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Old 02-22-2021, 08:17 PM   #1
dave6672
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What to see on a California road trip?

For my wife's 50th birthday last year, she wanted to go to the Caribbean and we had a tripped planned that, of course, went belly up. The airline gave us until the end of 2021 to use the tickets, so now she wants to go to Lake Tahoe. My daughter is going too, so I figured we'd take 2 weeks and check out national parks, etc. and then spend the last few days in Lake Tahoe.

Here's the plan and the general route: Fly into Vegas, then drive to Death Valley, Sequoia/King's Canyon, Yosemite. Then head toward the coast north of San Francisco and drive up the coast to Redwood national park, maybe into Oregon, and then work our way down to Lake Tahoe to end the trip.

We're staying out of the large cities as best we can and are interested in seeing scenic beauty, wildlife, interesting things, and if I'm lucky, old trucks of course.

I know there are plenty of board members from CA and others who may be knowledgeable about the area, so I'm looking for advice/tips on things to see and do along the route I described. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:54 PM   #2
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

I remember Gold Beach, OR fondly. Ireland’s Rustic Lodges right on the beach. Good time.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:54 PM   #3
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

When you go through death valley you end up on the 395 towards Lake Tahoe.

Lone Pine is a little town that has a film museum that is nice if open.

Big pine has the copper pot BBQ, and worth a stop. 20 minutes out of town is the bristle cone pine forest.

Bishop has Eric Schatz bakery, and the Laws train museum.

15 miles west is south lake, and is a beautiful place with cabins available I believe. I took a RV.

Lee Vining is a nice lunch stop with a beautiful view, and a nice diner.

100 miles further north is Bodie ghost town if open. Stay the night in Bridgeport. Nice town for a couple.

The June lake loop is nice.

You can fish the streams, and rivers all year. Just not lakes.

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Old 02-22-2021, 11:33 PM   #4
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

Ziegelsteinfaust has got most of it covered, I would definitely take 395 North to Tahoe as there are many sites to see not to mention a beautiful drive. Bodie is a good look see not to far off the beaten path, Virginia City is close to Tahoe it sits above Carson City and a nice little tourist stop.

Lee Vining is the East Entrance into Yosemite thru Tuolumne Meadows you will be on the North or back side of all the things Yosemite is famous for, but once you tee into Hwy 120 you turn left or east on 120 for about 20 mi. and it will take you to the valley floor to Half Dome, the Falls etc.

Enjoy!

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Old 02-23-2021, 12:06 AM   #5
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

Hey Dave a couple questions, what time of year do you plan to travel? Are you taking an RV, or a car and staying in Motels? are you guys super active/ love to hike, or more of the drive and see the sights from the car, like to gamble, also is the daughter adult, teen, or pre teen and does she like to do outdoor activities with you? How about dining and drinking? I am asking to help with some Tahoe suggestions, we live in Lake Tahoe. Not in the lake, next to it haha
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Old 02-23-2021, 02:35 AM   #6
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

Great route, you’ll see lots of awesome scenery. I’d suggest glass beach near fort bragg along the north coast. And of course you have to stop by dust bowl brewery as you pass through Turlock. oh, and look up conditions of highway 1 along the coast, I heard there was a large slide recently that took out a section of the road.
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Old 02-23-2021, 03:08 AM   #7
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

If you're looking to get back to the coast above the City, just head West on 120. Its roughly 3 hrs into the Marin headlands where you can either jump on 101 North through Sonoma and cut West to the coast through Occidental (The Union Hotel is a great place to eat) and Jenner above Bodega Bay. You pretty much follow the Russian River to where it empties into the Pacific.

or

Continue West through San Rafael to 1 on the coast through Stinson Beach, Point Reyes, Tomales Bay and Marshal (oyster capital of, well, here anyway). Its a little slower going and winding but definitely coastal. Ive been this way frequently with my wife for birthdays and anniversaries.

