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    Interesting comments thanks guys - definitely got that on the radar now if we need toto take a stop on the way! Looking a couple of different routes now, one being a loop from SF down the coast to LA and then up through Vegas, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and ending at Napa Valley.

  2. #22
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    Such a loop would work well and if you went from LA to Grand canyon and then to Vegas it would save some back tracking. Something like this. SF>LA>GC>LV>through Death valley to Lone Pine or Bishop> Yosemite>Napa>SF. It also puts Yosemite towards the end of your trip giving you an increased chance of Tioga being open.

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    That would actually be the perfect route, I reckon we can do that in two weeks with 3 nights in SF, 2 in LA, 2 in Vegas and potentially 2 in Napa depending on the time, be nice to end in Napa so we can chill out before flying home.

    So the quotes I have been getting from these travel companies are between ฃ6,500 - ฃ7,000. This is more than we are wanting and willing to pay.

    After checking everything independently to go at the beginning of April (prices are not available for May yet) work out as follows;

    Return flights to SF with Virgin - ฃ1,698
    Hotels in various cities - ฃ2,000 max - we want to go big in Vegas but could cut our budget down elsewhere; also include a night in Bakerfield. (edit: think i underestimated this price! Let's say ฃ2,000!)
    Car hire, Mustang convertible - ฃ630

    So all in all my rough total (which can be reduced) is ฃ4,328. Of course plus say ฃ2,000 spending money. Not bad! When you think I quote quoted ฃ2k more than that. Is there anything I am missing here from the above calculations?

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    Also, the Tioga pass, how long would it take to go around this stretch of road if this was closed? I'm a little confused by this section of the trip and don't want to rely on this being open in April/May.

  5. #25
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    I think you have been more than generous with your budget. Come September I would be surprised if your flights couldn't be found for under ฃ1000 and as I mentioned before, if you flew in and out of LA you would possibly find flights under ฃ800, both direct. (You could relax in LA at the end of your trip) You have allowed almost ฃ145 per night for lodgings ($185) which is also generous, at least for the comfortable type of hotel we like. We always try and find one that offers a decent breakfast.


    The Tioga Pass almost certainly won't be open in April and from Mid May onwards your chances increase. Lone Pine would be a town between Yosemite and Vegas that would give you the option of going either way although it would be 7/7.5 hours of travel having to go south around the mountains at a relaxed pace.. By the time you stop along the Tioga Pass to enjoy the views it would be much the same in time but slower and more enjoyable.


    As we mentioned at the start, the beauty of designing your own trip is what makes a road trip so special, so ultimately what you want to do is all that counts, but here are my concerns. You are considering spending 9 nights in City's (including Napa) and if you plan to drive down the coast (which will take 2 days) you will have close to 5 days of driving so where does that leave the Grand canyon and Yosemite ? These are 2 of the most amazing natural wonders in the world. For me, Napa Valley is nice, Yosemite is outstanding. If I had to choose between LA and Grand canyon, Grand canyon every time. It's tough making these types of decisions and we all go through it but hopefully that's some food for thought.

  6. #26

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    Hi SurfCFC I have sent you a PM. I did a road trip, about 3 yrs ago now, San Francisco for 3 nights, then onto Carmel / Monterey for 2 nights, Big Sur 1 night, we stayed in Cambria. Then into Yosemite for 2 nights, staying at Curry village. Lake Tahoe for a night, then Chester, Nr Lassen Volcanic National Park, Redwood National Park 2 nights, and onto Santa Rosa, Nr Napa & Sonoma Valley. The trip included return flights from Heathrow to San Francisco, Car hire, plus all the hotels along the way and we paid ฃ2100 per person. It was a lot of driving, often up to 6 hours a day in the car, but driving over there is a dream compared to UK, its wide open spaces, lovely scenic roads, stunning sights. You will love it, because its not at all like being stuck on the M1 for a few hours. I've done a few more trips since then, including one last year which took in some of the National Parks, Bryce, Zion, Rocky Mountains etc. Basically my life now is working to save to do another road trip, its such a fab thing to do.

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    Thanks Scruffygirl, have replied :)

    That's good you think I have been generous with my budget as it gives us scope to reduce the price. I have overcompensated and as you rightly point out, waiting until maybe September to book would be cheaper, I guess hotel prices wouldn't change too much between now and then?

    I'll have a look into flying into and out of LA though, sorry I forgot you said that!

    I'm getting a little bit confused about the route we will take, I really need to just sit down and plan this out on a map I think and look at the routes you have suggested above. I will post back here once confirmed! I am quite getting into planning it myself, it certainly seems cheaper and more fun!

    Thank you all again, you have been so helpful.

  8. #28
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    I guess hotel prices wouldn't change too much between now and then?

    It may be just me but it seems that good Spring deals come as the summer season ends. Perhaps it's to try and keep the good booking numbers from the summer season rolling.(?)


    I am quite getting into planning it myself, it certainly seems cheaper and more fun!
    Absolutely! And it encourages you to get more familiar with the area.

    I'm getting a little bit confused about the route we will take, I really need to just sit down and plan this out on a map I think and look at the routes you have suggested above.]

    Setting out your main destination points and then try to link them up with a day by day itinerary will help you to see the big picture and work out how much time you will have at each place if you take into account the travelling in between. My first itinerary is often tweaked a number of times with the 'fine tuning' but once the basics are down it becomes easier.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Such a loop would work well and if you went from LA to Grand canyon and then to Vegas it would save some back tracking. Something like this. SF>LA>GC>LV>through Death valley to Lone Pine or Bishop> Yosemite>Napa>SF. It also puts Yosemite towards the end of your trip giving you an increased chance of Tioga being open.
    If we were to do this route, which does look good, what happens when/if Tioga pass is closed? I've been on MapQuest.com and I've attached this. Is Lone Pine a good place ti stay for a night? Also as the route between LA and Grand Canyon is quite long, any suggestions for places to stay along this route?

    West Coast Route.jpg

  10. #30
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    Lone Pine is a decent town and as I mentioned it gives you both options depending on Tioga Pass.
    It's hard to make out your exact routing because of the size of the map but one things for sure, you are missing out on the spectacular coastal drive. It makes it a quicker journey though but I would consider using 101 instead of I-5.

    If you want to break the journey from LA to GC but still want to cover good ground you would have choices such as Kingman and Williams depending on when you get out of LA. You always have the option of getting some miles under your belt during the afternoon or evening after a visit rather than staying another night in the same location.

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