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-   -   Recommendations for 8 days in California (http://www.travelbanter.com/showthread.php?t=180768)

Terry Pinnell[_3_] November 15th, 2013 10:40 PM

Recommendations for 8 days in California
 
Thanks a bunch all for those helpful later suggestions to my original
post, and my apologies for slowness in acknowledging. I'm posting this
as a new thread as it's been such a long time.

On Thursday 12th December I fly into LAX and intend to book 2 nights
in an LA hotel. Mid-range upwards, room wifi, shuttle bus to LAX so
that I can return to collect my rental car at 10 am on 14th. Any
recommendations welcomed please.

I'd also appreciate suggestions for one full day in LA please, Friday
13th. I have previously visited LA but saw little except Santa Monica.
Forty years ago I enjoyed Universal Studios and would probably do so
again unless better options emerge. (I note that it's only #20 in Trip
Advisor top LA attractions list, but most of the museums and parks
ranked ahead don't really appeal. Maybe a guided bus tour? No theme
parks etc as I'll get more than my share with grandsons around San
Diego from 21st December until flight back on 28th.

And for the evening? Concert, dinner, show, 'City Walk'? ...

I then have 8 days of touring, so far unplanned, apart from collecting
rental car from Avis at LAX and returning it in Carlsbad by 5 pm on
21st December.

Preferences are for scenic driving, canyons, desert, atmospheric
towns, comfortable motels (room wifi essential). Have previously
visited Joshua Tree, Temecula, Palm Springs, San Francisco (but too
far for this trip anyway), Bryce Canyon, Yosemite, Zion. Haven't
planned to book beyond LA because of current uncertainty about weather
forecasts on 14th Dec onwards. If accessible would love another look
at Grand Canyon, despite two previous visits. Or Canyonland, which
I've never visited. But open to any and all suggestions please,
including motels.

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

Graham Harrison[_3_] November 18th, 2013 11:18 AM

Recommendations for 8 days in California
 

"Terry Pinnell" wrote in message
...
Thanks a bunch all for those helpful later suggestions to my original
post, and my apologies for slowness in acknowledging. I'm posting this
as a new thread as it's been such a long time.

On Thursday 12th December I fly into LAX and intend to book 2 nights
in an LA hotel. Mid-range upwards, room wifi, shuttle bus to LAX so
that I can return to collect my rental car at 10 am on 14th. Any
recommendations welcomed please.

I'd also appreciate suggestions for one full day in LA please, Friday
13th. I have previously visited LA but saw little except Santa Monica.
Forty years ago I enjoyed Universal Studios and would probably do so
again unless better options emerge. (I note that it's only #20 in Trip
Advisor top LA attractions list, but most of the museums and parks
ranked ahead don't really appeal. Maybe a guided bus tour? No theme
parks etc as I'll get more than my share with grandsons around San
Diego from 21st December until flight back on 28th.

And for the evening? Concert, dinner, show, 'City Walk'? ...

I then have 8 days of touring, so far unplanned, apart from collecting
rental car from Avis at LAX and returning it in Carlsbad by 5 pm on
21st December.

Preferences are for scenic driving, canyons, desert, atmospheric
towns, comfortable motels (room wifi essential). Have previously
visited Joshua Tree, Temecula, Palm Springs, San Francisco (but too
far for this trip anyway), Bryce Canyon, Yosemite, Zion. Haven't
planned to book beyond LA because of current uncertainty about weather
forecasts on 14th Dec onwards. If accessible would love another look
at Grand Canyon, despite two previous visits. Or Canyonland, which
I've never visited. But open to any and all suggestions please,
including motels.

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK


Carlsbad California or New Mexico?


Terry Pinnell[_3_] November 22nd, 2013 09:22 AM

Recommendations for 8 days in California
 
"Graham Harrison" wrote:


"Terry Pinnell" wrote in message
.. .
Thanks a bunch all for those helpful later suggestions to my original
post, and my apologies for slowness in acknowledging. I'm posting this
as a new thread as it's been such a long time.

On Thursday 12th December I fly into LAX and intend to book 2 nights
in an LA hotel. Mid-range upwards, room wifi, shuttle bus to LAX so
that I can return to collect my rental car at 10 am on 14th. Any
recommendations welcomed please.

