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  1. #1

    Default 3 week roadtrip in April

    Hi there.

    I just joined this forum as it seems to have some well informed users :)

    Me and my girlfriend are planning a road trip in april the 9th to the 27th.

    Our first plan was to start from L.A and head to San Diego, then Vegas, and then some way to San Francisco and then back to L.A.

    However we would like to avoid cold areas, especially snow.
    I have read that the way from Vegas to SF over the Sierra would have snow.
    Lake Tahoe seems to have snow too in april.

    Then I read about a trip (here - post 3) from Vegas to San Diego and that sounded like a good trip.

    So maybe we should go from L.A to Vegas, then San Diego and then SF and back to L.A ?
    Advise would be nice, or other suggestions.

    Grand Canyon/Yosemite is not a must as we have been there before.
    Highway 1 can be avoided too as we took that trip 2 years ago in september.

    Death Valley we have driven thru from Beatty.
    But I think there is still much to see.

    We talked about going from Las Vegas to Zion on a day trip.
    Also Extra Terrestrial highway looks fun.
    In SF we would go to Muir NP.
    In San Diego we would visit the Zoo's among other things.


    To sum it up, I would like advices on the best route to take to avoid snow and to avoid driving the same place twice.

    On a side note we are also into geocaching.
    And we come from Denmark.

    If more information is needed just say so and I'll try to answer

    Big thanks to all.

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

    Default why here?

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm seeing quite a few contradictions with the plan you've laid out.

    So maybe we should go from L.A to Vegas, then San Diego and then SF and back to L.A ?
    Advise would be nice, or other suggestions.
    To sum it up, I would like advices on the best route to take to avoid snow and to avoid driving the same place twice.
    There's a whole lot of backtracking with that plan. Heading from Vegas to San Diego would cover much of the same ground as LA to LV, and since you have to go through LA to get from SD to SF, you'd be doing a lot of back tracking when you head home from LA. Even if you weren't against going the same place twice, you're significantly increasing your miles, which doesn't make much sense when you've got a limited amount of time.

    However we would like to avoid cold areas, especially snow.
    I have read that the way from Vegas to SF over the Sierra would have snow.
    Lake Tahoe seems to have snow too in april.
    Its fairly unlikely that you'll see the kind of snowfall that seriously impacts your ability to make this trip, but at the same time it will be virtually impossible to make the trip without seeing snow on the ground. You're going to be dealing with places that are at an elevation where there is snow.

    If you really want to take an extreme position that you aren't willing to go anyplace there is a chance of seeing snow, then you are seriously going to impact where you can even go on this trip. Zion National Park and pretty much all of Utah or Northern Arizona are out of the question, because there could be snow there. It means the only way you can go to San Francisco is to start in LA and either go up US-101 or take the Coast route (which you also said you don't want to do).

    Grand Canyon/Yosemite is not a must as we have been there before.
    Highway 1 can be avoided too as we took that trip 2 years ago in september.
    Honestly, with the restrictions you've laid out and the number of places that you say you don't want to go, I think you might want to completely rethink this trip. It doesn't seem to make much sense to spend most of your trip recovering ground that you've already been to (when you say you don't want to repeat places) and that are in mountainous areas that will likely still be at the back edge of winter (when you want to avoid cold.)

    I'd cut San Francisco completely out of this trip, I might not even do Las Vegas. Instead of recovering that ground, I'd head out towards Palm Springs and see some of the places that Joshua Tree that were listed on a previous post, from there I'd continue on into Arizona, and check out the many things to do around Phoenix and Tucson and then head back through San Diego. That would keep you in warmer areas and could be new ground for you to explore.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I think you might want to completely rethink this trip.
    I think you are right.
    We now have some different ideas, but don't know if they are durable in the time we have which is still from 9th to 27th of April.

    Girlfriend now says some snow is okay as that would be an extra experience.

    Here goes:

    First night in L.A. Early of to Vegas.
    Is it worth to stop at Baker and take a right into Mojave National Preserve ?
    Then on Powerline road and catch Nipton road and head on to Vegas.
    Can't quite see if Powerline road is drive able in a rental 4x4 ?

    In Vegas we would then take some day trips to Zion, Death Valley and some of the others outlined in this link

    When leaving Vegas for San Diego we would take this tour

    We would stay a few days in San Diego to visit the Zoo's and Gaslamp Quarter.

    From San Diego we would head for Fresno via Sequoia NP.
    From Fresno to San Francisco.

    In San Francisco we would stay some days visiting Muir NP.
    From San Francisco to L.A via Highway 1.

