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  1. #1

    Default Advice? Vancouver, BC > Oregon Coast > California Coast > Anaheim

    Hey there i was wondering if someone could offer me some advice for a road trip that i'm planning with my girlfriend in late march/early april 2010. (i know it's not summer.. but it's still in the planning stages so i thought this would be the more appropriate forum to post it in...

    Last year, we took a quick drive down the I5 from Vancouver all the way to Anaheim to go to Disneyland for new years eve. We discovered a lot about eachother on that drive, as driving through Mt. Shasta in whiteout conditions at night with a semi in front, beside, and behind us on that windy stretch really helped us trust eachother. We stayed the night that time in Redding, before continuing on with the drive south, so we know a thing or two about long days of driving.

    This time, we want to take in more of the scenery. The plan is to drive down the coast highways.. i've been planning it a bit on google maps, and this is what we've come up with thus far... Bear with me, this may take some explaining....

    Vancouver BC > Seattle WA
    Seattle > Astoria OR
    Astoria > Lincoln Beach
    Lincoln Beach > North Bend
    North Bend > Gold Beach
    Gold Beach > Crescent City CA (Spend the night)

    Next morning...
    Crescent City CA > Trinidad/Eureka
    Trinidad/Eureka > Mendocino
    Mendocino >Bodega Bay
    Bodega Bay > San Jose
    (Spend the night in San Jose.. the following day take in the Vancouver Canucks/San Jose Sharks NHL game from the HP Pavillion)

    Next morning...
    San Jose > San Francisco
    (Two days in San Francisco)

    Next Morning...
    San Francisco > Monterey (Staying on the coast the whole way)
    Monterey CA > San Simeon CA
    San Simeon > San Luis Obispo
    SLO > Santa Barbara
    Santa Barbara > Santa Monica
    Santa Monica > Anaheim
    (Spend three nights in Anaheim - go to Disneyland during the days, at night go to LA to watch the Canucks VS the LA Kings NHL Game, Following night watch Canucks vs the Anaheim Ducks NHL game)

    Following day...
    drive back up the I5, stopping in redding for a night, before continuing the drive back home.

    Total time away - about a week and a day or so.

    I'm not really concerned about the drive back - i've done that drive already - in winter-so i'mnot too concerned...
    But i'm wondering about the drive down... Google maps was REALLY finicky trying to select the correct routes.. we obviously want to take either the 101 or the 1 the entire way down wherever possible. Would plugging this info into a GPS just give me headaches? I know that GPS always tries to give you the fastest route, so we're going to be going against the GPS pretty much the whole way down.

    Also, Are there some places that we should definitely take in on the Oregon / California coasts that i have missed? i don't know a great deal about the area, so it would be a shame to miss something. Obviously with our timeline, it's impossible to see everything... but i'd like to see some cool things.

    If you can offer me any suggestions as to routes to take, places to stop, great places to eat (inexpensive.. hidden gems) along the way that would be great. I kind of almost feel like i'm insane compacting such a wonderful drive into basically two days. Maybe we should take an extra day for each drive?
    Can you let me know what your opinions are? Thanks so much... This trip will be in late March, early April 2010, so any info on weather i should expect is appreciated too :)

    Edit: I'm attaching the link from Google Maps to help give a visual representation of our trip.
    West Coast Road Trip
    Last edited by coast; 11-10-2009 at 03:41 PM. Reason: adding link

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

    Default not possible

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry to tell you that your current plans just aren't close to be feasable. The coast highway is a very slow going highway with lots of curves, low speed limits, and traffic. There just is no way you'll be able to cover the kind of distances you are talking about and enjoy anything. Every single one of your legs on the way south is about twice as far as you'll be able to realistically travel.

    You either need to give yourself much more time or cut out some rather large sections of coastal highway to make this trip possible.

  3. #3

    Default Hmmm

    Well thanks for the advice! We may need to go back to the drawing board with this one.

    Our plan is to kind of rip through Washington State as quickly as possible (no offense to WA, i've just been in and around it hundreds of times..) and the last time we drove down we were able to get to Portland by 11:30 am (leaving Vancouver at 5am)

    We are capable of driving for upwards to 10 hours or so each day... although as it is the first day would be a 14 hour drive to Crescent City without stopping... Obviously we want to stop places. I'm going to recommend taking an extra day or two for the first and third leg of the trip... It would be great to be able to stop a few times for at least an hour or so.

    So yeah, like i said, maybe back to the drawing board. Can anyone offer me any info on the sizes of the roads along the coast down there? Are they anything like the Sea-to-Sky highway between Vancouver and Whistler? That route is very windy and can be treturous at times, but i also know how to handle it...

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

    Default handle it?

    As I already said, these are very curvy roads that see a lot of traffic. The route is built to be savored, not sped through. It won't be uncommon at all to get behind RVs or traffic moving 30-40 mph for long stretches, and quite frankly, much of the road shouldn't be traveled at speeds higher than that. Its not a dangerous road, but its pretty much the opposite of a superhighway.

