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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lincolnshire, England
    Posts
    6

    Default So Cal, 26th December - Mid January

    Firstly, let me introduce myself quickly.

    I'm Sawyer Reynolds, have been checking around the site doing some research for an upcoming trip and took the plunge in registering to interact with y'all yesterday!

    Ok, so to the main point of the post - the road tripping!

    I turn 21 on the 26th December this year and this of course allows me to get a rental car from Enterprise (One of, if not the only companies that will rent to under 25s). Unfortunately due to the constraints of work I'm only going to be able to get a maximum of three weeks off of work which will take me until mid-January. I'm not sure on the leaving date, so will just leave it at 'mid' for now and just get some ideas then work out a concrete finishing date soon.

    I'm looking at flying into either LAX or Santa Ana (John Wayne), arriving sometime in the afternoon on the 26th December and picking up the car from there.

    Just to break off slightly, I'm looking at renting an SUV, the price is just slightly more than what it would cost to rent an economy or Intermediate car class. I've been driving for three years, have had no accidents and would consider myself a competent and capable driver (Don't we all though!), so would renting an SUV be advisable, or would you guys recommened something slightly smaller (I've driven automatics before).

    Ok, back to the trip; I have a few friends in and around Newport Beach whom I'll be staying with for a couple of days, then I will be taking off to San Luis Obispo to see another friend. So, my main questions I guess would be:

    1. On the drive up to San Luis Obispo are there any sights I should see/specific routes I should take or anything like that?
    2. Once I'm done in San Luis, I'll be left with a week/week and a half to check things out for myself, so basically, just any suggestions for places to see, roads to take and some general ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    Edit: 3. What are the best chain of motels to be staying at for price and relative comfort. I was thinking Motel6 or Best Western, but any experiences again would be appreciated.

    Apologies for the long-winded post, we got there in the end!

    Cheers,
    Sawyer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,472

    Default 10 Days on the road?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sawyer Reynolds View Post
    ... then I will be taking off to San Luis Obispo to see another friend.
    OK -- so it sounds like you are planning a road trip of about ten days, starting in Newport Beach via San Luis Obispo and then returning to either LAX or Orange County airport? Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! With respect to the kind of car -- SUVs make fine road tripping cars, but I think you might find an intermediate to be more useful and certainly less expensive to drive.
    1. On the drive up to San Luis Obispo are there any sights I should see/specific routes I should take or anything like that?
    Well, LA is on that route -- and there are some pretty amazing places in Los Angeles. Here is a great overview for planning on how to "see" LA. [On these links, be sure to scroll through the entire thread -- most of them have content that will affect your entire planned trip] Oh, and congrats on reaching 21 years old....

    When you leave Santa Monica, you could drive north on CA-1, past Malibu and all of the exclusive beach communities.

    LA is still in the middle of dramatic drought, but I have always enjoyed stopping at Nojoqui Falls and you might also like to wander around Solvang a bit.
    2. Once I'm done in San Luis, I'll be left with a week/week and a half to check things out for myself, so basically, just any suggestions for places to see, roads to take and some general ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    Well, you will have to share a little more about what kinds of places interest you. Be sure to check out this yucky spot! And here are some ideas about great BBQ in San Luis! But you could certainly drive the Big Sur Coast (CA-1) -- here are some memorable beach places along that route and here is a must-see-no-question-about-it-kind-of-place.

    Your timing would be good to drive up to Monterey (see the aquarium) and out to Natural Bridge State Park to see the Monarch butterfly migration. On your way -- be sure to stop at Moss Landing (some of the best seafood in California) and then a tour of the western slope of the Sierra Nevadas (Yosemite, the Gold Country and Giant Sequoia National Monument) before zipping back to your flight home. Here are some more ideas about possible routes for you.

    Any of the routes, described in the links above could take up your entire trip!

    Enjoy the planning!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-12-2007 at 09:05 AM. Reason: added navigation suggestion

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lincolnshire, England
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thanks for the prompt and detailed reply, Mark.

