San Francisco to Los Angeles late January

Old Oct 17th, 2021, 10:39 AM
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$0.02 from a non-local: Yosemite is definitely worth it, it's true gem. Seeing it brought my wife to tears last time we were there. I've never been in mid-winter, but several of Ansel Adams most famous photos are in winter.
https://www.moma.org/collection/works/52135
https://www.anseladams.com/yosemite-valley-winter/

You can drive to those spots.

For your budget best place to stay is Yosemite Valley Lodge, I think. It is showing availability throughout all of January right now.
https://www.travelyosemite.com/lodgi...-valley-lodge/
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Old Oct 17th, 2021, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by crellston View Post
. . . but did wonder if I would be missing out on the stretch of H1 from SF to Monterey - Is that an issue, or is Yosemite worth it?
Highway 1 from San Francisco to Monterey is beautiful, no doubt, my home stomping grounds. But Yosemite is one of the world's great landscapes, very little anywhere can compare. That's not hyperbole, it's the truth. The history of the efforts made to save it may help you understand better. Wikipedia has a good article. I can't help but wonder if you think because of its popularity it must be over-rated but people love it because it's the best we have in California.

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Old Oct 17th, 2021, 11:19 AM
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Nelson, Thanks for that. Had a quick look at the accommodation and it looks perfect.

MmePerdu - no, it is not a question of wondering if it is overrated. It is more about allocation of time, coupled with the fact that I am already thinking of heading to Australia in September via LA rather than the more usual Asia route to fit in some of the stuff we will inevitably have to miss this time. As they say "so many places, so little time!” .

For a variety of reasons we want to spend the bulk of our time around LA making use of our friends house both just to hang out and as a base for the sights and experiences in and around Pasadena/ LA maybe if I shave a day off the H1 drive as Janisj suggested it will work for us. The contrasts between Yosemite and the coastal areas very much appeal.
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Old Oct 17th, 2021, 11:58 AM
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Understood. But shave where you must, even 1 night & several hours' walking in the valley will be worth the compromise.

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Old Oct 17th, 2021, 02:51 PM
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The coast south of SF is very nice - some of it is superb. But it doesn’t top Big Sur and it definitely doesn’t top Yosemite. (Posted with an 18 yo Balvenie in my hand on the deck overlooking Lake Tahoe 😇 )
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Old Oct 17th, 2021, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
The coast south of SF is very nice - some of it is superb. But it doesn’t top Big Sur and it definitely doesn’t top Yosemite. (Posted with an 18 yo Balvenie in my hand on the deck overlooking Lake Tahoe 😇 )
Janis, you're bragging, I hate you. (LOL!)
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Old Oct 17th, 2021, 08:01 PM
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Somehow I mixed up your post with another one in terms of how much time you have. 16 days is not very much so apologies for tossing in some longer overnights such as the Grand Canyon and Easter Sierra Nevada.

I'm not sure I would allocate the time to Yosemite either in late January under the circumstances, problematic in a rental car if it has been snowing ( most rental companies do not supply or allow tire chains). No way to predict but January is often the snowiest month. It's hard to play that leg by ear if you want to reserve the rental car and other lodgings afterwards. And if it is getaway day for the ski crowd it can be awful heading east from the Bay Area.

To chose between Carmel and Pacific Grove. They are not that far apart. In my experience Carmel might be more expensive. More of a quaint shopping and tea rooom village sort of destination. The dog beach is nice, but I like Asilomar Beach in Pacific Grove better. Andril Cottages in Pacific Grove seems to get good reviews and is in the part of PG that I prefer.

I don't think it's absolutely essential to spend two nights there, but I do like to spend the better part of a day driving south of San Francisco via Half Moon Bay (Dad's Luncheonette), and could spend a day around the peninsula between Point Lobos, the beach trails or 17 Mile Drive, and Carmel Mission or maybe the old town part of Monterey for California/Spanish history.

I like both Morro Bay and Cambria and in California terms they are also not that far apart in distance.

I am not a fan of Santa Barbara, it is not worth an overnight for me. I might skip it entirely. Plus it's really too close to Los Angeles to justify the overnight (two hours drive usually). You could stop in Malibu on the way in from the coast drive, park at Cross Creek shopping center for a hint of upper class shopping. Across the street is the State Beach and you can see the pier and surfers looking from the beach toward Santa Monica.

I am also not a big Santa Monica fan. Not sure it would be worth a day trip. When you get your guidebooks maybe more questions.

There is a quaint inn @ 29 Palms which is closer to Joshua Tree than Palm Springs.