I'd also appreciate suggestions for one full day in LA please, Friday
13th. I have previously visited LA but saw little except Santa Monica.
Forty years ago I enjoyed Universal Studios and would probably do so
again unless better options emerge. (I note that it's only #20 in Trip
Advisor top LA attractions list, but most of the museums and parks
ranked ahead don't really appeal. Maybe a guided bus tour? No theme
parks etc as I'll get more than my share with grandsons around San
Diego from 21st December until flight back on 28th.

And for the evening? Concert, dinner, show, 'City Walk'? ...

I then have 8 days of touring, so far unplanned, apart from collecting
rental car from Avis at LAX and returning it in Carlsbad by 5 pm on
21st December.

Preferences are for scenic driving, canyons, desert, atmospheric
towns, comfortable motels (room wifi essential). Have previously
visited Joshua Tree, Temecula, Palm Springs, San Francisco (but too
far for this trip anyway), Bryce Canyon, Yosemite, Zion. Haven't
planned to book beyond LA because of current uncertainty about weather
forecasts on 14th Dec onwards. If accessible would love another look
at Grand Canyon, despite two previous visits. Or Canyonland, which
I've never visited. But open to any and all suggestions please,
including motels.

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK


Carlsbad California or New Mexico?


California!
"...No theme parks etc as I'll get more than my share with grandsons
around San Diego from 21st December until flight back on 28th."

On reflection I suppose I've asked too many questions in one post,
hence the absence of replies. To focus, can I ask for considered
advice on a key question please, as time is now getting tight.

I'm wondering whether I should stay in LA at all?

To remind you, I land at LAX at about 19:00 on Thursday 12th December
and so hope to be out of the airport at say 20:00. My thinking was to
get a hotel shuttle bus to an as yet undecided hotel and probably have
dinner there if I'm hungry - time zone from UK and generosity of
Virgin Airlines will be factors. If not, maybe walk or get a cab to
say Venice or Santa Monica etc for a stroll and a drink before getting
to bed around midnight, latest.

The plan for the following day was/is even vaguer. See earlier post.
But I'm going off the idea of Universal Studios. Getting there from an
airport hotel could take too long for one thing. I'm still hoping for
some other attractive practical suggestions. Perhaps a bus tour,
starting from hotel or easily accessible place such as airport, using
hotel shuttle? Otherwise maybe I should just skip LA and hit the road.
If so I need to bring forward my car hire by one day, making it 9 days
instead of 8.

I rather like the idea of driving the PCH, as I enjoyed the scenic
Amtrak trip (Coastal Starlight?) I did with my wife in the summer of
201l from LA to San Luis Obispo. In any event, I'd like to go N or NE,
maybe heading out to Yosemite and/or Death Valley and/or Grand Canyon
and/or etc. But I'm beginning to stray...

--
Terry, East Grinstead, UK

Road_Hog[_2_] November 23rd, 2013 12:51 AM

Recommendations for 8 days in California
 
On Friday, November 22, 2013 9:22:51 AM UTC, Terry Pinnell wrote:
On reflection I suppose I've asked too many questions in one post,

hence the absence of replies.


Nope, the thread has not been viewed by many and your post kind of says, you know what you like and you know what you're going to do, plus you have relatives there, that there is little else that anyone can advise you on.

Graham Harrison[_3_] November 25th, 2013 11:45 AM

Recommendations for 8 days in California
 

"Terry Pinnell" wrote in message
...
"Graham Harrison" wrote:


"Terry Pinnell" wrote in message
. ..
Thanks a bunch all for those helpful later suggestions to my original
post, and my apologies for slowness in acknowledging. I'm posting this
as a new thread as it's been such a long time.

On Thursday 12th December I fly into LAX and intend to book 2 nights
in an LA hotel. Mid-range upwards, room wifi, shuttle bus to LAX so
that I can return to collect my rental car at 10 am on 14th. Any
recommendations welcomed please.

I'd also appreciate suggestions for one full day in LA please, Friday
13th. I have previously visited LA but saw little except Santa Monica.
Forty years ago I enjoyed Universal Studios and would probably do so
again unless better options emerge. (I note that it's only #20 in Trip
Advisor top LA attractions list, but most of the museums and parks
ranked ahead don't really appeal. Maybe a guided bus tour? No theme
parks etc as I'll get more than my share with grandsons around San
Diego from 21st December until flight back on 28th.

And for the evening? Concert, dinner, show, 'City Walk'? ...

I then have 8 days of touring, so far unplanned, apart from collecting
rental car from Avis at LAX and returning it in Carlsbad by 5 pm on
21st December.