    To answer a few of your questions.

    OK -- so it sounds like you are planning a road trip of about ten days, starting in Newport Beach via San Luis Obispo and then returning to either LAX or Orange County airport? Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! With respect to the kind of car -- SUVs make fine road tripping cars, but I think you might find an intermediate to be more useful and certainly less expensive to drive.
    That's correct. I've heard some pretty horrific things about LAX with regards to being busy and slow and generally annoying to navigate around; but one plus it has over Orange County would be that it would be a direct flight, rather than having to connect somewhere.

    With regards to the car again, expensive isn't too much of a concern really. Obviously, I don't want to be paying solid gold for things! But generally, I have a decent sized budget, plus this is the country where our fuel costs $10/gallon! Anything cheaper than that, even if they do guzzle the stuff, is a bonus! And I will be travelling alone though, so the size of a smaller car wouldn't be an issue, definitely something I'll look into, thanks.

    Well, you will have to share a little more about what kinds of places interest you. Be sure to check out this yucky spot! But you could certainly drive the Big Sur Coast (CA-1) -- here are some memorable beach places along that route and here is a must-see-no-question-about-it-kind-of-place.
    I'm generally a very easy person to please, everything interests me. I'm a keen photographer so I enjoy the scenic and nature side of things just as much as I like cities and suburbs, so really I'm open to any and all suggestions, and appreciate the input so far!
    Last edited by Sawyer Reynolds; 10-12-2007 at 09:05 AM. Reason: Spelling/Punctuation

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,472

    Default Less busy than Lincolnshire, probably

    Quote Originally Posted by Sawyer Reynolds View Post
    That's correct. I've heard some pretty horrific things about LAX with regards to being busy and slow and generally annoying to navigate around;
    LA is one of the largest cities in the world -- and, yes there is a lot of traffic, but it is still a fun place to visit. The airport is actually pretty easy to navigate around. But patience is not only a virtue -- it is a required skill when using LAX.
    plus this is the country where our fuel costs $10/gallon! Anything cheaper than that, even if they do guzzle the stuff, is a bonus!
    Very true, I would suggest you rent whatever size car appeals to you.

    Lots of scenery in this part of the world. -- December is often clear with clean light on the west coast -- it can also be rainy and stormy. But such storms just create dramatic light opportunites for photographers. If you read all of those links -- (it will take about 45 minutes to read all of them) you will have lots of ideas to sally forth with).

    Here is a thread with some discussion about SUVs for road trips. And you might enjoy reading about some of the stuff we carry in our roadtripping rides here. I am going to publish a new article with photos later in the year.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-12-2007 at 09:17 AM. Reason: added a link or two

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,840

    Default Check the fine print

    Quote Originally Posted by Sawyer Reynolds View Post
    Just to break off slightly, I'm looking at renting an SUV, the price is just slightly more than what it would cost to rent an economy or Intermediate car class.
    Just a word of warning, while Enterprise will let people between 21-24 rent their cars, typically with a extra fee of around $10-20 per day, they often put restrictions on what kind of cars they can rent. Typically, they do not allow younger renters to rent anything considered a "premium" car, which includes convertables, Luxury cars, and SUVs.

    There's nothing wrong with renting an SUV, I'd just check the fine print to see if its an option that actually will work for you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lincolnshire, England
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thanks for the heads up, Michael. I have gone through the booking process and it showed what kind of cars would be available to me and my age group. The only unavailable class was 'Luxury' but I'll give the office a ring and double check to save any frustration.

    Thanks again.

  7. #7

    Default A couple of random suggestions

    Hello Sawyer..

    For a few places you might enjoy...

    If you're in Newport Beach with friends, you might check out these places -- pretty close to there.

