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  1. Default San Diego to Seattle in 2 days?

    Aloha everyone!

    First post here and I did manage to find a previous post on my topic but the OP (original poster) had 12 days to burn and I have 2. I was wondering if it's too hectic to drive from San Diego to Seattle in 2 days?

    I'm moving from Hawaii to Seattle but my car is getting shipped to San Diego. I plan on flying down to SD, picking up the car on a Friday and starting out early Saturday morning. I'd need to stop for the night on Saturday night (not sure where) and back on the road Sunday morning.

    I'm hoping to be in Seattle by Sunday night. Is this even realistic? Being from Hawaii, I don't have any experience with road trips and would greatly appreciate all the tips I can get!

    I'll have my GF with me so we'll take turns driving. Obviously our priority is to make it to Seattle as quickly as possible but staying in a cool town on Saturday night would be nice too.

    So I guess my questions are:

    1) Is 2 days realistic?
    2) What are the best / fastest routes to achieve our goal
    3) Where would be a cool place to lay our head on Saturday night?

    Mahalo nui loa!

  2. #2

    Default Aloha Holeinone

    And welcome to the Mainland.

    Can it be done in 2 days? Sure, but there will be virtually no time for other than fuel/food stops. It's nearly 1,300 miles and that's two very long days, not to mention you must fight traffic getting out of San Diego, all the way through the LA Basin, and San Francisco and its 'burbs.

    I'm not familiar enough with CA geography to identify cool towns for Saturday night, but San Francisco is roughly halfway, distance-wise.

    As to the best route, I can only speculate, but I-5 runs from SD to Seattle, so for speed and efficiency, that's my guess.

    If you're moving from Oahu, perhaps you're used to heavy traffic. If you're moving from parts of the Big Island, where I spent 10 memorable days in 2005, the West Coast traffic could be an eye-opener for you.

    Oh, and look around on 511 numbers and CA, OR, and WA DOT websites for detours/closures, particularly in OR and WA. The early December storms damaged and closed sections of I-5 and there could be remaining issues present that you'd want to take into account.

    Have a safe trip!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Speed Runs vs RoadTrips

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    It is certainly possible to get from San Diego to Seattle in two days, but around here we refer to such adventures as Speed Runs, where the objective is to cover a lot of ground in as little time as comfortable. While this does not necessarily preclude enjoying the drive, it does mean that all activities other than making miles as efficiently as possible must take a back seat. So, plan on just sticking to the main Interstate, I-5, all the way up. Your only 'option' is to take I-405 through Los Angeles. So as you approach L.A. from the south, try to find a radio station with frequent traffic reports and take whichever of I-5 (the Santa Anna and Golden State Freeways) or I-405 (the San Diego Freeway) sounds as though it has fewer tie-ups.

    A 'cool town' for your overnight stay is one of those luxuries you won't be able to afford. I'd plan on driving until you get half way or until you are just too tired to proceed. Your first day will be slightly harder and slower due to traversing L.A. so if you get to your halfway point, it will be well after dark so just pull up and get a well deserved and much needed good night's sleep. I make the halfway point the towns of Orland or Red Bluff. Trying to push as far as Redding would probably be too much.

    Now, all that is not to say that this has to be or even should be a monotonous drive, drive, drive. In fact, I encourage you to both get out of the car every couple of hours and take a 15-20 minute walk just to clear your minds, stretch your legs, and recharge your batteries. These little walks can be in conjunction with getting gas, stopping for food, or just because you see something along the road you'd like to take a closer look at. And while we're on the subject, do take the time to get off the highway for your main meal of the day. Go into a little town and get something different than is available at the cookie-cutter fast food joints that will be sprouting like weeds at every exit. Just because you're in a hurry doesn't mean you can't enjoy the trip. It just means that you are in a hurry and can't dawdle too much.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default possible, but pretty rough

    Foy is right on target. This trip can be done in 2 days, but its a pretty brutal distance, and more than we'd recommend for a first time traveler, who isn't used to driving the long distances of the mainland.

    If you do this in 2 days, you'll need to make Redding, CA your goal for day one. Its 650 miles, and if you don't hit major traffic in LA (a fairly big if) you'll be looking at about 12 hours on the road. That would leave you another 600 miles to go the next day.

    Since you're not going to have any time to really enjoy this trip, what I would consider is trying to get a little ways north on Friday night. If you even made it an hour north of SD, you might be in better position to wake up early on Saturday and beat traffic as the day gets going.

  5. Default Another voice...

    I'll also chime in on this..

    It's very possible to make it from San Diego to Seattle in 2 days. I've driven from Orange County, California (south of LA) to Bellingham, Washington (north of Seattle) about a dozen times. The distance and route are pretty much the same.

    For a rough route, depending upon when you leave, it's either I-5 to the 405 (just south of LA) then 405 to I-5, and then all the way north on LA, or the I-15 north to the 210 (near San Bernadino), and then west to the I-5 and all way north on it. The only real difference in these routes is the starting point in San Diego (are you closer to the I-5 or I-15?) and they are the same in that you avoid driving the I-5 through downtown LA where there is the greatest possibility of congestion. In any case, try to get an early start on Saturday morning (like 6 am or so).

    For a place to stay, your options are going to be pretty much limited -- the best places to stay are probably from Redbluff to Redding, with the possibility of making it to Mt Shasta. I'd go with Redding... bigger town, more choices in hotel, and if you have time you can visit the Sundial Bridge and Turtle Bay areas. But I doubt you'll have the time to stop...

    It's going to be two long days on the road. Places to stop are pretty much going to have to be right along I-5, and you can't stay long at all in one place. Some interesting places you might stop though are (and this is a very quick, short stop list..):

    - Fort Tejon (going over the Tejon summit and down onto the Grapevine on I-5, just north of Gorman, CA). A civil war era calvary fort.

    - Old Town Sacramento. Pull off I-5, have supper, get back on I-5. No time to explore much regrettably...

    - Sacramento Wildlife Refuge. Right off I-5. Place to stop, stretch, look at the scenery, walk a bit -- with a bathroom and picnic tables. Last time I was there, they had a kiosk for paid entry, but it was shut down.

    - Corning CA, the "Olive Capital" of the US. Pick up some oil oil and some olives and local fruit and nuts from the Olive Hut. About 90% of the fresh olives sold in the US are grown near here. Also most of the rice and a very high percentage of nut crops (almonds, walnuts, etc.)

    - Castle Crags or Mt Shasta, near Dunsmuir in California. Very scenic, and a good excuse to get out of the car to take some pictures.

    - Alkeheny Wildlife Refuge, in Oregon. Just off the road -- I usually try to stop here and stretch my legs for a picnic lunch. Just somewhere very rural to get out of the car, walk a bit and stretch -- with a bathroom and picnic area.

    - One of the wineries along the way -- just remember that you're driving so less than one regular drink's worth of wine to taste *sigh* Make sure you have something to eat as well, so it doesn't hit you on an empty stomach (picnic lunch perhaps).

    But seriously, you're looking at about 11 hours in the car each day just to make tracks. You're not going to have time to get out and explore much.

  6. Default

    Thank you everyone for the advice! I've taken Monday off work so I'll have 3 days if I need it but I'm really going to shoot for 2 days. My GF and I will take turns driving so I think it's doable.

    Wish us luck! Thanks!

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