markskor wrote:Getting into (and out of) the West side trailheads...well IMHO, the road just plain sucks.
What he said. To paraphrase a certain term, once you go east, you never go back. I know, it doesn't rhyme, but seriously, there's nothing like getting to a TH within 20-30 minutes of leaving a major, 2-lane highway (US 395). Not only are the distances shorter, but most of them are almost straight shots that gain 4-5k in elevation.
As for the Yosemite valley to Reds section of the JMT, I think most would agree the real high-point is Tuolumne to Agnew via Donohue, Thousand Island & the Minarets. At only 9 miles/day, it's a 2 night, 3 day affair, so you really wouldn't be getting a good bang for the buck.
Mav's suggestion about S to N Lake is also sound - hitting Lamarck out of the box is tough.
markskor wrote:2) Onion Valley to Kearsarge - Whitney - Portal...a good 50+ mile adventure
That would be my suggestion as well. If you want to be in the highest of the High Sierra, go over the highest pass (Forester), and then summit the highest peak, this would be the call.
Also, by hitting the S Sierra, you open up the possibility of flying directly into SoCal. It seems counter-intuitive, but it's really only 4 hrs to Lone Pine from LA. In fact, if you could arrange to fly into Ontario, you could rent a car and be in Lone Pine the same day. From there, you could decide on what you wanted to do. (With only 2 people, I would forgo attempting to schedule in advance with reservations. They keep 40% for walk-ins - I've never been shut out.)
If you were real maniacs, you could attempt to do each of the "Big 3" as separate section hikes. Think about it - if you can do 14 miles/day, you could do Tuolumne - Agnew in 2 days/1 night. Pull into Mammoth D2 and drive to S Lake. Power through Evolution in 3-4 nights, then head to Onion. There are plenty of trip reports for the Kearsarge to Whitney section, but again, if you were in shape, you could pull it off in 3 nights.
Personally, I know when my wife & I were younger, and we were on a big trip to someplace new, we'd literally go for 12-16 hrs/day straight for the entirety, while depending on the long plane flight back home to catch up on some sleep. If this is a big deal, don't short-change yourself.