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  1. #1

    Default 12 days in April starting from Las Vegas

    I've been reading links for California/Big Sur road trips, and am really overwhelmed by so much choice, could anyone help me?
    This has to be a relaxing break for us, I want to do the driving so my husband can look out of the window at everything because he hasn't been to America before.
    We are starting with 2 or 3 nights in Las Vegas (that's the not relaxing part).
    I have found a hotel near Pismo Beach that I would like to get to for 2 or 3 nights so would prefer to be driving from the Los Angeles to San Francisco direction (South to North?).
    We love to try new places to eat. If anyone could suggest diner's or family run places we'd love your advice, we don't want gourmet dining. My husband loves cars especially older vehicles so if there are any car museum's that would be great.
    I am pretty frightened of the idea of driving in the biggest cities and would prefer to stop in scenic places and go look in some art galleries also. Thanks, Sandra

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Welcome

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Getting from Las Vegas to Pismo shouldn't be a problem. If you take I-15 to Barstow, CA-58 to Mohave, CA-14 and CA-138 to I-5, go north just a couple miles, and then continue west on CA-166 to Santa Maria, you'll completely avoid the LA Metro area. It will be a long drive, but its quite scenic and can be done in a day.

    If this is going to be a round trip, can I ask why you want to go South to North? There's nothing wrong with it, but going south puts you on the coast side of the road, and makes stopping at the scenic overlooks a little bit easier. Its a slight advantage you might want to consider.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Relaxed is a State of Mind

    There are several auto collections and museums in Las Vegas, including those at the Imperial Palace and the Caroll Shelby Museum at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Unfortunately, you're going to be too early for the Concours d'Elegance held in August each year in Pebble Beach, but art galleries abound around the Carmel/Monterey area at the north end of Big Sur. As far as eating in family run restaurants, I share your prediliction and have found that the best advice I've ever gotten or given is to "Inquire locally". Check with your hotel staff and at local visitor centers. The key, we've found, is to describe exactly what you're looking for and then ask "Where would YOU go?" In general, though, other than Las Vegas and getting around Los Angeles, this is going to be a very relaxing drive with lots of great scenery.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-13-2007 at 09:51 AM.

  4. Default Car Museums in LA area

    Here's a partial list of auto museums in the LA area. As should be expected, there are several major auto museums in LA. It's not well known, but just about all the major world-wide car companies have their design centers near LA -- including most of the Japanese and European makers, as well as the US manufacturers. If you can get a tour of these, they're amazing -- since they have the prototypes and models for next year's cars, and next decade's too.

    But for classic and famous cars, the two big ones are the Peterson Auto Museum near downtown LA, and the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar. But there are a bunch more... Mercedes just opened a classic car collection museum and restoration center (you can go in and restore your car with MB technican's help) in Irvine. Here's a list.. check the websites for hours, prices, and what the current featured collection being shown in. I want to go see the Big Daddy RatFink Roth and Chip Foose exhibitions at the Peterson before they change...

    the Astor Classics Event Center and Living Automotive and Communication Museum in Anaheim -- about 100 K sq feet

    Peterson Automobile Musuem in LA -- pretty much across the street from the LA Brea Tar Pits and the LA County Musuem of Art. www.petersen.org

    Justice Brothers Racing Musuem in Duarte Web site is www.justicebrothers.com

    Marconi Automobile Musuem in Tustin (orange county, near LA)
    www.marconimuseum.org

    Mercedes Benz Classic Center in Irvine, CA http://www.mbusa.com/heritage/classi...-california.do

    Murphy Automobile Museum in Oxnard www.murphyautomuseum.com

    The Nethercutt (also known as the Merle Norman Automobile Museum) in Sylmar www.nethercuttcollection.org

    Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum Drag Racing, Land Speed Record cars, Road Racing. At the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona near LA http://museum.nhra.com/

    There are a couple of others, but they are only open for special events -- I haven't been to them.

    Astor Classics in Anaheim www.astorclassics.com

    Joe's Garaga in Tustin www.joesgarage.com

  5. Default Dining suggestions

    On some of my last trips along the coast, I have enjoyed eating at Scoma's at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, rather than some of the more famous restaurants the tourists frequent -- Scoma's was recommended to me by a local and more than measured up to his recommendation. Of all of my recommendations, this one is closest to being a gourmet establishment I suppose, but worth your time if you enjoy great service and seafood.

    Also, if you get that far (north of SFO), try Las Brisas del Mar at Bodega Bay -- a family-owned and operated restaurant. If I remember correctly the cuisine was Italian and seafood specialties; everything I tried was excellent.

    In San Luis Obispo, try some all-American flavors at J.D. Boone's Smokehouse. Last I was there they had some pretty respectable barbecue -- with a complete variety of regional sauces to try along with it. Bob

  6. Default LA area art musuems & galleries --

    If you're passing through LA there are 3 or 4 art musuems and galleries (actually areas) you might want to consider

    There's the Getty Musuem of course -- one of the leading art musuems in the world these days. That's in Westwood, next to UCLA and very freeway close. Amazing collection...

    There's also the Getty Villa, which was the original home of the Getty Musuem. It's in Malibu, and is a recreation of an ancient Roman Villa from Herculanium (near Pompeii). Very nice..

