California dreaming...

Discussion in 'New York/US' started by felixthecat, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    Ok, a combination of late mid life crisis and a bit of back pay has resulted in me not spending the money on something sensible but booking flights to LA in May next year instead:facepalm:

    Tips and advice for a lone traveller please? I will start and finish in LA but plan on driving as far as SF. I'm already checking out airbnbs, which I think is the way to go for someone travelling alone
  2. scifisam

    scifisam feck! arse! girls! drink!

    If you're not dead-set on going to San Fran, then going South to San Diego and East to Vegas and the Grand Canyon are great options. There's a lot of pretty or not so pretty nothing between LA and San Francisco and not much to do whereas you can drive to Vegas in a day easily and then either drive to the Grand Canyon or get one of the many cheap coach trips out there. Route 66 doesnt really exist any more but visiting the stops on the remaining bits is an experience in itself.

    There's tons to see and do in LA itself. Skyscraper can probably tell you more but the Huntingdon, La Brea (tar pits - an anthropological museum near tonthe fantastic art museum) and basically so many things are well worth visiting.

    In May, pack jumpers or hoodies or possibly just pack one and buy more there, but prepare for cold. It can get really cold in the evenings even in LA (last time I went was last May). San Francisco will be chilly.
    felixthecat likes this.
  3. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    I'm there for 19 days so I've got a reasonable amount of time I guess. I'm open to.pretty much any suggestions!
  4. Maltin

    Maltin Well-Known Member

    I think the drive to SF along the coast is pretty nice and prefer SF to LA. I don't particularly like LA or think there is much to do there. I preferred it the second time more than the first as I had a car but I still don't like the idea of having to drive everywhere to explore the place.

    Not far from SF you can also go enjoy the wine country of Sonoma and Napa.

    If you like parks, Yosemite is very good and might be interesting to also go to Sequoia, Joshua Tree and Death Valley national parks.

    With 19 days you have time to see quite a lot.
    a_chap and felixthecat like this.
  5. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up


    On the coast between Sf and LA is the Madonna Inn and spa (no relation to her madgesty).

    It's widely accepted as the kitchest hotel in the world. Totally on my personal bucket list.
    equationgirl and bubblesmcgrath like this.
  6. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    That's in SLO which is on my preliminary itinerary. Hmm...
    spanglechick likes this.
  7. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    Ok anyone got any views on this as an itinerary?

    Arrive LA afternoon 5th May
    Leave LA morning 9th May
    (Santa Barbara/ Solvang.)
    Arrive Cayucos early evening 9th May
    Leave Cayucos 10th May
    Arrive Monterey afternoon 10th May
    (Big Sur/Point Lobos/Monterey/Carmel/ winery)
    Leave Monterey 13th May
    Arrive SF 13th May
    Leave SF 17th May
    Arrive Yosemite 17th May
    Depart Yosemite 19th May
    Arrive Grand Canyon 19th May
    Depart Grand Canyon 21st May
    Arrive LA 21st May
    Depart LA 24th May
    ... And back to London

    Up to 10th May is definite the rest is up for playing around with
    Miss Caphat likes this.
  8. 2hats


    You are setting yourself up for one or two long driving days there. Unless you have a long list of things you desperately want to see in LA (it's not really all it is cracked up to be) I'd break the drive from Yosemite in eg Death Valley, though it depends on how much you prefer wild landscape over cities I guess (I used to land in LA or SF, grab a 4WD then disappear into the desert for several weeks - didn't take long to lose interest in LA once I'd been to a handful of locations. I only ever go back to see friends. SF far more interesting.)

    E2a: never found PCH that interesting to be honest. Especially after spending so much time on Dorset/Devon/Cornish/Western Scottish coasts. (off-topic: Great Ocean Road similarly).
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    Maltin likes this.
  9. Maltin

    Maltin Well-Known Member

    As 2hats mentions, your itinerary has two potentially long drives - Yosemite to Grand Canyon, GC to LA. I would also suggest reducing the time in LA on the return visit to factor this in. Could also reduce the time in Monterey and I would plan to arrive in Monterey in the evening as there are plenty of stopping points on the drive there. Also, if you like wine, perhaps schedule a day/night in Napa/Sonoma when you are up near SF, perhaps the day before you go to Yosemite.
  10. Hoss

    Hoss ...It was the blurst of times...

    We spent part of our honeymoon in SF and then Glen Ellen in Sonoma Valley, in October 2013.

    If you like wine or countryside or food or all 3 then I highly recommend Sonoma, just 1hr from the Golden Gate bridge.

