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  1. Default road trip from Las Vegas going to SF, LA, SD & ARI

    Hi guys, new here.. I'm from Manila, my family and I are planning to take a road trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco, stay there a few days then take another road trip from SF to Los Angeles stay a few days, road trip again from LA to San Diego stay a few days, lastly from SD to Grand Canyon in Arizona then back to Las Vegas. We would start around Dec 13 or 14th. We do have a GPS system but would like to know your suggestions on what best routes to take from each trip to be able to see some sights.. your suggestions are very much appreciated..

    We are also concerned about driving in snow since it would be winter time, we haven't really had any experience driving in snow..

    For the LV to SF trip, we would love to see yosemite park, death valley and lake tahoe.. we are just not sure how difficult it would be in the winter season when some of the roads are snowed..

    a cousin of mine suggested to use a different route.. from LV drive to Arizona going to Grand Canyon, then check out Flagstaff to see the meteor crater, go back to LV. Take road trip going to San Diego, LA then SF to check out Lake tahoe, Yosemite and Death Valley...
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-11-2011 at 02:59 AM. Reason: Merged 3 posts together

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but I'm a bit confused by your multiple posts - how exactly is your cousin's "different" route different? In either case this would be a loop, right?

    The basic route outline you first listed would probably work best, as that would allow you to head down the coast, with the ocean to your right and without having to cross traffic to enjoy the viewpoints. Then coming back from SD to Vegas via the Grand Canyon is about the best way to do that leg, so you are good there.

    The one slightly tricky thing will be Death Valley, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite. Because this is a winter trip, you will not be able to use Tioga Pass through Yosemite. What you'll have to do to hit all 3 places is go to DV, up to Tahoe, and then cross the Sierras either on US-50 or I-80, and then backtrack south to Yosemite before going across to SF.

    One more note, a GPS is a nice tool, but it really is virtually useless when it comes to pre-planning a trip, and it should never be your primary method of navigation. Paper maps are really essential for both of those jobs.

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

    Default

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    In my opinion your original plan will work better than your cousins suggestion. First you won't have to go out and back from Vegas and secondly, heading south down the coast will put the ocean and ocean side pull outs on your side of the road. You will still be able to visit Flagstaff and Meteor crater which is about 45 miles east from Flagstaff. Your route would also save you a few miles.

    I would purchase good paper maps and not rely solely on the GPS system.

    Weather will be a concern, especially around the Sierra Nevada, but untill you are near enough to have the up to date forecasts and road reports, there is not much you can do other than work out your plan 'B' [and 'C' perhaps].

    It is almost certain that the mountain passes travelling east to west from Yosemite up towards Tahoe will be closed so you have two options. Visit Death valley and head up to Tahoe and back down to Yosemite, or head around the south via Bakersfield and not go to to Tahoe, perhaps visiting Sequoia NP. Much will depend on time for this leg and the weather conditions.

  4. Default

    appreciate the quick replies guys.. @ Midwest Michael, yes what I meant by "different" was the opposite loop going to grand canyon first than SF first..

    Great points you both gave on the oceanside viewpoints, this would definitely make our choice easier on which loop to take, I'll try to research heading that direction.. with regards to the GPS system and maps, unfortunately we wouldn't be able to purchase the paper maps that we would need because of the in-availability of them here where we are now.. our only resource right now is using the net as I am asking in this forum and for maps primarily google maps.. we might try to find some when we get to Vegas but that wouldn't give us much time to plan or research using them..

    As this would be our very first time to do a road trip in a different country, it would really be helpful for us if we could get specific directions on which specific roads to take.. will try to research on this tip of yours Midwest Michael "go to DV, up to Tahoe, and then cross the Sierras either on US-50 or I-80, and then backtrack south to Yosemite before going across to SF"..

    @Southwest Dave, I'm also thinking if we could just scratch the Tahoe trip but we've heard a lot of good things about it that makes us want to go.. I'm very curious about your suggestion on visiting Sequoia NP so will try to research on that.. what does NP stand for?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

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    Its really quite silly to say that you can't get maps of the US until you arrive. Any good bookstore in the Philippines will either carry maps of the US or will be able to order them for you. Plus, this is the age of the internet, and there are no shortage of places where you can order for overseas delivery.

    If you go onto the Maps tab at the top of the page, you'll be able to see our map recommendations and even place orders for your trip.