    There's also the Norton Simon in Pasadena, which is one of the finest private collections of art. A very good museum.

    Also near Pasadena is the Huntington Library & Museum. This is the old estate of Henry Huntington (founder of the Southern Pacific Railway and others), and is both a world-class collection of books and documents, and a pretty good art musuem. Their most famous painting is "Blue Boy" by Gainsbourgh.

    For art galleries and etc -- Laguna Beach in Orange County is a famous artists colony and has been for decades. There's also a pretty good art musuem specializing in California landscapes and more modern art. But its fun to just walk through all the galleries of local artists (a couple of dozen I'd guess) or visit one of the many art festivals held there. The Pagent of the Living Masters is quite unbelievable, and associated with one of the larger art festivals there.

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

    Default Santa Barbara is also a hot bed of design

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison View Post
    It's not well known, but just about all the major world-wide car companies have their design centers near LA
    One of the companies we profiled a few years ago, is based in Santa Barbara and was instrumental in designing the new VW Beetle and all of the Oscar Mayer Weinermobiles in recent years....

    Thanks for this great list of other automotive collections.

    In Las Vegas, there is a private collection of vintage convertibles owned by TV magnate Jim Rogers, called the Sunbelt Collection, and I have found that that curator is open to just about any sort of excuse for inviting folks to come check it out!

    Mark

  8. #8

    Default North to South?

    Thanks so much all of you, my thinking for South to North was simply reading in one link that in places the Coast Road is only 2 lanes and some folks may want to drive on the road turtles - I guess so they don't drive off the edge of the road?

    (I have driven in Kansas mostly and took a round trip from Wichita to the Grand Canyon 6 years ago. I went alone and with just a road atlas to help. I REALLY frightened myself when I drove from Grand Junction on the 550 through Silverton to Farmington and as I had set out before dawn, when it got light I was climbing past 11,000 feet in the La Plata Mountains with only about 6 inches of road between me and the 11,000 drop off the edge. I am a GOOD driver but don't want an event like that on this trip!).

    Yes I would like to make a circular trip. If we start out at Las Vegas could we get to La Bodega/Monteray - sea otters - wow!/Pismo Beach/LA area for the vehicles in 10 days? (Our first day is travelling the second will be spent just chilling). My husband would really like to spend the WHOLE time in the greater LA area now trying to get to the places you guys suggested, (we may have to extend this trip) Perfect foodie suggestions also -seafood is my thing and my husband is a big barbecue meat guy! Is there a chance you could offer Road numbers you think would take us at slower speeds/scenic places? Thanks again, I'm going to spend some time with maps now. Sandra

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A "road turtle"?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandraajdb View Post
    ... some folks may want to drive on the road turtles - I guess so they don't drive off the edge of the road?
    What is a "road turtle"? Would that be a curb? If so, there are no curbs on the coast highway!
    I REALLY frightened myself when I drove from Grand Junction on the 550 through Silverton to Farmington and as I had set out before dawn, when it got light I was climbing past 11,000 feet in the La Plata Mountains with only about 6 inches of road between me and the 11,000 drop off the edge. I am a GOOD driver but don't want an event like that on this trip!).
    That would be the Million Dollar Highway, and although you can find such stretches of road throughout the west, your current route would not have such aspects.
    Yes I would like to make a circular trip. If we start out at Las Vegas could we get to La Bodega/Monteray - sea otters - wow!/Pismo Beach/LA area for the vehicles in 10 days?
    By the fastest route, this would be one day of travel from Las Vegas to Monterey. One of the best places to see sea otters is Moss Landing State Beach. They like to form "rafts" and float in the marina for warmth. It is quite common to see otter rafts made up of 25-45 animals!

    Since you mentioned seafood -- you have to check out Phil's Fish Market and Eatery located at Moss Landing!

    This is what an otter raft looks like

    And this is easy to find at the Natural Bridges State Park just north of Santa Cruz!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-14-2007 at 12:37 PM. Reason: Added some photos

  10. #10

    Default Mark You are really patient,

    This "Road Turtle" thing... I wish I had saved the article with this words in. Are you familiar with 'cat's eye's? These are the reflective center road markers in the UK. When I read Road Turtle (perhaps it was a typo?) I just guessed it was some center road marking I hadn't heard of.

    The article I read was saying in some places at Big Sur if you drive North/South you would be really close to the edge of the road and passenger's may feel reassurred if the driver kept nearer the centre of the road? I thought keeping near the centre of the road on a two lane highway would be first dangerous and second breaking some highway driving regulation?

    You have posted great advice - we have decided to travel from Las Vegas, then stay somewhere in the Los Angeles area. Then travel South/North and stop at Pismo Beach,then Monteray, we decided not to stay in SF but get to (sorry for another typing mistake Mark) Bodega Bay (thanks Arizona Bob) before driving back to Las Vegas for our flight home.

    Wow! you edited your last post and added a GREAT OTTER photograph I'm so glad I found this Forum and really appreciate your time.
    Last edited by sandraajdb; 01-14-2007 at 01:02 PM. Reason: love nature, really excited about seeing sea otter's!

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