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  1. Default California Dreaming?

    Hi everyone,

    We're 3 guys from England and we've just booked our flights to Los Angeles in May. We're hiring an RV an plan to drive round California taking in the main cities and attractions. We've got 2 weeks to play with and have nearly got out itinerary set. Our only questions our as follows:-

    - Where would you recommend to stop/ stay over between LA and San Fran (I was thinking Santa Maria or Monterey)

    - Likewise where would you recommend to stop/ stay over between San Fran and Las Vegas. The drives a big one so we think it best to have an overnight stay somewhere (Maybe Death Valley but any suggestions)

    - Finally we plan to drive from the Grand Canyon to San Diego but which would be the most interesting route and where would you recommend to stay over.

    Sorry for all the questions, we know where we want to go but with California being so big we need some help with the in between parts.

    Thanks so much in advance

    Paddy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default That's what we're here for!

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums!

    - Where would you recommend to stop/ stay over between LA and San Fran (I was thinking Santa Maria or Monterey)
    This discussion should give you some good ideas.

    - Likewise where would you recommend to stop/ stay over between San Fran and Las Vegas. The drives a big one so we think it best to have an overnight stay somewhere (Maybe Death Valley but any suggestions)

    - Finally we plan to drive from the Grand Canyon to San Diego but which would be the most interesting route and where would you recommend to stay over.
    These are some of the most common questions we get. There's lots of tips on these forums. Check out the links in this post.

    Sorry for all the questions, we know where we want to go but with California being so big we need some help with the in between parts.
    Yes, it is big. And many Europeans underestimate the distances here and try to pack in way too much. Have a read through those links and get some rough ideas of what you want to do. Then come back here with your ideas so we can advise you on tweaks you need to make to have a fantastic trip.

  3. Default

    Hi Judy and thank you very much for your help. I had a look at those links and it cleared some things up. I've done a draft itinerery which looks like this

    April 30th- Leave Heathrow at 14.25. Arrive LA 21:09
    Stay in a hotel for the night.

    May 1st- Pick up the RV and head north towards San Francisco. Park up around Monterey and stay the night.

    May 2nd- Continue to San Francisco and find an RV site

    May 3rd- Sightseeing in San Francisco

    May 4th- Sightseeing in San Francisco

    May 5th- Leave San Francisco and drive through Yosemite NP parking up somewhere for the night. (Either Stovepipe Wells or Panamint Springs RV parks, does anyone have any experience with these)

    May 6th- Leave Death Valley NP and into Vegas.

    May 7th- Sightseeing in Vegas

    May 8th- Leave Vegas heading toward Grand Canyon

    May 9th- Spend the Day at the Canyon, possible white water rafting or hiking

    May 10th- Leave the Grand Canyon and head for San Diego, stop for the night at the Joshua Tree NP

    May 11th- Sightseeing in San Diego

    May 12th- Leave San Diego, head towards LA

    May 13th- Sight seeing in LA

    May 14th- Flight back to the UK

    We're basically trying to get a good mixture of city living with the great outdoors. I'd ideally like to spend at least 2 days in LA at the end and may reduce the Grand Canyon stay to only 1 night. There'll be 3 of us driving so even though it looks like we're doing alot of mileage per day we'll be able to get a rest.

    Thanks in advance

    Ps. Oh yeah, does anyone know any good steak houses along our route. I'm looking for one of those places with the humongous steaks that you get free if you manage to eat it!! :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default One Minor Flaw

    Rafting trips into the Grand Canyon are multi-day affairs due to the lack of takeout points below Page. You'll not be able to find any single day excursions, so plan on hiking.

    AZBuck

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

    Default Potential problem

    May 5th- Leave San Francisco and drive through Yosemite NP parking up somewhere for the night. (Either Stovepipe Wells or Panamint Springs RV parks, does anyone have any experience with these)

    May 6th- Leave Death Valley NP and into Vegas.
    It's very unlikely that Tioga Pass will be open in early May and that is the quickest way between both points. So you'll probably want an extra day in here in order to have time to enjoy both national parks.

    May 8th- Leave Vegas heading toward Grand Canyon

    May 9th- Spend the Day at the Canyon, possible white water rafting or hiking

    May 10th- Leave the Grand Canyon and head for San Diego, stop for the night at the Joshua Tree NP

    We're basically trying to get a good mixture of city living with the great outdoors. I'd ideally like to spend at least 2 days in LA at the end and may reduce the Grand Canyon stay to only 1 night.
    The best times to be at the GC are dawn and nightfall. So, yeah, you could cut out a night here if you're not planning on doing some serious hiking.

    May 8th - leave Vegas early enough to get to Grand Canyon to watch sunset. If you get there early enough, you can do a bit of sightseeing at the various viewpoints this day.

    May 9th - get up before dawn so you can get to a viewpoint in time to watch sunup. Explore a bit more and leave maybe early afternoon and get a few miles under your belt on the way to San Diego. Stops for the night might be Kingman or Lake Havasu. This will give you more time at Joshua Tree.

    Ps. Oh yeah, does anyone know any good steak houses along our route. I'm looking for one of those places with the humongous steaks that you get free if you manage to eat it!! :)
    The only one I know about is in Amarillo, TX. Sorry, you're not gonna be anywhere close.

  6. Default

    Thanks so much for your help guys.

    I had no idea about the Tioga pass being shut so glad I joined. Which do you guys reckon would be the best then, the 109 then the 395 or south down the 99 from San Fran then across to Death Valley. Not really fussed about driving time but obviously if it's an extra big chunk we'll go the shortest way.

    With regards the Grand Canyon I like your suggestion Judy. I think we'll leave Vegas early and watch both Sunset and Day break before heading of to San Diego.

    We're going to try and see Becks play for the Galaxy on the 10th so will be in LA then but have the option to explore the coast before our flight home.

    I'll do another draft itinerey and run it past you guys.

    Thanks again

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Win a tank of gas for the RV?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddym View Post
    I had no idea about the Tioga pass being shut so glad I joined.
    If you guess correctly about this year's opening date it could pay for some fuel in your RV!
    Which do you guys reckon would be the best then, the 109 then the 395 or south down the 99 from San Fran then across to Death Valley.
    Where did you hear about CA-109? That is about as unlikely a route choice as any I know of. Most professional roadtrippers couldn't even find CA-109! The prettiest route would be US-50 to US-395, but that is either two days of relentless travel or an extremely long day (15+ hours). Driving time from San Francisco to Death Valley via Interstate 5 is about 8 hours.

    Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default probably a typo

    I'd guess she's meant CA-108, since that would be the next closest route over the Sierra to Yosemite. Is that pass open by May? I never know which of the other options over the Sierra tend to open earliest.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Sonora Pass

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I'd guess she's meant CA-108, since that would be the next closest route over the Sierra to Yosemite. Is that pass open by May? I never know which of the other options over the Sierra tend to open earliest.
    I really love Sonora Pass -- but I would not ever recommend someone drive it in a RV unless they are skilled with that size vehicle. That would be a real white knuckle trip (for them and anyone watching them). Sonora does tend to open sooner than Tioga, but US-50 is much easier to drive. Here are some photos of Sonora.....

    Mark

  10. Default

    Hi guys,

    Yeah sorry for the confusion. I did mean the I-108 but if that's a no go then it'll be a toss up between the I-50 then the I-395 or via I-5. Depends on how we feel I guess, we allowed for a lot of flexibility so we'll see.

    Thanks again

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