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  1. Default BC to Disneyland along Oregon coast

    Hello! Trip is being planned for mid-late september. I'd rather hop on a plane but hubby has never flown and would rather drive. We are a little bit flexible on length of holiday but don't want to go much over 10 days, with the majority of that time spent of course at Disneyland/Universal Studios. Two drivers, so we can handle quite a few hours on the road per day - can it be done in two days or less each way? I have to plan it all and book hotels or the trip will never happen ;) so any assistance or tips you can give me would be most appreciated. Completely clueless and first real roadtrip so I need some help here.

    I was thinking of driving along the Oregon coast part way on the way down, and Hubby wants to see the Redwood forest. Is there a section where we could hop off the I-5 - see one or two points of interest and get back on the I-5 to speed up the travel time? If you could pick only one or two places to stop for an hour or so (photo op?!) where would it be? What would be the furthest place we could get to just before nightfall on that first day if we make stops along the way? Are there any campgrounds really close where we could pull in and throw up a tent to crash that first night?
    Last edited by QuirkySue; 06-03-2008 at 03:28 PM. Reason: more info

  2. Default Lots of questions!

    First of all, it is possible to do the BC to Disneyland trip in 2 long days on the road. I've driven pretty much the reverse route (Orange County California to Bellingham WA and return) many times. However, with 10 days, you're going to subtract out at least 4 for just the trip up and back.

    The fastest route is of course, I-5. A good place to break the trip is in the Yreka to Redding region of Northen California -- it's about half way. There are a number of places to stay in these towns, with Redding having the largest concentration. You do need to be a bit careful about timing your trip -- avoid the Seattle and Portland rush hours, since I-5 goes through the center of the cities. LA is a case in itself -- I-5 goes through the core of the city, so I usually take the 210 to 57 freeway to avoid going through downtown (or the 405, if you're staying south of Disneyland).

    The Oregon coast will add a least a day heading south, and probably 2 depending upon what you'd like to see or do. Probably your best option would be an early start out of BC, and then down I-5 to near portland, then west to Astoria, and then south to spend the first night somewhere around Tillamook. From there it'd be about a full day south to near Crescent City or Eureka CA, which is in the middle of the Redwoods National Park, as well as the several California Redwoods State Parks. From Eureka its barely possible to make it to the Disneyland area in a longgg day's drive -- you won't make as quick of time on 101 than you would on I-5, but you will move along.

    If I had to pick one or two places near the road to stop and get pictures... it would be Lady Bird Grove in Redwoods National Park, and the Richard Drury Memorial Parkway in Prarire Creek Redwoods State Park. Both are within a few minutes of 101 (Richard Druary parallels 101), and have a good selection of highly accessible impressive trees.

    I'm not sure of what campgrounds are available in the Oregon coastal area -- just haven't camped along there. There are some I've noted, just have no experience with them.

    There are many campgrounds in the Redwoods area -- I've stayed in Del Norte Redwoods State Park and a couple of other campgrounds farther south. You can check on site availabilty and get campground reservations on line. On the way south, the Yreka to Redding area has several campground options available near I-5.

  3. Default

    We have no problem blasting through washington and down to the bottom of Oregon as fast as possible. The oregon coast will have to wait for another holiday since all the kids care about this trip is Mickey :D I've read on here that it's better to go through the redwood section from north-south so you can pull off easily here and there for photos, so I'd still like to do that on the way down unless it's going to add a ridiculous amount of time to the drive.

    How much extra time would it reasonably take to go on 199 at Grant's pass to Crescent city. We could stay somewhere between Crescent city and Eureka the first night late and see the forest bright and early the next morning, then follow 101 down to where it junctions with 299 and head back to the I-5? Or would it be better just to follow the 101 down from there rather than switching back? Maybe there is a better section to get back to I-5 further down?

  4. Default

    From Vancouver to Crescent City is going to be about 645 miles acording to the computer. That's a LONG day's drive -- even on I-5 for most of the time, you're looking at something like 11 hours on the road. The 199 section is windy through the mountains between Grants Pass and Crescent City, so its something you need to be aware of since it will be at the end of a long driving day. (One option would be to stay the night in Grants Pass or nearby, and then tackle the 199 section the next morning first thing...)

    Going over to the coast is going to add some time -- 101 just isnt as fast as I-5 -- plus you're going to want some time to look around in the Redwoods. Depending upon how you do the drive and stops its going to add between 3-4hours I'm guessing to about a day of time, to be realistic.

