YOU HELPED WITH CALIFORNIA DRIVING TRIP

Old Dec 21st, 2012, 03:47 PM
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YOU HELPED WITH CALIFORNIA DRIVING TRIP

Thanks for all your help with our California Driving Trip. Lots of good suggestions and with your help, I think we came up with a workable itinerary.

As you suggested JanisJ, we looked up Yosemite Lodge on their website to book 2 rooms for 2 days, any dates the last 2 weeks of July through first 2 weeks of August. The Lodge was entirely booked. So, I called their phone number and was able to get a cancellation for 2 rooms at the Lodge on 8/4 and 8/5. So we will plan our trip around those dates. We are thinking about San Francisco for 3 days, Monteray/Carmel by the Sea for 2 Days, Cambria area for 2 days (Hearst Castle, Paso Robles Winery?), Yosemite for 2 days, Lake Tahoe for 2 days. So, if anyone has suggestions on lodging in those areas, and activities not to miss, that would be great. $150-$200 per night for lodging is about our limit....less is OK too !! Easytraveler thanks for the tips on what to wear during hiking, Banana slugs look interesting (ugh), also good tips on Poison Oak. Spirobulldog, where is Elkhorn Slough and why is that your favorite spot for kayaking? Thanks again one and all.
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Old Dec 21st, 2012, 04:47 PM
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Check out Moonstone beach by Cambria. Not sure of the rates but a great location.

see http://tinyurl.com/ch9bbx7, and

http://www.cambriachamber.org/motels-beach.php

There are also some great B & B's in the wineries along 46? - heading west from Paso Robles toward the Coast.

My wife's nephew and his new bride spent their Honeymoon at Justin - which they loved - but think it might cost a wee bit. There are others along there though. http://www.justinwine.com/
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Old Dec 21st, 2012, 05:00 PM
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Elkhorn Slough is just a bit north of Monterey(I don't know, maybe 30 minutes). You can kayak right at Monterey Bay with the same company. I like Elkhorn, because there isn't that many people there and there was a ton of wildlife. Otters banging rocks on their stomachs to crack open the shells is pretty cool. They pound the shells pretty hard and is fairly loud actually. We were close enough to two of them that we could actually hear them chewing/crunching the shells in their mouth as they ate. They usually are a little ways away from the boat, but I would imagine that most kayakers would be lucky enough to have a couple of them pop up fairly close to your boat. You are supposed to stay away from them, but they do pop up everywhere. Plenty of other marine life and birds there too. Probably allow 4-5 hours or so.

I am pretty sure this is the company I used.
http://www.montereybaykayaks.com/elkhorn_slough/

This is sea kayaking and is different than kayaking in a moving stream or river. I have only done both a handful of times, so I'm certainly no expert on kayaking. But we were very pleased by how much we enjoyed it.
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Old Dec 21st, 2012, 05:02 PM
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If Cambria is too pricey, check out lodging in Morro Bay.

Another poster here recommended this place in San Simeon:
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Old Dec 21st, 2012, 05:04 PM
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Sorry:

http://www.cavalierresort.com/
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Old Dec 21st, 2012, 05:10 PM
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I'm not sure how I missed your planning post, but I do like your itinerary. See that you are in Florida - me too - but I grew up in the SF Bay Area.

When I moved to the East Coast, I was really surprised by how warm it was at night. So, even though you are going in summer, be prepared for a big cool-off at night (light jacket, long pants). On the coast, it will be much damper and cooler than you are accustomed to, and at elevation the air will be quite dry - drink lots of water and you can reduce headaches.

I have a future trip planned to the Central Coast, and have one of the Moonstone Hotel properties on my lodging list. Take a look at them here: http://www.moonstonehotels.com/
Perhaps Cambria Pines Lodge, although it's not right on the ocean. http://www.cambriapineslodge.com/ Can't speak for them personally, but a suggestion.

Sounds like a great vacation.
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Old Dec 21st, 2012, 05:11 PM
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Tahoe you will want to look for lodging on the North Shore: Incline to Tahoe City. Lots of choices and prices. You may also want to check out Sunnyside on the West shore.

http://www.sunnysidetahoe
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Old Dec 21st, 2012, 05:25 PM
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Great that you got the Lodge!

Is that $150-$200 for all five of you? You'll need to bust your budget around Carmel.

