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  1. #1

    Default Is February Too restrictive??

    My best mate and I are coming over to the States in February, embarking on a little 'roadtrip'. We arrive 15th Feb 2006 and leave on the 23rd, so you can see it's not a mammoth trip!
    We are looking at starting in Vegas then heading up to San Fran but looks as if the weather at this time of the year could create havoc??
    Our dates aren't really flexible so am looking for any advice. I've driven over in the States before so that's not really a problem and i've done the Rte1 from San Fran to LA many moons ago.

    We definately want to see the Grand Canyon and go to some quirky (but friendly) towns off the beaten track!

    We don't want to be driving the whole trip, so really looking at setting out late mornings on the drive to allow sight seeing then relax and party in the evening!

    Just after suggestions really!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise
    Posts
    527

    Default Check Out the 66

    If you're coming into Las Vegas, drop south a hundred miles or so and check out the wild burros in Oatman, Arizona, as well as Loughlin for some gambling. Oatman would fit your quirky city desire and it is on Route 66. Then continue on 66 to Williams, Az which would put you just south of the Grand Canyon. I-40 goes through this area, but stay on Route 66 whenever possible. It will be alongside the interstate much of the way.

    You could then backtrack to California and go to Los Angeles if it hasn't floated away. You can then take the Pacific Highway to San Francisco.

    I'm not sure that eight days will be enough time to accomplish all this. You'll probably have to spend a lot of time on the boring, but fast interstates, but whenever possible, get off.

    Plus, it is winter and you might encounter snow and bad driving conditions in the upper elevations.

    Just some thoughts. Hope you enjoy the trip and with the current pound to dollar exchange rate, this will be a great deal. This summer, I will be going to Britain for a ten day cruise around the islands.

    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --- RoadDog
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-02-2006 at 11:26 AM. Reason: added a link to RTA article

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Flexibility

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    Actually, how much flexibility you have and how you plan to use it is largely up to you. As RoadDog suggests, you have a fair chance of there being some foul weather somewhere along your trip at some point. But just as surely, there will come a day in your trip when the roads are clear, the sun is out and you can make it from Las Vegas to San Francisco in one long (10 hours driving time, stops extra) day's drive. Or two shorter days if you want to sight see. Where you put this drive in your itinerary is the flexibility you have. Be ready to spend an extra day or two more or less in both Las Vegas and San Francisco and make the move when the weather permits and you'll be fine.

    AZBuck

  4. #4

    Default

    Many thanks for the tips......... I've just been spending some time working out a trip - how does this sound....

    Day One
    Arrive Vegas, stay the night

    Day two
    Drive to Death Valley - Take in Death Valley NP, stay the night then head back down to...

    Day three
    Drive to Laughlin (I know this takes us back through Vegas but that's where we're flying to)

    Day four
    Head on over to Eagle Mountain - want to visit the Joshua Tree National Park (Can you drive through any of the national parks???) Spend some time down there then head over to Yucca Valley for the night

    Day five
    Drive to San Diego and stay the night

    Day six
    Up to Santa Barbara, staying the night

    Day seven
    Take the coastal route (route 1) to Big Sur, stay the night then finally head to...

    Day eight
    San Francisco - staying as close to the coastal road as possible
    Flying home on the evening of the 9th day. Should give us time to unwind in San Fran!!!

    I've worked out the longest peroid for driving will be around 4 hours for the
    Death Valley-Laughlin, Yucca Valley-San Diego and the Rte 1 Sectors, but there will be two of us sharing the drive, it is a road trip after all!!

    Look forward to hearing people's views on this idea, what to look out for along the route and what the weather conditions are likely to be. I'm hoping i've avoided the treacherous areas!!

    Thanks for your posts

    London Calling

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Go for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by London Calling
    I've worked out the longest period for driving will be around 4 hours for the Death Valley-Laughlin, Yucca Valley-San Diego and the Rte 1 Sectors, but there will be two of us sharing the drive, it is a road trip after all!!
    I think you're being a bit optimistic on some sections. Death Valley to Laughlin will take more like 6 hours or even a little more. And the drive from San Diego up to Santa Barbara mill take at least 4 hours, but this includes getting through LA which can take 4 hours all by itself. But in general your proposed days leave plenty of time for things other than driving.

