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Road trip USA Nat'l parks



 
 
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  #21  
Old October 14th, 2011, 03:11 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
Graham Harrison[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 288
Default Road trip USA Nat'l parks


"Panawe" wrote in message
...
On Thu, 13 Oct 2011 19:07:15 +0100, Graham Harrison wrote:

"Panawe" wrote in message
m...
On Wed, 12 Oct 2011 17:34:52 +0000, Lauri Nurmi wrote:

On 2011-10-12, Panawe wrote:
On 10/10/2011 6:33 AM, Panawe wrote:

I would like to go whale-watching and see Yosemite and Yellowstone
Nat'l parks (and others if feasible).

As regards my itinerary - what would you suggest given that I want to
get the most out of my holiday? Should I leave Yellowstone for
another time? Even if I extend the holiday to three weeks?

You could drive less and still visit three national parks if you
choose Yosemite, Death Valley and Grand Canyon (Arizona side). Hoover
Dam and Las Vegas are along the assumed route, and might also be worth
seeing.

-LN

Thanks to everyone for advice.

I'm listening and I'm wondering now about 14 days fly-drive out of San
Francisco followed by a week's package tour (a holiday within a
holiday!) to Yellowstone flying to and from SFO. I could have a rest
from driving on the Y'stone tour.

What do you think?

Or I could do the grand tour from Seattle to SF via.... stop it!

--
Panawe


Well, last year I participated in a Gray Line Alaska tour (Yukon and
Alaska). It's the first time I ever went on something like it. I'm
in 2 minds. It was nice not to have to keep driving. It was
incredibly frustrating to go past things I wanted to look at and I
didn't have enough time (even if I could have found transport) to
explore the outskirts of Whitehorse or Fairbanks. The big benefit was
when we got to Dawson and the road across to Tok was washed out. They
simply hired a plane and away we went!

On balance I would only do it again if I couldn't find a way of doing
the journey under my own steam.

I had wondered about a tour for you from San Francisco to Yosemite and
Monterrey. Gray Line only do each as a one day tour (forget it). You
might be able to stitch one or more Tauck Tours together with flights
(or maybe even Amtrak) between e.g.

http://www.tauck.com/tours/usa-tours...yoming-travel-

yys-2012.aspx
http://www.tauck.com/tours/usa-tours...lifornia-tour-

ca-2012.aspx

Or maybe Globus http://monograms.com/us-vacations/ but I'm not sure how
you'd book some of the tours on that page. Globus are part of the same
company as Cosmos and they seem to want me work work through Cosmos
because I live in the UK and that is the page for people who live in the
US. I've no doubt it's doable but it might be a slight struggle.

It is pretty easy to organise a trip using car hire and motels. The
trick is not to do too much driving and to allow the occasional "rest
day" if only because you need to find a launderette (many motels have a
machine). If you want help try someone like
http://www.nahighways.co.uk/. Anything you see on their website can be
changed/extended/shortened/sent places they don't normally list - the
tours they list are examples; they can be booked but they don't have to
look like that. I've never used them, I had a professional connection
with them some years ago and they seemed competent but there are other
similar specialists around.

By the way, what part of the UK are you in? I keep assuming you're
flying from London and that doesn't have to be the case.


Hi Graham,

I'm in the Midlands so would prefer to fly from Brum. It's a changing
situation, now I'm thinking of leaving Yellowstone to another year and
looking at fly-drive to San Francisco (2 nts) then Monterey (2 nts) to
get the whale trip in, then Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe,
Crater Lakes, Redwoods NP and back to SF over 14 days. Except I've missed
Death valley which I'd have to do after Monterey and before Sequoia (bit
tired at the moment). Far more sensible, haven't done the fine detail yet
and any advice on routes welcome.

I can't make my mind up whether to book a tour through a company or do it
myself via the 'Net. You'd think doing the donkey work myself would work
out cheaper but I'm not so sure.

Thanks for the input.

--
Panawe


This is going to be a mixed up message with unconnected elements.

I'm not clear if you've been to the USA before.

I live in South Somerset. Exeter and Bristol are both about an hour away
and Heathrow 2 hours (unless I try it on a summer weekend!). I simply
ignore the alternatives and head for Heathrow. I enjoy flying. When I
worked I was known for being quite ready to travel. That said, over the
years I've decided non stop is best. On the N Atlantic that might a little
more expensive but I'll pay that. Why? One is very basic - take off and
landing are the most risky parts of flying, why increase the risk by adding
extra take-offs/landings when I don't have to? The other is journey time.
10 hours to the west coast is bad enough. Why spend 7 hours going to the
east coast and then 2/3 hours worrying about whether you'll make the
connection and then another 5 hours on a different plane? It's no better
going back to Europe on say Air France/KLM/Lufthansa it's the same hassle.
And if you go via the USA you will have to clear customs at your point of
entry, recheck your bags, find your way from international to domestic and
go back through security.

If you do go to Heathrow you'll find that both BA and Virgin offer a premium
economy as well as basic economy. Ordinary economy is 10 across with 31
inches between seats. Premium economy is 8 abreast and 38 inches and extra
baggage allowance. United have something they call Economy Plus which is
normal 10 across seating but spaced out (can't remember how many inches).
I'm a fan of what BA call World Traveller Plus.

I was once warned about speeding by an American I was working with. I was
on my way to rural Texas and he claimed the police in towns in rural places
make their living by catching speeding out of towners. It's interesting
watching traffic in the US. Get on a freeway within about 20 miles of a
city and through that city and it's manic (assuming it's not a traffic jam).
Speeding, switching lanes without signaling, undertaking, tailgating is
rife. Once you're out in the sticks there's much less speeding and it must
be in part because of the number of times I've come over a slight rise to
find a police car in the median and speeding in small towns just doesn't
really seem to happen (oh, and be really careful with school speed limits).

I think you're discovering you're spoiled for choice. The west is full of
opportunities. I'm going back to the idea of one way trips. You need to
check because it keeps changing but in the past I've hired cars in Los
Angeles and dropped them in San Francisco without having to pay a one way
fee. I think it may also be possible to do if Las Vegas or San Diego is an
endpoint. It may depend on the car hire company.

A word about car hire - make sure you understand what is included and what
isn't. The clerks at rental desks will try and sell you bigger cars,
insurance you don't need and all sorts. The number of times I've had them
try and sell me a bigger car than the one I hired and, when I turn it down,
given me a bigger car because they don't have what I booked. This year I
booked a Chevrolet Cruse (Mondeo sized) and got put in a Dodge Nitro 4x4.
Doesn't always happen but book what you need and stick to your guns (but
don't book something that is JUST big enough - go one size bigger).

OK, where to go. What do you want to see? Mountains, big trees, Buffalo,
Wolves, dark blue lakes, a mirror lake? Do you want to go for short
strolls, day hikes, go horse riding? Even in a national park do you mind
being surrounded by people (Yosemite valley)? What about other things? I
like trains and planes so I'm always on the lookout for heritage railways
and transport museums. I've taken trips to the USA where part of the
reason has been to attend an air show for instance. Small towns sometimes
have local museums with all sorts of stuff; one had a dentists surgery,
another a pharmacy in a log cabin and yet another a collection of barbed
wire! Some things bought in the USA are cheaper than in the UK. Some
attract duty but come into your free allowance, others (books) are duty free
anyway. Forget naming actual parks or cities for a moment and think about
features instead. You've named whale watching, what else?

As for planning the advantage of a specialist agent is they will have been
to many of the places or dealt with their suppliers for some years. Do it
yourself is sometimes a leap of faith but if you stick with middle of the
road chain motels you're usually OK. The worst mistake I made was booking
a (non chain) motel in Canada. The motel was very nice and I was initially
happy to find the Canadian Pacific main line 10 feet from the door but when
the trains ran all night I wasn't so happy! Easier to avoid these days
with Google maps and Streetview.

PS I'm away for the weekend.

  #22  
Old October 14th, 2011, 08:45 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
tim....
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 398
Default Road trip USA Nat'l parks


"Graham Harrison" wrote in message
...

"Panawe" wrote in message
m...
Hi,

Advice please. I am planning a road trip (fly-drive from UK and stay in
hotels/motels) to the western US next year and I have a number of
questions.

I would like to go whale-watching and see Yosemite and Yellowstone Nat'l
parks (and others if feasible).

I don't like cities.

I am planning on 14 days, is this long enough?

Should I buy a package holiday or just book fly-drive and stay wherever I
end up?

If I book a package could someone recommend a good tour operator?

