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Thread: USA travel tips and discussion

  1. #101

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    San Jose is a tech place... not much in terms of food, sights etc... You will need to go into SF city...
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  2. #102

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Has anyone been to Death Valley? Is it worth the trip?

  3. #103

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Madmax View Post
    Has anyone been to Death Valley? Is it worth the trip?
    Death Valley is an amazing place. It is very big. Thus, it will take many days to fully appreciate the park without rushing. You can see sand dunes, the lowest point in North America (Badwater Basin), the sailing rocks (Racetrack), craters (Ubehebe Crater), etc. Rhyolite ghost town is nearby. There is little light pollution so it is a good location for astro photography. If you are there during the Spring, you may be able to see cactus blooms.

    The best time is during the winter time when the temperatures are reasonable. During the summer (May to September), the mean high is 38.1 to 46.9 degrees Centigrade.
    Wilbur

  4. #104

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Thank you. I am going to US in December.

    Death Valley will be a day trip for me from Las Vegas. For just one day, what should I see at Death Valley? I heard of people getting lost while trying to get to Racetrack due to obsolete roads that GPS is not updated with.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wilbur Su View Post
    Death Valley is an amazing place. It is very big. Thus, it will take many days to fully appreciate the park without rushing. You can see sand dunes, the lowest point in North America (Badwater Basin), the sailing rocks (Racetrack), craters (Ubehebe Crater), etc. Rhyolite ghost town is nearby. There is little light pollution so it is a good location for astro photography. If you are there during the Spring, you may be able to see cactus blooms.

    The best time is during the winter time when the temperatures are reasonable. During the summer (May to September), the mean high is 38.1 to 46.9 degrees Centigrade.

  5. #105

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Madmax View Post
    Thank you. I am going to US in December.

    Death Valley will be a day trip for me from Las Vegas. For just one day, what should I see at Death Valley? I heard of people getting lost while trying to get to Racetrack due to obsolete roads that GPS is not updated with.
    Bro
    I depart Vegas for Death Valley in Nov, and will drive onto to SF etc.
    Not something that you want to do alone in a small car...
    Suggest you get a paper map and a SUV or join a tour...
    Cheers
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  6. #106

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    I don't worry about the driving. Driving experience wise, I have driven in Australia, NZ, Europe, Japan, South Africa, etc.

    I intend to bring along my compass and buy a road map of Nevada when I am in LV. I will be renting a SUV as I am also going to Yellowstone.
    For sightseeing in Death Valley, what should I do in a day trip?

    Quote Originally Posted by petetherock View Post
    Bro
    I depart Vegas for Death Valley in Nov, and will drive onto to SF etc.
    Not something that you want to do alone in a small car...
    Suggest you get a paper map and a SUV or join a tour...
    Cheers

  7. #107

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Some info :



    stops on this day trip



    day trip overview


    • require all day; should be at the park around 8am to maximize your day
    • a lot of driving
    • Start from 178 Hwy at Shoshone, CA and ends at Ubehebe Crater
    • If you look on google maps, it will not recommend you to take this route. Most likely, it will tell you to drive up 395 to Lone Pine to get into the park, but i suggest to look at the park map. This route makes sense because instead of getting to Stovepipe wells then have to drive south in the park to get to all of these attractions, you will enter the south entrance of the park instead which will minimize driving.
    • This road trip is perfect for south-north road trip bound. You can do this in reverse if youíre driving toward Las Vegas, Nevada, or Southern California
    • please orient yourself with this map of Death Valley to help you fully understand this itinerary

    Me on the road entering Death Valley

    stop 1: shoshone museum (15 Ė 30 mins)

    From LA, Orange County, Riverside, and San Diego area, you can take the I-15 North toward Vegas or south if youíre coming from Vegas, then make the turn off at HWY 127. Drive to the town of Shoshone. Thereís a small museum in the town that you can stop by for a few minutes. This isnít a part of the national park, but itís worth visiting because of the Mammoth Skeleton.
    mammoth skeleton

    Notes: you should refill in Baker or you will regret it. Below is the picture of the gas prices at the only station in Shoshone.
    We regretted not refilling in baker.

    stop 2: ashford mill (30 mins)

