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Route from CA coast to/from Yosemite

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Hi everyone -

We are flying to SFO in mid-August and, after a very brief stop in San Francisco (we have been there many times already) heading to Yosemite for three days. After that, it is back to the coast to Monterey, from which we will head south. (Either coming or going, we want to hit San Jose for the Winchester Mystery House - has long been on my son's list of things to do.)

I am having a hard time figuring out the "best" way to get inland and back. Nothing seems to be quick, nor do any of the routes go through places I have heard much about. We would be interested in seeing ghost towns/gold country if that can be done easily. Stopping at a vineyard could also be an option to break up the trip, but again, nothing is jumping out just looking at the maps.

I am assuming it would be 4 - 5 hours each way assuming we don't stop for sightseeing. If there is one route that is more scenic and one that is faster/easier, we could do a different route from SF than we do returing to Monterey. We plan to stay at the Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite for three nights, but if there is someplace on the way that looks good, we could do that the first night instead.

We are two adults and a 9 year old, seasoned travelers, interested in outdoors, scenery, history, whatever (mainly interested in making this long drive interesting!)

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

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