California/Nevada Trip!

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by Tideland Prius, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Alright guys so I'm planning a SF, LA and LV trip later this year.

    Do any of the local folks have suggestions for must-see places or little tips that only locals know? (how to get to places quicker or local restaurants/eateries?)

    It'll be a one week trip. First in SF/Palo Alto area, then drive down to LA and stay overnight then to LV for another overnighter. The last day will be a 10 hour drive back (According to Google).


    These are the places I have in mind:
    SF:
    Day 1
    - Stanford
    - Aquarium by the Bay
    - possibly Alcatraz

    Day 2
    - Yosemite Nat'l Park or Old Faithful + Winetasting in the Napa Valley

    Day 3
    - Drive to LA... Pac Coast Hwy?
    - Stop by Carmel
    - Stop by Hearst Castle

    Day 4
    - Farmers Market (what is it anyway?
    - Lexus of Newport (can't miss US' biggest dealership)

    Day 5
    - stop by Hoover Dam
    - Tour of LV

    Day 6
    - nothing planned

    Day 7
    - Drive back



    Now I haven't quite figured which days to stay and when to drive from LA to LV or SF to LA but I'll get that sorted out. It's just a rough itinerary for now.


    Any input would be greatly appreciated! (esp. good rest stops on the drive back)

    TIA!
     
  2. tleonhar

    tleonhar Senior Member

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    Just last weekend my wife an I did a trip to Sacramento and thanks to tips from our PC'rs in that area, we had a wonderful time! On the suggestion of Suffern Prius Envy, we toured Sutter's Fort and Old Sacramento, both are great spots to see. All in all, Sacramentoans can be rightfully proud of a very beautifull city! :)
     
  3. Sufferin' Prius Envy

    Sufferin' Prius Envy Platinum Member

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    Need more info.

    Day one you magically appear in San Francisco?
    What day of the week is that? It makes a big difference.

    Your itinerary as you have jotted down is quite bold . . . and probably not feasible.

    Avoid wine tasting in the Napa area on the weekends . . . unless you like massive crowds and waiting in line for everything - including traffic.

    If you can, I suggest making Yosemite your first stop, and spending a night there. This will save you from backtracking across the width of California.

    Choices for lodging in Yosemite Valley:

    Of course the Ahwahnee would be nice . . . but very expensive. BUT, by all means, DO have dinner or, if you are so lucky, Sunday Brunch at the Ahwahnee.

    Yosemite Lodge is nice . . . and well located. That would be my choice if I didn't want to cough up the money for the Ahwahnee.

    Curry Village. Also nice, but a little more remote. Avoid the canvas tent cabins if you want a good night sleep. My favorite are the cabins with bath. They are cute little individual or duplex units set out more in the natural areas rather than hotel type rooms in the village area.
    http://www.yosemitepark.com/Accommodations.aspx

    A favorite story the park rangers will tell regarding someone visiting Yosemite for a very short time:
    A man walked into the Yosemite Visitor Center and asked the ranger behind the desk, "I have only a couple of hours to see Yosemite, what should I do?"
    To that the ranger said, pointing out the door, "over here is a really beautiful meadow. I suggest you walk out in the middle, sit down, look at all the beautiful scenery around you . . . and cry."


    From Yosemite I would then go to the San Francisco Bay area. From there you can decide how you wish to spend your time . . . along with a day trip to Napa. The Old Faithful Geyser of California (I hope that is the one you mean :blink: ) is seriously just a little tourist stop good for about a half hour . . . but if you are in the area anyway, it's interesting.

    Just the drive down highway 1 is a two day event. That could throw off the rest of the timing for your trip.

    And a good number to have 1-800-427-7623 . . . voice activated road condition information from California Dept. of Transportation.
     
  4. Devil's Advocate

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    Drive and hike through Red Rock canyon. Easy access and pretty cool.
     
  5. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Everyone has their own interests that affect what they'd see, but I can offer a few suggestions based on what I'd do. Aside from visiting friends and relatives, which could be two weeks by itself, I'd head to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, and spend an afternoon riding streetcars in San Francisco. Stops in the dunes of Oregon and the redwoods of NoCal would be on the list, as would a night in the desert far from the city lights, just to gaze at the stars. No, not the ones in Hollywood. :)

    One of these years I hope to be in Battle Mountain, Nevada during the first week of October to watch the bicycle speed championships. If you're heading further down the coast than San Fran, a day at the beach in Big Sur is not to be missed.
     
  6. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    While in LV, see Cirque du Soleil. LV is their U.S. home, and there are generally 4 or 5 different shows running concurrently at different venues.
     
  7. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

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    Whatever you do, don't drive to Las Vegas on a Friday or from Las Vegas to LA on a Sunday. You'll be in an eight hour traffic jam.

    In Las Vegas, do what the locals do:

    Get a frozen custard at Luv-It Frozen Custard
    Eat a Dutch Baby or Apple Pancake at the Original Pancake House (ok, I know they have these everywhere)
    Help me clean my garage and skim leaves out of the pool :lol:
     
  8. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    sweet! Great suggestions everyone, thanks! How'd lodging for LA and LV? Something like Sandman or Best Western (is BW too expensive?). I'll be on a student budget.

