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Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

Vancouver, Canada
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Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

Hi I'm new to the site so please excuse me if I've left out pertinent info or have not followed the guidelines.

In addition to being new to this site this will also be the first time I will be traveling alone, I have been very lucky in years past as I have always traveled with family & friends who've planned my itineraries. I'm looking to take a road trip down to California - LA, maybe even down to the San Diego area. I would like to leave this Friday Dec.21st, 2012 needing to make it back by Saturday Dec.29th, 2012 to Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Some basic things I'd like to see/do are: Go to a Lakers or Clippers BB game, catch a talk show (Leno, Kimmel, Ellen if they're still filming), Universal Studios, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills.

I'm not opposed to stopping in WA or OR for up to a day. Also scenic drive ideas would be fantastic! Any suggestions & timelines would be very much appreciated. Looking to site see a bit & would definitely not be opposed to traveling to hot spots where one may spot celebrities but would not want to go out of my way to do so. Not sure if this is specific enough, I hope so? I'm simply looking to spend my vacation time actually doing something while my family/friends are suffering at work. =)

Thanks in advance for your time!

Perth, Australia
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1. Re: Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

Welcome to TA David ... you are best to put this onto the Road Trip Forum.

There are some amazing experts on that forum who have travelled all over the US and will give you some wonderful ideas and suggestions.

Good luck .. and I hope you enjoy your drive.

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

Hi David

Are you sure you want to do this by car in one week? Your time to sightsee will be very limited. Its already 2600 miles between Vancouver to LA and Back and that's via shortest way so not along the coast. There also can be snow on the road like in Oregon and NoCal.

Washington State
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3. Re: Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

If your goal is just to get to L.A., enjoy a few days, and get back, then I think this forum can work okay for planning. Just use I-5, be very careful about crossing the Siskiyous Mountains in southern Oregon / northern California (snow & icy roads), be careful about early morning driving on I-5 in Central California (thick tule fog), and stay awake!

For specifics about what to do for your two or three days in L.A. (all the other days are driving!), go to the L.A. forum page. Read their Top Questions in the upper right, then post.

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I think that with only a week, it would be a much better choice to fly to a southern CA airport, enjoy your single tourism in maybe two different destinations, and fly back. Look at both the Vancouver and the Bellingham airports. Remember to add in the cost of leaving your car at the airport for a week.

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My other suggestion is that you focus your trip on more northerly destinations ... Portland, the Oregon Coast, Redwood NP in California, and San Francisco. Use I-5 one way and the coastal route for the other way.

Try putting your drive into Google Maps. Remember that the drive time estimates do not allow any time for rest stops, refueling the car, eating, stretching your legs, or road delays. A 6 hour drive might be 8 hours in the winter.

Folks on the Road Trips forum can help you to understand what a long drive really feels like.

Edited: 18 December 2012, 14:35
Oregon Coast
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4. Re: Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

Hi David H and welcome to TripAdvisor. One of the problems with your proposed timing is that it is winter - and you very well may run into snow!

The best advice I can give you is to check these state websites below (click on the blue links). They will give you important information about road conditions including real-time photos.

The highest pass you'll be going over will be Siskiyou Summit at the border of Oregon and California. It gets snow all the time, and if it's really bad will be closed, usually overnight. However, there are four more passes in Oregon and three in California that will get snow if it's very cold and wet.

So check carefully:

California- http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist2/travelmap.htm (NE Calif)

Oregon- www.tripcheck.com

Also, if there is a storm predicted in Washington, check this website:

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ (Traveler information)

It is "supposed" to be warming up a little bit in the next few days. Today (17th) there was snow in many parts of Oregon, including at the coast at sea level!

Expect rain, drive carefully and have a good trip :-)

Roseville...
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5. Re: Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

Pardon my bluntness but Vancouver to LA & back in a week is a virtual impossibility. You will have to average 371 miles a day...that is about 9 hours a day assuming no bad weather.

Shorten your trip to no further than SF (even that is a stretch in a week) or fly.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

Thank-you for all your replies, in light of the recent info I will likely be flying to California instead and renting a car once I arrive.

Prior to learning that I would likely be encountering snowy/icy conditions I was envisioning a 10-12 hours commute in 16-18 hours then on the road again for the remaining 10-12 hours. Being behind the wheel for long periods of time is not a problem for me, I have taken 4 trips in the past with these types of stretches with ease. The main reason for wanting to drive was that I heard there were some very beautiful stretches along the coast... however I definitely do not want to be driving in snowy/icy conditions.

I'll maybe re-visit this road trip next year during the spring/summer season and hopefully with friends & family. Thank-you again for your time & attention!

Uden, The...
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7. Re: Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

Also maybe consider coming in september. To us that's best time of year to do a trip like yours.

Napa, CA
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8. Re: Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

It looks like a major winter storm is going to affect the Pacific Northwest and Northern California this weekend. So, your decision to fly is a good one. Hopefully, you are able to get good rates for your flights and car rental at this late date.

Normally, the coast is snow and ice free in the winter but if you take Interstate 5, you can run into some dicey weather in various spots. One is the section between Ashland and Yreka. Yesterday, there was a 60 car pileup there do to ice on the highway.

sacbee.com/2012/12/18/5063826/interstate-5-n…

Oregon Coast
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9. Re: Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

>> Normally, the coast is snow and ice free in the winter <<

The central and northern Oregon coast gets snow about 4 to 5 times every winter.

Granted, usually only an inch or so at a time (although last March we got about 6") , but it can be messy and slows everything down. I keep waiting for the so-called "global warming" to appear here - years ago it never snowed . . . !

I agree, good decision, David H.

10. Re: Ideas for a drive from Washington to California (1 week)

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