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  1. Default Vegas to LA to SFC... Questions Help needed about locations/hotels etc?

    Hi - I am new to this so my apologies if I have got this wrong?....

    We are planning our Road Trip for 2012 from Vegas down the I-15 to LA up the Highway 1 (coastal route via Solvang/Cartmel) to SFC... Below are my questions which I hope someone may be able to answer regarding differnt aspects of this trip:

    * Vegas to LA, via Hoover Dam then stopping overnight @ Barstow CA. Got a couple of questions re. Barstow:
    (This is for our anniversary so want to do something extra american special)

    - Does the Drive-In movie theatre still operate? I have googled the website and sent several emails but with no response?
    - Hotels - any recommendations?
    - Eating recommendations?
    - Safety in Barstow (not assuming any issues, but read some worrying websites) Pls can anyone advise what Dos/Dont's?

    * LA to SFC via Solvang then stopping overnight somehwere along the coastal road.... Got a couple of questions re. this route..

    - If we leave LA mid morning going direct to Solvang and leaving there by 5pm to drive up the coastal road, where would you recommend a good location to stop overnight which is within good easy reach by car allowing stop offs along the way (not craming in too much driving and less sight seeing lol) and more importantly giving us time to find a hotel for the night and then allowing plenty of time to drive (with stops) upto SFC where we need to drop off our rental car in SFC by 4pm the following day?

    - If you can recommend a location on the coastal drive - Can you also recommend a hotel & eatery?

    SFC - We will be flying out from SFC so what method of transport to the airport is best recommended from the city centre Taxi/Train?

    Finally, We would welcome any advise recommendations for our trip in any of these locations/journeys of things to see/do /avoid etc etc We love to see the Worlds Biggest etc along the routes and also experience real america.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully reply with some helpful tips.

    Tripper 2012

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tripper2012 View Post
    * Vegas to LA, via Hoover Dam then stopping overnight @ Barstow CA. Got a couple of questions re. Barstow:
    (This is for our anniversary so want to do something extra American special)
    I'm just curious why you are planning to stop overnight at Barstow? If you're flying in from overseas, you could do the Hoover Dam on the day you get in (giving your body time to adjust to the time change) and then stay overnight in Las Vegas. LA is a 5-6 hour drive from Las Vegas, depending of course on the traffic in either city. Barstow is the halfway point. There are a couple of places of interest in Barstow: The Harvey House (from train and Route 66 days) and other things related to Route 66. If you have a shopper in your group, there's a huge outlet center off of Lenwood, south of town.

    I wish I could answer about the drive in movie. You'd think that here in SoCal they would still be popular, because of our weather. However, most of the drive-ins have closed. At one time in San Diego County, we had 8 or 10 drive-in theatres. Now we have ONE, the Santee Drive-In.

    - Safety in Barstow (not assuming any issues, but read some worrying websites) Pls can anyone advise what Dos/Dont's?
    Safety in ANY city is dependent on you. If your instincts tell you that somewhere is not safe, don't go there. Park under a light. Don't leave valuables in the car where they can be seen, put them in the trunk. Lock your car doors and when you're in the hotel room, lock the door with the safety lock. Some folks prefer to stay in a hotel with indoor hallways, where others like to stay where they can park the car right outside the door. Probably the indoor hallways are better for personal safety. When walking about anywhere, ladies should hold purse tightly under the arm, and men should put the wallet either in a buttoned up pocket or in a front pocket.

    Internet safety is another thing - absolutely do NOT access your bank account from a public wireless connection.

    SFC - We will be flying out from SFC so what method of transport to the airport is best recommended from the city centre Taxi/Train?
    If you are dropping off a rental car, they may have transportation available via shuttle to the airport.

    Enjoy your planning! I'm sure, of the questions you posed that I was unable to answer, others will chime in!


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default More questions than answers.

    Hi and welcome to the forums !

    A couple of questions to start. How much time have you in total ? Are your flights etc booked ? A popular choice would be to head to San Fran and then south to LA, putting the scenic pull outs and ocean on your side of the road on the coastal highway. The other advantage would be the chance to head to SF via Death valley and Yosemite NP, both natural wonders.

    If flights are booked, have you considered spending your Anniversary at the Grand canyon ? It doesn't get more special than that !

    From Solvang you could make your next stop in the Cayacus/Cambria area and enjoy the next day driving around Big Sur.

