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Vegas To Seattle - West Coast Trip 09


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#1 Mikey_Freedom

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:16 AM

Hi there, me and a few friends from Manchester, England have a flight booked into Las Vegas on 3rd August 09 and a flight booked out of Seattle on 17 August 09. In the two weeks we're in the US we are planning on renting a car and driving from Vegas to Seattle along the west coast and hopefully seeing as much of the coast as possible (I.E Big Sur, the Oregon coast...).

We are hoping to stay over in a few cities along the way such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francsico, possibly Portland, Oregon and finally ending up in Seattle. Places we may want to visit are the Grand Canyon (Possibly, as this is a bit of a diversion with it being a few hours drive North east of Las Vegas), Los Angeles (Sunset Stip etc...) Big Sur, San Francisco, the giant redwoods, Yosemite National Park, The Oregon Coast, maybe Portland, Crater Lake, Seattle, The Expirience Music Project, Hendrix's Grave,...Sites of particular interest are anything to do with music and places of 'outstanding natural beauty' I.E national parks, big sur etc...

We have until August to get our heads around how we're actually going to fit all of this into a trip and the route we will take etc...any advice on routes to take, things to see, places to stay/eat and anything related to what I have posted above would be much appreciated. I am also wary of trying to cram too much into a period of two weeks and any comment on whether seeing all of the above would fit into our time scale would also be welcome. We ideally want to avoid large motorways and take the smaller, more picaresque and winding roads along the coast in order to see as much of nature as possible. It may also be an idea to stay in smaller towns along the coast overnight rather than rushing through the driving in order to stop off at a major city in the evening.

Thanks in advance

Mike

Edited by Mikey_Freedom, 20 January 2009 - 05:20 AM.


#2 Dave Reese

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 10:20 AM

QUOTE (Mikey_Freedom @ Jan 20 2009, 05:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi there, me and a few friends from Manchester, England have a flight booked into Las Vegas on 3rd August 09 and a flight booked out of Seattle on 17 August 09. In the two weeks we're in the US we are planning on renting a car and driving from Vegas to Seattle along the west coast and hopefully seeing as much of the coast as possible (I.E Big Sur, the Oregon coast...).

We are hoping to stay over in a few cities along the way such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francsico, possibly Portland, Oregon and finally ending up in Seattle. Places we may want to visit are the Grand Canyon (Possibly, as this is a bit of a diversion with it being a few hours drive North east of Las Vegas), Los Angeles (Sunset Stip etc...) Big Sur, San Francisco, the giant redwoods, Yosemite National Park, The Oregon Coast, maybe Portland, Crater Lake, Seattle, The Expirience Music Project, Hendrix's Grave,...Sites of particular interest are anything to do with music and places of 'outstanding natural beauty' I.E national parks, big sur etc...


I would make the attempt to visit the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam even though you are starting in Las Vegas. You can use old Route 66 from the dam to the Grand Canyon, and then back track on the interstate if you want to make up time. I would not miss those two when you are so close.

#3 DennyG

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 11:31 AM

Ambitious? Yes, but only because there are so many places you'll want to stop and spend time. If you haven't already, I strongly suggest acquiring routing software such as DeLorme's Street Atlas or Microsoft's Streets & Trips. Plot out every site you want to visit and every neat two-lane you want to take to get there and you'll get estimates of the driving times involved. If the total time turns out to be three solid weeks of driving with no time to sleep or gaze into the Grand Canyon, you'll have to eliminate a few spots. biggrin.gif There are users of both Delorme & Microsoft products on this forum so you can likely get some help if needed.

One of my first thoughts on reading your post was that there are at least two "roads" in that area that should be considered along with your various destinations. If you do include the Grand Canyon, you'll have the option of traveling part of the way to or from there on a very nice section of Historic Route 66. Even if the Canyon doesn't make the final cut, you can still travel some of Route 66 between Barstow and Los Angeles. The other "road" I thought of is the Historic Columbia River Highway. It's a beautiful drive but, since it doesn't lead to any destination you've mentioned, it would have to be taken or not on its own merits. It would get you close to Mt Hood which is a pretty impressive sight.

