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    My girlfriend an I are planning a three-week vacation in USA. The plan so far is to fly from Copenhagen, Denmark june 24th and arrive in New York around midday local time the same day. We're going to spend 4 days there. June 29th we're taking an early domestic flight to San Francisco, where we'll rent a car and take a trip thorugh the west coast states for two weeks. I have assembled the trip mainly from other threads on this website and used Google earth to find distances, driving times and locations we might visit. It goes as follows:

    June 29th: (200 mi/322 km, 4 hours driving)
    Arrive at SFO 10.20 AM and rent a car. Drive directly to Virginia City by South Lake Tahoe and spend the night.

    June 30th: (185 mi/298 km, 6 hours driving)
    Head for Yosemite. Visit Bodie and spend some hours. Go to Yosemite and spend the night.

    July 1st (95 mi/153 km, 2 hours 15 min driving)
    Spend the day in Yosemite. Drive to Fresno and stay overnight.

    July 2nd (154 mi/248 km, 5 hours 15 min driving)
    Drive from Fresno to King’s Canyon og Sequia national park (55 mi, 1 hours 45 min) Drive through Springville (72 mi, 2 hours 30 min) to Mountain top Bed and breakfast and spend the night (27 mi, 1 hour)

    July 3rd (Option 1: 340 mi/547 km, 9 hours 45 min driving OR option 2: 349 mi/562 km, 8 hours driving)

    Option 1:
    Wake up VERY early and drive through the Sherman Pass Road to Pearsonville on US-395, where we will probably want to tank the car. (88 mi, 3 hours) Head north on the CA-190 drive over the Panamint mountains to Death Valley (122 mi, 3 hours 30 min). Arrive in Las Vegas late and find a place to stay.

    Option 2:
    Also drive though Sherman Pass Road (88 mi, 3 hours), but instead enter Death Valley driving south on US-395 to save some time. Go on to Las Vegas and overnight. (261 mi, 6 hours 45 min)

    July 4th
    Spend the day in Las Vegas and experience 4th of July here.

    July 5th (287 mi/462 km, 6 hours driving)
    Go to Grand Canyon and spend the night. Stop at Hoover Dam.

    July 6th (230 mi/370 km, 4 hours 45 min driving)
    Spend the morning in Grand Canyon and drive through Sedona to Phoenix. Overnight here.

    July 7th (266 mi/428 km, 5 hours driving)
    drive to Twentynine Palms and see Joshua Tree National Park. Sleep at the 29 Palms Inn

    July 8th (143 mi/230 km, 3 hours driving)
    Go on to Los Angeles and see Palm Springs on the way there. We haven't quite planned what to do in LA yet.

    July 9th (141 mi/226 km, 2 hours 45 min driving)
    Spend most of the day in LA. Drive to Solvang in the evening and spend the night. (this is probably only interesting for slightly homesick Danes as it is a Danish themed town)

    July 10th (339 mi/545 km, 6 hours 15 min driving)
    Spend the morning in Solvang. Drive along the Pacific shore to Prismo beach (55 mi, 1 hour 15 min). Go on to Cambria (43 mi, 1 hour 15 min) and arrive at Carmel-by-the-sea (99 mi, 3 hours). Drive up to Monetery and overnight (5 mi, 15 min)

    July 11th (125 mi/201 km, 4 hours driving)
    Continue to follow the coastline to Santa Cruz (43 mi, 1 hour 30 min) and on to Pigeon Point Light Station (28 mi, 1 hour). Arrive in San Francisco and be sure to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. (54 mi, 1 hour 30 min) Get rid of the car.

    From here on we'll spend some days in San Francisco and take a domestic flight back to New York and Denmark on July 17th. (this is much cheaper that buying a plane ticket directly home from San Francisco)

    what do you think of my plan of driving directly from San Francisco Airport to Lake Tahoe? Is it unrealistic after a flight from New York. I mean, the drive isn't that long and we will arrive rather early. But is there some jetlag or other things to take into consideration?

    What about the distances and driving times I found on Google Earth. Do they match with Actual Earth? If not, which distances and/or driving times are longer/shorter?

    Like so many others on this forum I am a bit confused about the way from Yosemite to Death Valley. What do you think about beginning close to the Great Sequoia National Monument and driving through Sherman Pass Road and Death Valley to Las Vegas on the same day? Is it unrealistic and what will I miss out on by doing it?

    Which one of my 2 options for entering Death Valley would you choose? Which one is the most fun? And why?

    What do you Americans actually do on 4th of July? And will there be any extraordinary things going on in Las Vegas that day?
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-22-2008 at 08:03 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Looking Good

    Velkommen! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Looks like a well thought out plan, so I'll just offer my thoughts on your specific questions:

    1) Makes sense to me. It's less than 200 miles and jet lag is not that big a problem when travelling from east to west. You arrive at a good time (10:30 local, only 1:30 New York time) and should miss rush hours in both the Bay Area and in Sacramento.

    2) Distances are accurate, but times tend to be a bit optimistic because they assume you can always drive at the speed limit (no traffic) and that you'll never need to stop (for gas, food, or anything else).

    3&4) Probably the best road between Yosemite and Death Valley is CA-120 east through Yosemite Park and over Tioga Pass to the town of Lee Vining, then take US-395 south to Lone Pine and CA-136/CA-190 east into Death Valley. This would leave out Giant Sequoia National Park, but you may not be able to do everything. Tioga Pass is stunning and US-395 is a great scenic road. I think you'd get more out of going this way than going so far out of your way to see the trees.

    5) The traditional celebrations include parades with lots of red white and blue, costumes, kids, fire trucks, etc.; and fireworks in the evening. If you can spend the day of the fourth in a small town, rather than Las Vegas and catch the local parade, then come back to the city for the fireworks. You should be able to find flyers on what is scheduled where as you drive along, or check with local visitor's bureaus.


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