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Old 19 Sep 17, 12:59 PM  
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Trying for More Ears
Join Date: Jan 15
PNW done, California here we come!

Hi there

I think I may be on here picking everyone's brains and reading all the Fabulous Trip Reports, so I think I should start my own and introduce myself.

Here we are on our last trip to the USA ( back last week). Me, Sarah, the planner and navigator of our trips, and my ever patient other half Paul, the driver.

We had the most amazing 2 weeks in the PNW ( trip report to come), and are on a serious comedown so the answer is obviously to plan the next one

Chosen place, California. Chosen time, May/June. We are thinking 3 weeks this time as we want to see so much, and doing it on a bit more of a budget regarding hotels. Also doing more camping in the National and State Parks since we enjoyed The North Cascades so much.

We should be booking flights in a couple of weeks ( after payday) and are at the moment intent to fly into San Francisco and out of LA.

So far our real must do's are the city of San Francisco and Disneyland interspersed with lots of outdoor stuff.

Reading about SF, there is so much to do , so will probably have 5 days there at the start of the trip before we pick up a car.

Thoughts so far- evening tour of Alcatraz, Baseball game ( meeting friends who live here for a catch up), De Young Museum, Angel Island ( possibly camping overnight if we can snag a spot ), and a walking tour. I will read up on the Dylan's tours too as it might be a good way to see this huge city, get lots of local info and everyone on the Dibb seems to recommend it).

I have found a wee hotel not in the main part of Downtown that gets good reviews and seems to be a) reasonably priced and b) be near some good neighbourhood bars and eateries. We don't mind not being right in the main tourist drag and having to travel by public transport and we don't really want to be spending $300 a night.

I also know we want to kayak at Elkhorn Slough, for the chance to see Sea Otters in the wild. We saw them at the zoo in Portland, and saw wild Orcas in Canada ( might be tempted to go out and try and spot Whales here too) so that's our top wildlife must do to be ticked Off, although a wild bear would make my day having failed to see one on this last trip, just a huge chunk of hair that I brought home with me that I found in a prickly plant on one of the trails we walked in Washington
We will probably end up staying in Carmel as it seems to sound lovely, but not sure of our plans yet further on with the coastal road being closed and not really expecting it will be open when we're there.

We will be visiting Yosemite NP, Pinnacles NP, Joshua Tree NP for definite and camping in all three if we can get sites. Plan on lots of hiking, and taking all our camping gear, and hoping to see the Yosemite waterfalls in all there glory and the night time desert sky. We would have like to see the Redwoods, the Channel Islands and some of Death Valley but that'll be hard to fit in with out absolutely tons of driving and since it all falls to my husband I don't want to wear him out.

I want a couple of days in Palm Springs for some pool downtime, and a couple of days at the end of the holiday at the Disney parks

I'm not sure about including anything else in the LA area. The traffic is most certainly putting us off and since we're on a budget this time the hotel prices are too.

I'll update as we go along.

Thanks in advance for reading, and omg, so excited already
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Old 20 Sep 17, 01:28 PM  
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Disney Wishing
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Sounds fantastic. Looking forward to hearing more.
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Old 20 Sep 17, 09:23 PM  
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Pussycat Doll
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Sounds fantastic!
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Old 23 Sep 17, 07:27 AM  
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wow sounds amazing
my pre trip report here - take a look

dozy does de west... vegas baby
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Old 22 Oct 17, 10:26 PM  
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Trying for More Ears
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Okay, time to post an update.

Flights now booked, but time of year has changed and so has our range, as we've now added on a visit to the Grand Canyon and Zion.

We'll be flying out of Edinburgh on the 7th September to San Francisco via Heathrow. Just over 3 weeks later returning from Las Vegas on the 28th September.

We're flying BA cattle class, as we're both small and we'd rather spend our extra 's on doing something exciting or staying somewhere memorable whilst we're there. Love quirky places and I love to mix it up.

So far the only thing I've booked are the cheapest room for 2 nights at The Bright Angel Lodge at the South Rim. We're thinking of putting in to the lottery to walk Rim to Rim, but if we don't get it I want to be covered with accommodation so we can at least hike into the canyon on a long day walk and also take a helicopter flight. We don't plan on a long time inside the rooms so saving our pennies for other stops.

