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  1. Default San Fran & Las Vegas, help!

    Hi guys, here is a bit of a challenge for you…:)


    I am planning a trip around the west coast however I am limited on time (I will be in the USA for 7nights) and don’t wish to drive huge amounts of time all at once (example no more than 5hours in a day if I can help it). I will be flying into Las Vegas and can flight home from either Las Vegas or San Francisco. I would like to visit, the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, San Francisco, Alcatraz, Yosemite National Park and the extraterrestrial highway (Groom Lake Road, Rachel, NV etc). As I am from the UK and do not have a huge knowledge of the areas I am having trouble on deciding the best route to take and places to stay for this trip. Another problem is the car rental, it would make sense to start of in Vegas and drive to San Fran via my areas of interest however I would need to find a car rental company that would allow me to drop the car off at different location as to where I picked it up, so far I have contacted Enterprise rental who said this is not possible. Any help or advice on this would be great.



    Maybe I am trying to see too much in the time allowed or maybe this is possible!?

    I just don’t want to spend my time constantly driving.



    PS- Hotels must be nice, but not to expensive (At least 3 stars) :)



    Thanks again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Pushing that envelope hard!

    Quote Originally Posted by herdie
    I am planning a trip around the west coast
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Well, this is the #1 most discussed road trip route on this forum! There are about 500 threads dealing with these options, in fact, there are five of them on the bottom of this page. When is the trip scheduled to happen?
    ... and don’t wish to drive huge amounts of time all at once (example no more than 5hours in a day if I can help it).
    It would be very, very tricky to see all that you have suggested in the time period and only drive five hours each day. Unless you are able to drive in excess of 100 mph a good bit of the time. NOT RECOMMENDED!
    I will be flying into Las Vegas and can flight home from either Las Vegas or San Francisco. I would like to visit, the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, San Francisco, Alcatraz, Yosemite National Park and the extraterrestrial highway (Groom Lake Road, Rachel, NV etc).
    Depending upon when this trip is planned for, some of the mountain passes are not yet open. Here is an article about the ET Highway -- a good day trip from LV.
    Another problem is the car rental, it would make sense to start of in Vegas and drive to San Fran via my areas of interest however I would need to find a car rental company that would allow me to drop the car off at different location as to where I picked it up
    I use National Car Rental for this reason.
    I just don’t want to spend my time constantly driving.
    A reasonable concern.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. Default

    Thanks for the quick reply, I have read the posts you suggested which were informative. I also checked out National Car rental which I think I will use. This helps me alot indeed as I can now Fly into San Fran and Fly out home to London from Las Vegas. With this in mind I would most likely be staying in San Francisco for 2 nights then I would drive to Las Vegas via Yosemite and Death Valley, however as I am planning this trip for exactly this time of year in 2007 (End April, start of May) then I am presuming parts of Yosemite will be closed. Is it still possible to travel via Yosemite using other routes, or is Yosemite a 'no go' for this time of year.
    Another concern is accomodation between San Fran and Vegas, I would need somewhere to stay to break up the driving, any ideas where would be best?

    One more question, which is the best route through Death Valley to Vegas after leaving Yosemite, I was thinking 395 South onto the 135/190 then on to Death Valley Junction? Or is a more north easterly route through DV a better option to Beatty Junction? I would prefer the quickest most direct route however I do not want to miss out on the beautiful sights of DV.

    Thanks again :)

    PS - Sorry about my spelling, was in a rush. ;)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It is nice flight from LV to London

