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  1. Default ROAD TRIP - San Francisco to Las Vegas in 1 week

    Hello,

    My husband and I along with my parents (above 60) are planning a week long road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas in late sept/early oct. The plan is below, pretty please give us your feedback because this is the first time ever we are doing a road trip and are SO excited!

    Sept 25th 2010 - NYC to SFO flight, we reach 10am, therefore we have almost all day for sightseeing in SF.

    Sept 26th 2010 - SF all day, we figured 2 days is needed in SF since my parents have not been there.

    Sept 27th 2010 - SF drive to Napa/Sonoma, 1 night - How long is this drive, which place is better to visit and on-route to the rest of our journey? Any recommendation of a nice but reasonably-priced place in a beautiful location to spend the night in? We could 2 rooms of one large cabin with 2 rooms where all of us can stay. Please make this consideration while recommending places to stay in other locations as well.

    Sept 28th 2010 - Napa/Sonoma to Lake Tahoe, 1 night - How long is this drive, only suggest stops extremely worth it on the way? We'd like to reach there at a reasonable time so we can enjoy the place since we only have one night there. Please recommend a reasonably-priced yet lovely place to stay at night.

    Sept 29th 2010 - Lake Tahoe to Yosemite, 1 night. How long is this drive, only suggest stops that are worth it on-route? Is 1 night is Yosemite enough - what time do you anticipate we will reach there? if so what should we do there? My parents are elderly so we can't have something too active but would like to experience the best parts of Yosemite. Please suggest a reasonably-priced yet lovely place to stay at night. Will we see Sierra Nevada mountain during these 2 days?

    Sept 30th 2010 - Yosemite to Death Valley, 1 night. How long is this drive, we want to make stops at Sequoia, is Kings Canyon worth the visit? Here are other place we have in mind - Gold Rush Country, Bodie Ghost House, Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes, Mt. Whitney and Devil's postpile - which of these would you recommend, again pls only suggest amazing stops since our trip is so tight. We want to reach Death Valley at night, so we have all day to visit many places on route and have a relax yet fun drive. Please suggest a area and place to spend the night in DV. We will be with our parents so the place should be nice and beautiful.

    Oct 1st 2010 - Death Valley all day - Las Vegas - Flight to Phoenix to see Sedona and South Rim Grand Canyon on Oct 2nd 2010 (both in one day), fly back to NYC on Oct 3rd 2010. How do you recommend we see Death Valley in one day, what is your suggested itinerary? I'm open to suggestions re: this last route LAS-PHX but we have our flights booked back to NYC from PHX on Oct 3rd, so need to go there. Also, we have family friends we are visiting who want to drive us to GC and Sedona.

    I know this is a quick trip, but we want to make the most of it. Please feel also suggest

    1. Place to rent a car at a reasonable-price in SF before we head to Napa and drop off in vegas, we can book in advance.
    2. The car type, most comfortable car for a road trip.
    3. Possible routes for us to do this entire trip.
    4. What should we be carrying in terms of clothing, etc?
    5. Is there anything you would change in the above itinerary, I thought an itinerary like this would show my parents everything from wine country to bay area to mountains, forests, deserts, etc.
    6. Do you think we should just spend one night in SF and add a day in another location? if something in our itinerary feels too tight?
    7. Is it possible to fly from another location, maybe Death Valley to Pheonix. We don't really need to go to Vegas but are only going there to take a flight to Phoenix.
    8. Are Zion and Bryce really worth it? If we are seeing grand canyon? How far are they from Vegas?
    9. Things to keep in mind while traveling with parents?

    Thanks SOOOO MUCH and I am looking forward to all your expert input!
    Last edited by hellopsz; 07-16-2010 at 08:59 AM.