You spoke of seeing the coast so I assume you're thinking of US-101 or CA-1. CA-1 is probably the prettiest and slowest. US-101 will typically be quicker and I-5 will, of course, be quicker than either. Likewise, I-40 or I-15 more or less parallel parts of Historic Route 66 and I-84 parallels the Historic Columbia River Highway. By trading a scenic route for a less attractive but faster one, you may be able to keep a destination in your agenda that would otherwise have to be dropped.

I'll suggest that staying in smaller towns is to be preferred over staying in major cities even if there's no rushing to get there. On a trip last year between Seattle and San Francisco, I stayed in Amanda Park, WA, Cascade Locks, Rhododendron, Yachats, & Gold Beach, OR, and Fort Bragg, CA. I doubt any of those are on your current "major cities" list but all had comfortable reasonably priced rooms and the locations were even sort of relaxing.

There are a couple of forum members living in the northwest who can answer specific questions and should show up with some more advice plus another member is planning on a drive much like your San Francisco to Seattle portion after following the Lincoln highway west. He'll be about a month ahead of you but maybe you can share thoughts during the planning phase. Lastly (and everyone but you knew this was coming) my journal of that trip with the Amanda Park overnight is here.

P.S., I've been to EMP and loved it.

#4 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 12:01 PM

First, Welcome to the American Road Forum!

I hope I can help as I have spent many years traveling the roads in the areas you plan to visit. Denny G has been everywhere, and though I tried to beat him to reply, I type too slowly! smile.gif And Roadhound here is also expert…but I have more than 20 years on him. wink.gif

I think any good travel guide will identify the most spectacular natural wonders, and the west is full of them. Two that you absolutely must see are the Grand Canyon and Yosemite because they are unique in all the world.

I think what I will do is take the places you noted and weave them into a very rough first draft of a trip as I might plan it. That will probably provide a good base for forum dialog.

First Draft will follow.

And Again, welcome!

Keep the Show on theRoad!

Dave.



#5 Mikey_Freedom

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 04:20 AM

Wow people here are friendly, positive and helpful. It makes a change from quite a few internet forums that I have browsed! Keep the advice coming guys it's much appreciated!

Mike

#6 roadhound

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 06:14 PM

QUOTE (Mikey_Freedom @ Jan 21 2009, 04:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wow people here are friendly, positive and helpful. It makes a change from quite a few internet forums that I have browsed! Keep the advice coming guys it's much appreciated!

Mike


This forum is full of folks that all know the best road to drive. We only ask that you share your journey with us.

Here's the route I would take.

First of all expect it to be hot in Vegas when you get there, like 110 degrees hot.

Grand Canyon and Route 66 between Kingman and Williams is a great drive if you don't mind backtracking a bit.

There is not much but desert to the North of Vegas including Death Valley National Park which you can easily expect to be above 115 degrees at that time of year. If you don't mind the heat and load yourself up with plenty of water you could pass through Death Valley to get to US 395. Take your time, watch your engine temp and don't overheat the brakes coming down the mountains.

If you're not up for driving through a furnace you could go south out of Vegas to Barstow and catch 395 just to the west of Barstow and head north from there.

395 takes you along the east side of the Sierra Nevada Range up to Mono Lake and Tioga Pass. Tioga Pass takes you into Yosemite National Park which is...well, it's Yosemite. Nothing else needs to be said. Unfortunately you may not see any of the waterfalls at that time of year because of the lateness in the summer combined with our current drought. Still worth seeing though.

From Yosemite you are less than a day from San Francisco and US 101. Taking US 101 north follows the Redwood Highway all the way to the Oregon border. Biggest damn trees you have ever seen and make sure you follow the Avenue of the Giants. For a side trip divert to the Mendicino Coast.

A few discussion about regarding the the Redwood Highway from last year.

http://americanroadm...p?showtopic=934

http://americanroadm...e...t=0&start=0



The Oregon Coast is simply spectacular with sand dunes and sea stacks. There are lots of campgrounds and parks along the whole route.

101 into Washington will loop around the Olympic Peninsula, which unfortunately I have never been to, but is on my bucket list.

Take the ferry across Puget Sound into Seattle. There is no better way to enter the Emerald City.

Good luck on your planning!

Roadhound

#7 Jennifer

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 12:12 PM

Hi there! Welcome aboard!

