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  1. Default A road trip in southern California and Las vegas with my son


    I'm currently planning a trip to the weat coast with my son. I have some experience with car vacations in the US from the past, but that was way back in 1986. I used to be a ships officer, and with every opportunity I signed of my ship in the US to have a few days of vacation before heading home to Norway. Our last trip to the US was back in 2001 when our whole family had our first vacation in Florida. The greatest vacation ever.

    This time it will be my 21 year old son and myself. Primaqrily attending tehh Sema Sahow in Las vegas. Hoever, going to the states is not you do for a 3 days event. When having the possibility to visit it's amust to see as much as possible on the shortest time.

    We plan to leave Norway the 28th of October and return teh 7th of November. This gives us some more days to explore Southern California and Las Vegas and hopefully there is somebody in this forum that can suggest a route.

    I've made a preliminary route and would like some comments on this. Is it possible? Anyone with better suggestions? I do not want to use the Highways, but explore the scenic places. We are trying to save up some money til next summer and have the whole family going for a 14 day trip to the mentioned area, so it may be that the San fransisco leg of the trip can be postponed til then.

    Departure Arrival
    Kristinansand Los Angeles afternoon/evening Cruising LA, possible local car meeting
    Los Angeles Los Angeles whole day Beverly Hills, Hollywood, So-cal speed shop etc.
    Los Angeles San fransico late evening/night St monica, Venice beach, pismo beach, Highway 1
    San Fransisco Yosemite late evening/night Alcatraz, Golden gate, cable cars, Fishermans wharf
    Yosemite Death vallley evening Yosemite national park
    Death valley Las Vegas Late evening Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas
    Las Vegas Las vegas Sema Auto show, indoor skydiving
    Las Vegas Las Vegas Sema Auto show, shooting range
    Las Vegas Las Vegas Grand Canyon, Hoover dam
    Las Vegas Kristiansand Dead tired, but probably extremely happy:-)

    Will highly appreciate any suggestions for this road trip. We are primarily using the day to explore and evening/night to move from city to city to make the tripp as efficient as possible since there is so much to see and so little time available:-).

    Sincerely yours

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

    Default Needs consideration.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I think you may have forgotten how big the US is !

    I wouldn't expect to do too much on arrival as you will be jet lagged and tired, but I do think it is worth doing a little and keep going until an evening meal, a relax and an early night so that you are more refreshed next day and your body clock has already started to adjust.

    From LA to SF can be done in a day, but not via Highway 1, which is in reality a 2 day drive. The same can be said of your next day, you can't visit what you want to and get to Yosemite same day, and no real difference on the 3rd day. You could possibly drive from Yosemite to Vegas while driving through Death valley but you won't have any time to explore the parks or I doubt be in any condition to visit Red rock. To make Death valley a realistic option you are going to have to depend n the Tioga pass [CA120] across the Sierra's to be open, which is unpredictable as it can close anytime at this time of year. You can follow the links in this thread for previous opening/closing dates. The good thing is that travelling this time of year, there should be no need to book in advance and you can "go with the flow".

    Once you are in Vegas you should also know that he Grand canyon is not recommended as a day trip, it could be up to 12 hours of driving out and back by the time you factor in Hoover dam delays so you would need to consider spending a night there.

    You have the same problem as most of us, to much to see and not enough time. The real problem is that by trying to "see" too much, you end up seeing not a lot at all.

    If it is still an option, I would consider flying into San Fran and driving the coast, or Yosemite and Death valley, with the possibility of visiting GC from either option or, fly in and out of Vegas and do a 'Grand loop' through Zion NP, Bryce canyon NP, through Page to Grand canyon, Hoover dam and back to Vegas.

  3. Default A road trip in southern California and Las vegas with my son

    Thanks a lot for your swift anmd informative info Dave. Will have to discuss this with my son tonight. May be we should drop the SF "detour" and concentrate on LA and Las Vegas. Will a detour to Yoesemite/Death valley be feasible en route from LA to Las Vegas? An overnight stay in the Yosemite/Death valley area included.

    Depending of the cost, a grand canyon tour with helicopter may be one way of saving a lot of driving, but I think the drive itself should be an experience.

    My last big roadtrip in the US was from Seattle to San fransisco to LA to San Diego to Palm Springs to Las vegas and back to Seattle. 6120 km in 10 days. But that was back in 1986 and I was a bit younger and more energetic:-).

    We are really looking forward to this trip and as you point out we should consider spending more time at the most interesting points.

    Best regards

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Again, noting what Dave said about forgetting about how big the US is, Yosemite and Death Valley are almost a full days drive apart from each other on the opposite sides of a mountain range, so its tough to call them the same area. As Dave also mentioned, this is the start of the Winter season, and Tioga Pass could be closed during your travels which makes the trip even longer. You certainly could fit both places into your trip, just as you could potentially do the coast/SF, but you're going to have to make some choices, and doing either could mean skipping Grand Canyon.

    Since you are looking to return to the SF area again next year, what you might consider doing instead is driving directly from LA to the Grand Canyon (a full day drive). Spend a little time there, loop up into southern Utah towards Zion NP, and then head back to Vegas from there.

    In either case, I think I would focus on either things west or east of Vegas with the timeframe you've got available.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Doable, but...............

    A trip to Yosemite and Death valley is certainly doable, and would be made a lot easier if the Tioga pass were to remain open. I didn't pick up the fact that in your first post you say "Yosemite, Death valley, evening Yosemite". They are not close to each other and you wouldn't back track to Yosemite from DV, but continue an onward journey to Vegas.

    Helicopter tours are available from Vegas but they do not usually go to the National park, they go to the West rim on Indian lands where the "Skywalk" is located, and while it would be a good experience you will not see the Canyon quite the same as you would going to the National park.

    Have a chat with your son and see what you come up with.

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