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  1. Default Vancouver to California ideas/advice

    Alright, so me and my girlfriend have decided to go on a roadtrip. We have always like california and want to take some time and drive down to LA. we have gone on camping trips before but no long road trips. We are both 17. We are planning to make this trip at the end of december and take around a week to do so. Just wondering if anyone has some advice in regards to places to stay and visit along the way. how many hours of driving a day would be reasonable? As far as sleeping goes, ive heard of staying at truck stops and sleeping in the car. If you have done this, how have you found it? are their particular places people would recomend for spending a night? What are some good activitoes to do along the way in december? i know there are some ski resorts that would be fun to visit. Alright well any thought or advice to make this trip a great one would be greatly appreciated, thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Being "17"

    Quote Originally Posted by JFast View Post
    Alright, so me and my girlfriend have decided to go on a roadtrip.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! As you may already know, it will be very tough for either of you to rent a motel room when you are 17 -- so camping is probably the only choice. Are both sets of parents agreeable to this adventure? Here is an article you might share with them....
    We are planning to make this trip at the end of december and take around a week to do so.
    Is this a round trip adventure? How much money are you budgeting for this trip? Here are some budgeting ideas to get you started.
    how many hours of driving a day would be reasonable?
    Here are some ideas about the most number of hours one should drive each day.

    Even though your travel mate is your girlfriend -- it still might be wise for both of you to take this quiz and discuss the results to make sure you are both "thinking" about the same kind of road trip.

    Here are some ideas about places to explore in Oregon.

    Happy Planning!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Getting Started

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    OK - L.A. is a bit far to contemplate with only a week. At over 2600 miles round trip, you'd be spending way too much of your time driving, and not enough time seeing anything along the way. San Francisco is a bit more within range at just under 2000 miles there and back. In that case you only have to average covering around 250 miles a day, or about half of what we normally recommend as a good day's drive. While I wouldn't say that we recommend sleeping in truck stops, we do note that it beats some of the alternatives such as sleeping in rest areas (often illegal) or just pulling off the road in random places (usually involves trespassing). One of our regular contributors who does use truck stops recommends buying something at the stop (e.g. dinner) and letting the cashier or waitress know about your plans. You can also buy a shower in the morning. But even under the best of circumstances, sleeping in a car gets old fast and you are going to need at least half your nights to be in places where you can stretch out. Camping, if you have the proper gear, is always a possibility, and a basic, low-end motel room can often be found for around $40 or less. If you camp, state parks usually offer the cheapest sites, and you can find out where parks are and which are open at the welcome centers as you enter each new state. Here are some more ways to save money on your trip. And here's a post that gathers up some of the best hints about what to see in the Pacific Northwest.


  4. Default Just a week?

    From Vancouver to LA is 2 days of hard driving each way. (I'm assuming you're starting in Vancouver BC, not Vancouver, Oregon) I did this route last June. If you want to make it to LA, its possible -- but you'll be spending more than 1/2 of your time just driving getting there and back. That's probably not going to be much fun...

    As other folks have suggested, you might do a tour around the NW a bit more. That is, investigate the Olympic Penninsula, or Columbia River Valley, or central Oregon, or the Oregon Coast, the like. In about a day and a half of driving, you can make it to the Redwoods in NW California. SF is possible, but its still going to be about a day and a half as a minimum to get to it.

    For cost savings, normally I'd suggest camping. That's still an option, particularly along the coast or down the warmer central valleys of Oregon and California, but it can be colder -- and probably damp along the coast route. Still doable for camping, but not as comfortable as warmer weather.

    Sleeping in a car is in general inadvisable, unless its a last choice (unless your vehicle is set up for sleeping, such as a van or camper). Typically the sleep you get is less restful and you're less comfortable sleeping cramped in a car. Even if you do, consider finding a campground rather than the side of a road for safety and comfort. Or just throwing in a tent and sleeping bags and having the option of stretching out and sleeping more comfortably in a campground. If you're set on sleeping in your car, I'd back off on the miles you want to travel each day.

    If you're 17, you need to check on things like credit cards and the like for booking hotel rooms or other things. Some places require a credit card for security (just in case you trash the place -- I know, you won't, but some folks have done it and the motels get spooked...), or for making a reservation for a room. Also, having one (or access to one, say from parents) is a good safety pad just in case something goes wrong, like you need to buy a new set of tires while on the road.

    For a rough idea of what might be doable -- and note I've backed off on the miles per day in the middle so you can catch up after a push down, and then for a push back north. ,

    Day 1 - Vancouver to California. Long, hard day's drive -- 10 hours... ending up between Yreka and Redding. Hotel night.
    Day 2 - Central Valley to Monterey area (campground)
    Day 3 - Down California Coast Highwy to San Luis Obispo area. Sightseeing in MOnterey, Carmel, Big Sur, and San Simeon area. Campground (near San Simeon, Moro Bay).
    Day 4 - Continue down California Coast Highway/ 101 to Santa Barbara/ Ventura Area. Not many campgrounds through LA from here, but there are some near Santa Barbara and Oxnard/ Ventura. Sightsee Hearst Castle, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, Solvang, California coast area.
    Day 5 - LA (somewhere -- possibly near Disneyland (lots of hotels), or along beaches). Hotel night.
    Day 6 - LA area. Hotel night.
    Day 7 - head north via I-5. Long push drive to between Redding and Yreka. hotel night.
    Day 8 - California to Vancouver. Long push drive day.

    A shorter drive would be to do a longish day's drive down through Washington, then over to the Oregon Coast near Astoria. Then down along the Oregon Coast over 2 days to the Redwoods. Then 2 days or so in the Redwoods area, before turning around and taking 2 days back via I-5.

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