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  1. Default Family Roadtrip~Ventura-GC-Vegas-Yosemite-SF!

    Hello folks!

    New member here and after months of amazing research from RTA, I decided to finally post up our upcoming trip. My parents are flying out here to Ventura, CA, so my wife and I decided to take them on a nice road trip throughout the west. FYI, we will be bringing along our daughter who is 2. (yikes). I'm just confirming that this plan is logistically sound.

    Now down and dirty:

    Sept 10 - Leaving Ventura, straight drive to Grand Canyon, AZ. Staying in Williams, AZ
    Sept 11 - Grand Canyon all day, staying night. Staying in Williams, AZ
    Sept 12 - Leaving for Vegas in the AM, arrive in vegas.
    Sept 13 - Vegas madness :)
    Sept 14 - Leave Vegas in AM, drive to Yosemite. Staying in Oakhurst.
    Sept 15 - Full day in Yosemite. Stay night in Oakhurst.
    Sept 16 - Leave Yosemite, drive to San Francisco. Stay night.
    Sept 17 - Full day SF, stay night.
    Sept 18 - Drive down coast back to Ventura, CA.

    So, how does that sound. We're looking at about 9 days, but I have 1 extra day to play with and can still arrive home on Sunday, 19th. We might end up taking 2 days for the drive from SF to Ventura, even though its only 6 hours.

    I'm worried about the 1st day , since that drive is the longest at 489miles, 8 hours. Our minivan has plenty of entertainment for the little one...hopefully. Any advice would be much appreciated, thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    The first day - if you're going to Williams and no further, seems reasonable. I would not expect you to have too good of a time at the Grand Canyon after driving for over 10 hours straight (this time is based on reasonable assumptions about traffic and stopping for a few rest breaks - always a good decision.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Looks fine.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You can get from Ventura to Williams same day, but not in 8 hours by the time you factor in rest, food and bathroom breaks and to fill with gas. Without major traffic delays you are more likely looking at nearer to 10 hours to cover the ground.

    Likewise, the coast Rd will be a full day on the road and although you have a day spare which could be used here, I would look at the leg between Vegas and Yosemite and consider driving across Death valley and spending a night to the East of the Sierra's, like Bishop or Lee vining and then drive over Tioga pass next day and enjoy the stops and scenery.

  4. #4

    Default Personal experience on parts of this RoadTrip

    Hello Joe,

    Despite my Right Coast location, I've done a couple of pieces of your planned trip in recent years, so can offer two suggestions:

    1) I'd look carefully at the Santa Paula/Santa Claritas/Palmdale/Victorville route north of the San Gabriels, more importantly completely avoiding the LA Basin, to reach I-15 south of Barstow. While the Pearblossom Highway (roughly Palmdale to Victorville) has a well-deserved reputation of being a dangerous segment of highway, surely it can't be terribly more dangerous than the Foothills Freeway all the way across the LA Basin, not to mention US 101 getting from Ventura into LA.

    2) I had the pleasure of driving sections of the PCH from Monterey to San Luis Obispo in 2007. We got on from US 101, having departed from a relative's home near Gilroy, and we left the PCH at SLO in favor of US 101 in order to reach our Port Hueneme destination before too late in the evening. If I recall correctly, we fueled just north of Monterey at 9:00am, did not take the 17 Mile Loop, did stop at a dozen or more pull-offs, stopped at the elephant seal breeding grounds for nearly an hour, did not stop at San Simeon, took nearly a 2-hour lunch and stroll on the beach at Cambria, and reached Morro Bay at around 3:30pm. I think we reached our son's Navy base at Port Hueneme by around 6pm after taking US 101 from SLO to Ventura. So, all in all, I suppose driving the PCH all the way from SF to Ventura in a day is possible, but I wouldn't envision it as a relaxing day. I'd either provide for two days, or shorten it up by skipping the Half-Moon Bay to Monterey segment, and by getting off at SLO. But, having visited the funky beach communities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Half-Moon Bay, it'd be a shame not to see them if you have not yet done so.

    Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!

    Foy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default the reason

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    While the Pearblossom Highway (roughly Palmdale to Victorville) has a well-deserved reputation of being a dangerous segment of highway, surely it can't be terribly more dangerous than the Foothills Freeway all the way across the LA Basin, not to mention US 101 getting from Ventura into LA.
    Just for background, the reason the Pearblossom is a often called a dangerous road is because of the topography. It contains long, straight sections, with rolling hills. This often results in drivers traveling at a high rate of speed, and attemping to pass in what appears to be a clear straight highway, but where oncoming traffic is hidden by the slight hills.

