Trip in Feb 2010 - Vegas, LA and San Francisco
Hi, it's my boyfriend's 30th in feb and he's always wanted to go to Vegas, so we're looking at taking two weeks and doing vegas, LA and san francisco. We've booked the return flights to Vegas and booked the first four nights staying in Vegas, as that covers his actual birthday. Other than that - i'm looking for suggestions!
We're thinking we'll hire a car in vegas for the whole two weeks, and drive to LA first. So, I have a few questions - firstly, where would be a good place to stay in LA? From what i've read so far, hollywood and santa monica look like good options, would either of them be easier with the car?
Then, we'd be looking at taking a couple of days to drive to san francisco, any recommendations for where to stop on the way? Same question for back to vegas?
Apart from the first four days in Vegas, these are all open to change, so any ideas are absolutely welcome!!
Welcome to the RTA Forum!
The loop you're talking about is far and away the most discussed basic trip outline on this forum. Here are just a few of our favorites, to help you start looking around to get more ideas.
LA is a huge area, so you should pick your motel location based on what things you want to see most.
If you are looking at taking the coastal drive, you might consider going to SF and then LA, so you'll be on the "ocean side" driving down the coast - that makes it a little easier to get to the pullouts when you want to stop and look at the magnificant views.
Thank you for that link, I've just been looking through some of those threads, the pictures are incredible!
Your tip about doing SF first is definitely something we'll consider. We were thinking LA first as it's the shorter drive and it will take some time to get used to driving an automatic and driving on the other side of the road! But, i guess if we take a couple of days to go to SF, then it's the same really!
For what we want to see in LA, to be honest, it's probably totally touristy stuff! I'm thinking hollywood appeals to me most, as I don't think it'll be great beach weather in Feb!
I'm a city girl at heart and I think most of my planning will revolve around that, although I think my boyfriend does want to do more of the open country sight seeing.
Is that more helpful?
Getting used to an automatic is simple - a lot easier than getting used to the other side of the road. Put it in "D", and only 2 pedals to worry about - the gas and the brake.
In February, the passes across the Sierras will still be closed, so you will need to head from Las Vegas to Bakersfield, then up to San Francisco. The other option is through Lake Tahoe, but if you are not experienced with driving in snowy and icy conditions, that may not be wise. You could go through Death Valley on the way out of Vegas.
2 pedals and one foot.
The most common mistake I hear of people making with there first time in an auto is to use there left [clutch] foot to brake. Keep your clutch foot out of the way as touching the brake with it normally results in an unexpected emergency stop situation because it's used to a heavier touch when operating the clutch. You are so used to using it in a manual it becomes second nature to do so, you need to concentrate on that early on and the rest is easy. I would of thought that it best to keep out of LA traffic untill later in the trip when you are more familiar with everything which makes going to SF first a very good idea.
As glc mentioned you won't be able to cut across the Sierra's because of road closures, and from reading those links you probably realise that the Tioga pass [CA 120] is the most popular. I would highly recommend going through Death valley, it's an amazing landscape. Lake Isabella and Kernville are popular overnight stops and I would also say that Yosemite is very much worth a visit on the way to SF but you would have to check road conditions and there are times when they insist you carry snow chains.
SF first is definitely looking like a good idea! OH does want to do Yosemite and I must admit, needing to carry snow chains would never have occured to me! I'm a fairly new driver but OH has been driving for 12 years so I think that he'll be mostly fine, he's done a lot of driving in France which is the same side of the road as the US.
This website is great, it's certainly giving me a lot to think about, and it's fantastic to get advice from people who know! Most of my friends seem to think they know, despite having never done it!
As your OH will know, it takes about 10 mins.
Originally Posted by Maddie_S
Be aware of times and places where there is not much traffic, and when you are tired. Even after more than four months of driving on the wrong side, I was caught out recently when it was quite late and there was no other traffic around.
Lifey who is sure you will be fine
Thanks for all the advice, hopefully I'll still remember it when we're over there!
I've been talking to the OH about it all and I think we do want to do vegas then LA, then SF, for a number of reasons, a large part of which is that I keep being told that I won't like LA so I don't want it to be the last part of the trip!
So, if we do it that way, we'd be looking at taking a couple of days from LA to SF. OH says he's not bothered about doing the coast road, which I guess gives us a bit more choice about where to stay on the way down?
Not bothered !
If you have a couple of days between LA and SF then I would most certainly take the coast road or at least part of it. I imagine your OH has seen it many times before, either that or not at all, as it is a fantastic scenic route. I think you would really enjoy it as well and it would be worth trying to get him to reconsider.
If he really is not bothered it might be just as well to do the journey same day and spend the extra time elsewhere on your trip.
I may have phrased it wrong when I said not bothered - what I meant was that it wasn't something that was high on his list of priorities, does that make it sound better??
I mentioned to my OH about the options driving between Vegas and SF and he got very excited about the route through Lake Tahoe with snow and ice conditions! But, he's only really done that type of driving in this country and am I right in thinking that it would be whole different ball game over there?