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Inconceivable trip?

Toronto
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Inconceivable trip?

My wife and I are planning our summer trip and we're looking at 2 weeks (end of July into August). We were going to try something that seems impossible and wanted to know what you all thought. We were going to try a SFO - LAX drive for one week (stopping along the way, also seeing SF, LA, SD, Hearst, Monterrey Aquarium, etc.), then fly to SEATAC and take the train to Vancouver and drive to Calgary for the other week.

Do you think that we should even try this? or should we just do a 2 week trip in Cali? I have been to California 20 years ago, and did the above SFO-LAX drive, and wanted to take my wife since she's never been.

Thanks to all that reply.

Pasadena, California
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1. Re: Inconceivable trip?

I can't comment on the Seattle-Calgary leg.

But I don't see a major problem with the California leg-- but unless your flight takes you to San Diego-- which is improbable-- I think I would skip SAn Diego.

Are you flying into SFO, and therefore driving south and flying LAX to SEATAC? That will add an hour to your flight, but if an LAX-SEATAC flight is cheaper than SFO-SEATAC, it might be worth it. (The order of your trip is not clear from your post, which mixes up the destinations geographically.)

On the LA-CAmbria day, stop for several hours in Santa Barbara.

The whole trip would be faster-paced and less in-depth than just focussing on California, but it is certainly doable.

Perhaps 2 nights LA, 1 night Cambria, 1 night Monterey, and 3 nights San FRancisco. That's how I'd divide the time, anyway. If there is a lot you want to see in LA, switch the third night to LA and take it away from SF. I think you need the 2 nights on the central coast, to do justice to the drive and have time to enjoy Hearst Castle and Monterey.

Edited: 20 March 2014, 16:51
Pasadena, California
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2. Re: Inconceivable trip?

Sorry, I added the sentence about LA-CAmbria later; it should have been at the bottom of the reply. Made the whole reply confusing.

Napa, CA
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3. Re: Inconceivable trip?

I would spend both weeks in Canada. Alberta and British Columbia are two magnificent provinces with amazing scenery and your time frame is at the best time of year there. You can always do the California coast another time and there are better times of the year to do it than in the middle of summer when school's out and there is so much fog along the coastline.

M D
Irvine, California
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4. Re: Inconceivable trip?

The California trip sounds fine, but the Seattle-calgary part sounds tough, time consuming, and expensive. Have you considered just driving LA to SEA? The northern california and oregon coasts are great too.

Oh yeah, jusr BC and Alberta would be great too.

Edited: 20 March 2014, 17:00
San Francisco
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5. Re: Inconceivable trip?

Both Los Angeles and San Francisco have literally innumerable things to see and do, depending on your interests. Whether it’s “typical” tourist attractions and “touristy” sightseeing, museums, sports, music, food, history, exploring neighborhoods on foot, going to the beach, hiking in the hills, ethnic traditions, or quirky only-in-LA/SF stuff, you will find it in abundance in one or both places. Even with 3 days for either city, you would just scratch the surface and maybe an inch beneath it.

The ride on Hwy 1 on the coast should be done leisurely, to enjoy the scenery and views and allow adequate time at the places you want to see. Two overnight stops is what we usually suggest, especially since you’re interested in Hearst Castle and Monterey. And you cannot rush Hwy 1 for safety reasons as well, especially southbound where you are driving a few feet away from the dropoff to the Pacific Ocean. (It isn’t inherently dangerous, but combined with enjoying the views, caution is essential).

And then flying to Seattle (it would be shorter if you started in Los Angeles and flew out of SFO), taking the train to Vancouver—sounds delightful. Then driving to Calgary—a couple days worth of driving, in addition to whatever exploring you would be doing. Were you planning to go to the national parks on the way? Have you been to Vancouver and Calgary before, or would you also want to spend a lot of time seeing those cities?

Methinks this is too much for 2 weeks. Metaphorically, we are looking at two great feasts here: California is one, and Seattle to Vancouver and Calgary is the other. You can’t follow one lavish banquet with another and really do justice to either of them. If you’re pretty much decided on coming to California and have the option of going to Seattle and Western Canada on a future trip, you’d be less harried if you make this trip just California. You’d certainly get to see and do more, because you’d spend less time in transit. In two weeks, you could enjoy both great cities and take your time along the coast in between, and add other places that may interest you, e.g. the Napa Valley wine country, Yosemite and Gold Rush country, Lake Tahoe, Disneyland, or San Diego. For a look at how European colonization influenced California, you could visit one or two of the historic Spanish missions; there are 21 between San Diego and Sonoma, so you’d have several opportunities..

Toronto
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6. Re: Inconceivable trip?

Thank you so much everyone, this really helps.

The main reason we want to go from SF to LA is because we would be driving on the right side and would probably have better views? Am I wrong to think this? I have driven US1 before so I know the safety aspect too.

The cost of this trip VS the cost of just doing western Canada is about the same. (the flights and one way rental car kills us). However 2 weeks in just California would probably save us almost a $1000.

What kind of weather would we be looking at? what about further inland to say Yosemite (if we did 2 weeks)?

Edited: 20 March 2014, 17:36
Napa, CA
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7. Re: Inconceivable trip?

I know the dollar is not as strong in Canada as it was when we did our last trip there but it doesn't seem right that 2 weeks in California would be $1000 cheaper than 2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies. If doing Canada, forget the Seattle part and just fly into Calgary or Vancouver and do a two week loop returning the car to the same location that you rented it from.

Washington State
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8. Re: Inconceivable trip?

>>What kind of weather would we be looking at? what about further inland to say Yosemite (if we did 2 weeks)?<<

The Central Valley of CA would be hot, hot, hot. You'd just be driving across, but temperatures in the upper 90's or low 100's would be expected.

Yosemite Valley would probably be in the upper 80's during the day. It could be in the 90's. No A/C in most lodgings, just wait for it to cool down at night (and it will be cool at night.)

The biggest challenge for a new itinerary including Yosemite would be finding lodging. Ideas in the Top Questions on the Yosemite forum page.

The Top Questions here on this page include some California Itineraries.

Oregon Coast
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9. Re: Inconceivable trip?

Yosemite will also be very crowded :-(

I'm with Sonapaoma. A loop out of and back to Vancouver for 2 weeks would be wonderful, to me. Plan to visit southern California in November or March when you are chilled to the bone and it's sunny and pleasant there!

But if you do decide to go to California, I'd suggest all your time there. There are areas that have less hot temperatures and fewer people.

Toronto
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10. Re: Inconceivable trip?

My wife's a teacher so our only options are summer and March, but we go to Florida in March. Thank you again everyone, very helpful.