Hi there, we are about to book a trip to San Francisco - flying from Glasgow to London and then onto San Fran. We are then hiring an RV and looking to drive from San Fran to LA, then onto Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Las Vegas, up to Sacramento, and then back to San Fran for 2 nights before flying home.
Is there a website where I can plan this trip to see how many miles are involved, and whether this trip is feasible to travel in the timescale we have.
Any help would be appreciated. Also, any tips on where else to visit would be greatly received.
SF to LA one day. LA to GCyn one day. GC to LV one day. LV to DValy one day. Death Valley will be VERY hot in the summer, 40C or above. Las Vegas will be almost as hot, but you will be in the air-conditioned casinos. I put LV before DV because coming from GC you have to pass through LV to get to DV. From DV to Sacramento there is a mountain range in the way. You have to go back to LA then north to Sac or go north from DV to Reno or exit DV on the west side and take hwy395 north to Lee Vining and drive across Yosemite Nat Park. The last way is the best way but if you're too early in the season the road across YNP will still be closed by snow. Death valley to Sacramento will take two days. What month are you planning your trip?
Do you have a auto club in the UK? If you're a member they would probably be a BIG help.
The time of year to be traveled would be critical for this routing unless you enjoy extremely hot temps? The other problem (assume you've never been in the area?) is that much of the route depends on very boring Interstate highway travel (SF to LA for instance) - nothing at all to see except a straight line of concrete for 400 miles. You might change the itinerary to something like this - a one-way trip SF to Sacramento to Yosemite National Park (over the Tioga Pass at 10,000 ft.) to Las Vegas and Grand Canyon. The Tioga Pass is snow covered much of the year and can only be driven during warmer months. This route takes you through Yosemite* where you see the giant redwoods and spectacular waterfalls (best in late Spring), not to mention the wilds of the mountains where you see wildlife, wildflowers in bloom, etc.
Actually, it might be better all around if you combine RV with air travel - these distances are vast, and gas prices are approaching $4.00 a gallon (highest in SF Bay area). I don't know if CruiseAmerica or other rental agencies charge a drop fee or not? Under no circumstances rent from an individual - I've read true horror stories about RV's breaking down enroute, and remember that we Americans do not drive slowly at all (in LA 80 mph is the common freeway speed, regardless of posted max speeds!)
Are you aware of the fact that the area north of SF is much more natural and beautiful than the south? It's also cheaper - in Oregon we have no sales tax at all, and we have excellent seafood and great whitewater rafting and fishing. (It's also much less crowded and extremely RV friendly).
- Yosemite is bumper-to-bumper with tourists in mid-summer, beware!
[ Edit: Edited on Apr 24, 2008, at 1:14 PM by Daawgon ]
Maybe it's because I live in a redwood forest 365 days a year, but I find the wide-open desert vistas to be very awe-inspiring. I actual regret flying to Las Vegas sometimes as opposed to driving from San Francisco.
I do agree that the area from northern San Francisco to about 1/3rd of the way up through Oregon is extremely underrated as to its beauty and natural wonders, however. It has the world's largest redwood park, a volcanic national park, a naturally formed lake in a meteor crater that is about 2 miles in diameter, one of the best Shakespeare festivals in the US (in Ashland), great winery areas and wonderful beach vistas, and a beautiful, large mountain (Mt. Shasta) with a gigantic clear-water lake at its base.
All depends upon what one wants to see I suppose.
Oh, and it also has the "Trees of Mystery", which I found to definitely be worth a visit.