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Author Topic: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA  (Read 13998 times)

ZLoth

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US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« on: May 29, 2013, 02:52:09 PM »

While my multi-state drive is on indefinite hold, I'm thinking about doing an alternative trip where I do a two-drive via I-5 from Sacramento to Olympia, WA, then take the US-101/CA-1 along the coast to San Francisco, then heading back to Sacramento. As far as I can determine:
  • From Sacramento to Olympia is about 700 miles. Using I-5, I can complete this in two days.
  • From Olympia to San Francisco is about 1,100 miles. At no more than 300 miles per day, I feel I can accomplish this in 4-5 days.
Any suggestions as to places to stop & stay along the US-101?

I'm planning on doing this in July, August, or September. Maybe October, but I have a feeling this may be a bad idea.
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2013, 02:54:51 PM »

if you just want to jet up I-5, you can do that in one day.  it's about 10 hours of driving.

if you want to take two days, I suggest taking some old 99 alignments on the way.  much more interesting!

also, October is not a bad idea at all for the coast route.  in fact, it is better than July because it can get pretty foggy and rainy during the summer.
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2013, 12:18:24 PM »

Don't speed in Port Orford OR.  That town's PD loves to watch the traffic pass through town.

Yelp is your friend.  Use it to figure out where to eat, sleep and shop on the drive.

Rick
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US 101 is THE backbone of the Pacific coast from Bandon OR to Willets CA.  Industry, tourism and local traffic would be gone or severely crippled without it being in functioning condition in BOTH states.

ZLoth

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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2013, 03:04:51 PM »

So, I did a first run of my trip map and see the following:

Day 1: Sacramento, CA to Roseburg, OR
Day 2: Roseburg, OR to Olympia, OR
Day 3: Olympia, WA to Westport, WA on the US-101
Day 4: Westport, WA to Coos Bay, OR
Day 5: Coos Bay, OR to Eureka, CA
Day 6: Eureka, CA to Sacramento, CA

Too aggresive? Too timid? Bad stopovers for the night? I'm budgeting about $250 per day for fuel, food, and lodging.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 03:10:04 PM by ZLoth »
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2013, 03:20:48 PM »

$250!  Wow.  Our room in Arcata is about $80.  Of course gas ain't cheap these days.
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2013, 03:24:00 PM »

You forgot to budget a day to not see Alanland.
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2013, 03:35:24 PM »

your schedule is probably just right between timid and aggressive - but if you decide to speed up a bit, you may end up in Sacramento on day 5. 

btw, 37 sucks hard donkey balls.  you don't want to drive that road at any time, for any reason, ever.  it's a "stupor-two", i.e. a two-lane with a lot of overpasses... and a hard Jersey barrier down the middle.  no passing, so if you get stuck behind some asshat doing 20, then congratulations you're doing 20 the whole way to the end.

I'd recommend 12 instead.  it is slower but you get nice scenery, cute little stores, wine country if you're into that sort of thing, etc.
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2013, 03:56:49 PM »

Should be a fun trip.  Sacramento to Olympia in two days would give you plenty of time.  Possibly a more scenic route on the way north, like I-5 to Weed, US-97 to Yakima, US-12 to Aberdeen.
(If you're doing it on October, check whether the mountain passes are open before committing to US-12.)
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2013, 09:23:13 PM »

btw, 37 sucks hard donkey balls.  you don't want to drive that road at any time, for any reason, ever.  it's a "stupor-two", i.e. a two-lane with a lot of overpasses... and a hard Jersey barrier down the middle.  no passing, so if you get stuck behind some asshat doing 20, then congratulations you're doing 20 the whole way to the end
I assume you are talking about CA-37 AKA Sears Point Road. I've used that road many times to get to North San Francisco.
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2013, 09:46:49 PM »

If it were me, I'd up the mileage each day a bit and take US 97 from Weed to Okanogan and then SR 20 over North Cascades and then ferry it over to the Oly Peninsula, but that's just me.

You're fairly timid on your mileage, but if you like to hike and explore the coast then I think you've got it just right.

$250 a day should give you plenty of budget room to sample the delicious food you'll hit along the route.

If you do kkt's suggestion, which I would also recommend as a detour, do US 97 to US 12 to SR 410 to I-5 (via your freeway of choice)- that might be a good compromise and you'd get to see the incredible beauty that is Chinook Pass. A bit shorter than going all the way up to 20 too.

You definitely want to get to the north coast of the Olympic Peninsula before you head back down 101. Once you're up there, I'd actually suggest taking 112 to 113 instead of just 101, though that's up for debate. Better ocean views/hiking access from 112, but 101 goes through Lake Crescent, which is gorgeous.  The west part of the peninsula down to Aberdeen is fairly boring relative to the rest of your trip- I'd concentrate my exploring efforts for that day on the north coast and east coast and plan on just hustling down west coast.

Westport is neat, and a lot cooler than Ocean Shores in my opinion- probably my favorite west coast Washington town. Good call on spending the night there.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 09:55:42 PM by corco »
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agentsteel53

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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2013, 09:51:10 PM »

btw, 37 sucks hard donkey balls.  you don't want to drive that road at any time, for any reason, ever.  it's a "stupor-two", i.e. a two-lane with a lot of overpasses... and a hard Jersey barrier down the middle.  no passing, so if you get stuck behind some asshat doing 20, then congratulations you're doing 20 the whole way to the end
I assume you are talking about CA-37 AKA Sears Point Road. I've used that road many times to get to North San Francisco.

that's the one.  a terrible road.  invariably some schmuck does half the speed limit and everyone is stuck.
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ZLoth

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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2013, 02:24:21 AM »

What about spending two nights at Roseburg, and using one day to visit Crater Lake?

