I have spent many an hour browsing your brilliant site (thanks for all your quite astounding efforts) and have used it to research yet another road trip from San Francisco. What's different about our requirements is that we are travelling with a young child (nearly two at the end of the year) and so need to keep each day's driving to under 5 hours, with plenty of stops and good breaks between road journeys.
Using your advice to other posters, and googlemaps, I have sketched out a plan and just wanted to sense check it with the experts. We are travelling from the UK, flying direct to SF, for 36 days from 1 December (I have noted the big roads and included approx travel times to the destination):
1-3: San Francisco
4-6: Big Sur (US101) – 3 hours
7-8: Morro Bay (US101) – 2h20
9-11: Los Angeles (US101) – 3h30-4h30
12: Needles, CA (i15-i40) - 4h10-6h20 - any other suggestions for a stop over?
13-15: Grand Canyon (i40) – 3h30
16-17: Zion (i89) - 4h40
18-19: Las Vegas (i15) – 3 hours
20-21: Lone Pine (via Death Valley) (US95-NV374) – 4h40
22: Mono City (US395) – 2h40
23-27: South Lake Tahoe (family gathering so dates fixed) (US395) – 2h20
28-31: Yosemite (CA50-CA49) – 4h20
1-2: Napa (CA120-CA12) – 4 hours
3-5: Bodega Bay (CA12-CA116) – 1h30
6: San Francisco (fly home)
We did a four week road trip in January 2009 in South Africa so we have an idea of what we are getting ourselves into, however we haven’t done a trip like this in winter. The main priorities are landscapes, not cities although, as we are here, it would be churlish not to visit SF, LA and LV. Grand Canyon, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite are musts so route chosen is due to winter road conditions.
So, given your vast knowledge, does this trip sound vaguely sensible? Anything I should add/ leave out without increasing time on the road?