    From shoshone, take the 178 HWY into the park. After Jubilee Pass, you will see an old building ruin. This is Ashford Mill and it is our first stop. Get out, stretch your legs and appreciate the great and vast view of Death Valley. Youíve made it into the park! This hwy is amazingly beautiful and the view is just great. Ashford Mill is one of Death Valleyís easily accessible ruins. Thereís a bathroom here as well.
    Ashford Mill ruin

    stop 3: badwater basin (30 mins Ė 1 hour)

    This is Death Valleyís single most popular attraction. You must stop here to be considered actually been to the park. When you arrive, please note that you will be standing at the lowest point in the entire North America. Can you believe that youíre really just a couple of hours drive away from the highest peak in the lower 48 states, Mt. Whitney? Badwater Basin is a unique place because itís so vast and low. This makes the surrounding mountain range looks particularly tall. Take a short walk into the basin and be amazed by what surrounds you.
    Badwater Basin

    stop 4: devilís golf course (15 Ė 30 mins)

    From badwater basin, drive a bit further north to the devilís golf course. Similarly to badwater basin, this place is what is left of a large lake. Now itís just salt everywhere. The amount of salt have create a unique landscape that resembles millions of golf balls on the ground; thatís where they got the name. Exploring in this area can be tricky. The ground is spiky, so donít trip. The view is equally spectacular and it is a quick stop.
    Diving at the Devilís Golf Course

    stop 5: artistís palette (1 hour)

    Death Valley isnít just a big flat land with soil and sand. This area proves to you that a desert can be amazingly colorful. Volcanic explosion created this multi-color rocks canyon on a face of the black mountain. Itís a unique site in the park. From here, you will do a short detour off the main road onto a well graded dirt road. Park near the palette and take a short walk.
    Read more about the Artistís Palette

    stop 6: golden canyon (2 hours)

    From artistís palette drive north and Golden Canyon will be on your left. A good sign will direct you. This is a short hike deep into the canyon. The hike is easy and flat. From the parking lot, you will march into the canyon. There are a three points of interest; the natural bridge, waterfalls 1, and waterfalls 2. The golden canyon used to be filled with water! Yes, youíre walking in what used to be dozens of feet under water. You will see a natural bridge, kind of an arch rock, and two evident of what used to be waterfalls. Itís extremely scenic.
    My friend and what used to be a waterfalls

    stop 7: mesquite sand dunes (30 mins Ė 2 hours)

    Drive north from golden canyon and keep going toward Stovepipe Wells. Thereís a sign that direct you. Right before you get to stovepipe wells, the unmissable huge sand dunes will present itself on your right. Park your car and march into the dunes. This is a classic desert hike. A desert trip wouldnít be completely if you donít get your backpack filled up with sand. This area is high remote and thereís no trail. It is impossible to get lost though because thereís no tree or anything to block your view. The parking lot will never leave your sight. The dunes are spectacular and it really offers you a moment of solitude and a vast 360 view of the park. Youíre quite literally in the middle of it all here. If you choose not to hike, you can see the dunes from the parking lot. But whereís the fun?
    Read more about mesquite sand dunes

    Now itís time to decide, you can continue on the road and leave the national park and head toward Lone Pine, Ca and continue on your road trip or you may choose to explore the park a little more. If you have the time, i highly recommend that you make a long detour to Ubehebe Crater.
    EXTRA stop 8: ubehebe crater (2 hours)

    From Mesquite Sand Dunes, turn left back to where you came from. Get on the Scottyís Castle Road. This drive will take an hour to get to the crater. You will park your car right at the mouth of the volcano! You can take a short 1 mile walk around the rim. If you still have energy left, be sure to hike down into the crater!
    Read more about Ubehebe Crater

    From the crater, you can continue on the road north on the dirt road and connect with Joshua Flat road toward Big Pine, which is nearby Yosemite National Park.
    Thatís the ultimate one day trip through Death Valley! I recommend that you spend at least a night or two here to absorb it all in. Itís truly a magnificent park. Other than what iíve mentioned above, other must-doís in Death Valley are Scottyís Castle, Eureka Dunes, Danteís View, Zabriskie Point, Telescope Peak, and the famous sliding rocks at the racetrack playa. But these places will require an additional day each. Just more reasons for you to go back!
    bonus!
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  8. #108

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Re: One day Itinerary in DV
    http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/ShowTo...alifornia.html