    The individual replies are below :)

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tleonhar @ Oct 12 2007, 11:50 AM) [snapback]524744[/snapback]</div>
    Sutter's Fort eh? So, will there be bunkers and old cannons lying around (I've been to a few old Forts back in Asia).

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Sufferin' Prius Envy @ Oct 12 2007, 01:40 PM) [snapback]524809[/snapback]</div>
    Thanks for the number!

    Yes, I magically appear there. Don't you know the secret password on the Prius? haha. No, I'm probably gonna fly down mid week. (So I'll arrive on a Wed or Thurs)

    Ok, I'll take the first bit and do Yosemite instead of the second option of Geyser + winetasting. The thing is that my friend has a place down there so I'll be staying there for the first few days. But if Yosemite is worth the overnight stay, I'll bring that up and see if my friend's up for it. Is it more like a camping trip or a normal overnight stay at the lodge? I'll bring boots but I have no intentions of bringing tents and stuff.

    Hmm.. the drive's that long? I was just thinking of taking the part of Pac Hwy from SF to Carmel then hop back to the major interstate to LA.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Devil's Advocate @ Oct 12 2007, 02:01 PM) [snapback]524822[/snapback]</div>

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(hyo silver @ Oct 12 2007, 04:48 PM) [snapback]524900[/snapback]</div>
    True but I'm just basically letting you guys throw anything and everything so I can pick and choose :p . Hmm, that's two suggestions for SAC. I'll see if I can fit it in. I won't be passing through OR or anywhere north of SF (well except Yosemite and Napa)

    How far is Big Sur from Carmel? cause we were using Carmel as the beach stop lol.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(daniel @ Oct 12 2007, 05:10 PM) [snapback]524909[/snapback]</div>
    interesting! That'll help fill in the LV time. I'll see if my friend's interested in that too and we'll check the times.
     
  9. IsrAmeriPrius

    IsrAmeriPrius Progressive Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tideland Prius @ Oct 12 2007, 11:37 AM) [snapback]524735[/snapback]</div>
    The Farmers Market is a nice place to spend a few hours, but I certainly would not select it as the one site to see in L.A. during a lightening quick trip.

    P.S. The closest thing to Los Angeles' Farmers Market in Vancouver, B.C., is the Granville Island Public Market.
     
  10. bestmapman

    bestmapman 04, 07 ,08, 09, 10 and 16 Pri

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    In Vegas stay at Sam's Town. Nice hotel, inexpensive rates.
     
  11. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(IsrAmeriPrius @ Oct 12 2007, 06:19 PM) [snapback]524936[/snapback]</div>
    ahh thanks for the comparo. Ok, it's not too bad I suppose and ya probably only an hour or two. I was thinking Pikes Place in Seattle but Granville Island might be closer.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(bestmapman @ Oct 12 2007, 07:42 PM) [snapback]524971[/snapback]</div>
    cool, I'll check it out! It's in the suburbs of LV I assume??
     
  12. Jack Kelly

    Jack Kelly New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tideland Prius @ Oct 12 2007, 10:37 AM) [snapback]524735[/snapback]</div>
    1. Don't spend more than a minute on Alcatraz; you can see it from several vantage points downtown and in the "North Beach" area, anyway, including Coit Tower (interesting) and the Presidio (from where you can see both the Pacific Ocean side and the Bay side of the G.G. Bridge.)

    2. PCH (as we call it here) south to San Simeon (Hearst) is so winding it's hard to average more than 35 MPH safely. And you can't "stop by" Hearst; it's at least a 2-3-hr. commitment. You park in a lot just off PCH and take a bus a few miles up to the "Castle" (after having chosen from among several tour options, varying in length and price). If you take even the shortest tour, don't short-change it (and yourself). There's simply too much to see up there. Depending on what time you leave S.F., you'll be lucky to make it to San Simeon in time for a tour.

    3. Hoover Dam is worth going out of the way (or was for me). Best advice in Vegas is to avoid getting hypnotized by the slots in one casino and spending the better part of a day in it.

    You have one unplanned day: can it be spent in S.F. or L.A.? If it could be spent in L.A., my recommendation would be to visit what I consider the Unheralded Gem of Southern California: Huntington Library and Gardens in E. Pasadena. Especially if it's anything above 67 degrees F and you're "into" plant life at all, it's a spectacular---yet relaxing---collection of flora from all over the world, well-maintained and labeled. And it's spread over 120 acres, so it's not a "stop by" proposition, either. Check it out online.

    If your "extra" day can be spent in S.F., I (and others) can make a zillion further suggestions for things to see/do. Personally, I would not spend the time, at this time of year, to go to Yosemite. For a day trip, I recommend Sequoia N.P. way above Yosemite, though it's a bit farther to get to. Either way, you'll travel on some fairly slow roads way SE of S.F., once you get off the freeway.
     