I can advise you less on the roads to take than other folks, since I have not been to that area of California. I have driven Route 66, so I have been along the stretch from Williams, Arizona, through Kingman, Needles, California, etc.

As Denny mentioned, I am one of those who is experienced with mapping software. I am a former user of MS Streets & Trips, and currently use DeLorme software. I have used Street Atlas, then moved briefly to Topo 7, which came with my new DeLorme GPS, the PN-40. I have since upgraded to a different mapping software DeLorme offers, that works with the PN-40 as well, but has an additional feature I wanted.

If you find that DeLorme mapping software fits in with your trip planning needs, and I can be of any help, just ask!

#8 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:29 PM

Roadhound has ventured a route, and I think it is generally excellent. I also prefer the east side of the Sierra Nevada (US395) over a trip into the LA Basin and up the California Coast, but I had the impression you were sort of committed to Sunset Strip and Big Sur.

Let me present an argument for missing Big Sur. It is a beautiful area, but in my mind no more so than the northern California and Oregon coasts. And it is crowded as the dickens in the summer, meaning traffic (often slow). I think you can get all of the costal beauty and interesting coastal towns you can imagine on your route without Big Sur.

Of course if you must see Sunset Strip, then the California coast is a nice, though busy drive. But if it were me, I would take US395 (given your plans to see the northern California and Oregon coasts). If you have ever seen any old American Westerns you will recognize the often used movie site at the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, and I promise you don’t have Mt Whitney in England! Then the drive over the Tioga Pass into Yosemite is like Snowdonia ten times over. And Mono Lake is a unique site.

I have the impression you may be young (I know you are younger than me!!! rolleyes.gif ), and I want to make another argument for doing US395. It is the “we took the road less traveled” and had a unique adventure. We discovered the “real” America. You can visit every site everyone else visits, or you can have bragging rights to places and experiences few overseas travelers even know about. You sort of have to decide which way to lean.

If you take US395 I can give you some little known specific locations you will want to visit. For example, one of the most poignant is the Manzanar internment camp where we imprisoned Japanese American citizens during WWII. There are spectacular volcanic formations in the area, and at Tom’s Place a genuine old, unchanged small western resort.

I want to make one more observation, and I don’t know how to do it without sounding negative dry.gif . Going from Las Vegas to Hollywood, you will enter the LA Basin traffic and mayhem at Cajon Pass about 20 miles out of San Bernardino, and you will be in the bowels of the freeway traffic pattern for 80 miles to get to Hollywood., Then you will be in urban sprawl and congestion all the way to Ventura and beyond as you escape. You really have to have a good reason to suffer that mess voluntarily.

Having “downed” the Sunset Strip and Big Sur route, let me now suppose you have good and compelling reasons for going that way. As you travel north plan to spend a little time exploring Santa Barbara. It is a big city, and pretty pricey, but it has used some of its wealth to preserve its Spanish – Early California heritage. The mission, the old downtown, and the beach front with its piers and restaurants are worth at least a few hours of your time. It is sort of Spanish cosmopolitan, or Early California chic cool.gif .

It would be a shame to take this route without visiting at least two missions. The one at Santa Barbara is fully “restored” which makes it like it never never ever was. But it is beautiful and interesting.

Given that you would leave the El Camino Real at San Luis Obispo to go toward Big Sur, I think I would suggest as a second mission La Purisima (Mission La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima ) near Lompoc. It is less restored and retains some of the feel of the original….I like it for that reason.

On the off chance that you end up staying in Lompoc for the night, take a trip to Jalama. It is hard to find on a map, but there is a county park there and I think the little restaurant and store are still in business. It is a surfer’s site, and windsurfer paradise. Down the beach is the Point Conception Lighthouse. Watch for the tide if you hike there.

On the way to Jalama you will be traveling the California outback as it was in 1840. It has been perhaps ten years since I was there, but since it is a huge old land grant, it probably is unchanged. It will probably be the only place on your trip where you can get a feeling for the unspoiled Early California life style. When I was last there ten years ago, there were still vaqueros riding the range…..but I imagine that day may be gone.

As you go north from San Luis Obispo on California 1 you may want to visit the Hearst Castle, a monument to his wealth. It is truly a beautiful, magnificent site, well worth a visit, but you have to book a tour well in advance (remember those crowds I mentioned?)

