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Author Topic: Looking for advice (Summer 2018 West Coast road trip)  (Read 501 times)

A.J. Bertin

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Looking for advice (Summer 2018 West Coast road trip)
« on: December 12, 2017, 09:42:33 PM »

My husband and I are planning on taking a two-week vacation next summer to the West Coast. We're looking at doing this trip around August 25 through Sept. 8. There is a lot of territory that we want to cover in those two weeks, and we are torn. I'm looking for some advice.

Here's the basic itinerary:
 - Flying from Michigan to Portland, OR
 - Spending 3 days in Portland
 - Driving from Portland to San Francisco
 - Spending maybe 3 days in San Francisco
 - Driving from San Francisco to L.A. and one of the beach cities
 - Spending maybe 3 days in the L.A./beach area
 - Then spending 2 days in Palm Springs before flying home out of LAX.

This is so tricky. Part of me wants to drive along as much of the Pacific Coast as possible (mainly along U.S. 101 and CA 1). However, we know that two weeks with that drive will probably not be enough time. Some people I've talked to say that the Pacific Coast drive north of San Francisco is more breathtaking than the drive along the coast between San Francisco and L.A. but that there are a lot of neat things to see along that stretch as well. I also understand that parts of CA 1 between S.F. and L.A. are closed due to some mudslides that happened either earlier this year or sometime last year, but hopefully by the time we do the drive late next summer, that stretch of CA 1 will be open.

I've never been to L.A., San Francisco, or Portland before - and we have multiple friends in Portland whom we are trying to visit. Ever since I was little, I've wanted to visit San Francisco. Even though San Francisco has a lot to offer, my husband has been there at least once and he says it's nothing terribly exciting - so he's thinking we could probably shed a day there and only spend two, rather than three, days there.

I wish we had more than two weeks, but unfortunately that's not an option. One friend suggested maybe doing I-5 between Portland and northern California and then doing the coast from S.F. to L.A. because, I guess, I-5 is scenic in northern California and Oregon (Mt. Shasta and whatnot). We do have a friend who now lives in Brookings, Oregon, which would make a good case for doing the Pacific Coast drive north of S.F. rather than south of it. But if we did the I-5 portion in Oregon, we could probably divert from I-5 and head over toward Brookings.

We want this trip to be a combination of things: scenic drives, tourist attractions in S.F., L.A., and Palm Springs, and mainly friend visits in Portland with many a few touristy things there too. I fear that we are trying to be too ambitious, but I have a feeling that I/we won't be returning to the West Coast for quite a while after 2018 so we're trying to make the most of it.

I would love any advice folks on here are able to provide... about the drive, about whether we should cut out any days in any of our cities, and so on. Thanks in advance!
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-A.J. from Michigan

Max Rockatansky

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Re: Looking for advice (Summer 2018 West Coast road trip)
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2017, 12:56:43 AM »

Depending on when you're driving the Mud Creek Slide on CA 1 in Big Sur could "possibly" be reopened.  However I would recommend taking CA 1 south out of Monterey up the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road to County Route G14 which will take you to US 101 in Paso Robles.  No California trip is complete without Big Sur unless you stick to the Sierras which are way to the east of where you want to go.  US 101 south of San Francisco is boring, both CA 99 and I-5 are essentially commuter routes.  CA 1 north of San Francisco is nice but it will take a huge amount of time compared to US 101 which is actually very scenic itself.

A.J. Bertin

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Re: Summer 2018 West Coast road trip
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2018, 08:12:03 PM »

Last December I posted a message about how my husband and I are planning on a West Coast road trip this summer. Well, the time of our trip is getting closer. Here's our basic itinerary:
  • Flying from Chicago to Portland on Saturday, Aug. 25
  • Staying in Portland Aug. 25-28
  • Driving to Brookings OR on Aug. 28 and staying overnight
  • Driving to San Francisco along the coast on Aug. 29
  • Staying in San Francisco Aug. 29-Sept. 1
  • Driving along the coast to Pismo Beach CA on Sept. 1 and staying overnight
  • Driving to Palm Springs on Sept. 2
  • Staying in Palm Springs Sept. 2-5
  • Spending time in the L.A. area (including at least one beach town) Sept. 5-8
  • Flying back to Chicago on Saturday, Sept. 8

Somehow we figured out how to make this trip happen and squeeze everything in. I'm not sure why I was so worried about it. Haha!

Does anyone happen to know if CA 1 in Bug Sur has been reopened after the mudslide? I was looking online recently and couldn't find any definitive information on that.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Summer 2018 West Coast road trip
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2018, 08:30:40 PM »

Last December I posted a message about how my husband and I are planning on a West Coast road trip this summer. Well, the time of our trip is getting closer. Here's our basic itinerary:
  • Flying from Chicago to Portland on Saturday, Aug. 25
  • Staying in Portland Aug. 25-28
  • Driving to Brookings OR on Aug. 28 and staying overnight
  • Driving to San Francisco along the coast on Aug. 29
  • Staying in San Francisco Aug. 29-Sept. 1
  • Driving along the coast to Pismo Beach CA on Sept. 1 and staying overnight
  • Driving to Palm Springs on Sept. 2
  • Staying in Palm Springs Sept. 2-5
  • Spending time in the L.A. area (including at least one beach town) Sept. 5-8
  • Flying back to Chicago on Saturday, Sept. 8

Somehow we figured out how to make this trip happen and squeeze everything in. I'm not sure why I was so worried about it. Haha!

Does anyone happen to know if CA 1 in Bug Sur has been reopened after the mudslide? I was looking online recently and couldn't find any definitive information on that.

Its not open yet but it is supposed to open by July the 20th according to Caltrans.  If that's not the case you could take CA 1 south from Monterey to the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road to get back to US 101.  Keep checking this website for the closure updates:

http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/

Duke87

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Re: Looking for advice (Summer 2018 West Coast road trip)
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2018, 12:12:49 AM »

What route are you taking from Portland to Brookings?

There are several neat bridges along US 101. Definitely turn off for the Cape Creek Bridge near Heceta Head if you're going through there.


My dad and I went from Coos Bay, OR to Oakland in a single day down US 101 and CA 1, and that was with a little bit of stopping and gawking at things. You should not have a problem doing it from Brookings.

The CA 1 part of that drive involves a loooot of twisty turny road, though. Scenic, but it's slow going and you will be sick of it by the time you get to the bay area.
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If you always take the same road, you will never see anything new.

A.J. Bertin

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Re: Looking for advice (Summer 2018 West Coast road trip)
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 08:58:48 PM »

What route are you taking from Portland to Brookings?

There are several neat bridges along US 101. Definitely turn off for the Cape Creek Bridge near Heceta Head if you're going through there.


My dad and I went from Coos Bay, OR to Oakland in a single day down US 101 and CA 1, and that was with a little bit of stopping and gawking at things. You should not have a problem doing it from Brookings.

The CA 1 part of that drive involves a loooot of twisty turny road, though. Scenic, but it's slow going and you will be sick of it by the time you get to the bay area.

Thanks for your suggestions and for the information. We actually haven't decided yet on our route from Portland to Brookings. I figure we'll start by heading south on I-5 for a bit, but before too long we'll head over toward U.S. 101.
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