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  1. Default SF-LA-Vegas-GC-DV-Yosemite-SF - 2nd -12th May

    Hi....

    I'm from India, visiting SF for a week for a training, planning to extend my stay for 10 more days and kind of explore the wester cost including Vegas, Grand Canyon and Yosemite along with SF and LA. I'm an outdoor person, want to make best use of time at Grand Canyon and Yosemite. I kind of jotted down an itinerary as follows:

    2nd May Saturday SF Cycling on the Bridge, Golden Gate, Twin Peaks, Wharf, Muir Woods
    3rd May Sunday Drive to LA through Coastal Road Reach LA by 3pm
    4th May Monday Universal Studio, Hollywood
    5th May Tuesday Drive to Vegas - Remaining day at Vegas
    6th May Wednesday Whole Day at Vegas
    7th May Thursday Drive to Grand Canyon - Hoover Dam on the way ?
    8th May Friday Visit Canyon/Hike (South Rim)
    9th May Saturday Canyon to Death Valley to Mammoth Lakes (Still Can't figure out where to stay) ??
    10th May Sunday Mamoth Lakes to Yosemite Park through Tioga Pass ?? Will Tioga Pass be open by 10th May ?
    11th May Monday Yosemite Park Hiking
    12th May Tuesday Driving to Lake Tahoe to SF ?? too Ambitious ??
    13th May Wednesday Fly Back to Mumbai

    I will be hiring a car from SF (It will be really great if you suggest some of the portals where I can get the best deals), two of my friends will be with me till Vegas and I will be on my own from there onwards. I've done few ultra marathon drives in India and the maximum distance covered in a single trip onward journey was about 1,500kms (aprox 900miles).

    I would like to hear from members who has already done this route as what needs to be done to make this trip a memorable one. I'm in to photography, cycling, trekking love to drink beer, half-marathon runner, love to be with the nature and love screaming out while doing adventurous activity (planning for a sky dive while I'm in SF)

    Please suggest me if any changes to be made on the plan ?
    If not Tioga Pass what else would you suggest me ?
    Best portals to hire a car (Honda Civic/Corolla)
    How much would it cost me roughly on the fuel ?
    Are there going to be too may toll plazas (for road usage fee) on the highways ?
    Anything that you think I should make a note of before I start my bookings for accommodations?

    Appreciate your inputs and thanks in advance.

    Mathew

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

    Default Tioga open ? 50/50.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Your trip looks ok but you won't be able to drive the coast highway and get into LA at 3pm, it would be more like 3am if you want to stop and enjoy the sights. You really need to stop overnight on route and around Cambria. Grand canyon to Mammoth Lakes is a long day on the road and really too far, unless all you want to do is take a couple of photos in Death valley as you drive through. To make things a little easier you could stop in Williams AZ on Friday night and Bishop CA on Sat night.*** [See below] ***I would then skip Lake Tahoe and spend some of the day exploring more of Yosemite before heading to SF.

    *** There is no way of knowing when the Tioga Pass will open until close to the time it actually does. There is a light snowpack this year and it's quite possible it will be, but you should not book anything this night. If it is closed you would be looking at going via Bakersfield and stopping over around Fresno.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Fuel will be around 15 US cents a mile. The only tolls you will encounter are the bridges in the SF area, the Golden Gate is electronic tolling only, with a rental you will need to prepay. The others all accept cash. Some of the California freeways have tolled express lanes, those are also electronic only but you don't have to use them.

    The national parks (Yosemite, Death Valley, Grand Canyon) have entrance fees.

    The best rates for foreign visitors are usually from European consolidators such as carhire3000.com.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I understand that you want to see as much as you can of the US while you're here, but you've got it packed really tight!

    2nd May Saturday SF Cycling on the Bridge, Golden Gate, Twin Peaks, Wharf, Muir Woods
    3rd May Sunday Drive to LA through Coastal Road Reach LA by 3pm
    As was said before, this is not going to happen. If you drive to LA and want to be there in one day, you'll have to take I-5. The Pacific Coast Highway is slow, lots of turn-outs, and you'll be able to make Cambria (halfway to LA) in one day.

    4th May Monday Universal Studio, Hollywood
    Yes, this is possible. Prepare to spend the WHOLE day.

    5th May Tuesday Drive to Vegas - Remaining day at Vegas
    At 275 miles, this is likely to be about a 4-5 hour drive, depending on when you leave and the traffic.

