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RE: U.S West Coast: My Dream Drive

RE: U.S West Coast: My Dream Drive

Wednesday 1st July 2015

U.S West Coast: My Dream Drive

PHer Neil Srivastava details his epic road trip across California and Arizona



Name: Neil Srivastava (fastgerman)
Route: Scottsdale, AZ-Scottsdale, AZ, via Sedona, Las Vegas, LA and La Jolla
Car used: Chevrolet Camaro, Audi Q5

Anyone for a burnout?
Anyone for a burnout?
The route:
"Leaving Scottsdale early in the morning with the temperature already over 30 degrees, we embarked on our West Coast road trip.

"Beginning on Route 17 through the red rocks and vortexes of Sedona, past Flagstaff and onto our first stop: El Tovar, Grand Canyon. A large amount of cow was consumed before heading back south on the 180 and connecting to (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66. Route 93 was the last part of the Audi Q5's journey with a quick pic at the Hoover Dam and onto our second stop, Las Vegas.

"From here, it seemed a tremendous idea to opt for a convertible and motor west to classy San Diego by Chevrolet Camero. I won't lie, Vegas was crazy and I'm not entirely certain of the roads taken but Highway 5 was a very memorable coastal route and I highly recommend it."

Er, Neil, why is the roof up?
Er, Neil, why is the roof up?
Why it's a dream drive:
"For me, the dream drive is a journey that offers breathtaking scenery and shouldn't necessarily rely on your car. Here we have a modest Audi Q5 for the trip to Vegas from Scottsdale and a Chevrolet Camaro Convertible onto California.

"The scenery is incredible; vast open spaces and beautiful views, stuff you just don't get over here.

"From 'drive-thru' Starbucks to the Grand Canyon, this route has something for everyone. Whether you want to feel like you're in a car chase at the Mexico border or George Clooney in Vegas, the choice is yours."

Weather presumably one of the highlights...
Weather presumably one of the highlights...
Highlights and lowlights:
"Highlights include driving through the desert at night into an illuminated Las Vegas, Calvin Harris on and pitching up at the Bellagio. This was equalled by the coastal drive alongside the Pacific and stopping in La Jolla.

"Lowlights were mainly fuel related. In America black is unleaded and green is diesel... the refuelling nightmare is compounded by having to pre-select how much you're going to pay on card before refuelling - very annoying. The unleaded is cheap but premium is 91RON filth."

Sights, stop-offs and diversions:
"Spoilt for choice on this one! On our trip we stopped at a rodeo in Flag Staff, watched a drag race at Wild Horse Raceway and also saw Sedona, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Las Vegas and San Diego. A great trip!"

Follow the route here.









 

[Pics: Matt Downing]

 

Author
Discussion

Otispunkmeyer

Original Poster:

8,929 posts

80 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
Ahhh nice idea for a feature. Bit short though, would like to see longer articles detailing travels such as these. I bet some PH'ers have been on some epic road trips all across the world and I am sure lots of us here would love to hear about it! Much more interesting than details of how Porsche have made a Cayman GT4-GTS with special titanium wheel nuts as the only difference.

BTW The US use a slightly different octane rating scale to us. Their "91" at the pumps is pretty similar to what we call super here. Their system takes an average of, I think, RON and MON to get their numbers and it results in a lower number on the pump.

Edited by Otispunkmeyer on Wednesday 1st July 10:25


Edited by Otispunkmeyer on Wednesday 1st July 10:25

jqhn80

38 posts

41 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
I did the same road trip, Arizona-Nevada-California. Pacific coast highway was great, but the highlight was the mountain roads just outside Santa Barbara, amazing roads and scenery. And the car used weirdly was this:



It was better built than I expected, but it had some of the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat on. And the door armrest gave me appalling elbow pain every time.

unsprung

1,337 posts

49 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
Otispunkmeyer said:
BTW The US use a slightly different octane rating scale to us. Their "91" at the pumps is pretty similar to what we call super here. Their system takes an average of, I think, RON and MON to get their numbers and it results in a lower number on the pump.
Correct. The author commits a school boy error by assuming that US fuels are "filth."

It's a common sneer among Britons -- I hear it often -- along with being unaware that the US dropped leaded fuels earlier and that the US had catalytic converters and mandated strict anti-pollution standards earlier than the EU -- by a decade.

On octane, the UK uses a less complex method of measurement.

You'll also want to have a look at E85, which is abundant in the Midwest of the US, but somewhat unknown in Britain.






fastgerman

1,470 posts

120 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
Thanks for posting Matt :-)

The Camaro was good fun and added to the America experience. Perhaps not built as well as the Europeans, but not bad. The cabriolet roof was a bit manual and with the button held down, the electric motors carried on spinning even when the roof was fully down.

I've also learnt something about US fuel ratings, cheers!

gregs656

1,172 posts

106 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
I have done most of the roads but not in one trip, I have really strong memories of the drive along I8 and into California. Driving into Vegas and seeing the city emerge from the desert, especially at night, would never get old for me.
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blippo1984

339 posts

71 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
I have also done these roads - albeit not in one trip.
I've also had the Camaro Convertible - terribly good fun on Highway 1.

I wouldn't say the petrol stations and RON of the fuel makes any difference at all. It really isn't difficult to walk into the gas station and ask to prepay. If you prepay $50 but only take $40, the gas station will only charge you for what you have taken.

All good fun though - sounds like you had a good time.

z06tim

485 posts

111 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
Ditto the comments on octane rating and fuel pre-payment. It's not difficult to adjust and to be honest the extra time taken to get fuel is probably far outweighed by the fact there are generally many more filling stations, so you won't be waiting at the pumps like you are in much of the UK these days.

