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Old 11-11-2019, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Oregon Coast
10,702 posts, read 5,037,634 times
Reputation: 14918

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stealheadrun23 View Post
Is that something you would recommend? This was a possibility I was considering.
You basically have two options, I-5 or US-101. Well actually you have a third option too, US-395/US-97. But that would be the worst possible option. So for the other two, I-5 is the most direct route, but you are in the mountains. US-101 is the longer route, but it's at or near sea level the entire way. If you were coming from the SF Bay Area, I would say, go ahead and take highway 101. But since you are coming from LA, I don't think that option makes sense. You would probably have to take I-580 through the East Bay and North Bay. The traffic on that route would be a nightmare, and would add at least three hours to you trip, and on top of that you would have to pay a $6 bridge toll for no good reason. So just take I-5, unless the interstate is closed. In which case take whatever detour is necessary. That's my advice.
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Old 11-12-2019, 12:03 AM
 
Location: Vancouver, WA
6,574 posts, read 14,415,191 times
Reputation: 7698
Fly, fly, fly. There's no better choice than that.

Derek
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Old 11-12-2019, 02:00 AM
 
Location: NNV
3,434 posts, read 2,616,578 times
Reputation: 6635
Fly from Long Beach to Portland on JetBlue. Long Beach is not a crowded airport.
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Old 11-12-2019, 03:20 AM
 
Location: Vancouver, WA
6,574 posts, read 14,415,191 times
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If you really want to do a crazy west coast road trip from LA to PDX, do it right. Go in spring, summer or fall when it's actually much nicer and will be more enjoyable. But driving in the winter with the potential for snow, ice and looong, slow detours just seems like a lot of unnecessary pain, time and effort when you could get there easily in a few hours on a quick hop. All that gas may cost more than the plane tickets especially if you can nab discount flights. Then rent a cheap car or use uber.

Derek
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:56 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
29,221 posts, read 48,677,940 times
Reputation: 35532
Left coast
Northbound inland
Southbound Coast

MUCH safer.

January can present road condition challenges (each route) but not impossible, might need to wait a day or two if conditions get bad.

I don't like driving in coastal freezing fog.

I don't mind the snow. A neighbor drives LA > PDX 3x / week for SWIFT. I have done 40+ yrs of CDL work (Truckdiving). The only problem is the other drivers. There are some real nuts out there.

I have done many winter driving trips to LA / AZ / TX to drive the moving vans of PNW refugees fleeing to the south. We have never been weather delayed. (yet). I had to use 'drag chains' on the trailer last moving trip from my home in Columbia Gorge to LAX. By the time we got to Portland (16 miles) it was clear sailing for next 2500 miles.
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Unhappy Valley, Oregon
1,083 posts, read 797,099 times
Reputation: 1903
I would just fly.

There is almost no upside to driving except maybe a little more cost and having a car while you are up here. Your car is probably not equipped for winter driving and you presumably don’t have much winter driving experience. Portland is extremely good for public transit. They also have buses you can take to the coast or mountains.

Last edited by cornsnicker3; 11-12-2019 at 08:01 AM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 11-12-2019, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
10,924 posts, read 18,930,802 times
Reputation: 7977
While Amtrak would be scenic it would likely be more expensive than flying. January driving over the Siskiews(sp) is often a nightmare. Take our light-rail train, the MAX, from the airport. You will find car rentals cheaper in Beaverton, that cost is determined by where you pick up your car not where you drop it off.

IMHO January is not the best time to visit. Snow is not uncommon and Portland drivers do not handle it well.
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Old 11-14-2019, 04:54 PM
 
485 posts, read 460,008 times
Reputation: 883
I've driven San Diego to Seattle and Seattle to San Diego so many times I can't count for the last 16 years and through all seasons . I usually go to San Diego or Sacramento at least 4x a year - family is in SoCal and NorCal. I go for Xmas almost every year, and I always drive.

