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west america road trip

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21. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

You can take a city bus or a tourist bus out to the Golden Gate Bridge from Fisherman's Wharf (or take a taxi). The cost would be about $1.50 each way (city bus), $3.00 each way (tourist bus), or $5.00 each way (taxi).

If you are going that way, be aware that the Palace of Fine Arts is on the way as also is the Exploratorium Museum. It is for this reason that I'd take either the tourist bus or a taxi rather than a city bus (which would probably bypass these two attractions).

Here's a picture of the Palace of Fine Arts:

22. Posted by dannyjebb (Budding Member 15 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

thanks for the advice. Would you say that 2 days in san francisco would be enough? just trying to see when to delay hiring the car until.


23. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

It depends on what you want to do really. If you have plans for museums, or touring wine country etc you'll need more time, but if you're just going to see the city in general and perhaps take a trip to Alcatraz, then two days will do.

24. Posted by dannyjebb (Budding Member 15 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

yeh that all were thinking of doin really more interested in seeing the "out of city" sights :) the major problem now is getting a hire car because i dont have a credit card :( and also was hoping to fly back on 31st may but it appears that is a public holiday so the car rental place is shut....but would it be worth planning out trip so we are in 1 of the major cities on the 31st?


25. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

You could always try to shift your travel by a day or two, if you don't want to do additional planning on day trips from SF. Don't get me wrong, they're great and lots of fun, but it'll also inevitably add on more costs, so it's up to you on how you want to balance things up and how much you can spend.

It is difficult for reservations, not just for car hire, but also for accommodation etc without a credit card. Is there a way you can look into getting one now? If you worry about overspending and creating a credit card debt, you know you can always transfer your travelling fund to your credit card account, thus effectively putting it in debit and you can therefore use it like a debit card, only it'll have credit facility if you do somehow find yourself a little short of funding. Besides, certain credit cards come with insurance option, that will be of advantage than if you pay things by cash. You'll need to check with credit card provider on that front.

26. Posted by dannyjebb (Budding Member 15 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

that sound slike a really good idea thanks. what do you think of this travel plan I have looked at
Day 1 arrive in San Fran
Day 2 spent looking around San Fran
Day 3 drive up to lake tahoe and down to yosemite
Day 4 drive through yosemite and death valley to Las Vegas
Day5-6 in Las Vegas
Day 7 drive to grand Canyon
Day 8 Grand canyon
Day 9 drive through painted desert and petrified forest down to arizona
Day 10-11 Arizona moving down to phoenix
Day 12 drive to Joshua tree national park
Day 13 drive to Palm springs
Day 14 drive to LA
Day 15-16 in LA
Day 18 drive up the coastal road to San Fran
Day 19 home :(

does that sound like it is plausible? or have i unverestimated some of the distances involved? have I missed any MUST see places

Thanks Danny

27. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Danny, you seem to be rushing the first few days, trying to fit in several large national parks whereas later in the trip, you're allocating more time than required e.g. 2 day to drive Phoenix (which is in Arizona)? It's nearly crazy to want to drive from Yosemite to Death Valley to Las Vegas all in a day!

I've not been to Lake Tahoe, so I don't know much of it, but a quick look at Wikitravel says you should check the weather in case it snows there, and it'll be advisable to have snow chain. Maybe someone who has been there or live nearby can elucidate this? And it'll also appear Lake Tahoe is sort of out of the way to connect to Yosemite... (Personally, I'll skip it Lake Tahoe)

If I am rejuggling this itinerary, it may look something like the following (bearing in mind you're likely to do more driving sight-seeing rather than stopping for walks etc at the national parks):

Days 1-2 - Arrival SF, exploring SF

Day 3 - Drive to Lake Tahoe (SF to Tahoe City : 3.5 hours)

Day 4 - Drive Lake Tahoe to Yosemite (TC to Yosemite : 6 hours)

Day 5 - Yosemite

Day 6 - Drive to Death Valley (Yosemite to DV : between 9-10 hours!, about 8 hours if Tioga Pass is open)
(as previously mentioned, it's hard to know re Tioga Pass in May, as evident from this table)

Day 7 - Drive to Las Vegas (DV to LV : 3 hours)
Days 8-9 - Las Vegas

Day 10 - Drive to Grand Canyon (LV to GC : 5 hours)
Day 11 - Grand Canyon

Day 12 - Drive to Antelope Canyon (GC to AC : 3.5 hours), take a tour of Antelope Canyon; (stay overnight at Page?)

Day 13 - Drive to Painted Desert and Petrified Forest (AC to PD/PF : 3.5 - 4 hours), drive through PD/PF; (overnight Flagstaff)

Day 14 - Drive Flagstaff to 29 Palms via drive by Joshua Tree National Park (8-9 hours); (overnight 29 Palms)

Day 15 - Drive to LA (29 Palms to LA : 2.5 - 3 hours), LA exploration
Day 16-17 - In LA

Day 18 - Drive coastal route LA to SF (LA to SF : 8-9 hours)

Day 19 - Flight home

This is my personal estimation and preferred itinerary. Perhaps someone who's familiar with the area could chip in their opinion too. I've inserted Antelope Canyon and remove Palm Springs, as I believe Antelope Canyon is much more interesting than Palm Springs. I don't quite know what you mean by Arizona (since Arizona is a state) and there isn't much in Phoenix.

28. Posted by dannyjebb (Budding Member 15 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

was just basically gonna drive through arizona down to phoenix and onwards from there. thanks for your updated itinery I wasnt so sure about the distances and how long it takes to travel there. yours is a great help. we are gonna plan our stay around staying in las vegas on the 19 and 20th may, because we have found some cheap deals on the good hotels there like the luxor hotel and bellagio..I think we will be constantly changin our minds though as we find new areas to visit....wot is there in 29 palms? i cant find it online


29. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

29 Palms (or Twentynine Palms) is just a small, small town at the Oasis of Mara by Joshua Tree National Park. After a long driving day, it is a convenient place to stop for staying overnight, before continuing the next day. There isn't much there if you're trying to sightsee, but it is oh so tranquil.

To plan your driving route ahead, you can use a combination of the following:
1) directions as per given by relevant national park website
2) google map
3) mapquest

30. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Personally, I would try to allow more than one day to go back from LA to SF. It can be done as quickly as 6-7 hours if one travels through the Central Valley (I-5), which is probably one of the ugliest highways on the planet.

However, if you want to actually go the coastal route, and to possibly stop along the way and maybe see places like Santa Barbara, Solvang, Monterey, Carmel, Pismo Beach or Hearst Castle, you'll need two days at least. (The coast road from Morro Bay to Carmel can only be driven at 30-40 miles per hour--so if you are short on time, stay on US Highway 101 for this section of the drive.

In my opinion, this trip along the coastal area from LA to SF would actually be one the highlights of your trip. Besides--after driving as far as you will during your first 17 days, you'll need a bit of a break on Day 18 instead of driving 480 miles nonstop. I think I'd shorten up my stay in LA and go as far as Santa Barbara or Solvang on Day 17 (about a 3 to 4 hour drive)--and then take the next day to go on up to SF.