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  1. Default Final tuning my California / Nevada Trip

    Hi all,

    I've been using this great website and reading the forums for years but this is my first post :)
    This will be my second visit to the States. I've done my homework and came up with this plan:

    2 Sept: arriving San Francisco (Hotel already booked @ Fisher's men)
    3 Sept: Touring SF. I've read a lot about SF and thought that 2 nights might be enough for me to see the main attractions. Yes it will be kind of tiring after a long flight but I'll be relaxing for the next 12 nights at the Cruise !
    4 Sept: Alaska Cruise
    16 Sept: Back from Alaska Cruise. Renting a car and driving to Yosemite National Park. Staying over night at Mammoth lakes or Bishop (Hotel not booked yet)
    17 Sept: Early morning start to Death Valley and to Las Vegas (Hotel already booked)
    18-21 Sept: 4 days enjoying LV
    22 Sept: Early morning start to Hoover Dam - Grand Canyon NP. Staying overnight at FlagStaff (Hotel not booked yet)
    23 Sept: Early morning start to Los Angeles (Hotel not booked yet)
    24-28 Sept: 3 days enjoying Los Angeles; 1 day trip to San Diego; 1 day trip to Palm Springs
    29 Sept: Early Morning start to Monterey and will explore Santa Barbara on the way (Hotel not booked yet)
    30 Sept: Heading to SF Airport.

    Trip Summary:
    2 nights in SF (Hotel Booked)
    12 nights Celebrity Alaska Cruise
    1 night in Yosemite (Hotel not booked)
    5 nights in LV (Hotel Booked)
    1 night in FlagStaff (Hotel not Booked)
    6 nights in LA (Hotel not Booked)
    1 night in Monterey (Hotel not Booked)
    Total: 28 nights

    I have selected mammoth lakes and FlagStaff because I thought that hotels outside the NP's will offer better value (Price/Quality) !! But I will be re-investigating the hotels within these two NP's.

    I came up with this plan after an extensive research in this forum and other popular forum.
    Appreciating your feed back and suggestions.

    I still need to detail the stops/breaks of the following drives:
    SF-LV
    GCNP or FlagStaff-LA
    LA-SF


    Thanks in advance

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

    Default The natural wonders !

    Hello and welcome to the Forums !

    It looks as though you are in for quite an adventure ! The thing that really stands out to me is the amount of nights you have planned in the City's and yet you only have a few hours at each of [among the best] the natural wonders of the world, Yosemite and Grand canyon. It's your trip to decide and what you have planned is doable but it looks way off balance to me. I would plan for at least 2 nights close to Yosemite, perhaps one either side of the Sierra Nevada and at least break the journey to LA up so that you have another morning at the GC. I personally would also reconsider the day trips from LA and head to Palm Springs from the GC and then to SD before arriving to LA, it'll save some driving in one of the busiest places in the US.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Hello and welcome to the Forums !

    It looks as though you are in for quite an adventure ! The thing that really stands out to me is the amount of nights you have planned in the City's and yet you only have a few hours at each of [among the best] the natural wonders of the world, Yosemite and Grand canyon. It's your trip to decide and what you have planned is doable but it looks way off balance to me. I would plan for at least 2 nights close to Yosemite, perhaps one either side of the Sierra Nevada and at least break the journey to LA up so that you have another morning at the GC. I personally would also reconsider the day trips from LA and head to Palm Springs from the GC and then to SD before arriving to LA, it'll save some driving in one of the busiest places in the US.
    I wont really be doing any activities in Yosemite. I'll be just driving and stopping to take photos, so I thought a night will work.
    I thought about spending a night in PS & SD before reaching LA but I hate checking in/out of hotels and thus decided to base in LA and do these two day trips. But i'll rethink this once I hear others' feedback.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MJBucheeri View Post
    I wont really be doing any activities in Yosemite. I'll be just driving and stopping to take photos, so I thought a night will work.
    The problem is, right now, you don't even really have 1 night in Yosemite, since you're looking to stay around Bishop. That's on the opposite side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains from most of Yosemite's attractions. SF to Bishop via Tioga Pass is pretty close to a full day of driving all by itself. By the time you factor in getting off your cruise, picking up a car, etc, it would be a struggle to find any time for the Yosemite Valley at all.

