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Anti-clockwise from San Francisco to San Francisco

Anti-clockwise from San Francisco to San Francisco

May 30th, 2003, 01:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 31
Anti-clockwise from San Francisco to San Francisco

We're four Brits, (two couples), driving from early June thus:
* San Francisco (3 nights)
* Monterey (1)
* Fresno (1) via coastal route
* Mariposa - for Yosemite (2)
* Bridgeport (1) - if Tioga Pass is open - fingers crossed
* Lake Tahoe (3)
* Healdsburg (5) - to chill out before going home
* San Francisco for flight home
I'm most concerned about doing justice to the coast road between Monterey and Fresno in one day. Is his feasible with stops for photography, dining and other incidental asides? Should I be concerned about any other hops? Fellow travellers' help gratefully received - it all starts next week!
Driver is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 07:10 AM
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I'm going to assume that your trip from Monterey to Fresno by the coastal route means you are driving down Highway 1 to Cambria or so, and then over to Fresno.

Believe me, once you leave the coast, there is nothing to photograph, site see or dine. Why don't you skip Fresno and make it to Mariposa? It's a long, hot and ugly drive from say Paso Robles to Fresno. Ugly.

Curious is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 08:33 AM
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I would advise you to spend more time on the coast although it might be quite overcast in June.(will remind you of home) No reason to stop in Fresno. I am also 99.9% certain that Tioga pass is open now. I would also say that 5 days is too long in Napa. Three nights in Lake Tahoe may also be too much unless you really like gambling or hiking. Maybe add a last leg to Mendocino, than to SFO? Hearst castle, and Santa Barbara
may also be interesting additions.
mjs is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 08:42 AM
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I remember making that drive east from Paso Robles one time years ago, with relatives from Germany along. So the one guy goes "Stop! Stop! I want to take a picture." So dad says "why, there's nothing here." And the response "yes, but in Germany we don't have so much 'nothing'".

The road from Monterey to Cambria is very scenic, but slow; allow 3-4 hours to enjoy it. From Cambria it is probably 3 hours to Fresno, or 4 hours to Mariposa. Fresno is not a place I'd choose for overnight; parts of it have gang and crime problems, and the rest isn't very interesting.
curmudgeon is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 09:05 AM
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definitely skip Fresno. Not a place to overnight on a vacation. Either add a night on the coast (my choice) or add a night at Mariposa.

I disagree with mjs about 3 days being too long at Tahoe. There is so much to see and do, plus the scenery is magnificent. And this year with all the late snow we've had the surrounding mountains will be a glorious white backdrop. Besides the obvious casino breaks, you could take a paddle wheeler across the lake, visit Virginia City and/or reno, hike anywhere, take a fishing trip on the lake, visit Sand Harbor which is the absolutely most gorgeous place in the basin, take the gondola up to the top of Heavenly Valley for incredible views, and visit hot springs either in Nevada or just south of Tahoe in Alpine county.

It is true 5 days might usually be too long for Healdsburg - but for the final few days before you leave it is a good idea. there is a lot to see - the Sonoma Coast is unbelievably beautiful - plus wineries, nice scenery, day spas, redwoods, and lots of time to relax.

(I just knew you were from the UK before opening your thread. I lived in England for several years and "anti-clockwise" crept in to my volcabulary and I can't get rid of it. Here we usually say counter-clockwise)
janis is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 09:07 AM
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I'd spend an extra night in Monterey, switch the night in Fresno for Cambria or Morro Bay (this will give you maximum time along the coast), then drive straight through to Mariposa. I checked on Yahoo maps and it looks like Cambria to Mariposa should be a 4-5 hour drive. That's definitely doable in 1 day.

I think 3 nights in Lake Tahoe is fine - that will give you 2 full days to explore the area. I don't gamble and I only hike a little bit, but I could spend a week there.

I agree with mjs that 5 nights in Healdsburg seems like too much time. I'd opt for spending some time exploring the north coast as well.
J_Correa is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 10:11 AM
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Tioga pass is slated to open on 31st May.See link for the most up to date info.
Lovejoy is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 11:38 AM
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It's the gateway to the sierras, but that's the only good thing about it.

I like the idea of a night down in Cambria. That sounds good.

