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Old 05-03-2010, 11:52 AM
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What is the best route from Phoenix, AZ to Portland, OR? I was initially thinking of going through California, but I'm not sure that is a good idea since I would have to go through both LA and Sacramento traffic. Also, I've heard there a lot of hills along this route. Perhaps going through Nevada is a better route? Less traffic, less hills? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:58 AM
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
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According to Google Maps, going through Las Vegas and Boise would only take 54 minutes longer. Have you any idea when you would be driving through the LA metro? If you pass west of the 15 after 10AM you probably won't have any traffic, by staying on the 210 with options of the 10 and the 60. Having a GPS with traffic would be very helpful.

Before your trip, look at Sigalert.com Los Angeles Traffic Map during your potential commute times to visualize what LA traffic would be like on your potential routes.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:18 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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What time of yr?
Are you towing something? (afraid of mtns?)
Do you want to see some sights?
If so do 395 all the way.

If you are not keen on Mtns,
Do (flat section of) Nev. to Reno and then rte 395 on north.

Be sure to see enroute
red rock canyon las vegas - Google Search
valley of fire las vegas + images - Google Search
http://www.google.com/images?um=1&hl..._rfai=&start=0 (great Basin NP)
lassen national park+ images - Google Search
http://www.google.com/images?um=1&hl...pell=1&start=0(crater Lake)
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Old 05-03-2010, 01:12 PM
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Thanks for the replies. We are leaving in Mid-may. Our car doesn't do mountains/hills very well. So, looking to avoid those as much as possible. Also, we have no plans to do anything scenic. Just looking to get there using the fastest route (factoring in traffic).
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Old 05-04-2010, 03:30 AM
Location: Texas
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The only way you're going to get to Portland without going through the mountains is the US-395 route, but it gets pretty desolate up there. You can cut off at Alturas, CA and go over through Klamath Falls, but that puts you up in a high mountain valley from which you'll have to come down somewhere and it can be a pretty long downgrade. For instance, from Bend, OR down to Eugene is something like 19 miles downhill. And, most of that route is 2-lane.

If speed is your objective, here's what you do. You won't avoid all mountains or urban areas, but you will skip Los Angeles.

Go west out of Phoenix on I-10 about a hundred miles to the Vicksburg Rd exit. Get off and make a right. Stay on that road until it deadends into AZ-72. Make a left and follow it straight on through Parker and across the river into California. Watch your speed through Parker and note that the city limits sign is 7 or 8 miles out into the desert, long before you can even see the place.

Once you cross the river, the road becomes CA-82. When you clear the bug-check station at Vidal Jct, make a right and go up US-95 to Needles, CA. There's a pretty long downgrade into Needles, but it's nothing to worry about.

From Needles, go west on I-40. You immediately start climbing a pretty long grade, but it's not too steep until the last couple of miles. If you want to go around it, take the US-95 exit and head north to the railroad tracks. Make a left right there and follow that little road around through Goffs. You'll come back to I-40 in about 30 miles. It's farther, but you have no hills to climb. However, if your car won't handle that little grade, it surely won't handle Siskyous Pass later on.

Stay on I-40 to Barstow and take CA-58 west toward Mojave and Bakersfield. It's all 4 lane. When you reach the little town of Tehachapi, you start down hill to Bakersfield. It's about 40 miles, but it's a rolling downhill with none of the grades over 3 or 4 miles long. You won't have any trouble. Look carefully to the left just as you start off the top and you can see the Tehachapi Loop, the only place in America where a train makes a complete 360 and passes under itself.

At Bakersfield, don't stay on CA-58 over to I-5. There's a lot of red lights that way. Instead, go north on the CA-99 freeway a couple of miles and get off at 7th Standard Rd. You'll exit right and come to a stop light. Turn left there and follow it out to I-5. There are a few stop signs that way, but no urban congestion. Watch your speed.

Once you get on I-5 north, you're home free all the way to Portland. Yes, you'll have to go through Sacramento, but it won't be a big deal. And, yes, you'll have some hills in the Lake Shasta area and one big mountain right on the Oregon line, Siskyous Pass. It's about 6 miles up and 6 miles down but, since you don't indicate you're pulling a trailer, it should be OK.

After that, there are some short climbs in the Grants Pass region, but it levels out pretty well after that.

I used to go that way in a big truck all the time and if I could do it with that, you won't have any trouble with a car.
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