    It's a slice of small town America, very relaxed and welcoming. The wine industry is very unpolished and accessible compared to neighbouring Napa Valley, which felt a bit snooty and grand.

    We then drove from Sonoma to LA in 1 day, just under 12 hours. The coastal scenery is breathtaking and in hindsight we should have stopped for a night or 2 to check out a coastal town but we were scheduled to fly out of LAX to Mexico.

    Prepare yourself for up to 14 lanes of LA freeway traffic but don't let this put you off - it's an experience in itself.

    If you do decide on Sonoma I can recommend a couple of places to stay/eat/drink.

    Sent from my F8331 using Tapatalk
  11. 2hats


    Badunk, badunk, badunk, badunk, etc. (many freeways, particularly around LA, are precast concrete slab built and they all shift with each seismic event, settling unevenly).

    Just treat all other freeway drivers as idiots and do all their thinking for them; assume none of them will use their mirrors or indicate (they rarely do).

    Also, don't drive along I-5 (LA-SF) unless you have a strong stomach. The stench* and views of the intensive cattle farms are surely enough to turn the most ardent meat eaters vegan.

    * last personally sampled just over 10 years ago now so may have changed.
  12. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    Yeah I did wonder about the 2 long days, partic the SF to Yosemite one. I can split it that's no problem and I'm happy to drop the last bit in LA. Sonoma - I like the idea. Food and wine I'm good at

    * does MORE crossing out...)

    Driving anywhere doesn't faze me - I drove on mental roads with mental (often drunk) drivers in the Caribbean, usually in cars missing bits like handbrakes and wing mirrors. Yeah this is different but it's still driving with lunatics
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  13. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    Although tbf the SF (or probably now Sonoma) to Yosemite isnt any further than the drive I've done today (Bath to Stanstead 3.75hrs) and probably a whole lot more interesting
  14. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    There that one massive cattle station half way between LA and Sacramento that you can smell for miles before and after!
  15. aqua

    aqua made of cheese and gin

    you've left out visiting 'friends' ;) :p
    spanglechick likes this.
  16. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    While in Monterrey make sure you walk up the pier and try everyone's free samples of clam chowder and go on a whale watching trip.
  17. beesonthewhatnow

    beesonthewhatnow going deaf for a living

    Considering some of the routes you've taken from our house to yours I'd say it'll be a success if you avoid driving into the Grand Canyon itself :p :D
    aqua and felixthecat like this.
  18. Maltin

    Maltin Well-Known Member

    i think SF to Yosemite is fine in one go. it was more the Yosemite to Grand Canyon leg which is a 10 hour drive that perhaps you would want to split into 2 days especially as there are other places on the way you could stop at. The second longest was Grand Canyon to LA which is 7.5 hours.
    2hats likes this.
  19. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    I'd already decided to split the Yosemite to Grand Canyon drive with a Death Valley day.

    I'll probably suck up the last drive - although i might not...
  20. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    Any suggestions where to stop off if I do change my mind?
  21. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    It's true that I don't have the best sense of direction :oops:
  22. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    I don't plan on it...
  23. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    Las Vegas.
  24. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    Surely thats more out of the way?:confused:

    Anyway, the thought of Vegas doesn't excite me.
  25. petee

    petee i'm spartacus

  26. felixthecat

    felixthecat are we there yet?

    oh alright now I've got Vegas on my itinerary. It makes sense to go Yosemite -> Death Valley ->Vegas (organised tour to Grand Canyon because it would be nice to have a day not driving) and straight back to LAX on the 24th - my flight isn't until 7:30pm and its about a 4hr drive from Vegas to LA. I dont NEED to go back to LA any earlier tbh.

    Eta in fact it'll only cost me about £40 to fly from Vegas to LA so I might do that rather than drive
    Maltin likes this.
  27. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    Go to Hoover Dam en route, if your into man made wonders its up there as one of the most impressive.
  28. Maltin

    Maltin Well-Known Member

    While it might be cheap to fly, there may be extra cost in returning the rental car to a different location.
  29. 1927

    1927 Funnier than he thinks he is.

    Not likely between LA and Vegas.
    Maltin likes this.
  30. scifisam

    scifisam feck! arse! girls! drink!

    The coach trip I went on from LV to the Grand Canyon included the Hoover Dam automatically.

    From LA to Vegas I got the bus. It was fairly long (but obvs was city centre to city centre) but also fairly comfortable and the views were interesting in a weird way - so many miles of nothingness. You'd see a house and around it twenty miles of desert. What an isolated way to live. Also route 66 I think I'd recommend that over a plane actually.

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