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The Gipper

The Gipper's Guide to America

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The Waterfalls are fully waterfall-y right now.

Good to know. Have a great time.

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The upshot of all the questions is, the good lady and I will be doing a trip around the grand canyon, zion, arches, bryce canyon, monument valley, and the antelope one. Probably flying in to Phoenix since direct flights aren't so crazy - £700 compared to closer to £900 for Vegas and Salt Lake City.

 

If people have any recommendations - whether it's visiting other places in the area, or a way to get more out of those, it would be greatly appreciated. I think we're likely going to be winging it in terms of accommodation, so we will be booking maybe a couple of days ahead so we can be more flexible. Are they plenty of places to stay, and will we be ok not booking far in advance?

 

I've not been to the US since I was 7, so in terms of planning things, and things that I might not anticipate, I'm at a bit of a loss!

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Also, we'll obviously be picking up a car - any recommendations on what company to use? I'd love to get a real beastly convertible muscle car, but might have to settle for something more budget-friendly. Top down might be nice though...

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The upshot of all the questions is, the good lady and I will be doing a trip around the grand canyon, zion, arches, bryce canyon, monument valley, and the antelope one. Probably flying in to Phoenix since direct flights aren't so crazy - £700 compared to closer to £900 for Vegas and Salt Lake City.

 

If people have any recommendations - whether it's visiting other places in the area, or a way to get more out of those, it would be greatly appreciated. I think we're likely going to be winging it in terms of accommodation, so we will be booking maybe a couple of days ahead so we can be more flexible. Are they plenty of places to stay, and will we be ok not booking far in advance?

 

I've not been to the US since I was 7, so in terms of planning things, and things that I might not anticipate, I'm at a bit of a loss!

When is this trip to take place? If you are coming in this summer, know that in Arizona and southern Utah it will be hot, hot, hot. So prepare for that. Also....if it is in summer, you may find it necessary to pre-book some of your hotels. But in and around that area there are a lot of fairly inexpensive motels that you can find just on your day of travel. Just "winging it would probably work Ok. in towns like Mexican Hat, Panquitch, Page, Tropic, Mt. Carmel, etc.

 

As for things to see/do...you are definitely hitting some of the major spots. However, a few others you have to consider:

A. For your first and foremost stop coming out of Phoenix and before you go further you must go to Sedona Arizona. It is every bit of a highlight to go there as any other place you will go. Many, many people may say that it is the most beautiful setting for a town in America. And I would probably be one of those. So, you MUST go there. The one booklet with scenery that I have in my waiting room is a book on Sedona.

A few other places in Northern Arizona/Southern Utah to consider that you have not mentioned:

B. The Meteor Crater just outside of Winslow . The "finest" example of a Meteor Crater in the world perhaps. If you remember the movie Starman with Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen, the ending was filmed here. And you can stand on a corner in Winlsow Arizona if you would like.

C. If you are heading up to eastern Ariz, there is the Petrified Forest and Canyon DeChelly (pronounced "de-shay).

D. Sunset Crater is a example of an almost perfect cindercone volcano.

E. At Page Ariz. see the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. If time, take a boat tour to see the Rainbow Arch.

F. If you are going to Arches, then you will also want to go to Canyonlands Nat. Park

G. If you can hit Goblin Valley State Park, it would be well worth your time

H. Also coming back southwest you will want to go to Capitol Reef NP. From there take the Escalante Highway (rt. 12) through the Grand Staircase/Escalante. This will let you out at Bryce Canyon.

I. In between Bryce and Zion you may want to stop at Cedar Breaks National Monument, and the Coral Pink Sand Dunes state park.

 

I hope you have about two weeks for all this. Let me know if you need any other info.

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We have about two weeks, and will be going mid to late september, possibly in to october. Weather should have calmed down a bit by then hopefully, but I'll probably still burn to a crisp.

 

Thanks for the list, plenty to research!

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BTW, I'd love to hit a football game but it seems a bit of a dry spot. Anything I might have missed? UNLV maybe the best bet if flying in to there, or Phoenix or Utah.

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We have about two weeks, and will be going mid to late september, possibly in to october. Weather should have calmed down a bit by then hopefully, but I'll probably still burn to a crisp.

