Off topic: Advice for US vacation next July
Thread poster: Mauro Cristuib-Grizzi

Mauro Cristuib-Grizzi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:56
English to Italian
Dec 18, 2004

Dear all,

my wife and me are planning a vacation in the US next July. We'll have two weeks available for this. Our idea is to fly from Italy to Denver and rent a car, then (as a first section) drive from Denver to San Francisco. How many days do you think would be required for that trip? Any advice about the best places or hotels? Please note that we plan to drive quite quickly (yes, I know... speed limits will be respected!) and spend the most of our vacation in California...

Thank you in advance,

Mauro

[Edited at 2004-12-18 19:39]

[Edited at 2004-12-18 20:10]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 17:56
German to English
Advice for US vacation next July Dec 18, 2004

Dear Mauro,

Plan on a three-day drive from Denver to San Franciso and spending at least 12 hours on the road each day. I'd drive north through Montana, Utah and Nevada rather than head directly to the west through the Rockies, but you can check with the American Automobile Association (AAA) for the best route. In San Francisco, be sure to visit North Beach (San Francisco's "Little Italy") http://www.sftravel.com/beach.html and you might want to visit the aquarium in Monterey http://www.mbayaq.org/ and see Carmel, Big Sur and take the 17-mile drive near Carmel.

http://www.beachcalifornia.com/17mile.html

I hope you enjoy your visit.
Cheers, Kim

[Edited at 2004-12-18 21:53]

[Edited at 2004-12-18 22:23]


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:56
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Two weeks is not much. Dec 19, 2004

Two weeks is not much and, as Kim explains, this is a very long trip by car. Why spend so much time on the road? Why not begin somewhere a little closer to San Francisco? For example, you could fly to Seattle and drive south along the coast, a very beautiful trip and not quite so far. I would advise trying to do too much in such a short time.

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Ballistic  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 00:56
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
1995 Dec 19, 2004

I made a 3-week journey in 1995 together with some friends. We landed in San Fran, took a rental, drove through Napa Valley to Lake Tahoe, stayed overnight, then to Death Valley, Las Vegas (an icon of American culture), Yosemite National Park (if you want to enjoy this, a minimum of 2 days must be allotted), then down to Palm Springs through the desert, from Palm Springs to San Diego (sea world), north to LA (first Santa Monica, then Hollywood bvd., stayed about 4 days), north via coastal highway to 17 mile-drive, Carmel etc. to Frisco. We stayed in Days Inn and Motel 6. In Vegas, we stayed in the Luxor (awesome).

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davidgreen
German to English
more tips Dec 19, 2004

good advice from kim. I'd say some of the most impressive scenery is in Utah, also tons of natural beauty throughout northern california. instead of the grand canyon, which you may be considering, Bryce Canyon and Zion are incredibly beautiful. Recommended hotels, I stayed at a beautiful hostel near the Redwoods, but I don't know if you're going so far north. I'd recommend the Cadillac Hotel in Venice beach for the art deco interior and price - it's in a lot of movies. keep in mind that you could see and do tons of things without doing much else than driving from denver to san fran and exploring along the way. try not to pack too many destinations into the trip.
hth


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pidzej  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 00:56
Polish to English
+ ...
take the opposite trajectory Dec 19, 2004

Ballistic wrote:

north to LA (first Santa Monica, then Hollywood bvd., stayed about 4 days), north via coastal highway to 17 mile-drive, Carmel etc. to Frisco.

Fine, but on Highway 1 it's much much better to go North-South, not the other way round. Then you are on the right side of the road (not meaning right-hand traffic here] for the countless overlooks or viewing platforms; I made the mistake of going up the map and the traffic was so heavy at times that stopping to find a gap in traffic from the opposite direction to cross to that parking lot would invite outbreaks of road rage from those behind me... and even when moving, you see much more of Big Sur when you're on the edge of the precipice.
On the other hand, if you have fear of heights, maybe Big Sur just is not for you...


