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  1. Default Los Angeles to Reno/Lake Tahoe

    Hello. I am thinking about driving up from the Los Angeles area to visit Lake Tahoe and Reno in July, as I have never visited before. There may be as many as seven people total on the trip, using a rented mini-van. I am a relatively slow driver (at or slightly below speed limit), don't have the greatest reflexes, and not adventurous. Therefore, I am looking for the safest and easiest route since I am responsible for six other lives. I would prefer to avoid winding roads and steep inclines.

    I have heard that there are three common routes: the 5, 99, and 395. Most people say that the 5 is boring while the 395 is beautiful. However, I could not find anything about the driving conditions of these three routes (plenty of posts about these routes' conditions when snowing). Which one is the easiest to drive?

    Thanks for your help and feedback. I very much appreciate it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Not sure I know what you are asking.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    I am a little puzzled by what you mean eeasiest to drive?

    All three routes are paved, and all see some mountain driving, though nothing drastic as far as steep grades go. They are not all divided roads, nor are they necessarily multilane highways, but as for ease of driving, any one with a driver's licence should not have a problem.

    Perhaps you could be a little more specific with your question.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    You really have nothing to worry about on any of those routes and of the 3, I would take US395. If you are planning to do the journey in a single day you should get on the road early and take plenty of short breaks along the way.

  4. Default

    Thank you to Southwest Dave and Lifemagician for your replies and advice. When I say easiest route, I am looking for the route with the least winding roads. I know they can't be avoided if going up a mountain, but the less the better. My reflexes aren't good enough to take those curves at speed limit, so I usually end up with a long line of cars waiting to pass me by the time I reach the next available area for me to pull over and let everyone pass. And of course, the less curves, the less of a chance of my passengers getting motion sick.

    I am thinking of driving straight to Reno first (yes, with many breaks). Then take on the winding road up to Lake Tahoe the next day. Though it's the reverse direction, coming back down hill, that will test my slow reflexes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Just take it easy.

    Flying into LA from where?

    What I do in those situations, I make sure I am in the right hand lane at all times on a multi lane highway. Where there is only one lane, and especially when there are double lines, just drive as confidently as you can, and above all, do not be intimidated by traffic behind you. Some of them may have the same problems as yourself. Your first and main responsibility is to drive safely, and if that means going a little slower, other drivers will just have to be patient. As you say, you pull over as soon as it is safe, and that is all you can be expected to do.

    If you allow traffic behind you to worry you, it will make your situation worse, and no doubt rattle your confidence. From my memory of 395, it is not only the most scenic of the routes, but I do not recall any long winding sections.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Unfortunately, I think you may be upset somewhat on 395 - I'd take I-5 or CA-99 to I-80 to Reno. 395 does have some mountainous sections and it's not a multi-lane highway all the way. Take I-580/US-395 to US-50 to get to Tahoe from Reno. From Tahoe, I think CA-267 is probably the easiest way to get back to I-80.

    You say there may be as many as 7 people on the trip - do any of them have licenses and are less fearful behind the wheel?

  7. Default

    Thanks Lifey!!!

  8. Default

    Thanks GLC. I don't mind too much of the uphill and downhill, as long as the grade is not too steep. It's when you combine downhill with curves that I like to avoid. There is one other driver that will be helping with the drive. He will probably do the curvy parts. He has not seen the route on Google maps yet (street level view), so need to show that to him first to make sure he is confident enough. I guess using 431 to reach north Lake Tahoe would be the route with the most curves, correct?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you have another driver, then you could take 395 from LA to Reno and enjoy the scenery - you can either take I-15 or I-5 and CA-14 to get to 395. I'd still take US-50 or CA-267 to get from Reno to Tahoe, 431 is a VERY mountainous winding road.

  10. Default

    Thanks GLC. You discovered my secret plan: to get someone "official" to say that I should not drive 395 so I can enjoy the scenery. :)

    I just "drove" 395 on Google maps, and the multi-lane part I can handle. The single lane part is not bad either, though there were some parts that had a curve or two. But that was also the scenic part that I would want an excuse to just look out the window.

    And 267 definitely is doable. I am thinking of using Truckee as home base anyway, from which to visit both Reno and Lake Tahoe.

    Thanks again to everyone for their advice.

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