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  1. #1

    Default LA-LV-SF One way, Anti Clockwise!

    Hi all,

    First let me thank you all for such a great forum. Its been great reading about everyones trip reports and future plans! I've been addicted for the last 6 months! Anyway, It has inspired me and the missus to do a fly-drive around California/Nevada, starting on the 21st May 2009. (Very soon i know!)

    Although i've spent many hours on here doing my research, i hope you wouldnt mind me running my itenery (or what we've roughly planned out) past you seasoned road trip pro's?

    21/5 - Arrive at LAX at 2.35pm. Pick up Alamo hire car, and head to Holiday Inn Express @ Walk of Fame, hollywood (booked)
    22/5 - Drive from hotel to Universal Studios, spend the day there, then an evening drive up the coast to Santa Barbara area (find a motel/hotel)
    23/5 - Drive from Santa Barbara over to Palm Springs (taking in any LA that we missed), find a motel around there, with an evening drive around Joshua Tree NP.
    24/5 - Drive from Palm Springs over to Flag staff, AZ (no sight seeing, just a mile munching day)
    25/5 - All day visit to Grand Canyon then head down to a motel between Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. (any recommendations)
    26/5 - Drive from ?? (via Hoover Dam) to Las Vegas to spend 2 nights at the Venetian (booked)
    27/5 - All day in Las Vegas
    28/5 - Leave Las Vegas in the afternoon, head through Death Valley upto Yesomite. Stay at Best Western, Oakhurst. (booked)
    29/5 - Visit Yesomite - Fingers crossed for Tioga to be open by this point! Head to a motel nearby. (location dicated by tioga opening!)
    30/5 - Spend the morning n/around Yesomite, head north east to a motel in the Carson City/Tahoe area (recommendations?)
    31/5 - Head over to Sacramento, stay the night in a motel there, have a look round in the evening.
    1/6 - Up early to drive up to Redding (if its not too far?)
    2/6 - Head down the coast from Redding, with a visit to the "Giant Tree" area, staying midway to SF at a motel.
    3/6 - Arrive in SF around lunctime to drop the hire car back (downtown branch), then explore SF in the afternoon.
    4/6 - All day in SF (Inc. Alcatraz tour)
    5/6 - Fly out of SFO

    ANY comments or suggestions greatly appreciated. Any recommendations for attractions/restaurants/beaches etc etc on the way, i'll do my utmost to incorporate them! Only a few places have been booked so far, and without a previous visit, I'm a little sketchy on distances, so any advice much appreciated.

    Thanks again!

    Matt & Lucy
    Last edited by MattyB801; 05-01-2009 at 07:18 AM. Reason: Error with title

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

    Default A couple issues

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've got one major problem, and a couple smaller things to consider.

    Your biggest problem is that you appear to have "misplaced" Tioga Pass. Oakhurst is on the West side of the Sierra/Yosemite, meaning you have to cross the pass to get there. And realistically, you wouldn't have any time to visit Death Valley if you try to get there from Las Vegas in a day anyway.

    It makes far more sense to try to do Death Valley, head up towards Tahoe, then go back across the Sierra to Yosemite, using Tioga Pass if available, or one of the other options if it is not. No matter how you approach it though, I would cancel those plans in Oakhurst, that's just not a good stopping point for that day of the trip.

    Some other elements to consider. I don't think I would try to drive to Santa Barbara on this schedule. Its going to be way too much to try to fight LA traffic after a day at Universal to try and get there in the evening, especially when you'd just be turning right back around to fight LA traffic again the next day to get to Palm Springs.

    Personally, I'd also look at spending 2 nights in Williams Arizona instead of going to Flagstaff. It will make for a shorter drive and provide an excellent base to visit the Grand Canyon and then head onto Vegas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    South Central Orange County
    Posts
    249

    Default

    1/6 - Up early to drive up to Redding (if its not too far?)
    2/6 - Head down the coast from Redding, with a visit to the "Giant Tree" area, staying midway to SF at a motel.


    There are a number of interesting stops along the way. If you like Victorian (or "Queen Anne") architecture, stop by Ferndale (south of Eureka). It was the setting for much of Jim Carey's movie "The Majestic."

