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  1. #1

    Default May 2014 - La, San Fran, Vegas

    Hi,

    Myself and my Dad are coming to the US in May this year and are planning a road trip, would welcome some advice and thoughts on our proposed trip.

    Will try and keep it short and concise and easier for you guys to comment on.

    We are flying to LA on 16th May, staying there for three nights.

    19th May – Make way to San Francisco, stopping for the night in Monterey, via PCH1 stopping to see the Bixby Bridge and Mcway Falls.

    20th – Depart Monterey and arrive in San Francisco. Spend three nights in San Francisco.

    23rd – Depart San Francisco heading for a night in Lone Pine, taking in Yosemite, stopping at Yosemite Village and Falls for photos and brief look around.

    24th – Depart Lone Pine headed for a night in St George.

    25th – Depart St George and head for 2 nights in Monument Valley.

    27th – Depart Monument Valley and spend a night in Grand Canyon Village.

    28th – Depart Grand Canyon Village and head for Las Vegas via Hoover Dam. Then spend 4 nights in Vegas before heading back to London.


    I welcome all of your advice on how doable this all is. We know we won’t get much time in some places but we are both drivers and will both have time to take in the scenery as passengers at certain times. And we are also happy with short stops for photo opportunities etc.

    Advice on places to stop and see and also stay are welcome. I am already planning a Baseball game in LA, Alcatraz in SF and a show in Vegas.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Good start.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You have a wonderful trip to look forward to but here are a few pointers for you to consider. The first thing is that getting from San Fran to Lone Pine via Yosemite will leave you very little time at one of the most magnificent National parks. It makes little sense to do this and then spend 2 nights in Monument Valley later in your trip which can be appreciated much quicker. You will also have to consider the fact that the Tioga Pass [CA120] across the Sierras might still be closed when you travel which would mean going south around the mountains via Bakersfield and make it impossible to see Yosemite.

    You mention staying in St George, but not visiting nearby Zion NP which is another amazing place you could visit, Springdale would be a better location for doing that and is a wonderful town if you make the time. If Tioga was open I would make Lee Vining [providing Tioga was open] the furthest point for that day and then head to Springdale UT via Tonopah on US6 and 375, the ET highway past Area 51. If Tioga Pass was closed you could visit Yosemite Valley, but then I would be looking at staying no further than Oakhurst to the south of the park.

    You might find it better value with flights and car rental just to close the loop and end your trip in LA.

    All in all you have the makings and time for a great trip with a few tweaks, but at the moment it just seems a little unbalanced and a night or 2 less in the City's could help address that issue. You could also reverse the direction of your trip for two reasons, firstly so that you will be heading south down the coast putting the Ocean and Oceanside viewpoints on your side of the road and secondly and more importantly, the later in your trip you try to cross Tioga Pass the more chance there is of it being open.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for your input Dave.

    The route, and start of the trip is pretty much set in stone, due to booked flights etc.

    Its the departing San Francisco and the end that is still open for improvement really. I like the idea of the 4 nights in Vegas because as much as it will be an adventure, its is our holiday and some time to relax and unwind before heading back to home and work seems a good idea.

    What are the chances of the Tioga pass being open by 23rd May, if by open does that mean its totally clear or would there still be ice and risky driving conditions?

    How would you route from San Francisco to Vegas, making sure that in between we see some of Yosemite, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon. And perhaps Zion and Death Valley?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Anyone's guess

    I'd have to agree that Dave's suggestion to give up a day or two in cities, and devote them to some of the other places on your itenary, would make this a much less rushed trip. You'll want to do a lot more than just stop to take a photo here and there. The very ambiance of the National Parks demands it. You also need to allow that in the NPs going is slow. Even just hitting the main attractions in Yosemeti takes time. You're not going to just want to see the scenery through the windscreen, even when you are the passenger.

    It is anyone's guess as to when Tioga Pass may open. I suggest that you start looking at the websites when it is close to your trip, and keep an eye open on this site, where the opening (and closing) of Tioga are a regular topic of discussion.

    Lifey

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default One option.

    I like the idea of the 4 nights in Vegas because as much as it will be an adventure, its is our holiday and some time to relax and unwind before heading back to home and work seems a good idea.
    Relax in Vegas ! It can be done with determination, but with so much to see and do there you have more chance of relaxing in the National parks, if you took the time to enjoy them. lol

    What are the chances of the Tioga pass being open by 23rd May, if by open does that mean its totally clear or would there still be ice and risky driving conditions?
    It really is 50/50, a heads or tails call at the moment and is hard to predict up until a few days before it actually does. It won't be opened until it's deemed safe to travel so although there could be snow and ice around the road should be clear.