    Again, for every leg of driving along the coast you've got right now, you'd really need at least 2 days. Vancouver to Crescent City in 14 hours is beyond a fantasy land. Astoria to Crescent City alone will take 10 hours (driving virtually non-stop, ignoring all of the wonderful little towns, and skipping all of the scenic overlooks) and that doesn't even factor in the 1.5 hours it will take to get from I-5 to the coast.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Do the math this way - you know how far you can drive each day on Interstate highways - well, divide that in HALF for driving the coast road.

  6. #6

    Default Thanks :)

    Thanks again for all the advice guys, you've been a great help.

    With your information in mind, we now have a better idea of what to expect - plus google is my best friend... i was able to actually place myself on the H1 for sections of it and H101 to give me an idea of the roads in a 360 degree street view. Some absolutely beautiful views from there, i must say. With that said, my girlfriend is concerned about missing too much work, so we won't be able to add that much time on to our trip, but we've revised it like this:

    Wed Mar 24, 2010 – Evening – Vancouver > Longview WA – 4h23
    Spend the night in Longview

    Thu Mar 25, 2010 – Longview, WA > Crescent City, CA – 9h34
    (Obviously we'll be stopping at some places on the way – we're prepared to be on the road for 15 hours this day) Any suggestions for places we absolutely need to stop at on this route?

    Fri Mar 26, 2010 – Crescent City, CA > San Jose, CA – 9h58
    Same deal here.. another 15 hours on the road. Yeah, it's a lot to take in. I'd love to be able to divide it to maybe half total, but given our time restraints, it's not going to be possible. Besides, this is supposed to be a whirlwind tour, and it leaves us the opportunity to do the drive again at another time.
    But again, if you can suggest two or three places along this drive that we absolutely need to stop at, please do.

    Sat Mar 27, 2010 – Vancouver Canucks @ San Jose Sharks – HP Pavillion, San Jose

    Sun Mar 28, 2010 – San Jose, CA > San Francisco, CA – 48 minutes

    Mon Mar 29, 2010 – San Francisco, CA

    Tues Mar 30, 2010 – San Francisco, CA > Anaheim, CA – 10h35
    Another 15-16 hour day of driving. Stopping along the way. San Simeon looks like a must stop place, also Morro Bay, Monterey, and the pier at Santa Monica.

    Wed Mar 31, 2010 – Disneyland!

    Thu Apr 01, 2010 – Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings – Staples Centre, LA

    Fri Apr 02, 2010 – Disneyland! Vancouver Canucks @ Anaheim Ducks – Honda Centre, Anaheim

    Sat Apr 03, 2010 – Disneyland!

    Sun Apr 04, 2010 – Anaheim, CA > Redding, CA (via I5)

    Mon Apr 05, 2010 – Redding, CA > Vancouver, BC (via I5)


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default good luck to you

    I don't really see much point in offering suggestions on places to stop, as you won't have any time to enjoy anything we offer. Enjoy what you can see out your window, and during the couple brief moments you'll have to stop to refuel and stretch.

    Since you aren't willing to make changes to your plan and want to fit "everything" into this trip, simply treat the entire thing like a notepad for places you can check out later when you have time to do a trip where you'll actually enjoy yourself and explore the hundreds of great places to check out along the way.

  8. #8

    Default hmmm

    no need to be snarky with me! Trust me, i'd love to see all those wonderful places – as my girlfriend says, "i'm gay for nature"

    but it's all about somehow convincing my girlfriend to miss more days of work...

    i scribbled out my ideal trip that tries to take her work into account (but doesn't really...)

    Tues Mar 23 –*Vancouver > Cannon Beach OR – 6h17
    Spend the night in Cannon Beach

    Wed Mar 24 – Cannon Beach > Crescent City, CA – 8h32
    Spend the night in Crescent City

    Thu Mar 25 – Crescent City > Point Arena – 5h43

    Fri Mar 26 – Point Arena > San Jose – 4h16

    Sat Mar 27 – San Jose

    Sun Mar 28 – San Jose >*San Francisco – 48 min

    Mon Mar 29 – San Francisco

    Tues Mar 30 – San Francisco > Morro Bay – 5h49

    Wed Mar 31 – Morro Bay > Anaheim – 4h54

    That's pretty much the best i can do. It's all about convincing her that it's worth the money she'll lose by not being at work.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Adding that day between SF and LA will make a HUGE difference.

    You may want to look at staying in San Simeon or Cambria instead of Morro Bay if you want to take a Hearst Castle tour. Make a reservation for the last tour of the day, go have dinner, and get a good night's sleep.

  10. #10

    Default thank you!

    Thanks for the positive feedback.. lol i don't feel quite so insane anymore :)

    I've been looking at pictures of Hearst Castle and from what i see, it's beautiful!
    we're also going to check out the sea lion caves near florence oregon. Those look spectacular.

    There really seems like so much to do and see, that every stop will be something amazing, so we're both really excited.

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