Preferences are for scenic driving, canyons, desert, atmospheric
towns, comfortable motels (room wifi essential). Have previously
visited Joshua Tree, Temecula, Palm Springs, San Francisco (but too
far for this trip anyway), Bryce Canyon, Yosemite, Zion. Haven't
planned to book beyond LA because of current uncertainty about weather
forecasts on 14th Dec onwards. If accessible would love another look
at Grand Canyon, despite two previous visits. Or Canyonland, which
I've never visited. But open to any and all suggestions please,
including motels.

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK


Carlsbad California or New Mexico?


California!
"...No theme parks etc as I'll get more than my share with grandsons
around San Diego from 21st December until flight back on 28th."

On reflection I suppose I've asked too many questions in one post,
hence the absence of replies. To focus, can I ask for considered
advice on a key question please, as time is now getting tight.

I'm wondering whether I should stay in LA at all?

To remind you, I land at LAX at about 19:00 on Thursday 12th December
and so hope to be out of the airport at say 20:00. My thinking was to
get a hotel shuttle bus to an as yet undecided hotel and probably have
dinner there if I'm hungry - time zone from UK and generosity of
Virgin Airlines will be factors. If not, maybe walk or get a cab to
say Venice or Santa Monica etc for a stroll and a drink before getting
to bed around midnight, latest.

The plan for the following day was/is even vaguer. See earlier post.
But I'm going off the idea of Universal Studios. Getting there from an
airport hotel could take too long for one thing. I'm still hoping for
some other attractive practical suggestions. Perhaps a bus tour,
starting from hotel or easily accessible place such as airport, using
hotel shuttle? Otherwise maybe I should just skip LA and hit the road.
If so I need to bring forward my car hire by one day, making it 9 days
instead of 8.

I rather like the idea of driving the PCH, as I enjoyed the scenic
Amtrak trip (Coastal Starlight?) I did with my wife in the summer of
201l from LA to San Luis Obispo. In any event, I'd like to go N or NE,
maybe heading out to Yosemite and/or Death Valley and/or Grand Canyon
and/or etc. But I'm beginning to stray...

--
Terry, East Grinstead, UK


When I fly to the west coast from the UK, particularly on a latish flight,
my body will let me do very little else than head to a bed. I used to go
to SFO almost every year to see a relative and I could manage the 15 minute
drive down to San Mateo but that was about it; by the time you get through
customs (LAX can be a zoo) find the hire car desk, get the shuttle, find the
car it's going to be much nearer, if not more than, 2 hours than 1 hour.
The area around LAX is not pedestrian friendly so walking out is not
necessarily a good idea.

I'm not a fan of Los Angeles. I can find things to do there but, in
general, it's somewhere to leave as far as I'm concerned.

The PCH (nearly) as far as Santa Barbara is urban sprawl. It's expensive
sprawl but it's still sprawl. Santa Barbara is quite nice. Three things
stick out in my memory; the tree at the station, the fish restaurant just
round the corner from the station and the Mission which is some way inland.
It seemed quite lively in the evening.

Beyond Santa Barbara the "coast" bit in PCH becomes a bit of a misnomer
because the military have several large bases/ranges. San Luis Obispo
isn't a bad place and once a week (Thursday?) they have a really lively
street market. Hearst Castle is a wonderful example of how money can
corrupt - whole rooms ripped out from palaces in other parts of the world
and incorporated into the Castle. You have to take a tour, no choice, so
by the time you leave the PCH, drive up to the visitor centre, get the bus
to the castle, do the tour and then drive back it's a couple of hours at
least. We were going South but it took us the whole day to do the section
between Hurst Castle and Monterrey. This is where you find the pictures of
the PCH with the road leaping canyons and surf haze. Monterrey is arty
(even the cheap gifts are pricey) and the 17 mile drive is best taken
slowly. Santa Cruz has a railway running into the woods connecting with
another railway that runs old Shay logging locomotives. It also has a
seafront fun fair with old fashioned amusements.

Beyond Santa Cruz you slowly begin to see the effect of San Francisco.
However, unlike the stretch through Malibu it's all much more subtle and the
coast remains pretty untouched. Half Moon Bay is where the effect really
starts. Just before you get to HMB there's Martins Beach which is private
so you have to pay a small toll (if it's open) but if you're lucky there
will be Seals in the surf and Pelicans flying by. At low tide there are
rock pools at the north end. Sadly the natural arch at the south end has
fallen. HMB itself is another arty place.