    How would you route from San Francisco to Vegas, making sure that in between we see some of Yosemite, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon. And perhaps Zion and Death Valley?
    As mentioned previously, if Tioga was closed, to make visiting Yosemite worthwhile you shouldn't plan on getting much further than Oakhurst just south of the park for your overnight. To see Death Valley you would then continue south to Bakersfield and cut across to US395 on CA178 past Lake Isabella or CA58/14 where you would head north to 190 across Death Valley. Furnace Creek or Pahrump would be good locations to stop overnight while taking a couple of brief stops in DV. Next you could head to Springdale [for Zion NP] for the night, explore the park the following morning and then head to Monument valley, or spend the night in Page AZ and visit Monument valley the following morning. Next up would be the Grand canyon before heading baclk to Vegas, but you could drive a section of route 66 through Seligman to Kingman and/or stop at the Hoover Dam.

    That would have you arrive to Vegas on the 28th as planned, although I would stil consider arriving a day later [or2] and have a little more time to 'smell the roses'. Of course it's your choice and that's what makes each road trip unique to the individual.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    As mentioned previously, if Tioga was closed, to make visiting Yosemite worthwhile you shouldn't plan on getting much further than Oakhurst just south of the park for your overnight. To see Death Valley you would then continue south to Bakersfield and cut across to US395 on CA178 past Lake Isabella or CA58/14 where you would head north to 190 across Death Valley. Furnace Creek or Pahrump would be good locations to stop overnight while taking a couple of brief stops in DV. Next you could head to Springdale [for Zion NP] for the night, explore the park the following morning and then head to Monument valley, or spend the night in Page AZ and visit Monument valley the following morning. Next up would be the Grand canyon before heading baclk to Vegas, but you could drive a section of route 66 through Seligman to Kingman and/or stop at the Hoover Dam.

    That would have you arrive to Vegas on the 28th as planned, although I would stil consider arriving a day later [or2] and have a little more time to 'smell the roses'. Of course it's your choice and that's what makes each road trip unique to the individual.
    Dave,

    After more thought, the attached map might be what we opt for...

    A. 16,17,18
    B. 19
    C. 20,21,22
    D. -
    E. 23
    F. 24
    G. 25
    H. 26, 27
    I. –
    J. –
    K. 28,29,30,31
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default The coast.

    Your map is small and difficult to make out, but you are going to miss out on the highlights of the coast between LA and SF as it is. To travel around Big Sur and enjoy the scenic coast road you want CA1 between Cambria and Monterey.

  9. #9

    Default

    Hi Dave et al.

    Trip is more or less finalised. Would love anyone's feedback on where we are staying, where will be nice for meals etc. Photo spots along our possible routes (I'm a camera nerd!) and any other suggestions/feedback...

    16th, 17th, 18th May – Arrive LA. Stay at Best Western (Hollywood Plaza Inn)
    19th – Drive from LA to Monterey via PCH1. Stay at Cannery Row Inn, Monterey.
    20th, 21st, 22nd – Drive to San Fran. Stay at Travelodge (Fisherman’s Wharf)
    23rd – Drive to Fresno via Yosemite NP. Stay at Best Western PLUS (Village Inn, Fresno)
    24th – Drive to Death Valley via Lake Isabella. Stay at Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley.
    25th – Drive to Zion. Stay at Quality Inn at Zion NP.
    26th – Drive to Kayenta. Stay at Kayenta Monument Valley Inn.
    27th – Drive to Grand Canyon. Stay at Meswick Lodge.
    28th, 29th, 30th, 31st – Drive to Las Vegas via Hoover Dam. Stay at Bellagio.


    We have Anaheim Angels tickets for while we are in LA and we also have our Alcatraz (night tour) tickets already...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I would try to stay much closer to Yosemite - in the park if possible.

    Going all the way to Fresno is going to give you a very limited amount of time to explore this fantastic park. As Dave previously mentioned, Oakhurst really is as far away as you should be looking. Going all the way to Fresno also becomes very far out of the way if Tioga Pass is open at the time of your trip.

    The Zion-Monument Valley-Grand Canyon section of your trip is a little rushed. It's not impossible, but you don't have much time to look around. You might consider taking a day from a city stay to have a bit more time to explore.

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