Just want to dedicate this post to anyone who will ever choose this route for a gateway to Las Vegas and Northern California. Here is my story about trip taken from Las Vegas to San Francisco via Death Valley, Yosemite, SF Bay Area with maps, guidance and of course photos and links to more photos.
Day 1 was spent totally in Vegas. A bit jetlagged after our flight from New York we roamed around the city in preparation for the next day’s early wake and drive to the Death Valley. This trip was taken in June 2010 and if you decide to repeat it – i think it’s the best time of the year, when Death Valley is not that hot and the best scenic drive in Yosemite Park – Tioga Pass is just getting open. So let’s go to the day 2 of this trip and start with the map.
Early on the Day 2 we went to pickup a rental car to the local Fox Rent a Car office, since they quoted cheapest rate for the car to be dropped at the San Francisco airport as a final destination of our journey. Must tell you that an extra $169.00 for the car being dropped in some other location sucks in this economy. But it is worth the trip and convenience. Packed with water from the local Target store we hit the road with the destination Dante’s View in our GPS. The final destination for the Day 2 in our journey was set to Lee Vining – small town by the Mono Lake.
Route 190 is what takes you to the park and it’s also the best route to follow. For more photos of the Death Valley, click to read this post. These two markers almost right next to each other on the map below are Dante’s View and Badwater Basin. Amazingly the first one is the highest point and the second one is the lowest.
Here is what it looks like from the Dante’s View:
And here is Badwater Basin view:
The rest of the drive was filled with things like Sand Dunes:
And as you reach the end of the Valley landscapes like this one with the lake and mountains:
If you are driving fast enough you may get to Mono Lake by the end of the day – right in time for magnificent sunset like this one:
For more of the Mono Lake photos, please view this post.
On the Day 3, we drove to Yosemite Park via route 120, which had just opened at that time.
It was Sunday, so we met a lot of people and their annoying kids on the way and heavier than usual traffic getting in and out of the park. For more of the views look here.
As we initially planned to end this day somewhere around San Francisco – we drove to a small town of Half Moon Bay, where we stayed at Beach House. Very romantic place with fireplace and great views.
This is a view from our room in the morning:
Next morning we took the car to the airport and the driving part of the journey was over. We boarded BART train and were on the way to the city by the bay.