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  1. Default Las Vegas to Seattle via Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland

    This is my first time posting on the forum but I have been an avid reader of the site and forums while planning my trip. This site is fantastic! I think I have almost got everything worked out and I hoped perhaps someone more experienced could cast an eye over my suggested route and timings? I have got these timings from Google Maps.

    We are travelling late April to early May this year, we are renting a car, there’s just the two of us in our 30s from Britain, we are fairly adventurous but would like to stay somewhere reasonably clean and comfortable each night. Only one of us drive so we will be unable to share the driving.

    We would rather travel on smaller more scenic routes up the coast unless there are areas that are nothing special and worth skipping. However we also want to have a nice time with enough time to stop several times a day to explore/have lunch/etc. We plan on starting off each day around 9am and getting to our destination before 6pm.

    This is our suggested itinerary:

    Las Vegas to Los Angeles:
    Las Vegas to Death Valley - 3 hours (Stay the night)
    Death Valley to Los Angeles - 5 hours (Stay three nights)

    Los Angeles to San Francisco:
    Los Angeles to Big Sur – 6 hours (Stay the night)
    Big Sur to San Francisco – 3 hours (Stay three nights)

    San Francisco to Portland:
    San Francisco to Mendocino via Napa or Point Reyes – 4 hours (Stay the night)
    Mendocino to Gold Beach – 6 hours (Stay the night)
    Gold Beach to Yachats – 5 hours (Stay the night)
    Yachats to Portland – 3 hours (Stay two nights)

    Portland to Seattle:
    Portland to Seattle – 3 hours
    (Was wondering if it’s worth our while to make a detour to Columbia River Gorge?)

    After staying in Seattle two nights we will then get the train on to Vancouver as we hear the drop-off fee when you leave the car over the border is large so we will leave the car in Seattle.

    My worries are:
    Are the driving days too long?
    Will we get bored of the coast??
    We will be mainly on 101, as a tourist is this the best route to take?

    Thanks very much for any help and advice you can give.

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

    Default Looks good

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've come up with a very reasonable plan. I will caution you that some of your drive times are a little optimistic (very common when you are getting your times from a computer), however, each of your days are still going to be reasonable.

    I don't know that I've ever heard anyone say they were bored of the coast, but that is only one of many options in this part of the country. There are lots of things inland too, like Yosemite, Sequoia, or Crater Lake just to name a few, but there is no "best" just lots of good options.

    You should note that for much of the trip CA-1 is actually the coast highway, not US-101.

  3. Default

    Hi Michael

    Thank you for your reply, I am glad it looks reasonable! That is a relief. I will add on more time to our estimations.

    And sorry for the typo, yes you are right, we will be on the CA-1 for most of it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Agreed.

    If your timing works out well then I would say a diversion along the Columbia river Gorge would be worth it for sure. I agree that your trip is reasonable but as well as the drive time, it is amazing how much time you can soak up with 'small' stops such as to Point Reyes or a good example would be Mendocino to Gold Beach where you have Humboltd Redwoods State park and Redwoods NP that you could explore on the way.

    Some times it is worth 'pinching' a little time to get ahead and LA and SF are examples where instead of staying at each on night 3 you could get a couple of hours 'head start' in the afternoon/evening which will also mean avoiding having to get up at the crack of dawn to avoid the rush hour, or sitting in rush hour traffic to start your day. Just a thought.

  5. Default

    Hi Dave

    Thanks for the advice. That's a really great idea about setting out the afternoon before to avoid the rush hour traffic in the big cities. I am going to discuss this with the person I'm travelling with to see if we can do that. We'd hate to spend hours stuck in traffic when we could be already a little way up the coast.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    For example, you could leave LA in the afternoon (recommend EARLY) and get the traffic out of the way and spend the night in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, or San Luis Obispo. You could leave SF in the afternoon and stay in Bodega Bay or one of many towns on 101 such as Santa Rosa - or even in Napa. It's only an hour or so from SF to Napa.

  7. Default

    Thanks glc for the advice, this is definitely something we are considering now. Staying overnight in Napa is sounds like a good idea and we are trying to decide where we like the look of up the coast from LA.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'd recommend Santa Barbara or Solvang.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A little farther?

    If you left early PM before the traffic begins to build as suggested by glc earlier, you could possibly set your sights as far as Pismo beach, but you would be looking at a 4 hour or so drive. The bonus would be more time up and around Big Sur.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Of course. My recommendations were based more on nice/interesting places to stay rather than logistics. Santa Maria and SLO aren't anywhere near as charming. Pismo Beach and Morro Bay are beach towns.

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