My boyfriend and I are looking to head to San Fran in mid may. We're thinking of staying in San Francisco for around three days then hire a car. The plan would be to drive to vegas (taking around 3/4 days) via yosemite and death valley. We'd then stay in vegas for a day or two doing the helicopter flight to the grand canyon. We would then fly to L.A. pick up another car, stay a day or two then drive back up the coast to San Fran (around 4 days), drop off the car and immediately fly back home (glasgow). Our total time frame is 14 days.
All of these timings are changeable, even the direction! Only definites are that I'd like to spend the 3 days in San Francisco and fly between Vegas and L.A. (don't think the drive sounds worth it and think we'd be better devoting that time to other things). L.A. Is probably of the least interest to us, mainly want to visit Universal Studios! Would be happy to arrive in L.A. in the morning, spend the night and leave mid morning.
So!! My questions are: are my rough estimates for travel times realistic? What sort of distances would we be covering (ive estimated around 650 for san fran-vegas and 450 from L.A.-san fran)? We want to enjoy the drive and have the chance to stop and do the touristy bit when we want without feeling we're "behind schedule". What car should we get? Would love a ford mustang (coupe rather than convertable) but not sure how comfortable this would be for the type of driving we are doing. Where should we stop along the way? Is it wise to wing it or should we book hotels for each stop? What is must see and what can we miss? Interests would be wine, food, walking (gentle!) scenery, theatre/shows/comedy.
Thank you for any and all advice! It is much appreciated.