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Here is our itinerary for northern California..any suggestions

Here is our itinerary for northern California..any suggestions

Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 03:57 AM
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Here is our itinerary for northern California..any suggestions

We are taking our 3 daughters (16, 13,9) to northern CA. Flights are booked and we are ready to go...I'm a bit nervous about the length of time we are spending in some places and not enough time in others. Please tell me what you think...what we should do/not do...what's worth seeing...where to eat. Tell it like it is. we need travel help.

We fly into Reno at 9pm, rent a car and travel to Susanville, NV and stay at the Diamond Mountain Casino...just a place to hit the bed. We are not going to be gambling.

Day 2 long drive to Trinidad, CA. On way we will explore lassen nat'l Forest, chester, sulfer pits and then check into a Holiday Inn in McKinleyville for lack of a better place. It's tough to find accomodations for a family of 5. Even VRBO were booked

Day 3 Stay in trinidad and explore the redwood Nat'l Forest and Patrick's Point

Day 4 Trinidad

Day 5 up early and head south to explore highway 1 coast to Mendocino (Humboldt Redwoods and Russian Gulch st. Forest. We check into the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek in Little River

Day 6 kayak at Mendocino at 11am and Agate beach

day 7 Up early and drive to San Francisco. We are staying in the Grosvenor Suites. That night we take the night time tour of Alcatraz

Day 8 Explore maybe Fisherman's wharf? China town? Little italy?

day 9 drive to San Jose and fly out at 6:30 am. Ugh...then back to Michigan

So...what do you think. Restaurant suggestions? One less day in Trinidad? One more day in San Fran. I'm pushing for that. 3 girls and a beautiful city vs too much nature...should be an intersting trip. lol

Would love to know your ideas.
andreadee is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 04:44 AM
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You're not kidding about day 2 being a long drive. You've got about seven hours of driving, not including time stopping anywhere. And the views along highway 200 are very nice. It would be a shame to miss them by driving while it's dark.

I'd stop and spend the night someplace further east of McKinleyville, and spend day 3 driving to and exploring Trinidad. The hike around Trinidad Head is nice.

Then on day four, I'd explore Redwood National Park and Patrick's Point State Park. Don't miss Fern Canyon - it's beautiful.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 05:30 AM
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One more thing. I don't know when you're going, but assume that it's soon. If the gray whale is still swimming around the Klamath River bridge, make sure to stop in Klamath to see her.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 05:46 AM
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Susanville is in California. Yes they do have casinos in California.
The flaw that I see is renting a car in Reno and trying to return it in San Jose. If you can do it there will be a big drop off fee. The way that I see around this problem is to drop off the family in San Francisco (day 7) and take the car back to Reno and take the California Zephyr (Amtrak) back to San Francisco via Emeryville. Rent another car at San Jose to return when you fly home.
The Chinese restaurant I liked in San Francisco http://sanfrancisco.menupages.com/restaurants/sam-wo/
You order in English and the order taker writes the order in Chinese and sends it down the dumbwaiter. Good food comes back up the dumbwaiter.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 07:10 AM
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Some are freaked about dropoff fees. But for some itineraries a one-way rental is the only thing that is at all practical. Sorry --but driving from SF to Reno and taking the train back and driving up from San Jose is BEYOND goofy. PLUS - besides eating up an entire day, it would probably cost more than most drop off fees.

Now back to the actual plan . . .. Susanville is at least a 90 minute drive from the airport. By the time you get the car sorted out and on the road -- you'll be lucky to get there by 11:30PM. Doable if you are OK w/ remote/rural/mountain driving late at night. Otherwise, I might crash at an airport hotel and then get a really early start the next morning.

Little River to SF will take most of the day if you stop at any of the many worthwhile/beautiful places along the way.

Your last night --I might sightsee all day, have dinner and then drive down to SJ and stay the night near the airport. You won't lose any useful/sightseeing time in SF and I would never want to drive down in the AM to catch a 6:30 flight.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 07:12 AM
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OH -to clarify -- There is nothing wrong w/driving from Little River to SF but just plan on taking time.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 08:02 AM
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Janisj, has laid out a good plan in my opinion, andrea.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 08:07 AM
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I would make a couple changes to the itinerary.

1. Stay the first night close to the airport - you'll be getting in late (remember it will feel 2 hours later to you) and a longish drive after the flight into mountains you are unfamiliar with in the dark is probably not a good idea.

2. Break up the drive to the coast - that is a marathon of a drive over a couple mountain ranges. We aren't talking 7 hours or interstate or even relatively straight secondary highway. Most of the 7 hours on the road will be active driving. This will mean arriving in Trinidad 1 day later, but I think it will make for a better trip.

3. For your last night before your flight, I would either leave SF in the evening and go to SJ just to sleep so that you maximize your time in SF - OR - stay the last night in SF and just commit to getting up earlier to make the drive down to SJ. With a 6:30 flight, you'll be getting up at a gawd-awful time in the morning whatever you do, so you might as well spend as much time in SF as possible.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 08:19 AM
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Oh I agree definitely about breaking the drive between Reno or Susanville and the coast. I didn't mention that because Shanti had already suggested it. You could make Mckinleyville-- but you might have a true revolt onyour hands and a bad start to what should be a wonderful vacation.

Whether you start from Reno airport or Susanville that will be a loooong tiring drive. The 2nd half of the drive - basically from Redding on - will be very twisty/turny and if any of the kids are prone to car sickness, good luck. If you stop over in the general Lassen/Redding area -- you'd only have maybe a 3-3.5 hour drive to the coast so you'd be able to stop frequently if needed.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 08:38 AM
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I'd definitely stay in San Francisco all day on Saturday, but spend the night in San Jose near the airport. I might even stay someplace that has a shuttle, and if possible, return your car on Saturday night. Anything to avoid getting up even earlier on Sunday morning. The drive from San Francisco to San Jose is a straight shot on the freeway, about an hour's drive
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 01:36 PM
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(ponders... from Michigan, 3 kids, 16-13-9, flying into Reno... and not gambling (clarity: that is all fine))

If I were a parent in that scenario I would make it clear that you were NEAR "Donner Pass"

http://www.sierranevadageotourism.or...1FDCDC20EC7F75

I'm sure it's no big deal in "Michigan History", but for your kids being in the area, ONE little part of the long-ago struggles in settling the true west (and not the west of which Michigan sees itself as champions) could be interesting, and may remain in the minds of your kids.

I sense that your ROUTE doesn't quite get you TO "Donner Pass", but there isn't too much that 'matters' in that immediate area, so perhaps just a sense of what's nearby is enough.

An east-to-west trip across California is always a unique and interesting experience, because it isn't done very often relative to the north-south paths. (perhaps with the exception of the L.A.-to-Vegas trip)

Your itinerary sounds quite suitable, and the time in San Francisco will be filled without needing to map/schedule too much. Just going to The Wharf and near to Chinatown has you in action-packed areas in which a family of 5 can always produce one person's whim to lead the others in an unscheduled direction. Sometimes its just as easy to sit back and await the spontaneous whim of somebody else... especially when you have kids of those ages.

I like your anticipated path/plans.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 05:48 PM
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You have all been very helpful...Now I can share it with my husband and maybe he will listen to you all...I agree. Flying into Reno after traveling all day is enough. We should stay in reno then get up early. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks so much!!!!!
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