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Tour Itinerary: Vegas, Grand Canyon, Zion, Death Valley

From: (Glenn Campbell, Las Vegas)
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 08:48:36 -0800
Subject: Tour Itinerary: Vegas, Grand Canyon, Zion, Death Valley

Charles Hurst (HurstCR@MASPO3.MAS.YALE.EDU) writes about his upcoming
visit to the southwest:

>My latest thought (you can tell how crazed I am to get away from the
>northeast and have a vacation) is to try to see BOTH Grand Canyon and Death
>Valley.  I would love to spend my whole time exploring around the desert in
>Death Valley area, but think it might be a bit much to ask of my 9 year old.
>He'll be apprehensive enough (never having flown before, or been to the
>desert, etc.).  He has visions that if the rattledsnakes and scorpions don't
>kill you, then some crazed person with a gun will.  I started to point out
>to him about all the shootings here in New Haven, but decided perhaps I
>should not emphasize that too strongly!
>Soooooo, do you think this itinerary is realistic?
>     - Arrive Mon. 6:00pm - drive to Williams, AZ and spend the night.
>     - Tues., Go over to Winslow and see the meteror crater, then up through
>Flagstaff to the southern rim of Grand Canyon and spend the second night
>back in Williams, or in Kingman.  Would it be too much to try and drive to
>Kingman?  Is Kingman a pit?
>     - Wed. (March 25) Drive to Death Valley.  Depending on if we stay in
>Kingman or Williams, this would be the day we might call you and do a buffet
>on the way through Vegas.
>     - Then Thursday & Friday spend in Death Valley. (I am determined to go
>to that racetrack and see those moving rocks!)  And Titus Canyon is a must.
>     - Unfortunately, the return flight leaves Vegas at 7:00 am Saturday, so
>I figure we'll have to leave Death Valley at about 2:00 am in order to have
>time to return the rental and everything.  Ugh.
>     I don't know if my plan for Tuesday is realistic (meteror crater,
>canyon, then driving back to Kingman).  If you could take a moment and
>figure if it's too much to ask of a 9 yr. old, I'd appreciate your opinion.

Yes, that's possible... plus a whole lot more.  Personally, I like to keep
moving, expecially when I am new to an area.  Never get bogged down at any
one location when so many others are waiting.  You get the most out of a
place in the first 15 minutes, and after that you start killing time.

I've never been to Meteor Crater, but my sense is that it isn't worth the
substantial trip.  Such things look more impressive from the air and in
pictures than on the ground.  I've passed it many times on the freeway
but have never felt compelled to go in.

Kingman is a good waypoint. Lots of cheap lodging there, and it gets you
out of Vegas.

Don't forget an hour to stop at Hoover Dam. From there, it is 3 hours to
the south rim.  You could go Kingman - Grand Canyon - Kingman all in a day.
The Grand Canyon is a big hole in the ground -- impressive for fifteen
minutes, but then you begin to stop noticing it. (I worked at the North Rim
briefly.)  In my opinion, you can get it out of your system in two hours.

Don't short-change Las Vegas, however - especially for a nine-year-old. You
could say that Vegas was MADE for 9 year olds.  It will be the highlight of
his trip, and you'll need a full day.

My suggested itinerary is this...

-- Monday Night: Vegas to Kingman.  Stop at the Hoover Dam for a half-hour,
day or night, just to drink it in.  The Dam tour probably isn't necessary.
In Kingman: Motel 6.

-- Tuesday: The Grand Canyon, via Williams or Flagstaff (If you are
interested in seeing it).  Stock up on supplies in Flagstaff or Kingman,
because everything at the Grand Canyon is frightfully expensive. At the
Grand Canyon get the $50 Golden Eagle national parks pass (good for all of
them for a year), so you can feel free to breeze in and out of other parks
enroute.  From the Grand Canyon, proceed directly to Page, AZ, for the
night. (I'm not sure what motel, since 6 and 8 aren't there.)

-- Wednesday: Leisurely drive north of the canyon to Zion National Park.
Spend a few hours there.  Then on to Mesquite, NV, for the night, ($20 at
the Virgin River Casino.)  There are plenty of side attractions along this
route, but Bryce Canyon is supposed to be less interesting (never been
there myself).

-- Thursday: Vegas, all day.  Spend the night in Vegas. (Motel 6 for
simplicity; reservations recommended.)

-- Friday: Start out early for Death Valley.  Death Valley has many subtle
desert attractions for connoisseurs, but the kid will get bored quickly.
(That's why they call it "Death" Valley.)  Better to hit the highlights and
keep moving. I'd spend a few hours there to hit the sliding stones etc, then
continue westward to Mojave, CA, via Trona, while you still have light. The
semi-ghost towns around Randsburg might amuse you for an hour. Spend night
at Mojave (Motel 6).  The windmills on the hills around town are memorable.

-- Saturday: Drive back to Vegas via Barstow.  (Allow about 5 hours.)
Enroute, drive about 5 minutes north of Kramer Junction to see the solar
power plant.


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