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Old 04-08-17, 08:07 PM   #1
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Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

So I am heading to Vegas with the family at the end of July and looking at doing a road trip across to San Francisco. I was planning on taking in LA for a day or two, but time restrictions maybe putting an end to that. So my rough plan at tre moment is Vegas for a couple of days, then heading towards Death Valley, maybe stop for a day in either Sequioa or Kings Canyon. The driving on to Yosemite and a couple of days there. Then on to maybe Monterey, as we want to drive Big Sur, LA for a day or two if time permits, if not then head north to San Francisco for a few days.

So any advice for the drive, best routes to take for scenery, good places to check en route or places to avoid. Been to Vegas before, but everything west of that will be new to me. Looking forward to Yosemite more than anything.
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Old 04-08-17, 08:45 PM   #2
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

We did almost exactly that for our honeymoon, just in the opposite direction. It was wonderful, have fun! San Francisco to Santa Cruz, to Fresno, the. Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequioia, Death Valley, Las Vegas. We loved them all, each is recommended. I'll see if I can look up hotel names, we liked a little bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 04-08-17, 09:05 PM   #3
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

you can grab a room at the Madonna Inn in SLO
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Old 04-09-17, 01:01 AM   #4
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

Make your wallet happy by watching this video of the Madonna Inn instead of getting a room:



But you can always check out the waterfall urinal in the men's room for free:

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Old 04-10-17, 11:21 AM   #5
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

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Originally Posted by story View Post
We did almost exactly that for our honeymoon, just in the opposite direction. It was wonderful, have fun! San Francisco to Santa Cruz, to Fresno, the. Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequioia, Death Valley, Las Vegas. We loved them all, each is recommended. I'll see if I can look up hotel names, we liked a little bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere.
Please do. Well it's gonna be a busy trip as my wife can only get 10 days from work, and 2 of those wil be flying in and out. I have been to Vegas before, so only spend a brief amount of time there. Drive Death Calkey, stop for a day or two at Yosemite, then drive down and try hitting the lower part of Big Sur, drive up and stay a night at maybe Santa Cruz or Carmel, then drive on to San Francisco for a few days. It's gonna be tight and busy, but will hopefully see a lot. We did a lot of driving at Christmas when we visited her family in Kissimmee and drove to Atlanta, then St Lois and three back (18 hours journey with only one real stop along the way). So glad I won't have anything as intense as that this time.

I usually book hotels before I fly, but winging it this time. So maybe places to stop in the US that sure it won't be a problem. Only place I am considering is Yosemite as would prefer to stay in the park. Maybe Vegas also for the night we arrive.
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Old 04-10-17, 11:48 AM   #6
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

James - one hiccup for the plan is the fact that there's a bridge out on HWY1 around Big Sur

http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/a...e-10958200.php

Looks like its going to be at best 6 months.

So you actually can't drive past Big Sur. Happened in Feb, bridge demo'd in March. It's got to be a major blow to tourism and thus jobs in the area


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Old 04-10-17, 06:01 PM   #7
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

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Originally Posted by TomOpus View Post
Make your wallet happy by watching this video of the Madonna Inn instead of getting a room:



But you can always check out the waterfall urinal in the men's room for free:

Make your wallet happy and just google pictures of places you have planned on going to instead of actually making the trip
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Old 04-11-17, 11:09 AM   #8
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

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James - one hiccup for the plan is the fact that there's a bridge out on HWY1 around Big Sur

http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/a...e-10958200.php

Looks like its going to be at best 6 months.

So you actually can't drive past Big Sur. Happened in Feb, bridge demo'd in March. It's got to be a major blow to tourism and thus jobs in the area
Cheers for the info. Well I will have to keep my eyes on hat. Heading out at the end of July, so slight possibility it might be up by then. But if not then it will help free up some time for the rest of the trip. So always a bright side. Could do Big Sur another time.
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Old 04-11-17, 04:34 PM   #9
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

Accommodations inside Yosemite will be hard to find this close to arrival. You typically have to book a year in advance.
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Old 04-15-17, 07:30 PM   #10
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

Yeah, I am thinking to stay somewhere outside the park, as prices are gonna be high for any availability in the park. Actually looked at changing the route and starting San Francisco and driving to Vegas. Think it will work out better. It seems that Highway 120 is closed May to October, so will have to head south and around to Death Valley. Probably work out better as 120 looks like a whole lot of driving and only seeing trees each side of the road.

