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comments on californiia route

Old Jun 13th, 2003, 11:24 AM
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comments on californiia route

I'm planning a trip to the west coast, and would like to know what you west coast experts think about my itinerary. I'm starting with several days in LA, then drive to Las Vegas and after that the Grand Canyon, and a visit to a canyon or two (Bryce or Zion) in southern Utah. From Utah, I'd like to drive to Yosemite and from there to SF. After a few days in SF, drive down the coast back to LA for the flight home. We have about 15 days and lots of questions.

Is this a good plan?
What's the best route from Utah to Yosemite? Should we drive through Death Valley? Is Death Valley an interesting place to visit, or is it just HOT?? (It will be early August.)
How many days to to spend in the Grand Canyon area.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old Jun 13th, 2003, 08:18 PM
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thanks for the input. Actually, getting to Yosemite and SF is more important to me than the canyons in Utah, so I think we should drive from the grand canyon to Yosemite.
Does this make more sense?
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Old Jun 13th, 2003, 09:13 PM
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I agree that you should fly into LA and out of SF or LV. No reason to backtrack and qualifies as a round-trip (if you're air tickets aren't already purchased).
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Old Jun 15th, 2003, 12:34 PM
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How about LA, yosemite and then bay area? SF is close to the wine country and you could see that too. You could drive from LA to Yosemite. Yosemite to the SF then down the coast back to LA.
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Old Jun 15th, 2003, 01:16 PM
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Some people like spending several days in a few places, while others want to see as much as they can in a short period. If you are willing to get up very early, do a lot of driving, and spend only 2-3 nights in each place, I think you can do most of your itinerary.

If you skip Utah, you could do LA, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and SF. I, too, recommend flying out of SF which would save you the 7-8 hour drive back down the coast. But if your ticket is already purchased, you might like stopping in Big Sur on the way back down.
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Old Jun 15th, 2003, 07:23 PM
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Trying to fit SF into your trip is too much given the amount of time you have.

LA to Las Vegas is 270 miles(4 hr. drive), Las Vegas to Grand Canyon is a 300 mile trip (5.5 hrs.) and Grand Canyon to Yosemite is 800 miles (12 hr. drive). From Yosemite to SF would be another 5 hrs. As you can see you will be on the road quite a bit.

I would recommend skipping SF this time around. Frankly we thought that it was rather overrated anyway. From Yosemite I would drive over to the Monterey Bay Area and from there take Highway 1 down to Big Sur and into LA for the flight home. With this itinerary you will get to experience cities (LA and Las Vegas), parks (Grand Canyon and Yosemite), and the California coastline (Monterey and Big Sur).
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Old Jun 15th, 2003, 07:37 PM
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My advice is to skip Las Vegas and Death Valley and maybe even the Grand Canyou/Utah. The Southwest and deserts are not just HOT in August, they can be dangerously so.

120F is not unheard of and 115F is common. Fifteen days of driving - half of it in desert conditions - is not my idea of a fun trip.

I love all the places you have listed - but 15 days is not enough time to see all of them. Look at a map - the area you want to tour is larger than all of New England, NY, PA, MA, DE, VA and WV combined. You are simply biting off too much.

So decide on LA/Yosemite/SF and other parts of california - OR - Las Vegas and the canyons.

In August the California (skipping Death Valley) itinerary would be best.
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Old Jun 15th, 2003, 08:08 PM
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It appears that the previous poster is somewhat overstating how hot it gets in the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and other desert areas. Below are a couple of links with average temperatures for Las Vegas and National Parks. Also, keep in mind that 90 or 100 in the desert does not feel as warm as you might think because the humidity is very low, usually 10% or less.

August average temp. in Las Vegas is 87.

Grand Grand Canyon average temps. range from 60-90 degrees depending on where you are in the park.

I agree about not driving through Death Valley. It will not be necessary to drive through Death Valley anyway to get to the Grand Canyon or Las Vegas for that matter.

