I love the California coast south of San Francisco, but IMHO the coast north of San Francisco is even prettier. Mendocino in particular is spectacular and near wine country (Anderson Valley). And it connects to the Oregon coast, definitely worth seeing.
BTW, I recently saw something on TV about a major slide on Highway 1 that closed the road someplace around Big Sur. It looked like it would take months to repair. Check before you go.
Hermosa Beach, California
I know dozens of students the cross the border everyday to go to school. I've asked them about the drug wars and they are concerned in general but they don't seem to be afraid for their lives. That said, depending on what you're after, I might skip Yosemite and go to Sequoia/Kings Canyon. I take my family there every year. Yosemite is so damn crowded. My favorite places to visit are wine country (although the Napa side can get pretty crowded) and SF, in general. There's one particular beach south of SF I liked to stop at when I could. It's been a long time but there are pebbles there instead of sand. I found it to be a really unique and relaxing place/sound. Ridge Winery is in the same area. LA can be a lot of fun but the traffic is literally a nightmare. I used to get to school faster on my bike than my neighbors did in thier cars. Seattle/Vancouver/Victoria is also great to visit. That's gonna be a great trip, OD. Figuring out where to spend your time is probably going to be pretty tough.
+1 to FryBoy's post.
Thanks for tips
My GF is finishing her master degree this summer, and then we´re ready to go. When is the best time to go?
We was going to plan to go april next year to experience the spring, but some have told us to go in the fall?
Ive heard roomers that the roads are closed during winter/spring and fall too?
Im a planner. I like to have the big picture and calculate cost (yeah I work as a CPO), so I can plan ahead for a year if so. I like to keep cost down...
The plan is to stick to one chain of motels, and therefor get more bonus. Would be fun to paid my respect to Devin and Burke, but then again its a long drive to them. Im going to have a few days in NYC as well, on the way home.
Best time to come to California is the early fall. Late-September and October are spectacular! The water in SoCal is at its warmest, the summer crowds are diminished, and the weather is great (except for the occasional Santa Ana winds). Spring is nice, too, but can be wet. Summer is hot (except the immediate coast, of course) and crowded. June = gloom along the coast.
Re: tk59's suggestion -- if you want to see the mountains, consider the eastern side of the Sierras, especially Mammoth, June lake, Tahoe, etc.
Hermosa Beach, California
I'll second FryBoy's recommendation. Early fall is the best time to visit California. Kids are back in school, so the crowds and traffic in the spots you'd like to visit will be down.
Summer along the west coast can be foggy and cold.
The quote: "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco" is usually attributed to Mark Twain. It can be true, but there's no evidence Mark Twain ever said it. I lived in SF for 16 years and we locals always got a chuckle out of watching the tourists in shorts and tee shirts shivering in the fog as they waited in line for the cable cars.
You are unlikely to run into any road closures before mid October, but it is always possible to run into freak storms and temporary closures in the high Sierra.
The north route by Tahoe gets insane amounts of snow, but they have equally insane snow clearing capability so it's only closed during the worst winter storms, then opens immediately.
Fall isn't a problem.
I wouldn't worry too much about it.
Definitely forget summer. It's way too crowded to go to the national parks or other major sites during the summer because of crowds.
If you're going to be traveling through LA on the freeways, go either really early in the mornings (before 6), mid day, or after 7 p.m. to avoid traffic.
"Don't you know who he is?"
Fall is the best time in Oregon as well. When school starts back up the weather gets great! The coast is crowded before then as well.
"The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."