Hello RTA forum!
Thanks for this fantastic resource!
I am moving from Seattle to Atlanta on Dec 1, and considering a long drive from Seattle to Atlanta going down the west coast. Here is my very tentative plan, which I would very much appreciate your advice on: I'd depart Dec 1 and plan to arrive in Atlanta Dec 12. My current route takes me I-5 south to Portland, then turn west to drive along as much of 101 as is feasible, hit San Francisco, more coastal driving along Hwy 1 to Santa Barbara and into LA. Then I head east to Phoenix to visit a friend, turn northward to see Flagstaff and then I-40 through Albuquerque, all the way to Memphis, then I-22/Hwy 78 to Birmingham, I-20 to Atlanta.
Basically, I'm neither wandering along leisurely for this trip, nor am I trying to make the fastest time. I'm trying to see if it's realistic to plan an 11 day trip that's a mix of efficient driving with a few stops to enjoy some highlights.
Here are my main questions:
- Overall, how much time would you allot to this drive, and is 10-11 days feasible? How would you break up your time along this route? I'd like to do some sightseeing (not any city touring, just a few key stops / sights, especially along the Pacific coast and SW portion). Right now, I have a "most scenic" route (hugging 101 in OR and CA and Hwy 1 in CA), and Google Maps gives me 3600 miles. That comes to about 350 miles a day, and I figure I would do some heavier days of 500 miles to allow some time for sights and stops. I also realize that my off-interstate coastal driving will be much slower going. However, you all are far more experienced so any insight is welcome.
- How much is weather a concern in the first couple weeks of Dec, and where? I know that much of the coastal highway along the Pacific is on high cliffs and bluffs, but I don't know much about the climate along the coast -- if snow is a concern there and when. I also understand that there is some high altitude driving around Albuquerque but also don't have a sense of when and where snow starts to be a concern.
- What stretches of the coastal drive from Oregon to southern CA would you consider "essential?" I am guessing that the biggest place I could save time is to cut out some of the coastal driving and head back to I-5. However, I don't want to miss highlights on that route. Also, again, I'm not sure about the climate along that route, so if there are sections that are very likely to be rainy in early Dec, I don't want to waste time not seeing anything on a slower, more dangerous road.
- By the same token, what are your favorite don't-miss sights between Phoenix and Atlanta? I know a lot of old 66 can be on this route and I hear the area around Sedona and Flagstaff are gorgeous. Is my I-40 route a good choice for traversing the southern US?
Thanks in advance.