 

Thanks for the list, plenty to research!

Two weeks is good...you should be able to get everything in in two weeks. And Sept/Oct. is good. Offseason but better somewhat cooler weather. And you should have no problems with finding motels. I have been in and around that area 3-4 times in fall and summer and you really shouldn't have a problem even if you wing it.

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BTW, I'd love to hit a football game but it seems a bit of a dry spot. Anything I might have missed? UNLV maybe the best bet if flying in to there, or Phoenix or Utah.

If you want NFL, then Phoenix is really your only option out there. Here is the Cards home schedule for Sept/Oct:

 

9/11 Pats

9/18 Bucs

10/2 Rams

1017 Jets

10/23 Seahawks.

 

I have no doubt that you can wriggle some tickets for that...and that is really your most convenient place to see a game if you are flying into Phoenix.

As for College games. Forget UNLV. As someone said before, lousy stadium, lousy team. Again, if you are in Phoenix, an Arizona State Game would be a better option. Better team, more atmosphere. Plus, a couple of Super Bowls were played in Sun Devil Stadium before the dome was built out there.

AZ St. Schedule for Sept/Oct:

 

9/10 Texas Tech

9/24 Cal Bears

10/8 UCLA

10/22 Washington St.

 

The middle two are the good games.

 

If you are going to go up to Salt Lake, then that area has BYU in Provo, and Utah in SLC

 

BYU:

9/17 UCLA

9/30 Toledo

10/12 Mississippi St.

 

Utah:

9/10 BYU....you can see the battle of the Mormons

9/23 USC

10/8 Arizona

10/29 Washington

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Also, we'll obviously be picking up a car - any recommendations on what company to use? I'd love to get a real beastly convertible muscle car, but might have to settle for something more budget-friendly. Top down might be nice though...

Actually the last time I had to rent a car I went with Hertz and found them to be very reasonable and very easy to get along with. One always thinks that the off-brand rental companies might give you a better deal but that wasn't the case and the service was outstanding.

 

WSS

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Yeah I think in some cases the bigger companies are probably just a better bet all around. When it comes to things like hotels, perhaps a smaller place with a more personal touch is better, but essentially a car is car, whether it's provided by Hertz or Mom-and-Pop-rent-a-car, it's made by ford or chevy, and knowing that they have access to plenty of spares is pretty useful.

 

I'll probably stick to the bigger brands. Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise - any others to look at? I've seen names like 'dollar rent a car' and 'thrifty' and thought they might be worth avoiding.

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Yeah I think in some cases the bigger companies are probably just a better bet all around. When it comes to things like hotels, perhaps a smaller place with a more personal touch is better, but essentially a car is car, whether it's provided by Hertz or Mom-and-Pop-rent-a-car, it's made by ford or chevy, and knowing that they have access to plenty of spares is pretty useful.

 

I'll probably stick to the bigger brands. Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise - any others to look at? I've seen names like 'dollar rent a car' and 'thrifty' and thought they might be worth avoiding.

Dollar and Thrifty are big names also in renting. I don't know if you have the equivalent of a AAA membership (American Automobile Association...there is also a CAA...Canada)....but most rental cars will charge an extra daily fee for an additional driver (no legitimate reason to do so...just a money grab).....but with Hertz and both members are AAA, they waive that extra fee.

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By the way gft......you referred to "the antelope one". I am not sure where that is. What are you talking about here, as I know of no such place.

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By the way gft......you referred to "the antelope one". I am not sure where that is. What are you talking about here, as I know of no such place.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=antelope+canyon&newwindow=1&espv=2&biw=816&bih=600&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwinoN2nz4nNAhWHvBoKHUQUAx4Q_AUIBigB

 

%D9%83%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%86%203

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OK, I see now. This has really only recently been open to the public, and access is restricted to tours.

By the way.....going to Monument Valley is the same way. You can go up to the main gate area, but from there you have to get a tour to take you back through there. At MV though there are a bunch of "vendors" that will take you on this tour. I am not sure about Antelope.

Also, if you go to Canyon de Chelly, it is similar. Access into canyon only by Indian guided tour. You can however drive the rim on your own.