I have not been to Big Sur in 25 years (I get to spend time on the Oregon Coast often) so I will end this here and see what you think.

Oh, BTW, I live in Olympia, Washington, and know the northwest very well...so when we get there in our discussion, I'll give you the inside story tongue.gif !

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave


#9 roadhound

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 09:38 PM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Jan 22 2009, 02:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Roadhound has ventured a route, and I think it is generally excellent. I also prefer the east side of the Sierra Nevada (US395) over a trip into the LA Basin and up the California Coast, but I had the impression you were sort of committed to Sunset Strip and Big Sur.

Let me present an argument for missing Big Sur. It is a beautiful area, but in my mind no more so than the northern California and Oregon coasts. And it is crowded as the dickens in the summer, meaning traffic (often slow). I think you can get all of the costal beauty and interesting coastal towns you can imagine on your route without Big Sur.

Of course if you must see Sunset Strip, then the California coast is a nice, though busy drive. But if it were me, I would take US395 (given your plans to see the northern California and Oregon coasts). If you have ever seen any old American Westerns you will recognize the often used movie site at the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, and I promise you don’t have Mt Whitney in England! Then the drive over the Tioga Pass into Yosemite is like Snowdonia ten times over. And Mono Lake is a unique site.

I have the impression you may be young (I know you are younger than me!!! rolleyes.gif ), and I want to make another argument for doing US395. It is the “we took the road less traveled” and had a unique adventure. We discovered the “real” America. You can visit every site everyone else visits, or you can have bragging rights to places and experiences few overseas travelers even know about. You sort of have to decide which way to lean.

If you take US395 I can give you some little known specific locations you will want to visit. For example, one of the most poignant is the Manzanar internment camp where we imprisoned Japanese American citizens during WWII. There are spectacular volcanic formations in the area, and at Tom’s Place a genuine old, unchanged small western resort.

I want to make one more observation, and I don’t know how to do it without sounding negative dry.gif . Going from Las Vegas to Hollywood, you will enter the LA Basin traffic and mayhem at Cajon Pass about 20 miles out of San Bernardino, and you will be in the bowels of the freeway traffic pattern for 80 miles to get to Hollywood., Then you will be in urban sprawl and congestion all the way to Ventura and beyond as you escape. You really have to have a good reason to suffer that mess voluntarily.

Having “downed” the Sunset Strip and Big Sur route, let me now suppose you have good and compelling reasons for going that way. As you travel north plan to spend a little time exploring Santa Barbara. It is a big city, and pretty pricey, but it has used some of its wealth to preserve its Spanish – Early California heritage. The mission, the old downtown, and the beach front with its piers and restaurants are worth at least a few hours of your time. It is sort of Spanish cosmopolitan, or Early California chic cool.gif .

It would be a shame to take this route without visiting at least two missions. The one at Santa Barbara is fully “restored” which makes it like it never never ever was. But it is beautiful and interesting.

Given that you would leave the El Camino Real at San Luis Obispo to go toward Big Sur, I think I would suggest as a second mission La Purisima (Mission La Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima ) near Lompoc. It is less restored and retains some of the feel of the original….I like it for that reason.

On the off chance that you end up staying in Lompoc for the night, take a trip to Jalama. It is hard to find on a map, but there is a county park there and I think the little restaurant and store are still in business. It is a surfer’s site, and windsurfer paradise. Down the beach is the Point Conception Lighthouse. Watch for the tide if you hike there.

On the way to Jalama you will be traveling the California outback as it was in 1840. It has been perhaps ten years since I was there, but since it is a huge old land grant, it probably is unchanged. It will probably be the only place on your trip where you can get a feeling for the unspoiled Early California life style. When I was last there ten years ago, there were still vaqueros riding the range…..but I imagine that day may be gone.

As you go north from San Luis Obispo on California 1 you may want to visit the Hearst Castle, a monument to his wealth. It is truly a beautiful, magnificent site, well worth a visit, but you have to book a tour well in advance (remember those crowds I mentioned?)

I have not been to Big Sur in 25 years (I get to spend time on the Oregon Coast often) so I will end this here and see what you think.