    From Las Vegas, the most scenic (and also most direct) way to Furnace Creek is Hwy 160 to Pahrump, then Stateline Road from Pahrump to Death Valley Junction. It's a couple of hours to the park boundary.
    On Sept. 29, sunrise will be at 6:34 a.m., so you'll be seeing some of the sights in the park in the early morning light. Sunset will be at 6:27 p.m.
    An alternate route from Pahrump is NV 373, which also goes to DVJ but via Shoshone, a bit of a detour that takes slightly longer (but the area around Shoshone and then to DV is scenic).
    From DVJ, take CA 190 into the park.
    The first place to visit in the park is Dante's View, on a paved side road just inside the park. You'll see an unstaffed entrance kiosk and can pay your park entrance fee there (automated machine) or later at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. The side road to Dante's View is just past it. It's about 13 milesto the vista point, which is nearly 5,480' above sea level and gives you a panoramic view of all of Death Valley and the surrounding mountain ranges. You'll be looking down on Badwater, 282' below sea level and the lowest point in North America.
    Return to 190 and continue west. Twenty Mule Team Canyon is a 1-way west-to-east drive through clay hills where there was borax prospecting in the 1880s. You can still see prospect holes. This road is hard-packed dirt and is limited to vehicles or combos of 25' or shorter because it has many dips and curves. It's hard-packed dirt. I was on it last month and it was in fine shape. As long as the weather has been dry, any car will be fine.
    You'll next see Zabriskie Point, a view spot that overlooks golden clay hills with striking eroded formations. The scale at Zabriskie Point is more intimate; you aren't looking down from 6,000' at all of Death Valley.
    Depending on the time you spend at these places, you'll be reaching Furnace Creek at late morning to midday. This is where the park visitor center is (temporary site at the Ranch while the permanent center is being renovated). If your room is ready, check in, unpack, go swimming, eat, etc.
    The natural wonders along Badwater Road are all in the first 17 miles. Make a loop tripsouth and then back north and see them in this order: Devil's Golf Course, Badwater, Natural Bridge, Artist's Drive, Golden Canyon, to minimize crossing over the road. Golden Canyon is a beautiful hike with no set distance; you can walk for 15-20 minutes and see the colors and shapes, or you can climb all the way to Zabriskie Point. The other places can be seen with a short walk. Late Sept. is still very warm, so be sure you're prepared if you plan to walk or hike.
    For sunset, Zabriskie Point is gorgeous. So is Dante's, although you'll have to backtrack 25 miles. The Sand Dunes are magical at sunset; they are about 20 miles north of Furnace Creek. (You will be going by there in the morning, so maybe enjoy sunset elsewhere and go to the dunes for sunrise).
    A side trip that you might have time for is the ghost town of Rhyolite. From Furnace Creek, take 190 north to the Daylight Pass Road, which is signed for Beatty NV. It's about 40 miles to Rhyolite, which was a gold mining town of the early 20th century and has some well preserved brick, stone, and concrete ruins, an ornate train station, and a bottle house. Wood for building was scare in desert mining settlements, but empty bottles were plentiful. There is also an outdoor museum of eccentric sculptures.
    You could hang out in Rhyolite, enjoy sunset there, and see if any ghosts come out after sundown, or go back down to Hell's Gate for sunset if there's time. Hell's Gate overlooks the salt flats and the Panamint range from the northeast.
    An alternate to Rhyolite and Hell's Gate (but you'll need 4-5 hours to do it justice) is to go up to Scotty's Castle (tours are an hour and the last one starts at 4:00 p.m.) and then see Ubehebe Crater on the way back. The Castle is a bit over an hour north of FC. Ubehebe is a volcanic crater on a short paved road just west of the Castle.
    When you leave to head for Yosemite, you'll take 190. It goes by Harmony Borax Works, Salt Creek, Devil's Cornfield, the Sand Dunes as mentioned, Stovepipe Wells Village resort, and Mosaic Canyon.
    Harmony was the site of the first profitable borax operation in DV, in the 1880s. The refinery is still there and looks primitive, but it was high-tech for its day. A 20 mule team wagon assembly is also there. Salt Creek is the habitat of a species of pupfish, a tiny Ice Age descendant that lives only in that creek. It's one of several pupfish species in the DV region, which have different habitats and can survive only in their own homes. In Sept. there will not be any fish; they are active from about early March until summer dries the creek and makes the water too saline. But it's an interesting place to see, an oasis with scads of green vegetation, waterfowl, lizards and other reptiles.
    Mosaic Canyon is one of the nicest hikes in the park, with smooth polished walls resembling marble and broken rock floors that look like mosaics. Like Golden Canyon, you can enjoy it and see some beautiful formations without hours of strenuous hiking,
    BTW, the roads to Devil's Golf Course, Salt Creek, and Mosaic Canyon are graded gravel. They are not paved but are maintained regularly and are fine for any passenger car driven carefully unless the weather has been wet. Take it easy to prevent flat tires and you'll be fine.
    Hwy 190 goes to Panamint Springs, Father Crowley Vista Point, then a junction with Hwy 136 for Lone Pine. You'll start seeing Mt. Whitney as you drive west. At Lone Pine is a road to the Whitney Portal foothills, and you might recognize some of the landscapes from your favorite movies. This area has been popular with Hollywood, and Lone Pine has a movie museum.
    Are you stopping over between DV and Yosemite? There is lots to see along 395 in the Eastern Sierra, including the sights around Lone Pine (Manzanar is just north), the Laws Museum at Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, June Lakes, and Mono Lake (a must see).
    If you are not stopping over, it will be a very long day. From FC to Yosemite Valley is about 6 hours, just travel time. This doesn't include sightseeing, rest stops, or traffic delays--and you will find traffic delays in Yosemite. If you start from DV in the morning, you will be driving Tioga Pass in the afternoon with the sun in your face, which can be distracting and also a possible safety hazard on the mountain road. If you can stop over, perhaps at Mammoth Lakes or Lee Vining, you'll have more time to enjoy everything and be more comfortable and rested for the ride into Yosemite.
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  9. #109

