers near the pool. Also a laundry room. Can get cabins etc or tent area. Highly recommend it). Then down to coast (still all 101. Reason we didn't bother with that corner of coast is that it's a naval/military base. And Solvang with the 5 bakeries is worth it) again and to L.A. through all Malibu, Santa Barbara etc. You pretty much end up at Santa Monica pier. Fan-fucking-tastic drive (dunno about with kids) along the coast. Definitely not something to miss.

    As for the drive from Vegas to G.C - we left after dinner and did the midnight express. Paid entry at the gate (electronically) and slept in our camper in the visitor centre car park. We were some of the first there and saw the sun ride over the snow capped canyon. Then expressed it from G.C to Armagosa via Vegas again (straight through).
    Slept at Armagosa (firecrackers and alien brothel here, but also free parking at the rest area). Then into Death valley the next day. We drove (well I drove) 5000km in 3 weeks. Wouldn't change a bloody thing
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
  7. munka

    munka Member

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    We drove and I don't regret it, but now I have kids I wouldn't dare try do it in a day! Don't forget they have a lot of driving ahead of them also, you don't want them to dread driving after a solid day in a car!
     
  8. GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    We have done a few long drives in preparation for the flight. Made 25 kits of rear plugs and a few lollies to give to each of the passengers around us :lol:

    once we get in the air I think it will hit me, been doing 100hr weeks last two weeks. Had a good night's sleep sat and last night so feeling pretty good
     
  9. GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Not a good start..... Disembarked waiting for plane repairs.... Adding 3-4hrs to an already long journey with kids is brutal.......
     
  10. GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Eventually got here. Rental company tried to palm a Cadillac CT6 Off in the same class as E class Merc and 5 series. Haggled for ages with them and got an upgrade to a brand new Volvo XC90 T6 for $20/day more. No one had hired it before. Black with tan leather and heaps of goodies. Bloody awesome kid hauler and the AWD will come in handy for the snow/ice area I'm going to. Have driven around in traffic a bit today and damn la traffic is nuts. No one indicates, they cut in with no notice and everyone does 80+ in the left lane (fast). Getting used to not driving on there left side of the road/ right side of car
     
  11. josh1990

    josh1990 Member

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    Unfortunately, the bad driving is not limited to L.A :lol:

    We had our V8 E150 camper sitting comfortably on 85mph on the open road, around 70 on the L.A freeway. Used an average of 14.2L/100km (i.e not fucking bad for a V8 powered brick on wheels) out in the sticks, cities it got as bad as 19.5L/100km. But with the price of fuel there who cares. Dearest we saw it was $4.45 a gallon in Death Valley but paid as little as $2.23 a gallon. I daresay your whip will be miles out in front on fuel economy. Have a fantastic trip :D

    Edit - did you still get chains? We saw AWD vehicles getting turned around at chain control points because they didn't have the appropriate tyres or chains at least on board. Full on muddies were cruising through. We got up a snowy, icy off ramp heaps easier than an AWD subaru with no chains and a lot lighter than us.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
  12. GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Will probably get some at a Walmart or something then return them when we get to SF.

    The big Volvo is seriously good. So comfy, plenty of guts, seems great on fuel. Adaptive cruise, lane assist etc I barely have to be awake to drive it.

    Got passed by a cop on the way to San Diego, we were doing 75 in a 55 zone and he must have been doing 85. We were almost the slowest car on the freeway ha ha. Sit on 80 (130kph) worry and smooth
     
  13. clonex

    clonex Member

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    Snowchains? you sure you didnt get lost in northern Norway :D

    You going to checkout Mulholland drive and see some bikes?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  14. josh1990

    josh1990 Member

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    We didn't hire the chains for $50 because we weren't going anywhere that needed chains. Nek Minnut spending $70 on chains at Wal-Mart because the mountain passes from Reno to Sacramento required chains. We sat in traffic moving slowly for 3 hours, then got to chain control. People around us that had been waiting for hours with no chains were getting turned around :lol:. I would've been so mad if we hadn't of stopped at Wal-Mart after we saw the warnings of chain control x miles ahead and googled it. We hadn't even planned going to Reno, just a series of events that we ended up there.
     
  15. GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Just a precaution, rather than expecting to need them.
     
  16. GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Didn't bother getting them (chains) and don't need them.

    Mammoth and lake Tahoe are simply amazing places.
     
  17. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

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    You get the cut ins and non indicators routinely in Aus, or anywhere for that matter, the biggest challenge I found was providing enough space on the right side of the car, so as not to hit parked cars. Quite a different experience. I was very nervous but I loved it.
     
  18. BillyBro

    BillyBro Member

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    Looking forward to updates, Have pretty much the same road trip coming up in September, heading LA-SD-Tuscon-LV-Death Valley-Yosemite-SF-LA
    Accomodation is booked bar the return stay in LA. Also need to hire a car as well.
     
  19. josh1990

    josh1990 Member

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    Did you want to stay in Hollywood? We were pleasantly surprised by the Hollywood La Brea Inn (www.hollywoodlabreainn.us). Surprisingly clean, polite Asian owners. This joint is all about the LOCATION (this is not a 5 star joint, we were on right budget).

    There are definitely better places if you have the coin, but we used this as our L.A base as we couldn't park our camper anywhere else. This has free parking too. Free breakfast is shit. Pizza joint right next door is not bad, but cheesy. Warner Bros and Universal not far away by an Easy route.

    Also, on your way to San Diego, so yourself a favour and drop into MicroCenter (around the OC). It is far from micro :thumbup:
     
  20. issh

    issh Member

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    Just came back from the states a month ago. Went SF-->Yosemite-->LA-->LV and experienced the exact same thing. The 101 in LA is just terrible, literally start-stop traffic; and it's nothing like Brisbane where the traffic is dense but short. LA traffic is dense and LONGGGG.

    Also unlike Australia, cops don't even care if you drive 10 miles over the limit. Drove past plenty of cops on the sideway off the freeway going 80 in the 70 zone. Drivers over there are also very aggresive, and like you said don't indicate but also merge on the off-ramp at the very last second.

    You'll find Yosemite simply amazing, the drive to and in the park is gorgeous - with plenty of stopping zones that allow you to take photos. We were lucky enough to stay in cabins right approximately 30 minutes from Yosemite Valley and thus was early enough to get 2 hikes before we left for LA. If you do plan to do some hikes, be sure to go quite early as parking spaces near the the visitor centre is very limited.

    I would recommend http://www.rentalcars.com/au/ as they include insurance and zero excess when you rent cars from there.
     

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