Road trip from Bellinghan WAshington to Los Angeles CA-
My family and I are planning a long drive from Bellingham WA to L.A. We intend to stay about 3 days in LA. Any advise please email me or post it here. I will driving a dodge caravan with my wife and 21 yr old son. This is our first long drive through USA.
Some people say that I can drive all the way to the Oregon border, rest & sleep there, then proceed to LA the next day. Is that doable?
1200 miles in two days?
The shortest possible route between those cities is 1227 miles, if you were to drive non-stop it would require nearly 23 hours. So yes, technically it can be done in two days, but they will be very long days. Is it absolutely essential for you to cover that much ground that quickly?
Trip to LA
If you don't take the time to travel the Oregon and California coast you will be missing some of the most spectacular scenery in the States. The coast of Washington iis not developed. This is not a bad thing but more to see on Oregon coast.
If you are anxious to get to LA fast, you can easily do it in 2 days. I have regularly driven from my home on the Olympic Peninsula to LA in 2 days down I-5 with an overnight stop in Willow, CA. Averaging 65mph, it should take you about 19.5 hours to get to LA.
I know there's different ways that people like to travel. If you have time, I agree that a trip down the coastline is the best. But, if you're anxious to get to LA, there's no reason you can't do it in two days.
Here's what I might suggest and is very similar to what I have done several times:
Leave Bellingham at 5am...I mainly suggest this in order to get through the clogged I-5 corridor, especially Seattle, before the morning rush hour traffic hits, and drive to Willow, CA. I've stopped there several times. It's a small town with several decent hotels. You should get there around 8:30 per MS Streets & Trips if you average 65mph. But, actually, you should get in earlier since most of the highway south of Olympia and through Oregon is 70-75mph limit. I have also allowed you to stop for 60 minutes every 4 hours so this day includes 3 hours of rest breaks. It's really not a bad day of driving, if you like to drive, that is.
Leaving Willow at 6am will get you into LA at about 2pm...the beauty of this is that you will avoid any rush hour traffic on your way to your final hotel destination. This also includes a 60-minute stop along the way for a breakfast or lunch break while on the road. If you skip this, you can get into LA easily by 1pm. Also, this is figured at 65mph and most people drive this route closer to 80-85mph so, if you drive the flow of the traffic, you could easily hit LA by Noon.
One thing I really like about this route and start/stop times is that you get into LA with time to check into your hotel and relax by the pool, etc. for the rest of the day if you choose. This gives you ample time to rest up for your sightseeing and other vacation fun the next day.
And, if you're going to any of the parks (Disneyland, etc.), then the best time for rides is also early in the morning so you can get to bed early and be up and ready to hit the rides before the rest of the crowds get there. And, by now, you're used to getting up early, too.
If you're doing the same blitz on the way home, I would suggest the following:
When I leave LA, I like to check out of my hotel, do my last day of sightseeing, and around 7pm or so, after rush hour traffic has died down, start heading north with plans of stopping in Buttonwillow (about a 2 hour drive).
Leave Buttonwillow at around 6am and drive to Roseburg, OR, arriving about 6:30pm. Again, this day has time for about 2 hours total of rest breaks throughout the day for meal and other pit stops.
If you leave Roseburg early (around 6am again), you will get to Bellingham at about 2pm (allowing for a 1-hour meal stop along the way). If you're like me, you probably need to go to work the next day. This gives you plenty of time to unpack, relax, and get to bed early for work the next day.
I know some people would hate this but, for me, it's fun and quick. Of course, if you're planning on sightseeing down I-5 on the way down/back, you'll need to make some major adjustments.
Thanks to all you nice guys who helped us plan our first American Interstate trip. It was doable as Mark advised and I-5 is the best route if you want to reach Los Angeles in so short a time. Here is how we did it.
Day One: South bound: I-5 from Coquitlam B.C.(35 kms east of Vancouver B.C.)
Drove all the way to Portland,Oregon 487 kms/305 miles (filled up gas and had breakfast, pitstop was about 60 minutes)
Proceeded to Ashland (after Medford Or)drove total 463 kms/289 miles
First day Southbound:
Total driving hours including pitstop 10 hours 45 minutes
Total distance driven 950 kms/594 miles
Day TWO: Southbound still route I-5
Drove to Lodi-Flag City CAlifornia past Sacramento 534 kms/334 miles-pitstop one hour-food and gas
Proceed driving to Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles-579 kms/262 miles
Total drive Day two: 1,113 kms/696 miles; time driven imncluding pitstop 11 hours 25 minutes
Total southbound hours driven 21 hours 45 minutes
Hope this helps those who want to make same trip.
There are rest areas along the way. They were all neat and well maintained. The trip was so enjoyable and was all worth the drive. We did the same thing northbound.
mackdoy & family
Gald you had a good time!
While I-5 isn't the most scenic drive down there and back, it does still offer new scenery and interesting sites. I'm glad the blitz drive worked for you and that you had a good time. What did you do while you were there? Any good hints to share?