Hi there --
My name is Chris, I am from London, and I will be visiting SoCal in a couple of weeks (arriving on the 12th August...). With my father, his friend and a good friend of mine from NY, I will be renting a condo in Oceanside, CA.

I was just wondering if anyone from around that sort of area - or with some experience of it - could possibly help me out with the planning side of things; I'm trying to find out what sort of driving distances and times that we'll be looking at from our base in Oceanside to particular locations:

One quite prominent entry on our agenda is Los Angeles. I have been reading up on it pretty extensively, and I think primarily we'll be wanting to see the predictable touristy stuff (lol), so...Sunset Blvd...Melrose Ave... Hollywood...Beverly Hills...Santa Monica...Venice Beach...and anything else of that type of stuff that is a must see in the City of Angels.
Depending on how quickly we cover all of that, I myself am also quite interested in seeing what some "the Valley" is like, such as...umm...I think...Burbank(?), Van Nuys(?) and Glendale(?), if they're worth it.
I've heard rush hour in Los Angeles is a nightmare, so we'll do our best to avoid those special times in the AM and PM. It's pretty likely that we'll make day trips out of our sporadic visits to LA, in order to fit in as much sight-seeing/shopping/anything else as possible. And so if we try and avoid the roads at particularly congested times, what sort of journey time are we looking at from Oceanside to any of the afore-mentioned? Someone told me to expect over 2 hours (in one direction - Oceanside to LA). Does that sound right to any Californians reading this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

San Diego is obviously where we'll try to spend a little more time; How long from Oceanside to...say...Downtown Diego? In fact, I think I've read up more on Los Angeles than San Diego, as I'm not really sure what else to ask about! ...I heard there's one of the few remaining drive-in movie theaters in a place called Chula Vista, which is apparently a little south of the San Diego area. Again, any help here would be welcomed!

Towards the end of our vacation we'll be taking a domestic flight into Vegas for a few days, after which we hope to return to Oceanside by a one-way-rental car (yes, through the desert!). Does that sound like a good idea for August? We will of course stock up on plenty of water for that particular journey, but I was hoping one kind person out there would tell me how long (ideally) the drive is from Vegas to Oceanside. Stopping over in LA - or anywhere else recommended - for the night is an option if we're looking at a very long journey here. Would it be better/safer to leave Sin City mid/late afternoon/early evening, as opposed to baking ourselves in a car in the middle of the day? Should we make brief visits to Death Valley and anything else along the way of interest? I'd be very grateful for any valuable advice on this mini road trip!

So, there are my thoughts...
Thank you very, very much for your time, and any available help with any of my enquiries would be gladly accepted,