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  1. Default Vegas to SF to Seattle

    Hello all!

    My wife and I love this website and have used it a few times for our road trips. We live in the Northeast and travel around there a lot. Last year we drove from NY to IL, SD, CO, UT, AZ and back. We had three weeks and no time schedule and wanted to make it out to California but loved the national park system too much and stuck around some places longer than expected.

    This year we have decided to start off where we had left off. We went to Phoenix to visit family instead of vegas so we want to start at Las Vegas and head to Seattle and possibly Vancouver.

    Being that we have a set time schedule this year we are trying to pack things into only 11 days. We have kind of crossed Vancouver off the list so that we are not rushing our trip.
    This is what he have planned so far, also I am comfortable driving long stretches at a time but let me know if this is too ambitious:

    D1: Arrive In vegas at midnight (we will be sleeping on the plane) stay for a few hours and travel to death valley, stay there for a bit and finish the day arriving at Yosemite.
    D2: Explore Yosemite, drive to San Francisco
    D3: In SF explore: golden gate bridge, alcatrez, angel island and Point Reyes
    D4: Explore SF: city and or Napa Valley
    D5: Drive to Redwood Natl Forest, explore Rt 101, End day in oregon
    D6: Arrive in Portland, Oregon and explore city
    D7: Explore Oregon: Mt hood or Coast adjacent to Portland (undecided yet)
    D8: Drive to Seattle: explore Olympic Natl Park
    D9: Explore Seattle and Mt. Rainer
    D10: (I know we will find things to do on the way that will sidetrack us, so I didn't want to rush)
    D11:

    We thought about seeing the hoover dam, but it is in the opposite direction, we also want to see sequoia Natl Park, but heard Red Wood is better, so will go to death valley.

    Also, we are renting a car, Fox rent a car has the lowest rates, and I know they are pushy with extras, but has anyone had any issues with their cars?
    Ok, I know this is a lot, but thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I think you are biting off way more than you can chew on day one. You're not arriving until midnight, so by the time you get your bags, rental car, etc, it is going to be at least 2 am before you are checked into your hotel. So starting early the next day really is not a safe or realistic options - trying to start a trip while exhausted is going to torpedo the entire trip.

    At the most, you should plan to see some of Death Valley and stop somewhere along US-395 like Lone Pine or Bishop for the night and continue into Yosemite on day 2.

    The other problem is your trip up the Northern California/Oregon coast. This is a slow going route and you simply can't make it all the way from SF to Portland in 2 days. Even doing it in 3 would be pushing it, basically, its a route that takes about twice as much time as following a freeway. If you make it all the way to the Redwoods in 1 day, it would be a very full day on the road. BTW, Redwoods and Sequoias are two completely different species of trees, and not really comparable, however, you can see some giant Sequoias inside of Yosemite.

    I've used Fox once before and I didn't have any issues with them. However, I chose them because they had the smallest underage fee - so that was going on 10 years ago.

  3. Default

    We actually didn't even plan on staying in a hotel at vegas. the flight is 7 hours, and it will be about 6 in the morning when we are looking to leave, for me on Eastern Standard time and an hour later than what i actually get up for my drive to work.

    Stopping at bishop does sound like a good idea.. I was thinking of seeing mammoth lakes.

    Thank you for clarifying the sequoia redwood mix up.... Maybe we will add the add day in there because we are very much looking forward to stopping on the coast along the way.

    And thanks again for the fox tip... they are about 1000 dollars cheaper than other rentacars.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default as I mentioned

    About the best way to destroy a trip before it even starts it to try to travelwhile exhausted. Personally, I don't know how you think you'll get enough sleep on a plane to be ready to go for a full day of travel.

    Even more, if you've got a 7 hour flight from the east coast, then you must have a rather significant layover enroute, which means you're opportunity to get an extended period of sleep will be that much more reduced. Throw in the jetlag factor where at the very least, you'll be losing 3 hours of a day, when you'd normally be sleeping, and it could be very difficult to enjoy yourself on the road. Even of you muscle through the first day, these things almost always catch up rather quickly.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default These three days won't work the way you want them to

    I would have to endorse Michael's comments. Even if you were to make it to Yosemite (safely) on day 1 (which is highly unlikely), there is absolutely no way you would be in any fit state to enjoy exploring it on day 2. It is also questionable as to how much exploring you will actually manage to do, if you plan to drive to SF on the same day. And the flow on will be that you will probably sleep most of day 3 in SF.

    These days need some serious re-arranging.

    Lifey

  6. Default

    Thank you for your thoughts and ideas... We have taken them into consideration and shortened the distance of our first night to Bishop, CA.
    We are also thinking about taking two days to explore Yosemite instead of just one.

