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  1. #1

    Default Vancouver to LA via San Fran and Grand Canyon

    Just found this website and it looks very useful!

    I would appreciate some advice for a road trip I am planning. We (my wife and I) will fly to Vancouver then drive along the coastal road (where feasible) to San Francisco, then on to LA as a final destination via the Grand Canyon.

    We have two weeks (in June) and so far have alloted the time like this;

    Stay in Vancouver - 2 days
    Drive to San Fran (via coastal road - if recommended)
    Stay in San Fran - 2 days
    Drive to Grand Canyon
    Stay at Grand Canyon 1 or 2 days?
    Drive to LA (via Hoover Dam)
    LA - 1 day
    Fly home

    I have heard that Crater Lake is worth a visit, as is Yosemite National Park, Mono Lake, Sequoia NP and Death Valley NP.

    My questions are;
    1.Is this too much to attempt in 12 days driving?
    2. Have I missed out any other areas of interest or should I swap some of my above list for some other recommendation?
    3. Is the coastal road to San Fran worth the effort?
    4. Any safety advice?
    5. Any other thoughts in general

    We are a couple of Brits but have lived in the US for a while and are used to the roads etc. We will have a GPS with us too.

    Many thanks for your suggestions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Tight but Doable

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    What you have laid out is barely feasible. I count six days that you've planned to be not driving, and the remaining six days is just enough time to do the driving you want to do. Plan on it taking a good 3 days to get to San Francisco if you stay on the coast the whole way, another day to get to and see Yosemite, another (5) to get to the Grand Canyon and your sixth and last to get to Los Angeles. But actually that is good news. The fact is that you've built plenty of down time into your schedule, and none of your driving days require real marathon sessions. Just be aware that you are starting to get a little stretch in your rubber band. Especially on the drive from Vancouver to San Francisco, pay attention to how many miles you've covered and how many you still have to go. You don't want to get behind the curve early. The beauty of your route is that if you do start to fall behind you can get off the coast at pretty much any point, head inland, get on the motorway (I-5) and hustle to San Francisco to get back on schedule. You'll then have a better idea of the pace that's comfortable for you and can adjust the later part of your route if need be. My only other piece of advice is to get a good map or atlas. GPS is nice, but if you really want a synoptic view of your route and alternatives, get a good map or atlas.

    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks AZBuck!

    You're right, it is a tight schedule. I'm trying to persuade my wife that we have 14 days on the road instead of 12. However, I have just spotted a mistake that I made after reading your post, I kept putting LA as a final destination instead of LV (Las Vegas)! Duh!

    I suspect this will make the timing a little easier with less mileage to cover!

    Thanks for the tip about a good map. Any recommendations?

    Cheers!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default I pretty much agree with Buck's assessment of your trip

    Yes, leaving from LV instead of LA will cut out about 5-6 hours of driving that day. That does make a big difference and allows you time to enjoy LV more.

    I have heard that Crater Lake is worth a visit, as is Yosemite National Park, Mono Lake, Sequoia NP and Death Valley NP.
    Yes, they are. But I see no way that you'll have time to add them to your trip unless you add days.

    1.Is this too much to attempt in 12 days driving?
    Heed AZBuck's recommendations here and you should be fine. You won't have time to linger too long but you should be able to see the highlights of everything just fine.

    2. Have I missed out any other areas of interest or should I swap some of my above list for some other recommendation?
    YOu don't really have time to add much but there is one place along your route that I think it would be a huge shame to miss. In Washington state, between Seattle and Portland, is Mt. St. Helens. I'm sure you've heard of the eruption in 1980? At Castle Rock, WA, you can take an exit off of I-5 that will take you about an hour to drive to get to the Johnston Ridge Visitor Center. Plan a couple hours there to enjoy the exhibits and a couple short hikes to look into the crater and to observe the devestation for a few different viewpoints. This is one of the most amazing places because the destruction the blast caused is a sight to behold. And so is the fact that nature is slowly renewing itself....another sight to behold, in my opinion.

    You could drive down I-5 from Vancouver, through Seattle, to Longview/Kelso, WA. From there are a couple of options to get to the Oregon Coast to continue your trip (WA-4 or OR-30).

    3. Is the coastal road to San Fran worth the effort?
    The Oregon/Nor-Cal coast is one of the most amazing drives I have ever taken. Very well worth the effort.

    4. Any safety advice?
    If you're talking driving safety, just be aware that the coastal drive is hilly and has lots of curves. Especially the Nor-Cal portion. Just don't try to drive faster than the roads are meant for. And be wary of trying to pass anybody unless you have very good visibility ahead and are positive that the road is long enough for you to get past before the next curve.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Oops....maps!

    Please check out our recommendations here!

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks for that Judy.

    I had considered Mt St. Helens and I will definitely now make a point of stopping there. I think I will drop one or two of the national parks and perhaps just stick to Yosemite.

    Thanks again.

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