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LAX to Seattle or Portland, OR

Richardson, Texas
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LAX to Seattle or Portland, OR

My wife and I plan to drive from LAX to Seattle (vacation trip), or, if time gets short, to Portland, OR. We allowed 10 days hoping that most of the trip will be on Hwy 1 or other scenic drives. I heard there may be fog on Hwy 1 north of San Franciso, and that the road is very twisty. Any suggestions from anybody who has done this trip, or at least part of it? I thank you in advance. Peter K.

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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1. Re: LAX to Seattle or Portland, OR

When is this trip?

Does the ten days include time in L.A., or are you just arriving at LAX and leaving? Have you looked at the one-way drop-fee for a rental car? Hwy 1 from southern California thru SF to Hwy 101 and continuing on Hwy 101 is winding or curvy; the road mostly follows the coastline which is neither flat nor straight. But it's scenic!

Are you planning to spend any time in the cities you pass through like San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle?

Roseville...
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2. Re: LAX to Seattle or Portland, OR

Here is a copy of a post I made on another thread with similar question:

Here is a suggested route for California:

Day

1 SD to Cambria via I 5 to to HWY 101 to HWY 1

2 Cambria to Monterey via 1

3 Monterey to SF via 1 to 156 to 101

4 Day in SF

5 SF to Bodega Bay via 101 to 116 (Petaluma) to 1

6 Bodega to Mendocino via 1

7 Mendocino to Crescent City via 128 and 101

8 "flex day" for Mendocino or Crescent City

Above is more or less a "standard trip" up the coast allowing for time to enjoy the trip, make stops, visit a redwood or two, etc.

That leaves you 4 days for Oregon and Washington. Point is you are trying to do much, imo. I'd restrict trip to two of the three states or add another 3 to 5 days to your schedule.

As for hotels, I've had pretty good luck over the years, when in doubt, looking for places under the Best Western banner. Once you got some since of schedule you can look up locations on Trip Advisor to see what others recommend.

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So, on your base question, I'd make Portland your destination. The route above does include some twisties (you can't drive the coast without some) but is not to bad. I eliminated the worst portion, from Mendocino to Leggett, on HWY 1. Do 128 to 101. 128 has one real twisty section out of Cloverdale but only 10 miles or so. There is also a series of switchbacks on HWY 1 between Jenner and Ft. Ross but again relatively short.

Richardson, Texas
3 posts
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3. Re: LAX to Seattle or Portland, OR

Thank you, Destination Expert! The trip will be from 8/3 to 8/12. We don't plan a stop at LA. It involves almost constant driving, doing 150 to 200 miles a day (we know the speed is going to be slow due to the road conditions), no stops in major cities unless they are near the coast or for night rest. Final destination Seattle or Portland, depending on time left. We'll rent a car in LA and return it at the final destination airport. We'll plan to overnight in decent places (Best Westerns or similar). Do you have any further suggestions? Thanks again.

Richardson, Texas
3 posts
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4. Re: LAX to Seattle or Portland, OR

Thanks, DAMcC22!! It sounds like a good plan. I'' check iy out with my maps. You can't avoid the twisties if you are going on the coastal roads, but I don't know how bad are they? Have there been many accidents on Hwy 1 and 101? What about the fog? I understand that it is more common in August, which I did not know when I planned the trip.

Roseville...
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5. Re: LAX to Seattle or Portland, OR

Are you concerned about accidents or something else on the twisty road thing? The two sections mentioned above are the worst and are not all that long. 15 minutes & your through with them. Nothing unusual to be concerned on safety. No better/worse than other 2 lane roads.

I've never encountered heavy fog but I tend to drive middle of the day, say 10 am to 5 pm. No reason not to make the trip, imo.

Oregon
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6. Re: LAX to Seattle or Portland, OR

DAMcC has good plan for Cal. if you do that forget Seattle. Redwoods, Oregon coast and Columba R Gorge can fill 4 days ul

Edited: 15 July 2012, 07:04
Oregon Coast
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7. Re: LAX to Seattle or Portland, OR

>> Have there been many accidents on Hwy 1 and 101? <<

Hello, I have lived on the Oregon coast for over 20 years and we travel the Oregon and northern California coasts every year so I know the roads very well!

Let's separate out the two highways to start.

From LA, you would take Highway 101 north, past Santa Barbara, then inland to San Luis Obispo. This is freeway, or mostly freeway. Good fast very wide road.

Highway 1 starts at San Luis Obispo area in Calif and goes to Santa Cruz area. (Yes, Hwy 1 goes south of SLO but most people begin at SLO) This is an overall good road. There are bits of four lane highway at the far south and far north ends, with two lane highway in between. Much of this road is good. As you get around Big Sur, the road gets more winding and slower, and you cannot drive as fast. Going northbound, you'll be on the "inside" away from any cliffs.

Okay, north of San Francisco, Hwy 1 is a slow, winding road for many many miles - in fact most of it until you reach Hwy 101 again in the town of Leggett. There are some straight stretches of course but it is overall a slow road. Very scenic it is one of the most beautiful drives in the USA. Thousands of large RVs drive this every year - I say that to show that it is a safe road for large vehicles!

If you took Highway 101 north from San Francisco, it is a very pleasant inland drive through rural areas and wineries. It is good wide mostly freeway.

101 and 1 meet in Leggett California and that is the end of Hwy 1.

From there going north, the road is only Hwy 101. Much of it is wide and four lanes but some of it is two lanes and winding. However, very little of it is really slow. This is the *only* road that serves far northwestern coastal Calif so you will find large trucks and RVs on it. It is perfectly safe. South of Crescent City there are some short winding sections but they are also very pretty!

Highway 101 continues along the Oregon coast. It is mostly two lane and much of it is straight and good. There are only a few sections that are winding and those are not long, just a few miles each. It is very scenic.

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Fog. You have no doubt seen the classic pictures of the fog swirling around the redwood trees? Yes, there may be some fog. No, it is not "can't see your hand in front of your face" fog! It tends to be greater in the early mornings and at night, but is seldom really bad.

Along the Oregon coast if it's really hot inland, you will experience some fog here and there. Again, it is rarely bad, but just bothersome because your ocean views may not be too clear!

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"Best Westerns" are fine but once you get into rural coastal areas you won't find any!

Phoebus K are you familiar with how to use the search mechanism and locate lodging and restaurant reviews here on TripAdvisor? If not, just let us know and we'll show you how useful they can be. There are also tons of attraction reviews that will help you decide what to see!

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I do not think you have enough time to go to Seattle - unless you want to see a lot of the countryside through your windshield! I'd suggest you stop at Portland.

8. Re: LAX to Seattle or Portland, OR

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