    Are there any recommendations on places to stop during our 101 trek? We will be doing that trip over 2 days now. We keep seeing things that interest us.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Stay flexible

    Quote Originally Posted by pentab5 View Post
    We keep seeing things that interest us.
    That is the very nature of planning a roadtrip. That first draft invariably, is not the way the trip will happen. Stay flexible until you are sure where you really want to go, until you have explored all the options.

    Quote Originally Posted by pentab5 View Post
    ... but loved the national park system too much and stuck around some places longer than expected.
    And even then you will find, as you have before, that you just want to hang around that bit longer. Just make sure that in all your planning you stay flexible enough to have that freedom once more. You will strike some amazing places, and Death Valley and Yosemite are but two of them.

    Lifey

  8. Default narrowing down

    Thanks again for all the help.

    So we have been trying to figure out all the places we want to go and have a revised list. Let us know what you think. I have added some questions and reasoning to the days as well.

    D1: Las vegas to Death Valley to Mammoth Lakes. (we wanted to go to Hoover Dam but crossed it off the list because it is in the opposite direction.

    D2: Mammoth to yosemite to San Francisco (we would love to spend more time at yosemite but want to use that extra day in olympic NP)

    D3: Explore Alcatraz, Angel island, Golden Gate park and maybe Muir woods (my wife really wants to go to Alcatraz and I wanted to go to Angel Island. I know this is an open question but is it worth going to angel island or save the time and go to muir woods?)

    D4: Explore San fran: farmers market, city and maybe napa valley (anything in particular that we should do?

    D5: head to Redwood Forest via route 101 and then finish the day about an hour north. (here is were we start heading into the unknown. we have been wanting to go the the pacific NW for so long and want to make sure that we can see as much as possible. For this trip we are going to focus on the coast so if there are any suggestions, all are welcome.) Also i know that 101 is does not follow the californian coast but thought using rt 1 would take too much time away from this part of the trip, but we will follow 101 up the oregon coast.

    D6: head up the coast via 101 towards portland. We are stopping in Florence to see the sea lions and are looking to stay for the night around tillamook. That day will probally be the 4th of july so we began looking for firework displays up there.

    D:7 Explore portland and maybe Mt. Hood ( Again Mt Hood looks beautiful, but we are thinking of skipping it to spend more time at olympic. Any thoughts for portland?)

    D:8 Drive to Olympic and enjoy (we were going to stay in seattle but then realized how far away it is. Any recommendations on towns to stay in?

    D9: Continue exploring Olympic circling around it on rt 101 headed to seattle

    D10: Will be either explore the seattle or go to Mt Rainier. (what are some activities for seattle?)

    D11: Explore seattle leave that night.

    We would love to go to a farm festival or to some farms in Washington and Oregon as well.

    I now realize this is very long, and we do appreciate all the feedback!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pentab5 View Post
    ... (we would love to spend more time at yosemite but want to use that extra day in olympic NP)
    In view of this comment appended to Day 2, I am wondering why this trip is starting in LV. If it is purely because it is where you left of last time, it simply does not make sense to me. You will be driving 2 days from LV to SF, adding miles to your trip, and not seeing, much less enjoying, anything.

    It seems to me that you have a fantastic trip here, if you were to start in SF. It would give you time to adjust your body clock and to see all your options for SF, before you hit the road. It will also give you time, while on the road, to decide whether to include Mt Hood, Mt Rainier and maybe even Mt St Helens...

    When in Seattle don't miss Pike Place Market, check out their unique library and be sure to take a ride on the Melbourne Tram.

    Lifey who has a vested interest

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,064

    Default

    I'm not really sure how much more we can add, since with the slight change to your first day (at the expense of your second) you've pretty much got the same trip you started with.

    I will say again that your plans for north of San Francisco simply will not work. You can't get from SF to Tillamook/Portland in two days via US-101 and have time to see anything. It really is a bare minimum of a 3 day trip, when you factor in that much of this road has a speed limit of 45, with towns and traffic to slow you down farther. Its very much a full day to get to the Redwoods from SF, and trying to get even farther means you certainly won't have time to see any of them. And getting from there to Northern Oregon in a day won't leave you time to stop and smell the sea lions!

    Just for perspective, it takes at least 2 days to follow the coast from SF to LA, and in the same amount of time, you are trying to do twice the miles.

    I understand trying to pack as much in as you can with a limited amount of time available, but you really don't have enough time for the things you've already listed, much less have time to add in farms, festivals, or other additional things on top of it. At best, right now I see a trip where you're going to be racing through places and will be able to say you've been there, and at worst you're going to have a miserable slog from pushing yourself to your own physical limits.

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