What's the best time to do this? I was thinking of October 2012.

Are there any hotels that I should not miss?

Are there any events I shouldn't miss?

Can someone recommend a book?

Any possibility of an astronomy event, star-watching party?

Thanks in advance, I realise I've asked a lot of questions.

--
Panawe


Yellowstone and Yosemite are probably 2 days drive apart and if the road
over Touolmne in Yosemite has closed by then possibly 3 days so 14 days is
doable but you're going to need to keep moving if you're going to do
anything more than spend a night in each of them (which would be silly).

I went to Yellowstone in September this year and previously in October a
few years ago. Weather on both occasions was lovely but the week before
we arrived in October we were told it had snowed and it has been known to
snow in July (but unusual).

Accommodation in and around ANY National Park is at a premium; book early
and BOOK.


In the "off" season it's not. Accommodation IN the park may be, but outside
you will have absolutely no difficulty finding something on arrival IME

tim


  #23  
Old October 14th, 2011, 11:27 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
Panawe
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default Road trip USA Nat'l parks

On Fri, 14 Oct 2011 15:11:54 +0100, Graham Harrison wrote:

"Panawe" wrote in message
...
On Thu, 13 Oct 2011 19:07:15 +0100, Graham Harrison wrote:

"Panawe" wrote in message
m...
On Wed, 12 Oct 2011 17:34:52 +0000, Lauri Nurmi wrote:

On 2011-10-12, Panawe wrote:
On 10/10/2011 6:33 AM, Panawe wrote:

I would like to go whale-watching and see Yosemite and
Yellowstone Nat'l parks (and others if feasible).

As regards my itinerary - what would you suggest given that I want
to get the most out of my holiday? Should I leave Yellowstone for
another time? Even if I extend the holiday to three weeks?

You could drive less and still visit three national parks if you
choose Yosemite, Death Valley and Grand Canyon (Arizona side).
Hoover Dam and Las Vegas are along the assumed route, and might also
be worth seeing.

-LN

Thanks to everyone for advice.

I'm listening and I'm wondering now about 14 days fly-drive out of
San Francisco followed by a week's package tour (a holiday within a
holiday!) to Yellowstone flying to and from SFO. I could have a rest
from driving on the Y'stone tour.

What do you think?

Or I could do the grand tour from Seattle to SF via.... stop it!

--
Panawe

Well, last year I participated in a Gray Line Alaska tour (Yukon and
Alaska). It's the first time I ever went on something like it. I'm
in 2 minds. It was nice not to have to keep driving. It was
incredibly frustrating to go past things I wanted to look at and I
didn't have enough time (even if I could have found transport) to
explore the outskirts of Whitehorse or Fairbanks. The big benefit
was when we got to Dawson and the road across to Tok was washed out.
They simply hired a plane and away we went!

On balance I would only do it again if I couldn't find a way of doing
the journey under my own steam.

I had wondered about a tour for you from San Francisco to Yosemite and
Monterrey. Gray Line only do each as a one day tour (forget it).
You might be able to stitch one or more Tauck Tours together with
flights (or maybe even Amtrak) between e.g.

http://www.tauck.com/tours/usa-tours...ravel/wyoming-

travel-
yys-2012.aspx
http://www.tauck.com/tours/usa-tours...el/california-

tour-
ca-2012.aspx

Or maybe Globus http://monograms.com/us-vacations/ but I'm not sure
how you'd book some of the tours on that page. Globus are part of
the same company as Cosmos and they seem to want me work work through
Cosmos because I live in the UK and that is the page for people who
live in the US. I've no doubt it's doable but it might be a slight
struggle.

It is pretty easy to organise a trip using car hire and motels. The
trick is not to do too much driving and to allow the occasional "rest
day" if only because you need to find a launderette (many motels have
a machine). If you want help try someone like
http://www.nahighways.co.uk/. Anything you see on their website can
be changed/extended/shortened/sent places they don't normally list -
the tours they list are examples; they can be booked but they don't
have to look like that. I've never used them, I had a professional
connection with them some years ago and they seemed competent but
there are other similar specialists around.

By the way, what part of the UK are you in? I keep assuming you're
flying from London and that doesn't have to be the case.


Hi Graham,

I'm in the Midlands so would prefer to fly from Brum. It's a changing
situation, now I'm thinking of leaving Yellowstone to another year and
looking at fly-drive to San Francisco (2 nts) then Monterey (2 nts) to
get the whale trip in, then Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lake
Tahoe, Crater Lakes, Redwoods NP and back to SF over 14 days. Except
I've missed Death valley which I'd have to do after Monterey and before
Sequoia (bit tired at the moment). Far more sensible, haven't done the
fine detail yet and any advice on routes welcome.

I can't make my mind up whether to book a tour through a company or do
it myself via the 'Net. You'd think doing the donkey work myself would
work out cheaper but I'm not so sure.

Thanks for the input.

--
Panawe


This is going to be a mixed up message with unconnected elements.

I'm not clear if you've been to the USA before.

I live in South Somerset. Exeter and Bristol are both about an hour
away and Heathrow 2 hours (unless I try it on a summer weekend!). I
simply ignore the alternatives and head for Heathrow. I enjoy flying.
When I worked I was known for being quite ready to travel. That said,
over the years I've decided non stop is best. On the N Atlantic that
might a little more expensive but I'll pay that. Why? One is very
basic - take off and landing are the most risky parts of flying, why
increase the risk by adding extra take-offs/landings when I don't have
to? The other is journey time. 10 hours to the west coast is bad
enough. Why spend 7 hours going to the east coast and then 2/3 hours
worrying about whether you'll make the connection and then another 5
hours on a different plane? It's no better going back to Europe on say
Air France/KLM/Lufthansa it's the same hassle. And if you go via the USA
you will have to clear customs at your point of entry, recheck your
bags, find your way from international to domestic and go back through
security.

If you do go to Heathrow you'll find that both BA and Virgin offer a
premium economy as well as basic economy. Ordinary economy is 10
across with 31 inches between seats. Premium economy is 8 abreast and
38 inches and extra baggage allowance. United have something they call
Economy Plus which is normal 10 across seating but spaced out (can't
remember how many inches). I'm a fan of what BA call World Traveller
Plus.

I was once warned about speeding by an American I was working with. I
was on my way to rural Texas and he claimed the police in towns in rural
places make their living by catching speeding out of towners. It's
interesting watching traffic in the US. Get on a freeway within about
20 miles of a city and through that city and it's manic (assuming it's
not a traffic jam). Speeding, switching lanes without signaling,
undertaking, tailgating is rife. Once you're out in the sticks there's
much less speeding and it must be in part because of the number of times
I've come over a slight rise to find a police car in the median and
speeding in small towns just doesn't really seem to happen (oh, and be
really careful with school speed limits).

I think you're discovering you're spoiled for choice. The west is full
of opportunities. I'm going back to the idea of one way trips. You
need to check because it keeps changing but in the past I've hired cars
in Los Angeles and dropped them in San Francisco without having to pay a
one way fee. I think it may also be possible to do if Las Vegas or San
Diego is an endpoint. It may depend on the car hire company.

A word about car hire - make sure you understand what is included and
what isn't. The clerks at rental desks will try and sell you bigger
cars, insurance you don't need and all sorts. The number of times I've
had them try and sell me a bigger car than the one I hired and, when I
turn it down, given me a bigger car because they don't have what I
booked. This year I booked a Chevrolet Cruse (Mondeo sized) and got
put in a Dodge Nitro 4x4. Doesn't always happen but book what you need
and stick to your guns (but don't book something that is JUST big enough
- go one size bigger).

OK, where to go. What do you want to see? Mountains, big trees,
Buffalo, Wolves, dark blue lakes, a mirror lake? Do you want to go
for short strolls, day hikes, go horse riding? Even in a national park
do you mind being surrounded by people (Yosemite valley)? What about
other things? I like trains and planes so I'm always on the lookout
for heritage railways and transport museums. I've taken trips to the
USA where part of the reason has been to attend an air show for
instance. Small towns sometimes have local museums with all sorts of
stuff; one had a dentists surgery, another a pharmacy in a log cabin and
yet another a collection of barbed wire! Some things bought in the USA
are cheaper than in the UK. Some attract duty but come into your free
allowance, others (books) are duty free anyway. Forget naming actual
parks or cities for a moment and think about features instead. You've
named whale watching, what else?

