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Old 02-11-2019, 10:45 AM   #1
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Roadtrip to LA, whats it like?

My friends and I were thinking of road tripping to LA. The journey going there just as important as staying in LA. What can I expect? Whats it like driving down at this time of the year? Any recommended stops? How many days?

Please and thank you.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:01 PM   #2
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takes a lot longer than people say... i always hear people say like 16-20 hours but budget in like 22 hours or so, and that's taking the I5 the whole way. if you want to take the scenic route along the coast it's significantly longer but worth it if you have the time
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:08 PM   #3
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It’s amazing. Shouldn’t this be in the travel section?

Portland is a good stop, San Fran is a good stop but slightly off your direct journey to LA it’s actually Sacramento you run into on the I5.... I fully recommend doing the coast from San Francisco down to LA as the regular highways are very straight and boring.

Big Sur is a highlight, redwood forests are amazing.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:23 PM   #4
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Woe to anyone who decides the I5 is the way to do it. Such horrible drive made necessary by the "need to get there". Much, much better ways to get down there.

Take 50hrs of driving (plus gas stops, food stops, sleeping) and you will have a road trip of epic proportions. I've even cut out a bunch of good stuff on this map. The route pictured here would be a fantastic 8 day drive with time for stops and enjoying yourself along the way. I've done it in three days, but you don't have time to eat and barely have time to pee along the way. Eight days there and back you'd see a tonne of things most people simply drive by. But you can be in L.A. in 22 hours if you have multiple drivers and take the I-5.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:42 PM   #5
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The wife and I did the 101 down to Crescent city a couple years ago, it's a great little drive.

We averaged about 5-6 hours of driving a day, spent nights at Seaside, Newport and Brookings with a few other stops along the way (Yay for lots of microbreweries/brew pubs along the way and a pregnant wife who couldn't drink, so she did all the driving after lunch :P)


Agreed, the drive home on the I5 was absolutely mind numbing. We tried to do the whole shot back in one day but had to stop in Portland out of exhaustion. The little highway 199 connector to the I5 was pretty fun though.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:01 PM   #6
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Done it many times, and the comments above are spot on. The coast is great for views, but does take forever, and there can be a fair bit of very slow moving traffic (RV's).

I like to take the 405 before Seattle out to Yakima and then the 97 all the way down through Oregon and back onto I5 at Weed, CA, Usually stopping in Klamath Falls for the night. From there I5 to Sacramento area and then decide what you want to do. The section of I5 from Sac to LA is the most boring piece of highway you might ever drive. Even taking the 99 (which parallel's I5) is more interesting.

There's lots of great roads north and south of SF, so if you have time they can be a blast. SF is a neat place, but DT is very expensive, especially with our exchange rate.

You can do the drive fairly easily in two days, but three is more enjoyable. Sometimes I'll blast down I5 to Redding, so that I can have two days driving the more interesting roads in the mountains north of LA. Angeles forest is great, but so are many of the roads around Big Bear Lake.

Medford is the closest In'n'Out, but I usually wait until Redding because it's always been a California tradition.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:22 PM   #7
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NorCal is straight and boring on the i5. I haven't done it in a while but take the coast if you can. Monterey is nice. Or if you want to take a completely different route, go through the desert and spend a few nights in Las Vegas before continuing down the i15 to LA.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:28 PM   #8
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what about flying there and driving back?
then dump the rental at seatac/bellingham and shuttle/train back

or vice versa?

Turo's out though
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:47 PM   #9
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Furthest I’ve driven south is Portland and yea, the i5 is ducking brutal. It’s nice that it’s “fast” but other than that I couldn’t imagine a more boring dull drive
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:53 PM   #10
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I haven't done the whole drive but I've done some of the segments:

Vancouver-Portland-Oregon Coast
SF - Big Sur
LA -Santa Barbara
LA- San Diego

I'd drive all the way to San Diego too if I were you, there's some really nice beach communities in Orange County (na na na na na na Califoooornia!) Plus SD is a really chill and pretty city in it's own right. Big Sur is amazing but make sure to fill up gas beforehand. Santa Barbara is where i'd keep a house if I won the lottery and spend the winter in.

You can even dip into Tijuana if you're feeling adventurous, though I'd leave the car in the States.