    In San Fran there is the BART rail system that runs to the airport but may not be convenient considering all your luggage and if you are not close to a station. A taxi or Super Shuttle service would be more convenient and more costly. You might want to turn your car in the day you arrive in SF, as it is a compact and easy to get around City with expensive parking costs. Another option, if it is only a short stay, would be to drop off the car at the airport and book into an airport hotel with a free shuttle bus and travel downtown on the BART.

  4. Default

    Hey Donna,

    Thanks so much for your response. I apologise I didn't explain the full trip. We are spending the night in Vegas leaving the following morning to go Hoover Dam etc... We wanted to stay over night half way to ge the experience and not to rush ourselves as we ae short of time.

    Barstow was half way and I would love to go to the Calaco Ghost mines and also Peggy Sue's 50s Diner... So that is the following day before driving ove to LA. The drive-in is something we always wanted to do and found the one on line showing at Barstow but really struggling to find out if still running..

    Thanks for the security tips, always handy to be safe huh! And SFC we will be dropping off our car then staying for 3 nights before hitting the airport!

    Thanks again for all your help
    Trip

  5. Default

    Hiya Dave,

    Thanks for your response. We are already booked/planned flights etc and trip direction so won't be in aposition to turn around other direction.

    The national parks are not honestly our thing?! - for our sins! But we are also on a very short timescale as follows:

    Vegas - 1 night
    Barstow - 1 ngt
    LA - 2 ngts
    Coastal Route - 1 ngt
    SFC 3 - ngts

    Hence we won't be in a position to fit a trip through the NPs we did consider the canyon but too tight a timescale to do this and try get other things in... (Perhaps CG would be a seperate trip)

    What's the drivetime like between Solvang & Cambria ? then again from Cambria over to SFC? Sounds like this could be a plan>.....

    We will be dropping off the car in SFC on arrival then footing around the city... taxi will be from hotel to airport so will prb stick with them if Train a lil bit akward...

    Thanks so much again for your advise & help
    It is greatly appreciated
    Trip

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Estimate.

    I haven't actually driven between Solvang and Cambria, but I would allow 2.5 hours and think that would veer on the side of caution. From Cambria, I would allow the full day to get to SF and as you mentioned, enjoy the drive and sights. Get an early start to enjoy those sights and I would estimate that if you had lunch in Monterey [noon] and left for SF by 1pm[ish] by cutting across to 101, you will be in good shape to get your rental back by 4pm.
    As before, I would think this would veer to the side of caution when considering traffic and /or any construction delays.

    [Local's will no doubt come along and make corrections if needed]

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

    Default Local knowledge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    [Local's will no doubt come along and make corrections if needed]
    I'd still stick with Dave's suggestions and timing. Locals know all the shortcuts and where to avoid congestion. As a visitor, we never get to be privy to that type of information, and even when we do, just one wrong turn, or being in the wrong lane at a traffic light can ruin all your plans.

    Err on the side of caution.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tripper2012 View Post
    Hey Donna,
    Barstow was half way and I would love to go to the Calaco Ghost mines and also Peggy Sue's 50s Diner... So that is the following day before driving ove to LA. The drive-in is something we always wanted to do and found the one on line showing at Barstow but really struggling to find out if still running..
    Calico Ghost Town is quite kischy and cute. Some folks will say it's over-rated, but everyone's idea of wonderful is different! We took our kids there a number of years ago, when they were little, and they had a great time.

    I saw Peggy Sue's 50s Diner as we passed through Barstow on Friday, but we didn't stop. The Harvey House is interesting, too.

    Other places of interest around Barstow: Calico First Man Archeological Site - my husband found this fascinating (the girls and I weren't so thrilled, but it was interesting enough). There's also Rainbow Bridge BLM Area, which is an interesting drive. Just take a lot of water with you, and check to make sure your car rental place will let you take the car on dirt roads.


    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 08-07-2011 at 11:39 AM. Reason: adding info

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    I haven't actually driven between Solvang and Cambria, but I would allow 2.5 hours and think that would veer on the side of caution. From Cambria, I would allow the full day to get to SF and as you mentioned, enjoy the drive and sights. Get an early start to enjoy those sights and I would estimate that if you had lunch in Monterey [noon] and left for SF by 1pm[ish] by cutting across to 101, you will be in good shape to get your rental back by 4pm.
    As before, I would think this would veer to the side of caution when considering traffic and /or any construction delays.

    [Local's will no doubt come along and make corrections if needed]
    Thanks Dave - much appreicated - I keep getting mixed-up is the 101 the highway inland away from the coast?
    Trip

  10. Default

    Hey Donna - Thanks for this advise. Where do the dirt roads come into play? Is that if we go visit Calico?

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