As for planning the advantage of a specialist agent is they will have
been to many of the places or dealt with their suppliers for some years.
Do it yourself is sometimes a leap of faith but if you stick with
middle of the road chain motels you're usually OK. The worst mistake I
made was booking a (non chain) motel in Canada. The motel was very
nice and I was initially happy to find the Canadian Pacific main line 10
feet from the door but when the trains ran all night I wasn't so happy!
Easier to avoid these days with Google maps and Streetview.

PS I'm away for the weekend.


I'll have to think on your point about direct flights as I was hoping to
go from Birmingham. I've had another shot at an itinerary, here goes...

From -To -Miles -Sights
BHX -SFO
San Francisco -San Francisco -0 -Alcatraz
San Francisco -Monterey -121 -Coast road
Monterey -Monterey -0 -Whale cruise
Monterey -Morro Bay -123 -Coast road
Morro Bay -Sequoia, CA 93286 -148 -Scenic
Sequoia, CA 93286 -El Portal -151 -Scenic
El Portal -El Portal -Scenic
El Portal -El Portal -Scenic
El Portal -Lake Tahoe -206 -Travel
Lake Tahoe -Shasta Lake -236 -Travel
Shasta Lake -Crescent City via Klamath Falls -320 -Travel
Crescent City -Fort Bragg -216 -Scenic
Fort Bragg -San Francisco -170 -Scenic
San Francisco -San Francisco -Shopping
SFO -BHX

Looks a mess. No Yellowstone, Grand Canyon or even Death valley!

--
Panawe
  #24  
Old October 15th, 2011, 10:13 AM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
Panawe
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default Road trip USA Nat'l parks

On Thu, 13 Oct 2011 11:15:16 -0700, jim davis wrote:

Where you flying in to? Suggest San Francisco or Seattle. 14 days is
limiting as you are talking 1000s of miles and 500 a day driving is
about tops. A couple of days in Yosemite is minimum. So much to see and
so big. The drive on highway 1 down the Pacific coast is unbelievably
beautiful but would take 2-3 days minimum. Lots of great small places to
see, eat, etc. Whale watching IMHO is best in Hawaii. Could you squeeze
that in?
So much more to say as I lived in Hawaii then Northern California 30+
years and later retired to Washington on the Pacific coast. Any
specific questions let me know. Jim

On 10/10/2011 6:33 AM, Panawe wrote:
Hi,

Advice please. I am planning a road trip (fly-drive from UK and stay in
hotels/motels) to the western US next year and I have a number of
questions.

I would like to go whale-watching and see Yosemite and Yellowstone
Nat'l parks (and others if feasible).

I don't like cities.

I am planning on 14 days, is this long enough?

Should I buy a package holiday or just book fly-drive and stay wherever
I end up?

If I book a package could someone recommend a good tour operator?

What's the best time to do this? I was thinking of October 2012.

Are there any hotels that I should not miss?

Are there any events I shouldn't miss?

Can someone recommend a book?

Any possibility of an astronomy event, star-watching party?

Thanks in advance, I realise I've asked a lot of questions.


Hi Jim,

I've posted this already but it was a mess, what do you think?

Day From To Miles Sights
1 BHX SFO
2 San Francisco San Francisco 0 Alcatraz
3 San Francisco Monterey 121 Coast road
4 Monterey Monterey 0 Whale cruise
5 Monterey Morro Bay 123 Coast road
6 Morro Bay Sequoia, CA 93286 148 Scenic
7 Sequoia, CA 93286 El Portal 151 Scenic
8 El Portal El Portal Scenic
9 El Portal El Portal Scenic
10 El Portal Lake Tahoe 206 Travel
11 Lake Tahoe Shasta Lake 236 Travel
12 Shasta Lake Crescent City via Klamath Falls 320 Travel
13 Crescent City Fort Bragg 216 Scenic
14 Fort Bragg San Francisco 170 Scenic
15 San Francisco San Francisco Shopping
16 SFO BHX

Looks better now! Missed out Crater Lakes and Death Valley, perhaps I
should combine some of the travelling days? What do you think?

Phil



--
Panawe
  #25  
Old October 18th, 2011, 06:48 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
Graham Harrison[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 288
Default Road trip USA Nat'l parks


"Panawe" wrote in message
m...
On Fri, 14 Oct 2011 15:11:54 +0100, Graham Harrison wrote:

"Panawe" wrote in message
...
On Thu, 13 Oct 2011 19:07:15 +0100, Graham Harrison wrote:

"Panawe" wrote in message
m...
On Wed, 12 Oct 2011 17:34:52 +0000, Lauri Nurmi wrote:

On 2011-10-12, Panawe wrote:
On 10/10/2011 6:33 AM, Panawe wrote:

I would like to go whale-watching and see Yosemite and
Yellowstone Nat'l parks (and others if feasible).

As regards my itinerary - what would you suggest given that I want
to get the most out of my holiday? Should I leave Yellowstone for
another time? Even if I extend the holiday to three weeks?

You could drive less and still visit three national parks if you
choose Yosemite, Death Valley and Grand Canyon (Arizona side).
Hoover Dam and Las Vegas are along the assumed route, and might also
be worth seeing.

-LN

Thanks to everyone for advice.

I'm listening and I'm wondering now about 14 days fly-drive out of
San Francisco followed by a week's package tour (a holiday within a
holiday!) to Yellowstone flying to and from SFO. I could have a rest
from driving on the Y'stone tour.

What do you think?

Or I could do the grand tour from Seattle to SF via.... stop it!

--
Panawe

Well, last year I participated in a Gray Line Alaska tour (Yukon and
Alaska). It's the first time I ever went on something like it. I'm
in 2 minds. It was nice not to have to keep driving. It was
incredibly frustrating to go past things I wanted to look at and I
didn't have enough time (even if I could have found transport) to
explore the outskirts of Whitehorse or Fairbanks. The big benefit
was when we got to Dawson and the road across to Tok was washed out.
They simply hired a plane and away we went!

On balance I would only do it again if I couldn't find a way of doing
the journey under my own steam.

I had wondered about a tour for you from San Francisco to Yosemite and
Monterrey. Gray Line only do each as a one day tour (forget it).
You might be able to stitch one or more Tauck Tours together with
flights (or maybe even Amtrak) between e.g.

http://www.tauck.com/tours/usa-tours...ravel/wyoming-

travel-
yys-2012.aspx
http://www.tauck.com/tours/usa-tours...el/california-

tour-
ca-2012.aspx

Or maybe Globus http://monograms.com/us-vacations/ but I'm not sure
how you'd book some of the tours on that page. Globus are part of
the same company as Cosmos and they seem to want me work work through
Cosmos because I live in the UK and that is the page for people who
live in the US. I've no doubt it's doable but it might be a slight
struggle.

It is pretty easy to organise a trip using car hire and motels. The
trick is not to do too much driving and to allow the occasional "rest
day" if only because you need to find a launderette (many motels have
a machine). If you want help try someone like
http://www.nahighways.co.uk/. Anything you see on their website can
be changed/extended/shortened/sent places they don't normally list -
the tours they list are examples; they can be booked but they don't
have to look like that. I've never used them, I had a professional
connection with them some years ago and they seemed competent but
there are other similar specialists around.

By the way, what part of the UK are you in? I keep assuming you're
flying from London and that doesn't have to be the case.

Hi Graham,

I'm in the Midlands so would prefer to fly from Brum. It's a changing
situation, now I'm thinking of leaving Yellowstone to another year and
looking at fly-drive to San Francisco (2 nts) then Monterey (2 nts) to
get the whale trip in, then Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lake
Tahoe, Crater Lakes, Redwoods NP and back to SF over 14 days. Except
I've missed Death valley which I'd have to do after Monterey and before
Sequoia (bit tired at the moment). Far more sensible, haven't done the
fine detail yet and any advice on routes welcome.

I can't make my mind up whether to book a tour through a company or do
it myself via the 'Net. You'd think doing the donkey work myself would
work out cheaper but I'm not so sure.

Thanks for the input.

--
Panawe


This is going to be a mixed up message with unconnected elements.

I'm not clear if you've been to the USA before.

I live in South Somerset. Exeter and Bristol are both about an hour
away and Heathrow 2 hours (unless I try it on a summer weekend!). I
simply ignore the alternatives and head for Heathrow. I enjoy flying.
When I worked I was known for being quite ready to travel. That said,
over the years I've decided non stop is best. On the N Atlantic that
might a little more expensive but I'll pay that. Why? One is very
basic - take off and landing are the most risky parts of flying, why
increase the risk by adding extra take-offs/landings when I don't have
to? The other is journey time. 10 hours to the west coast is bad
enough. Why spend 7 hours going to the east coast and then 2/3 hours
worrying about whether you'll make the connection and then another 5
hours on a different plane? It's no better going back to Europe on say
Air France/KLM/Lufthansa it's the same hassle. And if you go via the USA
you will have to clear customs at your point of entry, recheck your
bags, find your way from international to domestic and go back through
security.

