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Travel in the US

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    Travel in the US

    Hi All,

    My wife and I are coming to the US from the UK for the Memphis meetup next year. After the event we are hoping to go to Sonoma to do some tours of the vineyards.

    What is the best way to travel there? We had thought of going by train, but that seems to be overly complicated, driving is an option, but I have worked out that the journey is over 2000 miles. That leaves flying, but there seems to be a variety of airlines etc.

    I am hoping to get some ideas from this forum so I can start planning and booking when I can.

    #2
    Best, eh? Obviously flying is the quickest, and rail is easier than driving, however driving offers so much more. You are free to choose your route, visit side sites, and take as much time as you like. It is more taxing and takes more time, even more if you take side trips. If time is a factor, fly. If you can spare a week, or better a fortnight, take the highway.

    Comment


    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      Lol holehogg

    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      I think we drive on the *right* side of the road...but..on a different note I definitely agree that the Imperial measurement system is very odd and pointless, metric makes so much more sense and the US really should use it, despite the huge learning curve we'd all be subject to.

    • FireMan
      FireMan commented
      Editing a comment
      What is truly confusing is when the powers that be use Imperial one moment, then metric the next & sometimes don’t tell you about it.

    #3
    I agree with driving if you have the time. There's a lot of great Q between Memphis and Sonoma - especially if you swing south through Texas. And you can sample Cajun in LA as well as Mex/TexMex along our southern border.

    Comment


      #4
      For a memorable trip, fly from Memphis to Toronto and take “The Canadian” train to Vancouver. Spend a few days in Vancouver and then take Amtrak to San Francisco.

      Comment


      • smokin fool
        smokin fool commented
        Editing a comment
        Confirm whether the Canadian even runs anymore first
        It may be called the Rocky Mountianeer now.
        Runs the same CNR/CPR track but is a privately owned tour company now

      • Donw
        Donw commented
        Editing a comment
        Rocky Mountaineer is another train owned by a private company. The Canadian is scheduled to resume November 1st but they are only selling sleeper and Prestige rooms starting January 1st. The Canadian is Via Rail but does run on the CNR/CPR rails though. We last rode it end of September. All depends on the virus of course.

      • smokin fool
        smokin fool commented
        Editing a comment
        Donw Thank you. I had heard a rumor that the Canadian either done or it was going to terminate in Thunder Bay. Whole bunch of changes were on the table.
        I'm actually surprised you rode as late as last Sept, again I heard it was done.
        Your right, this plague isn't helping the situation at all.

      #5
      Best option to fly into would be San Francisco or Santa Rosa. You could try Oakland, but I'll bet there's more options for a direct flight from Memphis to SF. If you have the time, the driving route through Missouri should take you through St. Louis and Kansas City.

      Comment


        #6
        Whatever method you choose be sure to visit the neighboring wine regions of Napa, Lake, and Mendocino counties. All are short drives from anywhere in Sonoma county and each has their own unique wine "signature". I was born and raised in this area and I can say you are in for treat!
        Last edited by CaptainMike; July 7, 2020, 07:36 AM.

        Comment


        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          JCBBQ I was born and raised in southern Mendocino County, 5th gen actually. We moved to Mt Shasta just before I retired. The original proposed map of "Jefferson" included Mendo Co, but is now more associated with the counties in far northern CA/southern Oregon. My understanding of the history is that Jefferson was very close to happening, but the pesky Japanese decided to raise a ruckus in Hawaii and kind of altered the course of things.

        • JCBBQ
          JCBBQ commented
          Editing a comment
          Ok! My mom’s in Santa Rosa. Going Friday for a Mother’s Day surprise. Btw, that’s super interesting. I didn’t know that it was a reality at one point.
          Last edited by JCBBQ; May 5, 2021, 08:26 AM.

        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          I was in in Santa Rosa a couple of years ago and was shocked by how much traffic and people that were crammed in there. It felt like I was in LA. Ugh!

        #7
        Flew in to SF and drove to Sonoma. I think it was an hour going over Golden Gate Bridge. Stayed at The Lodge Resort & Spa. A Marriott property. If you go make sure you book the Wine Train out of Napa. You can do lunch (we did) and dinner.

        Comment


          #8
          You should also look at Sacramento Airport. Same travel time as San Francisco. You will need to get a car to get from the airport to the area.

          Comment


            #9
            Most of this depends on the time you have. Driving will expose you to a lot of America and especially if you get off the big interstates and do the byways (smaller freeways etc) you'll see a view of the country that many, even here, don't.

            Frankly, unless you're getting off the main highways to explore, I'd do something like this:

            Fly Memphis to, say, Austin or San Antonio. See/do things there. Fly from there to Santa Fe. Fly Santa Fe to SF.

            A compromise would be to fly from Memphis to one of Austin or San Antonio or El Paso, see those areas, then drive from there. Be aware that the highways in Texas are... long. And there's not a lot between, say, Austin and El Paso.

