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  1. Default Vegas to SF - Discussed a million times, sorry!

    Hello people

    I have been browsing the forums and as people seemed very friendly on here I thought I would post a question that I know has been asked lots of times, but wanted to ask it anyway!

    My wife and I (we got married two days ago, so typing that seems very weird) are honeymooning in Las Vegas for 6 days and San Francisco for six days, flying out to Vegas this Saturday (23rd). We have rented a car (a something Blazer I think...) to drive from Vegas to SF - setting off from the MGM Grand at around 8am on 28th September, staying in Bishop that evening (for which there is a question below) and plan to drop the car off in San Fran at about 9pm the following day, 29th September.

    Our rough route for day 1 is as follows:

    Take the 160 out of vegas
    At around Pahrump take HWY 372, take this west and join the 127 at Shoshone
    Follow north to Death Valley Junction and take the 190 west through Death Valley Park.
    I believe the 190 turns in to the 178 which we will follow through Beatty Junction and then back in to the 190 through Panamint Springs.
    Then take the east route around Owen's Lake on HWY 136 and then follow the roud through Lone Pine and up to Bishop to stay the night.

    Just wondered:
    Is this a decent route?
    Is any of it closed?!
    What would be the good places to stop?
    How long do you think it would take?
    Would we be better heading a bit further on day one and staying in somewhere like Lee Vining considering the journey the next day? Is Lee Vining nicer than Bishop? I live in a crappy Midlands town in the UK, so please bear in mind that most places seem like a godsend for me!

    I was also wondering if someone could recomend a route from Bishop / Lee Vining through to San Fran? We're happy to get on the road at 7am or earlier if needs be.

    Also, what will the weather be like?

    And the typical question, is there lots of petrol stations along the way?!

    I'm from the UK so if anyone needs a run down of the junctions on the M25 or advice on getting out of Birmingham through the back roads, I'm your man :)

    Thanks in advance
    John
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 09-19-2006 at 08:30 AM. Reason: Posting of Personal Websites Not Allowed on the Forum

  2. Default Welcome to the board

    Welcome to the RoadTripAmerica forum, beforethirty

    The route you laid out is all on good quality roads -- at least 2 lanes (one each way), paved, etc.

    Through the Mojave desert area on that route you'll see gas and services every few 10's of miles -- so unless you're into running your car on the bottom 1/4 tank of gas or into doing offroad travel, you shouldn't have any problems with the road. Cell phone coverage is pretty good on that route too, although not 100%, plus its probably the most widely traveled route heading that direction so there will always be another car coming along in a few minutes. Keep your tank at 1/2 full or more and you should have no problems. That'll be about every couple of hours to stop, and you'll want to get out and stretch your legs anyway... There are gas stations in most of the small towns along the way, and at Furnance Creek and Stovepipe wells in Death Valley. By UK standards the gas, even there, will be very reasonably priced -- but by California/ Nevada standards you'll pay an extra $.50 -1.00 per gallon at the remote gas stations -- I'd guess around $3.50 a gallon for regular gas this week.

    Some of the other folks on the board are much more familiar with the area than I am, so I'm sure you'll get more detailed suggestions from them.

    Places to stop in Death Valley that I would suggest may involve you backtracking a bit on Badwater Road from Furnance Creek. The route you picked comes in along a ridge which overlooks the dry lake area which is Death Valley. There are very good overlooks at Zambriskie Point and Dante's View. If you head back east from Furnance creek towards Badwater you can go through the loop for Artist's Pallete (very highly colored rocks, and very interesting), visit Badwater (the lowest point below sealevel -- around 100 meters below sea level), and Devil's Golf Course (salt formations in the dry lake bed, going for acres).

    I'd also definitely stop at the visitor's center in Furnance Creek, the old Borax Works a ways farther up the road, and the sand dunes on the way to Stovepipe wells. Those are on the direct route through the Park. If you had more time you could visit Scotty's Castle and the old ghost town at Rhyolite -- but they are fairly out of the way for the route you described.
    Last edited by W. Larrison; 09-19-2006 at 09:11 AM. Reason: I hate typos...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Congratulations!

    Quote Originally Posted by beforethirty View Post
    I have been browsing the forums and as people seemed very friendly on here I thought I would post a question that I know has been asked lots of times, but wanted to ask it anyway!
    That is why this Forum is here, so ask away and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    My wife and I are honeymooning in Las Vegas for 6 days and San Francisco for six days,
    Sounds like an ideal trip. Here are some of our favorite things in Las Vegas -- if your budget can handle it -- the views from the Alize restaurant (top of the Palms Hotel) are very romantic and the food is wonderful!
    Take the 160 out of vegas.
    At around Pahrump take HWY 372, take this west and join the 127 at Shoshone, Follow north to Death Valley Junction and take the 190 west through Death Valley Park.
    That approach is fine -- locals prefer the direct route via Meadows Wash road, but if you are going to go the route to Shoshone you really ought to enter the park using Jubliee Pass Road (CA-178) and the follow Badwater Road north.
    I believe the 190 turns in to the 178 which we will follow through Beatty Junction and then back in to the 190 through Panamint Springs.
    No, well yes, you could go that way, but not if you are trying to reach Bishop in one day....

