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  1. Default Road Trip - CALIFORNIA, Nevada, Utah, Arizona

    Hi all,

    I'm planning a road trip with a friend. We are planningg to take this September. We have ~21nights and fly in/out of San Francisco.

    My First idea to enjoy SF 2-3 days. I have this list of nice site
    Sacramento
    Yosemite
    Bodie
    Death Valley
    Las Vegas
    Zion
    Mesquite
    Bryce
    Capitol Reef
    Moab
    Arches
    Canyonland
    Monument Valley
    Lake powell
    Grand Canyon
    FlagStaff
    Joshua Tree National Park
    Palm Springs
    Los Angeles
    Santa Barbara
    Big Sur
    Monetery
    San Francisco

    Is it possible to see all in 3 weeks ? Is it too ambitious ?
    I'm waiting any advice or suggestions that I could forget.

    Yann.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default It is possible -- depends on the route!

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatDonKing View Post
    We have ~21nights and fly in/out of San Francisco.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! It might be possible to physically reach all of those places in 21 days, but it will be lots of driving -- Can you tell us a little more about your plans?

    Mark

  3. Default

    Ok,
    It will be my first travel in US. So, I want to have a mix between City and Nature.

    I'm planning to spend few days in SF (2-3) to recover time shift. Then may be 1 Day in Sacramento (It is really nice and interesting city ???).
    1 or 2 days in Yosemite park, visit Bodie et Sequoia.
    Go to las Vegas (1 night). Then Spend maximum 1 week in the desert (Zion, Mesquite, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Moab, Arches, Canyonland, Monument Valley, Lake powell, Grand Canyon). Which one need sto spend more time ??? just a moment for picture ??? just to cross with the car ???
    May be spend 1 day or 2 day near lac, to be

    Then go Back To Los Angeles. (A stop at FlagStaff just for the night). Spend 2 days in LA, to visit beach, Hollywood and beverly hills.

    And Go to SF, with the road near the coast. In 3-4 days...



    That's my firts idea, I really need your advice. Any recommendations on good places to stay along the route ? Any 'must sees' which I have missed out?
    Forgot some places ?

  4. Default

    I don't find the 'edit' so this is the correct answer !

    Ok,
    It will be my first trip to the states, and I am looking for road trip
    advice. I want to make the classic trip from San Francisco east to
    nevada/utah/Arizona and then to LA and north again to SF

    I'm planning to spend few days in SF (2-3) to recover from the jet lag.
    Then may be 1 day in Sacramento (Is it really nice and interesting city
    ???).
    1 or 2 days in Yosemite park, visit Bodie and Sequoia.
    Go to las Vegas (1 night). Then spend maximum 1 week in the desert (Zion,
    Mesquite, Bryce Cayon, Capitol Reef, Moab, Arches, Canyonland, Monument
    Valley, Lake powell, Grand Canyon). Was is the most interesting place to
    visit???
    Where should we stop for a few days and where should we stop long enough to
    say we where there?

    Then go back to Los Angeles. (A stop at FlagStaff just for the night).
    Spend 2 days in LA, hang out on the beach, Hollywood and Beverly hills.

    And Go to SF, on the coast hiway for a few days

  5. Default

    Hello GreatDonKing,

    How long do you have for this trip? And what are you interested in seeing? Are you looking for scenery? or people? or cities & night life? or cultural sites & activities?

    In general it sounds like a good trip, but if I may, I'll make a few comments.

    I like Sacramento, but its a pretty low key touristy city. If you're looking for california history, or some sidelights for California it can be interesting, but its not a big tourist destination. You might be more advised to go to Lake Tahoe/ Reno (a couple of hours further drive east) for more scenery and the almost Vegas-like environment of Reno.

    However, the route you laid out doesn't seem to quite fit.. You can make it from Sacramento (or Reno/ Tahoe) to Yosemite in a day. If you do so, you'll have to cross over the Sierras from east to west at some point -- the easiest is the Donner Pass on I-80 which is between Reno and Sacramento. Other passes are farther south, of which the usual recommended scenic pass is the Tioga Pass which comes over the Sierras just north of Yosemite National Park.

    One option would be to return on I-80, and then go down CA-49 through the California Gold Country to Yosemite -- but this doesn't set you up for Bodie, which is on the east side of the Sierras.

    A way to do this would be to to go down the east side of the Sierras to visit Bodie (north of Mono Lake) and then spend the night somewhere around Lee Vining. Just be aware the roads into Bodie are dirt roads, and can be somewhat bumpy for a sedan.

    From Lee Vining, you can come back west over the Sierras at the Tioga Pass to come in north of Yosemite.

