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  1. Default Seattle to San Francisco in 24 hours

    I apologize in advance -- I know there are a zillion Seattle to San Francisco threads and I searched the archives the best I could, but could not find exactly what I was looking for.

    I'll be leaving Seattle in about a week, at 12 noon on Thursday Feb 9th, to head to San Francisco for a business meeting. The meeting is at 12 noon on Friday, Feb 10th. I may be able to get off work and leave a day earlier, on Wednesday, but I am not sure about this yet.

    Even if I can leave on Wednesday rather than Thursday, time is still a concern, so I am pretty sure I will be taking I5 rather than Highway 101. Does anyone know the true time of this drive on I5 (not counting stops, which I will also plan for)? Mapquest says "13 hrs 47 mins" but I know sometimes these predictions can vastly underestimate the necessary time.

    Should I be concerned about the weather & driving conditions? I'm driving a sedan, a Dodge Neon. I did check the forecast -- -- seems fine, but will there be ice on the road? My research has told me to be wary of Siskiyou Pass, but I have been unable to find any sort of forecast for this specific pass. Anyone know how I can find out info about the weather & road conditions?

    If I can leave Wednesday, and therefore have 48 hours for the drive rather than 24, what city would be the best place to stop for the night, any suggestions?

    I am considering taking Highway 101 on the way home because the time pressure will be gone. I can take a few days to do the drive home to Seattle. How long does this drive take -- would the scenery be worth it? Any weather concerns? And again, any suggestions for places to stay? I am also very open to suggestions for some San Francisco sight-seeing. I like historical stuff and scenery.

    Thanks in advance for any tips or suggestions

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


    I've got to be honest, if you've got just 24 hours, then you should really look at flying.

    The drive itself is more than 800 miles via I-5 (the only option on a tight timeline), and realistically will take you around 16 hours. You could certainly see some slick spots where you'd need to slow down and/or add more time to your trip, especially since it looks like you'd be crossing the mountains in the middle of the night. Overall, its a trip that's very much pushing the limits of safety, but more practically in your case, when you finish the drive you will be exhausted. It will take time to recover, and since you won't have that time, you can expect to be basically worthless at the business meeting you need to be at! It really is a textbook case of being counter-productive.

    Since this is a business meeting, and getting off work appears to be the reason you can't leave earlier, it should be noted that a professional driver (truckers) would not be allowed to drive this distance in this timeline.

    At the very least, you really should leave first thing Thursday morning, giving you a chance to make most of the drive on Thursday, but getting a full night sleep before making a relatively short drive Friday morning.

    Even with 48 hours, following the coast would not be practical. US-101 takes roughly twice as long as I-5, and you need at least 3-4 days for this very scenic but slow going drive. If you've got time going back, its a great trip though.

    I'd also suggest the train, but that trip is also a 24 hour journey. If you could leave Thursday morning, you'd arrive in the bay area Friday morning, but will be able to relax during the entire trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Sightseeing in San Francisco...

    Lots of things to do, depending on what kind of time you have and what you like to do.

    * Ride a cable car. Visit the cable car museum if you like history.

    * Fisherman's Wharf, always a good place for a decent meal.

    * Japanese Tea Garden.

    * Walk/run/bike/drive the Golden Gate.

    * North of the Golden Gate Bridge are the Muir Woods. Lovely hikes among the redwood trees there.

    * Keep going north, have some wine in either Napa Valley or Sonoma area vineyard tours.

    * Others have recommended Candlestick Park. I've never been, so I can't recommend from personal experience.

    * Chinatown -- another good place for a good meal, and looking around.

    Some of these mentioned are quite touristy, so be aware.

    As for your trip itself, Michael speaks from experience. You are looking at a very long one way drive of 17 hours at this time of the year. You'll arrive exhausted. If you can, you could fly one way, rent a car one way and drive back. Or just fly, rent a car while you're there, and fly home.


  4. Default

    Thanks guys! I ended up deciding to fly, after finding out that there will be another meeting in the summer. I will drive to that one & hopefully have time to arrange a nice trip with a travel companion. I much prefer driving to flying, but just don't have enough time to really enjoy it with this trip.

    The sight-seeing options sound fun and I will definitely check them out.

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