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  1. Default First Road Trip - Too adventurous?


    Hope no one objects but I thought i would post my proposed route for my first road trip which I am hoping to go on in Oct 08. I am familiar with a few of the cities so was looking for advice on the distances / terrain I plan to travel.

    1) San Diego - 3 nights (Also plan to head in to Tijuana for an evening. Once back in US is it easy to get a taxi back to San Diego?)
    2) Drive to L.A - Mainly via interstate 5
    3) 3 nights in L.A
    4) Drive to Santa Cruz - Via Highway 1. Is that a feasable distance in 1 day? I was told it is approx 12 hours?? Also will the time of year (Oct) have any impact?
    5) 1 night in Santa Cruz
    6) Drive to San Francisco
    7) 3 Nights in San Francisco
    8) Drive to Yosemite Park - Any Suggested Route's?
    9) 2 Nights in Yosemite Park
    10) Drive to Furnace Creek (Death Valley) - Again, on a map the distance doesn't look too bad but what is the terrain like? Is it achievable in a day?
    11) One night in Death Valley
    12) Drive to Las Vegas
    13) 3 nights in Las Vegas

    We may have one day to fill - Is there anywhere nice between LA & Santa Cruz or is there anywhere else recommended?

    As for a vehicle we are looking at a Dodge MiniVan. WIll that be adequate for the terrain? Sorry if that is a stupid question but England is very flat!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Am I correct in making the assumption that you have two weeks for this trip?

    It appears that you aren't planning on doing any off-roading, so a minivan would be just fine for the routes that you are wanting to travel.

    The LA - Santa Cruz trip could be made in a single day - it would be nearly 400 miles, taking about 8 hours to do the trip.

    Getting to Yosemite would be best accomplished via CA-120. There aren't that many options to get there from San Francisco, and this is the most direct route.

    Getting to Death Valley from Yosemite can be done in a day; for the most part, the route is in a valley (hence the name) and should not be overly strenuous.

    Here are a few threads about the subject and the area in which you are travelling:
    San Fran - Yosemite - Death Valley - Vegas
    Another similar trip

    Here is an article about a trip between Vegas and San Francisco.

    This is a very frequent subject on this forum - if you use the search function, you are certain to find many, many more suggestions and ideas. Similar links will also be found at the bottom of the page.

  3. #3

    Default California coast

    Hello DissLondon,

    Just 7 weeks ago I enjoyed a trip including a full day's drive from the San Francisco Bay area (Belmont) down to Ventura, CA. We took US 101 to near Monterey, then the Coast Highway down to San Luis Obispo, then US 101 to Ventura.

    While it's certainly possible to transit the Coast Highway from LA to Santa Cruz in a day, you'd have little time to stop. The section from approximately Cambria on up to Monterey is very slow going due to tight curves and many steep grades. Traffic moves fairly slowly--it must--plus there are lots of vehicles entering and leaving the highway at scenic view turnouts.

    If I were planning a trip south to north along the California coast, starting in LA, I'd plan on at least a brief stop in Santa Barbara (to take in the wharf's food and shops and view), Morro Bay for look at the huge volcanic plug which towers 600' over the coastline, the elephant seal viewing area (there were a few there in early November when we drove through), and I'd double back the 5 miles or so from the elephant seal area and stop for the night at Cambria. Cambria features a section of the original Coast Highway which is now a quiet street separating the beach from quite a number of nice motels and restaurants. There's a wooden boardwalk alongside the street with steps going down to the beach, and there are normally surfers working the point break directly in front of this section. The motels are a tad pricey, but nice. The area is called Moonstone Beach, for the variously-colored chert pebbles which can be found there.

    The Hearst Castle, San Simeon, is only a few miles north of Cambria and many consider it a must-see. The tour, however, takes a couple of hours, I think. We didn't go there. From San Simeon, the Coast Highway enters its most difficult and slow stretch of some 90 miles to Monterey.

    As you approach Santa Cruz, you might want to stop in Capitola, just a few miles south of SC. Capitola has a very nice beachfront area with shopping, coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. The wharf up at SC is very neat, too, and there is a myriad of eats, drink, and shops out there, as well.

    So, adding an overnight along about either Cambria or in the Big Sur area would allow more time to stop, get out of the vehicle, and enjoy the spectacular coastline you'll be traveling on.

    Have fun planning your trip.


  4. Default

    Mass Tim / Foy

    Thanks for the advice - Definately some to take on board!

    Mass Tim, to answer your question the trip will be just over two weeks so it would seem that we aren't pushing things too far in terms of distances - Thanks for the advice.

    Thanks also for the links - Very useful.

    Currently looking for a car hire company to cover multiple drivers but information seems limited. Currently searching the "Gear Up" section of this site but nothing so far. Any one know something I don't?

    Thanks again.


  5. #5

    Default Multiple drivers


    In my somewhat limited experience, auto rental companies allow the spouse of the primary person to drive the vehicle without additional charge. They do require evidence of driver's license and will include his/her name in the rental contract paperwork. For non-spouse additional drivers, proof of license, as above, is required, as is an additional fee. I've seen is as simple as an additional $25 one-time charge, but it has been quite some time since I was involved with such a transaction.


  6. Default


    Thanks for the info - $25 sounds reasonable. It wouldn't be a spouce however just a couple of friends but I imagine it is quite a common question for the rental companies.



  7. #7


    Hi Darren
    I'm afraid to say I've been on rather more roadtrips in the US in the past few years than I could really afford. So getting the costs down has become something of an art for me. If it's any help the cheapest option on my last four trips has been booking with Airline Network. The crs are actually supplied through Dollar who are cheap anyway but the prices are even cheaper when booking through Airline Network. Other than the low price I really like how the prices include ALL cdw/ldw etc so there's no excess or deductible should you wreck the car or it gets stolen. Add their 'gold package' for a couple of quid extra and you get unlimited (named) drivers and a tank of gas to get you on your way.

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