Coming inland you have to bear in mind that, even today, the Sierras are a
formidable barrier and you aren't going to be able to drive across anywhere
between Lake Tahoe and Mojave (the road through Yosemite across Tuolumne is
only open June to October). It's tempting to say "go to Yosemite". It's
a stunning valley but even in December the number of visitors is equally
stunning. Consider Sequoia and Kings Canyon further south. Each equally
special and with many fewer visitors (particularly Kings Canyon).

We tour slowly - it took us 5 nights/6 days from HMB to LAX. It can be
done quicker but I enjoyed our perambulation! If you do go up the PCH and
back via Sequoia then cut through the "Inland Empire" (around Perris) to get
to Carlsbad that would be a good 8 days for me.


Terry Pinnell[_3_] November 29th, 2013 08:13 AM

Recommendations for 8 days in California
 
Thanks a bunch, Graham, extremely helpful. Crystallises my view on
several key points:

1. I'll stay just one night in LA and collect the car on the 13th, not
the 14th, extending my rental from 8 to 9 days.

2. So I'll look for a hotel close to LAX and with a shuttle that
doesn't need me to phone them first, if such an option exists? And
possibly even factor in access to a walkably close Avis depot which
might avoid my returning to LAX on 13th. All that to be
organised/booked within the next few days.

3. I've abandoned intentions of both Yosemite and Grand Canyon, which
I have after all visited before, in summer/autumn (and Bryce, Death
Valley, Zion and Las Vegas).

4. The PCH/Highway 2 plan now needs rethinking because:

4.1 With Yosemite and GC out of the equation (and the Sequoias NP,
both sections of which I visited with my wife last summer) it would
take me NE, increasingly further away from potential W and SW
alternative destinations. See later.

4.2 I've visited Santa Monica twice and also enjoyed the Amtrak Costal
Starlight from LA to San Luis Obispo and your outline convinces me I'd
have to drive half way to SF before I fresh and attractive sections
justified the distances.

5. So, a radical rethink! I'm now going to make a wide clockwise sweep
out into the Mojave and down into Arizona before heading east back to
Carlsbad. Perhaps including some or all of Lake Mead, Lake Mohave,
Lake Havasu, Phoenix, Yuma, Salton Sea... Excluding Palm Springs,
Joshua Tree NP and San Diego. If I can get a scenic train (ideally
steam) for an excursion that would be a bonus.

Any further idea and suggestions would be warmly appreciated please.


--
Terry, East Grinstead, UK

====================


"Graham Harrison" wrote:


When I fly to the west coast from the UK, particularly on a latish flight,
my body will let me do very little else than head to a bed. I used to go
to SFO almost every year to see a relative and I could manage the 15 minute
drive down to San Mateo but that was about it; by the time you get through
customs (LAX can be a zoo) find the hire car desk, get the shuttle, find the
car it's going to be much nearer, if not more than, 2 hours than 1 hour.
The area around LAX is not pedestrian friendly so walking out is not
necessarily a good idea.

I'm not a fan of Los Angeles. I can find things to do there but, in
general, it's somewhere to leave as far as I'm concerned.

The PCH (nearly) as far as Santa Barbara is urban sprawl. It's expensive
sprawl but it's still sprawl. Santa Barbara is quite nice. Three things
stick out in my memory; the tree at the station, the fish restaurant just
round the corner from the station and the Mission which is some way inland.
It seemed quite lively in the evening.

Beyond Santa Barbara the "coast" bit in PCH becomes a bit of a misnomer
because the military have several large bases/ranges. San Luis Obispo
isn't a bad place and once a week (Thursday?) they have a really lively
street market. Hearst Castle is a wonderful example of how money can
corrupt - whole rooms ripped out from palaces in other parts of the world
and incorporated into the Castle. You have to take a tour, no choice, so
by the time you leave the PCH, drive up to the visitor centre, get the bus
to the castle, do the tour and then drive back it's a couple of hours at
least. We were going South but it took us the whole day to do the section
between Hurst Castle and Monterrey. This is where you find the pictures of
the PCH with the road leaping canyons and surf haze. Monterrey is arty
(even the cheap gifts are pricey) and the 17 mile drive is best taken
slowly. Santa Cruz has a railway running into the woods connecting with
another railway that runs old Shay logging locomotives. It also has a
seafront fun fair with old fashioned amusements.