    6th May Wednesday Whole Day at Vegas
    Check out Living Las Vegas, RTA's sister site.

    7th May Thursday Drive to Grand Canyon - Hoover Dam on the way ?
    This is another 275 mile trip that will take you around 4-5 hours, depending on traffic and when you leave LV. This does not include the stop at the Hoover Dam. That can be a short stop or a longer one, depending on what you want to get out of it.

    The national parks (Yosemite, Death Valley, Grand Canyon) have entrance fees.
    Count on $30 for Grand Canyon, $20 for Death Valley, and $30 for Yosemite. This means you could buy a National Park Annual Pass at the first park you stop at, pay the $80 there, and never have to present cash again. It doesn't give you discounts or anything, just pays for your entrance fees.


    Donna

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Your current plan of going LA to Vegas to Grand Canyon to DV and Mammoth Lakes really adds a lot of miles and backtracking, and as was previously mentioned, GC to Mammoth in one day really isn't possible if you hope to see any of Death Valley.

    You'd save a significant number of miles driving from LA to the Grand Canyon (this will take a full day), then go from GC to Vegas (half day), and from Vegas through DV to Mammoth (still a full day if you plan to tour DV).

  6. Default

    Thanks Dave ...

    I kind of overlooked at SF - LA route, I have updated my sheet and now the total travel time reads as 12Hrs :) I will stop for a while at Monterey and Santa Barbara (only if time permits) but then yea I will reach LA only by about 8.pm considering that I get to start from SF by 6am.

    For the journey from GC to Yosemite, I'm keeping two options, either halt at Bakers Field or at Death Valley and resume my journey on the next day

    9th May Saturday Canyon to Death Valley/Bakers Field ~ >7Hrs/8Hrs<
    10th May Sunday DV/BF to Yosemite Park 5Hrs/5Hrs ~ (DV only if Tioga Pass is opened by then)

    I will go to Death Valley only if Tioga Pass is open (Fingers Crossed)

    I've remove Lake Tahoe from the itinerary, as you suggested I would rather spend more time at Yosemite or drive back to SF and spend some time with friends/attempt sky diving/try my luck at sighting some whales !!!

    Once a thanks a ton -

    Cheers !!!

  7. Default

    Thanks GLC,

    This would help me in terms of preparing a budget for my trip. I still haven't calculated the the overall expenses, I know for sure 40-50% expenses will be on the vehicle, I'm trying figure out cheap motels for stay or connecting through various on-line communities who shares their couches for the travelers.

    Cheers !!!

  8. Default

    Thanks Donna for going through my itinerary and I really appreciate your time and value your suggestions

    "As was said before, this is not going to happen. If you drive to LA and want to be there in one day, you'll have to take I-5. The Pacific Coast Highway is slow, lots of turn-outs, and you'll be able to make Cambria (halfway to LA) in one day."

    I started to calculate the journey time as 12 Hours, I kind of updated my sheet also :) with additional 2 hours to spend at Monterey and Santa Barbara, If you think It's going to take more than 12 Hours I must start on day 1 itself and halt somewhere between. but then I will be driving through Monterey in the night :(
    Is the Pacific coast route slow on account of narrow roads ? or because it's connected to various cities ?


    7th May Thursday Drive to Grand Canyon - Hoover Dam on the way ?
    This is another 275 mile trip that will take you around 4-5 hours, depending on traffic and when you leave LV. This does not include the stop at the Hoover Dam. That can be a short stop or a longer one, depending on what you want to get out of it.

    It's just a photo-stop, want to have a look at the dam, This is the same dam featured in transformers movie and few other movies also ? You think there's something interesting to spend more time at Hoover Dam ?

    I've made a note of National Park Fees

    Again fingers crossed on Tioga Pass, I hope the pass is open in the first week of May itself :)

    Cheers !!

  9. Default

    Thanks Michael,

    That's a great idea and it never stroked me but the issue is two of my friends are coming with me till Vegas and they are returning to India on 8th from LA, and they aren't keen to go to Canyon. hence I may not be able to schedule the journey as suggested by you. However I will still check my friends if they want to see GC and see if I can change the plan like you suggested.

    Cheers !!!

  10. Default

    question on Gas availability
    If Tioga pass is open and I decide to go through DV, you think I will get enough gas stations on the go ?

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