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Drive down CA Coast

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Jul 5th, 2013, 08:19 PM
  #1
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Drive down CA Coast

So I am trying to plan a trip down the CA coast; I am flying into Medford Rogue Valley Airport on 9/19 and out of Ontario Airport on 9/30. I would (ideally) like to go to Crater Lake on 9/20 before coming down to CA. I want to drive down the coast, only making a detour inland to go to Oakland to see a cousin and friend. Otherwise, down the coast. I'd like to drive the whole thing (down to San Diego) and then come back up to Corona and stay with family from 9/26-9/30. The major sites I would like to see are Crater Lake, the Redwoods (which forests/parks are the best? I saw a lot of them on the map!), Point Reyes Seashore, Muir Woods, Hearst Castle, Pebble Beach golf course, Carmel/Monterey??, Santa Monica pier...I think I could drive to Sequoia NP from my uncle's...First of all, is this doable? If so, does anyone have a suggested itinerary? Also, are there any additional recommended sites? If there isn't enough time to go down to San Diego, I could always just cut over from LA to Corona.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 08:48 PM
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Just a quick comment right now. Essentially you have from the 21st through the 25th or 26th to travel from Crater Lake, the Redwoods, SG/Oakland, Monterey/Carmel, San Simeon, Santa Monica/LA, and San Diego. That is a VERY tall order.

Just from Crater Lake to SD down the coast is about 1200 miles and close to 25 hours 'car time'.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 08:49 PM
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Oops - that should be SF/Oakland . . .
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Jul 5th, 2013, 08:59 PM
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What is the plan with the rental car drop off? If you could fly to Eugene instead and take Rt. 58 east over the Willamette Pass to get to Chemult (US 97. Just east of the Salt Creek tunnel you will want to see Salt Creek Falls. You could hit Crater Lake in the morning of 9/20. From Crater Lake take 62 back toward Medford then I-5 NB to Grants Pass to get on US 199 to Redwood NP near Crescent City CA. Go back north on US 101 through Coos Bay to Florence. Take 126 east from Florence back to Eugene. Return the car and take a taxi to the train station in Eugene and take the Coast Starlight train south at least as far as Sacramento overnight. Rent a car in northern California to see Oakland and maybe go through SF over the GG bridge to see some more Coast Redwoods at Muir Woods.
Return the car where you rented it and then take the Coast Starlight at least as far as Santa Barbara before renting another car for Southern California.
You may find that the weather in Southern California is hotter than you like it.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 09:24 PM
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I want to drive down the coast, only making a detour inland to go to Oakland to see a cousin and friend. Otherwise, down the coast. I'd like to drive the whole thing (down to San Diego).

This doesn't jive with the plan to go to Crater Lake, which is about 200 slow miles from Medford and back on your way to the coast.

And, if you make that detour you won't have time for the the most scenic part of the southern Oregon Coast which is the stretch between Brookings to Port Orford.

Unless you get off 101 at Leggett and go over to Highway 1, you won't see much of the coast until you get to Monterey.

HTtY

PS Medford is an awkward place to start a trip down the coast, but I suppose you have a good reason for selecting it as your starting place.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 05:55 PM
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I guess I need to clarify a bit. I want to drive the CA coast; I've driven down the entire OR coast already. I thought Medford would be a good point because I'd like to see Crater Lake and it seemed like a decent starting point for the California coast (at least when I looked on the map.) I'd probably do a week's car rental 9/20-9/27 from Medford to Corona/Ontario area. I'm good for the 25+ hour drive!

So, I am not really about doing the cities this trip, aside from visiting the fam. I'm not sure what parts of the coast I SHOULD stop to see. Since I am going to be going through Northern California, I know to stop and see the Redwoods. I can always come back to do the LA/Santa Monica piece. If Muir Woods is too close to SF, I'll bypass that for another trip. Nothing is set in stone aside from air travel right now.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 07:02 PM
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Have you checked on the drop off fee from Medford leaving the car in Ontario CA? Can you even do it with a reasonably priced rental agency?
My style of travel is to take a train and then rent a car. I return the car and then go onward.
If you catch the 11:50AM Amtrak bus from Ontario to Bakersfield to catch the San Joaquin train to Martinez you can ride the Coast Starlight north overnight arriving in Klamath Falls Oregon in the morning. Rent a car in K-Falls to go see Crater Lake.
The south bound Coast Starlight leaves K Falls at 10PM.
Take it overnight to Sacramento, Davis or Martinez to rent a car for the rest of your trip down the coast and to see family in Oakland.
There are places to see Coast Redwoods south of San Francisco without going to Muir Woods or The Crescent City area.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 07:52 PM
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TOM! He wants to drive the coast. You tell everyone (EVERYONE) to take Amtrak and to fear drop off fees. Neither of those suggestions help ilarin. He wants to drive the coast. So advising him to take the train to Gawd awful places like Bakersfield or slightly better places like Sacramento is not being helpful.

ilarin: If you drive down the coast through the northern Redwoods there is no reason at all to stop at Muir Woods. The trees farther north are much better and more extensive. Muir Woods is very popular simply because it is so close to a major metropolitan area.

