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  1. #1

    Default PCH from SoCal to Central Oregon. . .a little help.

    Hi, I am new to the site and it looks like there are a lot of great people here with great suggestions.

    I am planning a road trip from southern California (San Diego to be exact) up the coast all the way to central Oregon and then on to Boise ID from there. I have never seen any of the country before, and I have five days to make the trip. I am picking a friend up around mid-day on March 25, and I need to be in Boise by the evening of March 30.

    I have never seen any of this area, and I would really prefer to avoid as much civilization as possible. I am not much of a beach bum, I just prefer the beautiful scenery. We are likely to camp, but will consider cheap hotels along the way depending on how tired we get, and the weather. I would much rather skip less than desirable sections (between San Diego and LA?), but I don't really know what is going to be less desirable.

    It sounds like from most of my reading that things like the Hearst Castle, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Sea Lion caves, and the Redwoods are definitely "must sees". So would I be better to skip some of the southern portions of the trip, in order to linger in Big Sur and some of these other areas, or will we have enough time to really take our time?

    So the big question, if you were me, how would you break your trip up? Where would you linger, where would you hit the interstate; how long would you take to do each section? I plan to boogie from the coast over to Boise in day, so I have about 4 1/2 days to get from San Diego to central Oregon. Anyway, thanks for your help, and I look forward to your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default as it goes

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I know you say you want to avoid as much civilization as possible, but I will warn you that while I think the PCH has some incredible scenery and will be a great trip, its also not what I would call getting away from others. You will be seeing lots and lots of other people, tourists, RVs, etc.

    What I think I would do in your case is to Get to the other side of LA via the freeways and then just start making your way north. When you get to the 4.5 day mark, start making time to get to Idaho in time to meet your deadline. You might make it into Oregon, or you might only get to Northern California it just depends upon how much time you spend at things along the way. I wouldn't worry about time at all until you get to day 4, at which point you'll have to think about where you are and how easily you can get back over to the Interstate (your options start to become limited, and time consuming once you get into Oregon) and make a sprint to your destination.

    There are a lot of posts about the coast, like this one or this one, but if I were you I would focus more on just taking things as they go!

  3. #3


    Taking Highway 1 up the California coast, then 101 in Oregon CAN be done in a couple days (Solid driving). Once you cross the Columbia River into Washington State, Take Washington Hwy 432 Eastbound. This Highway pretty much follows the river. You'll hit I-5 about 30 miles down the road, take it south back into Oregon. Then in Portland take I-84 all the way to Boise.
    The stretch of I-84 is pretty Minimal on "Civilization" (in California Terms...I used to live in Bakersfield) and for roughly half the trip follows the Columbia river.

    This is not a route I'd take unless I had at least 4 days and wanted scenery. the 1/101 leg seems to take forever, but the ocean views make it well worth the drive.

  4. #4


    Thanks for the suggestions. I think have a friend in Malibu that I am going to be able to stay with, and then another friend Vallejo. So I am sure those stops will play a big part in my itinerary. As for the northern section of Oregon, and I-84 down the Columbia, I have driven that several times, so I will probably not head that far north. I doubt I will go any further north than Florence.

    Midwest Michael, I like your suggestion of just taking our time and not worrying too much about a set itinerary. If I spend the time to hit the northern California the way I want, it isn't a bad trip back over to central Oregon from Boise if I decide I want to do that later.

    Thanks again for the help.

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