Seattle to LA Road rip

Started Jun 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
MarkInSF Senior Member • Posts: 2,237
Re: Seattle to LA Road rip

drh681 wrote:

I'd only add that Highway 1 from Monterey to Morro Bay is 150 miles of mountain road. A very strenuous drive if you are alone.

Only if you're not used to that kind of driving.   It's a steady 50 mph road for pretty much the whole way. With a few especially twisty bits that are slower.   The southern part, down near Hearst Castle is straighter and more open.   In any case, do it.   It's incredibly gorgeous.   Unfortunately, this time of the year there is the very real possibility of fog at the coast, in which case the drive is way less attractive.   You'll be able to tell from the stretch of 101 north of Monterey, where it runs along the coast.   If that is socked in, consider skipping Big Sur.   Instead, spend the couple of hours you spend at either end.   The Monterey Bay Aquarium is amazing, and Santa Barbara is lovely.

One suggestion.   When you're going down 101, if you want to dave a few minutes, instead of staying on 101 the whole way turn off at Los Olivos and take the road (CA 154?) towards Santa Ynez.   That brings you over the mountains into Santa Barbara from the back.   It's slightly shorter than 101 and avoids traffic that can pile up around Goleta.   You do miss a bit of scenic coastline west of Santa Barbara, but if you came down via Big Sur you've likely had enough of that.   The Santa Ynez Valley is pretty, too.

As for the rest, the suggestions you're getting are excellent.  101 is mostly a fast road, if slower than I5.  You'll be doing 60 for most of the way.   The summer weather, as I noted, is problematic, but 101 through the redwood country is inland and sunny.   The part of CA 1 north of San Francisco is also spectacular, with many stretches rivaling Big Sur and the Oregon Coast, but I'd stay on 101as 1 is a lot longer and slower and 101 down the Russian River Valley is also quite attractive.   It goes right down through a major part of the California Wine Country, nearly as scenic as Napa.   If you want to spend a few hours in San Francisco, lovely (it's my home), but you won't scratch the surface.   However, coming over the Golden Gate Bridge makes it worthwhile.  Not to be missed.   If you don't have time for SF, just stay on CA 1across the city and down onto I 280, which is one of the prettiest stretches of freeway you'll ever see.   When you get down to near San Jose get back on 101, or if you have the time, take scenic CA 17 over the hill to pretty Santa Cruz and pick up Hwy 1 there again to carry you around Monterey Bay.

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