  13. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

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    Almost forgot - on the way to Las Vegas, stop in Baker, CA and see the worlds largest thermometer at the Bun Boy restaurant.
     
  14. Betelgeuse

    Betelgeuse Active Member

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    So, I'll give a little advice on the first part of your itinerary. First off, I have to disagree with Jack and I highly recommend Alcatraz. My mom works for the company that used to send boats to Alcatraz and the trip is quite enjoyable (note that I'm not just trying to hock the trips, since the contract to send people out to the island has since gone to another vendor). You can get great views of SF and the audio tour around the cell block is a lot of fun. If you want to go there, you should definitely get tickets in advance. Even on a week day in the fall/winter, the trips can sell out.

    As far as the aquarium, if you have the time, I strongly recommend the Monterey Bay Aquarium over the "Aquarium by the Bay." The Monterey Aquarium is BY FAR the best Aquarium I have ever been to, while the one in SF is just OK. Monterey is a ~2 hour drive from SF, so you may not have the time in your trip, but it's absolutely worth making time for, if you can. (Note that, again, I'm sending business away from my family, since the company that my Mom works for also owns/runs the Aquarium of the Bay :) ). Monterey is also a cute and fun town, and on your way down to LA, if you wanted to stop along the way.
     
  15. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    Get your tickets to Cirque du Soleil early. They can sell out fast. They are very popular, and for good reason. They may be expensive (the best seats definitely are) but well worth the price.
     
  16. tleonhar

    tleonhar Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tideland Prius @ Oct 12 2007, 07:54 PM) [snapback]524923[/snapback]</div>
    Yes, plus it's a self guided tour, as you approach each stop on the tour, a recording starts and explains the significance. Plan to spend about an hour on the tour. Enjoy...
     
  17. aforkosh

    aforkosh Active Member

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    1) If you're going in winter, substitue Death Valley for the Sierra National Parks. I second the notion to go to Red Rock when you're in Las Vegas. If you go, don't immediately head for the loop road; keep going a view miles down the highway to the Vista Point and then head back to the loop.

    Here are some links for some pictures from November 2005:

    Death Valley

    Red Rock Panorama

    Red Rock Scenic Drive
     
  18. MarinJohn

    MarinJohn Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tideland Prius @ Oct 12 2007, 10:37 AM) [snapback]524735[/snapback]</div>
     
  19. IsrAmeriPrius

    IsrAmeriPrius Progressive Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Betelgeuse @ Oct 13 2007, 07:04 AM) [snapback]525083[/snapback]</div>
    Well, if you are going to drive south from San Francisco to Hearst Castle, you'll be on PCH (CA Route 1) for at least the latter portion of that drive and be passing through Monterey.
     
  20. Sufferin' Prius Envy

    Sufferin' Prius Envy Platinum Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Tideland Prius @ Oct 12 2007, 05:54 PM) [snapback]524923[/snapback]</div>
    An overnight in Yosemite is so worth it!
    Yes, you could do Yosemite as a day trip, but your time there would be severely limited with all the driving you have to account for for one day. Yosemite is also beautiful at night and at sunrise . . . watching the steam and mist rising with the sunlight. You won't feel rushed trying to get everything done in just an afternoon.

    On a student budget? I'd then opt for the heated canvas tent cabins at Curry Village. They are wood frame floors raised a couple of feet of the ground and have metal frame beds with pillows, linen, and blankets . . . but I'd bring extra blankets or a sleeping bag just in case.
    The link I provided above has the reservation information.

    In California, the coast highway (highway 1) is named the Cabrillo Highway on the central coast, Shoreline Highway north of San Francisco, and the Pacific Coast Highway in the south. The central coast is beautiful, but it does take a long time to drive. If you jump off near Monterey for highway 101, you will miss the most beautiful parts . . . not to mention Hearst Castle and the Big Sur area.

    Time wise, Sacramento would be out of the question for you on this trip.
    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(aforkosh @ Oct 13 2007, 10:50 AM) [snapback]525172[/snapback]</div>
    Don't let that scare you away from Yosemite! Winter, which it isn't yet, is by far the most beautiful season in Yosemite . . . besides, the crowds are far smaller.

    As you can see from the web cam images and page, all the roads are still open in Yosemite . . . even 9945 feet (3031m) Tioga Pass (Highway 120) - the entrance from the east . . .
    http://www.yosemite.org/vryos/
    http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

    . . . which leads to the possibility of you doing the trip in a clockwise (facing north) motion and seeing Yosemite's high country . . . Tuolumne Meadows and then exiting out the east to Mono Lake and Death Valley on your way to Las Vegas . . . before going to the Los Angeles area. :D :D :D

    Me personally, I would opt for this and give up the central coast . . . after all, you will see some of it in the San Francisco area.

    http://jrabold.net/yosemite/intro2high.htm
    http://www.monolake.org/photogallery/photo.htm
    http://gorp.away.com/gorp/resource/us_nati...rk/ca_death.htm
    http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&ll...mp;z=7&om=1
     
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