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Enterprise did me pretty good in my recent drive to California. I put damn near 7000 miles on their rental car and they didn't bat an eye. Unlimited miles. Cost a fair bit up front though.

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I do tend to go for the unlimited miles option. In this case for sure. Only time I don't is if I know I'm only doing a certain amount of miles - from airport to hotel and around the town.

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I do tend to go for the unlimited miles option. In this case for sure. Only time I don't is if I know I'm only doing a certain amount of miles - from airport to hotel and around the town.

I never rent unless I get unlimited miles. The last time I rented a car I put almost 3000 miles on it, going from here to Alabama and Florida and around and back.

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Just FYI....in the trip I just took I took in like 9 or 10 additional National Park Units:

 

 

Hampton National Historic Park: This sites on the north side of Baltimore. It is the site of a former plantation that was owned by the Ridgely family which at the time were one of the 3 or 4 wealthiest families in America. It was once 25,000 acres, now down to just 63 acres where the huge manor house and the smaller estate manager's house plus some slave quarters still exist. This plantation at one time had like 350 slaves.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument. There are several sites on Maryland's eastern shore associated with this NP unit. A visitor/education center is in Cambridge MD which tells all about Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who conducted up to 300 slaves to freedom on the Undergroud Railroad.

First State National Monument. Delaware is considered the First State because it was the first state in the Union to ratify the Constitution. I visited a couple of sites associated with this NP unit: The Old Statehouse and Green in Dover plus the Old Courthouse in New Castle DE where events occurred associated with the ratification of the Constitution and other Delaware historic events. Both the areas are very nice, old but well kept up historic areas.

Kenilworth National Aquatic Gardens. In northeast Washington DC. An area of greenery in a somewhat poorer section of DC. It has ponds, lily pads, geese, heron etc. Very pretty.

Anacostia Park. Not really a national park, but it is maintained by the NPS. A riverside park with recreational activity in the city.

The Frederick Douglas National Historic Site. The home of Frederick Douglas in eastern DC from 1877 to 1895 when he died. He was the former slave who became a nationally know writer, speaker, abolitionist and general advocate of Civil Rights.

The Women's Equality National Historic Site, fka the Sewall-Belmont House. From this location, just a block east of the US Supreme Court building, the National Women's Party operated, and that group was the primary advocate for the 20th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.

Carter Woodson Home NHS. Former home of the President of Howard University who was intrumental in getting Black History Month accredited. The site was under construction and not able to be entered. I just saw it from the outside, peaking basically at the scaffolding that was there.

World War I National Historic Monument. This was formerly called Pershing Park, and sits right adjacent to the White House grounds on the east. There are plans to upgrade the park from it current status. (it needs it). Mainly now there is a big statue of General Jack Pershing on the grounds. He was the head of all armed forces during WWI. While they will keep his statue, they will incorporate it into the new WWI monument planned.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. This is the new memorial overlooking the Tidal Basin. It consists of a huge stone statue of MLK and walls emanating out from there with various quotes made by King.

Revisited parks: Assateague National Seashore, with it wild ponies. Plus the main DC monuments you all know: Washington Jefferson, FDR, Lincoln, WWII, The White House, plus Rock Creek, Mary McCleod Bethune, The National Mall.

By my count, I have now visited 310 of the 410 official National Park units. Of the one hundred I have not been to, I could get like a quarter of them in with just two trips: New York City/Long Island and some 4 Corners region parks, mostly in New Mex. Another 18 are in extremely remote areas of Alaska...none of which can be just driven to. You need like a float plane or a dog sled to get to most of them.

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So flights are booked and we're doing Zion, Bryce, Arches, Grand Canyon (north and south) and a few other little stops, end of september, early october. Flights are booked. Hooray. But, it seems we're missing a trick with the hotels/motels - looking around the area, every place within about an hour of each park is like $150-200, even places like Motel 6, places that basically have just a bed and a bathroom. What's the deal? Do prices go drastically down as you approach the date? Do we need to look further away? What gives?

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Man you're going to love that area. If you could get into California you'be golden. Plenty to see in the weSt you won't be dissapointed.

