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Old 05-06-2013, 06:36 PM   #1
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Not a bike trip from San Diego to San Franscisco

This is my wife's trip. She's a teacher and won an award from a private organization that tries to reward excellence in teaching.

Her plan is for us to fly from Virginia to San Diego. Rent a convertable and drive up the coast of California to San Francisco. We have 9K from the award and 15 days to do it. I have never been to California.

We need to visit some places to see the stomping grounds of some children's book authors. We also want to see some of the nicer state parks on the coast. I wonder if we could get into Northern California before we turn around?

She's a good girl, works hard, I'm proud of her. But no motorcycles on her trip.

Any ideas for me? Thanks, Karl.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:47 PM   #2
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First, tell us where you HAVE to go, then we'll tell you where you should go !


15 days is a long time and you will be able to cover a lot of ground unless you're on some time schedule that requires you to be in NorCal and SoCal at the same time
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:59 PM   #3
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Yes, you can easily make Northern California in 15 days. You could spend half your time heading north along the coast, and half of it heading south through the foothills.

I don't know where your San Diego event is happening, but I once stayed at Paradise Point for a conference, and the service and atmosphere was like the old TV show Fantasy Island. Heading north, the maker of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Brewing, is located in Escondido, CA.

Along the coast, there is plenty to see. In the L.A. Basin, you have Hollywood and the tours at Universal Theaters, Beverly Hills and expensive shopping, and Santa Barbara with the beach feel. After that you will move away from the coast a bit as you pass a military base. There is a little Danish town called Solvang that is worth a stop. They have shops with Scandinavian clothes, chocolate, and cookoo clocks. They also have a little grocery store (under the windmill) that has unusual beer, wine, salami, crackers, chocolates, and everything you need for a coastal picnic. Solvang also has a great little Motorcycle Museum with a rotating display with interesting comments about each bike.

As you get back to the coast along Hwy 1, buildings get sparse, and the coastal cliffs are amazing. There is some hiking in the semi rain forest parks all the way to San Francisco. Some authors wrote about the Central Coast. John Steinbeck wrote about Canary Row in Monterey, and Robert Lewis Stevenson wrote about the Napa Valley (where you can get mud baths in Calistoga). You could easily spend a couple days in San Francisco. Monterey and The Academy of Sciences both have great aquariums. S.F. has a multi museum pass you buy.

North away from the Bay Area, there are some really good oyster farms, such as Drakes Bay Oyster Co. Lagunitas Brewery and restaurant is in nearby Petaluma. Development gets sparse again, with a few lighthouses along the way. At Fort Bragg, you can take a steam train ride. Near Mendocino, you can paddle kayaks into sea caves.

Heading south again, you can follow the Sierra foothills along Hwy 49. Lake Tahoe is pretty cool, and worth a stop. You can ride the Gondola to the top of the Heavenly Ski slope. Back on Hwy 49, there is a lot of Gold Rush history. Mark Twain wrote about the frog jumping in Calaveras County. If your timing is right, they still do it during the county fair. Columbia State Park often has historic based events of the Gold Rush. Just a bit further south, you can see Yosemite National Park. Dining at the Ahwahni Hotel would be nice treat.

You could finish out with deserts: Joshua Tree, Mojave, and Death Valley. The underground tour at Scotty's Castle is pretty cool. If you have never been, Las Vegas is not that far away. Maybe not suitable for a " good girl", it is possible to keep busy without gambling.

Boy, that was long winded. Hopefully it helps.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:04 PM   #4
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You can pretty much see everything in 15 days from a car.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:38 AM   #5
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The bare bones of the trip are this.
  1. Fly west after school is out third week of June.
  2. Visit Mt. Soledad, Dr. Seuss lived there for awhile.
  3. Salinas for the National Steinbeck Center.
  4. Fresno is the home of the Gary Soto Literacy Museum.
  5. San Franscisco for the Robert Frost Memorial. Fly home from San Franscisco.
She wants to see Jack London Square in Oakland and Robert Lewis Stevenson State park near Calistoga.

In general she wants to rent a convertable in the south and drive up the coast taking in the beauty of rural coastal areas. She would like to lay around on a scenic beach for a day here and there, stay in very nice hotels and eat good. We are bringing a 16 year old boy to fetch ice and carry baggage.

I think I'd like to drive them on some good roads, see some big trees, clifts, mountians and avoid
traffic. Seeing some history from California's pioneer days might be nice, sure gold mining country. I'll have to avoid my tendancy to drive to far and wear everyone out. Should be a great trip.

We won't return south except if we go north of SF.

