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  1. Default Seattle to Orange County

    My boyfriend and I are driving down from Seattle to Orange County (specifically Costa Mesa) from August 27th through possibly the 31st. We can take a few days longer if we want to. I'm interested in attractions, events and must-sees on the way down. Vegetarian restaurants along the way would be cool too. We eat other stuff but we'd like to see what other places have. We live in Orange county so we're not really interested in anything from LA down (been there). We plan to stop in San Fran for a few days but other than that, we're totally open. Suggestions/advice? Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Popular Route

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    The drive up (or down) the Pacific coast between California and Puget Sound is one of the most discussed topics on this forum. Here are two pretty thorough threads (1 2) covering just that stretch. I don't think I could do better than the recommendations contained in those threads. But be sure to also use the search function to see what else might be on the board and check the suggested reading at the bottom of the page. Those should get you well on your way.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default The Ravens is a must-stop

    Quote Originally Posted by secretagent412
    Vegetarian restaurants along the way would be cool too.
    The vegetarian fare at the Ravens Restaurant in Mendocino is excellent. On your way down the Big Sur, be sure pull over just past the entrance for the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (if you reach the Burns Creek Bridge you went too far) . At the overlook you can watch the waterfall that cascades into the surf. As far as I know, it is the only such waterfall on the western edge of the continent.

    Mark

  4. Default Continued...

    Ok, so I guess I should have specified that we intend to do the coast from Tillamook down. Gotta visit the cheese! We planned to drive from Portland to Tillamook to San Fran in one day. And then San Fran to Costa Mesa in one day. I'm not sure if this is overly optimistic or not? What's between Tillamook and San Fran and San Fran and home that are absolute must-sees? Monterey aquarium and Big Sur are on the list, so any details or tips for those would be great. Also the best map to get for this drive. Help! I'm leaving in two weeks and I feel very underprepared.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Not overly optimistic, Impossible

    Sorry, but you're going to need to add at least one if not two days to your plans from Portland to SF. Even on I-5, the trip would be a pretty grueling 11 hour drive, simply put, driving that distance on the much slower coast road, and planning to stop to see anything simply will not be possible.

    You are in much of the same territory on the SF to LA leg. Driving along the coast, you can expect at least 12 hours of drive time for this leg. While it might be possible to make this a very long day of driving, if you want to stop at the Monterey Aquarium, Big Sur, Hurst Castle, or anything else along this stretch, you will not be physically able to do this journey in one day.

    The coast road is slow and curvy, its ment to be savored, not sped through. You really need to plan on spending at least twice as much time driving here as you would driving on an Interstate.

    As Buck mentioned, this stretch of road is one of the most discussed routes on the forum, so between the links he provided, the links listed at the bottom of this page, and what you could find by searching the forum you should be able to find more than enough suggestions for things to do.

  6. Default Revisions

    Okay guys, thanks for all the help so far. Some help filling in the remaining blanks would be amazing. Or any suggestions if there's something I just have to see near where I am. I'm using yahoo maps to plot the route and I don't quite trust it. So here's the plan so far, please feel free to crush my feeble hopes if I'm completely crazy:

    -Seattle - Wedding and family time. They're showing us around. Leave the 28th.
    -Portland - Japanese Gardens, zoo, brewpubs. Stay the night of the 28th.
    -Tillamook - Cheese!
    -Klamath - See what redwoods we can during the drive. Stay the 29th. Is the drive from Tillamook doable? If not we will revise again. Maybe Crescent City?
    -Mendocino - We can't afford to stay here, but we want to eat and cruise around and we'll stay somewhere cheap nearby the 30th.
    -San Fran - Everything. Stay the 31st and 1st.
    -Monterey - Aquarium.
    -Big Sur - Views and falls.
    -(Blank) - Suggestions on the best place to stay between San Fran and OC?
    -Costa Mesa - Sleep for days.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Still Speedy

    I think you'll still probably pushing things to see any redwoods on your first night after Portland, especially if you want to enjoy some of the many things to see and do along the Oregon Coast.

    Farther south, I think I would try to spend the night in Montery. That way you would have some time to explore that area, see the aquarium, and still be able to enjoy Big Sur in one day. Once you get down around Morro Bay, you could either find a place to crash for the night, or if you have a couple of hours of driving left in you, cut back to the freeway and take a speed run back to the OC.

    Overall, however, I think you're still trying to get a Porterhouse steak from a fast food drive-through. You'll probably be able to find a way to cover the distance in this time, but I don't think you'll have much time to explore and enjoy a region where you could spend days if not weeks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Great line, Midwest Michael!

    Overall, however, I think you're still trying to get a Porterhouse steak from a fast food drive-through.
    And, boy, do I agree with you. It's about 400 miles from Portland to Tillamook to Klamath. Most stretches of 101 are windy, hilly 2-lane roads where you will be stuck behind slow moving RVs and other traffic. It is not a road for a speed run. In fact, it would be a shame to try. This doesn't even leave enough time to enjoy the scenic viewpoints much less do any exploring at all.

    I would suggest at least 2, preferably 3, days minimum to drive this stretch. I've been on the Oregon coast numerous times and I have never driven it faster than in 2 days and then, when I did, I missed a lot of old-favorites and the fun of exploring new discoveries. In other words, I did it but it was less than satisfying.

    To complete Michael's analogy, it was like eating cold, greasy, tasteless fast food when I was craving Filet Mignon.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-10-2006 at 09:15 AM. Reason: format

  9. Default I wish

    I agree that we'll miss a lot but we really don't have a choice. As much as I'd love to take my time the boyfriend has to be back to work and I'm already missing the first week of classes. :( We've now decided to camp three of the six nights. College kids budget, you know. One night near Crescent city or Klamath, one near Mendocino and possibly one near Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo. I was thinking the Jedediah State park and I'm clueless for the rest. I know the rush goes against the grain for you professional roadtrippers but any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for your input so far. :)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It's not the grain, we are concerned about!

    Quote Originally Posted by secretagent412
    I know the rush goes against the grain for you professional roadtrippers but any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
    Several Moderators and other very experienced roadtrippers have tried -- so here goes one more attempt -- it has less to do with "going against the grain" -- everyone of us who is active on the Forum has and does "speed runs" several times a year. All of us like to mosey, none of us really have sufficient time to dawdle on our trips. But it is physically impossible to drive the coastal route (like you continue to believe you can do) as fast as you are trying to do it. The only way you could meet some of these distances in the time frame you have specified is to have state police close the roads and let you zoom down at your own pace. That is not going to happen. You are going to have to choose which coastal roads you have time for and use the interstate highways to cover the rest of the miles. You may be a secret agent-412 -- but you are not driving a time-machine.

    Mark

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