If I were you I would do LA, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and the coast along route 1. I concur with the others that SF is too far out of the way and would not be worth the trip.




http://www.insidervlv.com/weather.html

http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/htmlfiles/res.avg.html
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Old Jun 15th, 2003, 09:57 PM
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Average temps can be a little deceptive. The average HI temp in Las Vegas is over 100 in summer. It is still tolerable, just save walking between places on the strip for the evening and nighttime. Grand Canyon elevations at the rim are high enough to take the edge off the heat.

I would consider trying to do the desert drives either in the morning or evening/night; less stress on the car/tires when it's cooler, so less chance of a breakdown or blowout. And do carry extra water in any case.

I think the trip is workable (cutting out Utah), but it will have some long drives across pretty hot, boring terrain. You might want to consider going LA -> Grand Canyon, GC -> Vegas, Vegas -> Yosemite (via Tioga Pass entrance on east side of Yosemite). The central coast between SF and LA is defintely worth a couple of days if you can fit them in; I wouldn't fly out of SF.
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Old Jun 15th, 2003, 10:10 PM
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The heat in the desert is actually fairly tolerable mostly due to the low humidity. Even though it may not feel too terribly hot, do drink plenty of water.

The Grand Canyon and Yosemite are absolutely breathtaking. Las Vegas and LA are both great cities with plenty to see and do.

The most scenic part of Route 1 is between Monterey and LA. I would not suggest driving Route 1 north of Monterey as the scenary up there pales in comparison. I'm in agreement with others that SF is best done on a separate trip. With Grand Canyon, Yosemite, LV, LA, and the coast between Monterey and LA you will have more than enough places to see to fill your entire time. I also agree about not flying out of SF. It is one of the worst airports in terms of delays due to fog, which can be persistent most of the day in the summer months.


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Old Jun 16th, 2003, 09:07 AM
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My thanks to all....
I'm revamping my schedule. Definitely skip SF and Utah. A question arising from curmudgeon's suggestion - what's the advantage of driving directly from LA to GC, and then from there to LV??? Is it less driving??
Also, what should be the driving time from LV to Yosemite??
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Old Jun 16th, 2003, 06:00 PM
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It looks like it doesn't make much difference which LV/GC routing you do if you are going to Yosemite via Fresno. If you take the Tuolomne Meadows route into Yosmeite, I think it might be a bit shorter hitting GC first. It's not clear whether you are planning on south rim or north rim of GC.

If you are going direct from LV to Yosemite valley, it is likely 6-8 hours drive. If you go the Tuolomne Meadows route, I'd think about staying in Bishop or Mammoth Lakes, so you have time to enjoy the high country drive into Yosemite the next day.

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Old Jun 17th, 2003, 01:42 AM
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curmudgeon -
Doesn't make much difference to me if the rim is the north or south rim, but I've read here in the forum that the south has better views. I also think there's an advantage in driving directly from LA to the south rim and then from there to LV. On the way from LA, we can stop for the night in Kingman and also visit oatman.

As for the approach to Yosemite, I want to come in from the east via Tioga pass. What would the best route be from LV??
Thanks in advance!!!
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Old Jun 17th, 2003, 07:34 AM
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South rim has lots more people (and more places to stay), but also the more traditional GC views. Lodging is pretty limited in North Rim area.

For going from Vegas to Tioga Pass, I would just take US-95 north, and then cut over to US-395. I'm not familiar with the roads in that area. I would say don't try to take shortcuts, stick with the US/state highways; it's a pretty sparsely populated area. The roads are for the most part fairly straight and fast in the desert areas; the mountain roads are much slower. Unless you *really* want to say "been there, done that", I'd skip Death Valley in the summer; there's a lot to see, but fall/winter/spring is the time to do it.

Lodging in Yosemite is pretty limited. There are tent cabins at Tuolomne meadows and rustic cabins at White Wolf which are good options if you come in via Tioga Pass. Advance reservations are an absolute must anywhere in Yosemite, though sometimes you can get a cancellation.
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Old Jun 17th, 2003, 08:03 PM
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Thanks to all for the invaluable assistance.
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