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  1. Default driving PCH from LA to vancouver

    trying to plan a drive north to vancouver using PCH as my primary road. any one out there have any tips? not going to do much stopping, maybe for some wacky attractions, like the bubble gum alley in san luis obispo. just doing one way, and giving myself 5 days. is this possible? thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default PCH - Northern Division

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Five days should be sufficient for the trip you have in mind. A few others have sought advice and even written back on what they've found. You might find these discussions useful:

    Los Angeles To Washington!
    Redwoods to Seattle - ten days on the North West Coast
    West Coast Trip (San Fran to Seattle)
    Pacific Coast Highway


  3. Default 5 days might be pushing it..

    Hmm.. thinking this through, you might be short on time in 5 days. Depends of course on how religiously you stick to PCH, and how long you want to drive.

    (Back story -- I used to live a block off of PCH, and one vacation I decided to go down to the end of the block, turn right and see how far I got in a week...)

    First day -- LA to ~ San Simeon. You might want to skip the PCH section through Malibu, as well as the street-only sections through LA from Sunset Beach to Santa Monica. The street only sections will slow you down and aren't very scenic -- and the Malibu section while more scenic will slow you down. But this leg is doable in a day. Similarly I'd drop the Lompoc PCH route, and stay on 101 -- that leg adds time without much scenery.

    2nd Day San Simeon, through Big Sur through Monterey through SF to north of the Bay. Very doable, but I'd hook out a few hours for sightseeing at Hearst Castle or Big Sur or Monterey or SF. Depending upon completeness you might duck inland to the 101 from Santa Cruz instead of following up around the Pennisula, to save a couple of hours of time.

    3rd Day SF(North) area to Crescent City. If you cut over to PCH just as you pass over the Golden Gate (near Muir Woods), and follow it up, this may be challenging in a day's drive. I've found the road here very winding and quite slow, and while it's scenic as heck, you're not going to make high speed tracks on it. If you go a bit more inland to 101, its much more doable in a day.

    4th Day. Crescent City to Astoria. This leg is doable, but again a slower drive.

    5th Day. Astoria up around the Olympic Pennisula to Port Angeles and beyond. In a LONG day's drive, its a push to get back across on the ferry --either the Port Townsend to Whidby Island, then north; or the double ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, then Victoria/ Sydney to Tsawwassen and into Vancouver. After 5 days on the road, I wouldn't push this -- particularly the double ferry route. It's doable -- but I'd do the Whidbey Island to the I-5 and zoom north, and not do the last leg up along the coast along Chuckanut Drive of the close coastal route.

    So.. its doable in 5 days, but there will be a couple of long driving days -- particularly if you religiously stick to the close coastal route. And its sort of a bummer to zoom past some really pretty country or interesting places to visit without being able to stick your head in.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I agree with Larrison

    5 days is pushing it. To be honest, if you live in LA, why don't you split your PCH adventure into more than one trip. That would make more sense to me. You could easily do the southern portions between LA-SFO on a few weekends. So, for this trip, I'd skip the nearby portions and travel north up I-5 to San Francisco and start your PCH trip from there.

    I like Larrison's itinerary. But this way you can skip his first 2 days and do them on weekends. So, his day 3 becomes day 1. His day 4 can become days 2 and 3 leaving you time to stop and see the sights a bit more. His day 5 can become days 4 and 5, again giving you more time to stop and smell the roses (so to speak).

    If you do this, you should have time to see most of the highlights and not feel so rushed. Anyway, that's the way I'd do it.

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