If you do go to Heathrow you'll find that both BA and Virgin offer a
premium economy as well as basic economy. Ordinary economy is 10
across with 31 inches between seats. Premium economy is 8 abreast and
38 inches and extra baggage allowance. United have something they call
Economy Plus which is normal 10 across seating but spaced out (can't
remember how many inches). I'm a fan of what BA call World Traveller
Plus.

I was once warned about speeding by an American I was working with. I
was on my way to rural Texas and he claimed the police in towns in rural
places make their living by catching speeding out of towners. It's
interesting watching traffic in the US. Get on a freeway within about
20 miles of a city and through that city and it's manic (assuming it's
not a traffic jam). Speeding, switching lanes without signaling,
undertaking, tailgating is rife. Once you're out in the sticks there's
much less speeding and it must be in part because of the number of times
I've come over a slight rise to find a police car in the median and
speeding in small towns just doesn't really seem to happen (oh, and be
really careful with school speed limits).

I think you're discovering you're spoiled for choice. The west is full
of opportunities. I'm going back to the idea of one way trips. You
need to check because it keeps changing but in the past I've hired cars
in Los Angeles and dropped them in San Francisco without having to pay a
one way fee. I think it may also be possible to do if Las Vegas or San
Diego is an endpoint. It may depend on the car hire company.

A word about car hire - make sure you understand what is included and
what isn't. The clerks at rental desks will try and sell you bigger
cars, insurance you don't need and all sorts. The number of times I've
had them try and sell me a bigger car than the one I hired and, when I
turn it down, given me a bigger car because they don't have what I
booked. This year I booked a Chevrolet Cruse (Mondeo sized) and got
put in a Dodge Nitro 4x4. Doesn't always happen but book what you need
and stick to your guns (but don't book something that is JUST big enough
- go one size bigger).

OK, where to go. What do you want to see? Mountains, big trees,
Buffalo, Wolves, dark blue lakes, a mirror lake? Do you want to go
for short strolls, day hikes, go horse riding? Even in a national park
do you mind being surrounded by people (Yosemite valley)? What about
other things? I like trains and planes so I'm always on the lookout
for heritage railways and transport museums. I've taken trips to the
USA where part of the reason has been to attend an air show for
instance. Small towns sometimes have local museums with all sorts of
stuff; one had a dentists surgery, another a pharmacy in a log cabin and
yet another a collection of barbed wire! Some things bought in the USA
are cheaper than in the UK. Some attract duty but come into your free
allowance, others (books) are duty free anyway. Forget naming actual
parks or cities for a moment and think about features instead. You've
named whale watching, what else?

As for planning the advantage of a specialist agent is they will have
been to many of the places or dealt with their suppliers for some years.
Do it yourself is sometimes a leap of faith but if you stick with
middle of the road chain motels you're usually OK. The worst mistake I
made was booking a (non chain) motel in Canada. The motel was very
nice and I was initially happy to find the Canadian Pacific main line 10
feet from the door but when the trains ran all night I wasn't so happy!
Easier to avoid these days with Google maps and Streetview.

PS I'm away for the weekend.


I'll have to think on your point about direct flights as I was hoping to
go from Birmingham. I've had another shot at an itinerary, here goes...

From -To -Miles -Sights
BHX -SFO
San Francisco -San Francisco -0 -Alcatraz
San Francisco -Monterey -121 -Coast road
Monterey -Monterey -0 -Whale cruise
Monterey -Morro Bay -123 -Coast road
Morro Bay -Sequoia, CA 93286 -148 -Scenic
Sequoia, CA 93286 -El Portal -151 -Scenic
El Portal -El Portal -Scenic
El Portal -El Portal -Scenic
El Portal -Lake Tahoe -206 -Travel
Lake Tahoe -Shasta Lake -236 -Travel
Shasta Lake -Crescent City via Klamath Falls -320 -Travel
Crescent City -Fort Bragg -216 -Scenic
Fort Bragg -San Francisco -170 -Scenic
San Francisco -San Francisco -Shopping
SFO -BHX

Looks a mess. No Yellowstone, Grand Canyon or even Death valley!

--
Panawe


My own view is that you'll enjoy yourself more if you don't try and overdo
it and this looks much more reasonable. I am however intrigued by the
Shasta/Crescent City day. Why go via Klamath Falls? It's the long way
round!

I also have a suggestion for your last day(s). My wife had an aunt who
emigrated to the USA and for many years lived on the San Francisco
peninsular; initially in San Mateo (town, it's a county as well) and later
in Foster City (which is in San Mateo county). If you cross the Golden
Gate and don't stop in San Francisco and keep going past the airport about
5/10 miles further on you'll come first to San Mateo and then Foster City.
You say you want to spend the last day(s) shopping. Well,
http://www.hillsdale.com/ and Metro Center Shopping Center (in Foster City)
offer a pretty good selection of US retail if that's what you want.
There's a Holiday Inn and a Residence Inn in Foster City and a Howard
Johnson on the El Camino between Hillsdale and San Mateo and a Best Western
at the junction of 101 and Hillsdale Blvd. We used to stay in the
Residence Inn but that was because it was near Aunt in Foster City and it
had/has apartment type rooms which we could all stay in. As an alternative
there are lots of motels/hotels in the immediate area around the airport and
http://www.theshopsattanforan.com/ in the same area (it was being
redeveloped last time we were there - 3 years ago, looks like they've
finished). The two areas aren't far apart so it's easy to stay in one and
shop in the other. In either case you can keep the car without having to
worry about parking. If you like fish to eat I like
http://www.thefishmarket.com/locations.aspx?id=4.

A couple of other thoughts. Half Moon Bay, on US1 as you head out on day 1
is worth a quick stop as is Carmel. South of Monterrey US1 isn't quick.
It took us all day to get from Monterrey down to San Simeon only partly
because of all the stops we made. And San Simeon is where you'll find
Hearst Castle. It's difficult to explain how I feel about Hearst Castle.
I'm glad we took the tour but my memory is of a building that was in the
worst taste in almost every possible way. He plundered the world to
acquire whole rooms (walls and all!). San Luis Obispo might be a better
stop than Morro Bay (I know, it's further despite what I just said!). They
have
http://www.downtownslo.com/index.php...11&It emid=13
which has all sorts (including music and food on the streets) if you turn up
on the correct days.

If you're feeling frustrated at omitting Yellowstone you can get some of the
thermal experience in Lassen Park and there's a geyser in Calistoga.

  #26  
Old October 19th, 2011, 08:03 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
MLD
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 36
Default Road trip USA Nat'l parks

Just would like to add the following piece of information just in case it
might help. Every State has (or should have) a Welcome Center near the
state line. There should be a rack of Discount Booklets containing Coupons
for Hotels/Motels etc. throughout the State Most of these are worth using
as they offer rates much cheaper than the daily Rack rate. I use them all
the time when traveling. The only negative is that they are "walk in"
only--can't use them if you want to make a reservation--but that's never
been a problem as there are usually lots of choices around where you want to
stop.
MLD



"Graham Harrison" wrote in message
...

"Panawe" wrote in message
m...
On Fri, 14 Oct 2011 15:11:54 +0100, Graham Harrison wrote:

"Panawe" wrote in message
...
On Thu, 13 Oct 2011 19:07:15 +0100, Graham Harrison wrote:

"Panawe" wrote in message
m...
On Wed, 12 Oct 2011 17:34:52 +0000, Lauri Nurmi wrote:

On 2011-10-12, Panawe wrote:
On 10/10/2011 6:33 AM, Panawe wrote:

I would like to go whale-watching and see Yosemite and
Yellowstone Nat'l parks (and others if feasible).

As regards my itinerary - what would you suggest given that I want
to get the most out of my holiday? Should I leave Yellowstone for
another time? Even if I extend the holiday to three weeks?

You could drive less and still visit three national parks if you
choose Yosemite, Death Valley and Grand Canyon (Arizona side).
Hoover Dam and Las Vegas are along the assumed route, and might also
be worth seeing.

-LN

Thanks to everyone for advice.