Last edited by mlgb; Oct 17th, 2021 at 08:04 PM.
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Old Oct 17th, 2021, 10:47 PM
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The reason I suggested the Merced/ El Portal route into YNP is it follows the Merced River and is lower elevation. Check my profile photo - I don’t (ever) put chains on the roadster. Have driven it to Yosemite in nov and dec - if it’s a huge winter storm chains ‘might’ be necessary but if it’s that cold and that wet a storm, hwy 1 would likely be stormy too. I’d plan on YNP and just have a plan B in the odd chance YNP is inaccessible
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Old Oct 17th, 2021, 11:59 PM
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November into December is not nearly as risky as late January. If the La Niña prediction holds up, even riskier.

No way to be sure.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
The coast south of SF is very nice - some of it is superb. But it doesn’t top Big Sur and it definitely doesn’t top Yosemite. (Posted with an 18 yo Balvenie in my hand on the deck overlooking Lake Tahoe 😇 )
Balvenie - nice! A weekend spent at a friends farm looking after the dogs and he let me loose on his collection of rare rums (who knew?) Canta say rum is my drink but did develop a taste for Mescal in Mexico a couple of years ago😆
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 01:08 AM
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Thanks mlgb - some important points that had not occurred to me, snow chains and rental cars being but one! On our last trip to New Zealand we got stuck on the Haast Pass, tried to put on snow chains, failed and had to turn back. Fortunately we were in a motorhome so just parked up for the night at a DOC carpark and waited out the storm overnight. Could be more problematic on a short trip like this in a car! Need to think this one through some more!

Already considering a second longer trip to the US at some point it is clear that there is so much we are going to miss. Maybe next September , en route to Australia would be a better option for Yosemite in terms of weather (if not, I imagine the crowds?)

in terms of stops and accommodation options down H1, I have now got a shortlist of accomodations (OK circa 30 in maybe 8 locations) . As you say perhaps best wait for the guidebook to arrive and come back with further questions before nailing it down. I have found some nice places in Pacific Grove which I will also post here for comment.

It is slowly coming together. Thanks for your help guys! I am more used to planning a 6 month trip is a doddle by comparison! I probably wouldn’t normally be to bothered about planning this much in advance but due to the intricacies of U.K. consumer travel protection I am booking everything through an agent so if covid, or quarantine etc screw our plans then we will get an immediate refund. The price of this is a lack of flexibility. Flights, car and accommodation are all ready booked and can’t be changed without paying a change fee. I would like to book the remainder of our Accomodation through them so as to get the same protection. Although I am also looking at booking direct on a refundable basis.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 01:24 AM
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PS - had a look at "Andril Cottages" very nice but fully booked for our dates!!
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 02:51 AM
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Yosemite in January nearly guarantees that you won’t have to deal with wildfire smoke. That has affected September visits for the past couple of years, I believe, and can equally ruin or cancel a trip.

Planning for Yosemite, but having a coastal Plan B in the pocket makes sense to me. Now back to my 3:00 AM Old Fashioned.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 07:05 AM
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Now back to my 3:00 AM Old Fashioned.” I like your style!
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 12:07 PM
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Plan B for Yosemite could be the YARTS bus https://yarts.com/routes-and-schedules/merced-hwy-140/

It shouldn't be terribly expensive in either Carmel or PG at that time of year as it's generally the slowest month for tourism. There aren't really any events except for culinary week which started in 2019 and skipped 2020 so is relatively unknown. Looks like they may bring it back for 2021 https://www.carmelcalifornia.com/eve...y-week_495.htm
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 12:14 PM
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UH OH Carmel Culinary Week.

Plus, the Pebble Beach Tournament this year starts January 31, 2022. Could be some leadup with volunteers and participants arriving the week prior?

Depending on how late in January crellston arrives and how many nights spent in San Francisco, the latter in particular might tighten up some hotel supply.



Last edited by mlgb; Oct 18th, 2021 at 12:59 PM.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 01:23 PM
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The OP says arriving SF mid month and leaving from LA in late January so doubtful the golf tournament at the very end of the month will conflict.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 01:42 PM
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You can probably pay someone to put on your rental chains for snow, BUT if you damage the car or tires in any way, your car insurance is void, so plan on having a LOT of cash or credit card with a high credit line. Personally I hate driving in snow (not used to it living in LA) so I would visit Yosemite on a future trip.
As the past two years have proven, fire season is now pretty much all year and Cal Fire does a good job of mapping them.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
The OP says arriving SF mid month and leaving from LA in late January so doubtful the golf tournament at the very end of the month will conflict.
Okay, I just read the title. If it's mid-month then you might get the MLK holiday.
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Old Oct 18th, 2021, 03:15 PM
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In pre-Covid times, the MLK holiday weekend has been a very big weekend for people into snow sports. The holiday is Monday, Jan. 17th, but travel impacts bleed at both ends... Thurs., Jan. 13th, to Tues., Jan. 18. Lodging in any snow area around those dates may be scarce and/or expensive.

Carmel Culinary Week is Jan. 14-23, 2022. I have no idea how many people it draws, but checking hotel availability around those dates now should give some idea of its popularity.
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