California in springtime - heat and sun

Jan 13th, 2007, 02:55 PM
  #21  
 
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The only problem is "looping back through the gold country" from Death Valley in the Spring. Tioga Pass will still be closed for the season so you'd have to drive down into Bakersfield (UGGGGH!) and up the central valley to get to Yosemite/Gold Country.
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Jan 13th, 2007, 03:47 PM
  #22  
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It's just that kind of information that makes this forum so great. Why is that pass closed? Bakersfield is horrid?

I just purchased Fodors' Southern California guide book and will start reading.
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Jan 13th, 2007, 03:58 PM
  #23  
 
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Tioga Pass is the only road over the Sierra between DV and Lake Tahoe. It closes at the first semi-heavy snow - usually in Oct and doesn't open until it is cleared - sometimes by May but usually in late May or June -- and sometime not until July.

This site lists the opening/closing dates for the last 70+ years. http://www.monobasinresearch.org/data/tiogapass.htm
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Jan 13th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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April -
Bakersfield is not exactly ... well, it's ... pretty ugly, actually. And the drive up the central valley on I5 is very boring. So, janisj is trying to help you avoid that scenario.

On the otherhand, the drive on Hwy 178 from the 395 to Bakersfield (through the Lake Isabella area) is really quite nice and is part of the Southern Sierra wildflower destination in the above post. Even without the wildflowers, we enjoyed this drive: the lake, lower elevation mountains, upper desert vistas.

Then, once you find yourself in Bakersfield, you don't need to stay there. Hwy 58 will take you through the Tehachapi Mtns, another nice drive.

I think you need to sit down with your guidebooks and maps and decide what you really want to see. Definitely be aware of road closures in the High Sierra and try to avoid I5 through the central valley.

Have fun planning and come back here with any questions.
Linda
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Jan 14th, 2007, 12:53 AM
  #25  
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Will do. I'm trying not to get overwhelmed with choices. Thanks all. Let me know if there are other ugly spots to avoid. ;-)
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Jan 14th, 2007, 05:48 AM
  #26  
 
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Glad you guys warned April about Bakersfield! My opinion, exactly. Ever notice how it's one of those places that gets named when someone posts an "ugliest towns" question?
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Jan 14th, 2007, 06:04 AM
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Tied w/ Barstow
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Jan 14th, 2007, 08:41 AM
  #28  
 
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I agree Bakersfield isn't the prettiest city in the state, BUT it has some great Basque restaurants there ... Woolgrowers and The Pyrennes to name just a couple.

Denice
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Jan 14th, 2007, 02:49 PM
  #29  
 
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Just to add to your choices and to address your bonus selection - in Palm Springs is Palm Springs Air museum that my (retired Air Force Pilot) father really enjoyed. Between Palm Springs and LA is Riverside/Moreno Valley which has an US Air Force museum (by the March Reserve AF Base and Riverside National Cemetery)where they have many retired military planes on display. And in Chino is Chino Planes of Fame museum of old planes- biplanes and such which perform at monthly performances.
If you choose to come this far south, Joshua Tree National park will be lovely and distictive, and not too far from Palm Springs but Death Valley and the Furnance Creek Inn are a pretty good distance- definitely not a day trip.
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Jan 14th, 2007, 03:52 PM
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I ditto the Gold Country suggestions. Nevada City, Columbia, Jackson, so many great little towns. Plus you could route it so that you could see Tahoe, too.
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Jan 14th, 2007, 08:19 PM
  #31  
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I knew about the Palm Springs museum but not the Chino one. Thanks, fairygemgirl!

We've decided that the two main events of this trip will be Santa Barbara and Death Valley, even though we won't be spending lots of time in either. One website said to drive through Bakersfield but is there a better way to get to Death Valley? I would like to avoid LA freeway traffic... or is just the same around Santa Barbara?

At this point, it looks like two cruise trips would fit into our plans for the return trip home. One would be from San Diego, the other from San Francisco. That would determine where we would spend the bulk of our time then - east of either city.

I could easily spend the entire visit driving. There is so much to see. But I'm trying to rein in and force myself to relax for a few days in a place where we can walk out the door and see or be in nature and just sit in the dry, hot but not unbearably hot, desert air.
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Jan 14th, 2007, 08:42 PM
  #32  
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One more thing. My husband is very interested in the Tehachapi Loop (railroad line) and is wondering if that is worth a visit.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 09:10 AM
  #33  
 
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Another interesting museum in the Palm Springs area is the George Patton museum which might interest your husband if he is a WWII buff.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 09:26 AM
  #34  
 
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Hello from San Diego. Everyone is right on with suggestions for a great trip. Please post a short report especially on Death Valley. It really is quite a unique place. I have lived in California all my life and think you have a fantastic trip planned. Those fodorites are sooo helpful
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Jan 16th, 2007, 10:58 PM
  #35  
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Yes, Barblab, WWII is of interest to my husband.

jrecm, you're right. Fodorites are incredibly helpful and I appreciate every word they take the time to write. =D>
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Feb 9th, 2007, 12:06 AM
  #36  
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Now I hope you're not all disappointed in me. In a surprising turn of events, we are now going to Hawaii. Your suggestions have not been wasted though. I still hope to do this trip but would prefer earlier (March maybe) than we are able to do this year.
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Feb 9th, 2007, 10:32 AM
  #37  
 
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April -
Thank you for returning to let us know what you decided. So often OP's vanish after receiving lots of ideas and we who responded are left to wonder about them.

Enjoy Hawaii! I have never been but it certainly looks like Paradise . . .
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Feb 9th, 2007, 01:48 PM
  #38  
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I've never been either, LCBoniti. The California trip is more complicated and I would like more time to plan it.

This one will be easy - just hop on a cruiseship in Vancouver and away we go. With my husband not flying long distances, it is the only way I will get to see Lahaina where he spent many a visit painting. Lahaina is the main event of this trip for us, so when the ship docks in Honolulu for two days, we will take the short flight on a Dash 8 over to Maui and stay overnight there in the very same hotel he used to stay in. It's not the desert but it should be warm.

The thought of spending 5 consecutive days each way out in the Pacific Ocean makes me a little nervous though!
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Feb 9th, 2007, 02:48 PM
  #39  
 
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Have a wonderful trip to Hawaii! It sounds relaxing, fun, and will be warm.
When you do think again of Death Valley, post again. My husband and I have gone nearly every year and travel by way of the Eastern Sierras (hwy 395) - beautiful - or the faster route of I-5 through Bakersfield and the Tehachapis or through Lake Isabella. Death Valley is as good as Hawaii in relaxation, but dry heat. Go March or early April - no later.
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Feb 9th, 2007, 05:04 PM
  #40  
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elnap29 - yes, I was thinking that late April into May was getting a bit late. Feel free to write about your favourite sights along hwy 395 (or anywhere). I'd love to hear about them.
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