    If you'd like a slower, scenic drive, try CA-211 from Ferndale through Petrolia and Honeydew back to US-101. It will take you to Humboldt Redwood State Park on the way back to US-101. Around Meyers Flat you can take CA-254 (the "Highway of the Giants").

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for both of your replies.

    I think your right about the plans from Las Vegas. How about staying in the lake mono area after driving through Death Valley? Then heading into (or round) Yosemite the next day, again ending in Oakhurst? I think unless the Tioga pass is open, we're going to have cover the same ground twice at some point.....?

    Another good point about Santa Barbara. Because of the nature of this trip, it means missing out the central coast area, which we're a bit gutted about, so the idea of santa barbara was just to involve a little bit of coast during this trip. However, we're willing to sacrifice it if it means more time in other areas (which it does). Any recomendations for an easy 1 - 2 hour drive from Universal, heading roughly south east? Would Hollywood to Palm springs be too big a push after a day at universal?

    Point taken about staying in Williams - will amend the plan to take this into account. Thanks also to Shiro - will look into this!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Tioga.

    I think your right about the plans from Las Vegas. How about staying in the lake mono area after driving through Death Valley? Then heading into (or round) Yosemite the next day, again ending in Oakhurst? I think unless the Tioga pass is open, we're going to have cover the same ground twice at some point.....?
    You will be able to check on the Tioga pass situation before leaving Vegas if necessary. If it is open then somewhere between Bishop and Lee vining/Mono lake is an ideal location for heading into Yosemite.
    If it is closed then it would be best to either head on to Lake Tahoe and then visit Yosemite afterwards, or if this is not possible due to bookings etc then from Death valley head around the Southern end of the Sierra's through Bakersfield and onto Oakhurst, stopping somewhere overnight on route.

    At this point I would say the odds are in your favour of it being open, unless they see more winter storms such as the one last night.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default backtracking

    I think unless the Tioga pass is open, we're going to have cover the same ground twice at some point.....?
    I think you may need to take another look at a map here. If Tioga Pass is open, you'd be more likely to be doing some backtracking, but regardless you're going to have to do some zigzaging.

    If Tioga is open, then Mono Lake would be a fine place to stop, although I think you're going to have to leave Vegas in the AM, not in the afternoon. If its closed, then you'd be looking at going around the Bakersfield area and the approaching Yosemite through the Oakhurst area. It is worth noting that Oakhurst is about an hour drive outside the Yosemite valley, so take that into account.

    If you go to Yosemite before Tahoe, you're going to have to backtrack over the Sierras. That could mean going back over Tioga Pass, or using one of the other passes north of Yosemite.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Universal to Palm Springs is 120+ miles, which will be at least 2 hours, traffic dependent. It can be twice that in rush hour. Your best bet to avoid gridlock is 134 to 210 to 15 to 10.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Don't stick to the plan!

    Matt & Lucy,

    All good points expressed above -- I would just add that you are really pushing hard to cover all of these places in the days you have allocated. If you are used to spending 8-10 hours in the car driving -- you'll probably be OK, you can nearly cover this route in the days allotted but you'll need to sleep for two days when you get home. If it were me, I'd slow the pace down a bit and give yourself time to sleep in a couple of the days and walk the sidewalks of the towns you'll be visiting and time for a couple of late night strolls in the parks.

    It's a great outline, but I hope you'll free to cut out some of the days when you find some places you'd like to kick-back and explore a bit.

    Places to cut: Santa Barbara, Redding & the north coast. Beautiful areas but you'll be hard pressed to visit them and still see what you've listed.

  9. #9

    Default

    All good comments, thanks for that! Will look back into it all and come up with a revised itinerary in the next couple of days.

    I think your right. Although we've done many a road trip in UK and Europe, the USA is very new to us, so we're more than appreciative to here how you guys go about a similar trip.

    With regards to our first few days, would you recommend staying another night in the Hotel Inn after our day at Universal? Or perhaps heading over to another part of LA to soak up the night life there? Then head across to Palm Springs on Saturday morning instead...?

    Maybe, it would be worth re-jigging the trip in such a way that we basically cut across from Carson City to Sacramento, then into San Fran, without clocking up too many miles north?

    Anyway, will have a think and get back to you guys. Thank again for your help, and any more comments in the mean time, much appreciated!!

    Matt

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Carson City to SF via 50 and I-80, doing a quick spin around Lake Tahoe, is very feasible in one day.

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