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Old 11-22-2008, 10:31 PM
 
23 posts, read 88,297 times
Reputation: 14
Default Driving LA to Sac Thanksgiving Eve

Sorry this isn't specifically about LA, but I figured since LA people are pretty car and driving savvy as a whole, someone might be able to help.

I need to drive from LA to Sacramento this coming Wednesday (day before Thanksgiving), and won't be able to set off until ~5:30pm. I already know I'm screwed, because I did this drive a few years ago and it took me 13 hours, but I'm trying to minimize my suffering as much as possible. Last time I took the 5... do you think the 99 might be better? Or if I do take the 5, does anyone know of any frontage roads that I can use to hop on and off the freeway and avoid at least a little traffic?

If it would make a huge difference I'd be willing to delay setting off until 4 or 5am on Thursday - anyone know if this would make a substantial difference?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:50 AM
 
1,020 posts, read 540,877 times
Reputation: 394
One option I have done that works is to take the 395 up to US 50 near Tahoe to and then drop into Sacramento on US 50. You won't have much traffic on the 395, but you might have issues with snow, so check road conditions and the weather report before you do this route. It is further as the crow flies but maybe faster on Thanksgiving if there is no outlook for snow on the day you come up.

On the day before Thanksgiving, the 99 and the 101 is going to be just as screwed up as the 5. What may or may not make sense is to get off the 5 and use highway 33. It runs roughly parallel to the 5. But it depends on how bad traffic is on the 5. 33 is a two lane freeway with stop lights. If fog is bad, its probably not worth doing.

If it were me, and I was planning on driving the 5, I would hold off trying to leave LA until about 9 or 10pm and then just plan on driving all night.
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:57 AM
 
631 posts, read 218,953 times
Reputation: 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by USCMed View Post
Sorry this isn't specifically about LA, but I figured since LA people are pretty car and driving savvy as a whole, someone might be able to help.

I need to drive from LA to Sacramento this coming Wednesday (day before Thanksgiving), and won't be able to set off until ~5:30pm. I already know I'm screwed, because I did this drive a few years ago and it took me 13 hours, but I'm trying to minimize my suffering as much as possible. Last time I took the 5... do you think the 99 might be better? Or if I do take the 5, does anyone know of any frontage roads that I can use to hop on and off the freeway and avoid at least a little traffic?

If it would make a huge difference I'd be willing to delay setting off until 4 or 5am on Thursday - anyone know if this would make a substantial difference?

Thanks for any help.
yes i had to drive to sac for work once and i took 99 and it was much faster than the 5. I drove from the central coast so i took 126 to 5 and merged to 99 and it took me about 7 hours from there, i was traveling around 80 on average though. good luck!

edwardius had some great advice also , leaving later would be a whole lot better traffic wise nomatter the route you take.
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Hot Springs, AR
5,612 posts, read 9,121,773 times
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My in-laws live in Sacramento so I've had to do this drive more times than made me happy. I would strongly suggest leaving about 3 or 4 am you should get to Sac around 10 or 11 am. The 5 while the ugliest and most boring, will be the fastest.
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Old 11-23-2008, 08:39 PM
 
Location: los angeles
5,031 posts, read 7,773,876 times
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Both the 5 & 99 move good in the evening but this time of year tule fog develops in the the Central Valley & it can be very dangerous driving.

Its hard to believe that it took "13" hours to drive from LA to Sacramento!
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:32 PM
 
23 posts, read 88,297 times
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Thanks for all the replies - I appreciate the suggestions, especially edwardius and CESpeed.

happ: I've done this drive many times, and it usually takes around five and a half hours. It was just the one time that I drove it the afternoon/evening before Thanksgiving that took 13 hours. The 5 was pretty much a parking lot the whole way up. I guess if I hadn't experienced it I might've had a hard time believing it too.
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:29 PM
 
Location: los angeles
5,031 posts, read 7,773,876 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USCMed View Post
Thanks for all the replies - I appreciate the suggestions, especially edwardius and CESpeed.

happ: I've done this drive many times, and it usually takes around five and a half hours. It was just the one time that I drove it the afternoon/evening before Thanksgiving that took 13 hours. The 5 was pretty much a parking lot the whole way up. I guess if I hadn't experienced it I might've had a hard time believing it too.
That's a nightmare [once it took me 4 hours to drive to San Diego from LA the day before Thanksgiving! Now I take the train instead.

But seriously, be careful if tule fog develops at night. It should rain also for a few days this week. I am flying into Sacramento & driving up to Chico on Thanksgiving Day.
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:31 AM
 
Location: South Pasadena
557 posts, read 1,516,307 times
Reputation: 289
Take the Bullet Train....oh yeah. Maybe in 20 years.
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Old 11-24-2008, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
5,022 posts, read 9,592,859 times
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I agree with CESpeed. It would be better for you to leave early in the morning on Thanksgiving Day.

I drove from L.A. to Berkeley to pick up my daughter last year at Christmas time, and it was scary. I took the 5, ran into only a little fog, but everyone was doing 80 mph and not leaving much distance between cars. I also saw at least four bad accidents. My daughter and I had lunch, and then she drove us back to L.A. Talk about a long day! We got stuck in traffic where the 580 meets the 5, and it took forever for the traffic to start moving again. This was the day before there was supposed to be a lot of Christmas traffic, too!

There's no doubt in my mind that we need alternatives; one time there was a fire on the 5 in the middle of nowhere, and it was stop and go traffic for about two hours.
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Old 11-24-2008, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Long Beach, CA
2,074 posts, read 7,961,547 times
Reputation: 1559
Leave late at night on Wednesday, or early morning on Thursday.
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