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  1. Default San Francisco, LA, LV, Help!, then San Francisco

    Hi, I've been reading lots of threads on this forum and it is incredibly useful. As a result I have fleshed out my basic roadtrip plan, but have some doubts about the second half of the trip.

    In summary, it's a 14 day road trip, two driver's so we can share the work. The important thing is that we're going in the second two weeks of March 2008, so I know we'll have problems crossing the Sierra Nevada, with the Tioga Pass being closed. Rough itinerary so far:

    Day 1: Arrive San Francisco
    Day 2: Recover from jet lag (we fly from Spain) and sightsee in SF
    Day 3: Head down coastal highway 1, overnight near Monterey/Carmel
    Day 4: Take it slowly down through Big Sur, overnight near San Luis Obispo (is this worth seeing?)
    Day 5: To LA, overnight here
    Day 6: Day in LA, overnight here
    Day 7: To Vegas, overnight here
    Day 8: Do an excursion to Grand Canyon, probably in a light aircraft (just don't have the time/energy to drive all the way out there and back). Overnight LV again.

    Day 9: Here is where the doubts begin: We want to leave Las Vegas to head back to San Francisco, via Death Valley, and would really like to see Yosemite, but reading on here about road closures across the Sierra Nevada (it's in March) it looks like we are going to have to do a big detour to see it, and also a lot of the park will be inaccessible because of snow.

    So the key question is what's the best way of enjoying Days 9 to 11? Is the detour to Yosemite worth it? Or are there other cool places that would be easier to reach? From what I've heard I'm not too bothered about Lake Tahoe for example.

    Ideally we want to arrive back in San Francisco on the night of Day 11 allowing us to spend Days 12 and 13 in SF before flying back first thing on Day 14. But could be willing to get to SF a day later if we get the right plan on the way there.

    Also if anyone has any comments about the general feasibility of the route at that time of year they are very welcome. But the key question is Las Vegas to San Francisco in March. And also is 3 days San Francisco to LA down the coastal highway leisurely or slow?

    Thanking you all in advance for any advice

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    hi there, you are right,the high ground will be closed in march and you will be unable to get through via the tioga pass,so either way you will have to go south around bakersfield/fresno or north towards lake tahoe from death valley. however, with just the valley floor in yosemite accesable it is still worth seeing in my opinion,it is a stunning place to visit. the weather is unpredictable this time of year and temps normally range between 30 and 60 degrees farenhiet but the biggest bonus will be the water falls should be flowing,something i missed in october.
    your trip looks feasable to me but i'm not familiar with the coast road, i'm sure someone else will be along to help.
    while in san fran have you thought about visiting alcatraz,i thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend, have a great trip!
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 02-03-2008 at 11:45 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Nice, reasonable pace

    Quote Originally Posted by davespain View Post
    Day 3: Head down coastal highway 1, overnight near Monterey/Carmel
    A couple of places you ought to know about -- Moss Landing State Beach is a great place to watch sea otters -- they like to form rafts and float around to warm up. Here is what a raft looks like:

    Also right near there is one of the best place for fresh seafood on the coast: It is not fancy -- but really a wonderful treat --
    Day 4: Take it slowly down through Big Sur,
    Be sure to stop and get photos of this magical place:

    Photo by Alvin -- here is where you can find this.
    overnight near San Luis Obispo (is this worth seeing?)
    My choice would be Cayucos, but San Luis Obispo is a nice college town.
    Day 6: Day in LA, overnight here
    A single day in LA is stretching it pretty thin. Here is an overview about visiting LA.
    Day 9: Here is where the doubts begin: We want to leave Las Vegas to head back to San Francisco, via Death Valley, and would really like to see Yosemite, but reading on here about road closures across the Sierra Nevada (it's in March) it looks like we are going to have to do a big detour to see it, and also a lot of the park will be inaccessible because of snow.
    There are other passes -- although your best bet will either US-50 or I-80 at Tahoe. The route north from Death Valley along US-395 is gorgeous, but rather than try and reach Yosemite -- I would spend most of the day in Death Valley and the spend the night in Bishop and cross the Sierras on US-50 and then either follow CA-49 through the Gold Rush country down to Yosemite (which is still awesome in Spring...) or head west and spend a couple of days in the wine country of Sonoma or Napa and then head down to San Francisco.


  4. #4

    Default Southerly Route Option

    You could also take the southerly route from Death Valley to get to

    Possible itinerary that may work. You can make adjustments as

    Day 9
    Las Vegas to Death Valley, explore Death Valley, then drive to
    Ridgecrest to spend the night.

    Day 10
    Ridgecrest to Yosemite Valley (drive will take most of the day). Spend
    the remainder of the day and spend night in Yosemite Valley.

    Day 11
    Explore Yosemite Valley and either spend the night in Yosemite Valley
    or leave Yosemite Valley and drive to SF (~4 hour drive).


  5. #5

    Default SF to LA tips

    Hi i did a similar route to this last year at the exact same time but flew out of vegas, so i can only give you tips between SF and LA and for Vegas itself.

    3 days is plenty of time to get between SF and LA taking a nice leisurely drive down route 1 stopping off at anywhere that takes your fancy for a quick look around.

    Here's some of our highlights:
    San Francisco: The Haite for cool shopping, amoeba records and an awesome burrito! Alcatraz is well worth the visit. but its worth going down the day before and getting a ticket if you can cos it sells out quick.

    SF-Big Sur: Just take it nice and easy down route 1, every corner is a beautiful postcard down this road. there are plenty of "vista points", where you can pull in and take photos and i seem to remember a nice lighthouse.

    We stopped our first night at Deejins Log Cabins at the start of Big Sur. I can say that is a definite must!!!
    Might be worth booking ahead tho.

    Big Sur - San Louis Obispo: Enjoy the scenery and look out for the millions of elephant seals huddled up on the beach.
    Stop off in Cambria for a quick look at Nit Witt Ridge, an entire house made out of junk! If you call the owners in advance theyll even take you on a tour of the inside.
    San Louis Obispo has a couple of cool things Bubblegum Alley is pretty funny.
    As is the crazy Madonna Inn, if you can afford to stay there i would. it was all fully booked when we were passing through so we had to stay in a motel. so we just ate in the steakhouse. You can just go in and have a look around if youre not staying.
    The site doesntreally show how crazy it is inside, but its worth seeing i can guarantee! Also the cakes in there are INSANE!

    LA - The wax works is pretty bad here, and worth going to if you want to laugh at some terrible wax models of celebrities. Drive everywhere its too big to do any walking. The self drive Beverly Hills Homes of the rich and famous is a waste of time, it should be called the Gates and Walls of the rich and famous. We gave up after seein Hugh Heffners gate.

    Vegas - Gamble, if you dont, you wont enjoy it as much. Play the slots play the tables, get as many free drinks as you can (which is a lot!)
    I preferred Fremont to the main resorts, it had more of party atmosphere. But the resorts are well worth checkin out for laugh factor theyre all pretty extreme.
    Also theres a nice little Pinball museum where all the pinball tables cost a quarter.

    I used this site to help me find the weird and wonderful, check it out Road Side America

    We had an amazin time, hope you enjoy yourself.

    Last edited by nickgripton; 02-06-2008 at 04:51 AM. Reason: Typo

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    The English Lake District


    I like San Luis Obispo a lot - but I struggle to pin down exactly what it is that I like so much !
    If you stop on a Thursday night, the centre of town is closed for a really big Farmers Market which is great fun. If you want to blow the budget for a night, the AppleFarm is a a nice place.

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