Phoenix to Portland

Old Mar 27th, 2021, 11:18 AM
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Phoenix to Portland

Hi,
Hoping to get some advice on the best driving route from Phoenix Arizona to Portland Oregon. We're thinking of doing it in 4 days and would like to
avoid high elevation as much as possible due to traveling with a senior dog with a heart condition. We were in a serious roll over crash some years ago, and are still a little nervous about driving. Looking for good roads, without a ton of big trucks. I'm considering taking the 10 West then up to Barstow, then 58 to Bakersfield, 99 to Sacramento then hitting I-5. All thoughts and advice appreciated.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 12:07 PM
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Consider taking US 395 north up through Lee Vining all the way to Carson City. Take US 50 west to connect with I-5 in Sacramento.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 12:47 PM
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Echo summit (Hwy 50) is almost 7500 feet elevation so tom's route may not work for you.

I personally would not take hwy 99 because of all the local traffic/congestion in every town. I'd take I-10 all the way to I-5 in LA (Caveat that you time it so you don't arrive in the LA basin during the morning and late afternoon commutes). I-5 is hectic but it handles the traffic and big rigs better than 99 IMO/IME
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 12:55 PM
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395 itself also goes over 8000 ft at its highest point.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 12:57 PM
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Looks like we reach pretty high elevation that way.
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by davidssu View Post
Looks like we reach pretty high elevation that way.
Which way??
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Patty View Post
395 itself also goes over 8000 ft at its highest point.
Your'e right of course -- weird, I seldom think of 395 being high elevation. Hwy 50 over Echo Summit is so dramatic (I once had a midwestern relative freak out and throw herself on the floor of the back seat when we rounded the curve and headed down to Meyers . . . and she did the same thing on 89 on the ridge between Cascade lake and Emerald Bay - I had some really chicken s#it distant relatives )
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Old Mar 27th, 2021, 02:49 PM
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Yeah, 395 doesn't feel that high, does it? I'm terrified of heights except in cars or on a horse where steep drop offs don't bother me at all, go figure.
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Old Mar 28th, 2021, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by davidssu View Post
We're thinking of doing it in 4 days...
Can I assume you mean to take four days for the drive, rather than that you're leaving in four days (now three?) If the former, when would this drive take place?

The highest elevation you'd encounter taking Interstate 5 through California and Oregon would be at Siskiyou Pass, near the California-Oregon state line, at around 4300 feet. The only alternative route offering a lower maximum elevation would be along the coast, using US 101 all the way into Oregon, then crossing into the Willamette Valley using, for example, OR Hwy 38, which parallels the Umpqua River from its mouth at Reedsport into the valley. From Phoenix, you could take the coast route in around four days of 6-7 hour daily drives. https://goo.gl/maps/ff8pVXUccZeuivp69

You could probably cut a full day off that by using I-5 - https://goo.gl/maps/UBmTfeRLCQK1MeN97 - although I-5 through the southern part of the California central valley is something of a racetrack for trucks and puts a new meaning to the term "sensory deprivation." If your time is flexible, I'd personally recommend the coastal option if at all possible; it's far more scenic and the redwoods and southern Oregon coast are national treasures.
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Old Mar 28th, 2021, 09:03 AM
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Good idea from Gardyloo. My suggested stops on the coastal route would be San Luis Obispo CA and Eureka CA. Turn off US 101 onto US 199 north of Crescent City to get into Oregon through some Redwood forest. US 199 hits I-5 near Grants Pass. On the coastal route you do get to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to get out of San Francisco.
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Old Mar 28th, 2021, 09:38 AM
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Oh -- I had some sort of brain fade -- I was thinking the drive would be this month ('in 4 days') and not 4 days in duration

If you do have four full days total I'd take the coastal route. It would be rushed with long drives, but is a nicer route and no altitudes to speak of. Redwoods, beaches, etc. are second to none. (BTW I would not stay in Eureka. IME Eureka is a place to get through as quickly as possible. Whenever I drive 101 in NorCal, Eureka is the worst bottleneck.)

But if you want to avoid 7 hour car days, then definitely take I-5. Between LA and say Red Bluff, I-5 is definitely not a scenic wonder to put it mildly But from Mt Shasta, on through southern Oregon is nice scenery.
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