well, folks, i just got back. Yosemite was probably the most beautiful place i've ever seen, and grand canyon was amazing. I recommend going to the watch tower if you ever visit the canyon. i added the sequoias to the trip, hiked carlsbad, stayed overnight at white sands and camped in death valley. Didn't get to zipline, hit PCH, or go to ocotillo wells, but i did take the kids on a hot air balloon ride with Skydrifters.com just east of san francisco. We spent just under 3 weeks on the road.
total was a little over 6k miles, cost was about $1,300 in gas. you may get better/worse mileage with your setup; i have 33's and a 2.5" lift on my truck with no other mods. areas with ascending roads killed fuel mileage and some areas were so steep i'd have my manual transmission down 2 gears lower than i would here in flat louisiana for miles at a time.
back country camping at carlsbad in the Rattle Snake trail head was rough. i don't recommend it if you aren't semi experienced in hiking, but if you do, pack light. the trek to the campsite is scary if you have kids with you because if they slip up they will get hurt bad enough to need medical attention.
If you want to camp in Death Valley, i strongly DON'T recommend doing it at Furnace Creek. the high was around 125 degrees, and the low was 90. Instead drive off to Wildrose which is about 3,000' above sea level and a bit cooler; at night the weather there is PERFECT, probably in the low 70's/upper 60's. it's also very dark at night so the sky is totally clear. as the sun sets you might see bats flying above your tents feeding on bugs; very cool. the sunset and sunrise at wildrose is also beautiful, and they have faucets and toilets on the campsite; plus, wildrose is free to camp while furnace creek is around $18. Leaving wildrose towards the west, there was a closed road that has very damaged from floods. since i was in my truck, i took it anyway, as it would save me about an hour in commute time. it was pretty scenic at times, and i was amazed at the way so much of the pavement had been washed away.
I found a New Orleans Saints bar in San Francisco called the Black Magic Voodoo Lounge where they show Saints games during football season. It's located on Lombard about half a mile from the crooked street. really cool chill spot. Alcatraz was really awesome, but order your tickets a month in advance for the day tour, 8 weeks in advance for night tour.
LA was pretty cool, but only stayed one night so we did Hollywood Blvd.
The area between Fort Stockton, Tx and Ozona, Tx has no gas stations so be sure to have enough fuel between those spots. it's about a 107 miles between those towns. I pushed my luck by not filling up, but was fortunate and had JUST enough fuel to get me to a gas station.
Met some great people along the way too. hopefully in another couple of years i can do another trip.