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  1. Default Planning from LA > Portland > Seattle

    I'm so glad I found this site :)
    I decided I'll take a road trip with my 12-year-old son this Summer. I'd like the trip to be between 7-10 days, we are starting off in Los Angeles & ultimately would like to see Portland & Seattle. We will stop in Santa Cruz to have a meal with my sister (who is currently a banana slug) but would like to continue further north before we turn in for the night. I was hoping Mendocino (I used to vacation there in the summer with my grandparents & haven't been back in 20 years... I can't believe I'm old enough to say that!). I should tell you this now, I am not your "drive 2-3 hours per day" type of girl (my parents own a cabin in West Yellowstone which we drive to straight through [14-16 hours] every Summer). I'd rather reach my destination quickly & just enjoy a meal in a notable or noteworthy town along the way. I don't want to be as militant as the W. Yellowstone drive, but 'ya know what i mean; a good 7-12 hours per day is more our style. I would also like to mention that we'd like to stay at Shasta Lake on our way home for the last 2 days.
    As it is now, the trip would go something like this
    (I need YOUR help to tell me if it's doable)

    day 1: LOS ANGELES >> SANTA CRUZ (5 hr drive) >> MENDOCINO (5 hr drive)
    day 2: MENDOCINO >> CRESCENT CITY (4.5 hr drive) >> PORTLAND (5.5 hr drive)
    day 3: PORTLAND
    day 4: PORTLAND >> SEATTLE (3 hr drive)
    day 5: SEATTLE
    day 6: SEATTLE >> SHASTA LAKE (10 hr drive)
    day 7: SHASTA LAKE
    day 8: SHASTA LAKE
    day 9: SHASTA LAKE >> LOS ANGELES (8 hr drive)

    Okay, so is this doable? Am I overzealous?
    Please suggest cities that we must see (& we'll grab a bite to eat) along these routes too :)

    I am going to book Air BnB stays, so I want to get this ironed out as soon as I can.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    My first question ... where are you getting your drive times from? LA to Santa Cruz is about 350 miles by one of the quickest ways (the 5), which is not 5 hours, it's more like 6 or 7 depending on the traffic getting out of LA. Santa Cruz to Mendocino is another 225 miles -- easily 5 to 6 hours when you factor in the Bay Area traffic. Mendocino to Crescent City will be another 225 miles, 5-5.5 hour drive. Etc. etc.

    If you're using an electronic mapping program to figure your drive times, you'll want to do one of two things. Either add 20% time to the driving time, to figure in time for fuel-food-bathroom stops, OR take the mileage and divide by either 50 (2-lane highways) or 55 (4-lane highways) to get the drive time. Computers don't have to make those stops, but you do. They also can't predict construction or traffic snarls very much aheady of time.

    Having done the Shasta Lake to Seattle drive before, it's definitely closer to 11-1/2 hours, not 10.

    I can't offer much in the line of city sightseeing -- my husband and I much prefer natural wonders -- but perhaps someone else can chime in with some ideas. When we did this in separate trips, we focused on the redwoods in northern California, Shasta Lake, Oregon Caves National Monument, Crater Lake, Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens, Goat Rocks Wilderness area, Willamette Valley of Oregon.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Your choice or our choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by ohhaudrey View Post
    Am I overzealous?
    In my opinion 'yes', especially travelling with a child.

    Please suggest cities that we must see (& we'll grab a bite to eat) along these routes too :)
    Audrey, if you have read much of these forums, you will have seen that a recurring theme is that there is no such thing as a 'must see'. My 'must see' might be your 'must avoid'. A road trip is an individual thing, driving routes and going to the places which the participants choose and fancy. Maybe if you slowed down somewhat for this trip, perhaps got off the '5' and enjoyed some of the slower routes, you would find all these places, and be able to decide for yourself which you like, and where you would like to eat.

    That all takes time and research.


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