If I were headed to OR and had somewhat limited time, Id probably go the Sonoma route to get into the thick of the Redwoods sooner. Bunch of small towns along the River on the way to the coast. Take a minute to look at the Redwood Burl gift shops that are around. They always have some pretty neat stuff. Been through those woods a bunch of times and those ancient trees still leave me in awe.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:50 AM   #8
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

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Hey Dave a couple questions, what time of year do you plan to travel? Are you taking an RV, or a car and staying in Motels? are you guys super active/ love to hike, or more of the drive and see the sights from the car, like to gamble, also is the daughter adult, teen, or pre teen and does she like to do outdoor activities with you? How about dining and drinking? I am asking to help with some Tahoe suggestions, we live in Lake Tahoe. Not in the lake, next to it haha
We're traveling in a rental car and it will be the first two weeks of June - my daughter is 13. No gambling, we're obviously tourists on a possibly once in a lifetime trip so we are trying to hit the highlights, but mix in some slower days as well. Some short hikes here and there would be good too. Dining suggestions would definitely be welcome. Thanks so much.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:20 PM   #9
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

You could always go to Oildale in good ole Bakersfield.

I'm just kidding. DO NOT go to Oildale. I got lost and ended up there once and once was enough



I used to like to go to San Simeon. I think it might be south of where you're going. But we would go there as kids and see Hearst Castle. I even went there on two of my honeymoons. I'm not sure what's open with all the Covid stuff going on now. It's a sleepy little place. There's not much going on there. But it's a nice quiet getaway if you're in the mood.



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Old 02-23-2021, 02:44 PM   #10
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

It's a bit of a stretch, but my favorite vacation I've done so far is my wife and I flew into Phoenix, AZ, drove to the Grand Canyon and stayed for two days (wish we had stayed a day or two longer) and drove to Southern CA and stayed in Huntington Beach for the next 8 days (over 4th of July week).

It looks to be a 3.5-4 hr drive from PHX to the Grand Canyon main park. We hit route 66 between the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. It was both neat and kinda sad.

Its a 12 hour straight shot to Lake Tahoe from the Grand Canyon.... but if you take the longer route, you can pass through Las Vegas (Red Rocks is a neat drive outside of Vegas) and then hit Death Valley, Yosemite, etc on your way to Tahoe.

I only suggest this because you have two weeks. You need a lot of time for a trip like that.

I've driven the PCH from San Diego to Seattle, and again from Seattle to San Diego. The redwood forest is incredible. Map out where you want to stop. There's a few smaller parks on the north end with some neat walking trails that only take 1/2 hour to an hour each.

I wish I could remember the name of it, but one of them has one of the largest redwoods currently living. IT IS HUGE!.
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Old 02-23-2021, 02:53 PM   #11
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

Quote:
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That's just a normal house around here
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:18 PM   #12
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

If you are flying into Vegas and your going to be close to it I would try and take in The Grand Canyon. If you do take the helicopter tour you won't be Sorry.
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Old 02-23-2021, 05:13 PM   #13
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

Depending on all the stuff you are bringing rent a convertible. Hertz typically has Mustang GT 5.0's for rent. We did that around the bad lands and it was great.
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Old 02-23-2021, 05:50 PM   #14
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

You really can’t go wrong taking the coast highway. This is Big Sur, Pfeifer Falls, where I proposed. It’s south of the bay area (well off your route) but there’s miles of this to see.

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Old 02-23-2021, 06:00 PM   #15
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

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You could always go to Oildale in good ole Bakersfield.

I'm just kidding. DO NOT go to Oildale. I got lost and ended up there once and once enough
I don't think he wants to the real california.
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Old 02-23-2021, 06:10 PM   #16
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

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I don't think he wants to see the real california.
So, on our second CA trip (we've done 3 - 10 day stays now), I don't know how to even make this up... there was a homeless couple, high out of their minds, having sex on the ground next to a rest room right off the bike trail from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach. It's one of those things I must have stared at for 20-30 seconds trying to figure out WTF I was looking at, then I saw boobies pop out, and I was like.... oh... But I promise, this was NOT a couple you would want to watch This was also not at night, away in a corner. It was like 1PM literally feet from the bike trail.

Another day, same area-ish. A dude tried to rob a bike stand. Apparently he was known to the cops and had done this several times before. Again, appeared to be drugged out of his mind, berated the cops the whole time, screamed like he was getting beaten (he WAS NOT) and they finally tazed his ass after he tried to take a swing at one of them I'd like to be clear, these cops were incredibly patient with this guy, the whole thing went on for 20-30 minutes of them trying to talk/reason with him.

I'll end on this one... DID NOT KNOW the north/east side of Baker Beach (side closest to Bay Bridge) was not only a nude beach, but a gay nude beach. This South Carolina Yankee Transplant had never seen anything like that before, and don't wish to ever again
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:22 PM   #17
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

You might be ready for the wonders of skid row of los angeles.

If you find that too tame. Try the tenderloin in san francisco.