    If you're only going to spend 1 night there, then actually spend the night in Yosemite, within the park if possible. If you can't find a place within the park, then look at one of the towns on the west side of the Sierras, so you at least have a half day to look around the Valley, and then drive across the pass the next day.

    I thought about spending a night in PS & SD before reaching LA but I hate checking in/out of hotels and thus decided to base in LA and do these two day trips. But i'll rethink this once I hear others' feedback.
    Do you dislike checking in and out of hotels so much that you'd rather sit in a car for 5+ hours each day? You're looking at a solid 2 hours of driving to get from LA to either San Diego or Palm Springs, and that's before you factor in traffic, which could easily add an hour or more to the drives.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    If you're only going to spend 1 night there, then actually spend the night in Yosemite, within the park if possible. If you can't find a place within the park, then look at one of the towns on the west side of the Sierras, so you at least have a half day to look around the Valley, and then drive across the pass the next day.
    Noted and will start looking into hotel option. You are right I can get up early and spend half the day around. At noon I make a move and reach Death Valley in day light then continue driving to Vegas in dark 6ish pm.
    Appreciate recommendation for Hotels as all hotels inside the park are $$$ and almost sold out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Do you dislike checking in and out of hotels so much that you'd rather sit in a car for 5+ hours each day? You're looking at a solid 2 hours of driving to get from LA to either San Diego or Palm Springs, and that's before you factor in traffic, which could easily add an hour or more to the drives.
    As mentioned I'm rethinking this and need to search whether I need to even visit both PS & SD or just one of these two cities.

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

    Default I'll third that.

    While doing your research, think seriously about Michael's words. LA traffic is not fun. Aim to only cover any one route... once.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    The closest hotel to the park outside Yosemite is the Cedar Lodge. I've stayed there, it's nothing special and rooms are about $175 a night. NO cell service and the only wifi is in the lobby at an additional charge.

    You may want to check out the tent cabins in Curry Village in the park.

  8. Default

    I really appreciate the valuable comments/feedback
    Considering the given suggestions together with what I'm trying to see in this trip, I have updated the plan as follow:

    2 nights in SF (Hotel Booked)

    12 nights Celebrity Alaska Cruise

    1 night in Yosemite (Cruise ship arrives at 7am. Will try to be among those who leaves the ship early. Will pick the hire car and drive straight to Yosemite and tour as much as we can in this day. Will try to get a hotel within the west side, so early morning we can continue touring while approaching the Tioga pass. will probable hit highway 395 by noon or early afternoon towards Death Valley so we make it in day light. I dont care if arrive Las Vegas late night. Only concern here is finding the proper hotel !!

    5 nights in LV (I do need 4 full dayes, 3 to enjoy the city and 1 will be spent in convention. Hotel already Booked)

    1 night in Tusayan (will leave LV early morning heading to Hoover Dam and then continue to Grand canyon NP and will tour there to the night. Will continue touring ealry morning and will hit I-40 by noon heading to LA. Indeed it will be along drive but I'm used to long motorcycle trips so sitting in a car should be fine. Hotel already booked in Tusayan)

    5 nights in LA (Had to drop 1 night and cancel Palm Spring day trip. 4 days to tour LA and see the basics and 1 day will visit San Diego)

    2 nights in the Coastal highway (probably 1 night in Cabria and 1 night in Monterey. Need to investigate more to select areas and hotels)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Your plan looks like it should work pretty well for you.

    I will note that while GC to LA is a perfectly reasonable long day on the road, you're going to arrive in LA pretty late if you don't leave until noon. You should expect the drive to take 9-10 hours depending upon where in LA you are heading.

    I'll also note again that if you're going to San Diego, it would save you quite a bit of time to drive there directly from GC, and then go to LA afterward. The travel time between GC and SD is very similar to the trip from GC to LA, because LA is quite a bit farther west.

  10. Default

    ok, its time to put the details and start booking hotels for the 2 nights spent on the Pacific Highway starting from LA ending in SF. Appreciating your expertise ...

    I have two options as follow:
    1) Making a noon/after noon start from LA and drive to Santa Barbara for an overnight stop. Then a morning start to Monterey for an overnight stop. Then early morning start to SFO (flight @15:00).
    2) A morning start from LA and driving to Cambria/San Simeon for an overnight stop. Then a late morning start to Santa Cruz for an overnight stop. Then morning start to SFO.

    Other suggestions are welcome

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