[Edited at 2004-12-19 15:06]

[Edited at 2004-12-19 16:44]

[Edited at 2004-12-19 16:45]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
No, the other way! Dec 19, 2004

I have never made the trip from Denver to San Francisco, but I have done many road trips all over the US and especially the western part. I recommend:

1.- Not trying to see everything, because 2 weeks is just not enough time.

2.- Drive during daylight hours only, some of the best is the trip itself and the scenery. At night you see nothing, and it is more dangerous. Get started early each day and try to make 600 miles (1,000 kms.) in less populated parts, but in mountains, coastal roads or high traffic areas that will be cut down quite a bit, maybe to half. Also, take time to smell the roses, and whatever you can't see now, leave it for the next trip.

3.- Drive Highway 1 South-North (San Luis Obispo-Carmel) because you will be on the INSIDE of the road, if you are on the outside (ocean side) and get forced off the road, the drop can be 600 feet or more, and few people can survive that! I am a native of Carmel (and I'm in Carmel right now) and have traveled that road all my life, nearly always South-North. Drive it during the week, not on the weekend, and pull over frequently to let the traffic behind you pass. When you pull over to the left to a scenic overlook, just do so carefully. It's safer than falling 600 feet. But do not miss seeing this scenery, it's incomparable...

4.- To save money on lodging, get the motel coupon magazines to be found at Mc Donald's, Denny's, many rest areas and other places. When you get to a particular state or region you will start finding the ones for that same state or region there. Prepare to meet a lot of Indians (from India) named Patel.

5.- Even though you do want to visit cities such as San Francisco and L.A., be aware that the traffic around those places can be hell and the navigating very difficult if you don't know your way around. Be prepared, and try to stick to less-traveled roads when possible.

6.- I am not sure if I will be in Carmel next July, but if I am, I'd love to show you around and share some wine with you, so let me know!


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Nazim Aziz Gokdemir  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:56
English to Turkish
+ ...
Marin County Dec 19, 2004

I hope you don't overlook the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, whose northern portion affords some of the best views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from a hilltop within stone-throwing distance to the north tower of the bridge. The northern park is in Marin County, home to Sausalito, a cool little town.

John Muir Woods and the vineyards of Napa Valley are also nearby.

Here's a panoramic view from a hilltop farther back from the bridge:

http://tiger.berkeley.edu/~atrave/photos/Marin/classic_view.JPG

Aziz


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 16:56
French to English
+ ...
California or bust :-) Dec 19, 2004

Dear Mauro:

I'm with Ballistic all the way! Great itinerary.
I am a native Californian and moved back here recently.

Try to get your entire itinerary on one airplane ticket -
you will probably pay less. There is plenty of driving just in California alone.

Have fun and don't feed the bears

Make reservations at least 6 months in advance for lodging at Yosemite National Park.
www.nationalparkreservations.com


[Edited at 2004-12-19 18:39]


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Kurt Porter  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:56
Russian to English
+ ...
Go West! Dec 20, 2004

Rita Heller wrote:

Dear Mauro:

I'm with Ballistic all the way! Great itinerary.
I am a native Californian and moved back here recently.

Try to get your entire itinerary on one airplane ticket -
you will probably pay less. There is plenty of driving just in California alone.

Have fun and don't feed the bears

Make reservations at least 6 months in advance for lodging at Yosemite National Park.
www.nationalparkreservations.com


[Edited at 2004-12-19 18:39]


I'm with Rita. There is so much to see in California. You could spend two weeks doing JUST Monterey, Carmel, SF, Redwoods, Napa Valley. Then when you throw in LA/San Diego you have a very full two weeks. Time to burn? You can either go up into Oregon or WA State, or cross the border and go into Mexico.

You won't regret flying straight to CA and taking a full two weeks. You'll also enjoy it more as your pace should be a bit more relaxed.

Cheers,
Kurt


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