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  1. Default Trouble planning Calif/Nev roadtrip

    Hi there
    There is a wealth of information I've found so far on this site, which is great, but I am having real trouble trying to put it into a practical plan for our roadtrip. We are 4 english guys, all 21 years old, and we are doing the much covered san francisco-california-nevada road trip, over a 4 week period, in september.

    The problem I'm having is that there is a wealth of information as to roads and routes, but I'm not sure how to utilise it best. I found so far drawing a route on google maps pretty unsatisfactory, because you just end up dragging the line all over the place and it doesnt seem very realistic. Reading all the numbers and roads just completely goes over my head as I can barely put the place names on the map... never mind get to grips with the roads... in general we want the most scenic route down the west coast ...but reading up it seems as if we might miss interesting things if we just go straight down as close to the coast as possible...

    Also, are there any suggestions that I wont find elsewhere as to things we could do - there is quite a lot of wine tasting and fine food eating recommended on here, which we can neither afford nor would we be a particular priority (maybe for our parents..!) if you understand

    thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default What have you got ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    With 4 weeks you have a nice amount of time to do some exploring, but I am not sure what you mean about Google maps being unsatisfactory and not realistic ? What have you come up with so far ? If you know the places you wish to visit then we can help you with your routing and timing, but not if we don't know where it is you are heading, California and Nevada are big places. Perhaps this link will help with your planning but whatever route you take you won't be able to see it all, it's just a case of prioritising the things that appeal to you the most. You will find loads of info using the search tool as this is by far the most discussed area on the forums.

    I would sit down with a map and start researching places that you all agree on going to and build your trip from there. Once you get going I am sure we can help to "fine tune" your trip.
    If you are renting a car you should know for budget reasons that every named driver under the age of 25 will face a daily surcharge as a "young drivers fee" that will add up to a fair sum over a 1 month period.

  3. Default Help fine tuning/trimming my Cali/Nev trip?

    I had a post replied to a few days ago, and since then I've read up and have now got an itinerary of sorts to work on. We are four early 20's english guys flying into san franciso this september for a month. We have a rental car for the period.
    I would much appreciate any opinions on my plan - mainly, I wonder if I have packed in far too much for the time period, and secondly I am not sure if I have got the best roads (as in the most scenic when available, and when not, the quickest). We are planning on camping in the national parks. Will reservations be essential for this time of year? Will they already be full?!

    From San Fransciso via 80 to lake tahoe

    back west on 50 to join up with 49, head south on the mother lode then back east on 120 to Yosemite.

    out of yosemite on 120 via mono lake head south on 395 via whitney, bishop etc

    into death valley on 190, out of death valley on 190 to pahrump (via 160 or stateline road) into vegas

    this is where I am concerned about overdoing it

    north to zion on 15
    north to bryce on 89, then back on 89 and west on 64 to grand canyon, south rim

    head south, join up with route 66 for a period then on 40 to mojave.
    from mojave head out on 40, south 247 to get to san bernadino national park and do the circular drive partially anticlockwise then onto san diego via 215 then 15.

    I was considering the Joshua tree park but I dont think we can do that, mojave, and san bernadino. Im not even sure if we can do all that anyway.

    I hope you can follow the road numbers alone

    We have 4 weeks, but we will want to spend a good few days in San Fran, Vegas, LA and San Diego. Im not sure if we will have enough time to fit in all the national parks and the cities, and I've not really assessed mileages yet until I'm sure of the route we'll take

    Thanks in advance

    sorry for the double topic post
    Last edited by kaeien; 08-19-2010 at 04:57 PM. Reason: Merged with previous posts. Please do not start multiple threads for the same trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Looks fine.

    Although it is out of peak season I personally would book Yosemite [Pines campgrounds] Zion [Watchman c' ground] Bryce [NP site although can't remember name, or Rubys Inn] and Grand canyon [Mather c' ground.] You can get all the info by visiting and selecting each park.

    With 4 weeks you have a nice amount of time to get around and have time to enjoy yourselves at each place, even with a few day's up the coast on route 1 from LA to SF around Big Sur, if it is a full loop and not finishing in SD.

    You could comfortably drive the route in a week[Approx 2700 miles] with full day's behind the wheel, thus leaving you a full 3 weeks to divide your time, pretty good I'd say !!

    I would take US 50 to Tahoe and the use one of the other passes back, such as CA 88 OR 4. You could even take a side trip to Monument valley on the way to Grand canyon.

    Note] You can subscribe to your thread by clicking on thread tools above, and get notifications on replies and/or locate it, or alternatively to locate it quickly without searching the forums, click on your user name and click on "find all threads started". Please keep all further questions in the same thread, Thanks ![/

  5. Default

    thanks for the reply dave, it is much appreciated.

    ive had a look at the mileages and I'm worried about too much driving - I think I'm now going to scratch off zion and bryce and just head to grand canyon from vegas, then back to mojave.

    Ive got a couple of questions -

    leaving south lake tahoe, should we just take the 395 south and go into yosemite from the west - missing big trees state park and the mother lode - (as opposed to going back west on 4, down on 49 and east on 120) - would we get from tahoe to yosemite in an afternoon with time to set up camp in yosemite?

    second question, can I add 20% to google maps estimates of mileages confidently? or is it safer to ignore google maps all together and use other sources?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    4 is very slow going - I'd take US-50 to Placerville and then down 49. That should take you about 4 to 5 hours. From a time standpoint, that would be about the same as down 395 and over Tioga Pass. However, if you do that, you will be retracing your steps to go to Death Valley and Las Vegas.

    Google + 20% should be pretty safe.

  7. Default

    all thing being subjective and all that..... is 4 a good drive through the big trees state park?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Perhaps more time than you think?

    The Sierra passes are scenic drives and the reason I mentioned them and certainly not for the quickest option, but as you have a nice amount of time for your trip you have options.

    - I think I'm now going to scratch off zion and bryce
    People try and do a lot more than you are, with less time available, but of course it is down to your style of travel and how long you want to spend in each place that matters. The one thing I will mention is that Zion and Bryce are 2 amazing places that you don't get to see the likes of here in the UK, and driving from 'A' to 'B' is as much part of the adventure with great scenery and stops on route, plus a lot more open and less congested than here [City apart]. Why not work out how long you want to spend roughly at each of your major choices and see what time you have left for travel.

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