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  1. Default Orange County to Sandpoint, Idaho

    Hello!

    Two summers ago, my friend Ryan and I left OC for Sandpoint, Idaho and had an amazing adventure going through central Nevada and then up through the entire state of Idaho. Truly remarkable the difference between these two great states. In three weeks, I will be taking a trip up to Sandpoint to meet Ryan and his family, this time I will be driving solo in my Subaru Outback.

    To not take the same route, I am looking at taking the 395 North through Death Valley and Yosemite. Then heading for Tahoe and Reno. Then making my way Northeast towards Idaho and up. Here is my general plan as of today pending what amazing suggestions I gather from this forum.

    15 North
    395 North
    120 West ti Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite
    Back out to 395 North
    89 to Tahoe
    89 to 80 to Reno
    80 to Elko NV
    225 North to Idaho
    or
    93 North to Idaho
    84 to Boise
    55 North to 95 North through Idaho
    95 looks like it will take me to Sandpoint

    Another option is leave Reno and head for Winnemuca, then 95 North through Southeast Oregon and into Boise. Although, I am not finding much of anything on that highway through searching.

    Although I would love to explore this route for 14 days, it looks like I will have 3-4 max. So here are some of my thoughts and questions. I would love to see more of Death Valley, but I will be solo and it will be the end of June which means HOT. So, maybe a quick side off the highway drive but no real exploring. I am thinking of stopping in Yosemite for the first nights sleep and then spending some time exploring Yosemite the next day. Good idea? How is that Tioga Pass entrance? I keep reading horror stories of people waiting hours to gain entrance to the park during the summer. Thoughts? After exploring half day I will leave Yosemite and head for Tahoe roughly 3 hours away and spend the night. Suggestions? The next morning explore Tahoe a little and head into Nevada.

    My plan to get from Tahoe to Boise is up in the air. I have gone through most of NV and the Northern part of the state is a little desolate and boring (no offense to NV lovers). So, I am probably going to push through a long day of driving after Tahoe or Reno to get north. Thoughts? If I take the 80 from Reno to the 95 it looks to be an 8 hour day.

    Once in Boise, I am looking at the 95 the entire way up through Coeur d Alene to Sandpoint. Thoughts? Looks to be an 8 hour day.

    The main goal for the trip is to spend time on the lake in Sandpoint for July 4th. I'd like to get there in 3-4 days and meet everyone else who will already be there or will be flying in town. My way home will be more direct taking the 15 south through SLC to see a friend, into Vegas and home. With limited time but a love for scenic stops, I would like to hear what you all think!

    My time isn't locked in place, I can stretch if need be just don't want to spend a ton of extra money on hotel nights if possible.

    Would love to hear your thoughts!

    Thank you,

    Jordan

  2. Default

    I know this is a totally different approach, but the other half of my brain is thinking about taking the 101 north through CA up to San Fran then across to Tahoe and continue...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default When You Want Unique on a Limited Time Budget

    With only 3-4 days for the drive north, you're going to have to be very judicious about how you budget those days, especially since you will be staying off the Interstates for the most part, and even more so if you end up only having 3 days. So, the first thing to do is decide on a route - I think your first instinct is the best and much better that just taking the 101. Then determine the number of days you have available. Then figure where you need to be each night in order to make steady progress towards your main goal, Sandpoint. If you only have three days, you'd have to be in (roughly) Reno and Mountain Home for your two overnights. That would mean about 500 miles a day and not a lot of time for wandering off through either Death Valley or Yosemite. With four days, your overnights would be around Bridgeport CA, Elko NV, and somewhere north of Boise ID. The extra day would leave you a fair amount of time for some excursions, but again probably not over the Tioga and back to see Yosemite.

    But, you would still have time for some unique attractions, they just have to be closer to your line of march. Some examples would be the Devils Postpile and Mono Lake in California; Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, dinner at Elko's Star Hotel in Nevada; Bruneau Canyon and Bruneau Sand Dunes, and the Payette River Scenic Byway in Idaho. It's all good, and stuff that most tourists never see.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    With your limited time, I'd probably forego Death Valley. I'd also try to avoid downtown LA. Take 15 to 395, but then take 58 to Bakersfield, then 99 to Fresno to pick up 41 to Yosemite. Spend the night somewhere around there, see if you can book a tent cabin in Curry Village. Take Tioga Pass *OUT* of Yosemite back to 395.

    I have driven 95 from Winnemucca to Boise, and don't want to do it again. The speed limit through Oregon is strict 55 and it feels like it takes forever, and there's nothing really noteworthy on that route. 225 may be a more enjoyable drive.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    With only 3-4 days for the drive north, you're going to have to be very judicious about how you budget those days, especially since you will be staying off the Interstates for the most part, and even more so if you end up only having 3 days. So, the first thing to do is decide on a route - I think your first instinct is the best and much better that just taking the 101. Then determine the number of days you have available. Then figure where you need to be each night in order to make steady progress towards your main goal, Sandpoint. If you only have three days, you'd have to be in (roughly) Reno and Mountain Home for your two overnights. That would mean about 500 miles a day and not a lot of time for wandering off through either Death Valley or Yosemite. With four days, your overnights would be around Bridgeport CA, Elko NV, and somewhere north of Boise ID. The extra day would leave you a fair amount of time for some excursions, but again probably not over the Tioga and back to see Yosemite.

    But, you would still have time for some unique attractions, they just have to be closer to your line of march. Some examples would be the Devils Postpile and Mono Lake in California; Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, dinner at Elko's Star Hotel in Nevada; Bruneau Canyon and Bruneau Sand Dunes, and the Payette River Scenic Byway in Idaho. It's all good, and stuff that most tourists never see.

    AZBuck
    AZBuck,

    Thank you! I will try and stretch it out as much as I can. All good suggestions that I have noted down. What would you say is unique about Virginia City? The historical buildings? I was searching but didn't find anything major. Devils Postpile and Mono Lake are both definite for me. I still cannot nail down where I want to stay the first night...

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    With your limited time, I'd probably forego Death Valley. I'd also try to avoid downtown LA. Take 15 to 395, but then take 58 to Bakersfield, then 99 to Fresno to pick up 41 to Yosemite. Spend the night somewhere around there, see if you can book a tent cabin in Curry Village. Take Tioga Pass *OUT* of Yosemite back to 395.

    I have driven 95 from Winnemucca to Boise, and don't want to do it again. The speed limit through Oregon is strict 55 and it feels like it takes forever, and there's nothing really noteworthy on that route. 225 may be a more enjoyable drive.
    GLC,

    Thank you. After looking at that 95 route through Oregon is does look less appealing. I think the 225 would be a lot more enjoyable as you said. I do want to take the scenic route when I can but not so much that I am in traffic all day every day either.

    Jordan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Some More Details

    Here are several attraction in Virginia City. And definitely consider Bruneau Canyon (Note: the road in crosses an Air Force bombing range - thus the warning signs about 'objects' falling from planes - but is perfectly safe.)

    AZBuck

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