Los Angeles to Portland Oregon
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Oct 31, 2012 10:13 AM Last Post By: travellingtrixie
Oct 29, 2012 10:19 PM
We're artistic, musicians, lovers of the outdoors. Camping is a strong possibility although we're not tied to that. I may be bringing my furry, friendly (big) dog along as well. In terms of camping, we typically prefer less populated sites. We'll probably be driving a 4 wheel drive vehicle too. We're the kind of people that would drive a couple hours out of the way to stop in a small town, visit a local theater or a museum if we've heard some quirky story on the place.
Any and all suggestions are welcome. We are moderately familiar with the route(s) although we'd love some input. Some ideas I've had: Big Sur, Monterey, maybe a stop at Esalen for some kind of middle-of-the-night hot springs I hear whispers about. ?
Enough about California, what say you about Oregon?
Big thanks to all who read and respond. Travel wishes and regards,
Oct 30, 2012 12:38 AM
1You need to accommodate geographic reality. A week isn't anywhere close to enough time. Don't take my word for it, even though I've driven the length of the coast so many times that I long ago lost count. Instead, consult an atlas, or MapQuest, or Google, and then do the math. You'll see.
L.A. to Portland is a boring 2,000 mile drive on I-5. Unless you're on a tag-team marathon, that's four punishing days without seeing much of anything. If you take Hwy. 1 and U.S. 101 in one direction and I-5 back, you will barely have enough time to do the drive in a week, without much time to stop at Esalen or anywhere else. And I haven't even mentioned the very real probability of trip-slowing rain and/or snow in late November and early December.
Either add a week or change your plans.
Oct 30, 2012 3:19 AM
2Agree with willy - with that short of time you're going to meet yourself coming and going.
If you HAVE to take this trip, rather than doing it simply for pleasure, then I guess you could marathon drive to Portland in a boring, grueling 20-hour campaign in order to leave a day or two for visiting Portland before the grueling, boring marathon drive back.
Oct 30, 2012 8:29 AM
3Google maps shows 16+ hours for I-5 and 18+ hours for 395N routing. Baring weather related delays this is about the best you will get time wise and scenic beauty as well. I will suggest stops in Mt Shasta, Stewart Mineral Springs outside of Weed CA and Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon. Check their websites for more info.
Oct 30, 2012 10:07 AM
4I appreciate everyone's input. Odd, I wasn't really phased knowing the trip is about 16-18 hours. I suppose I grew up in the belly of the midwest, driving crazy distances from the time I got my driver's license as anything and everything interesting was at least two states away. :)
We may be able to add a day or a couple. I'd really like us to get off the time issue and just (for fun!) suggest some favorite spots to stop at. I would love to hear of your experiences in this beautiful stretch of the US.
Thanks very much.
Oct 30, 2012 10:30 AM
5LA to Portland is actually 963 miles, so double that for a return trip. I assume that is what willysnout meant? I've done the drive from Bend to LA in two days, but they were two fairly long days. So, I would think if you had eight days you could take four to get up there, four to get back. It wouldn't be perfect, but it would be somewhat tolerable. Admittedly, my trip was done on the fastest possible route with almost no detours, so of course I could go faster.
The weather is pretty crappy in Oregon in November, but state parks will be open. You can look into getting a spot in one of the yurts, which is what my husband and I did when we went to the coast in February (talk about shitty weather) and we stayed warm and dry at night.
Ahh... forget the yurts with the dog. There are some dog-friendly yurts but usually only one per state park and you need to reserve them six months in advance.
Edited by: travellingtrixie
Oct 30, 2012 10:39 AM
6It's two long days each way via I-5. Via the scenic route, it's at least four days in each direction. (L.A. to S.F.; S.F. to Mendocino; two days from Mendo to Portland.) And that's without lingering anywhere. It's impossible to give meaningful advice to someone who says, "let's get off the time issue." Not only that, but the OP has reached out and picked what's probably the single worst time to take this road trip, given the weather realities en route.
Oct 30, 2012 9:39 PM
7We are currently in LA after having just done this trip down the #1 and #101. We left Portland two weeks ago. We'll spend a few days in LA then head back north again, total trip 4 weeks.
So, traveling the scenic route along the coast (via places like Big Sur and the beachside state parks) it was actually 1500 miles one way. We've been averaging about 200 miles a day and feeling like we've been traveling TOO fast since there has not been nearly enough time walk the beaches or small towns as we'd of liked.
So the idea of doing this route back and forth in one weeks strikes me as nuts. Hwy #1 and 101 (at times you have to revert back to 101 when #1 disappears) are twisty and turny, up and down. There are lots of spots where there have been landslides and the road is under reconstruction so it goes to one lane and you spend time sitting and waiting. Which is all to say, you cannot fly down #1 at 70 mph. And if you toss in some time to stop and walk the beach, stop in a small town for coffee, set up camp ...200 miles a day is fast.
Oct 30, 2012 10:45 PM
8I do truly thank those that felt like responding. But let me state my peace, people.
I can't help but be aggravated with some of the attitude I'm detecting here. I wanted to gain some useful, fun info on favorite spots to see, places to camp. Wanted to hear YOUR voices, your experiences, what inspired and changed you guys.
It's clear that this thread has not borne fruit quite of that flavor. People feel very strongly about my misconception of the length of the trip and really want to beat that into my silly little head. Anyway, I thought I playfully addressed all of this in my last post. I was disappointed and rather annoyed to see more of the same scolding.
I suppose it's my irresponsible, travel-whim gene speaking. I would like to know about the inspiring sh@t first, then think about planning days and miles to drive. I wanted to use this platform to exchange personal accounts and recommendations. I'm trying to sit all of us down, skip the boring math homework and get right to the after-school gossip and story-telling.
