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  1. Default West coast trip LA SFO LV

    We are an Uruguayan couple that will spend 10 days in the West coast.

    We will arrive to LA on Nov. 2 at night and returning on Nov 12 from LA at night again.

    We think to rent a car for the stay and drive north through the 101, that we heard is a great trip, and getting to San Francisco spending 2 or 3 nights there-

    From SF we want to visit Yosemite and from there to Las Vegas, maybe stopping somwhere between.

    From Vegas to the Grand Canyon and then back to Las Vegas and back to Los Angeles.

    Now the questions.

    1- How much time is worth each leg, or at least how much time must we take to do them?

    2- What routes are the best to acomplish my goals?

    3- Where to stay, if we must do any leg in two days?

    4-What's the best part of the Grand Cannyon?

    5- Is it wise to do it driving?

    6- What attractions are worth stopping and which are not? we have just 10 days for the whole trip.

    That's almost all.

    Thanks for your help.

    Jacnor

  2. Default

    Jacnor

    Your trip is similar to the first one I did in the USA and it's brilliant. Ideally I'd drive down from San Francisco to LA rather than up - because that gets you on the coast side of the road and improves your view of the spectacular coastline.

    You should spend a minimum of 2 days to drive up the coast - making sure you look in on Santa Barbara, Hearst Castle, Carmel, Monterey and the 17 mile drive (Pebble Beach).

    San Francisco is worth a couple of days - I preferred the area around Fisherman's Wharf - plenty to do around there.

    Easy Drive across to Yosemite - try and stay in the park if you can - it's an hours drive in an out otherwise.

    Yosemite to Vegas is too much for one day - minimum two days. Make sure you visit Death Valley on the way - it's awesome.

    A couple of nights in Vegas is fun - you don't really need anymore. It's a good drive (but not difficult) across to the South Rim of the Canyon - take in Hoover Dam on your way.

    A day looking at the canyon, maybe do a short section of the rim trail and visit the main viewpoints - if you're in luck you may spot some Condors flying over the Canyon.

    Grand Canyon to LA is also a big drive in one day - it's worth making a stopover. If possible go via Sedona - it's a little longer but well worthwhile.

    It's gonna be a push to do the whole trip in 10 days - not impossible but you may have to compromise and not stay more than a night in SF and Vegas and, or, do one of the long legs in one day. I wouldn't leave that one until last, just in case - it might make it a little stressful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default A couple of notes...

    ...for clarification.

    You said Highway 101 north to San Francisco. That highway doen't take you along the coast. Highway 1 is the coastal road. I agree that you want to do at least part of the coastal highway, though it can be a long, rather slow and tiring road to drive if you aren't used to lots of turns. The scenery is worth it, though.

    To get from Yosemite to Las Vegas you may have to go south to Bakersfield. Highway 120 across Tioga Pass may be closed by early November, but it may not. If it is closed, you may loose too much time by driving through Death Valley. If it is open, you should definately drive throught Death Valley, even if you only stop for scenic pullouts.

    Assuming you leave bright and early on the 3rd, your overnights could look like this:

    3rd - Carmel
    4th - San Francisco
    5th - San Francisco
    6th - San Francisco
    7th - Yosemite Valley (get reservations now!)
    8th - Bakersfield
    9th - Las Vegas
    10th - Grand Canyon
    11th - Palm Springs

    With this plan you really only have a day and a half in San Francisco, which is enough to get a good feel for the city. Try to budget as much time as possible in Yosemite and Grand Canyon. Unless you are big fans of cities, these may be the highlights of the trip.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  4. Default Thank you both

    Thanks for your quick and helpful reply.

    I will check them and probably have another questions.

    Thanks again

  5. Default

    Thanks again for your attention to my post, you are very helpfull
    ..for clarification.
    You said Highway 101 north to San Francisco. That highway doen't take you along the coast. Highway 1 is the coastal road. I agree that you want to do at least part of the coastal highway, though it can be a long, rather slow and tiring road to drive if you aren't used to lots of turns. The scenery is worth it, though.
    You are right, I was thinking about the coastal road
    To get from Yosemite to Las Vegas you may have to go south to Bakersfield. Highway 120 across Tioga Pass may be closed by early November, but it may not. If it is closed, you may loose too much time by driving through Death Valley. If it is open, you should definately drive throught Death Valley, even if you only stop for scenic pullouts.
    If tioga Pass is open, I go through Death Valley, but I must spend a night somewhere between Yosemite and Las Vegas or I can do it in one leg? What the best route to cross the Death Valley from Yosemite and then to LAs Vegas, is it 95 or 395 or some other?
    Assuming you leave bright and early on the 3rd, your overnights could look like this:

    3rd - Carmel
    4th - San Francisco
    5th - San Francisco
    6th - San Francisco
    7th - Yosemite Valley (get reservations now!)
    8th - Bakersfield
    9th - Las Vegas
    10th - Grand Canyon
    11th - Palm Springs

    With this plan you really only have a day and a half in San Francisco, which is enough to get a good feel for the city. Try to budget as much time as possible in Yosemite and Grand Canyon. Unless you are big fans of cities, these may be the highlights of the trip.
    I think with this plan I have 2 and a half day in San Francisco, I like that, because people told me that is a wonderful city to visit, at the end I'll see if I have time or not to do that.

