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  1. Default Roadtrip California 4 weeks Dec /Jan

    Hi All,

    We are planning on coming to America for a month between the 24th December till 24th January and would like to do a 4 week road trip through California. We have a few options that we are thinking of. They are as follows; a) Fly in and out of either San Fran or LA or b) fly in to either San Fran or LA but out of Seattle/Similar

    This is our first trip to the US and we hope to see (in no particular order) San Francisco, LA, Lake Tahoe, Lassen Volcanic Park, Redwood National Park, Big Sur, Point Reyes National Sea Shore, Marin Headlands, Costal Highway 1, Oregon, Portland, Las Vegas and squeeze in a big sporting event or two…As well as a visit to the Getty Centre etc.

    We would be grateful for advice on suggested routes/timeframes we should allow as well as any suggestions as far as things we may have missed/may not know about. We are also a little stuck as to where we should spend both Christmas Day & New Years Eve.

    Thanks !

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Getting started.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    With a month at your disposal you have a nice amount of time to get around and explore those places. Doing a loop and returning to your start point will save on one way drop off fees on your rental and you would possibly get a better deal on your flights but other than that either options would work. With a one way trip perhaps Las Vegas would be a good starting point and then head to LA and up the PCH [route 1] to SF?
    One noticable absence from your itinerary is Yosemite, an amazing place even though the high ground will be out of bounds due to snow accumulation and it's worth noting that snow chains maybe required. [You would have to check with your rental company regarding rules @ regs of using them].
    A lot of the passes across the Sierra's will be closed at this time of year but the main routes to the North and South of them will be open but still subject to possible disruption during a winter storm.
    Their are no right or wrong answers as to where is best to start and whether a one way or a loop is best, so I would look around the forums using the search button and see what works best for you and then come back with an outline plan and we can help to tweak it.

    Here are some useful links to get you started, LA, SF, Vegas area Oregon report and another great report from Vambo; Redwoods to Seattle.
    No suggestions for Christmas day I'm afraid but you might get some when they begin to 'stir' across the pond.
    Have a look around and enjoy the planning !

  3. Default

    Thank you for your detailed reply. After looking at your useful links you soon realize how much information is out there. Now it’s time to digest all the posts and put together a plan.. Do you mind assisting with these questions while we do this??

    What type of car would be good to hire for this time of year?

    Is there any noticeable benefit in the weather starting from LA and goingoing to Las Vegas first or going from LA to SF first?



    thanks !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Your welcome.

    What type of car would be good to hire for this time of year?
    A car that suits the size of your party is the obvious choice. A mid size saloon [sedan] should have everything you need. An SUV [4X4] is an option for winter driving, but if you feel unsafe to take a 2 wheel drive on a particular road then you shouldn't attempt it in a 4x4 either. The rental company's do not allow them of road either so you are faced with more expense for little return although it could be said that if caught in a winter storm the SUV may offer a better "foot hold". Although if it got bad the advice would be the same in either, find somewhere to pull off the road safely and let the road crews do their job. On the car rental sites you will find a list of choices available to you but note they state "or similar" and don't guarantee the exact model in most cases.

    Is there any noticeable benefit in the weather starting from LA and goingoing to Las Vegas first or going from LA to SF first?
    It's far to early to predict what the weather may or may not be doing so far ahead so that would be a wait and see. Depending on whether you want to "nail your trip down" and book everything in advance or leave it open to change and go with the flow while you are there.

    After looking at your useful links you soon realize how much information is out there.
    It's pretty much endless, put in key words to the search engine and check the bottom of the page of threads for "similar threads" which leads you too a another lot of links, enjoy.

  5. Default

    Hi Again,

    There is so much great info on this site... I have put a draft plan of the holiday, but thinking I might be staying to long in some places or they are too close.

    Would you mind reviewing and letting me know.

    24th Dec - Arrive in LA
    25th Dec - Spend the Day @ a nice resturant for Christmas
    26th Dec - LA
    27th Dec - on the road to Joshua tree Via Route 10 then onto Route 62 to Yucca Calley - Stay over night.
    28th Dec - Visit Joshua Tree drive to Mojave Nation Preserve Via Bagdad then Via Kelso
    29th Dec - Mojave Nation Preserve
    30th Dec - Drive to Las Vaegas in the afternoon Via Route 15
    31st Dec - NYE Las Vaegas
    1st Jan - Las Vaegas
    2nd Jan - Drive to Death Valley via 160 via Pahrump onto 372 and 127 to highway 95 then to 190 Death Valley
    3rd Jan - Stay Over night Death Valley
    4th Jan - Leave via Lone Pine Route 395
    5th Jan - Stay somewhere around Bishop or Mammoth Lakes.. Route 395
    6th Jan - Vist the Inyo Nation Forest
    7th Jan - Stay overnight or head via Route 120 into Yosemite Nation Park.
    8th Jan - Stay Yosemite Nation Park
    9th Jan - Leave for Bodie and then head to Soth Lake Tahoe
    10th Jan - Stay Lake Tahoe
    11th Jan - stay Lake Tahoe
    12th Jan - Drive to Truckee via Route 89
    13th Jan -
    14th Jan -
    15th Jan -
    16th Jan -
    17th Jan -
    18th Jan -
    19th Jan -
    20th Jan -
    21st Jan -
    22nd Jan -
    23rd Jan -

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default No go areas.