Plenty of things to behold that will haunt your waking moments.

I too have seen my fair share of naked people who I would of paid to wear clothes. The open sores of drug use, and no consequences litter the streets.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:25 PM   #18
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

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You might be ready for the wonders of skid row of los angeles.

If you find that too tame. Try the tenderloin in san francisco.

Plenty of things to behold that will haunt your waking moments.

I too have seen my fair share of naked people who I would of paid to wear clothes. The open sores of drug use, and no consequences litter the streets.
Going through the basement tunnel security at LAX was bad enough for me
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:49 PM   #19
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

Dont skimp on the PCH. I lived Yosemite, but the PCH was what really took my breath away. Tahoe is nice, too. Hard to go wrong with California, really.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:29 PM   #20
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

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So, on our second CA trip (we've done 3 - 10 day stays now), I don't know how to even make this up... there was a homeless couple, high out of their minds, having sex on the ground next to a rest room right off the bike trail from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach. It's one of those things I must have stared at for 20-30 seconds trying to figure out WTF I was looking at, then I saw boobies pop out, and I was like.... oh... But I promise, this was NOT a couple you would want to watch This was also not at night, away in a corner. It was like 1PM literally feet from the bike trail.

Another day, same area-ish. A dude tried to rob a bike stand. Apparently he was known to the cops and had done this several times before. Again, appeared to be drugged out of his mind, berated the cops the whole time, screamed like he was getting beaten (he WAS NOT) and they finally tazed his ass after he tried to take a swing at one of them I'd like to be clear, these cops were incredibly patient with this guy, the whole thing went on for 20-30 minutes of them trying to talk/reason with him.

I'll end on this one... DID NOT KNOW the north/east side of Baker Beach (side closest to Bay Bridge) was not only a nude beach, but a gay nude beach. This South Carolina Yankee Transplant had never seen anything like that before, and don't wish to ever again
Welcome to California.

Why do you think that I moved out to the middle of nowhere.

If you want to see a real freak show go to Venice beach.

There are a lot of beautiful places to see in California. And some really ugly ones too. And some are just weird.

It's a big state. We get all kinds.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:30 PM   #21
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

I appreciate the replies so far and will incorporate in what I can. All great suggestions.......except for Oildale and the SF beaches. Wasn't planning on hitting those hotspots anyway!
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:40 PM   #22
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

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Welcome to California.

Why do you think that I moved out to the middle of nowhere.

If you want to see a real freak show go to Venice beach.

There are a lot of beautiful places to see in California. And some really ugly ones too. And some are just weird.

It's a big state. We get all kinds.
My friends and I parked at the glider port and hiked down the steep hill to Black's Beach. But it was a cool windy day so we only saw some hardcore surfers in wet suits.

Especially in San Diego, I got the feeling that I was living in a foreign country where almost half the people speak English

I'd like to go see DV and the Eastern Sierra sometime, but I ain't goin' nowhere that I can't go armed.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:48 PM   #23
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

Can't go wrong with a Northern California road trip! All the above are great ideas (almost all ). Fort Bragg, Fort Ross, Petrolia and Ferndale all cool spots in their own way. If you can get this book, "Louie, Take a Look at This!
My Time with Huell Howser" you can use it as a quirky trip advisor. I know you will have a great time.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:50 PM   #24
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

The only thing I would say is to stay the hell away from San Francisco. Dirty and really not what it used to be. Santa Cruz is fun, but not sure if the Boardwalk is open. Haven't been to San Simeon in years, but a good time and tour Hearst Castle if you go. If you like wine, check out the Napa Valley, but not sure what is open after all the fires they had out there. But once again, stay out of San Francisco. The mayor and the DA have make it an absolute Crap hole, unless you like drug addicts shooting up and crapping on the street, then go for it LOL

Also, allow yourself a dump load of time to get thru Los Angeles and that area. The traffic is brutal. A ride down the coast is always fun.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:54 PM   #25
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Re: What to see on a California road trip?

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You might be ready for the wonders of skid row of los angeles.

If you find that too tame. Try the tenderloin in san francisco.

Plenty of things to behold that will haunt your waking moments.

I too have seen my fair share of naked people who I would of paid to wear clothes. The open sores of drug use, and no consequences litter the streets.
San Francisco in a nutshell. Very unfortunate what London Breed, the DA and all the other liberal idiots have done to that city. It used to be a fun place to go. North beach, China town and the piers were always fun. Now, you take your life into your own hands if you go to any of them.
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