Yosemite + Monterey adventure - please help !

Old Jun 14th, 2006, 01:33 PM
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Yosemite + Monterey adventure - please help !

Hello Fodorites

We are an English couple in our late 20's and would be extremely grateful for some help with the first leg of our American adventure to Yosemite and Monterey on 7 - 11 October. The current plan is :

8pm on 6th October - arrive SFO airport from England (flight already booked). Stay night near the airport.

10AM on 7th - hire a car in San Fran and drive to Monterey (approx how many hours' drive, please?). Stay night in either Vagabonds B+B or Del Monte beach inn. (these were recommended on Tripadvisor)

8th - day in Carmel and Pacific Grove. Night in same place as 7th.

AM on 9th - drive from Monterey to Yosemite. I think this is Columbus Day so will things be closed / will the roads be extra busy ? Also, roughly how long will it take ? Night in Blackberry Inn or Yosemite Rose or Sunset Inn cabins.

10th - day in Yosemite. Night in same place as 9th.

11th - leave Yosemite and drive back to San Fran. 7pm - fly to Honolulu (for 5 days in Oahu).

Any advice will be gratefully received !

Many thanks.
Susie and Nik

PS. After Oahu we will have 3.5 days in San Fran city before flying back to England on 20th - but we'll deal with this part of the trip separately !

SusieR is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2006, 01:56 PM
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Near the airport to Monterey will be just about 2 hours.

In CA Columbus Day is really only a holiday for government agencies, banks and some schools. Pretty much everyone else works.

Your lodging choices are in Groveland so do a mapquest search for the route from Monterey to Groveland. You will not be able to use 140 inot the park due to the rock slide so you'll either enter Yosemite via Big Oak Flat near Groveland or through the south entrance on 41. Monterey to Groveland will be about 3.5 hours.
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Old Jun 14th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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Suzie---Won't they have the slide fixed by October?
enzian is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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The slide won't be fixed for a very long time that could stretch beyond a year.

Here's a link to more info:

Click on the pictures tab to see how bad it really is. The slide is currently really active so the slide is still going.
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Old Jun 14th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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What time to you arrive at SFO from the UK? The reason I ask is that it is a fairly easy drive to Monterey from SFO and if you arrive in the afternoon you might consider going to Monterey right away rather than spending to night at an airport hotel. I know some people would not consider driving after arriving, so this is just a suggestion.
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Old Jun 14th, 2006, 03:29 PM
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SAB: NO! They arrive at 8:00 p.m. - the flight will be at least 11 hours - AND they will have to convert to driving on the "wrong" side of the road. Their plan fo stay the night near SFO is perfect.

SusieR: Can you get a booking in Yosemite Valley? I know its a holiday - but not for most people - mainly just govt employees. Plus you are arriving at the end of the 3-day holiday weekend so most folks will be on their way home when you are arriving. Try Yosemite Lodge. MUCH better than staying outside the park/valley
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Old Jun 14th, 2006, 03:35 PM
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I agree about trying to stay in the park. Groveland is a nice place, but it is a bit of a drive from the park - it doesn't look like it is far, but the roads are narrow and twisty.

I also think it is a good call to stay near the airport the first night and get a fresh start the next morning. I don't think I would want to drive to Monterey after a long flight like that and I know the way

J_Correa is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2006, 04:09 PM
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Janis--I know how long the flight is from the UK, I've done it numerous times, I just didn't see the 8pm arrival time.
SAB is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2006, 05:21 PM
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Hi all

Thanks for your quick and very helpful replies.

SAB, Janis - I checked and our flight with Northwest arrives in SFO at 9.15pm (not 8pm, as I had thought) so, by the time we go through passport control, I think we'll be ready for a good night's sleep !

Suzie, Enzian - thanks for the info on the blocked road. So I think we will take the 101 from Monterey to San Jose, then the 680, 580 and 120 to Groveland or inside the park. Does that sound about right ? (and 3.5 hours I think you said).

Thanks Janis for the tips - I will look into accommodation within Yosemite (our budget is about $140 a night).

I also need to look into car hire and no doubt there are many options - so if anyone can recommend one for collection and return to SFO airport, that would be great.

Thanks once again. We're really looking forward to it!

SusieR is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2006, 06:03 PM
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On your drive from Monterey to Groveland you would not go to San Jose, that would be too far out of your way. Try this:

Driving north on 1 switch to 156. Then take 156 to 101 north. Your next job is to get to Pacheco Pass. To avoid going too far north you can exit on CA 25 toward Hollister but immediately turn left onto Bloomfield Ave to cut across to Pacheco Pass. Don't stay on 25. If you miss this you can catch Pacheco Pass Highway as you get to Gilroy. After you drive Pacheco Pass you will first get to I 5 and there are so many choices on how to get to Groveland after that. I don't usually go that way so I should probably let someone else pick up how to get there. We usually go to the south entrance when driving between Monterey and Yosemite.

Suzie is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2006, 11:59 AM
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Almo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty are all located in the rental car center at SFO, which is reachable by the airtrain (internal airport system). As to which would be better, check each for a rate and car that is acceptable to you, they are all major agencies.
SAB is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2006, 12:38 PM
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I'm driving from Monterey to Yosemite too, but in a week! Both Mapquest and Microsoft Streets & Trips gave me the same route to Groveland. It's just as Suzie says, but the part after Pacheco Pass is complicated to read, but not bad if you follow on the map. So, rather than copy it here for you, I'm going to suggest that you go to www.mapquest.com and get the directions straight from them.

Also, as I had to change my route because of the rockslide, and I played around a bit, I discovered that via Mariposa (currently closed) the distance to Yosemite Valley is 235mls, via Fish Camp the distance is 260.5mls and via Groveland, the distance is 243mls.
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