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San Fran/Napa > To Vegas- Car or Plane?

San Fran/Napa > To Vegas- Car or Plane?

Old Oct 5, 17, 7:07 pm
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Question San Fran/Napa > To Vegas- Car or Plane?

Hello all,
I've decided I should finally get to Napa as I'm now a certified sommelier and explore some of wine country.
I'm looking at a week trip in early Jan over 7 days, but I could stretch it out to 8.

The general plan so far is to spend a day in San Fran before heading off to Napa for at least 2 days, 1 day in Sonoma and 1 day exploring the Redwoods and maybe a winery or 2 and possibly 1 extra day in San Fran.
Now this is where things get a bit confusing. 1 plan is to drive to Vegas with a stop/night in Yosemite and doing a 1/2 day guided hike and then continuing onto Vegas wit a quick stop in Rachel Nevada to go to the Ale'Inn and the Extraterrestrial highway before stopping off in Vegas.
Then, 2-3 days or so in Vegas, before returning back.
Essentially it would be a Fri to Sat (following week) sort of trip.
While I may not be on my own in California for the wine portion (some sommelier friends might tag along), from that point on, the drive/trip is solo.

As this would be in Jan, I'm slightly leaning towards just returning to San Fran and flying back to via Vegas. 2-3 days in Vegas( with 1 including checking out the Grand Canyon) would be enough for me. I'm not into the shows, and don't gamble much, but maybe I'd play a little bit while I'm there. Nothing major though.
Def going to the shooting range though.

Anyways, thoughts/suggestions? Am I crazy?!
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Old Oct 5, 17, 9:47 pm
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A "quick trip" to/from Yosemite in the winter could cause you to (1) not make it; or, (2) get stuck there, although the thought of a half day guided hike in whiteout conditions does have some appeal.

Fly to/from Vegas, and consider OAK as your airport of choice, even if your only choice of airline is WN. SFO flight delays and cancellations in winter are notorious, and can materially disrupt your trip. The short hops are always the first to go.
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Old Oct 6, 17, 5:07 am
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
A "quick trip" to/from Yosemite in the winter could cause you to (1) not make it; or, (2) get stuck there, although the thought of a half day guided hike in whiteout conditions does have some appeal.

Fly to/from Vegas, and consider OAK as your airport of choice, even if your only choice of airline is WN. SFO flight delays and cancellations in winter are notorious, and can materially disrupt your trip. The short hops are always the first to go.
thanks for the info.
When I saw snow chains are required to get through Yosemite, I figured its probably not a good idea.
I'll check out Oakland to Vegas for my flight.
I guess I'll have to do a Vegas based tour (or solo drive) to either area 51/rachel/Ale'inn or the grand canyon.
Just thinking about driving both is making me sleepy...
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Old Oct 6, 17, 10:17 am
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Also note in January you can't go through Yosemite to get to Vegas like you can in Summer. You'd have to drive into the park from the west and then drive back out to 99 to continue on the long drive south to Vegas.
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Old Oct 6, 17, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by ucdtim17 View Post
Also note in January you can't go through Yosemite to get to Vegas like you can in Summer. You'd have to drive into the park from the west and then drive back out to 99 to continue on the long drive south to Vegas.
I figured the OP knew that (but maybe not!) In any event, it was almost July before Tioga Pass Road reopened this year, and they've recently had their first bit of snow.
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Old Oct 6, 17, 11:23 am
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
I figured the OP knew that (but maybe not!) In any event, it was almost July before Tioga Pass Road reopened this year, and they've recently had their first bit of snow.
nope I didn't know!
I've never been to California (ok my parents took me to SF when I was 3 but I don't remember anything) so while I assumed there was snow, I didn't think it was so serious that snow chains are required.

Now to plan the wineries...
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Old Oct 6, 17, 11:58 am
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Tioga Pass Road this past winter
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Old Oct 6, 17, 12:49 pm
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You don't gamble or like going to shows? Skip Vegas and spend more time in Northern California.
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Old Oct 6, 17, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by rjque View Post
You don't gamble or like going to shows? Skip Vegas and spend more time in Northern California.
oh I'll gamble a bit not anything that crazy like hours.
doubt I'll see a show though. If I do it'll be a last min thing.