I'm listening and I'm wondering now about 14 days fly-drive out of
San Francisco followed by a week's package tour (a holiday within a
holiday!) to Yellowstone flying to and from SFO. I could have a rest
from driving on the Y'stone tour.

What do you think?

Or I could do the grand tour from Seattle to SF via.... stop it!

--
Panawe

Well, last year I participated in a Gray Line Alaska tour (Yukon and
Alaska). It's the first time I ever went on something like it. I'm
in 2 minds. It was nice not to have to keep driving. It was
incredibly frustrating to go past things I wanted to look at and I
didn't have enough time (even if I could have found transport) to
explore the outskirts of Whitehorse or Fairbanks. The big benefit
was when we got to Dawson and the road across to Tok was washed out.
They simply hired a plane and away we went!

On balance I would only do it again if I couldn't find a way of doing
the journey under my own steam.

I had wondered about a tour for you from San Francisco to Yosemite and
Monterrey. Gray Line only do each as a one day tour (forget it).
You might be able to stitch one or more Tauck Tours together with
flights (or maybe even Amtrak) between e.g.

http://www.tauck.com/tours/usa-tours...ravel/wyoming-

travel-
yys-2012.aspx
http://www.tauck.com/tours/usa-tours...el/california-

tour-
ca-2012.aspx

Or maybe Globus http://monograms.com/us-vacations/ but I'm not sure
how you'd book some of the tours on that page. Globus are part of
the same company as Cosmos and they seem to want me work work through
Cosmos because I live in the UK and that is the page for people who
live in the US. I've no doubt it's doable but it might be a slight
struggle.

It is pretty easy to organise a trip using car hire and motels. The
trick is not to do too much driving and to allow the occasional "rest
day" if only because you need to find a launderette (many motels have
a machine). If you want help try someone like
http://www.nahighways.co.uk/. Anything you see on their website can
be changed/extended/shortened/sent places they don't normally list -
the tours they list are examples; they can be booked but they don't
have to look like that. I've never used them, I had a professional
connection with them some years ago and they seemed competent but
there are other similar specialists around.

By the way, what part of the UK are you in? I keep assuming you're
flying from London and that doesn't have to be the case.

Hi Graham,

I'm in the Midlands so would prefer to fly from Brum. It's a changing
situation, now I'm thinking of leaving Yellowstone to another year and
looking at fly-drive to San Francisco (2 nts) then Monterey (2 nts) to
get the whale trip in, then Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lake
Tahoe, Crater Lakes, Redwoods NP and back to SF over 14 days. Except
I've missed Death valley which I'd have to do after Monterey and before
Sequoia (bit tired at the moment). Far more sensible, haven't done the
fine detail yet and any advice on routes welcome.

I can't make my mind up whether to book a tour through a company or do
it myself via the 'Net. You'd think doing the donkey work myself would
work out cheaper but I'm not so sure.

Thanks for the input.

--
Panawe

This is going to be a mixed up message with unconnected elements.

I'm not clear if you've been to the USA before.

I live in South Somerset. Exeter and Bristol are both about an hour
away and Heathrow 2 hours (unless I try it on a summer weekend!). I
simply ignore the alternatives and head for Heathrow. I enjoy flying.
When I worked I was known for being quite ready to travel. That said,
over the years I've decided non stop is best. On the N Atlantic that
might a little more expensive but I'll pay that. Why? One is very
basic - take off and landing are the most risky parts of flying, why
increase the risk by adding extra take-offs/landings when I don't have
to? The other is journey time. 10 hours to the west coast is bad
enough. Why spend 7 hours going to the east coast and then 2/3 hours
worrying about whether you'll make the connection and then another 5
hours on a different plane? It's no better going back to Europe on say
Air France/KLM/Lufthansa it's the same hassle. And if you go via the USA
you will have to clear customs at your point of entry, recheck your
bags, find your way from international to domestic and go back through
security.

If you do go to Heathrow you'll find that both BA and Virgin offer a
premium economy as well as basic economy. Ordinary economy is 10
across with 31 inches between seats. Premium economy is 8 abreast and
38 inches and extra baggage allowance. United have something they call
Economy Plus which is normal 10 across seating but spaced out (can't
remember how many inches). I'm a fan of what BA call World Traveller
Plus.

I was once warned about speeding by an American I was working with. I
was on my way to rural Texas and he claimed the police in towns in rural
places make their living by catching speeding out of towners. It's
interesting watching traffic in the US. Get on a freeway within about
20 miles of a city and through that city and it's manic (assuming it's
not a traffic jam). Speeding, switching lanes without signaling,
undertaking, tailgating is rife. Once you're out in the sticks there's
much less speeding and it must be in part because of the number of times
I've come over a slight rise to find a police car in the median and
speeding in small towns just doesn't really seem to happen (oh, and be
really careful with school speed limits).

I think you're discovering you're spoiled for choice. The west is full
of opportunities. I'm going back to the idea of one way trips. You
need to check because it keeps changing but in the past I've hired cars
in Los Angeles and dropped them in San Francisco without having to pay a
one way fee. I think it may also be possible to do if Las Vegas or San
Diego is an endpoint. It may depend on the car hire company.

A word about car hire - make sure you understand what is included and
what isn't. The clerks at rental desks will try and sell you bigger
cars, insurance you don't need and all sorts. The number of times I've
had them try and sell me a bigger car than the one I hired and, when I
turn it down, given me a bigger car because they don't have what I
booked. This year I booked a Chevrolet Cruse (Mondeo sized) and got
put in a Dodge Nitro 4x4. Doesn't always happen but book what you need
and stick to your guns (but don't book something that is JUST big enough
- go one size bigger).

OK, where to go. What do you want to see? Mountains, big trees,
Buffalo, Wolves, dark blue lakes, a mirror lake? Do you want to go
for short strolls, day hikes, go horse riding? Even in a national park
do you mind being surrounded by people (Yosemite valley)? What about
other things? I like trains and planes so I'm always on the lookout
for heritage railways and transport museums. I've taken trips to the
USA where part of the reason has been to attend an air show for
instance. Small towns sometimes have local museums with all sorts of
stuff; one had a dentists surgery, another a pharmacy in a log cabin and
yet another a collection of barbed wire! Some things bought in the USA
are cheaper than in the UK. Some attract duty but come into your free
allowance, others (books) are duty free anyway. Forget naming actual
parks or cities for a moment and think about features instead. You've
named whale watching, what else?

As for planning the advantage of a specialist agent is they will have
been to many of the places or dealt with their suppliers for some years.
Do it yourself is sometimes a leap of faith but if you stick with
middle of the road chain motels you're usually OK. The worst mistake I
made was booking a (non chain) motel in Canada. The motel was very
nice and I was initially happy to find the Canadian Pacific main line 10
feet from the door but when the trains ran all night I wasn't so happy!
Easier to avoid these days with Google maps and Streetview.

PS I'm away for the weekend.


I'll have to think on your point about direct flights as I was hoping to
go from Birmingham. I've had another shot at an itinerary, here goes...

From -To -Miles -Sights
BHX -SFO
San Francisco -San Francisco -0 -Alcatraz
San Francisco -Monterey -121 -Coast road
Monterey -Monterey -0 -Whale cruise
Monterey -Morro Bay -123 -Coast road
Morro Bay -Sequoia, CA 93286 -148 -Scenic
Sequoia, CA 93286 -El Portal -151 -Scenic
El Portal -El Portal -Scenic
El Portal -El Portal -Scenic
El Portal -Lake Tahoe -206 -Travel
Lake Tahoe -Shasta Lake -236 -Travel
Shasta Lake -Crescent City via Klamath Falls -320 -Travel
Crescent City -Fort Bragg -216 -Scenic
Fort Bragg -San Francisco -170 -Scenic
San Francisco -San Francisco -Shopping
SFO -BHX

Looks a mess. No Yellowstone, Grand Canyon or even Death valley!

--
Panawe


My own view is that you'll enjoy yourself more if you don't try and overdo
it and this looks much more reasonable. I am however intrigued by the
Shasta/Crescent City day. Why go via Klamath Falls? It's the long way
round!