Any suggestions for good routes Yosemite to Vegas via Death Valley?
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Old 04-15-17, 09:50 PM   #11
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

Tioga Pass, the 120, will be closed a long time due to heavy winter. With that shut down you have to either go north to Lake Tahoe area or way south if you want to get across the Sierras.

Last edited by Mabuse; 04-27-17 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 04-16-17, 07:13 PM   #12
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

Yeah looking at it again it might be a smarter move to head north. Going south seems to make us miss a good option of Death Valley. I will check how scenic each route is and sites to see along the way. Amazing that there are so few ways through the Sierras.
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Old 04-17-17, 09:32 AM   #13
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

Are you now going SF to LV? Definitely go north through Tahoe to Reno and take the 395 south. Along 395 there are several turnoffs that lead to Death Valley. The 395 goes through the Owens Valley and is incredibly harsh and scenic. Volcanos, tallest mountain in the country, etc. I was just there yesterday. Heavy winter has made it greener than I've ever seen it. Wildflowers everywhere. That will be gone in July but it's still a great drive.

If you like movies you MUST go to the film museum in Line Pine. Hollywood has been making films in the valley for 100 years and this place has everything.

Manzanar, the Japanese internment camp is nearby. That is now greatly restored and worth a visit.

The road out of there toward Death Valley is where the back cover of The Joshua Tree album was photographed. That's the kind of landscape we're talking about. Untouched by man.
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Old 04-17-17, 09:37 AM   #14
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

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Make your wallet happy and just google pictures of places you have planned on going to instead of actually making the trip
Yeah, it's great to use other people's memories instead of making your own. I understand you're user name now.
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Old 04-17-17, 10:58 AM   #15
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

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Are you now going SF to LV?
Yeah i decided to switch it around. I get the feeling driving into Yosemite from the West side might give more options and flight itineraries seem to be easy starting at San Francisco. Also, we are hiring car in SF and dropping it off in Vegas, so for the few days we are in SF i doubt we will be needing a car and it will save us a little money on a few days without a car rental bill.

Thanks for the advice. North it will be then. Never been anywhere west of Vegas before, so trying to give myself a good heads up on routes, whats around worth stopping and checking out and general tips for making sure that we encounter as few problems on the way as possible. I am gonna try booking park tickets and any general tickets online well in advance to save us those hassles on the day. Probably check out accomodation for SF in advance and same for Yosemite, but Vegas is spoilt for choice and wont have a problem there.

A question. How long does it take to drive Death Valley? 3 hours? Also, any tips on driving it? Fuel stops, places to stop en route, things to avoid doing (other than the obvious).
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Old 04-17-17, 04:42 PM   #16
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

We used to have a park ranger at Death Valley who posted here. Went by the name of Ravenous.

Two Yosemite tips. The Yosemite Valley is spectacular and not to be missed, but it gets crowded as fuck. Two other places in the park are often overlooked:

-The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. This has been closed for several years for restoration and is supposed to reopen very soon. You could be among the first to see it.

-Tuolumne Meadows. This is real high country. Only accessible in summer. Meadows, flowers, fishing, lakes, granite peaks. Spectacular scenery. Nothing like the Valley.

Last edited by Mabuse; 04-17-17 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 04-17-17, 04:43 PM   #17
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

Also, in SF make sure you do the Walt Disney museum. Amazing.
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Old 04-17-17, 05:04 PM   #18
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

I have never been to Death Valley, but I know it by reputation. Scotty's Castle is a poplar spot, it's some kind of weird mansion built by some eccentric. Zabrisky Point is famously scenic. There's a great video online about Death Valley and the original Star Wars. A great deal of small shots were filmed in Death Valley. There's a place i really want to go one day called the Race Track. It's where the rocks move all by themselves yet no one has ever seen it happen. I think you have to drive off road on dirt for at least an hour to get to. Very remote.
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Old 04-17-17, 05:05 PM   #19
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip


If you want to go to Random and Weird places in California, study this guy's videos.
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Old 04-17-17, 05:07 PM   #20
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

In my opinion, if you are going to Yosemite, then save Sequoia for another trip. It's cool, and I've been there many times, but once you've seen Yosemite, especially if you go to the Mariposa Grove and/or Tuolumne Meadows, you'll be natured out.
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Old 04-17-17, 11:29 PM   #21
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
We used to have a park ranger at Death Valley who posted here. Went by the name of Ravenous.