We probably need to look into Yosemite next really. We would most like to camp but may book something as back up just in case we don't manage to get a campsite spot as we can't book those for quite a while.

Our proposed itinerary is as follows :
4 nights SF
1 night Nicks Cove by Point Reyes ( drive to a nclude Muir Woods stop and Point Reyes National Seashore. )
2 nights Yosemite ( hopefully halfdome)
1 night Pinnacles NP (camping and hikes)
3 nights near Monterey ( kayaking at Elkhorn Slough, state parks and Aquarium)
1 night Madonna Inn ( PCH stops)
3 nights Anaheim or possibly San Diego, but I'm pushing for Disney 😬 ( dune buggying on the way, Disney for 2 days)
2 night Palm Springs ( aerial tramway and Mt Jacinta, Joshua Tree if can fit it in, pool time)
2 nights Grand Canyon ( helicopter flight and walk into the canyon)
2 nights Zion NP ( angels Landing, Narrows)
1 night Las Vegas ( just to see the strip in a central place)
Fly home at 21.30 so will have the day to see a wee bit of Vegas.

We could change days at each place slightly if we find we have more on at different places e.g. Yosemite, but we liked how it worked on our PNW trip of a few days in a city without a car first then 2 days at each new stop. It gave us a taster enough, and we like being super busy and active.

I absolutely love all the planning
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Old 17 Aug 18, 07:56 PM  
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Trying for More Ears
Join Date: Jan 15
Just an update to say weve been busy moving and completely put this on the backburne regarding planning and only now, 3 weeks out are we just making the final decisions

The hotel wed originally picked out for SF was fully booked so we ended up opting for The Cow Hollow Inn for 4 nights as it seems to be in an okay place for the things we want to do and its not extortionate, plus it has free parking and we decided to pick up the car rental at the airport and have it with us as itll be easier to head off early on our first road trip day.

Have booked Alcatraz, and apart from that I think well take it as it comes in San Francisco. We have a list of must dos and none of them require booking except the baseball, so we still need to do that.

Then we have a night yet to book in between Yosemite. Im wanting to drive North a little to Muir Woods early ( need to prebook parking) then book a picnic table at Hog Bay Oyster farm for a shuck your own picnic ( saw this on Rick Stein and couldnt resist) then head to Santa Rosa to hopefully fit in The Schulz Museum ( massive fan ). Need to decide where well stay tonight !

Then we have a big drive day to Yosemite ( hopefully fingers crossed regarding Fires) and we have a campsite reserved for 2 nights at Crane Flats. Were planning to do the Clouds Rest Hike the full day then drive through the valley and see a couple of highlights the second as we head to a midpoint hotel at Turley ( new and cheap with a pool and a much needed shower &#128514

Then im planning Kayaking at Elkhorn Slough before a night at Monterey. (Still to book)

Then drive to our next stop for 2 nights camping at Treebones Resort on the Big Sur ( great sushi restaurant) to do some small hikes and maybe visit Hearst Castle.

Next stop possibly Santa Barbara ( still to book) via Dune Buggying near Pismo Beach.

We have 3 nights booked at Hotel Indigo in Anaheim and currently ummimg and ahhing about what tickets to buy as wed like to do a Halloween Horror Night at Universal and the Halloween Party is on at Disney when were there. Its so confusing. I know id also like to visit the hipster haven of the Packing District as I have secret penchant for these kind of places 😬 whilst were in Anaheim.

Then its off to the part of the Holiday thats been booked for ages - 2 nights Palm Springs, 2 nights Grand Canyon, 2 nights Zion and 1 night near Vegas airport before we fly home.

I just feel so disorganised, but i do have a kind of plan of what were doing where and places we want to eat etc so Im sure its going to work out fine.

Im going to do a live trip report as much as I can else I know Ill never get round to it, but lots of places were in i wont have signal or wifi so it might get backed up. Ill see how it goes.

This time in 3 weeks ill be in the sky on my way to San Francisco and I really cant wait 😊🙌
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