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  1. Default California in 3 weeks starting from Vegas

    My family and I (2 boys aged 14 and 11) are planning a summer holiday (end July/august) starting from Vegas travelling California, back to Vegas to fly home. Have planned on staying 1 night in Vegas, then 1 night in Death Valley (Furness Creek seems an easy place to stop??) Then off to Lee Vining / Tioga Pass, then to Lake Tahoe. Now here comes the complicated bit as don't know whether to go on to Lassen volcanic NP - is it really worth the trek up there?? If it is I've planned on stopping in Redding afterwards and going along highway 299 before joining highway 101 south. Looking at travelling down to San Fran via coastal route 1, and staying in Pacifica 2 nights rather than venturing downtown in the car. Is the public transport good from Pacifica?? I would then like to journey on along route 1 down to Cambria and then make our way back to Vegas from there. We only want to spend 2 further nights in Vegas before going home. Thanks for reading this so far; if you have the time, I have lots of further questions!!

    Is 3 weeks long enough? I only plan to spend 1 or 2 nights at each stop off point.

    Is Lassen Park worth the visit or should we go on an alternative route?

    Is there a 'good' Redwood park worth stopping at, or are there plenty of Redwoods to see en-route?

    Any cheap attractions other than the obvious that I may have missed? We dont like arts, wine places or anything too 'posh'!!

    We like the scenic routes, the scarier the better!!

    What route should I take from Cambria to Vegas. Thought about stopping at Bakersfield and then at Barstow, or should we do the whole thing in one hit?

    Does anyone know of good value but nice hotel accommodation (we're on a tight budget), and any good value food places to stop at en-route??

    Oh, last but not least, my boys love good traditional souvenir shops - does anyone know of any good ones to stop at (sad I know, but it does break up the journey for them - and me!!)

    I would welcome any good advise (if you haven't fallen asleep reading this extra long post) we are not experienced travellers as you can probably guess. Thanks again for getting this far, and would love to hear from you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default all over

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    We've got hundreds of threads talking about travel in California, so I would start by looking at some of them.

    As far as Commuting in San Francisco goes, I would take a look at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) website and see what options you have starting from Pacifica.

    Redwood National Park would certainly be within your easy reach of your trip, but I don't know what else you mean by a "good" redwood park. Was there another one that you had in mind?

    This thread should give you some ideas about the motel chains you'll find in the US.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Those Pesky Details

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    In general, it looks like you've got a good trip planned, one that your boys, especially, should find very enjoyable. Even so, you're still sweating the details to make it even better. Brava! So, herewith, my comments for what they're worth.

    Furnace Creek is a great place to stay in Death Valley, but I would recommend that (even in the 'dead' of summer) you have reservations. The same certainly holds true for much of your trip, especially for those night when you want to stay near to a National Park or other popular tourist attraction.

    I don't quite understand your intentions at Tioga Pass. Do you plan to cross it to Yosemite, enjoy that park, and then recross it back to Lee Vining before continuing north? That's certainly doable, but be forewarned that it's a two lane road with minimal passing opportunities, and so can take considerably more time to drive than you may be anticipating.

    While in the Lake Tahoe, you should give serious consideration to a short side trip to Virginia City. Then, if you're going from this area to the coast by way of Redding, Lassen Volcanic National Park is right on the way and well worth a stop.

    For a good discussion of the best places to view the giant redwoods and sequoias, take a look at this thread.

    Public transport between Pacifica and San Francisco is provided by the San Mateo County Transportation Authority which offers express service. Once in San Francisco proper, local bus service is provided by MUNI, while subway service to the trans-Bay communities is offered by BART.

    Three weeks is plenty of time for this trip. You 'only' have to cover about 2000 miles (plus any side trips) so you need to keep up an average of just 100 miles per day.

    I am well known for pointing out the great, cheap-to-free, and often underutilized resources: state parks and national wildlife refuges.

    The route of choice between Cambria and Las Vegas is CA-46/CA-58/I-15, and while you're at it, here are a couple more low cost attractions along that route: Edwards Air Force Base, home of the 'Right Stuff', and Mojave National Preserve, as otherworldly a landscape as you're likely to find.

    I have no recommendations for specific cheap lodging opportunities other than the standard, nationally known low cost chains. As for food, you can certainly eat at the ubiquitous low cost fast food chains and 'family' restaurants, but for my money you'd do just as well by eating at local diners and cafés, and eating at least one meal a day as a picnic from a cooler you've stocked (cheaply) from the local supermarket.

    Finally, I don't think you'll have any trouble finding souvenir shops, and like you I hope you didn't fall asleep reading through the responses.


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