Fastest way from LA to Seattle

Discussion in 'Americas' started by isaac004, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

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    I will need a rather fast way (and somewhat interesting) from Los Angeles to Seattle in a few weeks for the first leg (as well as the return leg) on my Alaska ride. Due to my schedule requirements, I must get from LA to Seattle in less then 2 days. How I plan to split it up:
    Evening of Day 1: leave around 5pm, ride for 3-4 hours (200-300 miles worth)
    Day 2: Full day of riding, 12-15 hours, 700-800 miles
    Morning of Day 3: Finish riding by noon, 3-4 hours, 200-300 miles.

    Obviously the fastest way is I-5 all the way, 1,135 miles. But most of the California part will bore me to death and will have a lot of semi traffic and buffeting gusts from all of the trucks going both ways.

    My other preferred option is as follows (1,174 miles): I-5, CA-14, US-395, CA-139, CA-39, US-97, OR-58, I-5
    http://goo.gl/maps/eobO5

    The second option will no doubt take more due to a handful more miles and overall lower speed limits with more intersections and towns, but it should be much more interesting and make the long miles more worthy. Most of these roads I have been on, up to around the Nor Cal part. Would people agree I should be able to hold an easy average of 60-65 mph through most of these roads? Biggest issue is if some get too twisty, which is usually preferred and more fun, but could slow me down too much on my ride schedule.
    #1
  2. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    Can't comment on the Cali section, but in Oregon it would be just as fast to stay on Rt. 97 to Madras then over Rt. 26 to to I-84 and I-205. The route you laid out over the Willamette Hiway Rt. 58 is OK but not too interesting due to limited views (trees too close on all sides to see anything.) Also, it's twisty in spots.
    #2
  3. p0diabl0

    p0diabl0 Been here awhile

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    Google's time estimates are usually pretty accurate barring a parade or something. Fair warning, there's a couple of 25 mph sections between Mono Lake and Carson City along the 395 that will make you want to shoot someone.
    #3
  4. meatwitheyes

    meatwitheyes Bon Vivant

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    If you go up I-5 I would push it a bit more on your first evening. I think the stretch from LA to Sac is the absolute worst part of that trip. Me, I would try to make it to Sac that first night maybe a 6 hour ride, then a little less that second day. Sac to Portland you could probably do in 11 hours. I live in Eugene and it takes me 8 hours to Sac. and Im two and half to three hours from Portland. Also: I think the scenery from Redding to Eugene is pretty nice along I-5.

    Traffic from about Olympia to Seattle can be heavy most of the time, especially from Tacoma to Seattle. One trick I have done a few times is to go up to Bremerton via 16 or some other route then take the ferry over to Seattle. Not necessarily faster but allot nicer.

    Now the 395 route ….. that is my preferred route when going to Southern Cal. (which I do once a year) from Oregon. I just love the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Not as fast as I-5 as you know but much much nicer. The small towns won't slow you down to much and you should be able to fly up the highway. So I would say you should be able to maintain your 60 mph target. One slow down will be from the Gardnerville NV. area to the Carson City area. You are pretty much on city streets for a while, traffic and all. Once past Carson City you are back on the Super Slab. and should sail right thru Reno. Many of the secondary roads in Oregon are 55 speed limit but going 60+ is usually no problem.

    Not many twisties on your 395 route. North of Susanville on 139 you will go thru some mountain valleys with mild twisties and about the same going over the Willamette Pass (Hwy 58) in Oregon. I can't think of many others…..
    Again; I would go further that first night on this route. Get all that desert behind you, especially Palmdale and Lancaster. I would try to make it to at least Lone Pine or Bishop, or maybe Mammoth. (The last time I went thru the town of Bridgeport on 395… cops were at each end of town with radar on). The next day you could make Eugene or Portland depending on you.
    Not much gas between Susanville and Klamath Falls on 139 accept in the little town of Adin at Juniper Junction on the south end of town.

    Stay away from Portland and Tacoma/Seattle during rush hour.

    I love Hwy 89 it goes from 395 (N. of Topaz) all the way to I-5 at Mount Shasta. Takes you over Monitor Pass, around Lake Tahoe, thru Truckee, Quincy, Lake Almanor, Lassen, McCloud. …. It's a fun one.

    That's all I can think of right now….



    Luck


    .
    #4
  5. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

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    Thanks Meat, good thoughts. I agree, the stretch of 5 from LA to Sac is terribly boring and bad.

    The first night's goal is to make it to at least Lone Pine with the 395 option.

    I am now leaning for 395 at least all the way up to Susanville. From there I could do 89 until I hit I-5 at Mt Shasta, and then just stay on I-5. If I do 89, it would have to be this because if I jump on at Monitor Pass I will lose too much time. Even though I still despise super slab, it looks like I-5 from there on north to Seattle will be much more interesting as it winds through the mountains. Then I can also keep my speed up around 70mph. And if the rain hits, I can revert back to the route I posted above which uses more of eastern Oregon which may be drier in such an event.

