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  1. Default LA to Portland and back in 3 weeks. Suggestions please!

    Hi all. I've just found this forum in the middle of lots of trip planning and I'm glad I did, I've read loads of useful stuff already so I thought I'd throw it out there and ask for some tips.

    My girlfriend and I are travelling from the UK and hit LA on April 16th. Our flight back to the UK is on May 7th, so we've got a full 3 weeks. We wanted to drive the coast to Portland, spend 3 or 4 days there and then head back a different route. I've got plenty of ideas about where I'd like to stop off but I just wondered what the opinions were of other people here on this forum as I'm sure there are about 1,000,000 things I have absolutely no idea about and it would be fun to get some other slants on it.

    Also, tips on accommodation would be welcome. We're hiring a car and perhaps picking up a tent, but were planning on getting all our hotels / motels on the hoof, so to speak. Am I right in thinking that this will be fairly easy?

    We haven't finally decided on who we're renting with yet so any tips on good, reliable car hire firms would be much appreciated.

    I look forward to hearing any feedback anyone has! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default What have you got ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Hi all. I've just found this forum in the middle of lots of trip planning and I'm glad I did,
    Pleased to see you here and enjoying the forums !

    A lot of people tend to "wing it" when it comes to lodgings and don't have a problem finding a bed for a night so keeping your options would be OK. However if you have an idea of an area you might be staying in then there is no harm doing a little research and making notes of contact numbers of lodgings that appeal and are in your price range. An advanced call can save a lot of leg work in some cases.

    As for car rentals, it really is a case of searching on line to see what deals are available from well known company's. They all offer pretty much the same but last weeks hot deal might not be next weeks if you know what I mean. Prices can even vary greatly within the same company from airport to City, either way at that.

    You are right, there are a million and one things to do but it's what interests you that matters, so if you have some points of interest and an outline plan of what you want to do and where you want to spend some time I think it would be better to post it up and then maybe we could make some alternative suggestions or just "fine tune" what you have rather than taking a stab in the dark.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Go the other way.....

    My suggestion would be, that when you have decided all the places you would like to visit and explore, that you consider doing this trip anti-clockwise. That way you will be on the coast side when travelling the coastal road (remember they drive on the 'wrong' side! LOL). This will be particularly important on the SF to LA leg. All along the coast there is so much to see, and it avoids having to deal with oncoming traffic, everytime you want to stop at a view point or wayside stop.

    Some years ago when I went up that way, I checked out a most isolated and interesting place - the most westerly point of the 48 States. I had driven through the Avenue of Giants, which had been a long time dream of mine, stayed at Fortuna and then drove down to Cape Mendocina. As I said, not really a tourist attraction, there is nothing there, but you will be able to say you went to the most westerly point of the 48.

    Spectacular coast though.

    Lifey who remembers it well

  4. Default

    I was about to make the same suggestion but Lifemagician beat me to it. We drive on the right side of the road, and the driver is in the left seat. A northbound trip up the coast puts all the scenery and turnouts on your left. You'll view scenery across the lane of oncoming traffic, the passenger will also be looking across the driver, and you'll have to cross the oncoming lane every time you enter/exit a viewpoint or turnout. So go south down the coast to maximize the scenery and driving enjoyment.

    Astoria to San Francisco is even a popular bike ride -- good chance the wind will be behind you, and the views are better and contending with traffic is easier on the ocean side of the road. Gorgeous scenery when the weather cooperates.

    I've lived in the Willamette Valley (western Oregon) all my life and have done scenic routes all over the state many times. (I also spent a few years in the Bay Area, and made the drive home to Oregon several times each year.) There are tons of things to see and do, depending on what you like. Re the coast, highway 1 through Big Sur (spectacular drive from Carmel to San Luis Obispo), and 101 North through the Redwoods (Avenue of the Giants is a parallel side road that goes through amazing groves of the biggest trees on the planet) are both "musts". The entire Oregon coast is worth the trip -- rugged rocks, sand dunes, fine sand beaches, lots of parks.

    Anything in particular you'd like to know?

    - Bill

  5. Default Top tip!!

    Thanks for your replies guys, it's amazing that people are out there going to the effort to assist a total stranger on their trip!

    First of all that is a great bit of advice with regards to the direction of the trip, I hadn't even really considered that at all but now it seems so obvious! I think that now we will certainly set off inland and drive back down the coast. I didn't think going on a forum would have such an effect on our trip!!

    Avenue of Giants sounds amazing, will be checking that out for sure, any more scenic stuff like that would be great. We've got all the obvious stuff like Santa Cruz, San Fransico, Napa Valley, Big Sur, Gold Beach, etc on the list, but as we get further up the coast into Oregon I just don't really know what's there at all!! Obviously we're going to have fun finding out, but yeah, if anyone has any other top tips for places of natural beauty, good towns to stop in, activities, etc, then please let rip! Any tips for when we're in the bigger cities would be good too. We love music, good food, wine, beer, the arts (god that sounds awful reading that back, but just to give you an idea!!) so any cultural stop offs would be welcomed too.

    Also been looking at taking a detour out to Lake Mono on the way up. Anyone done that? Worth it? It looks totally incredible... I have this problem where I keep looking further and further around the map...

    Thanks again for all your suggestions so far.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Sierra mountains.

    Mono lake is a nice enough place to visit and the 395 is a good drive, you could even detour into Death valley which has a fascinating landscape. Mono lake is also on the doorstep of an absolute gem of a place Yosemite NP, the problem is that the road into Yosemite from Mono lake which is known as the Tioga pass [CA120] will be closed due to the accumulation of winter snows. What this means is that to go to Mono lake would mean missing Yosemite or having to take a big detour around the mountains. To choose between the two, I would go up the West side of the Sierras to Yosemite valley with a possible detour to Sequoia NP, home to the largest living thing on earth, The General Sherman tree. [Redwoods are the tallest but Sequoias have the largest mass].


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