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  1. Default San Fran -> Las Vegas - > LA (April/May 08)

    Hello! This is my first post. I have read some of the other posts for similar trips, but thought I would post this anyway as there are some other points I have that I couldn't find answers to :-) I have been on a similar trip with my family when I was a young teenager so have a good idea of what's what, but I was much younger than and a lot of the specifics have escaped me!

    We are three 20-something guys from London, UK who are landing in San Francisco in mid April and Flying home to England from Los Angeles 2 weeks later. The flights are booked so that bit can't be changed...

    What we were aiming to do is drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, via Las Vegas and stopping at various other points along the way, e.g. Yosemite, Death Valley etc. We don't want to have too much of a plan as we want to have an element of randomness and spontaneity to the trip. But saying that, we know we need to have a rough idea of where we're going!

    Originally, I thought that we'd start by driving to Yosemite from San Fran and after a night in Yosemite move on to Death Valley, but I have read several posts about this not being that straightfirward due to the road (Tioga Pass?) being closed at the time we go. My brother did a similar trip in 2005 and said he has to drive north all the way north to Lake Tahoe before going south to Death Valley. Is this right? Looking at a map it seems to be a very long way round.

    Also, we know only three definite destinations. San Fran (beginning), Las Vegas (middle) and Los Angeles (end). We know we only want to be in San Fran a maximum of 2 nights, Las Vegas for 3/4 (depending on whether wego to the Canyon or not) and enough time in LA to visit most of the area (Bev. Hills, Hollyuwood, Malibu, Santa Monica etc etc). Everything else in between these stops we want to make up as we go. We'd like to visit smaller towns for over night stays and stop-offs, to see a bit of "real america" and not just the commerialised side of things.

    On top of that, if anyone has any suggestions for things we should see or do, or any comments or suggestions on our suggested route, then please reply to this post of email me as we'd be interested to hear ideas and suggestions from local folk! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Gosh, this IS a popular trip!

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums!

    No, you don't have to go north through Tahoe. You can go south instead. From Yosemite, take Hwy 41 to Fresno CA; then 99 south to Bakersfield CA; then 58 (the Bakersfield-Tehachapi Hwy) east until it merges with Hwy 14, then 14 north. It will merge with 395 north. Take it until you get to 190 and then take that east into Death Valley. This is about 432 miles.

    I really think that reading all the threads about this trip will give you all the ideas you need for what to see and do along the way. AZBuck has compiled a list of helpful discussions about the areas you're planning to visit here. Happy reading and planning!

  3. Default San Fran->LA via Vegas (April 2008)

    Hello all, myself and 3 friends are travelling to the West Coast in late April this year. We are landing at San Francisco on the 21st and flying home to London from Los Angeles 2 weeks later. I have done a similar trip with my parents many years ago when I was a child, so I have a basic understanding of what's what and where's where, though it was a long time ago!

    Our original plan was to go San Fran->Yosemite->Death Valley->Las Vegas->Los Angeles.

    However, whilst doing research for the trip I discovered the "Tioga Pass"... which will 99.9% be closed when we go, meangin the Yosemite-> Death Valley section needs altering. After some more research (Google Maps mainly!), I reckon we can add Lake Tahoe into our trip between Yosemite and Death Valley. The driving times look OK to me and Lake Tahoe looks like a nice place to visit anyway from what I have seen. This is my new "rough" plan for the trip, if anyone can confirm that this is realistic and do-able, I will be very grateful. It's only a rough plan, we may stay longer in some places than others, or stop off at other random places on the way, but this is the general idea:

    Day 1: Land San Fran
    Day 2: Spend all day in San Fran
    Day 3: Early morning drive San Fran to Yosemite, spend all day at Yosemite then evening drive to Lake Tahoe (Route 88). Overnight stay at Lake Tahoe.
    Day 4: Spend day at Lake Tahoe then drive down towards Death Valley late afternoon (Route 395). Probably stay overnight at somewhere like Lee Vining/Mono Lake/Lone Pine, or other small town on the way down.
    Day 5: Drive to Vegas via Death Valley.
    Day 6: Vegas
    Day 7: Vegas
    Day 8: Drive towards Los Angeles, stopping along the way at wherever takes our fancy (Interstate 15?).
    Days 9-14: Los Angeles and surrounding area eg Santa Monica, Malibu etc etc).
    Day 14: Fly home from LAX.

    I realise it looks like we're cramming a lot into the first section, ideally I would have liked to stay overnight at Yosemite AND at Lake Tahoe, but as a group we think it's better to time the trip so we are in Las Vegas over the weekend rather than during the week. Day 1 is a monday, so this kind of works. This also leaves quite a few days to explore LA, which I understand is a sprawling city. Hopefully we'll have enough time to do Hollywood/Bev Hills, Santa Monica, Malibu etc over those last few days. Day 3 seems like a lot of driving (San Fran to Yosemite and then to Lake Tahoe the same day) - we could always stay at Yosemite and skip the overnight stay at Tahoe, but that would mean an equally big drive on Day 4 if we stick to our goal of arriving in Vegas on the Friday.

    I welcome any opinions and suggestions on this "plan"..... there are three of us driving so we can do shifts on the long stretches. According to the hire company, we're getting a Jeep Grand Cherokee, so should be a pretty comfrotable trip (I hope!). Nothing is set in stone, if we're having a good time we might stay on at some places. If anyone knows any good stopover spots, that would be good too, especially for the vegas->LA stretch!

    Thanks in advance for any sugegstions or tips!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default my preferences

    I think you're trying to do way to much on day 3. The miles might look ok, but you'd be looking at 9 hours on the road. That would only leave you a couple hours to see Yosemite.

    It looks like you've got plenty of time for your other elements, and if you needed to lose a day in LA, it wouldn't hurt you much. Given the options you've laid out, there is no way that I personally would limit my time in Yosemite just so I could be in Vegas on a weekend.

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