Two Yosemite tips. The Yosemite Valley is spectacular and not to be missed, but it gets crowded as fuck. Two other places in the park are often overlooked:

-The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. This has been closed for several years for restoration and is supposed to reopen very soon. You could be among the first to see it.

-Tuolumne Meadows. This is real high country. Only accessible in summer. Meadows, flowers, fishing, lakes, granite peaks. Spectacular scenery. Nothing like the Valley.


He's still on the forums. He's in the vinyl thread a lot.
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Old 04-18-17, 05:32 AM   #22
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

I will send him a private message.

And sorry to say it Blu, but seems like our chances of getting to LA are maybe shot, and our meet up will maybe have to be another time. I am meeting two mates from the U.K. who are traveling across the pond to meet us and we have all been discussing routes and where we all want to go. As some of the routes we planned on taking are closed it's making us seriously re-assess. We have a pretty tight schedule, so SoCal will have to wait for next year. Might be for the best as then we can have more time, maybe do Comic Con and see San Diego as well.
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Old 04-19-17, 01:52 AM   #23
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

Okay, so I went through some old documents and found our honeymoon itinerary:

Thu/Fri/Sat - San Francisco (touristy stuff, Fort Point, Golden Gate, Fisherman's Wharf, Aquarium, Alcatraz)
Sun - Santa Cruz (stayed with friends)
Mon - Drive to Yosemite National Park, Sierra National Forest, drive to Fresno, hotel
Tue - Drive to Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Forest, stayed at Paradise Cove Lodge on Lake Isabella
Wed - Drive to Death Valley National Park, drive to Las Vegas, hotel (Hilton)
Thu/Fri/Sat - Las Vegas
Sun - Fly home

You're going to want to fill up whenever you can. Some of those roads are real winders and you have to keep braking so your gas mileage is terrible, plus gas stations can get few and far between sometimes. Always do your best to just keep the tank topped off. Trust me on this one, especially late at night on twisting, winding roads with nothing for miles ahead of you.

Also, Death Valley is hot. It was 116 in the shade when we were there. We brought a small cooler with both water and a bottle of pedialite to replenish our electrolites and that really worked for us.

The EconoLodge in Fresno was cheap, just a place to sleep. San Francisco and Santa Cruz were with friends so no help there. We liked the Hilton a lot in Vegas, it was that last year of the Star Trek stuff. It was on the end of the strip and there was plenty of free parking in their ramp and it was easy to get wherever we wanted. Paradise Cove Lodge was fine, a quaint little spot in the middle of nowhere. Okay rooms, but a great view.

Overall, we didn't really give any of those parks the time and attention they deserve but we knew we weren't going to make it out that way any time soon (still haven't been back out, at this was nine years ago) so we went to as many as we could. All of them were great, though.

Good luck!
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Old 04-19-17, 09:50 AM   #24
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

Much appreciated mate. Thats giving me a clearer picture on how to go about this. I have re-thought it and have an agenda that looks like this:

Day 1 - Fly into SF
Day 2/3/4 - SF
Day 5/6 - Drive to Yosemite and try finding accommodation within a 1 hour drive of the park.
Day 7 - Sequoia - Stay overnight maybe somewhere like Paradise Cove en route.
Day 8 - Death Valley and hit Las Vegas
Day 9 - Vegas
Day 10 - Grand Canyon
Day 11 - Fly Out

I think the group may decide to lose a day in San Francisco and tag one on to somewhere else along the way. My wife and step daughter will be happy to check out the city, but my two friends from the UK will be itching to get to the National Parks. For me, i wish the wife had more flexibility with her vacation time as i could have (and would have) done this trip over maybe 3 weeks instead of a truncated time frame. Oh well, next time.
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Old 04-19-17, 10:03 AM   #25
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Re: Las Vegas to San Francisco Road Trip

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Originally Posted by james2025a View Post
I will send him a private message.

And sorry to say it Blu, but seems like our chances of getting to LA are maybe shot, and our meet up will maybe have to be another time. I am meeting two mates from the U.K. who are traveling across the pond to meet us and we have all been discussing routes and where we all want to go. As some of the routes we planned on taking are closed it's making us seriously re-assess. We have a pretty tight schedule, so SoCal will have to wait for next year. Might be for the best as then we can have more time, maybe do Comic Con and see San Diego as well.


No worries, mate.
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