    From Yosemite, you can visit Sequoia National Park, but there is no direct route along the crest of the Sierras between the parks. You need to return to the floor of California's Central Valley, go south, and then back up into the western slope of the Sierras. This is about a 3 hour drive between National Parks -- and depending upon time you spend in the two parks, is probably 2 days minimum.

    From Sequoia the fastest route is to loop south around the southern end of the Sierras and head back east through the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas. You can skirt through the southern end of the Sierras on CA route 178 through Lake Isabella, or farther south via Mojave and the flatter desert. If you're into desert sightseeing you have the option of visiting or driving through Death Valley national park on the way to Vegas (its a couple of hours out of the way).

    Note you've done a bit of a zig zag route, since you wanted to see Bodie.

    From here, it sounds like you've defined about a week long loop route around the Grand Canyon through several of the desert parks. What would be most interesting to visit, I think should be your call. There's quite a number of interesting places to visit and things to do. If you're looking for a place to spend a couple of days, that will depend upon if you want to stay in a town, or do hiking, or stay at a resort and relax next to the pool, or whatnot.

    Depending upon your route, there are a couple of other interesting options to consider -- Canyon de Chelly is very scenic, and the Painted Desert/ Petrified Forest is very interesting. There's also the large meteor crater along I-40 east of Flagstaff (this is one of the old tourist stops on historic Route 66 which follows I-40 through here). Or you could pick to spend a day or two at Grand Canyon Village hiking in or near the Grand Canyon, or even spend a couple of days enjoying the night life and activities in Las Vegas.

    From the Grand Canyon area, or Las Vegas, its a day's drive to Los Angeles via the interstate highways (a long day from the Grand Canyon, and about 2/3rds a day from las Vegas).

    LA's a big town -- and you need to pick *where* in LA you want to spend your time. If you're into Hollywood/ Beverly Hills you'll probably want to stay somewhere on the west side of town.

    And from there up the coast to SF is from 2 to 3 days, depending upon where you want to stop and what you would like to see along the way.

    From all this, you're probably talking about a 3 week trip I would guess.

  6. Default

    Thanks for you attention.
    Ok,
    I'll look at the map tonight.
    I'll answer tomorrow.

    It's 17:37 at Paris.

    PS : Yes it's 3 weeks

  7. Default

    I have 3 weeks for this trip. I want to see both city and nature.

    Ok for sacramento, I forget this idea !

    San Francisco
    So I'll start in SF and spend there 3 days.
    I'm expecting to visit Golden gate, Alcatraz, what else ??

    Around Bodie
    Then go to Bodie to take picture and Mono Lake where we could swim a little moment.
    May be spend the night around Lee Vining. Is it optimist to do that in a day ?

    National Park
    We expect to spend 2 days in Yosemite. May be we could sleep directly here and not in Lee Vining ???
    In this way we could enjoy one more morning in Yosemite.
    I'm waiting advices or suggestions for activities in Yosemite NP... ;)
    Sequoia, I think we'll spend 1 day there. What do you think about it ?
    Which one of both park is the more interessting ?
    Are they specific ? Do they offer differents activities or anything else that I have to know ???

    Las vegas & Death Valley
    Then we want to go to Las Vegas just for the night life, so we plan one night.
    Casino or club ??? I don't know, the king's choice !!!
    We want to see the death Valley, so I think we'll choose the way through DeathValley.
    A great place to take goog pictures. Is there some place I missed ???

    Desert
    Ok a lot of really nice place. Really hard choice !!!
    So I'll will try to be enought clear. I wish to drive through magnificient scenery (Desert and canyon).
    For great pictures, again ;).
    To feel the wild's side of the West American. I plan 5-7 days for this large area.
    I wish to try rafting, is there a nice place for this area ? grand canyon or ???
    I think that we could spend one night near a lake to get some fresh.
    So many area, may be we could try to quote the "must be see" ??? I resume :
    Grand canyon, Zion, Bryce, Page (lake powell), canyon Chelly, painted desert,
    Petrified Forest, large meteor crater, Monument valley.

    Los Angeles
    I want to drive on historic route 66, so I don't know what is the best Solution between
    sleep in Flagstaff or at Grand canyon ...
    I don't want to spend too many time in this city, juste see great area that we could see in movie !
    Great Beatch, Hollywood, beverly hills, the great avenue with the hand's sign on pavement (I forget the name !!!)

    Go Back to SF
    I plan to drive near the coast, and hope to enjoy scenery before our come back to Paris :(
    My friend told me about Big Sur, may be another great place to visit ???




    That's all !!!!!!
    It's my first idea, in this first time I try to make a short list of the "must be see" !!!
    I'll check the road with path planification (distance, time...).


    thanks all for your suggestions and kindness with my english !