And I can't change my departure since I already booked it.
I can play around with my time in Vegas though. I'm thinking 3 days should be enough. At least one of those is going to the grand canyon and/or area 51.
Maybe I'll rent a car in Vegas and go to the ET highway and then stop by at a desert park on the way back. Not sure.
Plans are wide open!
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Old Oct 6, 17, 4:37 pm
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Originally Posted by rjque View Post
You don't gamble or like going to shows? Skip Vegas and spend more time in Northern California.
Or the OP visits Vegas another time, and directly. The Vegas excursion makes little sense with this trip to SF/Napa/Yosemite. Those three destinations alone involve quite a bit of driving, and Yosemite in the winter is, as observed above, a roll of the dice. It's gorgeous up there in the winter, but be prepared to be shut out or stuck in.
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Old Oct 7, 17, 8:35 pm
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While the major cities in CA are warm, the mountains can see lots of snow and often chains are required to drive them.

Also worth note the Grand Canyon gets snow during the winter as well - the north side (via I-15) is closed to vehicles in the winter and you'd have to go to the south side (via I-40)
https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvis...ter-visits.htm


IMO flying is the easier option, especially in January. (Driving, safest route might be via southern california, but that seems roundabout). Agreed that the OAK option is a lot less likely to have delays/cancellations, though Southwest might have the only nonstop from there
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Old Oct 7, 17, 9:45 pm
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Originally Posted by ryw View Post
Agreed that the OAK option is a lot less likely to have delays/cancellations, though Southwest might have the only nonstop from there
Also Spirit, so yeah, fly Southwest
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Old Oct 7, 17, 10:00 pm
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IMO the OP is trying to do far too much in 7-8 or even 10 days.

One day isn't enough for SF and anyone interested in wine can happily spend a week or more in Napa and Sonoma. There's also some wine in Mendicino, farther up the coast from Sonoma and some areas with big trees. Sausalito is also a nice stop, just north of SF.

If you really want to cover more territory or if using the San Jose airport makes sense, there's wine and scenery along the coast to the south (Monterey, Big Sur/Asilomar/Santa Cruz, Central Coast, Santa Barbara, etc.).
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Old Oct 8, 17, 5:21 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
IMO the OP is trying to do far too much in 7-8 or even 10 days.

One day isn't enough for SF and anyone interested in wine can happily spend a week or more in Napa and Sonoma. There's also some wine in Mendicino, farther up the coast from Sonoma and some areas with big trees. Sausalito is also a nice stop, just north of SF.

If you really want to cover more territory or if using the San Jose airport makes sense, there's wine and scenery along the coast to the south (Monterey, Big Sur/Asilomar/Santa Cruz, Central Coast, Santa Barbara, etc.).
while I realize that 3-4 days isn't enough,(let's be honest for which wine region is it?) It's really all I can do given napa is $$$
wines in the south aren't considered at the same calibre of the North and the region (Lodi the exception) is pretty known for bulk wines.

I've added in another day in SF but mainly because there are so many wine bars that I want to check out. We don't have a wine scene anything like that in Toronto.
besides that, there's not a whole lot that really grabs my attention in SF but I'm still researching.
Since I'm likely not going alone (but rather a fellow somm with industry ties) plans are likely to change but so far only the flights are set in stone.

I've made reservations at the Westin Verasa in Napa and we'll be using that as a base to get around wine country.
excited to try the restaurant on site too.

While I realize I cant see/do everything (I'm not trying to) nor visit every single winery. Just some of the highlights will do. This is why I'm not going south of SF.
Besides, it's not as if I can't return at some point in the future.
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Old Oct 8, 17, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by iceblueshoes View Post

I've added in another day in SF but mainly because there are so many wine bars that I want to check out. We don't have a wine scene anything like that in Toronto.
http://www.punchdownwine.com/

A very short BART ride from SF - right near 19th St. Oakland station. Well worth the visit. My favo(u)rite wine bar EVAR. Light to more substantial food available, too.

Also, consider http://www.barrelroomsf.com/ - right in the SF Financial District. Every few months they completely revamp the focus to another region on the world. Good food, too.
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