Oh, BTW, I live in Olympia, Washington, and know the northwest very well...so when we get there in our discussion, I'll give you the inside story tongue.gif !

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave


A few comments.

First, it may not have been evident but I am not a big fan of Southern California which is why I recommended going the opposite direction. Like Keep said it is urban sprawl and congestion. However, there are a couple of attractions that I would venture there for (USS Midway Museum in San Diego, San Diego Aeronautical Museum, and the Planes of Fame Aviation Museum in Chino) just because they are unique enough to justify dealing with the urban sprawl and congestion. Plus, I would like to encourage you to spend your tourist dollars in Northern California.

The mission that Keep recommended is a good one but I also like Mission San Antonio de Padua on the Fort Hunter Ligget Military Reservation. Because it is on land once owned by William Randolph Hearst, and is now on an active Army base, it has no development around it and retains much of the original feel including the tanning tanks and irrigation systems used almost 200 years ago. However, you would need to stay on the El Camino Real (US 101) instead of visiting the Big Sur Coast.

Hearst Castle is an interesting visit if you want to see all of the treasures that he purchased in Europe and brought to California. It does require tickets for an allotted time and you will have difficulty getting on a tour if you don't purchase them in advance.

If you intend to drive California Highway 1 between Cambria and Carmel (the Big Sur Coast) plan on it taking a full day. It is a windy road with no room to pass the slower summer RV traffic that will no doubt be in front of you.

Roadhound




#10 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 12:53 PM

I also like Mission San Antonio, but I thought it was not on your probable route. It is so “off the beaten path” you may have it all to yourself…..but perhaps not in August. I also vaguely recall a road sign near the mission that led me to believe there was a back road to the coast from the mission, and the map confirms that.

When I was last there you drove right through the military reservation to get to the mission, which today may be a problem for non residents….I don’t know.

It appears Roadhound and I share some reservations about some parts of Southern California. I dislike the traffic and crowds, but others might find that exciting. I grew up there and worked there for many years and there are some truly splendid places to visit. For example, for young men, the beaches of Southern California have beauties probably found no where else in such abundance…and I’m not thinking only of trees and rocks rolleyes.gif . But the same is true around Santa Barbara. But I digress….

If you do come by way of Big Sur, I would not leave the coast, but rather follow it all the way to San Francisco, via Santa Cruz. You could also take the road through Boulder Creek and see some redwoods, but since you will also see them further north, you may prefer to stay right on the coast.

Roadhound is the pro on San Francisco, and he has recently been through the redwood empire.

I want to toss out a thought once you get past the redwoods and get near the Oregon California. border. I love the Oregon Coast, and you won’t go wrong taking that route….and I can give you some pointers, not to mention that American Road Magazine covers US101 very well. But by the time you reach Crescent City you may have seen a lot of the coast. You might consider swinging inland to visit Crater Lake, then travel up US 97 through the volcanic country around Bend, then across from Madras through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation to Portland, or around Mt Hood to Hood River and along the Columbia River to Portland.

I suggest this for several reasons. First Crater Lake is unsurpassed as a natural wonder, second, you have no volcanoes in England, and no countryside that is even remotely like that near Bend, you have no Indians in England, no volcanic peaks like Mt Hood, and no river canyon like the Columbia River Gorge. Don’t get me wrong, I love England and my wife and I have treasured our travels there…in part because what you have we don’t, and vise versa.

Just some thoughts…

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave



#11 mga707

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 11:16 PM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Jan 22 2009, 11:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Of course if you must see Sunset Strip, then the California coast is a nice, though busy drive. But if it were me, I would take US395 (given your plans to see the northern California and Oregon coasts). If you have ever seen any old American Westerns you will recognize the often used movie site at the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, and I promise you don’t have Mt Whitney in England! Then the drive over the Tioga Pass into Yosemite is like Snowdonia ten times over. And Mono Lake is a unique site.

I have the impression you may be young (I know you are younger than me!!! rolleyes.gif ), and I want to make another argument for doing US395. It is the “we took the road less traveled” and had a unique adventure. We discovered the “real” America. You can visit every site everyone else visits, or you can have bragging rights to places and experiences few overseas travelers even know about. You sort of have to decide which way to lean.

