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  1. Default San Fran Loop via Gr. Canyon, leaving 13th July!!

    Hi There,

    Ok, so first off let me say this is an amazing forum, I have been copying and pasting advice from loads of different threads for the last 6 weeks or so, and I know, I know, there is absolutely loads written about similar trips to the one I am going on, but I hope you don't mind me starting a new thread, for advice on our route....There is so much info on the site that I wasn't going to ask, but of course I have left it till the day before we set off, as I am getting increasingly worried that we are trying to fit too much in, in too short a time.

    We don't mind driving quite a lot on most days, , but do want to have a bit of time to relax, so if this means cutting out some of the sights and maybe taking a major highway to speed up a bit of the trip, then we are happy to do so.

    For various unavoidable reasons, we have a shorter time than we would like for trip. 11 days. (was to be 15)

    We have booked hotels in a few points, but wanted to leave ourselves free to go with the flow for other bits.

    Here is our loose Itinerary (I have specified where we have booked hotels, so have to be in these places on the given dates) followed by a couple of specific questions.

    I would really appreciate any input or help that you have on this
    and sorry for going over old ground, as well as for such a last minute question - we are flying out tomorrow!!

    13th - Arrive San Fran a.m - have booked Alcatraz for late day trip, staying union square
    14th - Pick up pre booked rental convertible, and set off towards Yosemite (580, 205, 120)
    Our plan then is to drive through Yosemite, and on to Death Valley, but haven't booked any of this so current thoughts are to drive whole way through Yosemite and stay on the other side, and then overnight in death Valley.
    16th 2 nights booked in vegas
    18th Leave vegas early, night booked in Maswik South Rim Grand Canyon
    19th, explore more of Grand Canyon, then head away midday (ish)
    after this from 19th -22nd (when we need to get back to San Fran), we had been thinking of going Via LA, and driving up the coast.
    Thought was to spend 19th somewhere between GC and LA, then spend 20th and 21st en route up the coast, before arriving back in SF on 22nd. Dropping Car back morning of 23rd.

    (just a note that we have both visited San Fran and LA before, which is why we aren't too Pushed about spending time there)

    So, my big questions are as follows.

    1: are we mental to have planned such a lot of driving in this space of time, if so, given our fixed points, is there a way to rectify this...
    we could maybe spend an extra night in grand Canyon, then put in a big days drive to get back closer to San Fran? Is it too ambitious to drive the coast as well?

    2: should we skip Death valley, might we have problems with the car and the heat? This would also give us more Yosemite time..

    Absolutely any suggestions are welcome, and I would really appreciate your thoughts on the trip,
    Thanks a Million


  2. Default

    ps... one more thing, thought it might be nice to stay in yoosemite bug as advised elsewhere, and have a nice relaxed day there and surroundings, before big full day drive the next day to DV... good idea, or should we press on on day 1

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If this helps, it's only about 4 hours from Yosemite to Death Valley. You should have plenty of time to see them both. It's only a couple hours from DV to LV via the locals route through Pahrump.

    You should not have any issues with the car in the heat, most of today's cars have electric radiator cooling fans.

    It's going to be a bit tight, but if you can drive about 6 to 7 hours after leaving the GC, you can make it to Barstow. From there, you could go up the coast in 2 days, but you won't have all that much time to delay.

  4. Default

    Thanks GLC, even the fact that you think it is just 'tight' rather than unbelievably ridiculous!! makes me feel a lot better

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default time

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I would really recommend spending that first night after San Francisco in Yosemite. I just don't think you'll have time to really see much anything, if you are trying to race through to Death Valley the same day. That will give you a chance to see the Yosemite Valley in the afternoon, then drive over Tioga the next morning, and see Death Valley the following afternoon.

    I would probably skip going to LA, and instead drive straight across (through Bakersfield) to the Coast, start with exploring the area around Morro Bay and work north from there. Thats going to cut down on a lot of driving, and probably gives you and extra day to play with somewhere along your trip.

    Otherwise, I think things are looking good for you!

  6. Default

    Thanks Michael,

    yep that looks to be a good plan, as I have no real desire to visit LA on this trip.

    2 more questions, hope you don't mind.

    GLC suggested getting from Grand Canyon to Barstow , which looks good to me, but in terms of accomodation, is Barstow a nice place to stay, or is there any smaller towns in and around there which would be nicer?

    Staying in Death Valley, which would you opt for, stovepipe wells or Furnace creek Ranch (both still have availability)

  7. #7


    I'd chose Furnace Creek Ranch again, purely for the late night swimming opportunity in the warm spring fed pool, a wonderful end to a great day.

    I can't help with your Barstow problem as I skipped that area on my loop but ensure you pick up some of the old route 66 towns that run alongside the I40.

    I agree with Midwest Micheal re. beginning your coastal route at Morro Bay, it's a fantastic little town and leaves you about right to see just enough of Hwy1. Depending how much time you allow in Cambria and the various stops along the way you could overnight in Monterrey as the aquarium is a must. From here it's a straightforward run up to SF.

    19th - GC - Barstow
    20th - Barstow - Morro Bay
    21st - Morro Bay - Monterrey
    22nd - Monterrey - San Fran

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default barstow

    Barstow is a quite nice place to stay. There are lots of options because of its location at I-40/I-15 junction, but its also an old route 66 town so it still has several nice old mom and pop places.

    My only concern is that might be a bit far away. You'd be looking at a 6-7 hour drive to get there, and if you aren't getting to the Canyon until the afternoon before, you might feel a bit rushed. Its not the end of the world if you only get an afternoon and the following morning at the Canyon, but its also a big place than can take more time to see than you'd expect. Looking at someplace along the Colorado river, like Needles, Lake Havasu City, or Laughlin, which are about 4 hours away, might be a better choice if you'd like more time at the Canyon.

    I've heard nothing but good things about Furnace Creek (I've had breakfast there, but was camping and didn't stay in the motel) but Stovepipe is nice too. There's really not a bad choice with this one.

  9. Default

    Thanks a Million guys, appreciate all the advice!
    The swim in Furnace creek sounds brilliant...can't wait.

    And Morro bay definitely seems the best plan
    I suppose we can decide on the day re what time we leave GC, in which case we can either press on to Barstow, or look at maybe needles (it seems to be the one with no detour required) that's the one good thing about the recession, seems to be plenty of availability in hotels, so you don't necessarily have to book in advance.

    Thanks again, I am off to finish packing. yay!
    I will try an post a nice little journal when I get back, (to add to the millions of threads on this trip)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'm sorry, I misread the itinerary! You have an extra day from GC to SF, so you don't have to try to make Barstow. In that case, I'd probably take my time leaving the GC and spend the night in Kingman. You could take old Route 66 from Seligman to Kingman for a trip back in time. This will take you about 4 hours from the GC to Kingman taking that route.

    It's about a 6 hour drive from Kingman to Bakersfield, and another 3 hours to Morro Bay.

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