    Quote Originally Posted by London Calling
    Look forward to hearing people's views on this idea, what to look out for along the route and what the weather conditions are likely to be. I'm hoping I've avoided the treacherous areas!!
    Just keep an eye on the weather reports, especially for those legs that will include stretches through the mountains, such as the Death Valley parts and the drive from Yucca to San Diego. You may have to be willing to change your plans a bit due to conditions, but most years, you'll be fine. The only other thing I'd note is that you could (as I have) spend a week in each of the places you're going to try to see in a day, so take the time before arriving to make sure that you know what you want to see and experience, even it's that just 'where the road takes you' and 'what life has to offer'.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default and Laughlin is because???

    Quote Originally Posted by London Calling
    Day two
    Drive to Death Valley - Take in Death Valley NP, stay the night then head back down to...
    Is there some specific reason for going to Laughlin? If not, I would suggest using the Badwater road and go through Shoshone on your way south to Baker. There is a cute museum in Shoshone and there is alot of historical sights just outside of town.

    From Baker you can explore the Mojave Desert Preserve and stay overnight in Barstow -- or even go back to Laughlin and Bullhead City (there is no reason to return to Las Vegas on the way).
    Day four
    Head on over to Eagle Mountain - want to visit the Joshua Tree National Park (Can you drive through any of the national parks???) Spend some time down there then head over to Yucca Valley for the night
    You can drive through just about all of the national parks, with the exception of the ones in Alaska and in the ocean.
    Day six
    Up to Santa Barbara, staying the night
    San Diego to Santa Barbara is a minium of an eight-hour drive.
    Day seven
    Take the coastal route (route 1) to Big Sur, stay the night then finally head to...
    The coastal route from Santa Barbara to Big Sur is about a six-hour drive.
    Day eight
    San Francisco - staying as close to the coastal road as possible
    Big Sur to San Francisco (along the coast) is 4-5 hour drive.

    Mark

  7. #7

    Default

    You know, I am considering a trip to CA next summer (2006). I'm a bit scared, though, by some of the numbers!

    consider these from Mark:

    eight hours from San Diego to Santa Barbara (216 miles)

    six hours from Santa Barbara to Big Sur (looks like around 310 miles - not bad, considering it's not on an Interstate)

    and 4-5 hours from Big Sur to SF (looks like 160 or so miles using US 160)

    are those correct? I used to live in Chicago (part of the reason to move to WI was the traffic!) and even Chicago isn't that bad. I realize SD to Santa Barbara takes you through LA... is there ANY good time to drive there?

    Dan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Those times are not (soley) traffic-dependent

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan K
    You know, I am considering a trip to CA next summer (2006). I'm a bit scared, though, by some of the numbers!
    The time-controlling factor for those roads is not primarily related to traffic -- they are governed by the roads themselves -- these are not Interstate routes -- they are, for the most part, two-lane, scenic byways where the average (achieveable) speed is about 53 mph -- the only exception is the San Diego to Santa Barbara leg -- which is Interstate (mostly) but runs through one of the busiest traffic corridors in North America.
    I realize SD to Santa Barbara takes you through LA... is there ANY good time to drive there?
    If you are going to drive in an urban area, you have to figure it will take some time. But isn't that one of the reasons you go there?

    Mark

  9. #9

    Default SD - SB, no way 8 hours is normal

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan K
    You know, I am considering a trip to CA next summer (2006). I'm a bit scared, though, by some of the numbers!

    consider these from Mark:

    eight hours from San Diego to Santa Barbara (216 miles)
    That's just extreme pessimism, I lived in San Diego a couple of years ago and several times got to San Francisco in 10 hours on I5 going through LA. If there are abnormal traffic problems in LA you could be there a long time but normal traffic is just hellish, no worse than the M25 for sure. I would allow 5 hours to SB on 101 if you avoid the main rush hour periods (roughly 6am-10am and 3pm to 7pm). Even so ,if at all possible don't go through LA, take a longer route around to the East, much more pleasant though considerably further.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Quality vs Quantity

    Quote Originally Posted by killer
    That's just extreme...
    I think we are talking about a road trip here -- not a commute. Yes, if the goal is simply to cover the distance in the fastest possible time -- five hours would be sufficient. But this person has never seen LA (and on a road trip, usually one is enjoying the journey) so at the least I would stick to an allowance of eight hours for this portion of the drive.

    I love driving in LA -- it is like nowhere else in the USA -- it can be challenging, but well worth the effort.

    Mark

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