The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162551   Message #3870670
Posted By: Joe Offer
09-Aug-17 - 01:17 AM
Thread Name: San Francisco in September
Subject: RE: San Francisco in September
Can't say that I love Las Vegas, but it's a place to stay in the desert that has lots of lodging. It's fun to drive (better to walk) down the Strip and see all the casinos, which are ever-changing. Caesar's Palace has great waterfalls, and you can see replicas of Paris, New York, Venice, Camelot, and Egypt along the way. The casinos all look more-or-less the same inside, but the building exteriors along the Strip are a sight to see - especially at night. Las Vegas is good for two or three hours on the Strip, but that's about it. Oh, and it's expensive to take in a show, but worth it - Cirque du Soleil is supposed to be terrific, but I haven't seen it.

I really like the town of Bishop, which is about halfway between Mammoth Lakes and Lone Pine. Park in the parking lot of the Catholic church and then walk back to the open space behind - you'll get the most wonderful view of the Eastern Sierra. Stop at Schat's Bakery in Bishop and get a sandwich made with their amazing Sheepherder Bread.
On the way to Lone Pine, stop at Manzanar and spend a while thinking about the Japanese Americans who were imprisoned there during World War II - in horrible desert conditions with one of the most spectacular views in the Americas.
At Lone Pine, drive back Whitney Portal Road as far as you have time to go. You'll be driving through the Alabama Hills, the site of countless cowboy movies. You may even see movie crews. Lone Pine and Bishop have the wonderful views of the Eastern Sierra that inspired Ansel Adams - don't miss them.

In Death Valley, go to Zabriskie Point and get an amazing panorama of the valley.

Just west of Death Valley if you go the right way on the way to Las Vegas, stop at the Area 51 Center and the Alien Cathouse Brothel. I wouldn't recommend the Main Thing on the Menu (not that I've tried it), but it's also a truck stop and convenience market and gas station - and you WILL need gas after you get out of Death Valley. When you're in the desert, keep your tank full - NEVER travel in the desert with less than half a tank of gas. But you really need to take a selfie with a genuine imitation Space Alien.

After you leave Las Vegas, think about taking Route 66 from Kingman (AZ) to Grand Canyon. The highway has been wonderfully restored, and there are lots of fun things and beautiful views along the way.

In Grand Canyon, see if you can spend at least one night in the park. The historic cabins at Bright Angel Lodge are surprisingly inexpensive.

I'm trying to picture how you're going from Grand Canyon to "Mohave," and then to Palmdale on your way to San Luis Obispo. Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park are nice places on the way, and Palm Springs/Palm Desert is a nice place to stay. Palmdale is a dump, but it does have lots of lodging. Barstow, Victorville, and Bakersfield are other dumps in that area with reasonably good lodging.

If you go to San Luis Obispo, you can go a short distance south to Avila Beach/Port San Luis, or north to Morro Bay. I think these are my absolute favorite place on the entire Pacific coast of the U.S. The lodging is not horribly expensive, and the scenery and wildlife are spectacular. Instead of staying in San Luis Obispo, I'd recommend staying in one of these two coast cities - but do take a look at the mission in San Luis, and anywhere else you get a chance to see a mission.

And then when you get back to San Francisco, abandon your car and just walk. It's an amazing place to walk.