I also have a suggestion for your last day(s). My wife had an aunt who
emigrated to the USA and for many years lived on the San Francisco
peninsular; initially in San Mateo (town, it's a county as well) and later
in Foster City (which is in San Mateo county). If you cross the Golden
Gate and don't stop in San Francisco and keep going past the airport about
5/10 miles further on you'll come first to San Mateo and then Foster City.
You say you want to spend the last day(s) shopping. Well,
http://www.hillsdale.com/ and Metro Center Shopping Center (in Foster
City) offer a pretty good selection of US retail if that's what you want.
There's a Holiday Inn and a Residence Inn in Foster City and a Howard
Johnson on the El Camino between Hillsdale and San Mateo and a Best
Western at the junction of 101 and Hillsdale Blvd. We used to stay in
the Residence Inn but that was because it was near Aunt in Foster City and
it had/has apartment type rooms which we could all stay in. As an
alternative there are lots of motels/hotels in the immediate area around
the airport and http://www.theshopsattanforan.com/ in the same area (it
was being redeveloped last time we were there - 3 years ago, looks like
they've finished). The two areas aren't far apart so it's easy to stay
in one and shop in the other. In either case you can keep the car
without having to worry about parking. If you like fish to eat I like
http://www.thefishmarket.com/locations.aspx?id=4.

A couple of other thoughts. Half Moon Bay, on US1 as you head out on day
1 is worth a quick stop as is Carmel. South of Monterrey US1 isn't
quick. It took us all day to get from Monterrey down to San Simeon only
partly because of all the stops we made. And San Simeon is where you'll
find Hearst Castle. It's difficult to explain how I feel about Hearst
Castle. I'm glad we took the tour but my memory is of a building that was
in the worst taste in almost every possible way. He plundered the world
to acquire whole rooms (walls and all!). San Luis Obispo might be a
better stop than Morro Bay (I know, it's further despite what I just
said!). They have
http://www.downtownslo.com/index.php...11&It emid=13
which has all sorts (including music and food on the streets) if you turn
up on the correct days.

If you're feeling frustrated at omitting Yellowstone you can get some of
the thermal experience in Lassen Park and there's a geyser in Calistoga.


  #27  
Old October 19th, 2011, 09:20 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
Panawe
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default Road trip USA Nat'l parks

On Wed, 19 Oct 2011 15:03:15 -0400, MLD wrote:

Just would like to add the following piece of information just in case
it might help. Every State has (or should have) a Welcome Center near
the state line. There should be a rack of Discount Booklets containing
Coupons for Hotels/Motels etc. throughout the State Most of these are
worth using as they offer rates much cheaper than the daily Rack rate.
I use them all the time when traveling. The only negative is that they
are "walk in" only--can't use them if you want to make a
reservation--but that's never been a problem as there are usually lots
of choices around where you want to stop.
MLD



"Graham Harrison" wrote in
message ...

"Panawe" wrote in message
m...
On Fri, 14 Oct 2011 15:11:54 +0100, Graham Harrison wrote:

"Panawe" wrote in message
...
On Thu, 13 Oct 2011 19:07:15 +0100, Graham Harrison wrote:

"Panawe" wrote in message
m...
On Wed, 12 Oct 2011 17:34:52 +0000, Lauri Nurmi wrote:

On 2011-10-12, Panawe wrote:
On 10/10/2011 6:33 AM, Panawe wrote:

I would like to go whale-watching and see Yosemite and
Yellowstone Nat'l parks (and others if feasible).

As regards my itinerary - what would you suggest given that I
want to get the most out of my holiday? Should I leave
Yellowstone for another time? Even if I extend the holiday to
three weeks?

You could drive less and still visit three national parks if you
choose Yosemite, Death Valley and Grand Canyon (Arizona side).
Hoover Dam and Las Vegas are along the assumed route, and might
also be worth seeing.

-LN

Thanks to everyone for advice.

I'm listening and I'm wondering now about 14 days fly-drive out of
San Francisco followed by a week's package tour (a holiday within
a holiday!) to Yellowstone flying to and from SFO. I could have a
rest from driving on the Y'stone tour.

What do you think?

Or I could do the grand tour from Seattle to SF via.... stop it!


--
Panawe

Well, last year I participated in a Gray Line Alaska tour (Yukon
and Alaska). It's the first time I ever went on something like
it. I'm in 2 minds. It was nice not to have to keep driving.
It was incredibly frustrating to go past things I wanted to look at
and I didn't have enough time (even if I could have found
transport) to explore the outskirts of Whitehorse or Fairbanks.
The big benefit was when we got to Dawson and the road across to
Tok was washed out. They simply hired a plane and away we went!

On balance I would only do it again if I couldn't find a way of
doing the journey under my own steam.

I had wondered about a tour for you from San Francisco to Yosemite
and Monterrey. Gray Line only do each as a one day tour (forget
it). You might be able to stitch one or more Tauck Tours together
with flights (or maybe even Amtrak) between e.g.

http://www.tauck.com/tours/usa-tours...ravel/wyoming-
travel-
yys-2012.aspx
http://www.tauck.com/tours/usa-tours...el/california-
tour-
ca-2012.aspx

Or maybe Globus http://monograms.com/us-vacations/ but I'm not sure
how you'd book some of the tours on that page. Globus are part of
the same company as Cosmos and they seem to want me work work
through Cosmos because I live in the UK and that is the page for
people who live in the US. I've no doubt it's doable but it might
be a slight struggle.

It is pretty easy to organise a trip using car hire and motels.
The trick is not to do too much driving and to allow the occasional
"rest day" if only because you need to find a launderette (many
motels have a machine). If you want help try someone like
http://www.nahighways.co.uk/. Anything you see on their website
can be changed/extended/shortened/sent places they don't normally
list - the tours they list are examples; they can be booked but
they don't have to look like that. I've never used them, I had a
professional connection with them some years ago and they seemed
competent but there are other similar specialists around.

By the way, what part of the UK are you in? I keep assuming
you're flying from London and that doesn't have to be the case.

Hi Graham,

I'm in the Midlands so would prefer to fly from Brum. It's a
changing situation, now I'm thinking of leaving Yellowstone to
another year and looking at fly-drive to San Francisco (2 nts) then
Monterey (2 nts) to get the whale trip in, then Sequoia, Kings
Canyon, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Crater Lakes, Redwoods NP and back to
SF over 14 days. Except I've missed Death valley which I'd have to
do after Monterey and before Sequoia (bit tired at the moment). Far
more sensible, haven't done the fine detail yet and any advice on
routes welcome.

I can't make my mind up whether to book a tour through a company or
do it myself via the 'Net. You'd think doing the donkey work myself
would work out cheaper but I'm not so sure.

Thanks for the input.

--
Panawe

This is going to be a mixed up message with unconnected elements.

I'm not clear if you've been to the USA before.

I live in South Somerset. Exeter and Bristol are both about an hour
away and Heathrow 2 hours (unless I try it on a summer weekend!). I
simply ignore the alternatives and head for Heathrow. I enjoy
flying.
When I worked I was known for being quite ready to travel. That
said,
over the years I've decided non stop is best. On the N Atlantic
that might a little more expensive but I'll pay that. Why? One is
very basic - take off and landing are the most risky parts of flying,
why increase the risk by adding extra take-offs/landings when I don't
have to? The other is journey time. 10 hours to the west coast is
bad enough. Why spend 7 hours going to the east coast and then 2/3
hours worrying about whether you'll make the connection and then
another 5 hours on a different plane? It's no better going back to
Europe on say Air France/KLM/Lufthansa it's the same hassle. And if
you go via the USA you will have to clear customs at your point of
entry, recheck your bags, find your way from international to
domestic and go back through security.

If you do go to Heathrow you'll find that both BA and Virgin offer a
premium economy as well as basic economy. Ordinary economy is 10
across with 31 inches between seats. Premium economy is 8 abreast
and 38 inches and extra baggage allowance. United have something
they call Economy Plus which is normal 10 across seating but spaced
out (can't remember how many inches). I'm a fan of what BA call World
Traveller Plus.

I was once warned about speeding by an American I was working with.
I was on my way to rural Texas and he claimed the police in towns in
rural places make their living by catching speeding out of towners.
It's interesting watching traffic in the US. Get on a freeway
within about 20 miles of a city and through that city and it's manic
(assuming it's not a traffic jam). Speeding, switching lanes without
signaling, undertaking, tailgating is rife. Once you're out in the
sticks there's much less speeding and it must be in part because of
the number of times I've come over a slight rise to find a police car
in the median and speeding in small towns just doesn't really seem to
happen (oh, and be really careful with school speed limits).

I think you're discovering you're spoiled for choice. The west is
full of opportunities. I'm going back to the idea of one way trips.
You need to check because it keeps changing but in the past I've
hired cars in Los Angeles and dropped them in San Francisco without
having to pay a one way fee. I think it may also be possible to do
if Las Vegas or San Diego is an endpoint. It may depend on the car
hire company.

