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  1. Default Seattle to Anaheim - first road trip with my little brother!

    I am so excited! My brother and I are taking our first ever vacation together since I was 12 and he was 8. We've decided to go to Disneyland, which is where that previous vacation was so long ago. We're making it into a road trip, and are driving from Seattle to Anaheim.

    I've been to Disneyland many, many times, and have driven there with my husband twice. However, this is the first time I will have to do the driving! My brother isn't old enough because we'll be going down in a rental car. I am pretty nervous, as I am, shall I say, directionally challenged. I realize that I just take I-5 South, until I hit Anaheim, but we'd like to stop some fun places on the way.

    So what I'd like to hear from anyone are some good, fun stops on the way. Also, we're thinking about camping overnight to save a few $$ (he's still in college and I'm buying a house) so if anyone knows a great place to do so, let me know!

    Any advice about making this a fun, memorable experience for the both of us would be great! Also any advice about making it in once piece. :) My husband is flying down and meeting us when we arrive in Anaheim - I'd like to make sure I'm there to meet him!

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default A road traveled many times

    Welcome to the Forum!

    The I-5 (pan-am hwy) route between Seattle and Southern California, is, as I'm sure most are aware by now, a route I have traveled many times.

    Most of them were speed-runs (even to Disneyland), so I don't remember seeing any increadibly fun places to visit along the way that aren't too much of a detour.

    You can EASILY make the trip in 2 days. When ever I have made the trip, I have either stopped in Yreka, CA or Redding, CA. I can tell you the Motel 6 in Yreka is inexpensive, clean, and safe. That way you can save a few bucks, but still have a bed to sleep in and a shower (which definately is something you'll want after driving all those miles).

    As far as making it in one peace, check with you rental car company to make sure they offer some sort of roadside assistance. If they don't, see if your insurance does, or join an auto club like AAA.

    If you're into sight seeing, you could take a side trip to Crator Lake, or take US 101/ the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) all the way down. The towns along the way (not to mention the views in the Big Sur area) are great sightseeing areas!

    If you're afraid of getting lost if you stray too far from the Pan-Am/I-5, i'd say find a way to make the trip itself fun. A camera, some rolls of film, and a good imagination could fill a scrapbook. It doesn't hurt to throw in some good music too.

    If theres anything else I could help with, just ask!

  3. Default

    Thanks Brad!

    I have a question about the motel 6. How clean is it? I am kind of a hotel snob, and so I would almost rather camp than stay in an icky hotel room.

    I actually like Yreka, isn't it that quaint sort of old mining town? I think we usually get gas there when we've driven down before.

    About how many hours is it, drive time? How long would a side trip to crater lake take?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Low-cost motels aren't necessarily icky!

    Greetings Keurigirl. Sounds like you and your little bro are going to have a great time.

    Fancy, expensive hotels have their place. Believe me, I like to be pampered once in awhile, too. This weekend, I'm going to a fancy shindig at the Bellevue Westin. I will enjoy every moment of it's elegance.

    But, on a road trip, this type of expense seems like a total waste of bucks to me. If you're rolling into the hotel fairly late in the evening and just want to hit the sack, shower, and go early the next morning, why pay more? I have stayed at Motel 6, Super 8, Day's Inn, Budget Inn, and inexpensive mom-and-pop motels numerous times. In all that time, I have only refused to take the room once due to not seeming clean. Most hotels in these chains take great pains to be clean and safe. If you decide to stay at one, you should be fine.

    I actually prefer camping but I usually only camp if I'm stopping early enough in the evening to enjoy the campground experience a bit before climbing into the sleeping bag for the night. If I'm getting someplace really late, especially if it's after dark, I usually go the inexpensive hotel route. It's a pain putting up a tent at night and fellow tenters, who are often already in bed, don't appreciate the noise you're making while doing this. But if I'm stopping early enough, putting up the tent feels great because it really works the kinks out from the drive. A walk also feels great after driving all day. It's far more fun to walk around a campground, check out the camping rigs and the views, and maybe chat a bit with other campers. Unless your hotel has a fitness center or pool still open that you can exercise in, you're often limited to just walking around a parking lot. Bah! What fun is that?

    That's my 2 bits and something for you to consider as you plan your trip. Anyway, stay in whatever type of place you prefer and will make the trip fun for you. I stayed at the Motel 6 in Yreka last April and it was clean, safe, and a good value.

    Seattle to Anaheim is 1165 miles. Redding is almost exactly half-way so it makes a relatively good stopping point. However, I prefer to drive more the first day. When I have made this speed run from the coast of Washington to Anaheim, I typically drive to Manteca or Tracy. It's just over 800 miles to Manteca. These towns are just south of Stockton. This means I have to drive about 11 hours the first day but only 6 the next day as it's only about 360 to Anaheim that day. And this means I can get into my Anaheim hotel early enough in the day to enjoy the pool, walk around and get the kinks out, maybe go play mini-golf or something, and then get to bed early so I can hit the park early and be in the line at the rope to run like heck to Space Mountain!!

    I would plan about 17-18 hours total to drive this. That does NOT include time for sightseeing, food, gas, stretch, bathroom stops. If you don't do any sightseeing and just make quick stops for these other matters, then you'll probably be on the road about 20 hours. Obviously, if you really plan to sightsee along the way, you will have two very long days, or might even want to add a third day for the trip.

    If time is of the essence, don't drive down on the coast. It's one of the most beautiful drives in the US, imho. But it's also 2-lane, windy, with little opportunity to pass slower vehicles. This route is best enjoyed when you have time to appreciate it. It's not for a speed run.

    As for being "directionally challenged"....since you're the driver, make your brother be the navigator. Problem solved.

    If you veer off to see Crater Lake, you will go through some remarkable scenery. This will only add about 60 miles to your trip (not counting the miles you will drive at the lake itself). If you have time, this detour will totally be worth it. The lake is breath-taking. I would suggest taking Hwy 58 just south of Eugene, OR. This takes you through the beautiful Willamette National Forest. Hwy 58 will merge with Hwy 97. Take 97 South to Crater Lake. After enjoying the lake, take Hwy 97 South to Weed, CA.

    I would really consider adding that extra day if you're going to make this detour to Crater Lake.

    You might do a search for other discussions about this topic for ideas on things to do along the way. The only things that are popping into my mind right now are the Oregon Gardens and the Oregon Vortex. But there's lots more. I'll write more later if I think of something else.

    Have a wonderful trip!

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