Thanks for the comments so far.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:52 AM   #6
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Start by adding Yosemite, Big Sur, The Redwoods, and Lake Tahoe.


Your route from San Diego will have to zoom north bypassing most of LA as quickly as possible Lots of people want to see Hollyweird, but again.


You will also have to criss cross the San Jouquin valley to get from Salinas to Yosemite/Fresno... Not a major problem, but Salinas I've never seen the Steinbeck center.

Pacific Coast Highway (1) from Morro Bay up to Monterey area is beautiful, but once you're on it, you are committed to go all the way north. When you look on the map, you'll see what I mean. This area includes Big Sur.

The rest of the locations are generally easy to do in your allotted time.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:02 AM   #7
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What grade does she teach. I think 4th grade covers American history, correct? If that is her focus, skipping the deserts and adding Sutter's Mill, The Donner Party memorial, and the Sacramento Train Museum (and Old Town) might be better use of the time. (they are pretty hot that time of year anyway) This way, your return trip south need only go as far as Fresno, making it easy to catch your return flight out of S.F.

There are a few places to see redwood trees. There are some near Santa Cruz, which include 2-6 miles hikes with water falls and banana slugs, and there are some in the Sierra above Murphys.

It looks like you'll be about a month too late for the Calaveras Frog Jumps, but you can still see Mark Twain's cabin (not much to see really).

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Old 05-07-2013, 11:10 AM   #8
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Starting in SD you will want to visit:

La Jolla
Mission Bay
Carlsbad
Leucadia
Oceanside
San Clemente
Laguna Beach
now you are going to hit some traffic but you can see:
Costa mesa
Huntington Beach
then a clear spot at Bolsa Chica Reserve
Sunset Beach
Seal Beach (you have to turn left to see the Pacific and the Pier)
over the bridge and in Long Beach you have to turn left on 2nd street to stay near the ocean, if you stay on PCH you are 17 blocks from the ocean.
Lots of traffic here. You'll need Ocean Boulevard to see the water, NOT Pacific Coast Hwy.
If you somehow find your way to the Vincent Thomas Bridge it crosses over Long Beach and Los Angeles Harbor and is pretty spectacular.
Now you are in San Pedro. Keep way left again for the ocean.
Work your way around Palos Verdes.
You got a lot of traffic again to get up around LAX but you may want to see
Venice
Santa Monica
Malibu
Los Angeles and Orange County is not ALL doom and gloom as some would have you think, it's a wonderful diverse area in all respects. The surf is some of the best and the lifestyle can be so good it makes others jealous.
That's all I got, you need a northerner from here!
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:30 AM   #9
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Go to the beach to get a tan from LA to San Diego. Once you get up toward frisco, the weather gets a lot colder and more gloomy. The more north you go on the coast, the prettier it gets. I suggest Lake Tahoe also. Giant sequoias is also a must see.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenflyfarmer View Post
...near Calistoga...

She would like to lay around on a scenic beach for a day here and there, stay in very nice hotels and eat good.

http://www.aubergedusoleil.com/



http://www.indianspringscalistoga.com/pool/



http://www.ciarestaurants.com/califo...s-restaurants/
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:08 PM   #11
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Heading up the coast in June? Take some warmer clothes than you think you need. The weather (even in June) is not exactly balmy much of the time, especially in the evenings. (It will be warmer once you get inland.)
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:14 PM   #12
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if in salinas then not far from big sur and http://www.deetjens.com/history.html, nice rustic place to stay and good food, and with a literary history of sorts.
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:50 PM   #13
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You should be able to see quite a bit in 15 days. Expectations management is key though: while the California coast north of San Luis Obispo should be a don't miss part of your trip, google "June Gloom" to see what kind of weather you can expect. Nobody''s mentioned Hearst Castle, definitely worth seeing. Since several of the places on your list are in the central valley, Sequoia and Yosemite NP. must be seen.
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:12 PM   #14
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OR you could fly from SD to Las Vegas, blow most of the 9K then fly to SF for your flight home

$500 a day would do you nicely in LV.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:27 PM   #15
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You should be able to see quite a bit in 15 days. Expectations management is key though: while the California coast north of San Luis Obispo should be a don't miss part of your trip, google "June Gloom" to see what kind of weather you can expect. Nobody''s mentioned Hearst Castle, definitely worth seeing. Since several of the places on your list are in the central valley, Sequoia and Yosemite NP. must be seen.
if going to hearst castle take the garden tour, not as busy and takes you to most of the really cool places on the grounds not just the inside
near there is cambria which is a great wee town and harmony is worth a stop too.
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