And here is the twist: Even though I lived in California since 1977, I have never traveled farther north than Mount Shasta. While I have been along the coast of California, that was with the parents in the early 80s. I think things kinda change. Some of this was because I was working full time and going to school part time.
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2013, 04:43:53 PM »

The west part of the peninsula down to Aberdeen is fairly boring relative to the rest of your trip- I'd concentrate my exploring efforts for that day on the north coast and east coast and plan on just hustling down west coast.

I agree, the stretch from Lake Quinault to Hoquiam is not that great.  I'd take the the cutoff south of L. Quinault to Moclips and take SR-109 into Hoquaim.   
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ZLoth

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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2013, 06:20:03 PM »

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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2013, 08:53:24 PM »

Yelp's hotel listing is incomplete - I find myself adding far more new hotels than existing ones. Tripadvisor is probably best for that. (Disclaimer: I do all my reviews on Yelp out of convenience)

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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2013, 09:40:30 PM »

So, I'm checking Yelp for hotels, and here is what I found....

Roseburg, OR - Rose City Hotel, Windmill Inn
Olympia, WA - Phoenix Inn Suites, Red Lion
Westport, WA - Glenacres Historic Inn, Westport Inn
Coos Bay, OR - Captain Jouh's Motel, Bayshore Motel
Eureka, CA - Bayview Morel, Town House Motel

Of course, I still have yet to check AAA.

Charleston and the surrounding area is not the best place to stay in terms of weather and personal safety.  Coos Bay-North Bend motels are not exactly the best but if you are going to stay here, you might as well get off cheaply.  The City Center, Parkside and Itty Bitty Inn are all in northern North Bend with one person check-ins being under $50.  If you want nicer, try the Best Western in downtown Coos Bay.

For breakfast, head to the Pancake Mill no matter where you stay.  They are heads and shoulders above the rest of the breakfast-oriented places in our area.

Rick
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ZLoth

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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2013, 02:36:37 PM »

The mileage difference between Coos Bay and North Bend is minor. Let me check Yelp then.... What about The Mill Casino?

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nexus73

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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2013, 06:02:21 PM »

Coos Bay and North Bend are right next to each other.  In between mileage = 0.

The Mill Casino has a lousy restaurant setup and the rooms are overpriced.

Rick
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2013, 02:53:44 PM »

Since I'm ending up going in late September/early October, I'm skipping Crater Lake and instead heading into Victoria Island. Anyone heard of the Black Ball Ferry?
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2013, 02:12:04 PM »

OK, here is the trip now....
Somehow, something major is happening in Eugene, OR, thus I can't stay there.  :banghead:
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2013, 04:04:14 PM »

Let me provide a second opinion on CA 37. The problematic section is the nine-mile stretch between CA 121 and the western end of the freeway at Mare Island. CA 37 carries freeway-like traffic volumes, but this section is a narrow two-lane cattle chute where you're stuck between a Jersey barrier a few feet to the left and swampland to the right. It probably should be a freeway from Vallejo to Novato, but that's another discussion.

That said, I've driven the length of 37 more times than I care to recall, and the vast majority of times I've sailed through at 65 with no problem. Of course if you get behind a slow truck, you're out of luck; you're stuck. But in my experience, that has been more the exception than the rule. Out of sheer boredom with CA 37, though, my usual route from SF to Sacramento is US 101, CA 121, CA 12, and I-80. It's a little roundabout but a fun romp through the vineyards. CA 12 is undergoing a major construction project between CA 29 and I-80 right now, so that's also two lanes for the time being.

Finally, are you sure you want to drive that much of CA 1 at once? It's beautiful, don't get me wrong—one of the most captivating landscapes in the world—but I think it gets repetitive. Giant redwoods, shore town, hairpin turns, more redwoods, another shore town…over and over for hours. It would be like loving chocolate cake and then proceeding to eat 200 of them on a buffet table. If you get carsick, you'll find yourself heaving by the time it's done. I also think Google is being optimistic at how quickly you can get through that route. There are lots of sections with sharp curves and small towns that need to be taken at about 25.
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agentsteel53

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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2013, 04:12:44 PM »

cattle chute

 :-D

that's even better a term than "stupor-2".  CA-152 between CA-156 and Gilroy can also be described as one.

Quote
vast majority of times I've sailed through at 65 with no problem.

I seem to catch it at bad times.  Saturday morning or early afternoon heading towards the city seems to be a bad time.
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2013, 04:52:19 PM »

* * *
Finally, are you sure you want to drive that much of CA 1 at once? It's beautiful, don't get me wrong—one of the most captivating landscapes in the world—but I think it gets repetitive. Giant redwoods, shore town, hairpin turns, more redwoods, another shore town…over and over for hours. It would be like loving chocolate cake and then proceeding to eat 200 of them on a buffet table. If you get carsick, you'll find yourself heaving by the time it's done. I also think Google is being optimistic at how quickly you can get through that route. There are lots of sections with sharp curves and small towns that need to be taken at about 25.
Not to mention the fact that you risk encountering bicycles at every turn, with some potential for being stuck behind a group until you can find a good passing spot.
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agentsteel53

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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2013, 05:00:17 PM »

I think if you do CA-1 during a weekday, the leisure traffic (bikes, RVs, etc) aren't nearly as bad.

also rural bikes tend not to be all that problematic for me.  they seem to be pretty good about riding multiple file when there is no traffic behind them, and merging down to single file to facilitate passing.
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Re: US-101/CA-1: Olympia, WA to San Francisco, CA
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2013, 11:42:03 PM »

cattle chute

 :-D

that's even better a term than "stupor-2".  CA-152 between CA-156 and Gilroy can also be described as one.

Cattle chute is a single lane with barrier on both sides, typically only seen in a construction zone.

 


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