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  1. Default San Fran-Monterrey-Morro Bay-Needles-LV?

    Brand spankin new to this forum and here's my 1st post. We are planning road trip in March 2007 from SF down the coast on PCH and then over to Old Route 66 in Barstow to Needles and then to Laughlin, NV and Vegas. Interested in opinions regarding how long this drive will take and some stops we need to make (or detours) along the way. Looks like we have about 5 nights and 4 full driving days to make the trip. Thanks for any advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default It's Come Up Once or Twice

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Actually, that general itinerary is one of the most popular ones discussed on these forums. Besides the links to threads that are listed at the bottom of this page, check out these as well for both pre-trip discussions and post-trip reports.

    San Franciso to Vegas - what to do ?
    California in 2.5 weeks? Any Thoughts?!!
    Another Brit with a heap of questions!
    Las Vegas to San Francisco and back

    If you're just going one way, it's 'only' about 840 miles so easily doable in 4 days of driving, even at a leisurely pace.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-02-2007 at 06:22 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Manageable

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    How far down the coast do you plan on driving? Are you going to go all the way to LA before heading over to Barstow, or are you only going to go to Morrow Bay and then head East via Bakersfield?

    You should be able to make this drive easily within your time frame. Driving down the coast from SF to Morro Bay can be done in a day, depending upon how much time you spend in Monterey, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, etc.

    The drive from Coast out to Needles/Laughlin, could also be done in as little as a long day. Ballpark, you'd be looking at 7-8 hours of driving, depending upon where exactly you'd be starting from.

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

    Default Sidetrip to Oatman!

    Quote Originally Posted by StaunchSteve View Post
    ...and then over to Old Route 66 in Barstow to Needles
    Part of Moderator Gen's field report deals with travels along this section of Route 66 and when you get to Needles, you really ought to take the spur up Route 66 to Oatman -- it is a classic Route 66 climb.

    Mark

  5. Default So Far, So Good..

    AZ Buck: Thanks for the links.

    Midwest Mike: Morro Bay to Bakersfield to Barstow to Needles/Laughlin. As of now our hotels are planned in SF, Salinas, Bakersfield, Laughlin and LV.

    Mark: Thanks for the Oatman reference. I've driven (or ridden as a kid) about 90% of Route 66 and the drive from Kingman to Oatman and then to Topock is my favorite by far.

    Anybody else?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default What was the criteria?

    Quote Originally Posted by StaunchSteve View Post
    our hotels are planned in SF, Salinas, Bakersfield, Laughlin and LV.
    How did you choose those locales for over-night stays? Las Vegas is a no-brainer, but the others seem a little puzzling to me. Instead of Bakersfield, (which a fine place on its own) is there any reason you decided not stay on the coast? Bakersfield seems to be out of your way if you are traveling down the PCH.

    When you go through Amboy on Route 66 -- be sure to notice the Shoe Tree...

    Mark

  7. Default Hotels/Better route Morro Bay to Barstow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    How did you choose those locales for over-night stays? Las Vegas is a no-brainer, but the others seem a little puzzling to me. Instead of Bakersfield, (which a fine place on its own) is there any reason you decided not stay on the coast? Bakersfield seems to be out of your way if you are traveling down the PCH. the Shoe Tree...
    Mark
    Open to hotel suggestions along the coast, but at this time so far have tentative reservations at Marriott properties in SF, Salinas and Bakersfield and Golden Nugget in Laughlin and Vegas.

    Is there a better route from around Morro Bay to Barstow than thru Bakersfield? I don't want to go anywhere near the LA megalopolis mess. The Barstow to Needles Old Route 66 drive is a part of our plan and then stay in Laughlin before heading to Vegas. Thanks for any more advice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Better? Maybe

    Quote Originally Posted by StaunchSteve View Post
    Is there a better route from around Morro Bay to Barstow than thru Bakersfield?
    I don't know if it is "better" -- but a more scenic route that is also more direct would be Morro Bay to US-101 to CA-166 along the Cuyama River to Maricopa and then continue east on CA-166 to I-5 and then south to Lancaster Road (SR-138) to SR-14. At this point, you can either go north to Mojave and east on SR-58 to Barstow. Or you can go south on SR-14 to Palmdale, and then go east again on SR-138 (Pearblossom Highway) all the way over to SR-18 and then on east to I-15 (@ Victorville) and north to Barstow. You can go to Bakersfield but it is a bit of a detour.

    In fact, if you don't mind a little mountain driving, the Cerro Norestra Road is a very nice, paved road that connects SR-166 with I-5 at Frazier Park before continuing east on SR-138.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 11-28-2006 at 09:51 PM. Reason: clarification

  9. Default Another route and suggestions?

    Hmm.. the fastest route east from the Morro Bay area (actually from near Cambria, a few miles back north) is via 46 east, which brings you through the wineries west and east of Paso Robles, then across the San Andreas and out into the California Central Valley at Lost Hills. A very good road. However, that does go through Bakersfield or thereabouts (you can always go around via the many state routes through the valley). I've driven that route multiple times.

    Depending upon your perferences, one option is to stay the night in San Simeon/ Cambria area the first night from SF -- its a doable drive from SF, but doesn't leave a ton of time to spend in the Monterey/ Carmel area. Then you can catch an early tour of Hearst Castle and head east or south.

    The 166 route east from Santa Maria isn't as fast, but possibly goes through some interesting terrain. It skirts around the Carrizo Plain National Monument which I've always found an interesting place. The San Andreas goes down the east side of the plain (and is very visible if you know where to look) and the area has herds of Tule Elk and other wildlife you don't see many other places. At the east end of 166 you come into the small towns of Maricopa nd Taft, which is an old oil area, and I have to admit the Kern County Oil Musuem in Taft is a favorite of mine (don't ask why...I just find it very interesting and the history of the oil there interesting).

    From Maricopa I would duck back north a bit and cut east on 223 through Patch south of Bakersfield (still way out in the farm country) and pick up 58 to Barstow. You can go south on I-5 and up the grapevine to catch 138 east at Frasier Park to Lancaster (and Mojave and east to Barstow) but you may not like driving up the "grapevine" section of I-5. Now, there is an interesting old Civil War era calvary fort at the top of the grapevine pass (Fort Tejon) which might be worth a stop -- but the grapevine pass is steep and it seems people either drive 90 miles an hour up it, or 30...

    From a route 66 perspective, one of the easiest and longest sections of route 66 in California is between Ludlow and Needles and is offically the "National Trails Highway", which travels through the tiny stop of Ambody and Cadiz. This route parallels I-40 pretty much. I've taken this route numerous times. There are a couple of interesting places to stop along the way -- Amboy Crater (a very recent volcanic crater), and some old Route 66 wayside stops. The road is in very good condition, but there isn't much of anything between Ludlow and Needles on it, so make sure the car is gassed up before traveling it.

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