So I'd economize by staying at Tahoe in one of the many inexpensive motels at south shore or in Kings Beach on the north shore. There are several decent ones that even in August will be less than $100 a room. So if you have to spend more in Carmel/Monterey and in Yosemite, the average per night will fit your budget.
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Old Dec 21st, 2012, 07:17 PM
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Yeah, forget Sunnyside. I just checked the rates iN August. Yikes!
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 10:09 AM
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I checked that Best Western MichelleY, in San Simeon (it is a great place, stayed there once before) and unfortunately both it and the BW in Cambria are over $200 a night, not including tax. Might have to stay in Morro Bay or Paso Robles to stay in that budget range, but there may be some cheaper places.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 10:42 AM
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You really should try to stay at least once Oceanfront while in California - and the Moonstone Beach by Cambria is as close as it gets. Suggest you consider going over your budget a bit there - and then you could stay at the more reasonably priced options just north of Monterrey - at Seaside or the Marina, which are perfectly fine and you just have to drive a few miles into Monterrey. http://tinyurl.com/ceswvlp,

Once in Monterrey/Cannery Row/Acquarium, or heading via 17 mile drive over to Carmel - you pretty much park and walk around - so IMO - where you stay in the Carmel/Monterrey area is not as important as say staying oceanfront/beachside elsewhere.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 10:46 AM
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And in Yosemite - some people pan it - but we have always had fun at Curry Village - and we have stayted in every accommodation on the Valley Floor. http://tinyurl.com/ctnu5p7

We request a quiet area - and have a good ole time, just like going back to camp. And the pool - while it does have some lively youngsters - has a super view - looking up at Glacier Point.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 10:50 AM
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And for San Francisco - you can find reasonably priced options in the Marina - my favorite being the Chelsea Inn - but along Lombard, some of the places can be noisey. http://www.chelseamotorinn.com/ There are some others on the side streets though - and some B & B's.

Also check what Stu Dudley shows for his lodging options/areas in SF.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Since you already have accommodations in Yosemite, I'd stick w/ the Lodge. (plus some of the 'quiet' parts of Curry Village are now off limits permanently).

Unfortunately, the Chelsea is not w/i the budget for 5 (that $200 is for all, five of you - right? Or is that per room?).
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 11:53 AM
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The Yosemite Lodge was over $250 per room per night. Wow. And I did look at lodging at Moonstone....$250 per night per room also. Hopefully, I will check out some of your other recommendations and the prices won't be as high. For the three of us that I know are going right now, we are looking at 2 rooms... $150 per room would more our speed. ($250 for each room X 12 days......that would break the bank, for sure).
So, any other lodging that you can think of.....3 star, clean, comfy, B & B's OK, I'm paying attention. By the way, sea kayaking at Elkhorn Slough looked fabulous !!
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 12:12 PM
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in general, B&Bs in CA are pricey so not likely doable in the areas you are traveling.

"For the three of us that I know are going right now, we are looking at 2 rooms... $150 per room would more our speed."

There are MANY places that will sleep 3 in a room if that is an option. That would really stretch the budget.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 12:36 PM
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You might also consider using Priceline for the San Francisco and Monterey areas. If you do, just have other reservations made that you can cancel, and bid close to your departure date. If you need advice on bidding strategies, there are several sites that are good for that (biddingfortravel, biddingtraveler, and others).
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 12:43 PM
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Priceline is good but in SF it only deals in doubles so you would have to bid for two rooms (not sure about whether Monterey has the 'doubles-only' limitation)

Hotwire is another option - still blind bidding but you can set criteria like a triple room.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 03:47 PM
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If you are trying to get two rooms for $150-$200 night total, (i.e. - for both) - that might be a challenge.

And if you find something for $250 that you like - for two nights - that's "only" another $100 total ($50 a night) - over your $200 limit - so I would try to work it in for a special place/time.

For a condo - not sure what the usual minimum stay is - or the cleaning fee - but a 1BR condo (with a pull out couch in the living room) might be something to consider, if you can find it.

You could consider a 1BR condo in the Carmel/Monterrey area for say three nights - and spend two days - and one night in the Cambria area - driving up/through Big Sur on the 2nd afternoon.

Once you arrived at your place - you're still close enough in Carmel/Monterrey to drive part way back down Big Sur if you wanted to see it again.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 04:43 PM
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Need 2 rooms each night at approximately $150 per room. Sorry if I didn't clarify that.
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