            You can pick other intermediate destinations of course, and you could even decide to drive a leg between two cities, but my point is to minimize the boring travel time (that time spent on the big freeways just driving) while still seeing different parts of the country.
            Last edited by rickgregory; July 7, 2020, 01:21 PM.

            Comment


            • Loren
              Loren commented
              Editing a comment
              I think this offers the best value between travel time and locations visited.

            #10
            For a sightseeing trip, I think driving is the way to go if you have the time. If you are really just wanting to get to Sonoma, maybe work with a travel agent to figure out the best flight options.

            Comment


              #11
              After Memphis, fly to Los Angeles. Spend a day in LA and then drive the coast. Beautiful drive. Cut across the state to Sonoma and visit the vineyards. Drive back to San Francisco and have dinner around Fisherman’s Warf and then fly out of SF back home the next day.

              Comment


                #12
                Fly to SFO (San Francisco airport)... rent a car, drive up to Santa Rosa. Before you go, buy a copy of Tilar Mazzeo's Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma. Make sure you get the second edition, which is only 6 years of out date, instead of 11. Check the wineries, because they may have changed ownership... See what appeals to you, price wise, varietal, etc. Also, check out https://www.wineroad.com/maps/. They do three or four annual events in Sonoma... we went to one a couple years back, and it was a ton of wine and food, and a lot of exploration.

                There are too many wineries for me to recommend (between two trips, and hitting maybe 50 wineries in total). We like to stay in Santa Rosa, as it's a good base for the Russian River, the Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, and the Dry Creek Valley (and their children, the Green Valley AVA and the Rockpile AVA). For my dough, Russian River Pinot Noir is hard to beat, and Dry Creek Zin is impossible to beat. Alexander Valley has some good hot weather Cab Sauvs and Italian varietals, but there are lots of weirdos making lots of great stuff in all three big AVAs. Had one of my favorite Cote Roti in the Dry Creek...

                Other places to stay further south for other wine experiences.

                I am all for a road trip, but driving from Memphis to NorCal is gonna take 3-4 days, which is a steep opportunity cost compared to spending half a day flying and driving up.

                Comment


                • ComfortablyNumb
                  ComfortablyNumb commented
                  Editing a comment
                  For 18 years I lived within an hour of Napa and Sonoma, so perhaps it is I who is skewed. We would only stay overnight if we were staying late, like taking in a concert, we saw Little Charlie and the Nightcats and the Guess Who in SR. I don't drink and drive, so being able to walk to shops, dining, and venues was convenient. Best Western is nice for work when you are just needing a place to sleep, but when I'm a tourist lodging is part of the experience, so it's a B&B with charm for us.

                • Potkettleblack
                  Potkettleblack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Dif folks, dif strokes.

                  There's essentially no wrong answer. It's a magical place.

                • BBQPhil
                  BBQPhil commented
                  Editing a comment
                  This is great advice, commenting as another frequent Sonoma visitor. There are so many great wineries I created a map (wine-maps.com). Don't need to buy, just look at the wineries shown. Some of our favorites are Three Sticks, Hamel, Dry Creek, Dunston, Unti, Merry Edwards, Lynmar, Calluna (with a great home to rent), Preston, Loxton, Rochioli and many more. Want to visit both Sonoma and Healdsberg areas. Sonoma is a big area. And with a little extra time you can take a back road over to Napa.

                #13
                I am biased, but rent yourself one of these babies and take your time. Especially if you can rent a tow vehicle with it. We never leave home without it now. Of course, your trip would spread out into a couple of months - these make you slow down and enjoy the sights.

                Comment


                • Draznnl
                  Draznnl commented
                  Editing a comment
                  klflowers that arch looks familiar to me. Are you in Custer State Park in S. Dakota?

                • klflowers
                  klflowers commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Draznnl that is a pic I took from a rv site. I have been limited to the east coast in my travels so far

                #14
                Lots of excellent recommendations here. If you drive, which is probably the best overall choice with some flights to bridge the largest distances, I would suggest you make sure to have a cell phone plan that will let you navigate and be independent.

                Get a plan that has unlimited data, that way, you can have a reliable navigation tool. Yes, the rentals are likely to have navigation features etc, etc, but your phone is going to be more reliable because you are used to it, and you are already familiar with it.

                Some good apps are available for a minimal cost or for free like Waze and Google. Apple navigation works great. Pack some patience too. Distances are vast and extend well beyond what we get from looking at maps all day.

                Happy to hear you have plans to visit, welcome to the US!, enjoy your trip, have fun, try different foods and take lots of photos.
                Cheers,
                Ricardo

                Comment


                  #15
                  Fly definitely. Southwest Airlines flies to Oakland for $300. Oakland to Sonoma is about an 80 minute drive. Lots to see in the area so flying will give you more time to enjoy the region.

                  Comment

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