I have 10 days between 2 weddings (first one in Grass Valley, California, second one in Cranbrook, BC, Canada). I am thinking of driving up the coast to visit the Redwood National Park. I will be travelling solo (female over 50) and I have never driven in North America before, although I have driven for many years in Europe. Is this a feasible enterprise? Any suggestions on itinerary, things to see, or other recommendations? I have also thought about Yosemite, Grand Canyon, etc. Thanks.
Driving is easy in America, though the speed limits are a pain. CDW is expensive but worth paying for. If you do not drop your car at the place you picked it up, there will be a heavy "one way" charge on it.
When I was last there, California hire companies didn't like you taking their cars outside of the state.
Generally Americans will fly even fairly short distances rather than driving.
When I was last there, California hire companies didn't like you taking their cars outside of the state
This depends on the agency you rent from, but you probably would have no problem driving from Sacramento/San Francisco to Portland, and then taking the train up to Vancouver. It's a definite no no to take a rental car into Canada. The problem being that Americans drive at speeds you might not be used to, and road signs will be completely different from Europe (roads/signs best in California, not quite as great in Oregon). I would stick to the Coast route if you have 10 days. Stop in San Francisco for 3 days, and then explore the Coast (you will be forced to use certain expressways on the drive - Highway 101). The Coast north of SF and in Oregon is spectacular.
Don't miss SF (or Vancouver) if you haven't seen it - the Paris of USA! You don't want a car in SF city (you could take a train from Sacramento-SF or Greyhound bus). Here's a few websites that you will need:
Train service to Canada
Transportation to Cranbrook BC
[ Edit: Edited on 17-May-2011, at 12:35 by Daawgon ]
Be sure to stop on the Sonoma/Marin Coast north of SF for some awesome scenery, great wine and wonderful smoked oysters
The seafood of choice in the Pacific NW in summer is salmon, and in winter it's Oregon Crab
[ Edit: Edited on 17-May-2011, at 14:27 by Daawgon ]
Many thanks for the info, suggestions and useful websites Cyberia and Daawgon. I'll check whether it's feasible to rent a car across states and if it is that's what I'll do, I'll take the coast route up to Portland. Do you mean the Americans drive very fast? How long do you think it will take from Grass Valley if I drive for 3-4 hours a day? I have visited SF before so I will not do so again on this trip. My main site would be the Redwoods. Do you have any suggestions where would be nice stops? My trip will be in mid September, so Salmon or Oregon Crab?
Because the seasons overlap in September, you should be able to get both Salmon and Oregon Crab at that time of year. Yum--I'm getting hungry now just thinking about it!
Thanks Calcruzer for the clarification. My feelings about this trip are very mixed, I am excited to go on this adventure but dread it at the same time. But at least I'll have the salmon and Oregon crab to look forward to . Thanks.
No reason to dread this trip. The drive from Grass Valley, CA up to British Columbia, Canada takes you through some of the best forests and most beautiful (although quite wild) beaches in the US. Stop at Lassen Volcanic Park, then Crater Lake to see the most clear, clean lake on the planet, and then up to Mt. St. Helens (site of a gigantic volcanic explosion back in 1980 that covered the entire NW section of the US) and then up to Seattle and Victoria/Vancouver--both great cities. And in September this is going to be a great weather trip as well. I've made this exact trip in September (although in the reverse direction) and enjoyed it immensely and just wished it lasted longer.