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  1. Default Driving round California in December

    Hi, I need help please.
    We are travelling over from Oz for a family holiday in December. We will have already been to Las vegas and Orlando and we have about 8 days left before we fly home. We would like to do a drive of California(my husband and I were both here in the late eighties and are reliving our youth, with our 10 yr old in tow)
    We are planning to drive at the end of December (23rd-30th). We are going to drive Route 1 either up or down from LA to San Francisco (we haven't finalised our flights from orlando yet) and we are going to stop for a few days in SF. I would love to drive out to Yosemite but am concerned about snow. Would this be OK to do or should we just forget it and head down to Death Valley, or San diego, or even back to Vegas? Where would be a good place for Xmas day? Any suggestions, tips, advise will be greatly appreciated. Including great places to visit,stay or where to avoid.
    As I say it was the eighties and I was travelling with my four girlfriends (hadn't met the hubby yet) and so I'd like to come back and really appreciate all the places where I mis-spent my youth. Thanks x

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default From One Aussie to Another.

    Hi Cath, and Welcome to the The Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    I can relate to you wanting to revisit those places you visited way back then. The US is like that, it pulls you back, again and again.

    Having only ever driven over there in the summer, I will leave the issue of Yosemite and snow up to others to address. What I wanted to recommend, since you have not yet booked the flight from Orlando, is that you plan to drive the Pacific Coast Highway from SF to LA. That way you will have the ocean on your side, and it is ever so much easier to pull into, and out of the many view points and overlooks along the way. Make sure you leave at least two full days for it. It is everybit as great as The Great Ocean Road, if you have ever driven that.

    Enjoy the planning and have a great trip.

    Lifey in Melbourne

  3. Default recent oz trip

    Hi Cath,

    We recently (Sept / Oct) drove a loop from LA, Joshua tree, Grand Can, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite San Fran and back to LA.with our 12yr old son and 16yr old daughter. A real find was Morro Bay on the coast road between San Fran and LA. We had Fish and chips at Giovannis which was cheap and amazing quality (if you don't include my daughters delight with their deep fried Oreo dessert), saw sea lions up close and it was a beautiful place. We stayed at Tradewinds motel. Ok just dont get a downstairs room as the plumbing is noisy, but its close to the coast and very clean well kept.

    Like you we fell in love with the US and are already planning a much longer trip back !

    As an aside an a great place to visit, Oatman sort of near Bullhead City is a great place as well. Let me know if you want any details

    Pics below


    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default All your options are good.

    Yosemite valley can turn into a 'winter wonderland', but the weather could also close in and make conditions and visibility poor. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing which it will be until a few days before and by keep checking the updated weather forecasts. You would need to carry snow chains and be prepared to use them in the case of snow, which is something you would have to check with your rental company.

    As mentioned by Lifey, heading south down the coast has it's advantages.

    If you decide to head down the coast and then Inland across to Death valley then it would be wise to end your trip in Vegas. San Diego is also a viable option, heading down the coast, it's what works for you that matters.

    If conditions were 'playing ball', I would be tempted to do a loop from SF by heading down the coast towards Morro bay and then head inland to Sequoia and Yosemite NP's and back to SF. It's risky and a lot will depend on if you want to book everything in advance, or if you are happy to travel 'on the fly' and wait and see what the weather has in store.

    I'm not sure if there is a 'best' place to spend Christmas, but I love San Fran and the feel of the place [and I'm not a big fan of the City life'] and if you started your road trip from there it would make sense to spend a couple of days there before hitting the road. [Although the solitude and setting of Yosemite would do it for me !] We were in SF on Halloween and the place had a real friendly, family and fun atmosphere about the place

  5. Default Where to stay at the Grand Canyon

    We're looking to stay at the Grand Canyon and have found all the lodges inside the park. All but one of them (thunderbird) have availability when we are hoping to go, so I'm wondering if anyone can give some advise as to which one is good to stay in. There's not a huge amount of info or pics to help make up our minds. We are travelling with a 10 yr old.
    Also are the places to stay outside of the park just too far away? We will have a car.
    Thanks for any help you can give.

    Please keep all posts about the same trip in one place.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 11-19-2011 at 08:07 AM.

  6. Default

    Good thinking, very practical. I've got the choice of flying to SF or LA, it doesn't make a difference, I was trying to decide which but I think you've just sorted that for me.SF it is!
    Thanks x

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Two Choices, Depending

    You can view images of most of the lodging choices in the national park here. The El Tovar Hotel is perhaps the 'classic' Grand Canyon venue, and if you're only going to spend one night at the Canyon, that's where I would suggest you spend it. However, if you plan to spend several days in the area with a 10 year old, you should have a look at the Flagstaff area since it offers multiple attractions to keep an active child occupied including Walnut Canyon National Monument, the Lowell Observatory, and the Museum of Northern Arizona. Flagstaff is well within easy driving range of the Canyon.

    Oh, and be sure to ask about the Junior Ranger Program at any national park or monument you come to.


  8. Default

    I did post those as two seperate threads, don't know how when I got up this morning they were all together and now I can't delete the one about the Grand canyon stay.Please help x

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default The preferred way

    Cath, as you will see, one of the moderators merged the two threads, since they are about the same trip.

    The best way is to keep all your questions about the one trip, in the one place. Even though it is not strictly on-topic as per the title of this thread, it is still part of the same trip.

    When members come online, and wish to respond to question, or make a suggestion, it is helpful if all the information, all questions, answers, comments and suggestions are together, here in this one thread. It enables all who read this to see how the trip developed.

    Enjoy the planning.


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