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  1. Default 8 day LasVegas - SFO and back trip planning help

    Hi Roadies,

    We are 2 couples travelling with 8 month old baby from Philadephia to WestCoast.
    Here is our plan:

    17th November - Las vegas
    18th November - Hoover dam and grand canyon
    19th November - Afternoon Death vally to fresno
    20th November - Fresno to Yosemeti to SFO
    21th November - SFO city tour
    22nd November - Sfo to LA
    23rd November - LA city tour
    24th November - LA to sandiago to LAS
    25th November - LAS to PHL

    1. Is there a better way to plan? Confused with so many related post, could not arrive at conclusion.
    2. Do we get along warm cloaths?? will be cold or good 60 - 70 during this time around?
    3. With the baby, will it be too hectic?
    4. I see lot of people start from SFO instead and end in Vegas...any specific reason?

    Please help. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default just too much

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've got a plan where you are trying to do way too much with too little time. There are a few sections that really wouldn't be possible for a group of adult travelers.

    The problems start with the Grand Canyon. It is simply too far away from Vegas (about 5 hours each way) to do as a Daytrip from Vegas.

    Vegas to Fresno via Death Valley is another very long day, and an impossible one if you aren't planning to leave Vegas until the afternoon. Here's another case where you'd be looking at a minimum of 9-10 hours of driving, before you stop to see anything.

    Fresno to Yosemite to SF means at most, you're only going to have a few hours available in Yosemite, a park where you could spend days.

    SF to LA can be done in a day, but only if you stick to the freeways, and skip the famously scenic Pacific Coast Highway.

    LA to San Diego to Vegas is another case where you'd be looking at more than 8 hours of driving, leaving you basically no time in San Diego.

    So yes, this is very hectic and that doesn't even factor in the extra slowdowns that will come with traveling with an infant. I really think several things will have to give. I might eliminate LA, San Diego, and the Grand Canyon, and just focus on a Vegas - San Francisco loop, but you have to decide which places are your priority.

    Weather: You will certainly see colder temperatures if you go to places like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite. Those are both high elevation destinations where winter gear would be appropriate.

    You may see more people starting in SF, just because it is a better International Hub, but if you are doing a loop trip it really doesn't matter where you start/finish.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Tioga might be open [?]

    I have to agree with Michael, you will be arriving at some great places with little to no time to enjoy them. You need to prioritise your time based on your group interests and make some cuts. If it were I, I would miss out on LA and SD as I am more into the natural beauty, but it might not be for you. You could still head part way down the scenic coast to the Cambria area and then cut inland towards the GC, back to Vegas. It's hit and miss whether or not the Tioga Pass that crosses the Sierra Nevada from Death valley into Yosemite [CA120] will be open or not. It closes seasonally around this time, due to snow accumulation on the high ground, and you won't know up until it either closes, or the time you are travelling. It's a great drive that's worth every moment and is a direct route from Death valley to San Francisco and would save you having to go via Fresno.

    So if it were open I would head Vegas > Death valley[Bishop area overnight] > Yosemite > SF >Cambria >GC >Vegas. If you really want to visit LA/SD you would probably have to 'surrender' the GC and time in Yosemite or SF to make it a more relaxed affair.

    Pack layered clothing as you could see a wide range of weather conditions.

  4. Default

    Hi Roadies,

    Thanks a lot for all the replies! Really helped.

    We dropped SanDiago and revised our plan. I agree we may not have much time to spend at each place but we want to cover as much as we can. Please let us know if you feel it is still unrealistic.

    Considring winter, do we need to think about special tires or tire - chains? What all drives will be on very high elevation or considered risky? Any advise on such drives. Any other road planning tips will be appreciated.

    16th November - Philly to Las Vegas - 8:35pm flight
    17th November - Las Vegas (LAS)
    18th November - Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon back to LAS - 600 miles -
    19th November - LAS - Death Vally to LA - 450 -
    20th November - LA city tour
    21st November - LA to SFO (pacific coastal highway and San Jose)- 450 -
    22nd Novemebr - SFO city tour
    23rd November - Yosemite to back SFO - 350 -
    24th November - SFO to PHL flight

    Total 1800 - 2000 miles

    Please help. TIA.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    No, that's still way too rushed. LV-GC-LV is a 2 day evolution. LA-SF via the PCH is also a 2 day evolution. Same with SF-YOS-SF.

    The only sightseeing you are going to be doing is through the car windshield, if even that.

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

    Default Sometimes less is more.

    I agree we may not have much time to spend at each place but we want to cover as much as we can
    We understand the need/want to to try and do as much as possible which is a fine line. Once you cross that line you end up with long days in the car and seeing very little, sometimes less is more !

    You could try something like this;

    16th To Vegas.
    17th Vegas [possible trip to Death valley in the day]
    18th Hoover dam overnight GC.
    19th GC to LA.
    20th LA [Perhaps stay up the coast a little way]
    21st Monterey.
    22nd/23rd [A] Either spend in San Fran or [B]22nd to Yosemite from Monterey and 23rd Yosemite to SF.
    24th] Home. late flight might give you a little time in the City.

    Be warned though, even that is quite a full itinerary !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by jkrocks View Post
    18th November - Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon back to LAS - 600 miles
    It has already been said a couple of times, but this is not something you can do as a daytrip, and expect to see anything. Its a minimum of 10 hours just driving there and back, and the Grand Canyon is a huge place. Unless you are going to be happy with driving 10 hours to spend a couple minutes looking over the edge at one viewpoint, and then driving back, then this isn't going to work. If that is what you call seeing something, then why bother going at all? Just to say you were there?

    Trying to drive from LA to SF via the coast means you will be in the car for 16-18 hours, that's not including stops to get out and actually enjoy anything.

    And that doesn't even start to include the extra time for traveling with a baby!

    Essentially, you took a trip where you were trying to do 2 weeks worth of stuff in 8 days, eliminated the half day you had planned for San Diego, and declared that you'd fixed the problem!

    The reality is unless you can add several more days to your trip, you don't need to trim just a little bit off your plan, you need to get out the butcher knife and cut out a couple of big chunk. Otherwise, all you're going to be doing is driving miles upon miles, making yourself crazy, and not actually seeing anything. Dave gave you one possible suggestion, and frankly, considering that you're traveling with a baby, I think even that itinerary is more than I'd recommend.

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