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default More tips

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatDonKing View Post
    I'm expecting to visit Golden gate, Alcatraz, what else ??
    Fisherman's Wharf, museums, etc.
    Around Bodie
    Then go to Bodie to take picture and Mono Lake where we could swim a little moment. May be spend the night around Lee Vining. Is it optimist to do that in a day ?
    I don't think you could or want to swim in Mono Lake -- I haven't looked it up, but I think swimming is prohibited. Bodie and Mono Lake are east of Yosemite, it doesn't make much sense to do this before Yosemite. But if you were to travel from San Francisco all the way to Bodie -- that would be a very full day. There isn't a lot of lodging in Lee Vining -- perhaps you ought to consider June Lakes.
    National Park
    We expect to spend 2 days in Yosemite. May be we could sleep directly here and not in Lee Vining ??? In this way we could enjoy one more morning in Yosemite.
    I think you ought to go to Yosemite first and then see how much time you have for Bodie and Mono Lake...
    Sequoia, I think we'll spend 1 day there. What do you think about it ?
    Which one of both park is the more interessting ?
    Are they specific ? Do they offer differents activities or anything else that I have to know ???
    Which two parks? Sequoia and Kings Canyon or Yosemite? Yes, each one is very different.
    Las vegas & Death Valley
    Then we want to go to Las Vegas just for the night life, so we plan one night.
    Casino or club ??? I don't know, the king's choice !!!
    We want to see the death Valley, so I think we'll choose the way through DeathValley.
    A great place to take goog pictures. Is there some place I missed ???
    Very tough to see this area in one day.
    I wish to try rafting, is there a nice place for this area ? grand canyon or ???
    Here is a thread where this is discussed.

    Los Angeles
    I want to drive on historic route 66, so I don't know what is the best Solution between
    sleep in Flagstaff or at Grand canyon ...
    Drive this section over Sitgreaves Pass into Oatman -- I think you would really get some good photos!
    My friend told me about Big Sur, may be another great place to visit ???
    More great information about this section.

    Mark

  9. Default

    Thanks for your advice !
    We have decided to forget desert area and change us plan.
    We'll arrive in SF the 02/09 in the evening and we go back the 23/09 in the morning.

    So we plan this new one :
    date #day nb day area
    02/09/2007 00 San Francisco ARRIVEE
    03/09/2007 01 4 San Francisco
    04/09/2007 02 San Francisco
    05/09/2007 03 San Francisco
    06/09/2007 04 San Francisco
    07/09/2007 05 3 Yosemite NP
    08/09/2007 06 Yosemite NP VISIT BODIE
    09/09/2007 07 Yosemite NP
    10/09/2007 08 Yosemite NP
    11/09/2007 09 3 Death Valley NP
    12/09/2007 10 Death Valley NP
    13/09/2007 11 Death Valley NP
    14/09/2007 12 1 Las Vegas
    15/09/2007 13 3 Grand Canyon
    16/09/2007 14 Grand Canyon
    17/09/2007 15 Grand Canyon
    18/09/2007 16 2 Los Angeles
    19/09/2007 17 Los Angeles
    20/09/2007 18 1 Santa Monica
    21/09/2007 19 Santa Barbara
    22/09/2007 20 2 Big Sur - Monterey foret NP
    23/09/2007 21 Big Sur - Monterey
    24/09/2007 22 1 San Francisco last visit
    25/09/2007 24 San Francisco DEPART


    I have to delete 2 days from a area, what could you propose for ???

  10. Default Random suggestion..

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatDonKing View Post
    [ ... ] I have to delete 2 days from a area, what could you propose for ???
    I would drop out a day in SF, and drop the day trip to Bodie from Yosemite. To get to Bodie and back in a day from Yosemite you'll be going across the spine of the Sierras on the Tioga Pass road, twice. It's doable, but I'm not sure its optimal.

    If you're intersested in ghost towns, there are a couple near Death Valley, easily reachable as a day trip (Rhyolite, for example).

    Depending upon your comfort level for desert driving (including dirt roads) you might drop one day at Death Valley and add a day in the Las Vegas areas.

    And as a cautionary note, depending upon where and what you want to visit in the Los Angeles area, be advised you may be short a day here. (Not sure, since you just listed LA for 2 days.)

    In general, I think you have a very doable route planned out, with a very doable schedule. What you might do next is to add some in-between points of interest you'd like to visit -- such as the things you want to visit in LA or SF or Death Valley or etc. That'll give you a better feel if you're spending too long or two short somewhere. Just make sure you include some "relax" time, since it is a vacation, after all.

    It would be cool if you could do the one day detour between Yosemite and Death valley to visit Sequoia National Park as well -- but that's going to depend upon what you want to do at Yosemite and Death Valley, which isn't outlined yet, I don't believe.

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