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  1. Default Driving from SF to LV next weekend!

    I've left this rather late, mostly because I only now found this great site. I'm driving with a couple of mates from SF to LV the weekend after next and, unusually for me, I know next to nothing about the drive. It's been a busy few months!

    So, I would be grateful if anyone could help with the following basics: How far is it and can you drive it in two days? What's a good route to do in that time that doesn't leave everyone's bum sore and them both hating you for suggesting driving not flying?

    I've been looking through the site and there seem to be so many ways of doing the trip it's too confusing to start searching without asking a couple of questions first.

    Many thanks

  2. Default Very doable in 2 days...

    Hello kate,

    First of all, its very doable to drive from SF to Las Vegas in 2 days. It's possible to do in one day, if you're crunched for time -- but one day would be a long day's drive.

    The fastest route is to head south from the SF Bay area on I-5 (a major superhighway) to near Bakersfield. From there you head east on California 58, to catch the I-15 (another superhighway) to Las Vegas. This skirts past the Sierras on the southern end, and sticks to major roads that you can usually travel at high speed on. This route covers about 570 miles, and take about 10 hours on the road. If you want to split this trip, a good place to split it is in Bakersfield, which is a sizable town with many hotels.

    A slightly less fast, but the most scenic route would be to go from SF to spend the night in Yosemite National Park. From there, you can go across the Sierras on the very scenic Tioga Pass to Las Vegas. The first day is about a half day's drive, letting you spend some hours in Yosemite National Park. But the second day, over the Sierras and to LV, will still probably be 9-10 hours since you're taking a slower mountain road over the Sierras. But amazingly scenic -- both in Yosemite and over the Sierras.

    As a third option, you can do the first route, but instead of spending the night in Bakersfield, continue on and swing back north just a bit to Ridgecrest for the night. This is a medium-small town, but there are several hotels there and in the surrounding areas. From Ridgecrest you can go east into Death Valley National Park, and spend the day sightseeing there, before continuing the 2-3 hours to Las Vegas.

    And I would also add -- to make this interesting for you and your friends, its going to be where you stop and your philosophy of how you (and friends drive). For example, the California Central Valley you'll be going throug has some amazing farms and wildlife areas. Lots of wineries (most of them on the eastern side along I-99 though), fruit stands, nut farms (walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc etc) and whatnot. Fresno/Modesto for example, is the largest producer of wine in the world. Similarly, going through the dessert has some amazing sights that may not be apparent if you zoom through at 110 kph. Lava flows, cactuses, and some really funky cultural places. What do your friends like? and what would you like to see or visit or experience?

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