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Old 11-10-2019, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Idaho
102 posts, read 67,963 times
Reputation: 93

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I found some old threads on this but I would like to get some updated answers. The long of the short of it is, some buddies and I are planning a road trip from the Los Angeles area to Portland to visit a friend up there for a few days. We will be doing this prospectively in mid January and we want to make sure the drive will be feasible given winter driving conditions. We plan to take 2-3 days to get up there. What would be the smartest and safest routes to take given this time frame. It doesn't have to be particularly scenic, just efficient. Anything useful you have to share is greatly appreciated. Thanks all!
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Old 11-10-2019, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
10,878 posts, read 18,727,809 times
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In January your challenge will be going over the Siskiyou Mountains between Redding and Ashland. The route via Klamath Falls won't be much easier. I have taken 101 when the weather is icy.

Have you considered AmTrak's Coast Starlight? It is an overnight trip, I understand that the bedroom can sleep 3 (2 share one bed). A bedroom suite accommodates 4, each in their own bed. A roomette accommodates 2. If you book a sleeper meals are included.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:21 PM
 
Location: WA
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I-5 is your best route and just gear up for winter snow driving in the Siskyou mountains. All the other possible highways are going to be longer and more remote in winter. You should carry tire chains and have winter gear. And pay attention to local conditions on the OR and CA highway web sites. There are a bazillion web sites on winter driving and the equipment you should have.

If it were me, I'd just fly LAX to PDX and rent a car.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:24 PM
 
Location: Idaho
102 posts, read 67,963 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell Plotts View Post
I have taken 101 when the weather is icy.
Is that something you would recommend? This was a possibility I was considering.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:27 PM
 
590 posts, read 671,004 times
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Also, driving in Portland is a nightmare. I second flying and just Uber everywhere.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:52 PM
 
Location: WA
4,434 posts, read 5,787,007 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stealheadrun23 View Post
Is that something you would recommend? This was a possibility I was considering.
That will add at least an extra day of driving. And if you want to really get crazy you can add another day and take CA-1 along the CA coast.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:08 PM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,785 posts, read 17,160,647 times
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The big question is: how many hours a day are you willing to spend in the car? You are looking at 900+ miles for the most direct route. Depending on where you pick up the coast route, you add between 100 and 300 miles to the trip and much of it is slow-going. You might average 80 on I-5 through the Central Valley but most of the coastal drive is 55 and below through towns.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Was Midvalley Oregon; Now Eastside Seattle area
9,375 posts, read 4,295,690 times
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FLY, it's 3 hours.
It's a very boring trip by car and ~20hours with minimum stops. LAX-PDX on AlaskaAir, mid Jan, $74-$83, oneway; To SEA, $69-$79. (both Cheap seats) .

Last edited by leastprime; 11-10-2019 at 09:06 PM..
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
15,294 posts, read 15,458,743 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stealheadrun23 View Post
Is that something you would recommend? This was a possibility I was considering.
The better driving route depends on the weather. If there is a major snowstorm in the Siskiyous, either they will close Siskiyou Summit completely or you will have to have tire chains or 4wd and snow rated tires. Unless the weather is really extreme, freeway closures are only overnight, and it will reopen in the morning. Be prepared to winter in your car for a few hours. You probably won't be able to find a motel room in Weed.

The coastal route is longer and slower, but much more scenic. The hazard there is flooding. Heavy rains can wash out 101, causing detours and delays. Getting across the Coast Range to access Portland can also be a mess if there is flooding and mud slides.

Or you may hit mild weather and it will be a typical vacation drive, where your only delays come from the extra cup of coffee in the morning. You also don't have to take the same route both directions. If I were going to drive 101, north to south is more convenient, because that puts the Pacific Ocean in your lane. You won't have to cross traffic to turn out at the viewpoints.

Don't make a decision on the route until the morning you leave. Check the weather and road condition web sites. In Oregon, that's tripcheck.com.
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Old 11-11-2019, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Idaho
102 posts, read 67,963 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
The coastal route is longer and slower, but much more scenic. The hazard there is flooding. Heavy rains can wash out 101, causing detours and delays. Getting across the Coast Range to access Portland can also be a mess if there is flooding and mud slides.

Or you may hit mild weather and it will be a typical vacation drive, where your only delays come from the extra cup of coffee in the morning. You also don't have to take the same route both directions. If I were going to drive 101, north to south is more convenient, because that puts the Pacific Ocean in your lane. You won't have to cross traffic to turn out at the viewpoints.

Don't make a decision on the route until the morning you leave. Check the weather and road condition web sites. In Oregon, that's tripcheck.com.
Thank you!
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