A word about car hire - make sure you understand what is included and
what isn't. The clerks at rental desks will try and sell you bigger
cars, insurance you don't need and all sorts. The number of times
I've had them try and sell me a bigger car than the one I hired and,
when I turn it down, given me a bigger car because they don't have
what I booked. This year I booked a Chevrolet Cruse (Mondeo sized)
and got put in a Dodge Nitro 4x4. Doesn't always happen but book what
you need and stick to your guns (but don't book something that is
JUST big enough - go one size bigger).

OK, where to go. What do you want to see? Mountains, big trees,
Buffalo, Wolves, dark blue lakes, a mirror lake? Do you want to go
for short strolls, day hikes, go horse riding? Even in a national
park do you mind being surrounded by people (Yosemite valley)? What
about other things? I like trains and planes so I'm always on the
lookout for heritage railways and transport museums. I've taken
trips to the USA where part of the reason has been to attend an air
show for instance. Small towns sometimes have local museums with
all sorts of stuff; one had a dentists surgery, another a pharmacy in
a log cabin and yet another a collection of barbed wire! Some
things bought in the USA are cheaper than in the UK. Some attract
duty but come into your free allowance, others (books) are duty free
anyway. Forget naming actual parks or cities for a moment and think
about features instead. You've named whale watching, what else?

As for planning the advantage of a specialist agent is they will have
been to many of the places or dealt with their suppliers for some
years.
Do it yourself is sometimes a leap of faith but if you stick with
middle of the road chain motels you're usually OK. The worst
mistake I made was booking a (non chain) motel in Canada. The motel
was very nice and I was initially happy to find the Canadian Pacific
main line 10 feet from the door but when the trains ran all night I
wasn't so happy!
Easier to avoid these days with Google maps and Streetview.

PS I'm away for the weekend.

I'll have to think on your point about direct flights as I was hoping
to go from Birmingham. I've had another shot at an itinerary, here
goes...

From -To -Miles -Sights
BHX -SFO
San Francisco -San Francisco -0 -Alcatraz San Francisco -Monterey -121
-Coast road Monterey -Monterey -0 -Whale cruise
Monterey -Morro Bay -123 -Coast road
Morro Bay -Sequoia, CA 93286 -148 -Scenic Sequoia, CA 93286 -El
Portal -151 -Scenic El Portal -El Portal -Scenic
El Portal -El Portal -Scenic
El Portal -Lake Tahoe -206 -Travel
Lake Tahoe -Shasta Lake -236 -Travel
Shasta Lake -Crescent City via Klamath Falls -320 -Travel Crescent
City -Fort Bragg -216 -Scenic Fort Bragg -San Francisco -170 -Scenic
San Francisco -San Francisco -Shopping SFO -BHX

Looks a mess. No Yellowstone, Grand Canyon or even Death valley!

--
Panawe


My own view is that you'll enjoy yourself more if you don't try and
overdo it and this looks much more reasonable. I am however intrigued
by the Shasta/Crescent City day. Why go via Klamath Falls? It's the
long way round!

I also have a suggestion for your last day(s). My wife had an aunt
who emigrated to the USA and for many years lived on the San Francisco
peninsular; initially in San Mateo (town, it's a county as well) and
later in Foster City (which is in San Mateo county). If you cross the
Golden Gate and don't stop in San Francisco and keep going past the
airport about 5/10 miles further on you'll come first to San Mateo and
then Foster City. You say you want to spend the last day(s) shopping.
Well, http://www.hillsdale.com/ and Metro Center Shopping Center (in
Foster City) offer a pretty good selection of US retail if that's what
you want. There's a Holiday Inn and a Residence Inn in Foster City and
a Howard Johnson on the El Camino between Hillsdale and San Mateo and a
Best Western at the junction of 101 and Hillsdale Blvd. We used to
stay in the Residence Inn but that was because it was near Aunt in
Foster City and it had/has apartment type rooms which we could all stay
in. As an alternative there are lots of motels/hotels in the
immediate area around the airport and
http://www.theshopsattanforan.com/ in the same area (it was being
redeveloped last time we were there - 3 years ago, looks like they've
finished). The two areas aren't far apart so it's easy to stay in one
and shop in the other. In either case you can keep the car without
having to worry about parking. If you like fish to eat I like
http://www.thefishmarket.com/locations.aspx?id=4.

A couple of other thoughts. Half Moon Bay, on US1 as you head out on
day 1 is worth a quick stop as is Carmel. South of Monterrey US1
isn't quick. It took us all day to get from Monterrey down to San
Simeon only partly because of all the stops we made. And San Simeon
is where you'll find Hearst Castle. It's difficult to explain how I
feel about Hearst Castle. I'm glad we took the tour but my memory is of
a building that was in the worst taste in almost every possible way.
He plundered the world to acquire whole rooms (walls and all!). San
Luis Obispo might be a better stop than Morro Bay (I know, it's further
despite what I just said!). They have
http://www.downtownslo.com/index.php?

option=com_content&view=article&id=11&Itemid=13
which has all sorts (including music and food on the streets) if you
turn up on the correct days.

If you're feeling frustrated at omitting Yellowstone you can get some
of the thermal experience in Lassen Park and there's a geyser in
Calistoga.


Thanks, all grist to the mill.
I'm using the Trip Advisor forum as well as this place seems a tad quiet.

Someone in there has suggested this...

1 BHX SFO
2 San Francisco San Francisco Alcatraz
3 San Francisco Monterey (121) PCH
4 Monterey Monterey Whale cruise
5 Monterey Cambria (103) PCH
6 Cambria Furnace Creek (382) Travel
7 Furnace Creek Lone Pine (106) Death Valley
8 Lone Pine Lee Vining (122) Mono Lake & Bodie State
Park
9 Lee Vining El Portal (76) Yosemite
10 El Portal El Portal Yosemite
11 El Portal Lake Tahoe (206) Travel via Hwy 49 & 88
12 Lake Tahoe Lassen (150) Travel
13 Lassen Crescent City (330) Travel
14 Crescent City Fort Bragg (216) PCH via Hwy 101
to Hwy 1
15 Fort Bragg San Francisco (170) PCH via Hwy 101
to Hwy 1
16 San Francisco San Francisco Shopping
17 SFO BHX

Not happy about the two long travelling days but I reckon to have a day
in hand. Is there a worthwhile 2-day journey from Cambria to Furnace
Creek?

Cheers,
  #28  
Old October 19th, 2011, 10:08 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
Graham Harrison[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 288
Default Road trip USA Nat'l parks


Thanks, all grist to the mill.
I'm using the Trip Advisor forum as well as this place seems a tad quiet.

Someone in there has suggested this...

1 BHX SFO
2 San Francisco San Francisco Alcatraz
3 San Francisco Monterey (121) PCH
4 Monterey Monterey Whale cruise
5 Monterey Cambria (103) PCH
6 Cambria Furnace Creek (382) Travel
7 Furnace Creek Lone Pine (106) Death Valley
8 Lone Pine Lee Vining (122) Mono Lake & Bodie State
Park
9 Lee Vining El Portal (76) Yosemite
10 El Portal El Portal Yosemite
11 El Portal Lake Tahoe (206) Travel via Hwy 49 & 88
12 Lake Tahoe Lassen (150) Travel
13 Lassen Crescent City (330) Travel
14 Crescent City Fort Bragg (216) PCH via Hwy 101
to Hwy 1
15 Fort Bragg San Francisco (170) PCH via Hwy 101
to Hwy 1
16 San Francisco San Francisco Shopping
17 SFO BHX

Not happy about the two long travelling days but I reckon to have a day
in hand. Is there a worthwhile 2-day journey from Cambria to Furnace
Creek?

Cheers,


In the end the decision has to be yours. I reckon Cambria to Furnace Creek
is going to be quite a day. Why not see if there's somewhere (Lone Pine,
spend 2 nights there) before you get to Furnace Creek and then make a
slightly longer day in Death Valley? As for Lassen to Crescent City you
can save a lot of driving by simply going straight for the coast, crossing
I5 at Redding and then driving up the coast. Yes, you have to come back
the same way next day but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Firstly you get
different views under different lighting conditions and, if you spot
somewhere on the way up, you don't HAVE to stop then, you can mark it for
the next day.

There's not much accommodation in Lassen itself from memory. I seem to
remember (we were coming from the north) stopping in Redding and then doing
Lassen as a day trip and spending the next night in Chico (but Chico was
dictated partly because of the university bookshop there).