I always take I-5 (once took 99 just to see, never again - too slow, too much traffic). I have two cars, one AWD and one weeny "road trip" car that I don't take in the winter across the Siskiyous. You could run into real snow crossing from Redding to Ashland (as other posters mentioned), but anywhere north through Oregon can also be snowing, but most non-AWD cars are fine on the freeway even in the snow. Usually. The weather is easy to track, and you can know in advance if there's going to be snow. The only problem is the return. You won't have an idea of the weather conditions on your way back unless you're only going to stay a day or two.

With my AWD vehicle, I've never had problems in any snow conditions I've encountered over the years - and that includes crossing the Cascades on I-90 over to Spokane, where there can be seriously heavy snowfall. I'm from SoCal, so when I moved up to WA, I figured out quick how to drive in snow because those first years after the move, I missed home a lot, so I drove home a lot. It's not all that bad. In fact, you might have to worry more about the Grapevine than the Siskiyous because they seem to close the Grapevine down when it snows so often!

I enjoy the drive, and if it's a fun trip with friends, you guys can have fun doing this, esp if you're all from non-snowy, warm-ish places. It's a totally new adventure, and it's not very daunting at all. People can be really scared...I'm no daredevil. I don't drive fast in snow. But I do like a bit of a challenge, so take it all with a grain of salt. However, it is very true that the summit can be closed for a time, a few hours or overnight, and that CAN be a hassle for sure. That's what I've been able to avoid in all my trips.

I'm an hour north of Seattle. When driving south from WA, my "half-way" point is Sacramento, so the first day is 14 hrs with 4-5 10" stops, but with my dog it's a 16 hr drive (more stops and longer). Then if I'm going to San Diego, the next day is a quick 8 hrs from Sacramento. When I've really wanted to get home from SD, I've driven all the way from SD to Ashland. Once it was late May, and it started to snow as I started to climb toward the summit in the Siskiyous. It was nighttime and I was in my weeny roadtrip car - I thought snow was over for the season, uh no. I got scared, yup, this time for sure. The higher I went, the harder it was to see through the thick snow falling. I got behind a semi, who slowed down to about 20-25 mph. I drove in his tracks for about 15-20 minutes until we started down the other side to Ashland. It stopped snowing as we dropped in altitude, and we all sped up. That is what you could encounter - snow up high for only a short period. But even in my weenie car that does NOT do well in snow (can't get up my gravel road in even 1 inch of snow, just slide all over the place), I still was able to drive safely in the semi's tracks until we could get below the snow line. You just need to adapt how you drive in snow.

I'd consider driving from LA to Redding and then Redding to Portland. That way you go over the Siskiyous in daylight, and you are much less likely to run into snow or freezing road issues. In the day, if it's snowing, the snow often melts when it hits the asphalt, so there's little worry. It's like driving in rain, but after dark, the snow freezes on the asphalt, and that can be an issue. You definitely have to slow down and be more careful after sunset.

You could easily do the trip in 2 days. Unless you want to be a tourist along the way, I can't imagine taking 3 days to go from LA to Portland on I-5. I do try to hit the Siskiyous before dark, but I don't always have that luck. It's better to go over the mountains in daylight before things freeze at night. Still, over all these years, I've never had to default to 101. But...there have been severe snowstorms (relatively speaking) that create a lot of slowdown, and I've been lucky that that has never occurred over any Xmas holidays that I've driven. If it were imperative that I go, and there were a snowstorm, I'd definitely consider 101, but I would try to avoid it. 101 / 1 is long, slow, crowded in too many spots (I've taken that route once, too, and never again). Oh, and many of my trips have been alone, so I've been the sole driver. !6 hours is long, but with other drivers, it's like, SO, do-able, and might be a fun challenge - something totally new.

Good luck and have fun this Xmas whatever you end up doing!

Last edited by Algiz; 11-14-2019 at 05:04 PM..
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Old 11-16-2019, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Idaho
102 posts, read 72,091 times
Reputation: 93
Thanks Algiz! We are currently deliberating based on this and other feedback and so far yours is really the only major case in favor of driving. Thanks to the rest as well.
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Old 11-16-2019, 11:02 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
10,924 posts, read 18,930,802 times
Reputation: 7977
Take a plane, take a train. Drive if you must but be sure your SO is ready for an 'adventure'.
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