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Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Sequoia
Old 04-11-2009, 06:45 PM   #1
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Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Sequoia

Doing some planning for our upcoming trip from CA to St. Louis. We could visit some or all of the sights mentioned in the title. Any comments on these attractions?
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Old 04-11-2009, 07:22 PM   #2
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All are well worth the visit, but if you need to cull,

Joshua Tree - it's best if you already have an affinity for the desert. Without that, you might not appreciate it.

Death Valley - you need even more than the above, - it is worth driving through if you are already going that direction.

Las Vegas - One full day of hitting all the free attractions, and maybe a show that interests you should be sufficient.

Sequoia - The best of the bunch - the King's Canyon side might even be better.
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Old 04-11-2009, 08:26 PM   #3
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Don't stop in Death Valley in July or August.
Save Las Vegas for your return trip.
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Old 04-11-2009, 08:59 PM   #4
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Al - just back from 29 Palms a couple weeks ago - went through Joshua Tree a bunch. The Joshua Tree National Monument (park) is beautiful and should dry and thaw your bones. If you don't feel like paying the toll to get into the park you can go up to an old western movie making site, Pioneer Town, outside of Yucca. That little side trip is a pretty good approximation of the park in the small. The park is incredible though, and i think well worth the money. Think naked boulders the size of VW buses and dumptrucks all jumbled up and piled high. Climbers love it. A lot. I love it, but i really like rock faces and cliffs and the austere bones of the earth unveiled by mounds of dirt and vegetation.

I recommend John's (on the right, Pioneer Town on the left as you go up the hill toward 29) as a restaurant stop. BIG plate of deep fried zucchini for the same price as french fries, but the true draw is the air hand dryers in the restrooms. Not saying any more, but worth washing your hands even if you don't really need to.

For me, the coast redwoods were the best - those you've seen - Sequoia was pretty cool, but the NorCal redwoods made me happier.
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Old 04-11-2009, 09:08 PM   #5
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A fascinating view of Death Valley can be had from Telescope Peak, on the western edge of the park. You can drive most of the way to the top (with great views), and an 14 mile rt easy to follow trail takes you to the top. Perfect for the summer - when it is 120 degrees in the valley it might be 70 on the peak.

LocalHikes - Death Valley - Telescope Peak
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Old 04-11-2009, 09:56 PM   #6
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Al, if you're interested, here are 5 sets of pics from Joshua Tree, Another 5 sets from Death Valley, and 1 set from Sequoia.
Click here and scroll down.
Road Trip Rip - Adventures
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Old 04-11-2009, 10:37 PM   #7
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Stop at Ted Drewes in St Louis . I went last summer because a friend of mine recommend the stuff. There is a nice tree to sit under and have a cone.

Oh and the Bud brewery is a fun free tour.
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Old 04-11-2009, 11:32 PM   #8
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Of those in the Thread Title, I have only been to Las Vegas -- would not do it again nor would I suggest it to others. The others are on my list for later this year or first of next.

My favorite area between California and St Louis is Southern Utah. By coincidence, it is featured in today's NYTimes:

America’s Outback: Southern Utah

Having said that, however, just about everywhere you go in this country is worth the trip. The scenery through the mountains of Colorado on I-70 is beyond anyone's imagination. New Mexico is truly the "Land of Enchantment." Arizona and Nevada... Wow!

Even Kansas and Nebraska have wonders beyond belief -- Nebraska has, for instance, the Nation's largest Sand Dune formation -- 19,600 square miles and the Scenic Byway through it on Hwy 2 is 272 miles long. Did I mention White Sands National Monument in New Mexico?

Just take your time and stop to smell the roses.

We will be leaving in a week or so for a trip through Missouri (KC and St. Louis), Arkansas, and Louisiana (again). I am seriously thinking about extending it as far as Key West. So I can, with some authority, tell you that you can enjoy whatever you see no matter where you go. Ain't this Country great?
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:47 AM   #9
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Been to all of the above.