  #29  
Old October 20th, 2011, 10:23 AM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
Panawe
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default Road trip USA Nat'l parks

On Wed, 19 Oct 2011 22:08:57 +0100, Graham Harrison wrote:


Thanks, all grist to the mill.
I'm using the Trip Advisor forum as well as this place seems a tad
quiet.

Someone in there has suggested this...

1 BHX SFO
2 San Francisco San Francisco Alcatraz 3 San Francisco Monterey (121)
PCH
4 Monterey Monterey Whale cruise
5 Monterey Cambria (103) PCH
6 Cambria Furnace Creek (382) Travel 7 Furnace Creek Lone Pine (106)
Death Valley 8 Lone Pine Lee Vining (122) Mono Lake & Bodie State Park
9 Lee Vining El Portal (76) Yosemite 10 El Portal El Portal Yosemite
11 El Portal Lake Tahoe (206) Travel via Hwy 49 & 88 12 Lake Tahoe
Lassen (150) Travel

13 Lassen Crescent City (330) Travel 14 Crescent City Fort Bragg
(216) PCH via Hwy 101 to Hwy 1
15 Fort Bragg San Francisco (170) PCH via Hwy 101 to Hwy 1
16 San Francisco San Francisco Shopping 17 SFO BHX

Not happy about the two long travelling days but I reckon to have a day
in hand. Is there a worthwhile 2-day journey from Cambria to Furnace
Creek?

Cheers,


In the end the decision has to be yours. I reckon Cambria to Furnace
Creek is going to be quite a day. Why not see if there's somewhere
(Lone Pine, spend 2 nights there) before you get to Furnace Creek and
then make a slightly longer day in Death Valley? As for Lassen to
Crescent City you can save a lot of driving by simply going straight for
the coast, crossing I5 at Redding and then driving up the coast. Yes,
you have to come back the same way next day but I'm not sure that's a
bad thing. Firstly you get different views under different lighting
conditions and, if you spot somewhere on the way up, you don't HAVE to
stop then, you can mark it for the next day.

There's not much accommodation in Lassen itself from memory. I seem to
remember (we were coming from the north) stopping in Redding and then
doing Lassen as a day trip and spending the next night in Chico (but
Chico was dictated partly because of the university bookshop there).


Thanks.

Still roughing it out, what do you think of this then?

Day From To Miles Sights Route
1 BHX SFO
2 San Francisco San Francisco Alcatraz
3 San Francisco Monterey (121) PCH
4 Monterey Monterey Whale cruise
5 Monterey Cambria (103) PCH
6 Cambria Lone Pine (303) Travel
7 Lone Pine Lone Pine 0 Death Valley
8 Lone Pine Lee Vining (122) Mono Lake & Bodie State
Park
9 Lee Vining El Portal (76) Yosemite
10 El Portal El Portal Yosemite
11 El Portal Lake Tahoe (206) Travel via Hwy 49 & 88
12 Lake Tahoe Redding (230) Travel
13 Redding Eureka (147) Redwood NP Via I5
14 Eureka Fort Bragg (133) Redwood NP & Ferndale PCH via
Hwy 101 to Hwy 1
15 Fort Bragg San Francisco (170) PCH via Hwy 101
to Hwy 1
16 San Francisco San Francisco Shopping
17 SFO BHX

It's not finished because I want to do Sequoia and Kings Canyon

Phil



--
Panawe
  #30  
Old October 25th, 2011, 10:34 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
Lawrence T. Akutagawa
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 21
Default Road trip USA Nat'l parks



"Graham Harrison" wrote in message
...


"Panawe" wrote in message
m...
On Fri, 14 Oct 2011 15:11:54 +0100, Graham Harrison wrote:

/snip - follow the thread/

I'll have to think on your point about direct flights as I was hoping to
go from Birmingham. I've had another shot at an itinerary, here goes...

From -To -Miles -Sights
BHX -SFO
San Francisco -San Francisco -0 -Alcatraz
San Francisco -Monterey -121 -Coast road
Monterey -Monterey -0 -Whale cruise
Monterey -Morro Bay -123 -Coast road
Morro Bay -Sequoia, CA 93286 -148 -Scenic
Sequoia, CA 93286 -El Portal -151 -Scenic
El Portal -El Portal -Scenic
El Portal -El Portal -Scenic
El Portal -Lake Tahoe -206 -Travel
Lake Tahoe -Shasta Lake -236 -Travel
Shasta Lake -Crescent City via Klamath Falls -320 -Travel
Crescent City -Fort Bragg -216 -Scenic
Fort Bragg -San Francisco -170 -Scenic
San Francisco -San Francisco -Shopping
SFO -BHX

Looks a mess. No Yellowstone, Grand Canyon or even Death valley!

--
Panawe


My own view is that you'll enjoy yourself more if you don't try and overdo
it and this looks much more reasonable. I am however intrigued by the
Shasta/Crescent City day. Why go via Klamath Falls? It's the long way
round!

I also have a suggestion for your last day(s). My wife had an aunt who
emigrated to the USA and for many years lived on the San Francisco
peninsular; initially in San Mateo (town, it's a county as well) and later
in Foster City (which is in San Mateo county). If you cross the Golden
Gate and don't stop in San Francisco and keep going past the airport about
5/10 miles further on you'll come first to San Mateo and then Foster City.
You say you want to spend the last day(s) shopping. Well,
http://www.hillsdale.com/ and Metro Center Shopping Center (in Foster City)
offer a pretty good selection of US retail if that's what you want.
There's a Holiday Inn and a Residence Inn in Foster City and a Howard
Johnson on the El Camino between Hillsdale and San Mateo and a Best Western
at the junction of 101 and Hillsdale Blvd. We used to stay in the
Residence Inn but that was because it was near Aunt in Foster City and it
had/has apartment type rooms which we could all stay in. As an alternative
there are lots of motels/hotels in the immediate area around the airport and
http://www.theshopsattanforan.com/ in the same area (it was being
redeveloped last time we were there - 3 years ago, looks like they've
finished). The two areas aren't far apart so it's easy to stay in one and
shop in the other. In either case you can keep the car without having to
worry about parking. If you like fish to eat I like
http://www.thefishmarket.com/locations.aspx?id=4.

A couple of other thoughts. Half Moon Bay, on US1 as you head out on day 1
is worth a quick stop as is Carmel. South of Monterrey US1 isn't quick.
It took us all day to get from Monterrey down to San Simeon only partly
because of all the stops we made. And San Simeon is where you'll find
Hearst Castle. It's difficult to explain how I feel about Hearst Castle.
I'm glad we took the tour but my memory is of a building that was in the
worst taste in almost every possible way. He plundered the world to
acquire whole rooms (walls and all!). San Luis Obispo might be a better
stop than Morro Bay (I know, it's further despite what I just said!). They
have
http://www.downtownslo.com/index.php...11&It emid=13
which has all sorts (including music and food on the streets) if you turn up
on the correct days.

If you're feeling frustrated at omitting Yellowstone you can get some of the
thermal experience in Lassen Park and there's a geyser in Calistoga.

********
I'm coming into this discussion late. My own two bits -

1. Shopping
If you stay in San Mateo County (where SFO is located) your last days
here, visit the Stanford Shopping Center. This shopping center is very much
on the upscale side and is located on El Camino Real basically to the north
of the Sanford University campus.

2. Discount lodgings
At most tourist stops - restaurants and fast food places along the major
highways, highway rest stops, etc. - you will find free pamphlets touting
lodging discounts.
One comes with a predominately green cover - http://www.roomsaver.com/
One comes with a predominately yellow cover -
http://www.travelcouponguide.com/
These discounts are real. Read the conditions. They usually do not include
Fridays, Saturdays, or big event days. But they make for sizeable savings.

3. Bishop
Given that you're going up hwy 395 from Lone Pine to Lee Vining, stop
for 20-30 minutes at the Mountain Light Gallery in Bishop to view Galen
Rowell and Barbara Rowell's images.
Cheapest gas in the general area (Lone Pine to Bridgeport) is at the
Indian casino just north of Bishop. The Giggling Springs gas station in
Bishop itself is generally a tad more expensive.

4. Death Valley
Fill your gas tank before you enter the valley. Gas is expensive there.
Cheapest nearby is at Beatty, about 45 minutes to an hour from Furnace
Creek. The ruins of Rhyolite are close to Beatty.

5. Big Sur
Similarly, fill your gas tank before you venture south of Monterrey.
Gas is expensive in Big Sur until you reach the Arco station just off hwy 1
in Morro Bay.





 




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