I realize this isn't going to be met with a flood of support, so yeah. I'm bracing for the backlash, but can I paaahhh-leeease plead with you, just don't reply if that's what you're feeling (irony noted). :)
Oct 31, 2012 1:41 AM
9There is plenty of "after school gossip and story telling" in that FAQ that you didn't bother to read. Look at the sticky at the top of the USA branch that starts off with the words, Do your homework and then mentions the FAQ. Wow, who knew?
The amateur experts on this branch can be pretty helpful, but we do tend to prefer dealing with actual travelers, not virtual wannabes. We aren't grade school kids here to amuse a patronizing yet bumbling teacher who isn't quite as charming as she imagines. That "math homework?" It's a basic requirement before ever turning the car key. Once you do decide to get out on the road for yourself, you'll learn this and a bunch else. Be sure to let us know when that happens, will you? Thanks.
Oct 31, 2012 8:10 AM
10I am shocked at the negativity of this thread, particularly this willy character. As someone who has traveled through well over 20 countries in Europe, Asia, the MIddle East, US and Mexico, I am not one of your "Virtual Wananbes" and I see no problem with hotsticks trip.
I have driven from Canada to Mexico and back in 10 days, (we started with Victoria, BC --> San Diego in 29 straight hours) So, I can understand the desire to just go and see how far you can get. Yes, it's not enough time, but who cares, We're all in the world to have a little fun and see how far we can get. On my trip to Mexico, I saw the I5 and nothing else, but that trip has led me to give it another go and try the trip again.
Which leads me to the point of my response. I am driving from Canada to Mexico starting later this week, and I came here looking for some info on Portland. I have gotten nothing but negativity, and it sucks. Who cares if someone else's trip is not your trip, we all just need a little help. Don't criticize someone for trying to get out and see the world.
Oct 31, 2012 9:25 AM
11gwen, I once drove 825 miles in a single stretch from Eugene, Oregon to Santa Monica. I drove from Forsyth, Montana to St. Paul, Minnesota (750 miles) in a day, and from Boone, N.C., to Boston (almost 900 miles) in a day. Can these things be done? Yep, they sure can. But if you look at the OP's inquiry, and then think about it, it's immediately apparent that her plan is nonsensical, and that she is disdainful of the well-founded advice she was given along those lines.
At least from my own standpoint, I didn't get my back up about any of it until the OP responded with a plea to "get off the time issue." The OP wasn't asking about how to do a marathon trip just to see how far she could get. The OP made it clear that she wanted to take a leisurely trip, or at least to do what is commonly done on such a trip -- but at a decidedly unleisurely pace, and at exactly the wrong time of year for the trip she's got in mind. And several of us told her so.
Upon further examination of her posts here, it strikes me that she's quite possibly not intending to travel at all, but wanted to simply get us all talking about a coastal roadtrip. I can understand her impulse, but there's a lot of that in the FAQ. In the travel threads themselves, people here will joke around the edges, but completely theoretical inquires are usually met with skepticism. Rejection of well-founded advice to consider the practicalities isn't often a great way to ingratiate one's self with the TT's experienced travelers. Sorry, but this branch isn't the travel equivalent of, say, a fantasy baseball website.
I, for one, feel nothing to apologize for in my responses in this thread.
Oct 31, 2012 10:02 AM
12Willy, you don't know me. This strikes me as a really unfortunate case of online dissonance. People feeling free to cast judgment and make snarky remarks when they sit cooly at their computer.
Please, I beg of you, just don't respond if you feel like more shaming. I am using this travel forum as a place to exchange ideas. For example, I mentioned the mysterious hot springs at Esalen Institute. That would be a great topic to get some bites on- to see where it took us.
Just to pad my travel fred (which I never thought I would need to do), I've been to China many times, all over Europe, South and Central America, and have lived in Haiti and Australia. I actually DO make trips happen.
My boyfriend is more of the logistics guy on this one. I wanted to get my feelers out for travel suggestions here. Instead I was met with hostility. All I can say is, dude, put some more positivity into the world, even when it's the silly web. This sh#t is not good for anyone.
Thank you so much Gwen, I feel an actual, real human connectivity from you. I applaud that.
To everyone else, it stinks but I'm going to need to bow out of my Lonely Planet forum. It's not for me. I'm not going to see it as being "bullied" out, but just taking a breath and moving on. And traveling, forward.
Oct 31, 2012 10:13 AM
OK, well, my experience is that it is a long, dull drive down I-5 and you'll be exhausted. I stopped one night in Berkeley/San Francisco, spent the morning doing some work at a coffeeshop in SF and then headed straight to LA via US 101, cut across to Bakersfield and then straight to Lancaster, which was my actual final destination. Every time I thought I was almost there, I wasn't. I wanted to stop at a couple Missions or wineries in Paso Robles but I really didn't have time.
On the way back I stopped for the night in Sonoma which was great but I had enough time to get dinner and taste wine in Santa Rosa, then the next morning I was off. It took some time to get back to I-5 (beautiful drive through Napa, no time to stop) then I hit terrible traffic (due to an accident) in the mountains. That set me back a couple hours and I finally got back to Bend just as it was getting dark. (in summer)
That was a one week trip with one day in Pasadena and two in Lancaster (visiting my sister). That is about what you can expect on a one week trip. You could just substitute a couple other places en route (Redding? Medford? Eugene? Portland? Take your pick.)
What changed me? Well, next time I won't go alone and I'll give myself at least two weeks so I can see something. And if I just need to get to LA, I'll fly.
I liked Sonoma. Actually, I loved it but with about a week to travel I had no time to stop and taste wine or anything.
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