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San Fransisco to LA

Old Aug 8th, 2003, 10:55 AM
  #1  
kgn
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San Fransisco to LA

As we have mentioned in earlier postings we will be going to CA in December, spending two nights in San Fran and then driving down to LA. Where is a good half way place to stop and spend the night? From what I have read on the sight Carmel is a great town. How far from San Fran is it? I am really having trouble mapping this part of the trip out any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 11:07 AM
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The route you would take really depends on how much time you have and the weather.

My 1st choice for a route would either be Hwy 1 south from SF and follow the coast all the way down or take hwy 280 south from SF, then hwy 17 over the Santa Cruz mountains (you could see the redwoods at this point), and then hwy 1 all the way down the coast.

Taking weather into account - this being December and all - you may not want or be able to take the coast route all the way down. It just depends on the storms. I would not recommend Hwy 1 between SF and Santa Cruz or between Carmel and San Luis Obispo during a heavy storm. The road is 2 lanes, hugs the mountain in many places, and can be pretty treacherous during a heavy storm. Also, mud slides sometimes close the road. In case of bad storms, I would avoid Big Sur and take Hwy 101. It's not nearly as scenic, but it is a regular freeway.

Monterey is a good stoping place with either route (Carmel and Monterey are next to each other). Without stops, Monterey is about 2-2.5 hours from SF.
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 11:15 AM
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J Correa's second route (280/17/1) is probably the best option given the weather conditions in December. Often times portions of highway 1 between SF and Monterey are closed (especially Devil's Slide) because of mudslides. Since the most scenic part of highway 1 will be from the Monterey area south to Big Sur, that's another reason to skip highway 1 between SF and Monterey. Plan on about 3 hours from Monterey to SF without traffic.
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 11:29 AM
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Oh, about places to stay in the Carmel area, I would suggest Pacific Grove which is very close to Monterey and Carmel. Accomodations there tend to be more reasonable than in the other 2 cities. I also agree with stopping in Big Basin as well. If the weather's pretty nasty, I probably would skip Big Basin and maybe spend some time checking out some museums or wineries in the San Jose area. Since you most likely will be on the 101 freeway in the case of bad weather, a stop at the Steinbeck Museum in Salinas would be worthwhile as well.

http://www.pacificgrove.org/

http://bigbasin.org/

http://sanjose.org/index.cfm

http://www.metroactive.com/papers/me...bars-wine.html

http://www.steinbeck.org/MainFrame.html

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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 11:48 AM
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Carmel is definitely a great place to visit. Although you may want to continue driving after visiting Carmel because it is not a half way spot between SF and LA. Check your map but I think San Louis Obispo is closer to halfway for sleeping.

Two days is better to see all the beautiful sights between SF and LA. But if you only can allot one day then see Carmel.

Have fun.
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 12:26 PM
  #6  
kgn
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Burlington:
So if I understand you correctly I should take 280 to 17 to 1 and I will still get some of the scenery. On hwy 17 where would I stop to see the REd Woods....is that the Big Basin?
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 12:33 PM
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kgn,

280 and 17 are also scenic freeways in addition to highway 1. To get to Big Basin take the Mount Herman Road exit and turn right, at the end of Mount Herman Road turn right onto Graham Hill Road, then right on highway 9, and finally take a left on highway 236/Big Basin Way.
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 01:07 PM
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Another option, if you don't want to drive all the way to Big Basin - either because of time contraints or the weather - is Henry Cowell State Park. It isn't as large as Big Basin, but there are definitely some big trees and nice forests to be seen. Henry Cowell is right next to Felton, which you would pass through on your way to Big Basin from Hwy 17.

I'd just play it by ear and decide which park to go to once I got there. Hwy 9 is a great road through the forest with a couple neat little towns along the way, but it can get a little sketchy during a big storm since it is so narrow.
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