DRIVING ADVENTURES: West Coast USA ??? 13-27 May 2017

13 – 27 May 2017


If you had to define a spiritual home for Driving Adventures it would be difficult to go past the American West Coast, home of Car Culture with this in mind we have put together a 2 week tour celebrating all that is great about the west coast and American Car Culture.

Driving Adventures California from Luke Thomas on Vimeo.

Commencing at Santa Monica Pier at the end of the Mother Road, Route 66 we travel along ridgeway roads east of LA, tackle desert roads through the amazing Joshua Tree National Park, track the gorges of the Colarado River through Arizona, visit the historic relics of Route 66, be blown away by the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, party in Las Vegas, be stunned by Death Valley and the high passes of the Sierras, relax in Lake Tahoe before being amazed by the Redwood Forests before taking in all that the Californian coast has to offer.

IMG_2853 IMG_2856

All this while staying true to the Driving Adventures traditions of first rate hotels, fine dining, amazing sight-seeing along brilliant roads selected for driving enjoyment. You will be supplied with a detailed road-book and your own Sat-Nav unit that details our selected route each day. This allows you to set your own timetable and take any side trips that might desire.

The Schedule

Saturday 13 May Santa Monica

An easy day, arrive at your leisure, take in the sights of Santa Monica before the tour meets for dinner

Sunday 14 May Big Bear Lake 161 Miles

An early start along LA’s famous freeway’s before taking to the San Gabriel Mountains, climbing to 8,000 ft before plunging to the desert floor and heading into the mountains again before reaching Big Bear LakeIMG_7821

Monday 15 May Lake Havasu 278.4 Miles

Leaving Big Bear Lake there is a very special ribbon of bitumen that drops down to the desert floor on the way to Joshua Tree National Park a stunning piece of country with clustered boulders and natural springs on the way to Arizona where we follow the Colarado River to Lake Havasu and London Bridge that has been transplanted there for some reason.

IMG_7771 IMG_7776

Tuesday 16 May Las Vegas 254.3 Miles

This is a day you will long remember. We start with a cruise through the Mohave Mountains to Kingman Arizona home of the Route 66 Museum and the legendary Mr D’z Diner. We then head to Grand Canyon, one of the few iconic landmarks that when you first see it you go, “yep, now I understand all the hype.” A truely awe inspiring sight. We visit the Skywalk to make the most of our visit. We then head to the Hoover Dam before reaching our hotel in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip

.IMG_7784 IMG_7788 IMG_7800

Wednesday 17 May Las Vegas

A day to do your own thing, rest up, take in the sights of Vegas, pay for the tour at the tables or see one of the world class acts that are playing in town.

Thursday 18 May Bishop 311.1 Miles

Big miles today but you can cover distance quickly in the desert. Death Valley is the highlight of the day. Walk out onto the salt flats at Badwater 282 ft below sea level, or cruise through the Artist Valley and the ever-changing colours of the earth, this is a very special place. Special in it’s own way is the road towards Bishop, climbing over Townes Pass and the Inyo Mountains. Bishop is a pleasant surprise as is the excellent Texas BBQ Restaurant across the road from our hotel.


Friday 19 May Yosemite 142.9 Miles

This morning start with a run up the interstate, within 20 miles the semi-arid desert gives way to Pine Forest as the road climbs to 7,000 ft. The real fun starts as we head up the 10,000 ft Tioga Pass and into the heart of the Sierras. Dropping down the western side of the mountains we enter the stunning Yosemite Valley. Out hotel for the night is just outside the National Park gates.

IMG_7862 IMG_7894

Saturday 20 May Lake Tahoe 199.9 Miles

There is time this morning for another look through the Yosemite Valley before head into the Stanislaw Forest on our way north. One of the highlights of the day is the village of Murphy which is full of lovely little cafes and shops. We then head onto some little known county roads to explore some back country before heading to the resort town of Lake Tahoe.

IMG_7917 IMG_7920

Sunday 21 May Redding 260.2 Miles

The morning run along the western shore of the Lake offers some great views before we head into the Tahoe National Forest. Occasionally the forest gives way to meadowlands and little towns like Sierraville, Graeagle, and Quincy. Highlight of the day is the Mount Lassen Volcanic Park, stunning views, thermal springs and a great drive. We even had a sprinkling of snow fall when there in June.


Monday 22 May Fort Bragg 208.1 Miles

Today has some of the best roads of the tour was we head along county roads towards the coast. Today has it all, Mountains, back country villages, Redwood Forests and the start of the coast road that will eventually lead us back to LA. The hotel tonight is perched on the coast overlooking a channel to the fishing port of Fort Bragg.


Tuesday 23 May San Francisco 175 Miles

The Californian Coast south of San Francisco has a reputation as one of the most scenic coastlines in the world and with good reason. However, for my money the northern coast is even better, the driving is brilliant, the scenery is superb and plenty of small coastal villages to explore. As you get closer to Port Reyes there is plenty of roadside cafes offering great seafood meals. I have chosen a hotel in heart of Fishermans Wharf. The perfect place from which to explore San Francisco.


Wednesday 24 May San Francisco

One of the great cities of the world, San Francisco has so much to offer that I could not schedule a rest day here. I am sure you make the most of it.

Thursday 25 May Monterey 126.2 Miles

A nice short day to enjoy the coast road through Santa Cruz (a personal favourite of mine) to Monterey where we have a very special hotel overlooking Monterey Bay and right on the famous Cannery Row.


Friday 26 May Paso Robles 142.6 Miles

There is a great start to today as we take the famous 17 mile drive to Carmel and then onto the Big Sur Coast. There is so many iconic sights along here that you will no doubt stop for plenty of photo opportunities. Traffic can be heavy but if you go with the flow it can be a pleasurable drive. We leave the coast road at Cambria and take to the narrow, steep, tight and bumpy road to the wine district of Paso Robles where we stay the night in the Californian version of a Tuscan Winery.IMG_7986

Saturday 27 May Santa Monica 238.6 Miles

In an attempt to offer a fitting finale for our tour we head east of Paso Robles into the Tremblor Range which provide some of the best driving of the tour. We cruise through the oil fields near Taft and the amazing roads around Pine Mountain. The last hour or so takes in the coast road from Ventura through Malibu to santa Monica where our adventures began.

IMG_7930 (1)


Rental cars in Los Angeles are cheap and plentiful. I booked a Mustang Convertible through Budget which I thought was perfect for the tour and was only $1,500 for the 2 weeks I had it. If you are looking for something a little more exotic you can order a Corvette, Porsche, Audi in fact just about anything you could wish for all at reasonable rates.


One of the keys to the flexibility of the tour is a system that allows you to explore all the amazing back roads at your own pace and with the confidence that you will find your way to the next hotel or lunch stop. I have put in place a 2 stage system that will ensure you will not have any problems finding your way. First, every car will be supplied with a Sat-Nav unit that has our route programmed into it. Just select the day of tour and it will take you through every turn along the way. You will also receive a comprehensive road-book that not only details every turn along the way but also gives you an over-sight of each days drive and a list of hotel and emergency numbers that ensure that you are always in touch.IMG_7784


The cost of the tour is $15,000/car/2 people. This includes all accommodation and a cooked breakfast each morning. Your own pre-programmed Sat-Nav Unit, Comprehensive Road-Book and myself as the Tour Leader to smooth the way and ensure that everything happens as it should.


There is only 10 places available for this tour. Places will be allocated on a first in basis. To secure your place you will need to place a $1,500. non refundable deposit with the remaining $13,500 to be paid in 2 further deposits closer to the tour.


If you require any further information or would like to talk about this tour, please contact David;