Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. Default 18 days in Cali & Nevada

    Hi All,
    First can I say - what a great forum! Iíve found it so useful to help sort out my own little road trip.
    Iím travelling to Nevada & California from England with my husband for our honeymoon in 2 weeks time. We are both USA and roadtrip virgins so thought weíd start with a fairly popular trip Ė Vegas to LA via some of the parks, SF, Napa etc (sorry Ė you must get so bored of giving the same advice for these trips!). Needless to say we are both ridiculously excited! We have the itinerary planned, so what Iím really after is some tips for the drive in between these places. I donít want to take the most boring/direct route so would love some tips on some scenic drives or any worthwhile diversions. Iím not sure my other half would agree, but Iím certainly looking forward to the drive as much as the places we are visiting!
    Anyway, our itinerary is as follows:
    Nights 1-3 Ė Vegas
    Night 4 Death Valley
    Nights 5-7 Yosemite
    Nights 8-9 Calistoga (Napa)
    Nights 10-13 San Fran
    Night 14 Monterey
    Night 15 San Luis Obispo
    Nights 16-17 Santa Barbara
    Fly home from LAX
    Iíd particularly appreciate any tips for the Vegas to DV leg (Is red rock canyon worth a stop? Are there any ghost towns nearby?) and the DV to Yosemite leg. I know this leg is a LOOONG one and there looks like thereís so much amazing stuff to see en route- Iím a bit annoyed we havenít allowed for longer here! But any tips for a route we could take for that one day drive? Do you think we could fit in Bodie ghost town and Mono Lake as well? Iíd like to go over the tioga pass rather than the longer way round ideally. Also Iím particularly clueless re: the Yosemite to Napa leg. Again- a longish one (by the standards of us Brits!) and Iíve no idea at all what to see on route. Of course, any tips for any other of the legs would be great.
    Finally, do you have any practical tips for us? Iím not one of lifeís more organised individuals and am really only used to city driving! Anything we need to take in terms of car maintenance or to cope with the various different terrain/climates on the journey? At the moment I think we are down to take a fairly standard saloon from the car rental. We were toying with the idea of a mustang (bit of a clichť I know!) but not sure whether we might regret it when stuck up a mountain or in the desert!
    Sorry for the long post. Any help at all would be much appreciated... Thanks xx

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome aboard RTA!

    You did pick a very popular trip but you will make it your own no matter what! I'm sure that others will chime in regarding ghost towns and the like; the only thing I can really comment about that is that driving to some of the ghost towns would be a violation of a rental car contract.

    With Las Vegas and Death Valley in your itinerary, a convertible is probably not a wise idea anyway. You need the extra trunk (boot) space for "stuff".

    A rental car should come fully maintained and with a full tank of fuel. Today's vehicles take terrain in stride; you shouldn't have any trouble.

    Practical tips -- buy a small styrofoam cooler at a grocery store when you land, and fill it with ice and your favorite drinks (especially WATER). When you are out on the hot desert, the water will taste so good! You can replenish ice and drinks along the route. Supermarkets are the norm around here.


  3. Default


    A few quick points.
    You should be able to drive over Tioga Pass because the road has opened for the season. There are many scenic stopping points. Bodie is down a dirt road so you might not be able to take your rental car. The Mono Lake visitor center is right off the highway (395) so it can be a short but worthwhile stop. The center will have information about ranger-led tours if you have more time. Now this is a matter of preference but I have a soft-sided insulated cooler which travels inside my suitcase on plane flights and then comes out to hold drinks and snacks in rental cars. Finally, it sounds as if you have your reservations which is a good because some of your destinations are busy in June.

    Enjoy your honeymoon!
    Last edited by CAnative; 05-19-2012 at 11:58 PM.

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

    Default Solid plan.

    Hello and welcome to RTA ! [And Congratulations !]

    You have a good solid plan there, set at a nice relaxed pace. As mentioned, Bodie has a section of unpaved road that would violate your rental contract and should you need a tow or damage the vehicle it would become at your expense. You would also be pushed for time to try and fit a visit in as you are travelling from DV to Yosemite. Tioga Pass is spectacular and you should leave plenty of time available to stop and take some photos and savour the views. You could spend a bit of time at Mono Lake, but if you want a nice view of the lake there is a viewpoint with a small parking lot. As you turn onto CA120 there is a gas station on your left,take the exit to it and drive past the station up the hill. If it's 'hungry time' when you are there you can get some good food in at Woah Nellies Deli, a diner inside the gas station.

    From Vegas you can take the 'Locals' route to DV which is 160 to Pahrump and then head west on W. Bell Vista Ave /Ash Meadows/Stateline road to Death Valley junction. Then follow 190/136 to Lone Pine and north on 395 to CA120 [Tioga pass]. If you are not booked you could stay in Lone Pine or even a little further north on 395. In Death valley there are Dantes view, Zabriske point, Furnace creek and the Mesquite sand dunes along the way. You could also take a drive south from Furnace creek to Badwater, the lowest point in the USA below sea level.