If you take US395 I can give you some little known specific locations you will want to visit. For example, one of the most poignant is the Manzanar internment camp where we imprisoned Japanese American citizens during WWII. There are spectacular volcanic formations in the area, and at Tom’s Place a genuine old, unchanged small western resort.


Dave


I second the US395 recommendation. It's a great drive all the way to Reno. But don't miss Bodie CA. It's probably the all-around best "real" ghost town in the whole USA (the best one I've been to, anyway), and as a CA state historic park, is relatively easy to get to (not far off of 395 north of Mono Lake) and is incredible well-preserved. I was there on New Year's Day about 15 years ago and it was simply an amazing place.


#12 Mikey_Freedom

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 03:17 AM

Hi guys, this is a quick msg to let people know that I haven't forgotten about this thread and that I appreciate everyone's help/suggestions so far. I realized that I should probably reply again on the thread to keep the interest in the topic going. The reason why haven't yet is because the other guys who I am going on the trip with live on the other side of the country (this is actually not very far in England!). We are trying to arrange a time when we can all get together and discuss the planning of the trip but as yet we have nothing to go on aside from our original idea. I have taken everything into account that has already been posted and will discuss all these options with the guys. Obviously we can plan through email etc but it's going to be easier to organize stuff in person. I will be seeing them regularly soon so our plan should start to gather steam soon enough...

The main issue seems to be whether to stick to our original route of visiting LA and Big Sur etc or go 'off the beaten track'. Both are appealing to me for different reasons and I'm sure my friends will be interested in the other options that have been suggested.

Thanks again

Mike

#13 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 11:10 AM

QUOTE (Mikey_Freedom @ Feb 5 2009, 12:17 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi guys, this is a quick msg to let people know that I haven't forgotten about this thread and that I appreciate everyone's help/suggestions so far. I realized that I should probably reply again on the thread to keep the interest in the topic going. The reason why haven't yet is because the other guys who I am going on the trip with live on the other side of the country (this is actually not very far in England!). We are trying to arrange a time when we can all get together and discuss the planning of the trip but as yet we have nothing to go on aside from our original idea. I have taken everything into account that has already been posted and will discuss all these options with the guys. Obviously we can plan through email etc but it's going to be easier to organize stuff in person. I will be seeing them regularly soon so our plan should start to gather steam soon enough...

The main issue seems to be whether to stick to our original route of visiting LA and Big Sur etc or go 'off the beaten track'. Both are appealing to me for different reasons and I'm sure my friends will be interested in the other options that have been suggested.

Thanks again

Mike


Hi Mike,

I appreciate the thoughtful note. I had concluded that we might have been "out of sync" with your thoughts, and I feel better knowing we are not. I think among the gang here we can give a practically 100% coverage of almost any route you might choose, so don't hesitate to describe the interests of members of the group and we can describe routes in terms of those interests...and maybe add some! I have driven every through road in California, Oregon and Washington at one time or another...but some many years ago!

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!

#14 DennyG

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 01:07 PM

We Yanks have a different perspective on driving all the way across the country to plan a trip elsewhere and mostly try to avoid it biggrin.gif

I just (re)noticed you're in Manchester and realized that I've been in your neighborhood a time or two. Our company has an office in Sheffield which I've visited but probably not for ten years or so. One visit also included the town of Blackpool which made a lasting impression on me. Tacky on such a grand scale that it's cool.

#15 Mikey_Freedom

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 02:00 PM

Hi. I'm actually originally from Scunthorpe which is near Sheffield and I went to University in Sheffield. The friends that I am going road tripping with live back home whilst I moved to Manchester a couple of years back. It's only about a one and a half hour drive back to 'Scunny' so it's pretty easy to meet up over a weekend and discuss our plans. My friend from Uni came from Blackpool and I visited it a couple of years ago for the first time - believe it or not, it's a renowned holiday destination for parents to take their young kids in these parts and is pretty infamous for it's bleakness/tackyness but also it's supposed 'charm'! I guess this gives you some idea why some English lads are so interested in checking out the west coast of the USA!

Mike

#16 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 04:06 PM

Yah, Denny….a cross country drive from Manchester would be about the same distance as my drive to have lunch with you in Hood River!

