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Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

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Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

In June we will be flying from FL to San Jose, CA airport to attend a wedding. We thought we would include a road trip up to the Ave. of the Giants and incorporate some coastal views along with a few days stopover in Healdsburg for a biking tour of vineyards. I'm not a good car traveler esp. for long multi-hour stretches along curvy roads, so here is the itinerary that I've planned so far based on research. Input and suggestions (esp. if I am being overly ambitious) are greatly appreciated. We are an active couple ages 60-65 (hiking/biking/walking), enjoy outdoors, beautiful scenery, architecture, history. Our travel itinerary will begin on a Saturday and we must be in Saratoga, CA for the wedding on the following Saturday (day 8)

Day 1 - fly Daytona, FL to SJC - pick up rental car - drive to Santa Rosa (2 hr drive)

we don't have our flights booked yet, so not sure of arrival time at SJC. It looks to be

about a 2 hr drive. Suggestions on any interesting stops along the way?

Overnight in Santa Rosa

Day 2 - Santa Rosa to Mendocino via Bodega Bay (3 hrs) - this was planned just to get over to

the coastal route.

If there is a better route to minimize the lengthy curvy coastal drive yet still have

some pretty views, we would love to hear it. From Googlemaps, there didn't seem

to be many roads to get to the coast with our overnight destination being Mendocino.

My concern here is the long coastal stretch to Mendocino with no "escape routes" if I

cannot tolerate curvy coastal roads. Are there interesting places to stop along the way to

break up the drive?

Overnight in Mendocino. - Suggestions for lodging?

Day 3 - Mendocino sights & Skunk Train: Other sightseeing suggestions?

2nd overnight in Mendocino

Day 4 - Mendocino to Ave of the Giants (2 hr drive)

Would like to do a few short hikes (2-4 miles) on our arrival day and the morning of

our departure day (day 5). Recommendations of hikes/points of interest that are

doable in this time frame?

overnight stay in Garberville

Days 5-7 - travel from Garberville to Healdsburg (2.5 hr drive) to begin a supported self-guided

bike tour (using winecountrybikes.com) hopefully encompassing 3 nights

(this part isn't firmed up yet)

Day 8- bike van shuttle back to Healdsburg to pick up our rental car and drive to Saratoga, CA

via Sonoma, Napa, Walnut Creek (3 hr drive)

Would like some suggestions on interesting stops along the way.

Walnut Creek would be a stop for a short visit with a relative.

Overnight in Saratoga for wedding next day

Day 9 - Saratoga - wedding (Sunday). Anything to see/do of interest prior to wedding?

2nd night in Saratoga

Day 10 - drive from Saratoga to Carmel-by-the-Sea via Santa Cruz (1:30 hrs)

suggestions on interesting things to see/do in each of these cities?

Overnight in Carmel-by-the-Sea (lodging recommendations)?

Day 11 (Tuesday) - drive to SJC for departure flight (still to be booked) (1:30 drive time)

We've already been to Yosemite and toured San Francisco, so did not include those points of interest in our itinerary. Main purpose of this trip is 1) wedding, 2) bike tour, 3) relaxation/sightseeing

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1. Re: Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

Wow it does look like a nicely planned trip. Well drive to Mendocino is along the cliffs so if you feel strange just pullover and stop. I would do that instead of trying to go inland and then back to the coast

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Mendocino
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2. Re: Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

Yes, it does look like a very good trip - nicely planned.

For the drive to Mendocino, the only other reasonable choice it to take Hwy 128 over to the coast - it meats up with the coast a big south of Mendocino, so you still get some coastal views, just not miles and miles of it. Hwy 128 isn't exactly straight though - there are some quite curvy sections. Along the way, you pass Boonville and Hendy Woods state park, and Navarro redwoods state park, quite a few wineries, and a couple of breweries.

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3. Re: Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

SJC to SR is a lot longer than 2 hours. Probably closer to 3. And that's not at rush hour.

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4. Re: Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

I haven't made the SJ to SR drive in a few years, but we used to do that regularly. Outside of commute times, 2 hours sounds about right. I live about 10 minutes south of SJC and the Golden Gate bridge is almost exactly 1 hour from my house - taking Hwy 280 to 19th Ave, even with all the lights on 19th. From the bridge, Santa Rosa is only another 50 miles or so, freeway driving, so another hour should do it.

During commute time this is more like a 3 hour trip.

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5. Re: Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

Definitely well researched trip. Agree with November about 128 as an alternative to Hwy 1 from Santa Rosa. Some curvy bit. Not sure how much time it saves over the full coastal route.

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6. Re: Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

Could you not fly into SFO or OAK and out of SJC? You're flying into the airport that's probably the least convenient one to get to Mendocino.

I second november_moon's suggestion of Hwy. 128. Boonville is an interesting area (look up "Boontling").

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7. Re: Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

I agree that if have problems with curvy roads you may want to forgo Hwy 1 North of Jenner. There are 8 miles of high cliff, very curvy driving, (However, it is a beautiful drive and goes through Fort Ross State Historic Park, and the small art colony of Gualala, among other things. and this is the only reallly "hairy" part of the road. It is fine if you slow way down an enjoy the view..

If you should decide to do this, it does not make sense to go from Santa Rosa via Bodega Bay. Bodega Bay is 10 miles south of where you would pick up Hwy 1 going north (at Jenner). In this case, just take River Road from Hwy 101 just north of Santa Rosa and follow it to the coast at Jenner.

If you should choose to get to the coast via 128, go north from Santa Rosa on Hwy 101 to Cloverdale and pick up there. Hwy 128 takes a diagonal south to north path over to the coast. It is a pretty drive past wineries, etc. There are ARE some winding roads as you approach the coast just south of Mendocino..., you have to cross the coast range. You will be going through Navarro River Redwoods State Park.

It looks as if you are taking your driving times from Google. I would take those with a grain of salt. Google is notorious for underestimating drive times when it is dealing with roads like Hwy 1, especially. They seem to assume you will be driving normal highway driving speeds, which you may not.

Your trip sounds wonderful. I hope you will come back afterwards and give us a report, not just because we are interested, but because your experiences will be valuable to those coming after you.

Edited: 20 January 2016, 00:30
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Daytona Beach
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8. Re: Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

Thank you everyone for the additional information re: drive times and alternate routes. Yes, I was taking drive times from Google. We were choosing to fly in/out of the same airport to avoid rental car drop off fees and chose San Jose because that is the closest to the wedding location which will be the conclusion of our trip. Again, thanks a bunch!

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9. Re: Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

Have a wonderful trip. SJC is a great airport as it is small and car rental right there. I live 10 mins away and fly out of it every chance I can. BTW - I just spent the last few days in South Florida. Y'all are having a cold snap. It was warmer in San Jose last night than Miami! Brrr.

Edited: 20 January 2016, 16:32
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Daytona Beach
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10. Re: Partial Tour of No. California from SJC Itinerary ?

Thank you chinchita415 Glad to hear SJC is an easy airport. Yes we have been having quite a bit of cold weather here with even more colder weather this weekend. Ugh! But at least it doesn't snow

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