    For a first night, I'd stay either near Grants Pass (see above) or in the Crescent City or Brookings OR area (about 30 miles north of Crescent City). The reason I'm suggesting Crescent City area is the biggest section of Redwoods is between Eureka and Crescent City -- and it would be a shame to backtrack to see them.

    I'd try to hit a couple of areas -- there are lots and lots to see. The Lady Bird grove near Redwoods National Park headquarters is very nice -- a few miles from HQ, but you really need to take the 1 mile loop nature trail to appreciate it. IF I had to pick one spot to stop that's about the best. But I could probably spend at least 3-4 hours in the area looking at the trees.

    From there, the fastest route south would be actually to take the 101 all the way down to the bay area and then catch the I-5. For a fast, short route, it'd be 101 south and then across the northern part of the SF bay at San Rafael on the 580, then south through Oakland to take the 580 east through Dublin and Livermore to catch up with the I-5 at Tracy. (watch out for SF's commuter traffic at rush hour near Oakland, though).

    If you're adding time, you might consider either stopping short of the LA area for a night, and taking a shorter time leg into Anaheim. One option would be to stop for the night somewhere like Bakersfield which has a goodly selection of hotels or in Santa Clarita (home to 6 Flags Magic Mountain, with a fair number of hotels). From Bakersfield it's about 3 hours to Anaheim, and from Santa Clarita, maybe 90 minutes.

  5. #5
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    Default Big Sur, maybe?

    Quote Originally Posted by QuirkySue View Post
    I've read on here that it's better to go through the redwood section from north-south so you can pull off easily here and there for photos
    The reference for a preference for north to south is for the Big Sur coastal drive (there are no redwoods in that section). In redwood country there is no advantage of either north or south-bound.

    Mark

  6. Default

    Hmm. Now I'm thinking about a figure 8 trip. So much to think about - it's a good thing I've still got a few months to iron out the details.

    How would this work:
    *I-5 all the way to Redding (or further if we can drive anymore that day)

    *Make our way to the Big Sur section to drive the #1 between Monterey and San Luis Obispo. That section of the map is a mess of red lines! Suggestions? I'll be using the search function too of course!

    *Back to the 101 to Anaheim.

    On the way back we could reverse the route suggested by Larrison - Tracy/Oakland/San Rafael to the 101 heading north to go through Eureka and Crescent city, to the 199 to Grant's pass back to the I-5 and home.

    Probably 2.5 -3 days each way which means we'd have 4 days in the Disneyland area unless we add on a day or two more. Decisions! Decisions!

  7. Default

    Another question: Which would be the best areas for a lady driver to take the wheel?

    I've driven from Abbotsford BC to just beyond Portland and back in a loooong day and did fine, but sweat bullets through the seattle and portland areas. Long windy roads are fine - 6 lanes of traffic and a sea of overpasses is a little nervewracking for me :D

  8. #8
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    Default Too much, I think

    I just think your Figure 8 idea is going to add too many miles to your trip. Unless you can add extra days, that is. Especially when you factor in that you have kids with you and you need to allow for time for them to get out of the car to explore, burn off the wiggles, etc. So you never make quite as fast of time with kids. Add to that, there is so much to see and do along the coast areas you're thinking about driving that you are really short-changing yourself zipping through there that quickly, in my opinion.

    And having done the drive from Washington state to see The Mouse many times when my kids were younger, I can tell you that you will just really want to focus on getting there. The kids will be too excited to get to Disneyland to enjoy the detour...based on my experiences anyway.

    I think once you do a roadtrip and discover how much fun it is, and once you get exposed to the wonderful land of Disney, you will end up making more trips there. I would save the detours to the coast for future trips and spend more time in Disneyland and doing the other fun things near it. We enjoy Universal Studios and Knott's Berry Farm just as much as we enjoy Disneyland. So, if it was me, I'd spend my extra time there and really do it up good for the kiddies on their first adventure to these magical places and save the sightseeing for future trips. In fact, that's just how we did it.

    If you really want to add a coastal portion, I think anyplace along the coast in California and Oregon are stupendously beautiful. You can't go wrong. But I would leave it for the trip home.

  9. #9
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    Default Avoid cities, then

    Quote Originally Posted by QuirkySue View Post
    Another question: Which would be the best areas for a lady driver to take the wheel?

