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Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

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Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

Flying up to Seattle to Pick up ...a pet dog.

but realize that she is too big to fly " in cabin"

so we will have to Roadtrip it back.....

Seattle to Portland looks like its do-able in 2 hours.


Portland to San Francisco is a long drive.

Any suggestions for a newbee....

never done a roadtrip before ..much less alone and with a dog!

I will have to overnight somewhere.....?

Any ideas that allow a night with a dog.

I-5 is a straight drive down ...

Not wanting to eat FAST FOOD....

Ideas for places to stop and recharge...??

Thank you, in advance

Eugene, Oregon
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1. Re: Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

First of all, Seattle to Portland is a 3-hour drive, under good conditions. Depending on when you start your trip, you might run into congestion on I-5, particularly in the Seattle/Tacoma stretch.

PDX to SF is about 12 hours at my speed, including rest stops and meals, but others have done it in 10. Again, you have to factor in Bay Area traffic, especially during rush hours. You'll be going down I-5 to the 505, which will take you around Sacramento to the 80, which will take you into SF.

Now...all of that leaves out the consideration of weather!

I'm driving from Eugene to the Bay Area this week and the forecast is for possible rain and snow showers over Siskiyou Pass (the Oregon/Calif. border) with high temps in the 30s and 40s. By the time you go, it's possible it could be clear sailing or blizzard conditions. You wil need to check tripcheck.com for the latest conditions (I think you can also dial 511 for road conditions). If the pass is smashed, you'll need to consider cutting over to the coast hwy and making it a two-day trip with overnight in Crescent City or Eureka. And you'll have to carry chains with you, if the car rental company permits you to use chains.

There are other sections of I-5 that can also throw bad weather/road conditions at you....above Grants Pass and through the Shasta Lakes area, for example. Lower down on I-5, as you approach Sacramento, you can also encounter pea soup thick fog in December and January.

All of this isn't to scare you; hopefully, you'll have a pleasant clear weather trip. However, if I were you, I'd plan on making it a two-day trip. You can overnight at Seven Feathers in Canyonville or somewhere in Grants Pass and decide your second-day route the following morning when you learn what the road conditions ahead are.

Without knowing what the weather will be and how long it will take you to get through Portland, Eugene and Roseburg, it's hard to recommend your best overnight stop. If the weather is really bad (freezing rain, ice, snow, etc.), you would be best advised to take it easy and not overly stress out and risk problems.

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2. Re: Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

Poppa has given you a good estimate of time, and possible weather.

Plus you need to check where dogs are allowed. many motels will not allow them and even more do not allow larger dogs, (over 20 pounds) When we travel with our pooch we use 2 or 3 pet friendly sites to find possible motels. I do not have them readily available, but could find if you need. I have found some sites are not very complete. and give you smaller lists. so keep looking

Oregon Coast
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3. Re: Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

Hi and welcome to the forums. Roughly halfway between Seattle and SF would be about Medford area. Medford has a lot of lodging that is pet friendly. Here is the list of reviews of hotels in Medford. On the left side of the page you'll see a column that says "Refine search". Scroll down and click on "Pets Allowed" under "Amenity type" and you'll see there are 16 hotels which allow pets:


We travel with a St Bernard and find many motels/hotels have no problem with accepting him. There is usually an extra charge of $10-$25 per night, and sometimes dogs are allowed only in certain rooms or floors.

Here is a great website to check the road conditions ahead of time:


Also, here are two Medford TV stations with weather forecasts:



For a whole bunch of listings of pet friendly lodging:






Vail, Colorado
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4. Re: Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

If the pup isn't used to riding in the car I would add quite a few hours to the trip. Mine are well seasoned road trippers and after about 10 hours they start to get really antsy, we stop every 2-3 hours to stretch and do some business. Give yourself plenty of time for weather and other unforeseeable issues, be sure pup has a id tag with your cell number on it and a collar that doesn't slip off.

Edited: 08 November 2010, 22:12
Eugene, Oregon
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5. Re: Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

In that regard, Oregon has some very nice rest areas along I-5 with pet areas.


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6. Re: Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

The extra time is a good point with pooch. Our 15 pounder is a good traveler but we have taken her since she was a pup. Even then she adds time. Not a big deal, but a factor if you are in a hurry.

Not all dogs travel well.

Portland, Oregon
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7. Re: Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

Picking up a new dog? On top of the great pointers the others have said -

Depending on the size of the dog, and if you plan to crate the dog - you may want to have the crate for the trip.

Be sure to have leash, collar, and ID tag - lots of places to get lost between SEA & SF

Take bottled water, water bowl, and food that new dog is used to eating. Offer small amounts of water every stop and meals close to what the dog's normal feeding times are. You want bottled water in case your has a nervous stomach. I would plan on making lots of rest stops. Some dogs need them, others don't. it also can be a good bonding time for you & your new BFF.

You need to be prepared in case dog gets motion sick - and the car prepared. I had one dog that no matter what could not ride more than 2 blocks in the car without barfing. Once 30 min had passed he was great the rest of the trip - but the first 30 minutes were rough on all of us. Other dogs have no problem...you just never know.

See if you can get the current owner to use an old towel as bedding for a few days before the trip, then let you take it with you. Anything like this to make things be more familiar for the dog will help.

Everything you do will be setting the pattern for your new relationship, so you want to think it through.

Troutdale, Oregon
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8. Re: Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

I have had two American Eskimo dogs. The first was completely car sick. He would shake and drool and barf constantly.

When I traveled with him, I used a tarp over the complete back seat, so he had room to breath and feel safe. We put blankets over the tarp.

The American Eskimo I have now, I started in a kennel. We tarped the back seat and kenneled him and I think that was the reason he learned to love to go with us. I spent a while with him and the kennel open so he knew it was his bed.

But you will have a rental car to deal with. You don't want it to cost you for damage.

Could you consider driving your own car up and back? That way you could carry the required (at times) chains and your new BFF would get to know your scent quicker? You might even save a little money on the flight and rental.

What kind of dog are you getting?


Edited: 09 November 2010, 18:33
Oostburg, Wisconsin
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9. Re: Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

I drove cross-country with my beloved Rotti, Leroy.

Is this a new dog for you? If it is, the biggest problem will be having your dog get familiar with you, your car, and then his new home in SF.

Before you depart from Seattle, if possible try to take your dog out for a spin, so he gets comfortable riding in the car.

Most dogs totally love riding in cars, as did Leroy. For some reason he kept trying to climb into the front seat, onto my lap. Very annoying, and I got very upset with him.

After the first day, I realized this trip was not for pleasure/sight-seeing. So my mission was to reach my destination ASAP.

We stayed in several cheap motels. As soon as we would enter a room, Leroy would pee on the floor. Of course I wiped it up as best as I could.

For food, I would pack PBJ sandwiches, nuts, bananas, and stop at an occasional Subway.

Bon Voyage!

Edited: 15 November 2010, 15:08
San Francisco...
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10. Re: Driving Alone from Portland to San Francisco in Dec 2010

Thank you!

I appreciate the Feedback!!!