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  1. Default San Fran-Napa Valley-Yosemite-Vegas-LA-Palm Springs-San Diego

    Hi Peeps,

    I have been recommended to post over here from the MoneySavingExpert.com forums as there is a wealth of knowledge.

    Basically we are booked to travel from Manchester UK - San Fran and back from 29th April 2009 until 14th May 2009. Flights Done!

    We have grafted out a itinery inbetween that we think is pretty good but wandered if anyone could give any local advice or knowledge!

    The idea is as follows:

    1) Fly to San Fran @ 17:00 Pick up Car and Stay @ Family near San Fran

    2) Drive to Napa Valley (3hrs)
    Stay in Calistoga (suggested as a good base??)

    3) Stay in Napa Valley/Calistoga

    4) Drive to Mariposa/Yosemite (3hrs) - Be Told the Blue Butterfly Inn is lovely
    Stay in Mariposa/Yosemite

    5) Stay in Mariposa/Yosemite - Blue Butterly Inn

    6) Drive to Death Valley (7hrs) - Hear is a problem though - the Tioga Pass Road will likely be shut very early May? What is the best way round from Yosemite to Death Valley? Via the North Road presumably? Any adivce?

    Stay in Death Valley - Probably Furnace Creek??

    7) Drive to Vegas (3hrs)
    Stay in Vegas and Ditch the Car

    8) Stay in Vegas

    9) Stay in Vegas

    10) Fly out of Vegas to LA - Pick up Car
    Stay in LA Near Universal Studios

    11) Universal Studios Theme Park
    Stay in LA

    12) Six Flags theme Park
    Stay in LA

    13) Travel to Palm Desert
    Stay in Palm Desert

    14) Travel to San Diego
    Saty in San Diego

    15) Stay in San Diego

    16) Fly from San Diego to San Francisco early morning for flights booked from San Francisco to Manchester (unfortuantly San Fran home trip is already booked so can't change it to San Diego - Manc)

    any advice people could give.....

    We have alreayd done the GC and Vegas before (loved it) and the hoover dam, and Alcatraz and all down the coast until Monteray and Carmel.

    Cheers

    Rich

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default A few things

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've stumbled upon the most talked about trip on this forum. These theads are some of our favorites and should give you a good bit of background knowledge about the route.

    Now regarding your specific plans, You are right that Tioga will almost certainly be closed in early May. I'm not really sure what road you are referring to when you say you are thinking of using the "North Road," but there will likely be only 2 basic options. One would be to go north and cross the Sierras via US-50 into Lake Tahoe. The faster option would be to go south, all the way to Bakersfield, cross the mountains and then go back north to Death Valley. In either case you will be looking needing to set aside basically a full day for the trip.

    One other aspect of your trip doesn't really make sense to me. Dropping your car off in Vegas and then flying to LA, especially when you are planning to continue driving onto Palm Springs and San Diego, doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

    The drive from Vegas to LA is about 5 hours, but by the time you drop off your rental car, go through security, take the actual flight, reclaim your bags, and rent another car, you really won't have saved any time. You will have a lot of extra expenses, since you'll now be paying 2 different car rental drop fees, plus your plane ticket from LAS to LAX.

    On top of that, if you are planning to visit Palm Springs anyway, if you drive from Vegas directly to Palm Springs and then onto San Diego and Los Angeles, you'd actually save quite a bit of time by doing less backtracking compared to your current plan.

    One final thought, if you have to fly out of San Francisco anyway, you might look at cutting out some of your time in southern california and spend two days driving up the coast instead. The coast south of Carmel/Monterey is pretty amazing and well worth the trip, plus you'd again be saving quite a bit of money by making your car rental a round trip and again not having to pay airfare for the trip north.

  3. #3

    Default Keep it simple……

    Comes down to personal choice in the end but there are alternative routes which can be considered. To cut out the hassle of internal flights and car changes, which does take up time and adds to the cost, here is one to consider.

    San Francisco.

