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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    18

    Default SF to LV Route for Advice

    Me and the missus are looking at doing a leasurly road trip (by car) from San Francisco to Las Vegas, probably in mid to late August 2011 for 14 days.

    The main points we would like to see are:
    San Francisco
    Big Sur
    Sequoia
    Yosemite
    Death Valley
    Grand Canyon
    Las Vegas

    I've had a read of a lot of posts on here and I think we've managed to put together a sensible schedule but would like someone to sence check it to make sure we are on the right track.

    Also at the stop over points we could do with some recomendation for accomodation as some of the places we've found are quite expensive but give us a good location for exploring.

    Day 1 - Arrive in SF (no idea of hotel yet)
    Day 2 - stay in SF
    Day 3 - Stay in SF
    Day 4 - Drive down HW1 and stop in a Motel 6 near Pismo Beach (250 miles)
    Day 5 - Drive to Sequoia via HW101, HW41, HW198 through Visalia stop in Wuksachi Lodge (220 Miles)
    Day 6 - Drive to Yosemite via HW180, HW41 and stop in Yosemite Lodge a the Falls (200 Miles)
    Day 7 - Day at Yosemite, overnight at the Yosemite Lodge a the Falls again
    Day 8 - Drive to Death Valley via HW120, I385, HW190, stop in Ranch at Furnace Creek (300 miles)
    Day 9 - Day at Death Valley, stop in Ranch at Furnace Creek again
    Day 10 - Drive to south Rim of Grand Canyon via HW190, HW160, HW93, I40, HW64 stop at El Tovar Hotel (385 miles)
    Day 11 - Day at Canyon stop at El Tovar Hotel again
    Day 12 - Drive to Las Vegas stop in Mirage (280 miles)
    Day 13 - Stop in Vegas in Mirage
    Day 14 - Fly home from Vegas

    Alternative routes that can take in some good sights/scenery are welcome too.

    Personally I'm not too happy about the long drive from Death Valley to the Canyon but I can't see an alternative.

    The 14 days could be extended by a couple of days if needed.

    Thanks

    Rob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Surprisingly Rushed

    One would think that with an entire two weeks at your disposal, you could have a rather leisurely tour of many of the highlights of this often visited section of the country. But looking at your itinerary I'm struck by how much time you are spending on the road or in the big cities as opposed to enjoying some of the many natural wonders that abound in this area. Personally, I would opt for more time along the Big Sur Coast, especially in the Monterey - Carmel are, and more time in Yosemite. Since something would have to give, I'd forego Sequoia and a day in each of San Francisco and Las Vegas. But that is just me. I will note that you have to go through Las Vegas on the way to the Grand Canyon, so you might break up the drive to the Canyon with a night in Las Vegas, then spend one night at the Canyon, enjoying an evening, a sunset, a sunrise, and a morning before heading back to Vegas. That would save you some time.

    AZBuck

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

    Default Looks good.

    Your itinerary looks good, nice job !

    The day down the coast from SF will be a long one. The road is slow going with amazing scenery and you won't want to rush it. You could take a couple of days here with plenty to see and do but otherwise stopping a little earlier in the Cambria area would be worth considering.

    The drive from Furnace creek to GC is doable in a day, but if you would feel more comfortable you could always make headway on day 2 in DV rather than spend a second night at Furnace creek, perhaps to Kingman. Death valley in August will be unbelievably hot but there is still a lot to be gained from driving through this great landscape and taking short walks to viewpoints. Make sure you have sun hats and cream and carry plenty of bottled water with you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Thanks for the replies.

    The 3 nights in San Francisco are for us to get over the flight, see some of the sights and visit Alcatraz, Alcatraz is one of the main reasons we are coming over so we dont want to rush things too much in San Francisco

    We shall look into possibly adding a day to the whole trip and stopping somewhere south of Monterey - Carmel area to break that big run up. Not really looked into the Monterey - Carmel area so not sure what there is to see round there yet., any pointers?

    We are expecting that DV will be a "little warm" so we were intending to drive around to the views we can as there are a few we want to see in that area.

    We shall see if we can break the Canyon drive with a stop in Kingman.

    The time in Las Vegas is as a base for us to do a trip to the Hoover Dam and a Helicopter trip to the canyon so we can't really afford to drop a day there.

    Thanks again for the replies and advice, I shall be back in a few days when I have had time to adjust the route.

    Rob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default In Monterey - Carmel

    Just a few of the places and things I've enjoyed in the Monterey - Carmel area: the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row if you're a John Steinbeck fan, the Monterey State Historic Park although the docent led walking tours through are unfortunately not being conducted at present, Monarch Grove Sanctuary in Pacific Grove if the butterflies are migrating through, 17 Mile Drive and Pebble Beach if you can't get to St. Andrew's, Carmel Mission, (window) shopping in Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Point Lobos State Reserve.

    AZBuck

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

    Default A couple more thoughts.

    From Yosemite I would consider stopping for the night a little before Furnace creek to give you time to enjoy Tioga pass and through Death valley to Furnace creek as well as the scenery in between. Lone Pine would be a good spot and then spend night 2 at Furnace creek.