    Quote Originally Posted by herdie
    his helps me alot indeed as I can now Fly into San Fran and Fly out home to London from Las Vegas.
    Will this be one of the direct flights on Virgin Atlantic? Nice trip.
    With this in mind I would most likely be staying in San Francisco for 2 nights then I would drive to Las Vegas via Yosemite and Death Valley, however as I am planning this trip for exactly this time of year in 2007 (End April, start of May)
    It really depends on what kind of winter we have next year. In 2002, we had a heavy winter and then a very wet and warm Spring and the pass opened early. But you can just about be guaranteed that the Tioga Pass over the Sierras will not be open in early May in any year! Just because the eastern pass is closed doesn't mean you should miss Yosemite NP. Yosemite Valley is open year-round. I have climbed Half Dome in the winter (not recommended unless you are in good climbing shape!) and I really like Yosemite in late Spring -- less people -- and all of the waterfalls are in full glory!
    Is it still possible to travel via Yosemite using other routes, or is Yosemite a 'no go' for this time of year.
    From San Francisco, you can travel part of the Gold Country route to the Park. It is not the most direct, but it is very scenic -- US-50 to Placerville and then south on SR-49 all the way to SR-120 into the park.
    Another concern is accomodation between San Fran and Vegas, I would need somewhere to stay to break up the driving, any ideas where would be best?
    Aren't you going to stay near Yosemite that first night? Flat-out by the most direct route it is a good nine hours of travel between San Francisco and Las Vegas and if you tried to see Yosemite that same day it would add 3-4 hours.
    One more question, which is the best route through Death Valley to Vegas after leaving Yosemite, I was thinking 395 South onto the 135/190 then on to Death Valley Junction?
    Well, again, you will not be able to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the east end of the park in April and May -- you will not be on US-395 unless you approach from the southern end. Here are some suggestions that I made for another traveler doing that section of the trip.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  5. Default

    Thanks again for that quick reply.

    Just to clarify, is it at all possible to travel via Yosemite NP then on through Death Valley to Las Vegas late May/early April?

    Also, I also agree that a nights stay in Yosemite Park on the way would be a good idea.

    As for flights, I think it looks like a KLM flight from London with a stop in Detroit, as this would save me some money.

    Thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Crossing the Sierra's

    Yes, it is possible to go from Yosemite to Death Valley in late spring. You just have to head south through Bakersfield, go over the mountains on CA-58, and then head back north to Death Valley.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Yes and No

    Quote Originally Posted by herdie
    Just to clarify, is it at all possible to travel via Yosemite NP then on through Death Valley to Las Vegas late May/early April?
    Like Midwest Michael says, Yes, it is possible, but you either have to go north and use one of the open mountain passes and then south on US-395 or go the southern route and then either north on US-395 or, as I mentioned in that previous response... follow SR-58 over to I-15 at Barstow and follow that to Baker, California whereupon you will enter the park on SR-127 to SR-178 and into Death Valley.

    Mark

  8. Default

    Hi,

    I think the South route from Yosemite NP to Bakersfield and on to Vegas might be the best option then from Vegas I can make a day trip up to DV.

    Can I also ask; once in Las Vegas how far is it to the Grand Canyon, is it a comfortable day trip? e.g Leave LV reasonably early drive to the Grand Canyon, possibly take the helicopter tour then drive back to Las Vegas. Or is it generally recommended to spend the night at the Grand Canyon.

    Just I will be pushed for time.

    Thanks

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default 5 Hours Minimum

    The fastest you can possibly get from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon is 5 hours, one way. If you feel like driving more than 10 hours in one day to spend a couple hours at the canyon, then I suppose you could make it a daytrip. I wouldn't recommend it, but people do do it.

    If you are looking at doing a helicopter tour anyway, I'm pretty sure there are several air tours of the canyon that leave right from las vegas.

  10. #10

    Default

    Just a word on the drop-off car rental: I found Hertz VERY accomodating when I was there a month ago; I booked a Mustang on on the internet picking up in SF and dropping off in LA a week later, but when I got there asked what else they had and was tempted by the Jaguar XK8 convertable. She quoted me $750, and when I said that was more than I wanted to spend, she said "okay, how about $450?"

    Needless to say I jumped at that price (which included all damage waivers etc)

    I wasn't trying to haggle at all, but she seemed keen to help and much of that reduction was waving the drop-off charge. I certainly can't guarantee you'd be so lucky, but she expressly said that AT THE DESK, in person, they have some leeway.

    In fact when I returned it and mentioned that the handbrake hadn't been working properly (no biggie in a car with an auto box) they took another $40 bucks off! So just over $400 to drive an $80,000 car for a week, with a different return location… I'm their biggest fan now I guess.

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