Another approach

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 12:31:07 04/03/17

In Reply to: Any idea if this is feasible? posted by bonnie b


Here is an exotic alternative, but it will not work if there is some compelling business or tax-related reason to put all those miles on your car. I learned this strategy from my ex-wife, who owned a travel agency, and was very adept at assisting her clients in driving cost out of travel. She was so good at what she did that I would go so far as to call her a "travel engineer". Her skill enabled us to accomplish an amazing amount of travel at minimal cost.

Cost is not limited to dollars alone. Time wasted driving through geography that (1) you have already seen, (2) don't care about seeing, or (3) simply eats up valuable time can also be viewed as a "cost".

Here is what I would suggest. Scrap the plan to pile a ton of miles on the family car. Take advantage of the typical cheap airfares between your nearest airline hub and Las Vegas, and book roundtrip passage. Book a rental car in Vegas from a company that offers unlimited mileage (most do), and put the miles on someone else's asset.

From Las Vegas, you can drive west on I-15 to Barstow, then head northwest to Bakersfield, and on to Visalia. We did this exact drive when we lived in Las Vegas years ago. We spent the night in Visalia, and headed east into the Sierras the next morning, cruising Sequoia/Kings Canyon, and then heading north to Yosemite. (A plausible alternative, if either of you are interested, would be to go straight west out of Vegas to Death Valley, and then over to Bakersfield. In June, it would be white hot, but it is an option.) We spent our second night down near Fresno, before we went to Yosemite.

I would suggest going with Hoot's proposal that you head over to Monterey, and then do the Coast Hwy south. There is so much to see and do over there. If you want to go further north, I would suggest checking out the coast redwoods, where the trees are way vertical (like 300 feet or better), as opposed to those way fat sequoias down south.

You would have a slight backtrack to go from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas to catch your flight home, but it would give you the opportunity to visit Hoover Dam or Oatman, AZ (unique old mining town, where acclimated begging burros wander the streets). Way cheap lodging is available in Laughlin, NV, if you route yourself that direction.

Regarding Austin, if you are going to have an entire day or most of a day to yourself, I would suggest a leisurely drive through the Texas Hill Country, west of Austin. There are so many things to see. The linked website will give you some visibility to the places most tourists miss. We drove out there one time, years ago, and I was amazed at all the landmarks and attractions. It would take more than a day to cover it adequately, but you can cherry pick on a day trip.

My only suggestion for San Antonio is to try and get lodging somewhere close to the River Walk for ease of access.


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