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Forums » General & Multi-State » Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco

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Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco

by ziadjoseph »

Good night all,

We are from the Caribbean (Trinidad & Tobago to be exact) and we possibly fly in through Houston to visit some friends in Montana. I previously put a short post to which I got a helpful reply,(http://www.frommers.com/community/forums-main.html?north-america-united-states-1_general-multi-state_invited-wedding-montana-wanna-trip-out-of), I have found out some more and now our trip has manifested itself into a possible roadtrip to final destination of San Francisco, thing is though we cannot come to the US and for a second time miss out on the Grand Canyon North rim so we must find a way to include this somehow.

Initially we planned to arrive in the US on the 28th July into Missoula, Montana. We stay there by our friend and then move to Flathead lake for his wedding then we spend a few days based out of Kalispell visiting Glacier NP before making it back to Misssoula, we hopefully leave Missoula and head out around the 6th August and I will cater to have until the 20th August or so to play with. Initially I thought of the 17th but I thought based on all we wanted to do that it would be too much of a rush. I am aware that the longer the more costly our trip will become. The main objectives here after our forays in Montana will be:

1. To see the Grand Canyon from the North rim (not necessarily hike around but at least take our time and soak in the scenery),

2. To visit San Francisco

3. To drive along and visit the Big Sur (I admittedly have not advanced my trip planning this far yet and I know little enough to plan for what actually we want to do here re: sleep in this area and make a few days here or just simply drive along this scenic route and take some pics to and from San Francisco)

I thought the best logistical effort and least costly way to do the above was to simply drive from Missoula hopping down to the sites as we go culminating the trip in San Fran. Now I am looking at it, I am wondering that we will need to stop and rest regularly and the trip down wil lbe segmented into a few days. Initial choice was to drive through through Utah to Page, AZ where we base to visit the North Rim and then afterward make our way through Nevada to San Francisco via Las Vegas (Been here before not too interested in visitng it again this is just passing through driving). I wondered if the Big Sur was doable from San Francisco as a side/day trip. Alternatively I then began to entertain driving from Missoula to Seattle, then to Portland en route to San Francisco all via the coastal highway (day trip to the Big Sur) then drive from there via Las Vegas to visit the North Rim. These decisions arose bascially from what would be the most user friendly drive, scenic route and present the best options for rest stops and seeing beautiful sites along the way. I need alot of help from more seasoned visitors and road trippers in these parts especially. My first and only roadtrip was from Jacksonville to Key west with a rest stop in MIA. It will be my wife and I this time around and we will share driving duties. To be hoenst we are defintely not opposd to flying if it is the best way to see and do what we are proposing in the time alotted (if doable at all). Many thanks for your time and we will appreciate any and all feedback.

Kind regards 

Ziad & Nila

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RE: Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco

by 55vineyard »

I will provide what advice I can on the drive on Highway 1, others can help with North Rim and Montana since I have not been to either.

Big Sur is NOT a daytrip but requires several over night stays from San Francisco. Big Sur is not a specific place (although there is a Big Sur Village with a few shops, restaurants and lodges/motels). It is generally referring to the stretch of highway 1 between Carmel and Cambria. It is a two lane road which sits high above the ocean, it is a little curvy (but not in a scary way) with low speed limits. It is often possible to get stuck behind a slow moving RV. There is in fact a California law that if there are 5 or more cars behnd you, you must pull over in the next available place to let others pass you. Most people spend two nights, staying in Monterey, Carmel or Pacific Grove, then another night in Pismo Beach or Cambria, or Morro Bay. A third night in Santa Barbara is nice if you have the time. Then most people can continue on to LA or if you wish, at Cambria take Highway 46 stopping at a winery or two in Paso Robles if desired, and then return to SF via Highway 101 which is inland and a little bit faster.

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RE: Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco

by ziadjoseph »

I totally appreciate the insight and feedback, yes and from looking at it a bit closer I would heed your warning and make at least the two stops you mentioned, one in Carmel by the Sea & environs and the second day in Cambria or Moro Bay. I am starting to have a rethink regarding my extensive driving plans and seemingly cramped itinerary. My plans thus far based on your feedback and further rationale has been modified as follows:

Montana 28th July to 6th August,

7th Fly MSO to SFO, spend 2 nights SFO, 

9th August depart San Francisco via rental car, drive along Route 1/Cabrillo hwy, 1 night stayover in Monterey 

10th August, 1 night stayover in Cambria 

11th Depart for Las Vegas (possibly make a stop to visit Sequoia NP but unsure of the best rest stop here for the night en route to Vegas) alernatively a visit to a winery as mentioned in your suggestion re Paso Robles is definitely an option.

