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15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

manchester
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15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

We have got a bargain flight to SF in May 2018 so planning a trip. I would love to go Yosemite via the Tioga Pass, but know that it may not be open when we travel so will plans two options for that section.

So far my plans are to spend the first 3 nights in SF, then pick up the car. Driving along Pacific coast through Monterey, Carmel, San Simeon, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, Ventura. Don't particularly want to go further down as already been to LA and didn't particularly like it (although only went to Downtown LA and Hollywood). Then I plan to stop overnight in Ridgecrest of thereabouts, then onto Death Valley and stay one night there. I would then like to to go Yosemite via Mammoth Lakes and Tioga, but know this may not be possible due to weather. This would be on either the 19th or 20th May.

I then have a reservation for 21st May in one of the YV hotels. This is the only thing I don't want to change on my plan as it seems to be difficult to get accommodation there. Ideally I would like another day there, not bothered if it's 20th or 22nd May.

My flight back is 25th May, so I would probably have two nights have Yosemite, and not sure what to do on those.

Finally, obviously I know that weather is unpredictable, but been reading up on past Tioga Pass opening times. They say that they start in April and it can take up to two months. Once the clearing starts, are they able to give an estimate as to how long they expect it will take? Just wondering as it looks like my dates are cutting it a bit fine going off the last couple of years.

Any suggestions on how to make the best of this trip would be really welcome. For info, we like sight seeing, nature, hiking etc. Looking forward to getting to see some beautiful scenery.

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17 replies to this topic
Munich
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1. Re: 15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

You surely mean 2019???

Opening dates of the Tioga Pass in the last years:

https:/…tiogaopen.htm

But nobody knows about next year.

Beate

San Francisco...
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2. Re: 15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

You can come to YNP via the Bakersfield area unless the pass opens. No one knows if and when

May 2019 ?

Washington State
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3. Re: 15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

Hi

Info about Yosemite is on the Yosemite forum. There is info about Tioga Pass and about planning a spring visit. The unofficial 'goal' is to have the pass opened by the Friday of Memorial Day holiday weekend (that would be May 24) but Mother Nature gets to have the most input on opening date. Plowing generally begins around April 15th and factors include winter snowpack, avalanche danger, spring weather (warm to melt snow or more falling snow?), and road repairs needed.

manchester
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4. Re: 15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

Apologies, means 2019!

I'm just speculating about the pass, and have a plan b.

Any thoughts on the rest of it, and what to do for the 2 nights after Yosemite?

Thanks

Washington State
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5. Re: 15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

More time in Yosemite.

Sequoia - Kings Canyon NP

Hwy 49 Gold Rush country

Napa / Sonoma

More time in San Francisco!

Sunnyvale...
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6. Re: 15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

I suspect that part of why you didn’t like LA is that you didn’t understand that many of the tourist attractions are spread out over the Westside and Mid-City areas, as well as the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys—they’re not in Hollywood or downtown LA. If you haven’t seen the Westside, you haven’t really seen LA.

Long Beach...
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7. Re: 15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

Tioga Pass-- they give plowing updates, no real estimates. They will announce when the road will open a few days prior.

I would look at visiting DVNP > Mammoth > Lake Tahoe > Yosemite Valley Lake Tahoe is beautiful! And if Tioga Pass is closed, gives you an easier drive to Yosemite Valley via Hwy 88/49.

After Yosemite-- maybe Sonoma County? Coast, coastal Redwoods, wineries and breweries.

Depending on your plans, I would head East after Pismo Beach. (Santa Barbara is great, but if you are just driving through, I would cut across the state sooner.)

manchester
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8. Re: 15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

Thanks coolcaesar, you are correct I didn't understand the layout of LA, it really was a whistle stop at the end of a tour we did. Downtown, Hollywood, and then to airport. I wasn't really keen, although I did enjoy looking around the railway station! I am driving myself this time so we can go wherever we like.

Thanks for your help lemoncurcls, I do want to go to Mammouth and Tahoe. Didn't realise that was an option to get get to Yosemite if Tioga Pass closed. I would be happy to do if it's possible in May.

PacificNWFamily, thanks for suggestions. There are so many places I want to see, and not enough time! I do like the idea of gold rush country too. I've really got the bug for US travel now I've done a trip. We're doing Colorado, New Mexico and Utah etc, in September. If I like SF I will come back as my husband would like to go up to Seattle.

Thanks for your help everyone

Grover Beach...
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9. Re: 15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

Please tell me your plan isn't to drive from SF to Ridgecrest in one day via Highway 1. That's insanity.

With your stated plan, that's a 15 hour day WITHOUT stops.

You need at least one overnight stop.

manchester
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10. Re: 15 night California Road Trip in May 2018

Hi Kibbles 16. I probably haven't explained it well. No, I am thinking of spending at least 3 days or so driving down Pacific Coast, perhaps stopping at Monterey, someone that would be convenient for Hearst Castle, Pismo Beach, and then maybe Santa Barbara or Ventura. Then I would like to go Death Valley, but wouldn't mind a stop off somewhere on route. I had read about a living ghost town, which I think is near Ridgecrest, so thinking about that.

Can't wait to see your part of the world it looks so beautiful. I could take longer on the coast. If you have any suggestions as to a more interesting route I would love to hear them. I've got 15 nights to get around my current planned route. The only things I am fixed to is spending the first 3 nights in SF as I won't pick up car until then, and I have a room booked at Yosemite Valley on the 12th day of the trip as this was the only date I could get.

Whilst we would like to see as much as possible, I would prefer to do shorter distances and more stopovers between rather than just watch the scenery whizz by.

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