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Old 07-19-2013, 08:20 AM   #11
just skippin' around, amusing myself...
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Scotch Plains, NJ
Posts: 6,873

Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
OK. I have to apologize. I don't know what geographical crack I was smoking there, but for some reason I was thinking that Yosemite was Pinnacles, which is located on the complete other side of California.

Geographical Crack! All I want to know is- do you follow arrows, or not? That really is the only deal breaker for me!

I just checked out the drive from Yosemite to Fresno, and if you leave Yosemite by 4 or 5PM, you'll get to Fresno between 6:15 to 8PM depending on traffic going down the mountain. Google estimates it at 2 hours 15 minutes for the 93.5 mile drive.

Here are some estimated driving times.

Fresno to Tulare - 1 hour on the 99
Tulare to Bakersfield - 1 hour on the 99
Bakersfield to just before the Grapevine - 40 minutes 99/I5

Driving to the 5 would be about the same time frame according to Google (20 minutes less).

41 to I5 (Kettleman City) - about 56 minutes
Kettleman City to Grapevine - about 1 hour 24 mins.

The only reason I mention these times is that every one of these little towns rolls up the sidewalks at about 9PM. Sure you can get into the hotels, but your plan to have dinner when you get down the mountain is a good one. Judging from the timing, you definitely want to stay on the North side of the Grapevine. It will be very late by the time you would be driving over it and you wouldn't want to get stuck. I know from experience that it is no fun to have a blow out at 11PM in the middle of nowhere.

The big difference between I5 and SR99 is that the speed limit on I5 is 70mph the whole way. SR99 reduces the speed limit to 55 whenever you go through each little town and I'm not sure it gets above 65 ever. In Bakersfield, there has been traffic to reduce speeds to 20-40mph, but that's not for more than about 10 exits.

There is a Best Western in Kettleman City off I5, which offers rooms with two Queen beds for a reasonable rate. That is about an hour out of Fresno and puts you an hour and a half from the bottom of the Grapevine.

You might also look into the Charter Inn and Suites in Tulare. We had a friend who lived there and used to stay often. The rooms are like a DVC studio (micro/fridge) and they serve you a hot breakfast in the morning complete with "make 'em yourself" waffles. One of my favorites! This usually runs about $100 per night and puts you about the same place that Kettleman City is from the bottom of the Grapevine.

Tulare or Kettleman City are pretty much 4 hours north of Anaheim (without LA traffic). If you left between 7-9AM, LA traffic would be over by the time that you hit LA. The advantage of Kettleman City is that you would not hit any Bakersfield rush hour traffic.

I didn't mean to open up this whole can of worms on your TR! Now you probably know more than you ever wanted to know about California Central Valley Geography. Bakersfield is fine to just crash in as well, but depending on how long it takes you to get down the mountain from Yosemite, you could be looking at a very late arrival time, also depending on what your plans for dinner end up being. We always end up eating our dinner from drive through on trips like this because we spend too much time dawdling and run behind, your family might be different.

Anyways, back to your packing on the ship!
WOW! Thank you so much Alison! How wonderful to have such a concerned friend! When I say stop for dinner, I mean a drive through, too- we were going to hit In n Out Burger, since we don't have them out here, and how can we be in CA and NOT have one?- and the times from Yosemite are a little better than what you are thinking because we will be parked at the Wawona, at the very south of the park, as opposed to starting from the Valley, which is an hour (at least) north. I think if we leave at 3, we should be ok getting through that Grapevine in the daylight (sunset is right before 8pm) as it's 5 hours to Santa Clarita from the Wawona. If we leave later, we'll figure something else out.

Oh- and I looked up Pinnacles- no WONDER you have been trying to send me down the coast for the past 2 months! You must have thought I was a total idiot to be going into 99 and freakin Bakersfield! LMAO!!!
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