Of course, the other problem is getting hotels last minute, which will be difficult in some locations.
Great point! I forgot to mention this in my post, and could be a big factor.
When I travel throughout a state, seemingly at random, I either sleep in my truck, find a campground, or find a forest/area that allows dispersed camping. I'm out all day adventuring, including many times hours after sunset for astrophotography, and up a couple hours before sunrise, so I would have very little time in the hotel, and it makes for what I deem a waste of money.
Granted, this is not for everyone, and I know some people who absolutely have to shower every day, or have to sleep in a bed every day.
If not though, you can fit in quite the adventure during your time for pretty much only the cost of gas
I kind of figured that you were doing that; I really wish I could too, but I'm definitely the type that needs a bed and shower!
My friend and I just did Utah/Arizona a month ago, and a series of great storms rolled through. It would have been great to just follow the systems where ever they went, but we only changed our plans for one day, because we could book a place in Moab.
@Tolusina, @SoullessPolack, @Cali_PH, thanks for your amazing advice (and to everyone else for your contributions)! We're going to book the flights this weekend (just under 3 weeks in CA), so then it gives us plenty of time to decide where we want to go and to plan a draft itinerary (without being too specific).
No problem, I travel a lot here for fun/photography and don't mind helping other people plan. I usually end up doing most of the planning the trips for myself & photography friends, and I've gotten fairly familiar with a lot of the places I mentioned due to repeated visits.
It's great you have almost 3 weeks; the itinerary I through out is doable with about 10 days, with some rushing & only hitting highlights; of course with more time it allows for more days at one spot and branching out, the possibility of including more spots etc.
I almost hate to mention this, if I had that much time, I'd probably use a couple of days near Vegas to hit Zion, a little over 2 hours from Vegas. And then if you're there, Bryce Canyon is less than 2 hours from there...
Never mind me, I think since I've spent most of my life in California, some of the things here seem almost 'everyday' things, while I've recently become obsessed with Utah & Arizona and I keep going on trips out there.
I'd recommend the Tripadvisor.com forums for general travel help & advise (hotels, restaurants, etc.). Just be advised that the Destination Experts there are like 'experts' on any site; most are nice & friendly but a few are kind of obnoxious. Still, I use it a lot while planning trips for locations I'm not that familiar with.