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Seeking advice for northern california road trip

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Jul 1st, 2011, 09:45 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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Seeking advice for northern california road trip

Greetings friends,
We are looking for advice for an upcoming road trip to northern california in September. My husband and I are early 60s, like some comforts, but don't want to totally splurge. We like good food, wine with dinner, and cultural and aesthetic activities. We are not campers but do like hiking and hanging out in the outdoors. We are traveling from Washington state to Oregon and have that pretty much figured out. We hope to stay somewhere in the Eureka/Arcata/Mendicino area on day 4 of our trip. Then we then move to San Francisco and Monterey which is already taken care of. Then we are also looking for advice on where to stay/visit in Yosemite/ Lake Tahoe/and Lake Shasta areas. We have 2 nights for Yosemite and 2 for Lake Tahoe and one for Lake Shasta. Then we head back up to Ahsland for theater and Eugene to see relatives. We would love advice on lodgings, restaurants, and places to see/things to do. Thanks so much!
headinwest is offline  
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Jul 1st, 2011, 10:01 PM
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When is this trip? Makes a huge difference re Yosemite specifically. W/ such a short time in YNP, you want to stay IN Yosemite Valley. But if your trip is this summer, finding rooms will be tough. What is your budget?

If you can't book in the Valley --then try El Portal or Yosemite West - anyplace else will be a loooooong drive from the valley. And if your reservation is cancellable -- keep trying for a cancellation in the Valley.

Remember 2 nights at YNP does not equal 2 days there (same w/ Tahoe). 2 nights will net you barely 1.5 days in Yosemite since you are driving over from the coast - and you don't want to spend hours driving in/out of the park both days.

As for Tahoe - the drive alone (w/o the many stops you'll want to make for photos/walks/k=just drinking in the amazing scenery) will take nearly 5 hours. So less than 1.5 days at Tahoe.

Southshore to Lassen will take about 4+ hours / Northshore to Lassen about 3.5 hours - again w/o stops.
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Jul 1st, 2011, 10:28 PM
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As I undrestand it you do not need help with SF or Monterey. So, of the choice for 1 night in either Eureka/Arcata/Mendocino I would choose Mendocino and then Fort Bragg as my second choice. Eureka and Arcata aren't as charming.

For Yosemite my first choice would be Evergreen Lodge just outside the Big Oak Flat entrance. The Awahanee Hotel has the best and priciest dining option inside the park but personally it doesn't do much for me.

For Lake Tahoe, I recommend south shore staying as close to stateline as possible. Good choices are the Embassy Suites, Marriott Grand Residence or Harrah's. Incline Village on the north shore is an alternative, accomodations are generally priced higher than south shore. For other than gambling activities you could take the gondola to the top of Heavenly, hit the beaches on the west shore, rent kayaks, Emerald Bay or golf at Edgewood. I'm not a fan of the Tahoe Queen paddleboat but they do offer dinner cruises if you prefer.

For Lake Shasta I like the smaller towns of Dunsmuir or McCloud rather than Redding. In McCloud I have stayed at the Mercantile Hotel which is very nice. Food is pretty basic in this area, no great finds that I am aware of.
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Jul 1st, 2011, 11:14 PM
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oops -- you clearly said Shasta Lake and I processed "Lassen" - not sure where that came from

Shasta Lake is not really a place to stay unless you are camping (but bloody hot) or renting a houseboat.

Otherwise -- I'd give it a miss. Farther north like McCloud or Dunsmuir/Mt Shasta City would be better. Redding is an armpit (only a slight exaggeration) and if this is during the summer it can be hotter than hell. Nice park on the river (Turtle Bay and the sundial bridge) -- otherwise NO reason to visit Redding. But that will be a long drive. Tahoe City to McCloud will take about 5 hours -- from southshore about 45 minutes longer.

W/ only 2 nights I would not stay at the Evergreen Lodge. From there to Yosemite Valley would take more than an hour each way.
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Jul 4th, 2011, 03:35 PM
  #5
 
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From Monterey you are heading to Yosemite? Go east on Hwy.156/152/58 to Merced. Hit Hwy 140 up to Yosemite. I can't help much with places to stay, but staying in the Yosemite Valley would give you the best use of your time. Otherwise, El Portal. There is also a new shuttle service going from El Portal into Yosemite Valley.

As for heading to Tahoe, I would go over Tioga Pass and take Hwy. 395 up to Tahoe. Spectacular scenery!.

We prefer north shore of Lake Tahoe/Incline Village. We also enjoy Truckee.

Up near Mt. Shasta, we have stayed at the Mt. Shasta Resort. Very nice and I would stay again.

Good luck on your planning.
MichelleY is offline  
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Jul 4th, 2011, 04:22 PM
  #6
 
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seems like a lot of driving. Hope you have time to really enjoy the scenery and relax some. I agree about skipping o/n at Arcata, etc. Nice Victorians in Eureka but you will see plenty in SF. Mendo has nice B & B, Fort Bragg is more of a "fishing town" with motels if that is what you like with the harbors, etc. (sorry hope I don't offend you who live in Fort Bragg - it is a nice town) Yosemite Valley try Yosemite Lodge - not outrageous in prices and it is in the heart of the Valley with shuttles to take you everywhere or Curry Village but not the Tent Cabins unless you want to relive Grapes of Wrath! 2 nights is not enough time to really enjoy Yosemite. Is there a reason you are putting so much driving in your trip instead of seeing less and enjoying the areas you are in more?
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