    Napa

    South Lake Tahoe.

    Death Valley (Via route 359)

    Las Vegas.

    Palm Springs / Palm Desert.

    Los Angeles (Give San Diego a miss on this occasion)

    Yosemite

    San Francisco.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-27-2008 at 09:53 AM. Reason: All bold ramoved - shouting

  4. Default

    Try this for another itinery! Taken out flying from Vegas to LA as its a bit pointless and double backing on ourself. Have also removed NAPA as feel we could loose this at the moment.

    Cheers for the heads up on Sat NAv...I already have the USa maps and a PDA with TOMTOM, so as long as USA cars have a 12volt ciggie lighter im quids in on that front

    1) Fly to San Fran @ 17:00 Pick up Car and Stay @ Family near San Fran (45 miles)

    2) Drive to Yosemite, Blue Butterly Inn (3hrs) (162 Miles)

    3) Stay in Yosemite, Blue Butterfly Inn

    4) Drive to Lake Isabella (5Hrs) (248 Miles)

    Stay at Lake Isabella

    5) Drive to Death Valley (4Hrs) (189 Miles)

    Stay at Furnace Creek Ranch (?)

    6) Drive to Las Vegas (4Hrs) (118 Miles) Probably Luxor

    Stay in Las Vegas

    7) Stay in Las Vegas, Luxor

    8) Stay in Las Vegas, Luxor

    9) Stay in Las Vegas, Luxor

    10) Drive to Palm Dessert - (6Hrs) (286 Miles)

    Stay in Palm Dessert - Embassy Suite

    11) Drive to San Diego - (3Hrs) (155 Miles)

    Stay in San Diego - The Old Inn

    12) Stay in San Diego - Sea World - The Old Inn

    13) Travel to North LA - (4Hrs) (137 Miles)

    Stay in LA

    14) Universal Studios

    Stay in LA

    15) Six Flags Theme Park

    Stay in LA

    16) Drive from North LA to LA Airport (45 Miles) Fly from LA to San Francisco early morning for flights booked from San Francisco to Manchester (unfortuantly San Fran home trip is already booked so can't change it to LA - Manc)

    Total Miles - 1400Approx

    What do people think of that revised itinery......there is some great info on those threads that you have posted so will look indepth in to these when we have decided that basic layout. Take on board the point of the flight from LV to LA so have put this as driving..

    Are there nice places to stay at Lake Isabella? Or is it better to stay at Bakersfield?

    Another question is how many miles to a tank is a Dodge Charger (or similiar car) going to get us do you think? and how much at present is it to fill a car of this proportion?

    Cheers so far, great information and help! Appreciated!!!

    Rich

    Total Miles - Approx 1400

    Car hire for a Dodge Charger about £275 for 15 nights.
    Last edited by funkyfin2000; 08-25-2008 at 11:27 AM.

  5. Default Hotel/B+B recommendations

    Hi All,

    We are taking a road trip next April/May 2009.

    Has anyone got any recommendations for some nice accomodation in the Lake Isabella area? I've done some research and hotels/B+B's/Motels are thin on the ground and most don't have many or any reviews.

    Anyone have any experience of any, its only to lay our head for one night so just needs to be clean and between 2-3* i suppose :)

    Also we are looking to stay at Blue Butteryfly Inn @ Yosemite, anyone stayed there before?

    Death Valley - we will stay at the Furnace Creek Ranch! So any experiences greatly appreciated!

    Many thanks

    Rich
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 08-27-2008 at 06:59 AM. Reason: Merged - Please Do Not Create Multiple Threads About the Same Trip

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    Hi there,
    Although I haven't stayed there personally I have heard nothing but good things regarding Mc Nallys fairview lodge for rustic accommodation and the best steaks around. It lies just outside Kernville.

    It looks like a nice itinerary you have although I would allow extra time for parts of your journey. Expect closer to 5 hours from San Fran to Yosemite for example, and don't forget there's a lot to see in between A and B so expect to be stopping plenty.