    I've driven from Abbotsford BC to just beyond Portland and back in a loooong day and did fine, but sweat bullets through the seattle and portland areas. Long windy roads are fine - 6 lanes of traffic and a sea of overpasses is a little nervewracking for me :D
    Seriously, LA is a driver's nightmare. Even worse than Seattle during rush hour, in my opinion. Of course, this could just be because I'm more familiar with the Seattle area. I would say if you hate driving in big city messes, that you would be fine most anywhere along your route except for LA and, if you go near there, the San Francisco area. The rest of the drive should be a breeze with only Seattle and Portland being a real metro area to contend with.

    If you time it right, try to avoid LA rush hour as much as possible. I'm not sure exactly when that would be, but probably after about 7pm at night and between about 10am-2pm during the day, if I had to guess. It's been awhile since we've been there and I'm guessing that rush hour is longer these days, much more like Seattle is. (So, yeah, you will want to leave BC to get through Seattle no later than 2pm as well.)

    It's very rare for me to recommend people bypass the coast as I really love that drive. I just don't think it's going to be the best idea for this particular trip. Of course, if your kids are excited to do the coastal driving portions, then totally ignore my advice.

  10. Default Traffic is traffic..

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    Seriously, LA is a driver's nightmare. Even worse than Seattle during rush hour, in my opinion. Of course, this could just be because I'm more familiar with the Seattle area. I would say if you hate driving in big city messes, that you would be fine most anywhere along your route except for LA and, if you go near there, the San Francisco area. The rest of the drive should be a breeze with only Seattle and Portland being a real metro area to contend with.

    If you time it right, try to avoid LA rush hour as much as possible. I'm not sure exactly when that would be, but probably after about 7pm at night and between about 10am-2pm during the day, if I had to guess. It's been awhile since we've been there and I'm guessing that rush hour is longer these days, much more like Seattle is. (So, yeah, you will want to leave BC to get through Seattle no later than 2pm as [ ... ]
    Traffic is traffic. Having spent several years living in Seattle and living in the LA area, I'll vote for Seattle having worst traffic per route, but LA having more bad traffic overall -- primarily from just having more freeways and more drivers.

    I've never been in worse traffic on a regular basis than in Seattle. It's not the weather, or the drivers, or the roads in my opinion -- it's that from north to south in the city there are two basic freeway routes, complicated by a lake in the middle with very limited (2) routes east-west across the lake. If something screws up, you have very few options for alternative routes. That's what gives Seattle my "worst" traffic vote.

    LA is a larger area, with mulutiple freeways north-south, or east-west and every diagonally NW to SE. There are usually alternative routes, and even some very good high capacity surface streets. The problem with LA is there are a LOT more drivers, and when that happens you get more people doing stupid things and its more likely there will be an accident which just snarls everyting up on that route. So there will be for sure, more snarls in the LA traffic grid, than Seattle -- but if you're saavy, you can navigate around them a lot more easily.

    I also really highly recommend going through Seattle on the off hours -- after 9:30 am and before 2:30 (There's a major shift at Boeing that gets out at 2:30 so you can find some major slowdowns starting then, particularly around downtown Seattle and Renton.) They've added carpool lanes in Seattle on I-5 and I recommend them to get you through Seattle in the fastest, easiest way.

    In LA, if you're heading for Disneyland, my recommendation is to avoid the I-5 freeway through downtown. The reason is its one of the oldest, narrowest and busiest freeways in LA, and if you're going to have traffic problems its a good bet you'll have them on the I-5. If you're coming in from Santa Barbara area, about your best route is to take the 101 through the San Fernando valley (not much choice, and this can be a very busy freeway), then the 405 (San Diego Freeway) south to loop around the city, and then the 22 freeway east over to Anaheim (or duck north and catch the 91 freeway east to Anaheim). There are several other alternative routes, but the idea is to avoid going through downtown LA where the 101, 5, 10, 60 and 110 freeways all junction together. There are carpool lanes most of the length of the 405 which makes it a much easier and quicker drive than the I-5 (which doesn't have any -- too old & narrow). If you can, I'd try to hit the LA area before 630 am, after 9 am, before 3:30 pm or after 7 pm -- just like every other city with rush hour traffic.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-11-2008 at 10:15 AM. Reason: fixed the format

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