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california trip

France
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california trip

My husband and myself are doing a grand road trip in April, which is very exciting. The question I have, for any of you experts out there is as follows: For our third sto we are staying in Jamestown for 3 nights, followed by a night in Bishop, on our way for a 2 night stop at Furnace Creek. Is it likely that the 108 from Sonora will be open on April 8th, or a suggestion for a good route for us would be greatly appreciated.

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San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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1. Re: california trip

Sorry to disappoint you, but it is 99.9% certain that Sonora Pass will still be closed in April. Bishop and the entire eastern Sierra are gorgeous, and it's a shame that you may not get to see much of it.

Were you planning to go to Yosemite? If so, the other way to Death Valley would be to leave Yosemite by Hwy 41 for Fresno, then Hwy 99 to Bakersfield and Hwy 58 across the southern end of the Sierra Nevada.

If you are leaving from Jamestown, you can take Hwy 120 west to 99 and then south; or a more scenic route would be Hwy 49 south, the Mother Lode (gold country) route which will connect with 41.

Unfortunately, you will not see much of the eastern Sierra, unless you want to make a detour north on Hwy 395. At the least, try to go to Lone Pine and see Mt. Whitney. If you are movie fans, you may recognize the Alabama Hills near the eastern foot of Mt. Whitney, where many Western and adventure movies were filmed in the early days of Hollywood.

If you have lots and lots of time, the really long way is to go from Jamestown up to Placerville and east on Hwy 50. It and Hwy 80 are the only guaranteed open trans-Sierra roads from November to May or June. 50 takes you to the Lake Tahoe area, then you can turn south on 395 through Bridgeport, Lee Vining, Bishop, etc. If you do this, it will be close to 500 mi/800 km, and Hwy 49 is a two-lane, curvey rural road. I would allow one or even two overnight stops to make it more relaxing and enjoy the scenery.

France
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2. Re: california trip

Thanks for your advice, Frisco Runner, we have decided to take the route via the 49, but do you think the 88 via Jackson to Gardnerville, on the 395, will be a good route. Cheers.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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3. Re: california trip

Hwy 88 is nice, but it is another of the Sierra roads that may or may not be open. It has ski resorts, so the state tries to keep them open as much as possible. According to the state website, 88 is open today, but if a storm comes, it could close. ALso, going from Yosemite to Death Valley, you'll notice that coming out at Gardnerville puts you far north on 395.

Another road that may or may not be open is Hwy 4 (Arnold) and then turn off to Hwy 89 (Markleevile). That takes you to 395 farther south and closer to DV. However, like any mountain road in this transitional time of year, it may not be open. Hwy 4, IMO, is one of the most difficult state highways over the Sierra for newcomers, in terms of sheer physical work. It is narrow and extremely curvy with lots of grade changes and hairpin turns. I drive it every so often, and end up tired every time!

If you want to do all of 395 from north to south, seeing Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes and Devil's Postpile, and Mt. Whitney, 88 or 4/89 would work. The weather is the unknown factor.

The two SURE ways are to go all the way up 49 to Placerville (scenis but not fast) and then east on 50, or down to Bakersfield and east on 58 (shorter, less scenic and diverse).

You don't need to decide now, because you know you WILL be able to get from Jamestown to Death Valley. Check on the conditions when you arrive in Calif. Here is the website, or call 1-800-427-7623.

http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi

4. Re: california trip

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