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Man you're going to love that area. If you could get into California you'be golden. Plenty to see in the weSt you won't be dissapointed.

Just don't have the time to do everything we want to do, but don't worry, sequoia and the rest are on the list for next time.

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So flights are booked and we're doing Zion, Bryce, Arches, Grand Canyon (north and south) and a few other little stops, end of september, early october. Flights are booked. Hooray. But, it seems we're missing a trick with the hotels/motels - looking around the area, every place within about an hour of each park is like $150-200, even places like Motel 6, places that basically have just a bed and a bathroom. What's the deal? Do prices go drastically down as you approach the date? Do we need to look further away? What gives?

That seems crazy. I have been in that area around that time of year and got some really cheap deals.

....FYI....there are a lot of "mom and pop" motels in the area that may not be on the websites of the big travel agency websites. If you can just "pay as you go"....I think you will find bargains.

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That seems crazy. I have been in that area around that time of year and got some really cheap deals.

....FYI....there are a lot of "mom and pop" motels in the area that may not be on the websites of the big travel agency websites. If you can just "pay as you go"....I think you will find bargains.

Any idea how I might find them if they're not on the bigger websites?

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Any idea how I might find them if they're not on the bigger websites?

Sure, Google "Cheap motels in __________________.....and insert the name of the city.

 

The cities you want to look for are:

Panguitch

Mt. Carmel,

Bryce

Tropic

Glendale

Kanab

Cedar City

St. George area

Hurricane

Page, Arizona

These are all for So. Utah/or the north rim. Be mindful of where these are in relation to what you want to see. Page is more over toward the Glen Canyon Dam.

 

For the south rim.....yes, big bucks to stay in the park hotels. But check out cheap motels for Williams, Cameron, Tuba City, and Flagstaff for the south rim.

 

Don't be afraid to use Hotwire.....as long as you are not that picky...and are more concerned with price. (but no cancellations or refunds allowed.

You can get very good deals there.....as I said, if you are not picky. I just picked up a hotel in York PA for $50.00 a night that the other sites (travelocity/expedia etc. etc) were selling for around $100.00 or more.

 

The time of year IS important. If you are going here in the summer when school is still out....prices would be more. In the fall....it could drop way down. And weekends vs. weekdays could make a difference.

 

I just put in a search for Panguitch Utah for one night for Friday Sept 30th.....and saw prices of like $60-77. for a night (tax not included). Only 1 or 2 stars.....but I have stayed in these types and been OK.

 

You can find places in Flagstaff for the 60 some dollar range. Again 1.5 to 2.0 star....but you will live.

 

....but....just driving around until you see a cheap motel can work too. There may actually be some that don't show up on that kind of a search.

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Well it's all booked. Found some relatively cheap places around, used Hotwire to save some bucks.

 

Also mostly planned for next year to visit NYC/Washington (for a wedding). Also planning another holiday out to Hawaii. Haven't been to the US in over 20 years, now looking to go three times in the space of 12 months.

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Coming from London you'll probably feel right at home in NYC. Unless you wander into the Bronx or bed-Stuy Brooklyn or something. If you feel like touring the city outside of Manhattan Brooklyn is likely the best bet. There's lots of cool places in Brooklyn. Queens has some hit nothing you're gonna feel like you missed out on if you don't go. Staten Island, in my opinion, isn't part of the quintessential new york experience and unless you're going to a Yankee game I'd just stay clear of the bronx, personally.

 

Assuming you mean Washington d.c. that's an eight or more hour drive from the city. D.c. has some awesome sightseeing in its own right but given the choice I'd just stay in NYC and use the extra days to visit MOMA or the met or explore Brooklyn. Just my $.02

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When I lived in NYC they used to have fireworks every Friday night at coney island which was cool. The Atlantic in new york isnt what it is elsewhere but it's still nice

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DC, yep. 8 hour drive, really? I had a quick look at google maps and it said around 3-4 hours?

 

A friend is getting married in DC, so we figured since both of us want to go see new york at some point we'd do both, but if it's going to take forever to get from one to the other maybe not.

 

That being said, there's a strong chance we'll be stopping in NJ to visit a six flags or something.

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