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  1. Default LA to Seattle In 3 1/2 Day - Possible?

    Is this possible?

    I want to leave LA Thursday morning & I need to be in Seattle by Noon on Sunday.
    1. Is it possible to see the Hearst Castle & Muir woods? Will I be backtracking anywhere if I do?
    2. I heard good things about Carmel – maybe this could this be my first night stop?
    3. I would like to make one stop in San Fran for a few hours – do you think I will have time? Or should I just keep driving?
    4. After San Fran is there any other points of interest for me to see & will I have time?
    5. Where should I make my second night stop?

    As you can see I’m a bit lost on what to do. I realize I can’t do everything

    Thank You

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    That trip is roughly 1150 miles - given three days to do it, it is definitely possible. This would mean roughly seven hours a day of drive time. Carmel - near Monterrey? - looks like a good location for a first-day stop. Given no major traffic problems, it appears to be about 6 1/2 hours away from LA.

    If you want to stop in San Francisco, by all means do it! You do have enough time, though probably not as much as you would like. If you can avoid the rush hour crowds, it shouldn't be too big of a problem to make it in and out of the city.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Quite Possible

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Three and a half days should be plenty to accomplish all that you've laid out, if a bit rushed in spots. In order to really see Hearst Castle, you'll need to take one of the guided tours (about 2 hours) and so you'll have to add that time to your driving time. If you get an early start from Los Angeles (before rush hour), it should still be possible to get to Carmel by Thursday evening, but you would not be able to make many stops along the coast. Carmel is gorgeous and has many upscale accommodations, as well as a few that are more affordable. Monterey has many more reasonable places to stay. Stopping in the Carmel/Monterey area would let you drive into San Francisco on Friday morning after rush hour, spend a few hours, and get out before the commuters head home in the evening. Muir Woods is north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge, and while it would be tempting to try to drive up the northern California coast, I think that such an endeavor would take more time than you really have. So from Muir Woods, I'd stay on CA-1 just as far as Point Reyes National Seashore and then head inland on the Bodega Highway and CA-12 to join US-101 north at Santa Rosa with a second night's stop somewhere around Leggett. That would then leave you a day and a half to cover the remaining 600 miles to Seattle with maybe a short stop at Redwood National Park, or even a detour to Crater Lake National Park if you're running well ahead of schedule.


  4. Default Very doable trip.. another view

    Hello Bello,

    The trip as you've outlined it is very doable in 3 1/2 days -- *Grins* as usual, you'll get a variety of opinions, all of which are valid. Depends upon specifically what you'd like to do of course..

    For a route routing you might try

    LA - Depart Early Thursday (and I'd encourage *early* rush hour traffic can start by 7 am in some places. I'd try to be past LAX and through most of the valley on 101 by 7, which may mean a 6 am start.)

    If you depart LA very early, you can make it to San Simeon, near Hearst Castle in 4 hours. The route for this would be (assuming LA International Airport as a starting point), up the 405 freeway to the 101, and then west out the San Fernando Valley through Oxnard and Ventura to Santa Barbara. A good place to stop to stretch your legs could be either Santa Barbara area, or Buellton/ San Ynez. At San Luis Obispo, you'll head west through past Cambria and Morro Bay to San Simeon on Coast 1.

    You should be able to get a tour of the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, but it will take a couple of hours to go through it. Time well spent in my opinion. You can either eat in the cafeteria at the Hearst Castle vistors center, or picnic there if you have an ice chest along.

    About 10 miles up the coast there is an elephant seal colony near Pedros Blancos with a turnout and parking area along Coast 1. Also worth the stop.

    From San Simeon to Monterey area is about 2-3 hours, depending upon your stops and scenic visits. So its very doable to make it to Carmel or Monterey that evening. I would sort of push for Monterey, as I've always liked walking the pier there, and having sea food on the pier. You'll have had an early start, so I wouldn't push it too far that evening.

    On Friday, its about 2 hours into San Francisco, although the fastest route is to cut over at either Castroville or Santa Cruz (via the 11) back to the 101, rather than continuing on 1 up to SF. I would be somewhat concerned about rush hour traffic here as well -- the 101 is one of 2 major routes into the SF Pennisular and gets rather jammed up (as does the parallel route on the 280). I'd add another hour at least to the travel time for traffic. If you depart the Monterey are at say 8 am, figuring to let traffic die out a bit before you get to SF, you'd be getting into the downtown SF area by about 11 or there abouts. That would put your at somewhere like Fisherman's Wharf for and early lunch and some sightseeing.

    From Fisherman's Wharf in SF to Muir Woods National Monument isn't far -- you'll cross over the Golden Gate Bridge and head back west and north a bit on Coast 1. Figure an hour to get there, since the roads are rather windy as I recall.

    (However, this is where I depart on a route from some of the other advice). I'd recommend heading out of Muir Woods and retracing yoru steps back to 101. Then I'd head up around the north side of the SF Bay to Napa, and plan on spending the night somewhere in Napa or Napa valley wine country. This would give you a chance to try one of the excellent restaurants for dinner or do some wine tasting. (Night #2) I'd estimate Napa as something like 90 minutes to 2 hours from Muir Woods NM

    The 3rd day, would be a travel day -- primarily pushing north. You can head north out of Napa Valley via Clear Lake to catch the I-5 superhighway north at Williams, or you can head more directly east out of Napa to catch the 505 cutoff to the I-5 at Winters. I think the route through Clear Lake would be more scenic, since it goes through the length of Napa Valley -- and I think it'd be just as fast as 128 to Winters. The computer does say the fastest route would be a backtrack south out of Napa and then east via Vacaville to get to the 505 and I-5, but where's the fun in that?

    Once on I-5 you'd make tracks north for Redding and then Oregon. This will be a longish driving day, but would put you in the Salem area in about 10 hours of travel from Napa (Night #3)

    From Salem to Seattle is about 4 hours of driving, which is your 3 1/2 days to Seattle including some scenic stops.

  5. Default


    Should I expect any bad weather spots - like snow?

  6. #6
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Not too likely

    Although it is always possible to get snow if you take the inland route over I-5, only through the Shasta-Cascade area though. March will still be chilly, but snow should be rare.

    If you take the coast route through Oregon, you shouldn't see even a hint of snow, but you may find some strong winds along the coast if a spring storm rolls through.

    Keep an ear on the radio, and be sure to check the Weather Channel or a local tv station or paper before you leave after stopping for the night. Doing this should keep you on top of any major weather inconveniences.


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