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  1. #1
    Julie and Benjamin Guest

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    My girlfriend and I want to take a 2 week trip from Portland to San Diego in August. We are overwhelmed with what to see, what not to see, and the amount of time needed. This is our first road trip and we would appreciate any advice that would help make our trip a great experience. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Julie and Benjamin Guest

    Default

    My girlfriend and I want to take a 2 week trip from Portland to San Diego in August. We are overwhelmed with what to see, what not to see, and the amount of time needed. This is our first road trip and we would appreciate any advice that would help make our trip a great experience. Thank you!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default

    Personally, I would do it like this....I'd zip down I-5 to San Diego first, spend what time you want seeing whatever it is your seeing in San Diego, and then starting the trip home via the coast, stopping and exploring whatever catches your fancy, knowing that when it gets close to time to be home, you just need to zip back onto I-5 and drive home.

    It's 15.5 hours from LA / 10 hours from San Francisco to Portland so, once you hit LA, you're never more than one lond day's drive home.

    If you explore and meander like this, you probably won't make the whole coast home but, since you live in Portland, it will be easy to explore the rest of the coast you missed (probably mostly in Oregon) on long weekends and other shorter vacations.

    Not to be missed:
    Monterey Bay/Cannery Row ala Steinbeck
    Hearst Castle
    Santa Barbara
    Redwoods
    Eureka
    I know there's a lot more but it's been awhile since I've done the California Coast and the names of most of the places I enjoyed is escaping me right now. There's fun stuff to see and do around most every bend in the road.

    If you're going into LA: The theme park circuit, of course (Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Universal), Hollywood Wax Museum, Beverly Hills tour of the star's homes, Tar Pits, the great museum there (is it the Getty?)

    Since you can't see it all in the time you have, just enjoy what you see and note what you missed for a future trip. I've been known to zip from Washington state to LA in one long day (18 hours from my home) by co-driving with my partner and back again the same way. It's not so far that you can't easily go again.

    Enjoy!

  4. #4
    WSL Guest

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    Hi guys, here are few highlights of things and scenes that I have enjoyed during trip from SD to Bend few weeks ago. Plus things I have read and heard about.

    San Diego - Black Beach (the famous nude beach), SD Zoo ( if you like to see the giant Panda), Petco Ballpark (if you baseball team happens to be in town, $5 to get in)

    Joshua Tree Nat'l Park - Giant Joshua Tree and desert. Would be extremely hot in August though

    LA - Surf or just chill at the beaches, Newport, Huntington, Hermosa, and Zuma are my favorites. Night out at Hollywood and Sunset BLVD (would be very packed)

    Hwy1 to Monterey - The best part of Hwy1 in my opinion. Monterey Aquarium on Cannery Row, and have some oysters. Camp at Big Sur area or stay in a cute little lodge.

    Alabama Hills - Eastern side of Kings Canyon Nat'l park. This is the shooting location of Western movies. Closest town is lone pine.

    Yosemite Nat'l Park - My #1 park. Would be too many people in the Yosemite Valley, a small trade off for the magnificent views.

    San Francisco - Have some seafood at Fishermen's Whafts, ride the cable car (very long line), dinner at China town, art museums and galleries. There are some nice Victorian style B&B in the SF

    Redwood Nat's Park - Drive through giant redwood tree

    Don't overwhelmed by what to see to do, pick a few destinations that you think they are the prime spots and try book the lodging. Just remember to be flexible, bring your favorite tunes, a reliable camera and have FUN :-)

    Oh..another thing I enjoy to do is catch a concert in other town.

  5. #5
    Colleen Guest

    Default Portland-San Diego

    I am planning the exact same trip..leaving from Portland on August 23rd 2004 with my spouse and our 10 year old son. I'd like to quickly get to Humboldt State Park and enjoy the big trees for 2 nights (1day1/2)before heading down to Napa and San Francisco...but the drive Portland to Humboldt is about 8hours....hmmm...it seems a bit long for our first day drive...Any suggestions anyone?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default Perfect!

    Personally, I think that's a perfect stop for the night on the first day. If you leave by 7am, you could easily be there about 4:30-5pm. This still allows you about 1.5-2 hours to stop and stretch, eat, etc. And you still have plenty of time to set up camp and relax/explore before dark.

    Personally, I always plan a long driving day the first day. I figure I can always explore those areas closer to home on short weekend excursions. And, of course, many times I'm simply driving over familiar scenery. My goal is always to "get outta Dodge" and get as far from home as possible. I'm always anxious to hit either new roads or, at least, ones that I'm less familiar with.

    However, I do realize that I've been known to enjoy a long 10-14 hour day of driving....I guess that's why I drive a VW, I fit the "Driver Found" slogan...and not everyone else enjoys the drive as much.

    If you really think it's too far, why not stop in either Crescent City (an interesting town) or Eureka (beautiful architecture and interesting shops) for the night before continuing onto Humboldt?

  7. #7
    Colleen Guest

    Default

    Thanks for your reply...What I failed to mention is that I was flying into Portland from Montréal, Québec, Canada...So your email made me laugh when you talked about short drives closer to home! :-) We are renting a car and driving down to San Diego. I am trying to put a nice schedule together and your input helps. I do agree with you...I'd rather drive more hours on the first days. I think it will be Portland-Humboldt on the first day!

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