Joshua Tree - great place if you are a climber. There is a Patton museum to the south but never made it.

Death Valley - Very stark. The sand dunes are cool. Some of the canyon hikes are cool too.

Las Vegas - Well, been there. If gambling and shows are your thing, it is the place for you. Too much smoking for my taste. Don't buy a timeshare there either.

Sequoia- Best of the bunch. I would also recommend Kings Canyon and Yosemite.
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Old 04-12-2009, 09:45 PM   #10
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I have been to all four and like all of them. Joshua Tree is great for climbing. Some sites are over run by climbers and on weekends college student groups. But it is big and if you go mid week or off season it is empty. The spring flowers are pretty much gone. If you are planning these for another year look for flower season mostly in March.
We love Death Valley, we have taken our Jeep offroading there. The remote corners are really remote. Deserves a lot of time to play in, things are far apart like gas 70 miles+ between stations. Very distinct parts in the place, sand dunes, painted sandstones, hot springs and craters, I love the Ubehebe Craters Places of interest in the Death Valley area - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
We also like Las Vegas, it is full of shows, food and people watching. We don't gamble much. We used to search out cheaper places but our most recent trip was to the Encore @ $149, if you can get that deal-take it. Best room we ever had.
Like Sequoia too, haven't been there in a while, been there in different seasons and it was always nice. Hope you can explore the places and not just cruise through, all good places, can't go wrong. OK, skip Death Valley in July/August.
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:55 AM   #11
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Thanks for the advice. We're now kind of leaning towards skipping all of them! Sounds like Sequoia will be way too similar to the redwoods national park that we live near and visit frequently. We're not into gambling, but DW was curious about Vegas. We'd probably only be there during the day, which wouldn't be to interesting. Shows cost more than we'd want to spend.

We'll be driving through the Mojave desert -- perhaps that will be enough desert for us? Seen one desert, you've seen them all -- TRUE or FALSE?

Thanks for the reminder about White Sands -- that was a favorite sight on one of my trips across the country 40 years ago.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Thanks for the advice. We're now kind of leaning towards skipping all of them! Sounds like Sequoia will be way too similar to the redwoods national park that we live near and visit frequently. We're not into gambling, but DW was curious about Vegas. We'd probably only be there during the day, which wouldn't be to interesting. Shows cost more than we'd want to spend.

We'll be driving through the Mojave desert -- perhaps that will be enough desert for us? Seen one desert, you've seen them all -- TRUE or FALSE?

Thanks for the reminder about White Sands -- that was a favorite sight on one of my trips across the country 40 years ago.
Nope - pretty different desert is, padawan. The monument has both the Mojave and the Sonoran desert - one has Joshua trees all over it and the other has different vegetation. You can find desert with Joshua trees or if in southern Az some really cool saguaro, if you go through southern Utah or by the grand canyon you will see very cool rock formations, but the Monument has rock styles that i think are unique. 29 Palms has "rotted granite" sands here and there - very coarse large granules. This is an ok video of a small hint of the rock style:
Unique Rock Formations Joshua Tree National Park- video DesertUSA

I guess i don't agree with the seen one seen 'em all, but don't think you can go wrong. Am surprised you liked White Sands - don't remember being impressed by it back when - given the choice Pagosa Springs/southern Colorado or northern NM would be my pick. But can you go wrong looking at this pretty country? Pretty much anywhere?
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Old 04-13-2009, 02:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Poundkey View Post
Al, if you're interested, here are 5 sets of pics from Joshua Tree, Another 5 sets from Death Valley, and 1 set from Sequoia.
Click here and scroll down.
Road Trip Rip - Adventures
Great picture composition, if it's you, you're talented! I am trying to learn...
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:35 PM   #14
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Great picture composition, if it's you, you're talented! I am trying to learn...
Thank you, but those were all done by my son. I'll pass your compliment on to him. He will appreciate it.
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:19 AM   #15
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Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Sequoia

I live in southern California and have been to all of the above.