And as long as we are reminiscing about our trips to England, Sheila and I have flown into Manchester a couple of times and spent time in the Yorkshire Dales (favorite is Kettlewell, north of Skipton). You talk about wonderful countryside….the Brits have it all!

And they have some great two laneers, or more correctly, one lane plus hedgerows wink.gif . And some go back to the drovers’ day….but don’t get me started or I’ll be headed for England.

Sadly I understand the Londoners have bought most of Kettlewell by now for vacation homes and retirement. The day when the local shepherdess herded her sheep through the village in the morning, past the Kings Head Pub, and over the stone bridge to the high fields is probably long gone…but I have movies of it!!

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Dave


#17 Mikey_Freedom

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 06:12 PM

I'm back! My apologies again for leaving such large amounts of time in between posts. I realize I may have started the thread a bit prematurely but I have begun to research the route more intensely in the last few days and hope to be updating more often from now on.

I have decided to plot an LA route and a 'non-LA' route respectively. This will give me chance to weigh up the pros and cons of both and present them to my friends in a more coherent manner, which will hopefully help us to decide what the final trip is going to look like.

Personally, I am beginning to prefer the non-LA route that has been suggested. I must admit, the original inclusion of LA was mostly due to the fact that we were planning a 'West Coast' trip and LA seemed like an obvious place to visit before venturing up the rest of the coast. However, the more I think of specific things we want to visit/see/do there the more I realize that it doesn't really make for a very big list.

I suppose the original appeal of Southern California was the thought of the Sunset Strip nightlife etc..., and also notion of the 'classic' Californian lifestyle I.E beaches, palm tress, and the aforementioned beauties! I also have an interest in visiting places such as Big Sur, Santa Barbara and Monterey. However this is mainly due to what I imagine being the beautiful Californian coast. By the sound of it, Northern California is equally, if not more, impressive and I am warming to the idea of sacrificing southern California for a more interesting trip inland before finally heading to the coast when we go to San Francisco.

The majority of suggestions so far appear to favour the non-LA route and a rough idea of a trip is beginning to emerge. However, if anyone feels like plotting a more detailed route that DOES include LA and the southern California coast then that would also be appreciated. This will give me a more specific alternative root which I can then compare to the non LA one.

As a very rough sketch, I have made a brief outline of the Non-LA plan so far...

Land in Las Vegas.
'Historic Route 66' from the Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon.
Vegas to Barstow.
Take US 395 west of Barstow and head north.
395 along the east side of the Sierra Nevada Range up to Mono Lake and Tioga pass.
Possibly make a brief diversion to visit Bodie (ghost town)
Tioga pass leads to Yosemite National Park.
San Francisco is now 'less than a day away'
US 101 from San Francisco follows 'Redwood Highway' to the Oregon border
Swing inland to visit Crater Lake then travel up US 97 through volcanic country around 'Bend' then across from Madrass through the warn springs Indian reservation to Portland or around MT Hood to Hood River and along the Columbia River to Portland.
US 101 into Washington loops around the Olympic Peninsula.
Take the ferry across Puget Sound into Seattle.

I have left out specific places along the way but many that have been suggested I have found very interesting and I'm still considering which places we want to visit.

I am thinking about spending 2 or 3 days in Las Vegas when we arrive and maybe devoting one of those days to a 'day trip' to the Grand Canyon and also the Hoover Dam. Any suggestions as to whether it is plausible to fit this into one day are appreciated. I am also trying to figure out if it is better to go on a 'tour' or to drive ourselves there and back. Again, any advice would be helpful.

What I have written above is in no way solid, it's just an amalgamation of some of the ideas that have been floating around. Hopefully we will get chance to spend a bit of time in San Francisco, Portland and Seattle but I will go into more detail about that later...

Thanks

Mike



#18 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 08:22 PM

Mike,


Boy, the pressure grows when someone is actually considering the advice we have offered!

Before I venture into a hypothetical and not preferred trip into the LA Basin, let me try to overcome one deficiency of the recommended plan you have outlined. I have said before that there are no beauties like the beauties of the southern California beach towns. Until 5 years ago my son lived in Carlsbad and supped of its local charms, so I know of which I speak. And I lived there at one time. However, there is another town south of San Francisco that I believe has the Southern California ambiance, and that is Santa Cruz.