    NP = National Park

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

    Default The internet as your only resource.... to buy maps!

    Quote Originally Posted by kido View Post
    With regards to the GPS system and maps, unfortunately we wouldn't be able to purchase the paper maps that we would need because of the in-availability of them here where we are now.. our only resource right now is using the net ...
    It is still a month before you leave, and if you were to order maps now, you would have them at least two weeks before you leave. As Michael stated, you can order them online. And you yourself say that the only resource you have is the net. Though I too, suspect you would be able to get them locally at a speciality shop.

    My prefernce though would be for a road atlas. Not only would it most likely be cheaper, but you will have it all together in the one book. Rand McNally basic atlas for 2012 is now available for less than $14. The AAA have a similar one, but it seems you need to be a member to purchase online.

    Lifey

  7. Default

    Hey guys, we'll be leaving for the states next week..

    I've asked my cousin to buy us the suggested the 2012 Road Altas by Rand McNally there in the states so hopefully that is what we will primarily use to navigate while on our road trip..

    We've decided to scratch Tahoe, due to us being novice snow drivers.. If this is the case we are thinking it would be better for us to first visit Death valley, then go to Yosemite NP, we then go straight to Avenue of the Giants in Redcrest and stay there a night before heading to SF. Do you guys think this is a sound trip? Using google maps, its says we would need 3 hrs & 31 mins to get to Death Valley, 8 hrs, 56 mins from there to Yosemite and another 8 hrs and 4 mins to get to Avenue of the Giants from there. That's 24 hrs already without considering lunch, dinner, looking at the sights and other stuff that would eat time.. it seems we have to either stay at a motel where ever we could find one on the road going from Yosemite or scratch Yosemite... you guys think theres a better way of going at this?
    Last edited by kido; 12-08-2011 at 10:43 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you take the "locals route" from LV to DV, you can get to the east entrance on CA-190 in less than 2.5 hours. Take NV-160 west out of LV to Pahrump, drive through town, and turn left on Bell Vista Avenue. Follow this onto Ash Meadows Road to Death Valley Junction. Turn right on CA-127 and then an immediate left onto CA-190.

    From the west exit of DV on CA-190, take 190 to US-395 to CA-14 to CA-178 into Bakersfield, take CA-99 to Fresno, then CA-41 to Yosemite. Allow at least 9 hours.

    Yosemite to the Avenue of the Giants is another long day - and you will have to deal with the SF area traffic. At least 9 hours for that too.

    If you really do want to see the Avenue of the Giants, this is going to eat up 2 days of your trip just getting there and getting back to SF.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default For consideration.

    It would help if you told us how long you have for the trip overall and exactly how much time you propose to take on the journey you have outlined above. If you are planning on going from DV to Yosemite to the Ave of the Giants with just a one night stop in Yosemite, it would be pretty pointless as you would have hardly any daylight hours to appreciate the park.

    Two points to consider in your planning. 1] Ave of the Giants is a long way out from anything else on your trip, adding 450 miles of driving. 2] At the moment Yosemite is seeing pleasant weather for the season, but that can change quickly. Yosemite is a 'Chain designated area' and if it is required that you use them, you must be carrying them in your car and be prepared to use them. This a requirement by law and not having them can result in hefty fines and possibly having to pay for a tow truck to remove you from the park or come out to supply and fit them, both expensive options ! Here's what I am going on about. Given the chance I would not miss Yosemite for the world, but......

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    If you take the "locals route" from LV to DV, you can get to the east entrance on CA-190 in less than 2.5 hours. Take NV-160 west out of LV to Pahrump, drive through town, and turn left on Bell Vista Avenue. Follow this onto Ash Meadows Road to Death Valley Junction. Turn right on CA-127 and then an immediate left onto CA-190.

    From the west exit of DV on CA-190, take 190 to US-395 to CA-14 to CA-178 into Bakersfield, take CA-99 to Fresno, then CA-41 to Yosemite. Allow at least 9 hours.

    Yosemite to the Avenue of the Giants is another long day - and you will have to deal with the SF area traffic. At least 9 hours for that too.

    If you really do want to see the Avenue of the Giants, this is going to eat up 2 days of your trip just getting there and getting back to SF.
    Thank you very much for the detailed local route directions, this I really could use..

    2 days huh, man that would really be a problem then.. We might have to scratch this one as well.. Sign..
    Last edited by kido; 12-10-2011 at 09:06 PM.

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