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  1. Default West Coast of America Route


    We are 4 seniors and planning a touring holiday for late August 2012. We don't want to do any massively long distances. We would like some comments as to our proposed route.

    Day 1 Fly to San Francisco from England
    Day 2 San Francisco
    Day 3 San Francisco
    Day 4 Pick up car and travel from San Francisco to Oakdale via Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Muir Woods and San Quentin
    Day 5 Oakdale to Mammoth Lakes
    Day 6 Mammoth Lakes to Furnace Creek in Death Valley
    Day 7 Furnace Creek to Las Vegas
    Day 8 Las Vegas
    Day 9 Las Vegas
    Day 10 Las Vegas to Williams
    Day 11 Williams to Grand Canyon via train
    Day 12 Williams to Lake Havasu
    Day 13 Lake Havasu to Barstow
    Day 14 Barstow to Los Angeles
    Day 15 Los Angeles
    Day 16 Los Angeles to San Simeon using coast road
    Day 17 San Simeon to Half Moon Bay using coast road
    Day 18 San Francisco to England

    Comments on the route and stop off places please with alternative suggestions if appropriate.

    Suggestion as to sights to see on the way please.

    Is it necessary to book all hotels in advance. We know we have to book San Francisco, and also Furnace Creek.


    Chris and Pete

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

    Default Yosemite ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You have a nice itinerary planned and a wonderful trip to look forward to. I'm don't know if there is a particular reason for staying in Barstow or not, but I would certainly consider taking a night from elsewhere in your trip and spending it in, or around Yosemite NP. It is a true gem of the NP system and worth taking the time to explore it in my opinion. You could make a one night stop between Williams and LA to cater for it quite comfortably. From Lake Havasu you could consider heading towards Twenty nine palms and through Joshua tree NP on route to LA.

    If you end up with a set itinerary then I think it would be wise to book lodgings in advance, or at least some others like Williams as you are travelling in peak season, and around Yosemite if you decide to do so. For Vegas you should be able to find some great deals on line to book in advance. There are always rooms available some place, but if at a weekend and/or a big event is on, sometimes it's hard to find a reasonably priced room on the Strip in Vegas. Check out the 'Reservations' link in the green tool bar above where you will find a lot of lodging options and to get an idea of costs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Yosemite??

    The first thing which jumped out at me is Yosemite.... or should I say, the lack of a mention of Yosemite. This great natural wonder deserves a full day (if not more) alone. Just a drive through is not going to allow you to see some of the magnificent sites.


    edit: Oooops! Dave already mentioned it.

  4. Default

    Day 11 Williams to Grand Canyon via train
    Just wanted to let you know that you do NOT see the Grand Canyon on the train trip. I've also heard from relatives that were disappointed in the amount of time they actually had at the Grand Canyon when they did the train trip.

    Death Valley, Las Vegas, Lake Havasu will all be very hot places to visit. Please carry water with you.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would recommend you do the loop in the reverse direction - start by driving south on the coast highway. This way, the scenic pullouts will be on your side of the road.

    Go from SF to LA, then to the GC, staying in the park or Tusayan instead of Williams, then to LV, Death Valley, Yosemite, and back to SF.

  6. Default

    Hi Southwest Dave,

    Thanks for your help. The reason why Yosemite has been missed out is because 2 of the group have already been before and have spent quite a bit of time in that area, and so we don't want to duplicate.

    Your suggested route from Lake Havasu looks good and we shall probably take that on board.

    If you have any more suggestions let us have them.

    Many thanks

  7. Default

    Hi glc,

    Thanks for your advice, we will consider it.

    We have looked at Tusayan on the map. It is much nearer to Grand Canyon than Williams isn't it? Is this the main reason for your recommendation or is it a gem of a town?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Strictly convenience, it's a nice little town but I would not call it a "gem". You should drive to the Grand Canyon, not take the train. You certainly could stay in Williams or Flagstaff but you would be looking at an hour to an hour and a half drive each way to the park.

    The best thing to do in my opinion is book lodging in the park - this will need to be done months in advance.