Beyond Santa Cruz you slowly begin to see the effect of San Francisco.
However, unlike the stretch through Malibu it's all much more subtle and the
coast remains pretty untouched. Half Moon Bay is where the effect really
starts. Just before you get to HMB there's Martins Beach which is private
so you have to pay a small toll (if it's open) but if you're lucky there
will be Seals in the surf and Pelicans flying by. At low tide there are
rock pools at the north end. Sadly the natural arch at the south end has
fallen. HMB itself is another arty place.

Coming inland you have to bear in mind that, even today, the Sierras are a
formidable barrier and you aren't going to be able to drive across anywhere
between Lake Tahoe and Mojave (the road through Yosemite across Tuolumne is
only open June to October). It's tempting to say "go to Yosemite". It's
a stunning valley but even in December the number of visitors is equally
stunning. Consider Sequoia and Kings Canyon further south. Each equally
special and with many fewer visitors (particularly Kings Canyon).

We tour slowly - it took us 5 nights/6 days from HMB to LAX. It can be
done quicker but I enjoyed our perambulation! If you do go up the PCH and
back via Sequoia then cut through the "Inland Empire" (around Perris) to get
to Carlsbad that would be a good 8 days for me.


Terry Pinnell[_3_] November 29th, 2013 09:11 AM

Recommendations for 8 days in California
 
Correction!

4.1 With Yosemite and GC out of the equation (and the Sequoias NP,
both sections of which I visited with my wife last summer) it would
take me NW, increasingly further away from potential E and SE
alternative destinations.

--
Terry, East Grinstead, UK

Graham Harrison[_3_] November 30th, 2013 12:58 AM

Recommendations for 8 days in California
 

"Terry Pinnell" wrote in message
...
Correction!

4.1 With Yosemite and GC out of the equation (and the Sequoias NP,
both sections of which I visited with my wife last summer) it would
take me NW, increasingly further away from potential E and SE
alternative destinations.

--
Terry, East Grinstead, UK


I was rather taken with the SE corner of Arizona when we were there a few
years ago. We came from El Paso to Silver City NM and spent a couple of
nights so we could visit the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Not very far as the
crow flies but a rather slow road. Just outside Silver City there's a
large copper mine - one of those big pit mines, not beautiful but impressive
and on the road from Deming you pass the City of Rocks.

But I digress. From there we headed down to the Chiricahua National
Monument and took a short but really nice hike. We spent a night in
Tombstone - pure tourist trap with gunfights in main street every hour one
the hour (or that's what it felt like). Great fun if terribly tacky.
From there we went to Tucson largely because I wanted to look at the air
force boneyard and the Pima Air and Space Museum. However, we discovered a
nice drive up Mt Lemmon which is a ski resort but was nice in the late
afternoon in September. We flew out from Phoenix.

A good few years before that we flew into Phoenix and headed for the Grand
Canyon. We deviated to Montezuma Castle National Monument which is another
cliff dwelling (if you really want to see cliff dwellings in a spectacular
setting head for Mesa Verde in SW Colorado) and then Sedona which is, how do
I put it, "alternative" and "arty" then through Oak Creek Canyon to get to
Flagstaff. I'll ignore the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley and mention
instead Canyon de Chelly (pronounced "Shay" I seem to recall) which is one
of the places represents how the cliff dwellers began to move down into more
conventional buildings. You've also got the Petrified Forest and Window
Rock (a stream eroded a rock face and left a window through the rock) in
that part of the world. With the exception of Sedona and Flagstaff
(completely different atmospheres!) I'm not sure I feel any of the towns in
Arizona are atmospheric. Most are simply supply centres for the
surrounding area or as motel stops. Window Rock is an Apache tribal
headquarters, I seem to remember their headquarters being a (very nice)
collection of trailers and static mobile homes.

I've never used I-8 or I-10 from Arizona into California.


[email protected] November 30th, 2013 08:43 AM

Recommendations for 8 days in California
 
Thanks Graham, lots of possibilities to investigate there. Exactly the sort of detail I was hoping for.

Did your travels ever take you to any of these, which are on my short list (as well as Flagstaff, Tucson and Phoenix):
Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Lake Havasu, Oasis (Salton Sea), Lake Mohave,Yuma, Anzo Borrego State Park.

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

alkbra October 14th, 2014 06:42 AM

The discussion is going well and every member shared nice suggestions. I'm going to California soon for my business tour and I will remember these recommendations. I hope these suggestions will help me to choose the best place and save my time. Can you tell me about the attractive spots of California? I love to visit the supernatural attractions.


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