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  1. Default SF-LV-LA-SF in 9 full days in nov...

    Hi guys,

    I be flying in sf on the 31/10 (arriving early afternoon 14:30) from london whith a fried of mine and we will be flying back from SF on the 10th of november.

    This leave us with 9 full days to go around in california (acually 6 as we will be spending the last 3 days in SF.

    What we would like to do is to get off the plane rent a car and start heading to LV.
    Maybe stayng the first night near yocemite park, then the day after going towards death valley and stay there for the night(we would like to follow the most scenic routes)
    Then getting to LV in the evining, stay there 2 night and then heading west towards LA. As we don't have much time I got told to skip LA
    and to be honest we would be fine with that.
    at this point we will have 2 1/2 days to get back to sf again.

    As this will be my fisrt time in US i haven't got a clue of the distances and resonable timeframe etc etc.
    Do u think the plan is feasable?
    Can you suggest the best routes (the scenic ones) ;-)
    Any cheap options for accomodations? is it better to book in advance?
    Is it gonna be cold in mountains this period of the year???brrrr

    PS...the plan above is just an idea, we are open to any suggestion
    PPS...any particular travel guide that u would racommend?

    thanks in advance for your help!!!


  2. Default 9 days in the SW?

    Your basic trip sounds pretty good...

    1 -- get off the plane in SF and get everything together. Rather than push too much this day, and depending upon when you arrive, a good option might be to spend the night somewhere in the SF Bay area to catch up on jet lag and not push too hard. This can also be used as an extra day if you need one more day on your trip.

    2 -- Stay in Yosemite. Sightsee. Yosemite is about 1/2 day's drive from SF, so an early start with get you there before lunchtime.

    3 -- The most scenic route is to cross over Tioga Pass just north of Yosemite valley, to come over the top of the sierras and down into the Owens Valley on the east side. Very scenic, but this road does close in the winter due to snow. At the end of October this may be dicey, but its something you might consider.

    In any case, plan this day to either come over the Sierras and head for Death Valley, or continue south from Yosemite to come around the southern end of the Sierras. Its a very doable drive to take the longer (but faster) route around the south through Bakersfield to end up at Death valley for the night.

    4, 5 -- Las Vegas is 2-3 hours from Death valley. 2 night in LV.

    LA is a huge area, and full of things to do. You can spend a week there, and it is very doable to plan 1-2 days there if there are specific things you want to visit.

    6 - In any case, its a day's drive back to the coast from LV. I'd plan to head back west, cutting across California south of Bakersfield, and skirting the Carrizzo Plain National Monument to come over the coast range into the Santa Barbara area at Ojai. I'd spend the night near here -- Ojai is a fun artist's community in the mountains, and Santa Barbara is very beautiful (Visit the mission!). There are still significant mountains, but only maybe 4000' in elevation.

    7 - Up the coast to stay in San Simeon area and tour Hearst Castle.

    8 - Up Coast Highway through Big Sur -- spend the night in Monterey/ Carmel area.

    9 -- back to SF.

    You can see weather at the end of October that can be chilly. You'll potentially be crossing mountains at an altitude of 8-9,000' so it can be cold, particularly at night. The weather *should* be pretty good, but who can predict the weather more than a few days in advance. The coast will be foggy/ overcast in the mornings, and bright blue skies in the afternoons if the usual pattern holds.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Facts of life


    Staying the first night in the San Francisco area is a good idea for another reason...since you won't get out of the airport until at least 13:30, you'll be at the beginning of 75 miles of potentially the worst commuter traffic you've ever seen. It could easily take you 3 to 4 hours to travel those 75 miles. Better to find a nice place south of "The City", as San Francisco is often called, in some place like Burlingame or San Mateo for the night. From there you can take the short drive to San Francisco, or over to the coast to Half Moon Bay, or south to Palo Alto for the evening, if you feel up to it, but you can easily get out of the area the next morning, crossing the San Mateo bridge, traveling against the commuter traffic.

    Tioga Pass may be closed, though in the last two years it hasn't closed until late November. However in the previous two years it closed in October so your chances are about 50/50. Ask at your hotel desk - they should be able to find out for you before you leave.

    By not reserving well in advance, you probably won't be able to stay in Yosemite (check for last minute cancellations), but there are alternatives nearby. Since scenery seems to be a focus, you should spend a day in Yosemite Valley and visiting Glacier Point. These are memories that will last a lifetime.

    If Tioga Pass is closed, ask about Highway 108 over Sonora Pass, if that is closed try Highway 4 over Ebbets Pass, and if that is closed try Highway 88 over Carson Pass. Though taking these routes further north will 3 to 4 hours to the trip, you'll still be able to see the scenic eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains, which can be quite spectacular at this time of year.

    Spending time in Yosemite makes visiting Los Angeles almost impossible. Assuming that, and your three days in SF (including the day you leave) the itinerary would look something like this.

    Oct 31 - Fly in, San Francisco
    Nov 1 - Yosemite
    Nov 2 - Yosemite
    Nov 3 - Death Valley
    Nov 4 - Las Vegas
    Nov 5 - Las Vegas
    Nov 7 - Bakersfield or Paso Robles
    Nov 8 - Carmel or Santa Cruz
    Nov 9 - San Francisco
    Nov 9 - San Francisco
    Nov 10 - San Francisco, Fly Home

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