Joshua Tree - We have been camping here 2x/year for at least 10 years. A very different type of desert. Rock formations are beautiful but you need to like that sort of thing. Not a lot to do if you are not active. If you go don't miss the Saturday/Sunday tours of the Keys Ranch. Great place to rope climb or just scramble on rocks. Almost always clear weather with >50 miles visibility. Stars are stunning at night. Patton museum outside south end of park is interesting. Palm Springs is pretty close. Very hot area in summer, though not as hot as Death Valley.

Death Valley - Interesting place. I wouldn't go in summer.

Las Vegas - better if you are "people" person/social. Worth seeing once even if you aren't. Great if you like shows or want to gamble. Not cheap like it used to be - best deals midweek. Hot in summer but not like Death Valley. See Hoover Dam if you get a chance - well worth it.

Sequoia - Very pretty alpine forests and rivers. Not as improved facilities as Yosemite, but much less crowded. Not as lush as the coast redwoods. A very pretty place.
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:43 AM   #16
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Seen one desert, you've seen them all -- TRUE or FALSE?
Well Al, it depends. To an undiscerning enough person, everything is the same as everything else. To a connoisseur the tiniest nuance is meaningful. Just place yourself on this scale, and act accordingly.

Ha
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:25 PM   #17
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T-Al,

On a trip from SoCal to St Louis in 2001, my buddy and I took this route:

Vegas (just a few hours)
Zion (1 day)
Escalate (1 day)
Bryce (1 day)
Capitol Reef/Canyonlands (1 day)
Arches (0.5 day)
Mesa Verde CO (1 day)
Silverton, CO / Durango / Pueblo (1.5 days, stopping various places)
Kansas (1 day, mostly driving)
Missouri (1 day)

I second Southern Utah. Some amazing territory, I wish we had spent more time in Escalante in the Grand Staircase. I have since been to Zion twice after this trip and loved it. It's is tied with Yosemite as my second favorite NP (Yellowstone being first). The other parks in Utah are nice, but don't hold a candle to Zion IMHO. Mesa Verde is really interesting and definitely one of the most unique NPs.

Also, I've been to the Redwoods and Sequioas. *I* think they are quite different, but that might be just me. If you've never seen them before, the size of the trees will astound you. Also, of the 5 plus times I've been to the Sequoias, I've always seen at least 1 bear.

For a frame of reference, my buddy and I both love the outdoors, hiking and seeing wildlife.

If you decide to do more than a couple of NPs, it might be worthwhile to get a NP Park Pass, or an incredible deal if you've over 62 (?), you can get a senior lifetime pass for $10.
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:42 PM   #18
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T-Al,

You should make some money in Las Vegas. Hotels are cheap, food is cheap. Get an American Casino Guide coupon book and/or Las Vegas Advisor Coupon book (1 for you, 1 for DW). Then go on a casino run and do all the promotional deals (matchplay coupons, free slots, promo sign up deals, etc). My guess is that a frugal fellow like yourself can net a few hundred bucks in the process if you can learn the odds and basic strategy at blackjack or craps or something. DW and I sort of did this on our last trip and I think we netted around $300.

But the psychic benefit of beating vegas is worth way more than that.
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:49 AM   #19
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Wow, good ideas, thanks. I just put Zion on the list. I remember now that I drove through it 40 years ago, and found it to be one of the best. Too many things to see!

Interesting idea, Fuego.

Confirm my understanding of matchplay coupons: Let's say DW and I each have a $10 matchplay coupon. At the roulette table, She bets $10 with the coupon on odd, I bet $10+coupon on even. If it lands on 0 or 00 we both lose, but otherwise our net profit is $10. Yes?

The free slots offers mostly require that you sign up for a (free) player's club type of thing. Not sure that's worth it.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:11 AM   #20
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Al,
Try the Angel's Landing hike.
I'm not suggesting you go to the actual point of Angel's Landing.
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