Baseball Parks of the West

Entry #2 in the Summer 2006 travel writing contest, being time specific, has included exact times and dates.

Day 1: (7/15/2006)

We start our trip in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. Since the Diamondbacks aren’t suiting up against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers until 6:40PM, we head over to the Desert Botanical Garden (open 7AM-8PM, $10 adults, $4 children), located about 10 miles from the stadium. Head to the park around 6PM to catch batting practice. Outfield seats for the game are $15 each. After the game, drive onto Interstate 17 north. You’ll want to stop at a hotel in one of the rest areas on Interstate 17 close to Flagstaff. If you’re looking to save some money, stay in Interstate rest area hotels instead of hotels in the cities.

Day 2: (7/16/2006)

The three hour drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon takes you through a National Forest and a painted desert scene through the Navajo Nation Reservation. Take Route 64, the South Rim drive, through the park to see even more wonderful scenery. Make sure you don’t skip the West Rim drive on your way out of the park. When you’re ready to leave, take State Highway 64 to Interstate 40 west. Stop around Kingman for the night.

Day 3: (7/17/2006)

If you’d like to take a detour, you can head to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area where the Hoover Dam is located, on the Arizona-Nevada border. Otherwise you can continue to San Diego.

Day 4: (7/18/2006)

Wake up refreshed and drive the final few miles into San Diego. You’ll definitely want to stop in at the Zoo for a few hours (open 9AM-5PM, $22 Adult, $14.50 children) before heading over to Petco Park. The Padres are playing the Braves at 7PM tonight and bleacher seats are only $5 each. The drive to Hollywood is about an hour and a half north on Interstate 5. Go about halfway before stopping at a rest area.

Day 5: (7/19/2006)

Hang around Hollywood in the morning – walk down the Walk of Fame, take pictures of the Hollywood sign, and drive down all the famous boulevards. The Angels don’t face off against the Rays at Angel Stadium at 7PM, and the drive is only 1/2 hour, so take in the sights. Leave for the game by 5:30 and purchase some tickets for the right field seats; they will cost you $15. After the game, drive west on Interstate 10 for a bit before stopping. The next day you’ll be in Joshua Tree National Park.

Day 6: (7/20/2006)

After the two hour drive from Anaheim to Joshua Tree National Park, you’ll want to enter at the northwestern part of the park ($10 per vehicle), by Hidden Valley. Take the road southeast through the part, stopping to take in the scenery along the way. Make sure you have water with you, since it can get hot out there. Once you exit the park, get back on Interstate 10 and drive east. Stop for the night in a rest area and relax.

Day 7: (7/21/2006)

Tonight you’ll be watching the Dodgers play against the Cardinals (7:40PM, $10 for Pavilion seating), but this afternoon you’ll be visiting the architectural beauty, the Getty Center (10AM-9PM today, admission is free, but parking is $7 a car). Take in the exhibits of art and architecture before heading out to the monstrosity that is Dodger Stadium. After the game, get onto Interstate 5 and stop for the night.

Day 8: (7/22/2006)

The drive to San Francisco is about 6 hours, and the Giants are playing the Padres at 6PM in SBC Park (bleacher seats are $25), so you’ll want to get on the road by 11AM or so. After the game, start your drive east to Yosemite National Park.

Day 9: (7/23/2006)

Since you’ll only be in Yosemite for a short time, you might want to go to the Valley to see all the major sites – the waterfalls, El Captain, the Half Dome. It will most likely be crowded, but still enjoyable. When you decide it’s time to leave, head back towards San Francisco the same way you came in earlier.

Day 10: (7/24/2006)

Visit Alcatraz Island in the early afternoon (open 9:30-6:30, $11.50) and then drive over to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to take in the architectural marvel that is the Golden Gate Bridge. The A’s are playing the Red Sox at the Oakland Coliseum at 7PM (bleacher seats $10) and the ride is only about 11 miles, but you might want to leave early to skip some of the traffic. After the game, head north on Interstate 5. Your longest drive is ahead of you.

Day 11: (7/25/2006)

Today will be all driving; the drive from Oakland to Seattle is about 15 hours.

Day 12: (7/26/2006)

As you pull into Seattle after your long journey, head over to the famous Space Needle (open 9AM-11PM, $14 for Observation Deck tours) and it’s Observation Deck. The Mariners don’t play the Blue Jays until 7PM at Safeco Field ($20 for outfield seats). After the game, get some rest. Tomorrow you’ll be going home.

Feel free to comment on this vacation itinerary. Your comments do help determine the winner!

Filed Under: 2006 Summer vacation plan writing contest entries

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