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Drive San Francisco to Yosemite - out of practice driving!

Drive San Francisco to Yosemite - out of practice driving!

Jan 25th, 2014, 07:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 18
Drive San Francisco to Yosemite - out of practice driving!

Hi, I am traveling to SF as part of a trip to the US. I would like to go to Yosmite for a couple of nights. I would rather not drive but the train seems to be a very long way of getting there.

I live in Ireland so am used to driving on the other side of the road. In addition, I am out of practice driving....I live in the centre if Dublin so don't bother with a car as have no need to drive...haven't driven more than a couple of miles in the last six years and even that was only twice! Lived in a small city before that and always drove there and on holidays in New Zealand which is same side of road as Ireland (have a full licence).

So essentially my question is train or car? (Also, if car - any ideas in where would get a manual drive car in SF?)

em101 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 07:16 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,299
Why do you want a manual drive car? It would be easier to drive an automatic transmission car???
martym is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,964
Just because you and most others use stick shifts back home, doesn't mean you need to use one in the states. You won't find standard transmission rentals except for maybe some specialized sports car agency.

The transition to automatic is fairly easy - just keep your hand off the gear lever. I have a stick shift roadster and an automatic car as well. The firs few miles I'm in the sedan (saloon) I have to concentrate more because I'm wanting to shift gears - but after a bit it falls int place. The third time you put your foot on the clutch and find it isn't there you get the hang of things.
janisj is offline  
Jan 25th, 2014, 08:56 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,111
How about some recommendations from "us" for bus tours to Yosemite. I know there are some departing from San Francisco, but I don't have any specifics because I've never taken one.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Jan 26th, 2014, 12:20 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,469
Absolutely agree with Stu. Bus it wherever you go. We don't have a train that goes from SF through the San Jauquin Valley to Yosemite. Take a charter bus.

Thanks for being candid about your driving experience. If you decide to rent a car please tell us when you're here so we can lock ourselves up!

Mountain roads are serious driving as it is. Add a steering wheel on the opposite side, driving on the opposite side, lack of driving for six years, driving among impatient pedal-to-the-medal California drivers, with many tailgaters that even scare us, the only thing I would do automatic is stay off the road. Driving SF and Yosemite will be an absolute heart-attack. Other that that, I really have no worthwhile advice whatsoever.
bear900 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2014, 07:53 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,298
bear900 is wrong. Amtrak bus # 6662 leaves the Ferry Building in SF at 7:05AM every morning. It takes you to the #712 San Joaquin in Emeryville with a 10 minute transfer from bus to train.
The San Joaquin train arrives in Merced about 10:31AM.
The YARTS bus designated as bus 8412 leaves at 11:00 and arrives at 1:20PM at the Yosemite Lodge. The bus to Yosemite starts sometime in April.
tomfuller is offline  
Jan 26th, 2014, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Tom is our resident Amtrak proponent - he recommends trains for every trip - no matter how much - or little - sense it may make.

I don't think that drive is really challenging - but given your obvious hesitation about driving under different circumstances (there are NO manuals for rent - unless a very expensive and specialized sports car) I would definitely look into bus tours.

That is the kind of drive better with 2 drivers anyway - so no one has to miss most of the scenery.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 27th, 2014, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,298
This may be just what you are looking for: http://www.greentortoise.com/adventu...rk-tour-3d.php
They seem to have good reviews. I never used them.
Yesterday I drove, rode an Amtrak train, rode on 3 city buses, had a ride in a friend's BMW and rode an Amtrak bus back to my car which was at the Salem Amtrak station.
The most comfortable ride was in the BMW. The least comfortable was the 10+ miles on a city bus.
tomfuller is offline  
Jan 27th, 2014, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,919
Train is very doable - but you will have to change transport a couple of times. To get around Yosemite there is a free shuttle.

Assuming you are flying into SFO it would be BART to Embarcadero stop (metro train), walk over to Amtrak station to get on Amtrak bus to Emeryville, train to Merced (?), connecting bus to Yosemite. One ticket for BART, another for Amtrak including all connecting buses.
Dayenu is offline  
Jan 27th, 2014, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,919
If you choose a bus tour, DO NOT do one-day (the bus that comes back the same day) - just a waste of time and money, they give you 2 hrs in the valley, and that's it.
Dayenu is offline  
Jan 27th, 2014, 03:14 PM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,396
I HAVE to weight in on this.
You are not just "out of practice." You haven;t driven at all in six years and drive in small towns, not in cities or highways. I don't think that driving on twisty roads and busy highways on the "wrong" side of the road is a good place to start.
TYhe Green Tortoise adventure travel bus trips are CAMPING - not staying n a hotel or lodge. If you like that, you might enjoy it as there are many foreign tourists, usually on the young side.

There are several bus companies, I have heard good things about these folks.

And in SFO finding a manual transmission will be next to impossible.
newtome is offline  
Jul 27th, 2014, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 134
I'm thinking about a similar trip -- will be flying into a conference in San Francisco and would like to visit Yosemite early in the summer of 2015 but will be alone, don't want to rent car and do it myself, would like to join a tour going to Yosemite. Did em101 take such a tour as was recommended in last post? I clicked on the website and it looked very promising for what I want.
CLBtravel is offline  
Jul 27th, 2014, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,964
CLBtravel: Hopefully the OP will respond - but just to clarify, you don't have to take a group tour to go to Yosemite w/o a car.

As Dayenu explains - you can take Amtrak and then a bus into the Valley.
janisj is offline  
Jul 27th, 2014, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,919
If you have only one day, then take a bus tour. You will not see much, but at least some of the park.

If more than one day, make hotel reservation now, people reserve a year in advance. Make sure it can be cancelled if needed.
Dayenu is offline  
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