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  1. Default scenic roadtrip van- san diego

    Hi there, Ive been reading the threads and getting some great advice. My boyfriend and our 2 dogs will be traveling from vancouver bc to the san diego area. we have rented a place for a month and we have 3 days to drive there. keeping in mind we will be driving back and could do an alternate route on the way home when we would also have more time but less money. Ive been looking at the 101 route along the coast and im seeing it might be too much to try the entire coast in just the time we have to go down. any thoughts on that? also how much is traffic a factor when you get further into south cali? better or worse on the coast vs inland routes? also wondering some good things to see on the way. We are more interested in seeing the land itself than stopping for a long time in cities and museums/ galleries and the like. any advice will be greatly appreciated. :D

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The bad news here is that 3 days just isn't a lot of time for this trip. Sticking completely to the freeway (I-5), without detours, this is a good 2 and a half day drive. Traffic is likely to be a significant factor as you get to Southern California, as you have to drive through the greater LA area no matter which way you go. You also could potentially see delays crossing the border, near Seattle, and possibly in Northern California, depending upon the time of day.

    Going over to the coast really isn't an option. Driving the coast all the way from Washington would take you 5 days to a week, minimum. Even cutting over to US-101 for a small part of the coast would likely take up more time than you really have available. At best, you would have time to drive some of that highway, but you wouldn't have time to stop and actually enjoy the views.

    When will this trip take place? There are some places you might be able to detour inland, perhaps Crater Lake, Lassen National Park, maybe Yosemite or Sequoia, although you listed this as a "fall and winter" trip, and some areas may not be accessible depending upon when you are traveling.

    Since you are going to be in SD for a full month, any chance you can give yourself more time for this drive? It sounds like that's what would be most important to getting the trip you want.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Time restrictions heading south.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    By the most direct route along I5 you are looking at a 2.5 day drive with time for minimum breaks out of the car to let you and the the dogs have a little walk, get some food, fill with gas etc, so you really haven't time to explore 101, not for long anyway unless you have enouh time and money at the end of your trip to do so. Travelling in the winter can also cause disruption in the even of a major storm and you will need time to factor that in at the time you travel and you only have a half day 'cushion' if you needed to pull off the road for a while. So basically if you have to be there in 3 days then you need to keep things fairly simple. You could cut across from Grants Pass [which is a reasonable 'target' for day 1] to Crescent City and head south through Redwoods on 101 to just north of SF [Novato?] and then continue to SD on 101, or you could head from Grants Pass to Monterey and take CA1 around Big Sur but both options would be long days on the road and little time sight seeing other than through the windscreen.

    With more time on the way home you could do both and an alternative going there would be to cut inland and head through Klamath Falls OR from I5 at Eugene and down through Reno, Carson City, Lee Vining [Mono Lake] and Lone Pine on 395 on the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada to I15/215/15 into SD. Make sure you check the road and weather conditions before travelling though.

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