You will be fine Medford to Crater Lake then over to the Coast, down Hwy 1 all the way to SF/Oakland. You should allow at least 3 days for this leg - that will give you time for the lake, the redwoods, and the gorgeous Mendocino/Sonoma Coast.

Stop over in Oakland and then spend the rest of your time on the mid coast then over to Ontario. Monterey Bay (kayaking in the bay is a treat), then Big Sur, Cambria/SLO/Santa Barbara. Cut across from Ventura/Oxnard over to Glendale/Pomona and finally Ontario. This leg is another 3-ish days.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 07:07 AM
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Tom, thanks for the suggestions. Usually I AM all for Amtrak (the DC-Phila-NY corridor is NOT my favorite to drive) but I want to see the coast! Not really a viable option here (East Coast) because the coast is overdeveloped (not to mention dirty looking water.) =/

Janis, thank you for the help! Definitely helps with the planning.

Now, are there any places I should avoid? I am a female travelling alone.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 09:35 AM
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Not really - if you mean safety-wise . . . Except for Oakland. But your cousin/friend will take care of you there.

(Sorry about the 'he' )
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Nov 18th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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This is a bit late, but thanks so much for the suggestions. You were SOO right in that the drive would be more enjoyable over a longer period of time. Here's what we ended up doing:

9/19: Stay in Medford
9/20: Drove up to Crater Lake
Stay in Crescent City
9/21: Visit the Redwoods
Stay in Gualala
9/22: Visit Point Reyes National Seashore, family in Oakland
Stay in Half Moon Bay
9/23: Visit Santa Cruz, Monterey
Stay in San Simeon
9/24: Visit Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, Reagan Library
Stay in Ventura
9/25: Santa Cruz Island day trip
Stay in Redondo Beach
9/26: Drive to San Diego, spent day there and then back to Corona until 9/30.

If I could do it again, I would definitely do the 1st day all in Oregon and get started in CA on day two, spend 1.5-2 days in the Redwoods, make a full day in the bay area and Monterey, and have a "leisurely" day in San Simeon/Cambria. So an extra 4 days would have been better. Hindsight...I did enjoy the drive and will be back soon!
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Nov 18th, 2013, 07:09 PM
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WOW! You sure covered some territory

(and we told you so )
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Nov 18th, 2013, 09:52 PM
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Thanks for the report. We never tire of that drive.

HTtY
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Nov 19th, 2013, 05:10 AM
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Having grown up in Klamath Falls, i defnitely think Crater Lake is worth it - and you might consider staying a night at nearby/beautiful Diamond Lake.

From there - zip over to the southern Oregon Coast and down to the main Redwood park - about an hour plus south of the Border and then decide: Do I want to do the rest of the northern Cal Coast drive - or do I zip over to Redding and down I-5 to SF and spend more time on the Coast south of SF - including taking in the beautiful Aquarium at Monterrey, touring Hearst Castle - maybe a winery tour in/around Solvang, whatever.

Can't really go wrong whatever you decide.
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Nov 19th, 2013, 09:18 AM
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Can you elaborate on the Santa Cruz Island day trip. It is one of the possible things I am considering for a trip in March and I find very little about it. Did you leave from Ventura? How much time were you there? What did you see/do? Anything you can tell me. Thanks.
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Nov 19th, 2013, 09:49 AM
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Years ago - went Scuba diving/spear fishing out to the Santa Barbara islands - leaving out of Santa Barbara. This website seems to go from Oxnard/Ventura: http://www.islandpackers.com/
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Nov 19th, 2013, 12:25 PM
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Where in Gualala? If you do stay here, ask for Lisa. They'll know where to find me.

Best,
Lisa
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Nov 19th, 2013, 01:11 PM
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>>Can't really go wrong whatever you decide. <<

Tomsd - get w/ the program. ilarin is back from the trip and just reported on whet they did . . .
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Nov 19th, 2013, 02:26 PM
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God, I need to remember to look at the original date of the post!

Chagrined,
Lisa
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Aug 11th, 2014, 06:27 PM
  #20
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Isabel, I apologize for not replying! I hope you did get to Santa Cruz island!! I did leave from Ventura harbor...I believe we were there a little before 8 am and we stayed for the day and returned on the ferry around 5 pm.

http://www.islandpackers.com/DayTripPreparation.html
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