Drive Time!

Old Feb 28th, 2004, 12:52 PM
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Drive Time!

Hi

Planning to travel from the UK in August for 2 weeks approx.

How long would it take to drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas?

How long would it take to drive from Las Vegas to LA?

Many thanks.
SB
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Old Feb 28th, 2004, 12:55 PM
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Try

www.mapquest.com

SF is 507 miles - about 9 hours. LA is 270 miles - 4 hours. But LA is huge and traffic can be bad, so it really depends on time of day and where in LA you're going.
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Old Feb 28th, 2004, 01:28 PM
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If those are your only three destinations, I'd strongly suggest looking at flying, particularly between San Francisco and Las Vegas. If you get a car at all in SF (you don't need one in the city) turn it in when you go to Las Vegas. Then get another car in Vegas (only if you're driving elsewhere from there). You might also even look at flying from Las Vegas to Los Angles.
Southwest or America West have really cheap flights. And I just saw a special with American Airlines for $79 between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
By the way both of those drives are not particular scenic. In fact, for the most part, down right boring.
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Old Feb 28th, 2004, 01:32 PM
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Not only boring, but for the Las Vegas--LA portion in August, HOT, even with an air-conditioned car.
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Old Feb 28th, 2004, 02:47 PM
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I really agree with Patrick--especially from Vegas to SF--although Southwest no longer flies in to SF (now Oakland) but there are others with bargain flights. Also now BART -SF rapid transit ,now goes from airport into downtown. i have friends that took BART,had 2 pieces of luggage each, with out any problems..
Good luck--
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 02:57 PM
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We just did this trip. We drove from Vegas to LA. It took us about 5 hours. And then we drove from LA to San Simeon to San Fran. Then drove from San Fran back to Vegas and that took about 8 hours.
If you do drive, watch out for the semi tires that sit on the shoulders of the freeways as they can end up in the middle of the road. We hit one going about 80 miles and it did some damage to the vehicle but we were ok. They should have to clean that stuff up, it's really dangerous.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 03:15 PM
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I think that people from out of the Southwest-- especially foreign visitors-- have no real concept of the distances that we're discussing here, nor the potential for problems that could completely ruin the vacation.

For example, driving LV to LA is 4 hours-- 4 boring hours-- on a good day. If there's an accident on I-15 (the route you'll probably take), who knows? High winds and dust storms are not uncommon in the desert. That trip between SF and LV will be very long and goes through some hot, not-particularly-interesting parts of the Southwest.

Are you used to driving in US cities? San Francisco can be a challenge by itself (hills, one-way roads, bicyclists, Lombard St.!). Vegas isn't horrible, unless you're stuck in traffic on the Strip at night, 90F outside, car overheating. But the Los Angeles metro area is vast, its highway system extremely complex (though well-marked), and there is traffic most of the day. And speaking as someone who has to follow lost, clueless tourists in their slow-moving white rental cars as they look for Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood (don't ask why they're lost in Venice Beach!!), you have to plan out ANY driving trip longer than 10 minutes carefully and in advance. Unless you really, really know the area well. In which case you know the 10 to 20 alternate ways to get to where you're going.

Although I admire your sense of adventure, I strongly urge you to plan to fly between these far-flung cities. It's not expensive, and you'll save yourself a lot of aggravation and potential heartache.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 11:27 AM
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I would have to disagree. The drive from Vegas to LA may be boring to someone who is a native but I thought it was really cool. And we took I99 back to Vegas from SF and it is really beautiful with rolling hills and the smell of lavender.
Driving is a bit of a challenge in SF. But the transit system is rad. You'll have no problems getting around on plus it's cool to ride the cable cars and muni. We just parked our car for three days in one of their garages and hiked around with no difficulty.
I was pretty freaked out about driving in LA but it wasn't that bad. Avoid the freeway between 6:30-9:30am and 3:30-6:30pm and you shouldn't have too many problems but you will definitely need to map out where you are going. But everything is very well marked. I'd do the drive all over again, it was a blast!!
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 12:16 PM
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I-15 between LA and Vegas is actually quite pretty. I love the scenery there.

However, the traffic can be terrible, especially say Friday evening going up to LV, and Sunday evening coming back. You're talking about bumper to bumper for hundreds of miles. There's only 2-lane each direction for the most part, and this is the situation:

- Trucks go along at about 60, as speed limit for them is 55, and CHP patrols that highway tightly with helicopters. [A 15mph split in the limit is ridiculous, and Cali is the only state that does it. When every study's saying speed differential is the main cause of accidents, California forces a 15mph difference.]

- Other slow pokes going under the speed limit of 70, including people pulling trailers; but they are about 2MPH faster than the big trucks, so they would take up the left lane for miles trying to pass.

- And these people also stay on the left lane for miles because they see another big truck up front that they'll be passing in about 10 minutes.

- So, if you want to drive the speed limit of 70 or slightly above, you'll need to weave in and out of traffic, going around the big trucks on their left, and the campers on their right.

- Do that about 300 times during your 4 hour drive, and you'll see why this is not fun.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 01:17 PM
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You'll want to avoid driving from Vegas to LA on a Sunday afternoon or evening when it seems like ALL of Southern California is returning from Vegas!
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