  9. Default

    HI South West Dave,

    After looking at the replies we have received and talking to the other 2 seniors in our group, we have taken on some of the suggestions made and our road trip itinerary now looks like this.

    Day 1 England - San Francisco
    Day 2 San Francisco
    Day 3 San Fancisco
    Day 4 San Francisco - Oakdale - via Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Muir Woods, San
    Quentin to Oakdlale
    Day 5 Oakdale to Mammoth Lakes
    Day 6 Mammoth Lakes to Furnace Creeks
    Day 7 Furnace Creeks to Las Vegas
    Day 8 Las Vegas
    Day 9 Las Vegas
    Day 10 Las Vegas - Tusayan/Grand Canyon
    Day 11 Grand Canyon
    Day 12 Tusayan/Grand Canyon - Lake Havasu
    Day 13 Lake Havasu - Twenty Nine Palms/Joshua Tree National Park
    Day 14 Twenty Nine Palms/Joshua Tree Nationa Park - Los Angeles
    Day 15 Los Angeles
    Day 16 Los Angeles - San Simeon or somewhere similar
    Day 17 San Simeon - Half Moon Bay
    Day 18 Back to England

    We have deliberately missed out Yosemite as 2 of our group have spent time in this area before, and we have discussed going the other way round to be on the 'best' side when going along the coast road, but we decided that we wanted smaller mileages on our first 2 days of driving.

    There are some questions we would now like to ask.

    1 Could you suggest a good map for us to buy as we know we shall need one.
    2 We would appreciate help with the route to Oakdale as we would like to see something of the 'real America', and not just travel on the main highways.
    3 Could you suggest anything of particular interest on the way?
    4 We have seen on another site someone who had done the Juno Lake loop when at Mammoth Lakes. Would this be feasible in our itinerary?
    5 Any suggestions as to location of hotels/motels in Oakdale/Mammoth Lakes area, we want to be central to ammenities
    6 What is driving like on the Tioga pass, just so we can be prepared?
    7 What kind of vehicle would you suggest -we were thinking of something like Landrover Discovery/Nissan X-Trail or and American Equivalent
    8 It has been suggested to us about doing a helicopter ride up the Grand Canyon but we're not sure. We like to soak up the atmosphere of an area. We would welcome comments on this
    9 We intend to visit the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas, does this idea seem OK?
    10 We have read on another website about sunset boat trips at Lake Havasu - Captain Kenny's Boat Trips I think they are called. Has anyone any comments about them?
    11 Waht kind of problems could we expect when diriving in Las Vegas and have you any tips for driving and navigating here?

    Thank you so much for your help, it really is appreciated.

    Chris and Pete

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Thoughts.

    Your trip looks in good shape !

    To answer some of your questions.

    Maps. A lot of people mention the Randy McNally as being a good place to start. Before we set out from the UK, I ordered some State maps from my local bookstore and along with notes and some more detailed maps [NP etc] printed off the computer and it was fine.

    Is there a reason for choosing Oakdale other than convenience ? A little further along is the historic '49'er town of 'Jamestown' ]which I have not been to, but would like to] which is also home to 'Railtown historic state park.

    I think the scenic June loop road will fit in, but with that type of info you can see how the day goes when there. Somethings will 'speed you up a little and others slow you down.

    Check out the reservations link above where you will get info on lodgings.

    Tioga pass is a wonderful drive that all you need to concern yourself with, is having the time to enjoy it !

    There is no need for a 4x4 and where it is needed you won't be allowed to go, the rental agreement forbids you to go 'Off road' at anytime. A large sedan would do the same job for less money, but your choice.

    Definitely visit the GC south rim and soak up the atmosphere. If you want a Heli flight you can get a 50min flight from GC airport in Tusayan. It doesn't land but it flys you over the NP to the North rim and is quite something. Tours from Vegas generally go to the West rim which is not part of the NP system.

    You can make Hoover dam a day trip from Vegas, but you could stop on route to the GC, you will be going right by it.

    I don't think you will have any problems in LV other than congestion which is hard to avoid. If you stay near, or on the Strip, you shouldn't have to use the car much at all.

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