    I don't know if that would be more or less dangerous, but it would be a very different experience than driving through LA traffic.

  6. Default

    I really appreciate all the replies! I think we're going to end up taking two days going back down the coast and just letting everyone take in some of the sights :)

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Just for background, the reason the Pearblossom is a often called a dangerous road is because of the topography. It contains long, straight sections, with rolling hills.
    Quite true, MM, and I'll wager you and I have seen the same episode of History or Discovery channel which includes Pearblossom!

    To be slightly more detailed on the description of the topography, I'd describe it as table-top flat, arrow-straight high desert highway with numerous deep dips. The long view seen by the driver appears straight, flat, and clear, but the dips are many, deep, and long enough to completely oncoming hide cars and even trucks.

    But, with only approximately 15-20 miles of the entire 57 mile Palmdale-Victorville segment being involved in the "dips", and with the great likelihood a traveler would be in a long line of vehicles traveling his direction to begin with, I personally would not have anxiety about the Pearblossom. Besides, if the skies are clear, you get a great view off to the north towards China Lake and of the San Gabriels to your south.

    Foy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default correct sir!

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    Quite true, MM, and I'll wager you and I have seen the same episode of History or Discovery channel which includes Pearblossom!
    You are right, I saw some show about it a number of years ago - and actually the reason that it caught my attention was that I had actually driven the highway myself just a couple weeks earlier. To be honest, I hadn't really thought about the danger factor of the road until after I saw it, although I drove it in a moving van, so I had a different perspective than a traveler in an average car.

  9. #9

    Default Trucking the Pearblossom

    It was at least a year or two between my Pearblossom traverse and the first time I caught the "bug channel" show featuring it. I was on the tail end of a cross-country trip with my son and we collectively loathed the notion of entering the LA Basin from the east at 3pm on a weekday, so we pulled out the Benchmark California Atlas and bushwhacked it across the Pearblossom in his 4WD pickup. I distinctly recall thinking "these dips are trouble in a small car--no visibility!", so seeing the show struck a chord before I even realized I'd driven it.

    Excepting part of a Saturday afternoon in the Thousand Oaks-Simi Valley-Reseda-and back to Port Hueneme part of the western/northwestern LA Basin, which was a-plenty, I never had to experience the congestion. My son made many a run into what he called "The Hole" during his period of being stationed there, enough that when it was time to leave active duty and drive home to NC, he left Port Hueneme at 0300 in order to get through quickly and cleanly. No big urban areas for this RoadTripper if I can help it.

    Foy

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    Hello Joe,

    Despite my Right Coast location, I've done a couple of pieces of your planned trip in recent years, so can offer two suggestions:

    1) I'd look carefully at the Santa Paula/Santa Claritas/Palmdale/Victorville route north of the San Gabriels, more importantly completely avoiding the LA Basin, to reach I-15 south of Barstow. While the Pearblossom Highway (roughly Palmdale to Victorville) has a well-deserved reputation of being a dangerous segment of highway, surely it can't be terribly more dangerous than the Foothills Freeway all the way across the LA Basin, not to mention US 101 getting from Ventura into LA.

    2) I had the pleasure of driving sections of the PCH from Monterey to San Luis Obispo in 2007. We got on from US 101, having departed from a relative's home near Gilroy, and we left the PCH at SLO in favor of US 101 in order to reach our Port Hueneme destination before too late in the evening. If I recall correctly, we fueled just north of Monterey at 9:00am, did not take the 17 Mile Loop, did stop at a dozen or more pull-offs, stopped at the elephant seal breeding grounds for nearly an hour, did not stop at San Simeon, took nearly a 2-hour lunch and stroll on the beach at Cambria, and reached Morro Bay at around 3:30pm. I think we reached our son's Navy base at Port Hueneme by around 6pm after taking US 101 from SLO to Ventura. So, all in all, I suppose driving the PCH all the way from SF to Ventura in a day is possible, but I wouldn't envision it as a relaxing day. I'd either provide for two days, or shorten it up by skipping the Half-Moon Bay to Monterey segment, and by getting off at SLO. But, having visited the funky beach communities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Half-Moon Bay, it'd be a shame not to see them if you have not yet done so.

    Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!

    Foy
    Quick question Foy,

    A little confused on the first section you were talking about. Looking at my map, I was originally going to go the typical route of 101-405 to the 15. Mind you, I'm not originally from here (We were in the Navy stationed at Port Hueneme, recently got out of the navy and I'm now working as a civilian in Point Mugu..yay) So to avoid the LA basin, would I take the 126 to 5 to the 14? A little confused at that part. Thanks again for all the insight on this!

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