DB9VolanteDriver

2,080 posts

101 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
Prepay with cash, yes, but with a credit card?? I've never had to do this, ever. Author must be on crack, or doesn't know what a credit car is.

hookedonboost

15 posts

94 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
Thanks for the info on the fuel difference - I never knew that!

Ste1987

1,798 posts

31 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
gregs656 said:
I have done most of the roads but not in one trip, I have really strong memories of the drive along I8 and into California. Driving into Vegas and seeing the city emerge from the desert, especially at night, would never get old for me.
This, though for me, was more a sense of relief. When me and two of my mates went to Vegas, we hired a Mustang each, drove 4 hours to Hollywood, then another 4 hours back. Didn't sleep very well the previous night, and I'm terrible driving at night. Had to keep stopping at service stations as I kept nearly falling asleep at the wheel, took me 6 hours to get back to Vegas, seeing the lights made me very happy!

Surprised at how cheap it was to hire a Mustang for a couple of days, hence why we hired one each. Good drive as well. I'm pretty sure there was an option to hire a Corvette, would love to do that if I went back

Dr JonboyG

2,437 posts

164 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
Wait, you stuck to the freeways for most of the drive? I lived in San Diego in the early 2000s, and that part of the world has some amazing roads, but you need to venture off I-5!!

The Palms to Pines highway (SR-74) is spectacular:




Closer to San Diego is Palomar Mountain. One of the roads that goes to the top was built so they could safely transport a large mirror for the observatory, so it's series of hairpins with what used to be very smooth tarmac but which had deteriorated quite badly when I revisited it more recently. As long as you don't get stuck behind someone in a camper van, or old farts going to the casino on SR-76, the following is a great drive (go clockwise). The other road off the mountain is faster 3rd and 4th gear stuff with longer sightlines and fewer precipitous drops:



Always thought that would be a great west-coast alternative to the Nordschleife if you could somehow close the roads.

After a year living six blocks from the ocean, I moved to suburbia for a year. Once I discovered that it took the same time to get to work on the back roads through Rancho Santa Fe as it did sitting in traffic on the freeway or the 101 I didn't feel quite so bad about not being able to hear the surf crash onto the rocks at night. When I eventually realized I looked forward to driving to and from work more than I did the actual job, I knew science wasn't really the right career for me. It took another 11 years to find a way to get paid to write about (and drive) cars. wink

Edited by Dr JonboyG on Wednesday 1st July 16:07


Edited by Dr JonboyG on Wednesday 1st July 16:08

RobM77

30,757 posts

159 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
We intend to do this trip soon smile Thanks for the write up!

ChrisR99

418 posts

36 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
I am doing a very similar trip right now, due to pick up the car later (should be a Mustang).

Should be good!

fastgerman

1,470 posts

120 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
I asked for a Mustang but was given a Camaro, wasn't disappointed with it but the Mustang would have been great. Hired the car from Avis and the boot was full of Mcdonalds wrappers also.

After returning to the UK I found out that Hertz Prestige offer V8 Camaro, Mustang and Corvette's. Next time :-)

San Diego is wonderful, could have stayed a lot longer. We stayed in La Jola and could hear the Sea Lions from our hotel.


Edited by fastgerman on Wednesday 1st July 16:56

h0b0

3,222 posts

121 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
If you want to fill up just hit $0.

BigBen

9,326 posts

155 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
DB9VolanteDriver said:
Prepay with cash, yes, but with a credit card?? I've never had to do this, ever. Author must be on crack, or doesn't know what a credit car is.
You have to go and leave your card with the person in the booth, usually because the pumps only recognise US ZIP codes. This has happened to me a lot, unlike taking crack which I have yet to sample.

fastgerman

1,470 posts

120 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
BigBen said:
DB9VolanteDriver said:
Prepay with cash, yes, but with a credit card?? I've never had to do this, ever. Author must be on crack, or doesn't know what a credit car is.
You have to go and leave your card with the person in the booth, usually because the pumps only recognise US ZIP codes. This has happened to me a lot, unlike taking crack which I have yet to sample.
Yes that was it, needed a zip code

Also, did go via Vegas so I could have been on crack...

Chas88

630 posts

91 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
fastgerman said:
BigBen said:
DB9VolanteDriver said:
Prepay with cash, yes, but with a credit card?? I've never had to do this, ever. Author must be on crack, or doesn't know what a credit car is.
You have to go and leave your card with the person in the booth, usually because the pumps only recognise US ZIP codes. This has happened to me a lot, unlike taking crack which I have yet to sample.
Yes that was it, needed a zip code

Also, did go via Vegas so I could have been on crack...
It does do that but you can just say $100 or any high figure and fill up less than that, then it will just auto return what you didn't spend to your card.

unsprung

1,337 posts

49 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
DB9VolanteDriver said:
Prepay with cash, yes, but with a credit card?? I've never had to do this, ever. Author must be on crack, or doesn't know what a credit car is.
If the author was required to prepay whilst using a credit card, this would be, as you say, unusual. Indeed I've never heard of this.

However, it may have been because his card is not issued by a US bank. I'm simply guessing.

In the US, if you pay for fuel with a credit or debit card, you simply swipe and pump. You do not prepay. You prepay only when paying in cash.


Craikeybaby

8,072 posts

150 months

Wednesday 1st July 2015
quotequote all
This is making me even more excited for the San Francisco - Los Angeles - Las Vegas - San Francisco I'll be doing in September.

Never having driven in the US before, thenings like knowing I have to pre-pay for fuel are useful.