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  1. Default California to Oregon...which route should I take?

    I'm in San Jose and a frequent...uh, frequenter of San Francisco if that's an easier landmark for you to be familiar with. I'm going to be moving to Portland, Oregon this week by car. I have a 2001 Civic with something like 135,000 miles on it with no experience driving in the snow (despite the fact that I'm from Canada, haha).

    The way I see it I have two options.

    1. Take I-5. Shorter and more straightforward mountain route. More of a chance for snow, though I hear it takes until December for it to get really in season for winter along this way. Checking out webcam forecasts showed mostly rain right now. Still, I'd have to get chains just in case, which I have no experience with.

    2. Take 101. Coastal route that's very scenic with almost no chance of heavy snow, but longer and winding.

    Thing is, I would like to do this in a day with no stops except to eat. Yeah, I know it's advised to not rush, but I'm by myself and am not really in this to take my time and enjoy the landmarks. As a starving college student money is very tight and I don't want to do any hotels.

    Which would you advise?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default only one option

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    To do this trip in a day, you only have one choice: I-5. The coastal highway is just way too slow of a route to complete trip like this in 1 day (in fact making this trip in 2 days along the coast would be difficult).

    Having said that, yes I-5 can see winter weather and that is something you need to be ready for. If you get to the point where there is a storm bad enough for chains, then even this becomes a 2 day trip. At 670 miles, this drive can be done in a day, but its a long day and you need to basically have perfect conditions, so a snowstorm doesn't work into that equation. Having chains is good, but they will only provide limited help if you don't know how to drive in snow in the first place, and since at 15 miles per hour you won't be making much ground, you'll likely be better off to pull off for the night and wait for conditions to improve.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    According to the Caltrans website, there are no chain restrictions on I-5 at this moment. However, it's snowing in the Siskiyous and Oregon has chain requirements in effect on I-5.

  4. Default

    Thanks so much for the helpful responses. Well, I'm about to head off, taking the I-5. I've never driven this far by myself and I have to say, I've made myself kind of paranoid reading about horror stories about stranded motorists who took backroad detours, twice with fatal results. Is it a pretty straightforward drive? It's going to get dark by 5:30 so I'm concerned about that. How easy is it to split off for gas and return to the highway?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Getting gas is simple - you will find plenty of exits with gas stations visible from the freeway.

    Oregon has the chain requirements up on I-5 right now - you must carry them. They are not requiring that you put them on at this time. If you aren't leaving till now, I'd highly recommend that you make this a 2 day evolution. There are icy and snowy spots on I-5.

  6. Default

    I'm planning on stopping by Kragen beforehand to pick up some chains. And yeah, I'm trying to make it in one day but I'm not going to speed over ice and snow just for that. If it takes two, then it takes two.

    Thank you so much for the help. I plan on using this experience to answer other threads in my situation.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Chains are going to be expensive at Kragen - try Walmart first. All you need is a cheap set of cables, those are approved traction devices in CA and OR.

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