Cali Trip 08

Oct 1st, 2007, 06:55 AM
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Cali Trip 08

I am posting this on the US forum hoping for more info than the honeymoon forum.
I am planning my honeymoon to California in June 08. After a week in Vegas and the Grand Canyon, we plan 2 weeks for California.

The plan is to drive from Vegas through Death Valley, then head north. Stopping at Sequoia/Kings Canyon then to Yosemite.
By that I mean a day for the drive through Death Valley, then 2 days for Sequoia/Kings Canyon.

Then we plan on Yosemite for 3 days. North to Lake Tahoe (possibly). We do want to spend a few days in Napa Valley, 2 days in San Francisco, then down to Big Sur, flying home from Fresno.

First of all, is this realistic? I know this is a honeymoon, but my fiance is a travel addict like me, and we both love to drive. We live in Florida, so we won't have any reason to go that far west for a while.

Any sights we should definitely see? Anything to pass on?
Budget is open, we will spend more on things that really excite us.

Any and all help would be appreciated!
forgiddy is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 07:35 AM
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You really need to try to book accomodations in Yosemite now, if you intend to stay in the park. After the schools let out for summer, the in-park accomodations are very full.
Oct 1st, 2007, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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My wife and I took a similar trip several years ago, spread over three weeks. What you're proposing will be rushed, our trip was amazing and I can't imagine having skipped any of it.

A few thoughts:

I don't know how much time you'll be spending in Vegas vs. the Grand Canyon, but a week in Vegas is a LONG time. Are you willing to giving any thought to cutting your time in Vegas and spending more time in No Cal? (there are casinos in Tahoe if you don't get all of your gambling fix in Vegas). 2 days in SF seems especially short.

We didn't do Sequoia or Kings Canyon, but I wonder how different that would be from Yosemite. That's 5 days of your trip right there. If you're big into the outdoors, that's probably not a problem. If not, you might want to consider spending more time at your other stops. Just depends on what you're into.

A highlight of our trip that I didn't see on your list is Monterey. It's between SF and Big Sur, so it'd be on your route. We especially enjoyed sea kayaking, for which there are several outfitters offering guided tours. I know a lot of people swear by Carmel, too, but we were disappointed.

If you're into history, you may want to try to see one of the Missions. I know there are many, but we stopped at St. Luis Obispo and Carmel and enjoyed both.

DON'T stay in Curry Village in Yosemite, unless you're into cold showers and mice in your room.

Have a great time.
mdc8k is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 02:18 PM
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My first question is why do you want to fly home from Fresno? It's a good three hour drive from Big Sur. San Jose is closer and offers more in flights.

In fact, while I love everything you're doing, I'd probably cut Big Sur and head home after San Francisco. Or maybe cut wine country. Two weeks to do all you've mentioned really is a lot!
NeoPatrick is online now  
Oct 1st, 2007, 02:48 PM
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The Vegas part, well, that is where we are getting married. Then we are taking my kids to the grand canyon for 3 days, then they fly back to Florida.
We will be back in Vegas at that point.
I agree that Kings Canyon/Sequoia is very similar to Yosemite, and wonder about skipping it, but it is on the way to Yosemite, so we thought what the heck.
I am excited about the trip down from SF to Big Sur, seen wonderful pictures, hop e it is as beautiful as I imagine.
The kayaking sounds great. I will certainly look into that, as well as flying out of San Jose. Didn't realize the airport was there!
forgiddy is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 02:50 PM
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Didn't realize the airport was there>/i>

It's actually one of three major airports in the Bay Area, but the closest to where you will be. Easy to navigate, too.
Oct 1st, 2007, 03:34 PM
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I like Sequoia a lot, so I am not quick to recommend cutting it, but it doesn't have the "wow" factor that Yosemite has. On the other hand, it is a lot less crowded than Yosemite, which is a definite plus. I think it is just a matter of what you want to do.

Definitely fly home from San Jose - flights are generally cheaper than Fresno and it is more convinient.

J_Correa is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 04:11 PM
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Not sure how you are planning to hit Sequoia/King's Canyon "on the way" from Death Valley to Yosemite. Sequoia and KC are due west of DV, but there is no way to access them from the east (Highway 395) side. Take a look at the 10,000'+ Sierra escarpment from Lone Pine and you'll see why. But it's easy to reach Yosemite from DV via Tioga Pass (should be open by June).

And...please don't call it Cali!!!

azzure is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 09:24 PM
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Fly from Vegas to Reno, you really should spend a couple of nights at Lake Tahoe, beautiful in June.
clarkgriswold is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 05:19 AM
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I too was questioning the route from Death Valley to King's Canyon. Take a look at this Mapquest map:

But the Tioga Pass being opened in June is unknown. This year it opened in May, but last year it was June 17 and the year before June 24. I don't know how late in June that part of the trip would be.

NeoPatrick is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:57 AM
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Yes - you can never count on when Tioga Pass opens. Could be late April (rarely) all the way to early July (also rare). Usually it will open sometime between mid May and late June. But until we know what the snow pack is and if there are any late Spring storms you cannot plan on using that road. This makes the Kings Canyon/Yosemite from Las Vegas leg pretty iffy. If the road is closed you;d have to travel to Bakersfield (the armpit of the universe) and up to Fresno (not much better) to get to YNP.

So I would definitely consider Las Vegas and Grand Canyon. Then Fly to San Francisco or San Jose and base your California loop from there. Yosemite is a LOT easier trip from SF than it is from Las Vegas if Tioga Pass is closed.

SF > Napa > Tahoe > Yosemite > Carmel > San Jose to fly home. Or -- SJ > Carmel > Yosemite > Tahoe > Napa and fly home from SF.
janisj is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:59 AM
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Thank you all for the great info! I will get busy with the travel agent and start booking soon. Wish me luck!
forgiddy is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 07:01 AM
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oh - meant to add -- if you can cut any one of Tahoe, Napa (actually, Sonoma would be better) or Carmel/Big Sur it would make for a less hectic itinerary. All three of those are terrififc and major destinations - but trying to squeeze them all in is tough. If you could cut a couple of days off of LV, it would give you more time for the rest.
janisj is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 07:48 AM
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Maybe you have already cut this out, but Death Valley in June will likely be too hot to enjoy it.
trippinkpj is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 10:49 PM
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Vegas and Death Valley will both be very hot in June. I would spend as little time there as possible and allocate more time to Yosemite, SF, Napa or Sonoma, and the coastal cities of Monterey, Carmel etc.
smartcookie is offline  
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