    We shall see if we can break the Canyon drive with a stop in Kingman.
    The time in Las Vegas is as a base for us to do a trip to the Hoover Dam
    If you were to stop in Kingman you could spend time at the Hoover dam, you will be driving right by there on the way too the Grand canyon and on the way back.

    a Helicopter trip to the canyon.
    A Heli flight is a wonderful experience. You can fly from Vegas where most tours will take you to the West rim to land which is not part of the National park. If you want the experience of flying over the Canyon then you could go to the Grand canyon airport in Tusayan and get a 50 min flight over the main canyon from the South to North rim. No helicopters can land within the National park area or fly in [between the canyon walls] the Canyon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Thanks Dave and AZBuck for your replies and suggestions.

    We've re-worked our route to take into consideration your ideas, adding a day. It seems to be coming together nicely, we just nee to find all the good sights now to call at on route and a hotel for SF.

    Day 1 - Arrive in SF (no idea of hotel yet)
    Day 2 - stay in SF
    Day 3 - Stay in SF
    Day 4 - Collect Car and Drive to Monterey stop in Motel 6 (115 miles)
    Day 5 - Drive down HW1 and stop in a Motel 6 near Morro Bay (125 miles)
    Day 6 - Drive to Sequoia via HW101, HW41, HW198 through Visalia stop in Wuksachi Lodge (180 Miles)
    Day 7 - Drive to Yosemite via HW180, HW41 and stop in Yosemite Lodge a the Falls (200 Miles)
    Day 8 - Day at Yosemite, overnight at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls again
    Day 9 - Drive to Lone Pine via HW120, I395, Stop in Best Western (200 miles)
    Day 10 - Drive to Death Valley, stop in Ranch at Furnace Creek (110 miles)
    Day 11 - Drive to Kingman, via Hoover Dam, stop in Best Western (220 miles)
    Day 12 - Drive to south Rim of Grand Canyon via HW190, HW160, HW93, I40, HW64 stop at El Tovar Hotel (190 miles)
    Day 13 - Drive to Las Vegas stop in Mirage (280 miles)
    Day 14 - Stop in Vegas in Mirage
    Day 15 - Fly home from Vegas

    Thanks again for your help.

    Rob

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default A few thoughts.

    It looks good ! You are in for a real treat with so much amazing and diverse scenery along the way.

    If you want to book Alcatraz tickets in advance [recommended] then the link provided is the only official place to buy tickets for the ferry crossing.

    On arrival in San Fran we stayed the night in airport Hotel that offered a free shuttle bus service which we found convenient after a long flight. We actually used the BART rail system to travel downtown which was excellent. The Hotel we used was the 'Best Western Grosvenor' and at the time thought it to be great value. When we stayed nearer the City we found reasonable priced Motels along Lombard Street that was convenient to the Piers and cable cars into the City. The City is quite compact and easy to get around so if you are planning on staying around the centre I wouldn't pick up a car rental until you hit the road, car parking can be expensive even when parking it at your Hotel. Some of the Lombard St Motels do not charge extra if you have a car, so check it out when you are comparing prices.

    In Yosemite do not miss the drive up to Glacier point, stunning !

    If you get an early start from Kingman I would recommend that you continue to Flagstaff and head North on 89 and enter by the East kiosk on Desert view drive [64]. The views along here are a big part of the Grand canyon experience and your first views from the Old Watchtower will be wide open of the Colorado river and then you can follow it's path to the village and main canyon area while stopping along the way.

    You will find tons of info throughout the RTA site but if you have any further questions just ask, if not have a great trip and please drop by and share your experience when you are done.

  9. Default

    I´ve taken a roadtrip from Los Angeles via Las Vegas through Death Valley and followed Hghw 1 up to San Fransisco and had a great time. Think we only had about 10+ days but covered a lot and spendt our days well.

    Some of my favorite stops along the way that you haven´t mentioned is the 17-mile drive, Hearst Castle and Solvang. Solvang is really cute (although I guess others would hate it) and doesn´t take much time to see.
    PS. Do make sure to make a reservation for room in Death Valley ahead of time. We didn´t and ended up driving for miles and miles to the next motel as Furnace Creek which had just 1 room left, (a familyroom with 3 dbl beds and double price - but we happily accepted due to the late hours).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Thanks for the info Dave, we weren't going to pick a car up until day 4 anyway as we're hoping to stay in the centre. It will all depend what time our flight lands as to if we go direct into the centre or stop in an airport hotel for a night.

    We've heard of Enterprise and Hertz but are there other big companies that we've not heard of that we can check out hire car prices prices on? Would love a nice V8 if we can stretch the budget...

    The flagstaff route sounds a good idea. We will be booking most, if not all, of our accomodation in advance, as I guess places will be busy in August.

    TravelBuggy, thanks for the tips. We were going to have a look round 17mile drive but not heard of the other points you mention so will have a look at them, thanks.

    Thanks for the advice so far.

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