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toby2111

La-san Diego-vegas-san Fran-la.15 Days,advice Needed!

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Hi Everyone!!

 

My girlfriend and I from Ireland just booked flights for the trip of a lifetime this summer 2009.So,thought I'd try get advice on planning it....hopefully some of you guys can help!!

So,heres the deal.We land LAX 2pm Sat 27th June and am going to rent a car(Chevy Cobalt,Pontiac G6 etc) or maybe a Chevy Equinox as we plan to do a bit of driving.Heres a very rough itinerary,so please feel free to recommend changes or add on anything!!

 

*June 27th-Land LAX,pick up car/4x4,go south towards San Diego.Dont fancy staying in LA cos I was there before,didnt think much of it.

*28,29,30th June-Chill and explore San Diego.

*July 1,2,3-Hit Vegas and party hard!

*July 4th-Tempted to stay in Vegas for Independence Day but could be too costly so might head towards Death Valley,Yosemite,Tahoe and spend 4th,5th,6th July along here.

*7th,8th,9th,10th July-Pull into San Fran,chill and explore.

*11th,12th,13th July-Explore coast from SF to LA along route 1,maybe stay in Monterrey,Carmel,Santa Barbara etc.

*14th July-Arrive into LA,explore a little bit cos have early flight home on 15th July!!

 

So,thats about it folks!I might be taking on a bit too much but we both will share the driving.So basically looking for recommendations re: this trip and also any hints/tips re: car rental or just general good old friendly advice!!!

 

Much appreciated,

Toby

 

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Toby,

 

First, welcome to an Irishman and his colleen. I have enjoyed biking and driving a good deal of the Republic, but have not made it into Northern Ireland. But that was years ago.

 

It is a bit tough to tell you what you might enjoy until we get a bit more of an exchange of your interests here. But getting out of LA as soon as possible is a good idea. I worked about half way between LA and San Diego some years ago and know that area pretty well. I would take the least congested freeway available south from LAX as fast as the law allowed until I got down around San Juan Capistrano. You might swing in to visit the mission.

 

The section between there and Oceanside is all military base, so it is undeveloped, but also mostly inaccessible. Turn off at Oceanside and follow the coast highway south through Carlsbad all the way to San Diego. There are great surfing beaches and even glimpses of old California, lots of good places to eat and drink, especially for your probable age group, and you miss the ugly, dull freeway.

 

In San Diego I would go over to Coronado and the huge old resort there, and it will give you a taste of modern SoCal and the bay. Old Town San Diego is also worth a visit. You might enjoy SeaWorld and Mission Bay. The San Diego Wild Animal Park (may need advance reservations) where you ride trucks out among the wildlife is fun, if you like that sort of thing.

 

You will not want to go north through LA so take the freeway through Temecula and on to Las Vegas. There may be something along that route to see, but I’m thinking you will enjoy Las Vegas more than a streetcar museum! So set the cruse control and watch for the California Highway Patrol. I have nothing to ay about Las Vegas.

 

From Las Vegas you should go through Death Valley and up US 395. A stay at Furnase Creek right in Death Valley can be a kick. On 395 you and your girlfriend may enjoy a side trip to a Sierra Nevada lake or two. I recommend Convict Lake because it has a breathtaking setting…she might even find it romantic. Mammoth Lakes are not as spectacular but it is a ski area and well developed for travelers. June Lake is a smaller resort community, and is in a beautiful setting.

 

You have a decision to make at Lee Vining. You either go north and visit Lake Tahoe, or cross the mountains over the Tioga Pass and drop into Yosemite. The waterfalls in Yosemite in June should still be in good form with good flows….assuming there was a decent snowfall this winter, so I would opt for Tioga Pass.

 

Coming out of Yosemite I would make it a point to follow some of state 49 which takes you through California’s historic gold rush country. One of my favorite stops is Coulterville, because it is relatively undeveloped as a tourist trap. I guess if I came out at Mariposa I might drive as far north as Columbia before heading west to San Francisco.

 

I once got kicked off a travel site for posting that driving into San Francisco anytime before 10 AM, or after 2 PM was cruel and unusual punishment, and never go inbound on a Sunday afternoon or evening. Seems they only wanted positive comments….which made them a really bad place for honest advice. Ask Roadhound for advice on the Bay Area traffic, etc..

 

I lived for a while in San Francisco many many years ago and loved the place, but it has changed and I am no longer versed in what to see or do. Again, ask Roadhound. I do know the peninsula south of San Francisco, and my strong advice is to head south on State 1 toward Half moon Bay and Santa Cruz. You will enjoy the seaside and some interesting resort towns.

 

I am going to stop here and post this. Give us some more insights into your interests.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

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I can't offer much except to second Dave's Coronado suggestion and to recall that I really enjoyed some views and some food in La Jolla a long time ago. Fortunately there are west coast folk here who can really help with your plans.

 

Since you've already been to the States, you probably don't need this bit of advice but I'll mention that, for anyone from Ireland, purchasing anything with Light, Lite, or Coors on the label will likely soon be regretted. Las Vegas is a good show, but it is a show and leaving town for a drive to Red Rock or Hoover Dam could be a nice break. I was in San Francisco not too long ago (my son lives there) and stayed at the Pacific Heights Inn. I won't rave about it but you could do worse. It's within (fairly long) walking range of the Fisherman's Wharf area and for about $100 a day includes a place to park your car.

 

Regardless of the details, you'll be having a great time.

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I can't offer much except to second Dave's Coronado suggestion and to recall that I really enjoyed some views and some food in La Jolla a long time ago. Fortunately there are west coast folk here who can really help with your plans.

 

Since you've already been to the States, you probably don't need this bit of advice but I'll mention that, for anyone from Ireland, purchasing anything with Light, Lite, or Coors on the label will likely soon be regretted. Las Vegas is a good show, but it is a show and leaving town for a drive to Red Rock or Hoover Dam could be a nice break. I was in San Francisco not too long ago (my son lives there) and stayed at the Pacific Heights Inn. I won't rave about it but you could do worse. It's within (fairly long) walking range of the Fisherman's Wharf area and for about $100 a day includes a place to park your car.

 

Regardless of the details, you'll be having a great time.

 

Denny,

 

Good advice!

 

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!

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Hi Toby!

 

Sounds like you've got a perfect road trip planned - you've been wise enough to give yourself enough time visiting the places you're interested in to actually enjoy them. So many people I've met have over-planned themselves to the point that they're just running from place to place.

 

I've done a similar road trip (two trips actually) and I can recommend the following:

 

San Diego - I second all the recommendations already made, but add that you should try to see the Torrey Pines State Reserve while you're there. It's a gorgeous park right on the water with great views. Bottlenose dolphins often swim in the waters there and you can see them playing in the waves. The hiking terrain is really easy - you won't need more than a pair of sneakers.

 

Las Vegas - I'm sure you'll be gambling and hitting the bar and pool scene, but you might want to take an evening to go on one of the Mystery Adventures Tours. You'll get to decipher secret codes, work with a very realistic crime scene, and solve a mystery - it can be a fun way to get a break from the casinos (which you'll see plenty of during your three-day stay).

 

Rte 1 is my favorite road in the U.S. - amazing views of the Pacific throughout and lots of great places to stop along the way. Definitely check out Monterey - the aquarium there is the best I've ever seen. If you have time, try to stay in nearby Pacific Grove at the Asilomar - it's really a one-of-a-kind resort located on protected beach-front. Other highlights are Big Sur (Nepenthe is a great place to stop for a meal or just a drink), San Simeon (the Hearst Castle), and Cambria.

 

Have a great time!

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