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Help me plan a California road trip

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  • Nomad

    Loads of great advice. And post from Will is a gem which I saved in case I’d decide to do California road trip again.

    Small one from me. If pressed for time or how to cram everything maybe skip visiting Hearst castle.

    Will in SJC

    One other point, Hwy 1 is now fully reopened following the land slide.

    And it’s now been closed again for several days around Big Sur due to a forest fire.

    Always worth checking https://roads.dot.ca.gov/ for details before you head there.

    Yes, always worth checking. Quite sad as it is out of the season. There was a pile burning operation and apparently the embers were blown across, by high winds, to an area that wasn’t meant to be burnt. Despite the unbelievable amount of rain we had over the Christmas holidays, the drought is still a very real problem.

    Carmel CHP and CalFire re opened the road today. The Big Sur Chamber of Commerce and CalFire also are good resources with a fair amount of info. http://www.thebigsurblog.com

    If somehow you are on a road trip, and haven’t seen that it is shut, there are signs as you leave Carmel that show if the 1 is open. It is likely the CHP overhead signs on the main trunk roads south will also have an alert.

    gw57

    Interesting to read the views of the hotels near Union Square. I am planning PCH road tip and fly home from SFO so only there one night (did SF 3 years ago). We stayed in the Hotel Donatello which is on Post and Mason and was looking to go back there for the night. Have to admit the Pinecrest diner close by is a favourite. So wanted to know if that area has also taken a down turn and would be better served by staying near Fishermans wharf.

    Currently staying at the following
    Half Moon Bay – Nantucket Whale Inn
    Santa Cruz – Dream Inn
    Monterey – The Stevenson
    Grover beach – Holiday Inn
    LA – Millennium Biltmore
    San Diego – Glorietta Bay Inn
    San Francisco – The Donatello

    be thankful for any feedback on the above if anyone has stayed there or better alternative

    thanks in advance

    Will in SJC

    Interesting to read the views of the hotels near Union Square. I am planning PCH road tip and fly home from SFO so only there one night (did SF 3 years ago). We stayed in the Hotel Donatello which is on Post and Mason and was looking to go back there for the night. Have to admit the Pinecrest diner close by is a favourite. So wanted to know if that area has also taken a down turn and would be better served by staying near Fishermans wharf.

    Currently staying at the following
    Half Moon Bay – Nantucket Whale Inn
    Santa Cruz – Dream Inn
    Monterey – The Stevenson
    Grover beach – Holiday Inn
    LA – Millennium Biltmore
    San Diego – Glorietta Bay Inn
    San Francisco – The Donatello

    be thankful for any feedback on the above if anyone has stayed there or better alternative

    thanks in advance

    I haven’t been up to Post/Mason. Downtown SF is still quiet around Market/Misson, Union Square, Financial District and there are still the same issues with homelessness as mentioned upthread. If it was me, I would probably stay over near Fishermans Wharf and get the cable car to Union Square if you want to check it out/visit favorite haunts. Tourism seems to have come back quicker and Fishermans Wharf looks busier.

    The good news is the mask mandate has been lifted although the majority of people still wear masks indoors. I understand, from speaking to colleagues who have visited from the UK, that is very different to the UK. We are now seeing people finally return to the office (its been WFH since March 2020) with a number of big tech firms reopening in the next month. That should breath a bit more life into SF on weekdays and in the downtown area. Places like the Castro, Mission, Hayes Valley are as busy as normal given they are vibrant residential communities.

    • This reply was modified 53 years, 1 month ago by .
    Will in SJC

    In case it is helpful for those of you coming to SF in the next month or so (including the editor of this wonderful site), there has been a noticeable change in San Francisco in the last 10 days. As expected, the tech companies starting to end WFH, has resulted in an increase of people along Mission/Market from the Ferry Building up to Civic Center.

    I’ve been in SF at least once a week since the start of the year and this week was the first where the car park was full, travel times were 10 mins longer due to traffic and I was sharing the walkways around the Embarcadero Center with others. The restaurant I ate at was full on a Wed lunchtime…two weeks ago only a handful of tables were occupied when I was having lunch.

    There are still boarded up cafes, hotels and restaurants but things are looking positive.

    Btw SFO international terminal still very empty when the late BA flight arrives. Taking less than 15-20 minutes to fully clear immigration and collect bags (3 separate data points). Not surprising that it is much busier when the early flight arrives.

    • This reply was modified 53 years, 1 month ago by .
    Michael C

    Will, just to say my bro and niece were heading towards Carmel just after you wrote your first posts, and have been using your tips: thanks a million for all the info!

    V8gaz

    We did this in 2019, and have done it a few times before. Notable days on our last trip included:

    Santa Barbera. We stayed a couple of days and it’s a fantastic little town. Lots of winery tasting rooms. Great restaurants.
    Pismo Beach. If you happen to be driving a 4×4, get to Pismo. 8 miles of sand you can drive along, with all the off road toys to rent you can think of. Fantastic fun, especially if travelling with young adults.
    Malibu. You’re nearly in LA by the time you get to Malibu, but we were lucky enough to rent a beach house in Malibu for a few days. Expensive, but worth it. And you get to drop “Malibu beach house” into your conversations for evermore.

    We also veered off into death valley, Las Vegas and the grand canyon, but that added a lot of time to he trip.

    We stopped at Monteray, but it really has got very commercial. I used to really like it, but not so much now. The Aquarium is still very good.

    • This reply was modified 53 years, 1 month ago by .
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