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

    Default a map is in order

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but several of your plans and questions have me quite confused.
    Will we see Sierra Nevada mountain during these 2 days?
    we want to make stops at Sequoia, is Kings Canyon worth the visit? Here are other place we have in mind - Gold Rush Country, Bodie Ghost House, Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes, Mt. Whitney and Devil's postpile
    I think you really need to take another look at a map because your plans here don't make a whole lot of sense. First of all, yes, you will see the Sierra Nevada mountains, but your current plans have you crossing the mountains at least 3 times. Once between Napa and Lake Tahoe, Once between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, and then again going from Yosemite to Death Valley - since the Yosemite Valley is on the west side of the mountains, while Tahoe and DV are east.

    Additionally, Sequoia and Kings Canyon are on the east side but the other places you've listed, like Mono, Mammoth, etc are on the west. Also, unlike Yosemite where you've got Tioga Pass to take you across the mountains, there is no road across the Sierras through Sequoia National Park.

    You really have to rework your plans taking into account those factors.

    Oct 1st 2010 - Death Valley all day - Las Vegas - Flight to Phoenix to see Sedona and South Rim Grand Canyon on Oct 2nd 2010 (both in one day), fly back to NYC on Oct 3rd 2010.
    This one also has me completely puzzled. If you look at a map, you'll see that Phoenix is only 50 miles closer to the Grand Canyon than Las Vegas, so it really makes no sense at all to add the additional time and expense of dropping off a rental car (paying for a one way drop fee), getting on a plane, and then renting a new car. The time it takes to do all of those things will be nearly as long as the drive from Vegas to the South Rim all by itself, so you're making your trip take several additional hours and you'll have added several hundred dollars to your travel costs as well.


    The trip you are planning is the most discussed trip on this forum, so browsing around for a little while (these threads are a good starting point) can help you find answers to most of the other questions you have. Your current plans are an ok starting point, but a few reworks are in order, and I think sitting down with a good map will really help you get a much better feel for the area you are about to start exploring.

  3. Default

    Thanks so much Michael. Seriously, we have NEVER done a road trip before and have NO idea what is where - so what you said makes completed sense. How would you cover the locations we want - route, etc and also which place do we omit? What's your personal advise?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Planning a roadtrip is all about making a trip that fits your own personal goals. That means you really need to figure out what things are most important for you. You've come up with a nice list of lots of both major and more minor stops, but you'll have to do some picking and choosing based on what is most important to you.

    I would take a less is more approach, as at times I think you are probably trying to do too much especially when traveling with your parents. One key example is assuming you'll have a full day to Explore San Francisco on Day 1 because you get in at 10am, ignores that you'll likely be quite tired by that point - as you'll have easily spent 6-7 hours traveling (flight time + security + travel time to airport) and you'll be dealing with a little bit of jetlag.

    But again, my personal advice is to get out a good map and start plotting things out for yourself, and revise your plan taking into account both the roads and terrain that you'll be exploring. Once you've come up with some revisions, we'll certainly let you know what we think, what will work, what might not, and what could be some good additions or needs to be subtracted.

  5. Default

    Can you recommend a good map?

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

    Default

    I've always found the Rand McNally atlas to be a good starting point, and its cheap - available for about $5 at most big box stores. In your case, you might also consider getting a state specific map of California which will show things in more detail.

    If you are a member of AAA, you can also get maps from them that are included with your membership.

    As an additional note - Editing your original post, rather than responding to questions that have been raised by later posts, is extremely rude behavior that is not appreciated on this forum. Please do not do that again.

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

    Default

    Additionally, Sequoia and Kings Canyon are on the east side but the other places you've listed, like Mono, Mammoth, etc are on the west.
    Other way around, sir!

    Note that you would be violating your rental car agreement if you go to Bodie - the last 3 miles of the road is unpaved.

  8. Default

    This is the route we want to do, SF to Yosemite to Death Valley to Vegas and we want to see as many places as possible on the way. Which places mentioned above are totally out of the way, short detours are okay.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
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    Default

    None of the ideas you've suggested are totally out of the way, although as previously mentioned some of them would be difficult to do together because they are on opposite sides of the mountains.

  10. Default

    Michael, thanks so much for being so helpful. What is the best route to see SF, wine country, lake tahoe and yosemite?

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