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  1. Default 14d CA trip - LA, Kings Canyon, W Yosemite, Mammoth, Tahoe, SF, Big S, Santa Barb, LA

    Dear roadtrippers,

    My wife and I are planning a 2 weeks roadtrip in the 2nd half of February 2015.
    We're from The Netherlands and we live in Houston, TX. We would obviously fly into LA and drive and spent our days as follows;

    1/ LA - 2 days
    2/ Kings Canyon/ Sequoia - 2 days
    3/ W Yosemite (Groveland area) - 1 day
    4/ Mammoth Lakes - 2 days
    5/ South Lake Tahoe - 2 days
    6/ San Fransisco - 2 days
    7/ Big Sur - 1 day
    8/ Santa Barbara - 2 days
    9/ Los Angeles - end of trip, return flight

    Apart from the kind invitation to please leave us your overall comments on the above trip-planning there is a few questions in particular that we hope to get answered through here;

    Q1/ We had hoped to stay West of the mountains whilst driving up north from Sequoia, then take 120 through Sierra Nevada (W to E) to end-up at Mammoth Lakes. I doubt however if this is possible at all around Feb. 23 due to road conditions.
    Could anyone advise here?

    Q2/ If 120 is not accessible, what would be our best suggestion; from Sequoia, drive south to Bakersfield, then go east and take 395 north, all the way up to Mammoth? This would mean we'd have to skip this leg of the trip and build in a nice alternative. (Note; we'd like to get to Mammoth for some winter fun as we like skiing/snowboarding. Any other/better suggestion to include such in our intended trip is very welcome).

    Q3/ What car is advisable for the intended trip as outlined above? We're huge convertible-drivers (yes, even in the harsh Houston summers we strange Dutchies like this!) and as such we were thinking to drive a convertible, at least for the leg SF back to LA since I guess that leg of our trip is likely to have some sunny skies, right?
    Having said that, would it be a problem to drive, say a Mustang, for the entire trip, from beginning to end? Doing so is much cheaper than changing cars in SF which would be the most obvious alternative. Really, I have no idea if rentals sit on winter-tires or all-seasons over there and how a RWD would hold-up in the snow? I'm being used to Audi's AWD Quattro system which is great in colder (European) conditions. Any tips here would be very much appreciated!

    Thank y'all in advance for your kind replies! Trust those are gonna help us big time!

    Ed & Nien

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Snowchains might be needed.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You are correct in thinking that there is next to Zero chance of CA120 being open or any other nearby passes. You could go from LA to Mammoth on the east side of the Sierra's and then onto Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Sequoia and SF before heading south down the coast. You will not be able to access Kings Canyon either and the weather in the Sierra's could mean you need to use snowchains. You might want to consider not booking anything and leave things changeable, to suit the weather conditions.

    Whatever you decide for a vehicle I wouldn't change it half way as it will cost more than one rental. A mid size sedan mormally provides the best all round mode of transport at a reasonable cost.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your plan is not possible, because CA-120 through Yosemite (Tioga Pass) is closed all winter long.

    If your only reason for going to Mammoth is for winter fun, I would skip that location and look to do your skiing/snowboarding elsewhere. The Lake Tahoe area would be one very obvious location - you can go north from Yosemite, and the cross the Sierras on one of the year round roads like US-50. There are also several ski areas on the Western slope of the Sierras, including Badger Pass located within Yosemite NP.

    I would not recommend a Mustang for this trip, as you do not want a rear wheel drive sports car in the snow/mountains. You are also correct that switching cars is likely going to be much more expensive. The best value is always going to be a standard sedan, although perhaps you'd want to consider an SUV for this trip considering all the mountain driving you'll be looking at. Rental cars will have all-season tires on them, not snow tires.

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