    - Laguna Beach. Artists community from 15-30 minutes from Newport.
    - Crystal Cove State Beach. One of my favorite beaches in the OC.
    - Huntington Beach. Aka "Surf City" (although Santa Cruz also claims that name).
    - Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm. (Amusement parks...)
    - San Juan Capistrano Mission (one of the more famous of the old California Missions)

    If you're got time for a day trip from Newport Beach in the LA area there are a couple of interesting places to explore. If you can convince your friends to come along, they can probably add some more interesting places
    - Olvera Street (Downtown LA -- the original street settled by the Spanish Settlers in LA.)
    - Hollywood (busy and very urban these days, but can be interesting to visit. Home of the music and film and TV industry.)
    - Angeles Crest Highway/ Mt Wilson. There are mountains up to 10,000'+ on two sides of LA. Angeles Crest is a nice mountain highway which goes up into the mountains, past the Mt Wilson observatory area. Interesting photography of mountains, and possibly snow in the area. Mt Baldy has a chair lift up and a small ski area, with a day hike to the summit (10,500') -- but not a hike to do with snow on the ground.

    North of LA your simplest path route would to be go north on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway -- or "Coast Highway"). It's possible to take it all the way from Newport Beach to San Francisco and beyond, but its a slow route through LA since its a city street most of the distance through LA. North of LA, good places to visit might include
    - Jalama Beach (near Lompoc, and about 14 miles off PCH -- isolated semi-wild beach, but good road access)
    - Santa Barbara (Mission, university, and nice town)
    - San Ynez/ Solvang (Danish commuity, wine area, good food)
    - Pismo Beach (sand dunes)
    - San Simeon/ Hearst Castle
    - Elephant Seal Colony at Pedros Blancas
    - scenic drive up through Big Sur
    - Carmel, and the 17-mile drive
    - Monterey (bay, Steinbeck's Cannery Row, Aquarium)
    - Santa Cruz (boardwalk, surfing, university -- nice town)
    - San Francisco (urban area, but cable cars, fisherman's wharf, Alcatraz, Golden Gate...)

    And then on the way back, you have your choice of Sacramento (historical california, gold country etc), or down the central valley (agriculture, food, wine), or along the western slope of the Sierras (Yosemite, Sequoia national parks).

    Unless you're in the middle of a set of storms, you won't see snow anywhere on this route, unless its in the Sierras

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lincolnshire, England
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thanks for the information Larrison!

    I've actually been to Laguna and Huntington Beach before and it's part of what initially inspired me to pick California as a place to get my road trip sorted. Coming down from Newport/Costa Mesa on PCH, just as you're getting towards Laguna and you come over a crest and there's the ocean, small little beach area and a cliff edge. Beautiful stuff.


    The rest are great suggestions and I appreciate it a lot, definitely giving me plenty of fodder and ideas to mull over.

    Cheers,
    Sawyer

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lincolnshire, England
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who contributed to my questions and gave me some excellent information. I've booked the holiday, and will be around from the 26th December to the 13th January. With this being my first time driving around in America properly I've opted not to stretch myself too much and have thrown in a trip to Vegas for a few nights and up to San Luis Obispo. I might decide to head further afield if I see anything of interest out there and have the time to make good on it without rushing!

    But yes, thanks for all the information, it is appreciated!

    Now alls I need is to sort out the music I'm going to take!

    Regards,
    Sawyer

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Well now...

    if you are going to Las Vegas too...

    Hi, Sawyer. Welcome aboard.

    ...if you are driving from SLO (San Luis Obispo, but you'll see SLO on just about everything) to Las Vegas, or the other way around, take the route through Death Valley and past Lake Isabella. Much more scenic than I-40. Also note that you'll be crossing the San Andreas Faultline (famous for causing the 1906 San Francisco earthquake). Take a look at the terrain on Google Maps and you'll be amazed at the crease in the earth's crust in that area.

    Besides SLO, which is a very nice town, we particularly like Santa Barbara. Great architecture, shops, scenery, museums, historic mission and lots of beautiful people. Just a fun place to relax and soak in the best of Southern California coastal culture.

    Have a great time, and Happy Birthday (my brother's B'day is also 12/26)

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

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