Healdsburg makes a good base camp for visiting Wine Country AND as a jumping off point for visiting other places in Northern California. You are much closer to bigger stands of Big Trees and to places like Mendocino.
BayArea is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 12:48 PM
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I agree with the others about skipping Fresno, unless you have a specific reason you wanted to go there. From SF to Monterey the best route would be the scenic 280 to 17 then Highway 1. On the way to Monterey, I would add a night in San Jose. SJ is close to Big Basin Park, which is one of the best places to see the redwoods. In SJ the Tech and Rosicrucian Egyptian Museums, along with the Winchester Mystery House are nice to see. In the Monterey area I'd recommend the Aquarium, 17 Mile Drive, and Point Lobos south of Carmel. The coastal drive from Monterey to Big Sur along Highway 1 is spectacular. If you have time, Hearst Castle is amazing. Do make reservations.


Marny is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 12:56 PM
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Another skip Fresno and stay on the coast at Cambria recommendation. I guarantee that you will not regret doing so, take it from an ex pat Brit you will not see much in the world like Big Sur and you will want to take your time. If you stay in Cambria you can stop at places like Point Lobos, just south of Carmel and other spectacular places.
SAB is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 01:03 PM
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No offense Marny but recommending an Egyptian museum to Brits is kind of like taking coals to Newcastle. The BM has one of the most extensive Egyptian collections in the world. In fact, I rarely recommend any Bay Area museums to my friends and family from the UK because they have some magnificant museums at their disposal.
SAB is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 01:27 PM
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Definitely skip Fresno. I also agree that spending a night in San Jose is worthwhile, as there is a lot to see in the city and surrounding area. In addiiton to the places already mentioned in SJ to visit, I'd also add the SJ Museum of Art and the Japanese Gardens in Kelley Park. There are plenty of great restaurants, museums, theaters, etc. in the downtown area.

As others have suggested, Point Lobos and Big Sur are very beautiful. On the way to Monterey off of route 1 in Moss Landind Phil's Fishmarket is an excellent place to stop for a meal.


How do you know that Driver would not be interested in the Rosicrucian Museum? Each museum is unique. That's like saying just because someone has seen the Louve in Paris, that they should just skip the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.
SFer is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 02:55 PM
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Yes, forget Fresno. It would be nice if you could drive down and also Santa Barbara - take it from another Brit (who now lives in L.A.)!
Veronica is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 03:12 PM
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As a long-time San Jose resident, I get a laugh out of those on this board who keep trying to recommend it as a tourist destination. It's a fine place to live and work, but the local attractions are not worth taking time from the other more unique aspects of CA.

If you can fit the time for Santa Barbara, I would agree it is a nice extension (take the Fresno day and one of the SF or Healdsburg days).
curmudgeon is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 03:37 PM
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If you want to visit Hearst Castle, you will have to stop overnight in Cambria or Morro Bay. From there you could skip Fresno and climb up to Sequoia National Park. I agree that Healdsburg for 5 nights is too much; maybe stop for a night in Bodega Bay and see Point Reyes the next day. From Yosemite to Bridgeport, stop by Bodie State Historic Park.
Michael is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 03:54 PM
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As someone who once lived in San Jose and escaped to the Monterey Peninsula years ago,I think Curmudgeon's observations are spot on.
Lovejoy is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 05:32 PM
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Curmudgeon (and Lovejoy) - THANK YOU!!! I get so tired of the San Jose Chamber of Commerce we seem to have on Fodors. There is nothing wrong with SJ as a place to live/work - but to tell someone from the UK with very limited time in our wonderful state to spend even a fraction of it in San Jose is crazy.

Repeat after me - San Jose is not a touris destination, San Jose is not a. . . .

(The Winchester Mystery House and Rosecrucian Museums would be very "quaint" to anyone who has seen Roman villas, Tudor palaces, the V&A or British Museum.

As I said - there is nothing wrong with SJ (except too much traffic) but quit sending poor tourists there.
janis is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 05:35 PM
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I should add - it would be like Driver telling American visitors with a short time in England to be sure to visit Birmingham or Manchester. Nothing wrong with them as cities, but not the best use of limited holiday time.
janis is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 08:45 PM
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I lived in the San Jose area for 10 years nd have always felt that it is a worthwhile place for travelers to California to see. It is after all the biggest city in Northern California and has lots to offer as far as culture (museums, performing arts), dining, shopping, and the like.

Just disregard the naysayers as there are some people on this board who have some distaste for San Jose. As you can see they accuse those who have anything nice to say about the city as being affiliated with the chamber of commerce. When I was in San Jose area, friends who visited from overseas always had a great time there.
braham is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 10:36 PM
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Here we go. I've lived in the Bay Area since the fifties - the past 30 years in San Jose. I work here, like its climate and central location to other places, and enjoy the very average amenities a big city offers. San Jose is reluctant in accepting its image as the warm SF shadow. To delude worldly travelers about its tourist value is less than truthful.
zackzack is offline  

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