    Hi,

    The major flaw in your route is the fact that you will definitely not be able to go into Yosemite via 120 [Tioga pass] in January. Depending on where you are headed after Truckee you can still get to the Valley floor from the West but the high ground is a no go area due to snow accumulation and you need to go North or South to get around the ends of the Sierra's.
    Likewise Bodie is only accessible on skies or a snow mobile.

    From Pahrump you could take the "locals route" from 160 on the Bell Vista/Ash meadows road to Death valley junction and 190, depending on your plans.

    Keep at it, planning is half the fun !

  7. Default back again !

    Hi again,

    ok so this time we are not putting the road routes in yet as we are still in the preliminary stages of planning. We have come up with a new plan just to see if this is something that will work or not.

    If you could give us some assistance this would be great.

    24th Dec - Los Angeles, CA, USA
    25th Dec - Los Angeles, CA, USA
    26th Dec - Los Angeles, CA, USA
    27th Dec - palm springs
    28th Dec - Joshua Tree Nat'l Park
    29th Dec - Grand Canyon
    30th Dec - Grand Canyon
    31st Dec - NYE Las Vegas
    1st Jan - Las Vegas
    2nd Jan - Death Valley
    3rd Jan - Bishop
    4th Jan - Yosemite National Park
    5th Jan - Leave via Lone Pine Route 395
    6th Jan - Lassen Volcanic National Park
    7th Jan -Lassen Volcanic National Park
    8th Jan - Kiamath falls
    9th Jan - Redwood National Park
    10th Jan - Redwood National Park
    11th Jan - mendocino
    12th Jan - Point Arena Lighthouse
    13th Jan -Napa, California
    14th Jan -Napa, California
    15th Jan -San Francisco, CA, USA
    16th Jan -San Francisco, CA, USA
    17th Jan -San Francisco, CA, USA
    18th Jan -big sur
    19th Jan -big sur
    20th Jan -Hearst Castle
    21st Jan -Los Angeles

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

    Default New Years in Las Vegas sounds good!

    Quote Originally Posted by righthanddrive View Post
    28th Dec - Joshua Tree Nat'l Park
    29th Dec - Grand Canyon
    30th Dec - Grand Canyon
    31st Dec - NYE Las Vegas
    If the parks are open (snow) this all sounds good.
    1st Jan - Las Vegas
    2nd Jan - Death Valley
    3rd Jan - Bishop
    This all seems reasonable too.
    4th Jan - Yosemite National Park
    You can not get into Yosemite NP from the east side in January -- Tioga Pass will be closed for the winter due to snow. So the only way to get to Yosemite is either to go around the southern end or cross over at Tahoe.
    5th Jan - Leave via Lone Pine Route 395
    You won't be in Yosemite -- so you will just keep going north -- but to to drive all the way to Lassen NP on US-395 in winter driving conditions is really pushing it.

    The rest of your route is doable.

    Mark

  9. Default

    Mark thank you for taking the time to reply.. I will try and plan the routes now... so much info ! =:)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    so you will just keep going north -- but to to drive all the way to Lassen NP on US-395 in winter driving conditions is really pushing it.

    Mark
    Do you think we need to factor in the long way take the 95 onto the 6 then onto the 50 or will this be the same conditions ?

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

    Default What are you talking about now?

    Quote Originally Posted by righthanddrive View Post
    Do you think we need to factor in the long way take the 95 onto the 6 then onto the 50 or will this be the same conditions ?
    I think you must be confused about the topography.

    This is your route:

    Las Vegas > Death Valley > US-395 (and your on-the-road stop-over is going to be Bishop or Mammoth Lakes > I would spend some time enjoying Lake Tahoe (you're going right past it) > overnight in Reno -- you could push on to Lassen NP -- but I don't think that's very wise in January > Next day drive to Lassen and the continue on your trip.

    Diverting over to US-95 makes no sense if you're going to Death Valley -- it adds most of a day for no benefit, except you get to see more of Nevada and that is a pretty road -- but US-395 is an outstanding scenic drive.

    Mark

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