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Thank you!!!

  10. #110
    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    I just thought of a tip for you intrepid drivers.

    I know in the state of Oklahoma at least one can dial *58 on their phone and a Highway Patrol Officer will assist you (flat tire, emergency, run out of gas, illegal immigrant group/drug runners trying to hijack your car (just kidding haha), etc. whatever). You won't get billed for it either. And they won't harm or shoot you either as long as your disposition is sound and you carry yourself well.

    I advise to check with state department of public safety in each state you will visit and see if this service or one similar is available in that state too.
    Last edited by Nikonzen; 15th April 2015 at 09:10 AM.
    Expand your mind or get left behind

  11. #111

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Madmax View Post
    Thank you. I am going to US in December.

    Death Valley will be a day trip for me from Las Vegas. For just one day, what should I see at Death Valley? I heard of people getting lost while trying to get to Racetrack due to obsolete roads that GPS is not updated with.
    During December, you will have about 10 hours of daylight to work with. There are two major routes to get to Death Valley from Las Vegas. US Route 95 enters the park near the Mesquite Sand Dunes. If you take this route, when you get to Beatty, you want to take Nevada Route 374. Stop and buy gasoline in Beatty. It is much cheaper that in the park. As you head to Death Valley, you will first see Rhyolite ghost town on your right. Then there will be Titus Canyon Road before you enter California. Titus Canyon Road is one way for a good part of the drive. You should also have a high clearance vehicle for safety if you choose to drive on this road. Titus Canyon Road ends on Scotty's Castle Road. Turn right to go to Scotty's Castle, the Ubehebe Crater, and the Racetrack. Turn left towards Mesquite Sand Dunes.

    The other way will allow you to enter the park from the southeast. You would take Nevada Route 160 to Pahrump. Buy gas in Pahrump. It is cheaper than in the park. Also there will be a Walmart in Pahrump. Stop and load up on water and maybe snacks here. Yes, even though it is December you are still going to want to have water with you. The snacks will let you enjoy the whole day in the park. Save time from eating in the restaurants. You can eat a bigger meal when you get back to Las Vegas.

    Go back on Nevada Rout 160 and then turn left on West Bell Vista Avenue. The road changes name to Bell Vista Avenue and then State Line Road once you enter California. State Line Road ends where the Amargosa Opera House is. Turn right onto California Route 127. Then immediately turn left on California Route 190. This will take you into the park.

    Zabriskie Point will be on your left.

    After that Badwater Road will be on your left. Take this road to Badwater Basin (on your right). Before you get there, Artists Drive will be on your left. That will take you to Artists Palette. The road to the Devils Golf Course will be on your right before you get to Badwater Basin.