    In Yosemite you really must drive up to Glacier point and take the short walk to the viewpoint, it is one you will never forget ! A little further south in Yosemite is Mariposa Grove where you will find the giant Sequoia trees.

    From Yosemite the quickest route to Napa would be CA120 to Manteca then CA99/4/I5/CA12/I80/CA12/CA29. You could take CA49 through Gold country [Jamestown, Angels camp] and cut across CA16 to Sacramento and I80 that would add about 40mins to your journey time, probably about 6 hours with short stops along the way.

    In San Fran no trip is complete without a trip to Alactraz. You might consider booking tickets in advance, it is very popular and might save you standing in long queues only to be told the next boat is full. This is the only place to buy official tickets where you don't have to pay agents fees or book other tours. Pier 39, Ghiradeli square, Coit tower, China Town [and Union square for shopping] and of course riding the cable cars are other SF highlights. [among many more]

    No need to worry about your car rental, everything should be taken care of. Any problems are theirs as long as you stick to the 'black stuff' and don't go off road. You will only be able to renat a 'class' of car with no guarantee of the exact model you will get.

    Tip. Do NOT rely in a GPS alone, carry some paper maps with you. For example if you tyoed in Monterey to San Luis Obispo it would most likely default and send you inland to CA101. That would have you drive around one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world, via Big Sur !!

    You are in for a wonderful Honeymoon, please drop by and share some of the highlights with us when done ! [It's what keeps me going until next time !


  5. Default

    Morning All! and thanks so much for this - thats a great help...
    Firstly thanks for the practical tips- we shall invest in some coolers and some paper maps and stick with our 'sensible' car!

    So, it sounds like Bodie is certainly off the agenda. I don't suppose anyone could recommend any accessible ghost towns in the area? Anyone know anything about rhyolite for example? We are staying overnight in Furnace Creek in DV so the first leg of our journey is a relatively short one and it would be ideal to find one around there. I'm not sure if this is totally unrealistic but i was thinking between Vegas and Furnace creek we would maybe try to fit in Dantes View, a ghost town, Bad water and perhaps Artists Drive. Obviously this is partially dependent on not getting too carried away with the party spirit in Vegas!
    After a night at Furnace Creek, we'd be hoping for sunrise at Zabriske Point, then Mesquite Dunes, then the long drive to Mono Lake, before heading over the Tioga Pass (Via Whoa Nelly's Deli of course!) to Fish camp near Yosemite. Does this sound do-able or are we trying to cram too much into these two days? I want to see as much as possible, but obviously want time to enjoy the stops we do make...

    Thanks for the tip re: Yosemite to Napa, Dave. I should have said we are staying in Fish Camp- would you still say we could do a route through gold country? If so are the places you named (Jamestown, Angels camp) recommendations for a quick stop?

    With Yosemite, we are there on a weekend purely by accident. I'm a little worried they'll be big queues to get into the park. Is this likely to be the case in early June? If so could anyone give any tips on times of day to miss the queues??

    Thanks for the San Fran tips- these were all on the list, though I hadn't thought to book alcatraz so will get on the case. We thought we may also fit in a baseball game. Ive no clue of the rules but thought it could be good fun! Would people suggest pre-booking or is it easy to pick up tickets on the day?? I know there is a game on when we are in town...

    Well, I think thats all my questions! thanks so much again. And of course I will happily bore you all with my exploits when we are back, and pass on any tips to any other future roadtrippers! xx

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    You should be able to visit those spots in Death Valley, although Zabriske Point is on the way to Furnace creek so you could stop on day one as well. It'll be a long day the following day to get to Fish Camp and make short stops along the way, such as the Sand dunes, Mono and along the Tioga. I have not been to Rhyolite so you could see how things pan out that day. Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch are quite interesting and you might want to spend a little time wandering around the museum etc. In reality, you wouldn't have had time for Bodie while travelling between DV and Yosemite anyway.

    Both the Goldrush towns would make good for short stops and both have history and Jamestown is also home to 'Railtown'. Again you can see how you feel on the day and what time you hit the road and go from there.

    I doubt the queues will be too bad into Yosemite [we travel in October to miss the crowds] as they are geared to dealing with peak tourist season. It is likely to see more weekend visitors though, who maybe day trippers, so if you enter the park early [ish] after breakfast I doubt it will be a huge problem. [You'll want to get there early and spend as much time as possible there once you have had your first glimpse 1]

Similar Threads

  1. All Over Cali - Is 10 Days Enough?!
    By foxinabox in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-15-2011, 09:11 PM
  2. matamoras pa to cali & in between 37 days
    By 37daycrosscountry in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 04-21-2010, 12:30 PM
  3. KS to Cali in 9 days?
    By hhsdrew123 in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 02-11-2008, 08:37 AM
  4. California, Nevada 10 Days
    By JJJ in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-09-2005, 01:10 PM
  5. Boston to Cali in Six days...but can it be done
    By imported_David in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-30-2002, 04:18 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name