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  1. #1

    Default Los Angeles - San Francisco - Las Vegas - LA Advice needed.

    Hi, I am new here and also new to USA any trip really. Just need your thumb up or down on my travel plans please!
    So me and wife planning a road trip to California for 18 days in mid April, we are about 33 and trying to improve ours stamina now so we can see as much as possible lol. I have done some research, in general reading on this forum and others and I am hope my plan is not to tight.

    Day 0 UK - LA Car Hire and drive to our accommodation place in Hollywood - B&B
    Day 1 Shopping Around (Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive, and any Mall for food as we do like our own breakfasts)
    Day 2 Universal Studio
    Day 3 Santa Monica Beach
    Day 4 Griffith Observatory, Mexican Market, shopping
    Day 5 Drive to Sequoia National Park (get there at 12:00) - hiking - night in B&B
    Day 6 Drive to the west to join the famous coast highway, I believe we should join it around Morro Bay, we want to see most of it, then carry on towards Carmel by the Sea.
    Day 7 Carmel and Monterey (night 6 and 7 in B&B)
    Day 8 Drive to SF
    Day 9 - 10 SF, Twin Peaks, Golden Gate - possible cycled, food...
    Day 11 - drive to Yosemite National Park (be there by noon) hiking and night at B&B
    Day 12 - drive through YNT (towards Great Canyon) through Death Valley stop for a night
    Day 13 - Carry on driving towards GC South Rim stop there and get ready for hiking next day
    Day 14 - GC hiking
    Day 15 - drive to Las Vegas stop to visit The Hoover Dam
    Day 16 -17 LV
    Day 18 back to the LA airport.

    I know I wont be able to see the whole town of SF, LA or even Monterey but I believe it is not important to me. I also wanted to see the huge sequoia trees but the sequoia grove in Yosemite is closed until spring 2017 so had to cut one day off of my stay in LA. Wife insist to spend full 5 days in LA. I would greatly appreciate any ideas, advice, suggestions.
    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    You might want to reverse your trip, if possible. That way, you'll be able to put the ocean to your right by going southbound on the Pacific Coast Highway. All the scenic pullouts are on your side of the road and you won't have to pull across oncoming traffic.

    Otherwise, the trip looks pretty good. "Be there by noon", though, tells me that you may be believing the travel times of an electronic mapping program. My suggestion is to use the mileage you get from those, then divide by 50 to get your true travel time. That's because computers don't take in the need for fuel, food, rest, stretch, bathroom break, construction, accidents ahead of you, and more.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've got a solid start to your plan, but there are two problem spots in your trip.

    The biggest problem is your plans to go from Yosemite to Death Valley. While in Summer, your plan would work how you've got it, in April, Tioga Pass across the Sierras will not yet be open. That means you're going to have to go around the south edge of the mountains, via the Bakersfield area.

    The good news is there is an easy solution to that problem. Instead of going from LA to Sequoia, go from LA right up the coast towards Big Sur, Monterey, and San Francisco. Then after Yosemite, continue to Sequoia, and then do Death Valley. Just keep in mind, it will take most of a day to get from Sequoia to DV.

    The other spot that really is just a matter of being out of order is that it would make much more sense to visit Las Vegas between DV and the Grand Canyon. Vegas is essentially on the direct route between the two National Parks, and then you'd save some miles driving directly back to LA from Grand Canyon.

    One final suggestion - you might consider reversing the direction of this loop - so going from LA to Grand Canyon, then back to Vegas, Death Valley, etc. That will allow you to finish your trip by driving south down the coast - where you'll have the ocean on your side of the road, making it a bit easier to stop at the overlooks along the way.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thank you very much for these replays. I will definitely reconsider my travel plans. I heard of some roads being closed due to the weather conditions but thought around the 30th of April it cannot not be opened. I looked now in historical records and yes, you were right, it was never opened before May so I cannot take that risk. Obviously not crossing the road to stop one these scenic pullouts is another thing I have not spot, which is very important due to safety reason.

    If I reverse the direction of my trip and go from LA to GC then LV, would 1 day to drive from LV to Sequoia National Park through Death Valley be enough? I would like to stop for a while in Death Valley but not planning to hike really cos of the high temp I dont like.
    Next day do hiking in SNP and after that drive to Yosemite just to spend night there and get ready for the next day, will that work or is it too much for one day do you think? If that is acceptable I would have 1 day spare to add somewhere. Also, would have to stop for a night on the way from Carmel to LA as do not want to drive more than say 3-4h on my flight day due to any possible incidence that can always put me away of my scheduled return flight.
    Last edited by bednarz5; 02-18-2016 at 09:31 AM.

  5. #5

    Default

    Obviously this will be very intensive driving for 1 - 2 days from time to time I am aware of but not every day. I got used to drive a car for hours when travelling towards east and south europe, 14-18h with few very short stops so I think I should be ok down your bountiful country :)
    Last edited by bednarz5; 02-18-2016 at 10:35 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    1 day from Vegas to Sequoia really wouldn't give you time to do anything in Death Valley except drive through it. April can be a really nice time to hike in Death Valley, as it isn't typically too hot then yet. Even if you don't hike, I'd take more time that you've got planned right now.

    You could drive through DV and then make it perhaps as far as Lake Isabella for the night. The next day drive to and explore Sequoia, then spend the night somewhere like Fresno before heading onto Yosemite the next day.

    You'll really want at least one overnight stop between Carmel and LA, but I'd look at splitting up your time in LA. Perhaps spend 3 days there to start, and then 2 days at the end. That would avoid having that rushed last day trying to get to LA - and the stress of dealing with severe traffic while trying to get to the airport.

  7. #7

    Default

    Right, I will do as you suggest Michael. Do not really want but thinking about to skip on going to Sequoia to perhaps slow down a bit I think...shame I did not book my holiday in US for full 3 weeks.

    Anyway, what about using google maps instead of typical satnav in far west and Arizona? Anyone have an experience, internet works ok there, or should I expect cut offs around the mountains? I think my tomtom's USA maps from 2006 may not be good anymore lol

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I would advise you to buy a Rand McNally Road Atlas. Electronics are no substitute for paper maps.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Where to get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    I would advise you to buy a Rand McNally Road Atlas. Electronics are no substitute for paper maps.
    Check out the RTA store link at the bottom of this page. If you order it now you will have it in a couple of weeks. You will then have some time to sit and really study it to see just how much there is along the way and all the choices you have of routes.

    Might like to hang onto it, to help you plan any future trips. Still be sure to carry it with you on the road, don't want to be misled by electronics like so many stories we read.

    Lifey

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    You'll really want at least one overnight stop between Carmel and LA, but I'd look at splitting up your time in LA. Perhaps spend 3 days there to start, and then 2 days at the end. That would avoid having that rushed last day trying to get to LA - and the stress of dealing with severe traffic while trying to get to the airport.
    What location would you suggest if I may I ask as a stop for a night between Carmel and LA? I can not now really split up my stay in LA. I thought about the Santa Barbara, from there there is just 2h driving to LAX.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    I would advise you to buy a Rand McNally Road Atlas. Electronics are no substitute for paper maps.
    I am no good at travelling with paper maps I am afraid, usually base on sat nav, do you think I am going to get stuck there for good in this case, or miss the roads that I should go by in my trip?

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