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Need advice on week-long North and South California trip

Need advice on week-long North and South California trip

Dec 14th, 2008, 09:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 4
Need advice on week-long North and South California trip

My wife and I are planning a trip in California that starts next weekend. We love outdoors, moderate adventure. We don't care too much about shopping/nightlife/fancy dining/movies.
With that background, we welcome any suggestions on adding some more flavor to the following trip plan:
12/20: drive San Jose to Ventura, California along Hwy.1
12/21: one-day island kayaking trip on the Channel Islands National Park
12/22: drive to Los Angeles (Beverly Hills, Getty Museum)
12/23: LA: see Hollywood, Venice Beach
12/24: drive to Yosemite Valley via Hwy.5
12/25: Yosemite Valley, drive to Tahoe
12/26: visit Emerald Bay Park, and the castle
12/27: complete drive around Tahoe and return to San Jose.

Please note: we've been to Yosemite before. Our flight home is from San Jose.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Looking forward to hearing from you all.


Ski_Camper is offline  
Dec 14th, 2008, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,881
Besides just the general logistics/travel issues:

Vikingsholm is not open at this time of year.
Most car rental agencies do not allow tire chains

I am sorry - but this plan is pretty nutty.

Even having been to Yosemite before - you really will have no time there. If it isn't stormy, then the central Valley will probably be very foggy and it will be a long, slow drive to Yosemite. Then the next day you either have to go back west to the central valley to head up to Tahoe, or go up hwy 49 and across on 88.

Unless you have a booking for the Bracebridge Dinner, I don't see a reason to go to Yosemite for about 6 hours there.
janisj is online now  
Dec 14th, 2008, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,162
I agree with janisj. It is a lot of driving for one week and that is if the weather is nice. First thought my husband had when I read the itinerary was "Hope he has a fast four-wheel drive vehicle!"

If we have a snow storm while you are in Tahoe, it could make the drive to San Jose a very, very long drive even with four-wheel drive.

Do you have a plan B?

BarbAnn is offline  
Dec 14th, 2008, 02:45 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,572
I suggest you pass on the Yosemite-Tahoe portion - too much in too little time with too much uncertainty about even being able to do it, for reasons stated in prior posts.

Instead, do yourselves a favor and stay in the Southland. Can you change your flight? San Jose makes little sense, since you're racing down the coast, so that can't be a big priority. Or at least make it into an open-jaw ticket - fly home from one of the five airports in the Greater LA area.

Since you seem locked into the Channel Island trip you have to hustle down the coast on day 1. Before you head from San Jose to Monterey-Carmel where you pick up the Highway 1, make sure it is open and passable, there is no alternative if you can't get past the Big Sur area - rain, rockslides, fog, any number of things can gum up the works, and you know about Murphy's Law I bet. You have zero leeway in your nutty schedule, so if there is any doubt, stick with the 101.

There is so much more in LA and surrounding areas than the Getty and Hollywood. In fact, why Hollywood? Nothing there to see except dirty stars on dirty sidewalks, pretty disgusting and run down, gets old really quick. A couple of theaters worth going to at night, and the new Rensissance Hotel/Kodiak complex in the middle of it, otherwise it's the pits.

Venice Beach is not in full swing right now, come back in summer when everybody is in their best show-off form, right now it is more t-shirt souvenir city than anything else; unless it is a weekend with exceptionally warm weather, muscle beach is quiet and the roller-girls etc. are absent.

But there are the Norton Simon, Olvera Street, the building of the Central Library downtown, Huntington Library and Gardens (even in winter), Disney Hall, the Farmers' Market near 6th (much more than what it sounds), the LACMA, the MOCA, the Petersen car museum, Griffith Park and the observatory, Universal Studios, Catalina Island, and on and on - something for every taste.
DalaiLlama is offline  
Dec 14th, 2008, 04:18 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 695
As others have warned, you have bitten off far too much to digest in one week.

Do you have reservations for hotels. Christmas week can be very busy. There's 40+ million people in California and many have this week off.

I've driven I5 on Christmas Eve and advise against it. There will be lots and lots of traffic, the days are extremely short, and there's always the chance of life-threatening valley fog. Or if the weather forecast is correct, there could be sleet, snow, or black ice on the Grapevine.

This is the kind of trip we would take back when we were college kids and gas was 25 cents a gallon. But, I don't remember doing it in late December.

I'm exhausted just reading your plans. I wish you good night and good luck.
Supercilious is offline  
Dec 14th, 2008, 05:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
"I'm exhausted just reading your plans."

Actually, Ski_Camper made me feel young and spritely again.

Dash here, Dash there. Go. Go. Go!

Your biggest problem will be the weather.

On your first day you have to do two things: check and see if there's fog and/or rain along the coast. If so, skip the Highway 1 drive and just charge down Interstate 5 and, north of Los Angeles, cut over on the Ventura Freeway and charge over to Ventura. the second thing to do, if the weather breaks for you, is to start out REALLY early.

In LA, as DalaiLlama has suggested, choose a few other activities in LA. Try and bunch your activities together or you'll be stuck in LA traffic and wouldn't be doing anything but cussing.

Yosemite, as BarbAnn has pointed out, will be out of the question if there is snow, especially during your travel days.

Really, why not do Los Angeles and San Diego instead? Lots to do and see in San Diego.

Have a Dashing Trip, whatever you decide to do!

easytraveler is offline  
Dec 18th, 2008, 08:02 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,881
Wonder if the OP is re-thinking things . . .

Of course things can change daily - but for now I-5 over the Grapevine is closed due to snow, and a series of cold storms is due in over the next week+.

A couple of days ago both 80 and 50 were closed for a time, and chains were required for most of 2 days (not right now though)
janisj is online now  

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