Probably say no to renting a car one way and flying back. I'd imagine the one-way drop off fee would be discouraging. Take the I-15 coming back via Vegas, Utah, Yellowstone if you have a ton of time on your hands.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:36 PM   #11
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I always wanted to take the S2K down, but a speeding ticket makes it cheaper to fly there and just rent a car from Turo.
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:44 PM   #12
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isnt that half the fun of owning a roadster tho...to do road trips down the coast
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:45 PM   #13
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I'd imagine the one-way drop off fee would be discouraging.
Typically about $250 USD. I do it fairly often when I'm doing routes for events.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:24 PM   #14
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How is the 101 hwy in washington/Oregon versus the 101 starting in crescent city/California? Was thinking of going I5 through Seattle and Portland and then 199 to 101 hwy starting at crescent city and driving down to LA via the 101 and 1 hwy. Will I be missing out on a lot of scenery not doing the 101 through washington/Oregon?
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:44 PM   #15
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I wouldn't do it until the weather the warmer.

If there are only 2 people driving, then the trip will be much longer or more frequent stops, afterall, it's a roadtrip, not 24hr LeMan, need some rest before going to next stop.

LA is a good stay, but last time I went all the way to San Diego then Mexico, which I find it more memorable than the North.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:05 PM   #16
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I did the route Dave posted but only down to San Fran. We took 6 days to get there and loved every minute of it.
Max 6 hours of driving a day, lots of cool towns, stopping at any beach that we wanted to.
I posted a thread on TCL documenting it a bit.
https://forums.vwvortex.com/showthre...-a-TCL-darling
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:45 AM   #17
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isnt that half the fun of owning a roadster tho...to do road trips down the coast
Might have to do that now.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:48 AM   #18
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I did the route Dave posted but only down to San Fran. We took 6 days to get there and loved every minute of it.
Max 6 hours of driving a day, lots of cool towns, stopping at any beach that we wanted to.
I posted a thread on TCL documenting it a bit.
https://forums.vwvortex.com/showthre...-a-TCL-darling
I'm thinking about heading down to SF but not go down to LA. Is it worth driving out to Grand Canyons? Anyone done it?
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:06 AM   #19
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I've done both the coast route (going down) and the I5 route (coming back) and the coast route is just awesome. I cut across to the coast when I got to Olympia then did the coast the rest of the way to SF. Like others, I made lots of stops to hang out cause it's beautiful out there.

On the way back I did a nonstop 16 hour drive from SF back to Vancouver. It was awful, don't do it unless you're a glutton for punishment.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:35 AM   #20
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I'm thinking about heading down to SF but not go down to LA. Is it worth driving out to Grand Canyons? Anyone done it?
I've always done my Grand Canyon trips starting in either Vegas or L.A., simply because I was "in the area". I'd say it's worth seeing, there are some fun routes that can be taken from L.A. I actually prefer the North Rim, but the most of the development or "touristy" stuff is all on the south rim. Actually, I think I just figured out why I prefer the North Rim...

Anyways, yes, worth it. You can be in Grand Canyon Village in 8hrs...but if you want the fun route, you want to take 2-3 days. I'd send you out via the mountain roads Magnus Walker loves, then into Big Bear, over to Palm Springs, through Joshua Tree, Kingman (Route 66 town), and then up to the Grand Canyon.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:28 AM   #21
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i wouldn't say so...it's at least a day of straight driving from SF
i would fly and start from Vegas
Utah has some incredible canyon twisties...i always tell people to go there instead if you're only gonna pop by GC South Rim and snap a pic

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Old 02-12-2019, 11:34 AM   #22
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I did it twice in the past 3 years.

Once starting from LA, and taking the coast all the way up to SF and then up to about eureka all on the coast, and then I ran out of time and had to race back so I hopped over to the I5 and came back to van.

This past time a few buddies and I went from van to SF, trip looked like this:

Day 1 - Van to Portland - Chill in portland see the sights for the day
Day 2 - Portland to Coos Bay - Cannon Beach, thors well are some of the interesting things to see along the way
Day 3 - Coos Bay to Crescent City - ATVing on the dunes, see the redwoods, etc.
Day 4 - Crescent City to Eureka - More Redwoods, drive through Tree, unbelievable beaches, etc.
Day 5 - Eureka to SF - This was a longer day of driving and these roads are windy, so if you get carsick just hit the i5, but the drive is pretty beautiful, its nothing you wont see if you do the coast after SF to LA.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:12 AM   #23
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I've done the drive from here to LA a time or two. Definitely try and ride the dunes if you have time along the border of OR and CA. Also, if you have the time, it's worth it to drive over to Vegas and/or AZ to see the Grand Canyon.
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:18 PM   #24
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Whats it like driving down at this time of the year? Any recommended stops? How many days?
This time of year? I recommend winter tires, preferably on awd or 4wd vehicle. I've hit snow in mt Shasta area of northern Cali before, a bit stressful with snow everywhere and not many vehicle on the highway while travelling in the middle of the night. Done it before, I would wait until spring.
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