    Using the Shoshone route (it is a cute photo-op little town with lots of history) proceed north, stopping at Badwater and driving the Artist's Palette as Larrison recommends and stop at the Visitor's Center for your pass and a map and then back-track a little by going east on CA-190 to Zabriskie Viewpoint and for real treat -- take the dirt road (but excellent condition) known as Twenty-Mule Team Canyon. From that road, you can see many of the borax mine openings and marvel at the life those tough, hardy miners endured.... You won't really have time to drive to Dante's Point so reverse again and drive west on CA-190, past the Devil's Cornfield and sand dunes to a small short (gravel) road just past Stovepipe Wells -- Mosiac Canyon is pretty awesome. It is a walking trail -- you can go as far as you are comfortable --

    Then continue west on CA-190 over Towne Pass and down into Panamint Springs. Be sure to stop in the bar -- have a lemonade -- or something and check out the enormous redwood burl bar. Good photos here too. Oh as you are descending down to Panamint Springs, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for F-16s fllying practice missions in Panamint Valley. If you have the good fortune to be here between 3 and 4 pm (likely) look at the glow coming from the tops of the Panamint sand dunes (it will be on your right hand side at about 5:00 as you head down from the pass)

    Just past Panamint Springs, stop at the overlook at Father Crowley's Point into Rainbow Canyon.
    Then take the east route around Owen's Lake on HWY 136 and then follow the road through Lone Pine and up to Bishop to stay the night
    Yeah, that is a nice route.
    Is any of it closed?!
    Barring weird acts of nature -- it will all be open.
    What would be the good places to stop?

    I don't remember if the Furnace Creek Inn will be open yet, but if it is -- you have to see the oasis created by the warm springs there to believe it!
    How long do you think it would take?
    It really depends on how often you stop and look at stuff. But if you follow my suggestions, the entire day will be about 10-11 hours. (You can drive straight through from Las Vegas to Bishop in about 8 hours)
    Would we be better heading a bit further on day one and staying in somewhere like Lee Vining considering the journey the next day? Is Lee Vining nicer than Bishop?
    Bishop is a lovey town -- great bakery and wonderful murals.
    I was also wondering if someone could recomend a route from Bishop / Lee Vining through to San Fran? We're happy to get on the road at 7am or earlier if needs be.
    You are in luck, CA-120 over Tioga Pass into Yosemite Valley is still open and it is an awesome road. From Yosemite NP you can bascially follow CA-120 all the way to I-205 to I-580 to the San Francisco Bay area.
    Also, what will the weather be like?
    Day time temps in Las Vegas 75 to 85 degrees (F) -- Death Valley up to 100 degrees -- Crossing the Sierras ~ 65 to 75 degrees -- Clear, beautiful, ideal weather.

    Be sure to look at the bottom of this page for more ideas and if you really want to be overwhelmed -- use the search utility in the green navigaton bar -- there are hundreds of posts addressing this route!

    Enjoy your honeymood roadtrip!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-19-2006 at 12:28 PM. Reason: added a navigational comment

  4. Default Thanks!

    Thanks to both of you for the fantastic advice. I'm trying to look at maps on the internet at the moment, which isn't ideal, but I've ordered some raod maps from Amazon that should arrive tomorrow so I will have a look at your recommendations.

    Mark, I noticed that you said

    "No, well yes, you could go that way, but not if you are trying to reach Bishop in one day...."

    Just to clarify, are you saying that if I did stick to my route we wouldn't make Bishop in one day?

    Sorry for asking lazy questions - I'm working away from home this week, only have dial up internet and cannot really assess the distances until I get back on Thursday night, then we're off on the Friday.

    Again, thanks for your help and any other advice from anyone else would be great!

    Cheers
    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default To Clarify...

    Quote Originally Posted by beforethirty View Post
    Mark, I noticed that you said
    "No, well yes, you could go that way, but not if you are trying to reach Bishop in one day...."

    Just to clarify, are you saying that if I did stick to my route we wouldn't make Bishop in one day?
    To clarify, if you were to follow the route you specified, you would be zig-zagging all over the state (it makes no sense) and if you really followed that precise route it would take 18-20 hours. Whereas, if you follow the route I suggested you can still see much of Death Valley and the Owens Valley and still reach Bishop at a reasonable time in the evening.

    Mark

  6. Default Had a great time

    Just wanted to say a quick thank you for the advice given by the people on here for the roadtrip and just let you know how it went.

    Day 1, from Vegas to San Fran was great. We actually took the direct route through Beatty on the 95 in to Death Valley from Vegas, stopping at the ghost town Rhyolite on the way. We then drove to various places in Death Valley - what an amazing place. We set off very early, and actually found ourselves having a late lunch at about 3.30pm in Lone Pine, only about 60 miles from Bishop where we are staying. We went in to the tourist office there and they advised seeing Mount Whitney and the Alabama Hills / Movie Road and we were so glad we took their advice - incredible views and scenery

    Second day from Bishop to San Fran was amazing. Yosimite through the Tioga Pass was everything we'd imagined and more. Driving through at the end of September meant that we had a crystal clear blue skies day, but nice and warm and the park wasn't at all busy (but maybe that's just compared to the UK where everything is so busy...). We spend most of the day exploring thr park then quickly motored to San Fran late in the day.

    So a big thanks for everyone's advice on here.

    If any brits are planning the trip and want to ask anything please don't hesitate to contact me (beforethirty@hotmail.com), although you probably want to stick with the experts on here!

    Cheers
    John

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

    Default That is a steep road!

    Quote Originally Posted by beforethirty View Post
    Just wanted to say a quick thank you for the advice given by the people on here for the roadtrip and just let you know how it went.
    Thanks for checking back in -- glad it went well!
    We went in to the tourist office there and they advised seeing Mount Whitney
    That drive up to Whitney Portal is plenty steep -- and the views coming back down can be breathtaking!

    Good fortune with your marriage!

    Mark

  8. #8

    Default

    Congrats on the marriage, John, glad you had a great time. I was in the same area doing the reverse trip (San Fran-Yosemite-Bishop-Death Valley-Vegas-Hoover Dam-Zion-etc) at the same time as you. I hope you didn't do the same as us and take the (75 mile) unpaved road through the north of Death Valley towards Bishop?! I am finding it tough being back in the UK -must do another trip soon!! :)

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