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vpuentes310 Jul 7th, 2020 07:19 PM

Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon
Hello Everyone,

My husband, 3 year-old, and I will be driving up to Oregon to visit family. We plan to leave early to drop off my dog at my parents in Santa Barbara, and from there we will drive up to San Francisco where we would spend 1 night. We plan to leave San Fran Sunday morning. Where do you recommend we stay on our way to Portland on Sunday night, in between San Francisco and Portlandt? We would also love to get ideas on where to stop (two stops) on our way back to LA. We are likely taking the boring drive down the 5 on our way back =/. Thank you in advance for your help! I really appreciate it.

janisj Jul 7th, 2020 09:15 PM

If you only plan on one stop over on the drive north -- You pretty much would have to take I-5 BOTH ways. SF to Portland via the most direct I-5 route is still about 11 hours car time plus stops. Ashland is a good mid point stop. Or Mt Shasta if you want to break the drive sooner.

Now, you could go up 101 as far as say Trinidad (about 6 hours) then over to Medford and up I-5 (about 7 to 7.5 hours).

Both are VERY long hauls with a toddler.

Heading home -- There is really no place 'scenic' along I-5 south of very northern California so IMO your best stops are just wherever you poop out and need to stop. All the usual suspects chain hotel-wise are available down the entire route. Depending on what time of day you pass through Sacramento, Stockton and where you are going in the LA basin the total drive could take anywhere between 16 and 20 hours car time plus stops.

janisj Jul 7th, 2020 09:16 PM

. . . Oh - and welcome to Fodors :)

Surfergirl Jul 8th, 2020 01:43 PM

Yes, welcome to Fodors! I was going to suggest Ashland, then saw Janisj's recommendation for the same place. It's a great place to stop and spend the night. Just beautiful. You don't say when you are heading up to Oregon, but I'm guessing Ashland is not having its Fall Shakespeare Festival and I'm sure the University of Southern Oregon is currently out, so there should be plenty of places to stay!

My recollection from our last road trip up there, as you get close to the Oregon border, there's not a lot of places to buy gas, I remember we drifted into Ashland on fumes! Remember, also, that in Oregon, you stay in the car and they pump your gas! Also, buy what you can, no state tax!

On the return trip, if you have the time to split up the trip a few more days, I'd stop in Eugene, a wonderful university town! Then perhaps Sacramento for the night before heading back down. If doing this in summer you must stay in a place (in Sacramento) that has A/C. The place we always stay in Sacramento is the Residence Inn in downtown Sacrament (15th St), a great area in which to walk around.

tomfuller Jul 8th, 2020 03:04 PM

For the trip back, turn off I-5 just south of Salem on OR 22 to US 20 over the Santiam Pass. Follow US 20 through Sisters into Bend. Get gas in Bend (cheapest is Arco). Head south on US 97. Turn west off 97 onto OR 138 to get to the north entrance of Crater Lake NP (90 miles from Bend). The North entrance and the West Rim Drive are open. If you can afford it, there are rooms available at the Crater Lake Lodge.
There will be no boat tours on the lake this summer.
Leaving the park, you can go east on OR 62 to get back to US 97 south which will take you back to I-5 in Weed CA. If you can't make it back to Sacramento, you can stay in Williams.
For a solo trip I would suggest The Amtrak Coast Starlight north from Santa Barbara to Portland and renting a car there. This would probably not work well with a 3 year old in tow

janisj Jul 8th, 2020 06:13 PM

Tom: I don't see how they could possibly have enough time to detour to Crater Lake.

Portland to LA via Bend and Crater Lake - that would take a minimum 19 hours of 'car time' if they only stop for gas and fast food. 19 hours. In a car. With a toddler. In 2.5 to 3 days (2 nights) ??

tomfuller Jul 9th, 2020 06:44 AM

Definitely two nights on the return trip. It's 3.5 hours from Portland to Bend. Spend an hour in Bend (lunch + gas?) then 2 hours from Bend to the north entrance of Crater Lake NP. Less than one hour from the north entrance to Rim Village. The next days travel would be through Weed then south to the town of Mt. Shasta for lunch then near but outside San Francisco for night two. I'm guessing they pick up the dog in Santa Barbara on the return.
I usually get my gas at the north end of K-Falls at the Pilot and another stop just north of the split of the interstate where you turn off toward San Francisco.
My last trip pre-Covid was in February from central Oregon to Tucson AZ by way of Los Angeles Union Station. I rented a car in Tucson and drove back to Yuma for a big geocaching event on 2/9. My return trip involved a bus from LAUS to Bakersfield and the San Joaquin train all the way from Bakersfield to Martinez. We sat in MTZ for a couple hours waiting for the Coast Starlight that we missed in LA.

CaliNurse Jul 9th, 2020 10:24 PM

IF you return home via Bend, don't miss Leapin' Lizards Toy Company in the historic downtown area near the river. Your child will LOVE it!

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