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  1. Default Suggestions for road trip from San Diego to Seattle in February

    Hi All,

    I am planning to move to Seattle from San Diego during end February. I was wondering whether I can do in two days with a night's stopover in between. We went once upto Sacramento, but I do not know the I-5 beyond that.
    I do not want to make any long detours for sight seeing - any suggestions what to see on the way and stop over for the night.
    I was wondering whether I can do it in two days without straining myself - if required, I can stop over at Portland for another night. (I am doing it to take my car.. I am not fond of driving)
    Is the I-5 a two-lane highway after Sacramento all the way?
    Which is the best place to stop over for the night - some place clean and not very expensive.
    Thanks in advance.

    - Ashwini

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default pit stop

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    First of all, the "I" in I-5 stands for Interstate, and all Interstate Highways are 4 (or more) lane, controlled access freeways, that are also built with standards to reduce steep grades and curves as much as possible. In other words, no, I-5 is not a two lane road anywhere.

    As far as doing to the trip in 2 days, it would be more than we'd generally recommend. Basically, you'd have to drive 625 miles (12 or so hours on the road) each day. That's certainly not an impossible distance to safely cover, but its is more than the 500-550 miles we generally recommend for a solo driver. If you aren't a big fan of driving as it is, and you throw in the possibility of seeing some delays, particualrly through LA, I think you might be more comfortable stopping in Portland on the second night.

    If you do the trip in 2 days, Corning CA is the halfway point and has a decent variety of motels to choose from. If you decide to go to stop in Porland, then you'll be looking for a place just north of Sacramento - like Woodland or Williams.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you are not fond of driving, I'd do it in 3 days. I made a 2 day run from San Diego to Portland a couple years ago, and that's about as far as I wanted to stretch it. Here is my route, chosen to avoid driving through the middle of LA:

    I took I-15 through San Bernardino over the Cajon Pass to US-395 to CA-58 to Bakersfield, where I had lunch. I took CA-99 and crossed over to I-5 on CA-4 through Stockton. I hit Sacramento in rush hour and was delayed about half an hour. I spent the night in Willllows, which has a few reasonably priced hotels - I remember the Super 8 and the Best Western in particular. The wifi was broken at the 8, so I stayed at the Best Western. I think the room was about $65 or so, and it was a very decent place.

    Willows to Portland is a pretty full day via I-5 all the way - and there is a possibility of delays going over the Siskiyous if the weather is bad. Keep an eye on the road conditions in northern CA and southern OR - if they put chain controls up or recommend them, you have 3 choices - put them on, wait it out, or head over to the coast and take US-101. The last option would be quite a slow go, if it's even possible to get across the coastal range at that time.

    I stayed at the Motel 6 near downtown Portland - not recommended. It's quite run down and in a dodgy neighborhood. I'd look at suburban hotels if I had to do it again.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the suggestions.
    What I meant by two-lane was two-lanes in each direction (that makes 4-lanes total) - I remember going by I-5 while on a trip to Sacramento. Thanks for the correction.
    I reckon I have to go through mountain passes in Oregon? Do I have to carry chains for the tyres? I did not foresee that. End of February could be a problem with snowfall.
    I plan to start early morning (around 6 am) in San Diego during the weekend by I-5. By that way probably I can avoid the office-going traffic. I think I'll break for the second night at Portland.
    Any other tips for travel are welcome.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You "MIGHT" need chains. To be safe, I'd buy a set of cable chains before you leave and practice putting them on. You can get them at Walmart or Pep Boys in the San Diego area.

    If you don't want the hassle, you may be delayed until they get the passes cleared up if a storm hits. Keep an eye on the Caltrans and ODOT websites for current conditions and restrictions. At the present time, there are no weather issues or restrictions.

  6. Default

    Thanks, glc, for the tip. I'd look around for the chains.

    I am thinking of another plan. Probably we would stop over in Fremont, CA for the first night to visit friends and then drive down to Grants Pass for the second night. Stay at Grants Pass for the night in a hotel. Start there on the third day morning and reach Seattle (Issaquah, WA) by the evening.
    This plan is basically to divide the distance in three parts. San Diego to Fremont should not be a problem as there is no question of snowfall.
    This will mean a detour to Fremont, but gives the possibility of visiting friends for an evening.
    Which is the most challenging drive part (on the mountain) - from Fremont to Grants Pass or Grants Pass to Portland? How much is the stretch in terms of miles?
    I get some idea looking at the Google maps, but personal experiences are always helpful.
    Which part of the drive 'might' need chains? With the chains, obviously the speed limit is reduced. What is the speed limit like?
    I never drove a car with chains on the wheels.
    Thanks again for the tips.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Grants Pass is in the middle of the mountainous stretch. I would say the whole stretch from Yreka to Roseburg has the potential for poor conditions, that's about 150 miles.

    Do not try to drive more than 25 mph with chains. Cable chains are a lot easier to handle than standard link chains, that's all I have and that's all you would need. They satisfy the legal requirements in all states with chain laws.

    What do you have for a car? If it's all-wheel drive, you most likely will not need chains, good tires that meet "M&S" spec should satisfy any possible requirement unless there is a conditional road closure or a blizzard, and if that happens, just get off the road and find a hotel - you SoCal drivers don't belong out there at all!

  8. Default

    Hi glc,

    I have a Toyota Camry 2004 model. It has done about 63K and recently gone for the 60K maintenance.
    Thanks for the tip for the cable chains - of course they are easier to handle compared to the link chains.
    If the weather holds, probably it will be better to cover the 150 miles in one stretch rather than waiting for a night in the middle of it.
    Let me look at the maps again and see how we can plan it.
    Any other suggestions are welcome.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If the weather holds, I show that you can reasonably make it to Eugene from Fremont in one driving day. It's about 550 miles and will take about 10 hours plus whatever traffic delays you encounter getting out of the SF area with normal stops, driving at the speed limit.

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