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  1. #1

    Default LA-SF-vegas-LA, End of Feb road trip planning

    Hi All,

    Myself and the Mrs are currently planning a trip for the end of February. It's Tuesday-Friday, 10 days.

    Having bought a map of the area, and mooching around the internet, here's what we've got so far:

    Fly into LA on Tuesday 16th, Pick up the car (some SUV thing)

    Next job is visit San Francisco, where Kate's aunty lives. Stay there until Sunday 21st. So we have Tuesday to Friday to drive up CA-1 and take in some sights etc.

    Leave SF on Sunday and head to Yosemite, then Vegas. If there's time then over to Grand Canyon, then back to LA for the flight back on Friday.

    It's 1500 miles without the grand canyon, or about 1900 with, so we'll decide on that when the time comes.

    So basically, I wonder if anyone can help me on some points:
    - are we likely to encounter snow, mild weather or hot weather at various points?
    - are there any rare events/festivals etc happening in the area while we're there? It'd be good to see some bands while we're there, especially ska/punk/reggae etc
    - If we were to try camping instead of hotels and motels, are there likely to be plenty of sites on this loop or are they only in certain places?

    Oh by the way we're English, in case that makes any difference :)

    Jon & Kate

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

    Default elevation

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your basic outline looks solid, and I'll mention that this is the most popular topic on the forum, so you'll find tons of information just by looking around.

    In answer to your questions: There are portions of your trip at an elevation where snow is likely. The Yosemite Valley, for example, will be covered in a blanket of snow at this time of year, and of course, Tioga Pass will be closed. Its still a nice time to visit the area, but it is winter.

    The Grand Canyon is also at elevation, and snow is quite possible there as well.

    The rest of your trip should be comfortably cool, and it would be very unlikely that you'll be hot at any point.

    Typically there aren't many music festivals in winter, but in LA and Vegas you should have no problem finding a good club with the music that suits your taste.

    Camping will be a little tricky, in large part because of the weather. The trip along the coast will likely be your best bet for decent conditions. I would expect some pretty cold nights elsewhere along your trip, so I'd want some good 3/4 season gear.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the info Mike

    Yeah I have read elsewhere that the Yosemite road will be closed, so we're now planning to bypass that to the south and head through Death Valley instead.

    I think we might give camping a miss too, although we might pick up some cheap sleeping bags just in case we get caught out (I presume that, like here, you can go to a supermarket and buy some for next to nothing?)

    I was also wondering about mobiles & GPS: Again, here you can buy a mobile prepaid with some credit for about £20 ($30), and a GPS for about £50($80), am I right in thinking they are similarly cheap in the US?

    To add GPS to the car hire for 10 days was over $100, so I figured it'd be cheaper to just buy one!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Differences Here

    You won't find sleeping bags (or much in the way of camping equipment) if you ask for a supermarket here. Supermarkets are pretty much about food (and alcohol and drugs and...) not outdoor gear. What you want is a discount or 'Big Box' store such as Target or Walmart. You should be able to find a pretty basic bag for $15-30 (£10-20). Such stores will also carry simple Go-Phones from AT&T for $20-40.and basic GPS models starting around $100.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Yosemite.

    I would consider waiting to see what the weather is doing rather than dismissing Yosemite. Yes the high ground will be closed but if the roads are clear into the Valley it is spectacular and worthy of an overnight stop before heading South.

    If you have a Sat Nav or think one might be worthwhile for home use, you could purchase one here in the UK and order a map of the USA. I am not sure of prices but I was bought a Tom Tom one [UK and IRE] as a present and purchased and downloaded the USA map on line. It was a good tool to locate addresses, such as Hotel and restaurant and to keep you on the right track, but make your paper maps the main source of routing to make sure you don't miss out on any "treasures"/scenic drives along the way.

    With most newer phones you can switch your UK phone to operate in the US [I think they do it automatically on most] but you would have to check with your provider about charges and then against how often you might be using it to see if it's more economical to buy one over there or take your own.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 01-13-2010 at 10:37 AM. Reason: Added info

  6. #6


    thanks for the tips again guys.

    Dave, regarding Yosemite I think you're on to something- I guess it's clearly indicated if the roads are impassible so it's a case of turn back at the sign, rather than turn back when you get stuck...

    Buck, that's kind of what I had in mind by supermarket- a massive great cube selling all sorts.

    And don't worry, paper map will always be the first option!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Using a UK phone in the US isn't quite that simple - we only have 2 major GSM carriers here - AT&T and T-Mobile, and T-Mobile does not have good coverage away from cities and major Interstate highways. The others are CDMA/TDMA and do not use SIM cards. A prepaid throwaway may be a better option, but calling back to the UK will burn up the credits real fast.

    A good option for calling back home is a laptop and Skype. Public wifi is not difficult to find here.

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