    Go back to California Route 190 and turn left. That will take you to the Mesquite Sand Dunes, Scotty's Castle, etc.

    Here are my pictures and my write ups that may be helpful to you:

    1. Badwater Basin write up
    2. Rhyolite Ghost Town write up
    3. Death Valley National Park Gallery


    Hopefully you can spend more than a day in the park. There is still so much that I did not see!
    Wilbur

  12. #112

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Nice work Wilber
    Where would you recommend for a night's stay around Death Valley?
    I will move onto Yosemite and Sequoia NP the next night.
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  13. #113
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    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Mammoth lake has got nice hotels there .. try westin

  14. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanlio View Post
    Mammoth lake has got nice hotels there .. try westin
    Thanks
    It's a bit out of the way, and in November the roads may be closed.

    I need to go south after Death Valley and hook round to the West entrance of Yosemite.
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  15. #115

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by petetherock View Post
    Nice work Wilber
    Where would you recommend for a night's stay around Death Valley?
    I will move onto Yosemite and Sequoia NP the next night.
    I stayed at Stove Wells Village. It is so close to the Mesquite Sand Dunes. Maybe 5 minutes to the car park. Then you can catch sunrise or sunset or even astro-photography if that interests you (since it should be dark enough).

    BTW, if you are going to Hoover Dam in November this is something interesting for you. Nevada will go back to Standard Time (Pacific Standard Time) and Arizona stays the same. So Hoover Dam will cross two state lines (Arizona and Nevada) and you will also have a time zone difference (Arizona will be 1 hour ahead of Nevada)! That would also be a neat picture for you and your significant other. One could be in one time zone and one state and the other in the other time zone and the other state.
    Wilbur

  16. #116
    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Expand your mind or get left behind

  17. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilbur Su View Post
    During December, you will have about 10 hours of daylight to work with. There are two major routes to get to Death Valley from Las Vegas. US Route 95 enters the park near the Mesquite Sand Dunes. If you take this route, when you get to Beatty, you want to take Nevada Route 374. Stop and buy gasoline in Beatty. It is much cheaper that in the park. As you head to Death Valley, you will first see Rhyolite ghost town on your right. Then there will be Titus Canyon Road before you enter California. Titus Canyon Road is one way for a good part of the drive. You should also have a high clearance vehicle for safety if you choose to drive on this road. Titus Canyon Road ends on Scotty's Castle Road. Turn right to go to Scotty's Castle, the Ubehebe Crater, and the Racetrack. Turn left towards Mesquite Sand Dunes.
    Hi Wilber,

    Seeing as you have been there, I was planning a trip to Death Valley in November, and maybe taking Tioga up to Yosemite, depends on the weather. Do you know how feasible is it to do race-tracks on a normal Sedan, or do we need a 4WD for that. Will be staying at least 1 night in DV, so I think I am fairly comfortable with time.

  18. #118

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by alexljy View Post
    Hi Wilber,

    Seeing as you have been there, I was planning a trip to Death Valley in November, and maybe taking Tioga up to Yosemite, depends on the weather. Do you know how feasible is it to do race-tracks on a normal Sedan, or do we need a 4WD for that. Will be staying at least 1 night in DV, so I think I am fairly comfortable with time.

    It is possible to do Racetrack with a normal sedan (I saw a few cars drive on the washboard road to the Racetrack), but it probably may not be the smartest idea. Driving to the Racetrack may be considered driving off road and the rental agreements may prohibit this. There is an outfit that rents 4WD vehicles in Death Valley. Farabee's.

    http://www.lasvegasjeeprental.com/

    If you decide to rent from Farabee's, you could drive your rental sedan to their office and then rent a Jeep for 1 day. Their Jeeps can be driven to the Racetrack (they allow it). You have high clearance and bigger tires. It is a safer option.
    Wilbur

  19. #119

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    I will opt for a SUV when I do my LV to SF jaunt this November. It's not a lot more, and I get to drive something different, so why not

    I will stick to the big roads, am I think down south, the roads won't experience snow.
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  20. #120

    Default Re: USA travel tips and discussion

    Thanks for the tips. Since you guys have been there before, would love your advice. If I have 1 night (2 days) in DV, is racetrack worth going via the jeep rentals, or should I just skip it. Feels really tempting to visit it after seeing so many awesome photos from that area online.

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