    I plan to spend the night after the Grand Canyon in Las Vegas, is it realistic?
    And the next day to Los Angeles, having the night there and the next day, do you agree?
    I am using Craig post, because is perfect to`post my doubts, but please I will be glad to get the ideas from both, and from anybody else

    You don't know how important is for us to have experts help, this way we can get the most of our trip, so thank you again for your time and kindness
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-25-2007 at 08:05 AM. Reason: navigation for clarity

  6. Default Some more help needed

    Thanks again for your attention to my post, you are very helpfull
    ..for clarification.
    You said Highway 101 north to San Francisco. That highway doen't take you along the coast. Highway 1 is the coastal road. I agree that you want to do at least part of the coastal highway, though it can be a long, rather slow and tiring road to drive if you aren't used to lots of turns. The scenery is worth it, though.
    You are right, I was thinking about the coastal road
    To get from Yosemite to Las Vegas you may have to go south to Bakersfield. Highway 120 across Tioga Pass may be closed by early November, but it may not. If it is closed, you may loose too much time by driving through Death Valley. If it is open, you should definately drive throught Death Valley, even if you only stop for scenic pullouts.
    If tioga Pass is open, I go through Death Valley, but I must spend a night somewhere between Yosemite and Las Vegas or I can do it in one leg? What the best route to cross the Death Valley from Yosemite and then to LAs Vegas, is it 95 or 395 or some other?
    Assuming you leave bright and early on the 3rd, your overnights could look like this:

    3rd - Carmel
    4th - San Francisco
    5th - San Francisco
    6th - San Francisco
    7th - Yosemite Valley (get reservations now!)
    8th - Bakersfield
    9th - Las Vegas
    10th - Grand Canyon
    11th - Palm Springs

    With this plan you really only have a day and a half in San Francisco, which is enough to get a good feel for the city. Try to budget as much time as possible in Yosemite and Grand Canyon. Unless you are big fans of cities, these may be the highlights of the trip.
    I think with this plan I have 2 and a half day in San Francisco, I like that, because people told me that is a wonderful city to visit, at the end I'll see if I have time or not to do that.

    I plan to spend the night after the Grand Canyon in Las Vegas, is it realistic?
    And the next day to Los Angeles, having the night there and the next day, do you agree?
    I am using Craig post, because is perfect to`post my doubts, but please I will be glad to get the ideas from both, and from anybody else
    You don't know how important is for us to have experts help, this way we can get the most of our trip, so thank you again for your time and kindness
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-01-2007 at 12:24 PM. Reason: format for clarity

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Further comment

    Hello again,
    You are right, I was thinking about the coastal road
    You'll have to decide where you want to spend your time. Google Maps says the difference between taking Hwy 1 and Hwy 101 between Santa Barbara and Carmel is only about 40 minutes. Frankly, I doubt that. From a practical standpoint, with all the slow turns, pullouts and such, it must be more like a 2 hour difference. Still, I would recommend Hwy 1 at least as far as Castroville. From there you can continue up the coast, or you can head on up 101 to San Jose and San Francisco. The coastal route being slower by half an hour, unless you hit traffic on the freeways.
    If Tioga Pass is open, I go through Death Valley, but I must spend a night somewhere between Yosemite and Las Vegas or I can do it in one leg?
    If you can, I'd suggest staying in the park. There are motels at Stovepipe Wells and at Furnace Creek, and there is a fancy hotel also at Furnace Creek if you want to spend some big bucks. I'd say take Hwy 395 to Lone Pine, then Hwy 136 to 190 to Death Valley. You can do it in one very long leg, but Death Valley is unique and you should spend a little time there exploring the side roads as well as the main highway.
    I think with this plan I have 2 and a half day in San Francisco, I like that, because people told me that is a wonderful city to visit, at the end I'll see if I have time or not to do that.
    The reason I said 1 and a half days is that you leave Carmel in the morning and drive 2-3 hours to San Francisco, check in to your hotel, have lunch, and you have about a half a day left. Then you have the next full day, then the next morning you need to be drivng 4-5 hours to Yosemite so you have some time there. The next day you are driving 3-4 hours to Bakersfield (or 8-9 hours all the way to Las Vegas) or 5-6 hours to Death Valley. These are approximate times, and you can certainly play with them a little bit to get more time one place or another.
    I plan to spend the night after the Grand Canyon in Las Vegas, is it realistic? And the next day to Los Angeles, having the night there and the next day, do you agree?
    Sure. Las Vegas is closer than Palm Springs so if you prefer, LV would be fine. LV to LA is between 5 and 6 hours.

    Given that all plans go arwy once in a while, it looks like you have an itinerary that will provide some quality time at each place, and some wiggle room for situations when things don't go exactly as planned.

    Have fun,

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-01-2007 at 12:30 PM. Reason: format for clarity & added link to Furnace Creek Inn article

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