Rest Vegas on night of 11th or 12th depending on decision on Sequioa NP or Paso Robles

12th or 13th August drive to Page, AZ sleep Page, AZ

14th/15th, 15th/16th Sleep Page, AZ for visits to Grand Canyon north rim and possibly any other doable sites in close proximity.

16th/17th drive back to Vegas, fly to IAH or MIA to head home 17th/18th depending on flight options.

i think this may be more practical but is also subject to change based on further research, planning and first hand suggestions and community experience here.

Many thanks for taking the time to offer your advice and assistance,

Brgds 

Ziad & Nila

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RE: Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco

by 55vineyard »

Sounds good, shame you only have two days in SF (SFO is the airport) but the time you have is what you have to work with. Enjoy your trip, maybe if you come back another time you can see Yosemite (places book up to a year in advance).

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RE: Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco

by ziadjoseph »

 

In Response to Re: Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco:[QUOTE]

Sounds good, shame you only have two days in SF (SFO is the airport) but the time you have is what you have to work with. Enjoy your trip, maybe if you come back another time you can see Yosemite (places book up to a year in advance).

Posted by 55vineyard[/QUOTE]

Hey to be honest I would not mind adding another day in SF (sorry I tend to use airport codes to refer to the city i am referencing lol). Any suggestions on some things to do or see here? I found that Fommer's intinerary did not leave me much excited about SF. 

Kind regards

Ziad

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RE: Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco

by 55vineyard »

Golden Gate bridge is beautiful, lots of folks like to visit Alcatraz but you need to book this in advance, tours sell out (I have not been). Personally I liked driving a bit north of there. One day we drove over to Guerneville and had lunch, then drove along the Russian River ending at Jenner, then drove south back into the City passing through Bodega Bay, Stinson Beach and many other beautiful small towns. Road is a little bit windy, weather was beautiful even though it was February.

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RE: Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco

by ziadjoseph »

Hey all so we are presently on our trip and on the road, we are in Pismo Beach now and awaiting to drive east to our last stretch in the Grand Canyon North Rim area. We sleep in Hendrerson NV tomorrow night and will be driving there, my wife and I will share the duties. we have driven extensive hours in Montana so we have a good handle on it now. I wondered if there were any interesting towns we should see and stop for photos on the way to Henderson? Barstow? are there any interesting ghost towns on the way? what about the Route 66 signs on the roadway, where do we see these?

thanks again.

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RE: Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco

by Pauline Frommer »

Wondering why you're going to Henderson rather than Las Vegas itself (Henderson is a bedroom community for Vegas). You can usually get affordable rooms in Vegas itself, and it would be more interesting to be in the city. I BELIEVE you'll pass the Valley of Fire State Park on your route. If so, do get off the road and take a short hike. Wonderful petroglyphs and little canyons there.

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RE: Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco

by ziadjoseph »

Thanks for your reply Pauline Frommer; we just chose Henderson (maybe foolishly) thinking we wanted to get in rest and get out in the morning en roue to the Grand Canyon North Rim and avoid all possible antics such as traffic etc in Vegas, we have been there before. we do fly out of LAS also so we do head to vegas on our way back from the Grand Canyon anyway so will try a slot machine or two as we never tried our hand on our last visit to Vegas in 2012. We just went to experience it but realized it was not our cup of tea. It is a great base or jumping off or ending point for tours in the area though and it does have good bargain shopping so my wife likes that (outlet malls to the north and south)

In Response to Re: Road Trip: Montana to San Francisco:[QUOTE]

Wondering why you're going to Henderson rather than Las Vegas itself (Henderson is a bedroom community for Vegas). You can usually get affordable rooms in Vegas itself, and it would be more interesting to be in the city. I BELIEVE you'll pass the Valley of Fire State Park on your route. If so, do get off the road and take a short hike. Wonderful petroglyphs and little canyons there.


Posted by Pauline Frommer[/QUOTE]

 

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