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  1. Default Vancouver, BC to Los Angeles California in 4 days....needs some tips and advice.

    Hi All,

    Me, my wife and my 5 year old son are planning a road trip from Vancouver BC to Los Angeles California. We plan to do this in 4 days time and i will be the only driver. We will probably leave on the first week of June and go back to Vancouver by the third or fourth week of June.

    It will be the first time that we will take this trip, as we are recent immigrants to Canada.

    We have decided to take a road trip to save on car rental fees (when we are in LA) as well as save on plane fare (vancouver to LA) and have a chance of some sightseeing as well.

    In my research, the trip will take approximately 1,300 miles and around a total of 20 hours of driving using the I-5 highway.

    I would like to kindly request some inputs and suggestions on my planned itinerary for my trip.

    Day 1 Vancouver to Portland (overnight at La Quinta Inn and Suites Vancouver (WA)) (6 hours drive)
    Day 2 Portland to Canyonville Oregon (overnight at Seven Feathers) (4.5 Hours drive)
    Day 3 Oregon to Sacramento overnight at (La Quinta Inn Sacramento) (5 hours drive)
    Day 4 Sacramento to Los Angeles (some hotel in Encino) (6 hours drive)

    Here are some of my questions:

    1) does a 5 year old need a child seat?
    2) what are some stops that we can make that are must sees?
    3) are there any other recommendations?
    4) what will the weather most likely be like during this time?
    5) what are other things that we should prepare for?

    thank you very much!!

    best regards,

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    We'll start with the easy stuff. Yes, you will need at least a booster seat for your child. Most states require them up to age 8 (I suspect that is also the law in British Columbia).

    The drives you've laid out are pretty reasonable from a distance standpoint, just keep in mind that times offered by online mapping programs are usually about 20% less than what you'll actually see in real world conditions where you have to stop/slowdown etc.

    The question I would ask, however, is why did you pick these places to spend the night? They work fine if you are just looking to break up the drive in pretty even legs, and don't want to drive more than about 6 hours, but did you have any thoughts on the things you'd want to see and do?

    There are lots of things you could see and do. Mount St. Helens, Crater Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Yosemite, and Sequoia are just a few of the great natural wonders you could visit with relatively short detours off I-5. You also wouldn't necessarily have to stick to I-5. The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most scenic drives in the world, and with 4 days, doing some of this would certainly be a possibility.

    How long are you planning to stay around LA, and how much time do you have for the drive back?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Restraining Children and Letting Them Loose

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You should be in for a great time as you take your very relaxing trip down to Los Angeles and back. You've allowed yourselves plenty of time for the drive and having your lodgings pre-arranged will save you the time and effort of finding them on the fly, letting you get to the relaxing bit a lot sooner.

    As to your specific questions: Child seat and/or booster usage is determined by height and weight, not by age so you should check the recommendations on the seat you have. Five year olds are about in the range of making the transition from full-up child seat to just a booster seat which lets them sit high enough to use the car's seat belt and shoulder harness. A booster seat also lets them sit high enough to get a good view of all the scenery you'll be driving through. They should still sit only in the rear passenger seat however.

    For places to stop, there are a few well known sites along the western edge of the US, but they are a bit far off of I-5, especially considering that you want to limit your driving hours to about five a day. However, your son won't really notice. There are plenty of smaller venues up and down all our major highways where he can get out, get some fresh air and exercise, and generally just blow off steam in a scenic environment.

    You won't get an accurate prediction on the weather until just a couple of days before your departure, but generally the Central Valley will see high temperatures ranging from the low 70s (~23ēC) in the north to high 80s (~30ēC) in the south, but with the distinct advantage that June is smack dab in the middle of the dry season.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    To tag onto what MM and AZB had to say, your first day is a little over 300 miles. But you also have to consider a border crossing, which could be short or it could be long. Then you have to traverse the Seattle area. I would allow at least 8 hours to make this first day. For a stretch , the Mt St Helens visitor center is not that far off of I-5. You could also take a little detour to a state park or two that aren't that far off the road, to let the little one stretch (as well as you, too).

    A thought for Day two -- take another detour, since the through Oregon is rather short, this time over to Crater Lake National Park. Get off the 5 at OR-138 East, go into the park and do the west shore drive and some of the stops in it. Then head down OR-62 to Medford and stay the night there. Lots of opportunities for scenic beauty!

    On Day Three, you can stop at the viewpoint for Mt Shasta (highly recommended) and the one for Castle Crags (also highly recommended). There are some places for Shasta Lake, too.

    Count on the Day Four portion to be 8 hours. We've driven this many times and I don't think we've ever done that route in 6 hours!!!!! You have to deal with the connection of I-405 and the 101, and that right there can take 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the time of day you approach it. (I personally try to avoid that intersection if I can!)

    Child seats: All children need to be in a booster or child seat in every state -- they just have different laws about height, weight and age.

    Are you a member of the Canadian auto club, CAA? Take your card with you. I believe it's reciprocal with the AAA here.

    June weather should be okay, though we are certainly having a crazy winter and spring down here in California! Bring layers of clothing and a variety of clothes, you'll need them. When you are on the coast in June, we call it "June Gloom" for a reason (morning low clouds and fog). In the Central Valley, it will warm and dry. So pants and sweatshirts, bathing suits, shorts and t-shirts, all into the suitcase, and a jacket in the car.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The north entrance and west rim drive at Crater Lake may not be open yet when you are coming through, you will have to check on that.

  6. Default

    Hi Midwest Michael,

    First i would like to thank each and everyone (AZ Buck, Donna R57, and glc) for taking time out to help me out. What you are doing is great and I surely appreciate it very much. Thank you so much!!

    you are right, we pretty much just split up the travel time and route and just plan on seeing the sights right around or near the highway (I-5). We would like to see some of the sights that you have mentioned because we do love nature, but maybe you can suggest some places that are along our route and maybe we can spend the night in those places(scenic spots) instead. I would also review the PCH route as per your suggestion.

    We would probably be staying in LA for 2weeks. for the drive back, we can also have a 4 or 5 day schedule.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default It was for me in 2012.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Are you a member of the Canadian auto club, CAA? Take your card with you. I believe it's reciprocal with the AAA here.
    Basic roadside service is, but you will need to go to the office to get that confirmed. While there, pick up the free maps of all the States through which you will be travelling. You will need these when on the road. Don't be tempted to rely solely on your electronics. While at it, you may find it handy to have the city maps of SF and LA as well.

    If you don't have a CAA membership, or any other roadside assistance, it might be a good idea to get one before you leave.


  8. Default

    thanks for the feedback AZBuck,

    for this trip we have to do something important in LA and the sightseeing is just secondary. So we will be limiting our sightseeing to places near I-5. Thanks for the info on the smaller venues near I-5.

  9. Default

    hello donna,
    thanks for your feedback, you indeed have given us much to consider and i appreciate the suggestion of the CAA very much!

    i will be doing some tweaking of our itinerary to be able to visit some places that you have suggested. however i don't think i will be straying from I-5 as i think this is the most direct and fastest way to get to our destination.

    i might be extending another day as i have noted on your suggestions on giving an allowance for delays and stuff.

    i will be giving my new and revised itenerary and tell me what you guys think. Thanks!!

  10. Default

    thanks GLC

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