    Stay some days in L.A

    Is this maybe a bit too much for 18 days ?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default On the asphalt

    Quote Originally Posted by Boost View Post
    First night in L.A. Early of to Vegas.
    Is it worth to stop at Baker and take a right into Mojave National Preserve ?
    Then on Powerline road and catch Nipton road and head on to Vegas.
    Can't quite see if Powerline road is drive able in a rental 4x4 ?
    The only Powerline Rd I was able to find in the area appears to be just that - a road that runs with the power lines, which is most likely some rugged terrain that you would not want to get stuck on. Add to that, most (if not all) rental agencies do not allow their 4x4 vehicles to be used off-roading.

    Is this maybe a bit too much for 18 days ?
    It does sound likes it's going to be tight, especially if you want to spend some days in LA at the end of the trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Confused?

    Hi Boost,

    I am not sure why you would want to go from L/A to Vegas then back to S/D and then back past the hustle and bustle of L/A to get to Fresno e.t.c.

    I would have thought L/A to S/D and then to Vegas. You could cover some of the ground you want from your list, Joshua tree, Mohave, Hoover dam e.t.c on the way to Vegas. [Even continue to the Grand canyon].
    From Vegas you can go via Bakersfield [and even consider driving across Death valley] and Fresno to Sequoia and possibly Yosemite before heading to San Fran and back down the coast. This will save you so much of your limited time.

    Is this maybe a bit too much for 18 days ?
    You can certainly cover the ground quite easily, but a "few days" in L/A, S/D day trips from Vegas and S/F soon add up. I guess you need to work out how long you want to spend on the move against how many exploring the areas you are visiting

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    From Vegas you can go via Bakersfield [and even consider driving across Death valley] and Fresno to Sequoia and possibly Yosemite before heading to San Fran and back down the coast. This will save you so much of your limited time.
    Thanks for that tip.

    The possibilities are many and so much to see.
    That is why this forum is great.

    It seems I would save a whole day or 2 by going from Vegas to Bakersfield.
    And I could go from San Diego to Vegas still following the earlier route, just in reverse.
    Then go from Vegas to Bakersfield via Death Valley. Google says 8 hours drive.
    And then from Bakersfield to San Fran via Sequoia. Google says 8 hours drive.

    Maybe we skip Lake Havasu to save a day.
    Or is there a better/shorter yet still scenic way from San Diego to Vegas ?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Mapping programs.

    Hi Boost.

    Then go from Vegas to Bakersfield via Death Valley. Google says 8 hours drive.
    And then from Bakersfield to San Fran via Sequoia. Google says 8 hours drive.
    When you are looking at journey times from a mapping program they are normally over optimistic in there times. They forget "us humans" need breaks for food, getting fuel, bathroom stops and of course sight seeing, the main reason for getting off the quickest route.
    The above for instance, I would allow 2 nights and 3 days for that journey.
    day 1; Explore Death valley stop near the Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area.
    DAY 2; Head for Sequoia and spend the day exploring, stay in Sequoia or just outside overnight and day 3 head on to San Fran.
    That is just an example that may help you with your planning.

    Dave

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

    Default don't trust a computer

    I'm still in agreement, as I mentioned in my first post, that going from LA to Vegas down to San Diego back (through LA) to San Francisco and then back to LA again would just be a rediculous amount of backtracking.

    It would be much more simple, and more logical, to work in more of a circle, going from LA to San Diego, then head North to Vegas and San Francisco. There are lots of things to see from San Diego to Vegas. Joshua Tree NP, the Mohave Reserve, Lake Havasu are a few of the possibilities.
    Then go from Vegas to Bakersfield via Death Valley. Google says 8 hours drive.
    And then from Bakersfield to San Fran via Sequoia. Google says 8 hours drive
    You might be able to do Vegas, Death Valley, to Bakersfield in 8 hours, if you drive straight through Death Valley. There are a lot of things to look at, though, and that time estimate assumes you can do the trip without any stops for food, fuel, or to look at anything along the way.

    However, despite what Google says, there is no way that you could visit Sequoia National Park as part of a Bakersfield to San Fran trip in 8 hours. The road through Sequoia is a slow going mountain road, plus you'll be driving it at the edge of the winter season. I think Sequoia is a great place to visit, and sometimes gets overlooked because of all the great parks in California, but you need to plan to spend some more time here.

    While Google and other computer mapping programs have some great usefulness, they also have limitations. They tend to be overly optimistic about travel times, and it can be hard to get a real good feel of the size and scope of the landscape you'll be covering. I think you would benefit greatly from getting a good map on paper that you can look at as you plot out your trip.

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