    If you have the time then detouring over the mountain road nr Portersville onto the 190 through camp Nelson and Quaken Aspen and on to Johnsondale [passing the Trial of 100 giants, a very quiet path of Sequioas]and down the Kern valley into Kernville is well worth the effort in my opinion, a fantastic and peacefull drive.

    Furnace creek ranch and inn are very popular overnight stops and you shouldn't have any problems, fascinating place.

    Unless there is anything else you need [just ask] have a great trip !

  7. Default

    Thanks for that info Dave and that place looks just perfect to stay!!! 40oz steaks! My God! :S

    I was just looking at that route as well, rather like that, as it drops us nicely into the kernville area......for Lake Isabella...and we could go round the lake the next day and then hop on to Death Valley!

    Thanks for the confirmation its a good trip, i was hoping someone would say it looks good.....i understand about the trip length, as we will be stopping along the way and some of the roads will be twisty and slow! :)

    Will detail our routes more in a few weeks as we decide exactly the way will be going..
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-30-2008 at 03:07 PM.

  8. Default

    guys...

    quick question....

    i have read a lot of bad reviews about furnace creek ranch...

    are there any other options in Death Creek?

    We will be driving from Lake Isabella across, which will take almost the whole day, i expect to land in Furnace Creek about 5pm ish then stay overnight....and then leave in the morning....willthe ranch be ok for just 1 night? i knows it not luxury but the reviews are terrible at the moment for it..

    can anyone reassure me, or give me any other options?

    The Inn is 305$ to stay for the night, this is a little pricey!

    The motel/ranch is only 135$.

    Rich

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

    Default The Ranch is a basic motel

    Quote Originally Posted by funkyfin2000 View Post
    i have read a lot of bad reviews about furnace creek ranch...
    That's just weird -- the Ranch is a basic motel and it's pretty hard to beat the location -- I haven't seen the "bad" reviews but you gotta use a little judgment when reading opinions about lodging.
    are there any other options in Furnace Creek?The Inn is 305$ to stay for the night, this is a little pricey!
    No, those are the two lodging choices -- other than camping, of course. The Furnace Creek Inn, is one of my favorite inns in the world.... Yes, it's pricey -- but worth every cent in my view. The gardens have to been seen to believed.
    We will be driving from Lake Isabella across, which will take almost the whole day, i expect to land in Furnace Creek about 5pm ish then stay overnight....and then leave in the morning....
    It doesn't take all day to drive from Lake Isabella to Furnace Creek -- or at least, it doesn't have to. For more budget-minded accomodations -- consider the motel at Panamint Springs or you can push to Pahrump and stay at one of the motels. Seriously, though wouldn't you want the opportunity to stay at Furnace Creek?

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    That's just weird -- the Ranch is a basic motel and it's pretty hard to beat the location -- I haven't seen the "bad" reviews but you gotta use a little judgment when reading opinions about lodging.
    No, those are the two lodging choices -- other than camping, of course. The Furnace Creek Inn, is one of my favorite inns in the world.... Yes, it's pricey -- but worth every cent in my view. The gardens have to been seen to believed.
    It doesn't take all day to drive from Lake Isabella to Furnace Creek -- or at least, it doesn't have to. For more budget-minded accomodations -- consider the motel at Panamint Springs or you can push to Pahrump and stay at one of the motels. Seriously, though wouldn't you want the opportunity to stay at Furnace Creek?

    Bad reviews appear to be on trip advisor, although it doesn't seem to seperate the inn or ranch. I think we will probably arrive late and go early and do the site seeing in the evening...at the furnace creek, presume plenty to do of an evening...

    what kind of temp will it be there in early May? 100's?

    I reckon we would use the motel, and just risk it, if you have a dirty room i suppose you just ask to move.....or have it cleaned.....

    we will get it booked...

    i think next question will be the route from Furnace Creek to Las Vegas, we will be taking it over a day and wander whats the nicest or best route to take?

    Rich

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