We have the long standing Roadhound (Rick), and the new Boy Named Sioux (Suey) from northern California who can tell you better than I can what Santa Cruz is like today, but it has the requisite beach and local birds, along with a vintage Roller Coaster and seaside attractions including casino. It was, and still might be, more So Cal than So Cal!

It can be reached from Yosemite by routes that avoid most of the dreadful traffic and monotony of the interstates in the Bay Area and east, could easily add a nice mission (San Juan Batista) and you might even visit Monterey / Carmel if you like. Pull out your map and look at going from Mariposa to the Hollister/ Gilroy area, then to Monterrey or Santa Cruz, then up the coast to SF….much, much better in my mind than the normal freeway routes! But don’t go there via San Jose….it was my home town for many years and unless you are looking for work in the digital world, miss it.

Rather than add here my “not preferred but if you must trip to LA,” I will pick that up later. Roadhound or Boy Named Sioux you are needed here!.

Dave

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#19 roadhound

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 10:00 PM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Mar 9 2009, 09:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Mike,


Boy, the pressure grows when someone is actually considering the advice we have offered!

Before I venture into a hypothetical and not preferred trip into the LA Basin, let me try to overcome one deficiency of the recommended plan you have outlined. I have said before that there are no beauties like the beauties of the southern California beach towns. Until 5 years ago my son lived in Carlsbad and supped of its local charms, so I know of which I speak. And I lived there at one time. However, there is another town south of San Francisco that I believe has the Southern California ambiance, and that is Santa Cruz.

We have the long standing Roadhound (Rick), and the new Boy Named Sioux (Suey) from northern California who can tell you better than I can what Santa Cruz is like today, but it has the requisite beach and local birds, along with a vintage Roller Coaster and seaside attractions including casino. It was, and still might be, more So Cal than So Cal!

It can be reached from Yosemite by routes that avoid most of the dreadful traffic and monotony of the interstates in the Bay Area and east, could easily add a nice mission (San Juan Batista) and you might even visit Monterey / Carmel if you like. Pull out your map and look at going from Mariposa to the Hollister/ Gilroy area, then to Monterrey or Santa Cruz, then up the coast to SF….much, much better in my mind than the normal freeway routes! But don’t go there via San Jose….it was my home town for many years and unless you are looking for work in the digital world, miss it.

Rather than add here my “not preferred but if you must trip to LA,” I will pick that up later. Roadhound or Boy Named Sioux you are needed here!.

Dave

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Keep it's like you read my mind. As I read Mikey's post I started thinking that instead of Yosemite-San Francisco you could cut across the Central Valley and hit the coast in Monterey (about a 4 hour drive from Mariposa via CA 140 and CA 152), then I read your post. It might also be worth considering going a little further south through Paso Robles and drive the entire Big Sur Coast up to Carmel.

The Carmel-Monterey-Santa Cruz area is worth the trip if you can work it in. Monterey was once a fishing/canning town that has turned to tourism to support itself. Even so, much of the Cannery Row feel that John Steinbeck wrote about can still be found there. Santa Cruz is a college town with all of the amenities you would expect of a college near the beach. Santa Cruz is the original Surf City. The town was hit pretty hard in 1989 by an Earthquake but they have done a great job of restoring their downtown area with lots of nice restaurants, coffee shops, and such. Stick to the coast to get into San Francisco like Keep recommends, not much to see going through San Jose,lots of traffic, and not as many jobs as there used to be.

However, if you do decide to go from Yosemite to San Francisco you will likely drive through the Altamont Pass where you can pay a quick pilgramage to the Altamont Speedway which was the sight of the infamous Rolling Stones concert in 1969.

I like the rest of your plan, wish I could go along. The diversion to Crater Lake and the volcanic area around Bend is a nice touch. During the summer months you will experience quite a difference in temperature between the inland areas and the coast. Be prepared for the difference in tempurature between the inland areas and the coast. During the summer months the swing can be as much 40 degrees F or more. There's a reason that the sweatshirt vendors on Fisherman's Wharf drive nice cars.


Roadhound

#20 Mikey_Freedom

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 03:24 AM

I really like the sound of Santa Cruz.

Has anyone got any thoughts on the Grand Canyon 'day trip' as I mentioned before?

Thanks

Mike




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