Considering Route 1

Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 04:36 PM
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DPT
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Considering Route 1

We're driving from Sacramento to LA (Santa Monica specifically) later on this month. My husband has never been to California and we've never been on the PCH - is this advisable, especially with the recent storms? And approx. how long of a drive would that entail if we were to take this route? Hwy 5 just seems terribly boring, imo.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 09:56 PM
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Pay attention to weather forecasts and road closures, AAA has a traffic advisory phone number and so does the state of CA. I don't think you'll have any problems unless there have been heavy rains on the previous few days.

I don't think the coastal drive is worth it unless you have a night or two to spend somewhere along the way...Carmel; San Simeon, Morro Bay or Santa Barbara maybe. I think the drive is about 9-10 hours from Sacramento to Santa Monica if you take the coastal route from San Francisco southward.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 05:19 AM
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How long do you have for this drive? Unless you have 2 full days -- or better yet 3 day don't try taking hwy 1. And if another series of winter storms blows through when you are traveling you would be better off avoiding hwy 1 altogether.

I-5 would be my choice unless you have a few days for the coast route.

But another problem - if there are no storms - I-5 could be seriously fogged in all the way (or much of the way) from Sacramento to beyond Bakersfield. Dangerous and slow going if that happens.

We don't have all your details - are you driving your own car or a rental? If it is a rental - I'd personally turn it in in Sacramento and fly to LAX or Burbank. Southwest has very good fares.

If you are in your own car you are sort of stuck - but be careful whichever route you choose.

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Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 07:38 AM
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Minor detail - there is no such thing as the PCH north of the LA area (or Santa Barbara - don't know where it changes name). It's call the Cabrillo Highway for all of the most scenic section, & almost all the way to San Francisco.

Stu Dudley

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 10:03 AM
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Thanks for your suggestions.

Actually, we rented a car specifically for the drive from Sacramento to LA - now I'm wondering if I should reconsider this and just fly down instead, especially since we can really only give a day for the trip down.

Thanks again.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 12:42 PM
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If you've only got one day, I would either head down I5 or fly. I5 is boring, to be sure, but to go down Hwy 1 would make for a VERY long day even without stops to check out the scenery. This time of year, I don't even know if there are enough daylight hours to get the whole drive done before dark.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 02:38 PM
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Fly! With all the storms we've had the last couple of weeks there is so much moisture - if it isn't storming when you make the drive you are almost guaranteed to have heavy fog in the valley.

If you do decide to fly, try to book the very first flight of the day. The planes that overnight at SMF can often get out even when it is too foggy to land.

Unfortunately the first couple of SMF/LAX flights often fill up way in advance since there is so much business/gov't employee traffic between the two.

If you can't get on the first flight out, then book for later in the afternoon or very early evening when the fog is often a bit better for a few hours.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 05:37 PM
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Being here in the Sacramento Valley and with the storms that California has had DPT I too would fly from the Sacramento Airport. I don't think you would find the drive to LA enjoyable.

Hopefully you can come back here when the weather is beautiful and take the drive on Hwy 1. And do allow yourself some time to enjoy it. Welcome to California and have a fun trip!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2006, 07:16 PM
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I am not sure what else you have planned in the LA area, but if you flew down on a early flight, you could rent a car at the airport and drive up the coast to Malibu or even further. You would not have the boring I-5 drive, and you would be able to see some very nice coastal areas.
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Old Jan 4th, 2006, 10:24 AM
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We just came back from driving on the Big Sur stretch of route 1 on January 2. The wind was incredible, as was the rain at times, but the views are impressive in stormy weather. We went for the day from Pacific Grove to San Simeon and back. I recommend regardless of the weather, but check with Caltrans for road conditions.
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Old Jan 4th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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I just read this morning that Hwy 1 is closed as a very tall tree fell over on a woman driving on Hwy 1 and killed her. Her little daughter is injured and was taken to a hospital. While the authorities were there another very large tree fell over,doesn't sound like anyone was injured or killed due to the second tree falling.
Hwy 1 is not a road I would drive on during the winter time.
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Old Jan 4th, 2006, 03:50 PM
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Hwy 1 is a very long road. It had multiple closures north of San Francisco but was open south of San Francisco, although when we went we had to go back to 280 and cross over at Half Moon Bay because a pole had fallen over the road just south of Pacifica. But such things can happen on any 2 lane highway in stormy weather.
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