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  1. Default Aussie Family Road Trip April - LA-San fran-vegas-san diego

    Hi

    I have been reading your forum with great excitement and interest leading up to our family road trip next April.

    I know there are LOTS of San Fran to Vegas posts but I AM SO CONFUSED!!

    Family of 8 travelling from Australia March 31st to April 24th.

    Planning
    - March 31-April 6th in LA
    - Hiring a car from then
    - Driving up coast to Monterey Bay for the 6th
    - Continuing up to San Fran for April 9th to 11th
    - WAS planning Yosemite on the 12th BUT as Tioga pass will be closed was thinking driving to Rino and then onto Mammoth lakes on the 12th
    - Maybe two nights at Mammoth lakes (a day to ski??)
    - onto Vegas for the 14th-15th
    - Drive to San diego on the 16th via hoover dam
    - Stay in San diego 16-19th
    - Up to Anaheim via Legoland on the 20th
    - Anaheim 21-24th then back to LAX for flight home.

    As we come from county western australia we are used to long driving days (6hrs drive to nearest city from home and just did a 3000km drive across the country in 3 days). Want to squeeze in as much as we can in the four weeks!!

    My question for you all is the best tips for routes to take.

    I am particularly worried about San Fransisco to Vegas - keen to take a real scenic route and would like to go through Death Valley if possible. Have friends with us that have never seen snow so would love to get in a day in the snow but won't have snow chains (hiring a car) so worried if I plan a couple of nights in mammoth lakes will then not be able to get in there....

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Aussie family of 8!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    I'd recommend you reverse the direction of your trip, so you will be traveling south along the coast. That way the scenic pullouts will be on your side of the road.

  3. Default

    Thanks but we can't. Having another couple meeting us at Anaheim at the end of our trip so really need to go clockwise.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Yosemite valley.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Family of 8 travelling from Australia
    Hiring a car
    I think you need a couple of cars ! ;-)

    Just because Tioga Pass is closed doesn't mean you can't visit Yosemite valley which is absolutely beautiful. You would have the option of heading south around the mountains and visit Seqouia NP and Death valley from there. You could also head north around them to Reno and still visit Mammoth and Death valley. Weather is unpredictable at the best of times but even moreso around the mountains and needing snowchains is a possibility. I have not travelled to Ski resorts, but keeping the roads in and out clear is a priority to keep the tourists coming. Each trip is unique and a personal thing so it's a case of whatever you are happy with, but to me you have a lot of time spent in the City's and very little for the wonders of nature. For example there is no mention of the Grand canyon NP which could be visited after Vegas and before San Diego, but would take up an extra couple of nights. That would not be a major issue with the time you have available with a little juggling. I would not recommend you do a tour from Vegas, they generally go to the GC west rim which is not part of the NP system and nor does it offer you the views made famous the world over through film and photography.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Absolutely nothing like driving in remote WA.

    As we come from county western australia we are used to long driving days (6hrs drive to nearest city from home and just did a 3000km drive across the country in 3 days).
    There is absolutely no comparison. A long drive at home will not see a fraction of the traffic you will see, even on the more rural highways in the US. Your 3000km drive, which is over the 600 miles a day, which is the maximum for a day's driving. It is by law the maximum professional drivers may cover. (I know it is easily done driving across the Nullabor, - though I am yet to do it.)

    But you have a further issue. With eight people, whether you rent one or two cars, or perhaps even more so if you rent two cars, is that every stop will take that much longer. Make sure you allow for that, and don't take notice of the computer drive times. They are pure fantasy. They don't apply in the real world.

    It is a pity you can't reverse the trip, but like Dave, I feel you have an imbalance between the great natural wonders of this world and cities. A night in Death Valley would be highly recommended. April is a good time to visit, not yet too hot. It is an amazing place. I too would urge you to take a few days from the cities and allow a couple of days to experience the Grand Canyon. There's nothing like a sunset and / or sunrise over the canyon, watching the sun paint the rocks in the most magnificent colours.

    There is much more to Yosemite than Tioga Pass. It was not open the first time I visited. The valley and the magnificent scenery, hopefully all covered with snow. (Check with your rental company if you will be allowed to drive in. As I understand, it will be compulsory to carry snow chains in April.) In my book the trip would not be complete without Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default

    I cant see any reason why your trip couldnt be reversed. Anaheim is part of LA so why not spend your LA time at the end. I dont know what your interests are but you cant really go that far and not see the wonders that are out of town. Nobody or there photo's can do the grand canyon or Yosemite and lots of other places justice by telling you or showing you pics. It something you have to see for yourself. Lots of WOW. As an ex interstate truck driver, distance is no problem for me either but its not like out in the country here in Australia. You wont go far before wanting to stop and look at something. So much to see and people are so friendly its hard to move on and keep to a schedule lol. Have a great time.
    Keith

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Worth considering.

    Thanks Keith. (Long time no see.) I was looking at that as well. Since the trip starts and ends in LA, albeit a suburb of LA, there is no reason not to reverse it. It would make much more sense.

    LA, San Diego, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, LV, Death Valley, Mammoth, Reno, Yosemite, SF and the Pacific Coast Highway back to Anaheim.

    Worth considering.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Useful things to pack.

    Quote Originally Posted by keithg View Post
    ... but its not like out in the country here in Australia. You wont go far before wanting to stop and look at something. So much to see and people are so friendly its hard to move on and keep to a schedule lol.
    This brings to mind another thing. Be sure to pack a small box/bag of local souvenirs. Postcards, pens, key rings, fridge magnets, that sort of thing. People whom you meet along the way will appreciate these. Could even end up making some lifetime friends.

    Other things I have found useful are a small flag to put in the rear window of your vehicle - show them you are not a local. The other is your WA automobile club membership. It will give you access to free maps and tourist information from the AAA. Call into a AAA office while in CA. You will need good detailed maps when on the road. Don't be tempted to rely solely on electronics, with all their errors and omissions.

    BTW, what sort of car will you be renting for eight people and all their luggage?

    Lifey

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