    So this is the new option: http://goo.gl/maps/7toFS
    And the original 395 option: http://goo.gl/maps/qZvuh

    Depending on where I end up on the end of Day 2 (which is probably somewhere between Eugene and Portland), I will probably have to pass through part of Portland in rush hour. BUT WAIT! That will be on a Saturday morning, so no worries there! And in Seattle, I am actually going up to the Poulsbo area, so I am going up I-5 to 16 and will skip "real" Seattle.

    Gas should not be an issue, I will have my 1.75 gal Rotopax, so am good for a 250 mile range, depending on speed and winds. Basically, I'll have 5.95 gallons total on my F800GS.

    It was thought that I could trailer up (using my Subaru and my trusty trailer) to Seattle area and leave my car at my Aunt's until I return to drive home. Yes it saves tires, yes you can drive longer pushes in the car, but it also seems a little like cheating, if you know what I mean. Less complete then riding door to door. :wink:
    #5
  6. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    I'd get off of 395 at Susanville and take 139 to Klamath Falls. Then north on 97 to 58 west to Eugene/I5. You will make good time that way. Or on north to Bend if you have time and want to stay off of I5 farther. You could go all the way to Seattle staying east of I5--your schedule might not allow that...

    Have fun
    #6
  7. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

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    No kidding, or shoot your self...
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  8. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

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    Yep, drove that section a few times this past winter (once in almost white out conditions) and remember that. Annoying, but at least they are not too long of sections. Thanks for the reminder though. I did see someone get pulled over up there, my V1 saved me that time.
    #8
  9. HotChilliColdBeer

    HotChilliColdBeer Human Swizzle Stick

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    Watch your ass on 89 if you take it. Way too many CHP out there.





    Charlie
    #9
  10. kevin2735

    kevin2735 Been here awhile

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    I rode from Santa Barbara last year to Seattle in two days. I went up the 101 to San Francisco / San Jose, then cut over on the 680 /80 / 505, and then rode the 5 the rest of the way. I stopped in Yreka which was about 640 miles for me on the first day, and then rode the remaining 500 miles on the second day. The 5 above Sacramento was actually not too bad, it did offer some nice scenery, and traffic was not a problem for me except for when passing through Portland. I found a nice microbrew in Portland for my lunch stop on the second day.
    #10
  11. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    There ain't no way in hell you can make LA to Seattle in two days with your route. 14 is absolute hell, I've never seen it without cry for your mother wind, it'll wipe you out.

    I tried Sac to Seattle in one day, couldn't do it on 5 all the way, I quit in Portland after 18 hours.

    The frustration factor with Oregon left lane hogs and the lack of three lane highway to get around said idiots adds considerable time.

    Add 1/3 to a Google estimate for this run. It's a solid 10 hours per day for 3 days for this run.:deal
    #11
  12. kevin2735

    kevin2735 Been here awhile

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    Heck, I did Bozeman MT to Los Angeles in two days, spent the night in Wendover NV. Two 750 mile days, I guess it all depends on your comfort level, your ride, and whether or not your okay with having the ass of a baboon.
    #12
  13. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Been here awhile

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  14. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    I-5 doesn't go to MT, it's a time killer just like 395, it's hard to imagine if you haven't traveled them a bit. Took me 16 hours from Sacramento to Corona one time, it's really hard to predict.

    If you want to make it in two days I'd ride until dawn the first day out, don't speed, it's just you, some trucks and the CHP.
    #14
  15. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

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    Yes I agree with Larry Boy... I-5 ain't what it use to be... Lots of places on the 5 where you are slogging not speeding...
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  16. kevin2735

    kevin2735 Been here awhile

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    I agree, the I-5 is not the scenic adventure ride of a life time, but I think it is still the "fastest" way to Seattle if you have to travel by road. Getting an early start when you are on a well traveled highway, and have to put on some heavy miles, is always smart advice. For me, I didn't see too many choke points once I got above Sacramento. Depending on where you are leaving from in LA can make the difference of many hours if you choose a poor route and leave at the wrong time. Larry is spot on with the 14 out of LA, it can be a very hot parking lot.
    #16
  17. bonneville53

    bonneville53 kiwi

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    Sorry to hijack your post but this right up my alley
    Except I want to go LA to Lewiston then over the Lolo
    But I have a bit more time
    Any heads up on a route that shows off the best your country has to ride
    We are a small group of Australians coming over to ride the blacktop
    Don't mind a bit of dirt but bikes will be HDs so that is a factor
    Any help will be appreciated
    Thanks
    Paul
    #17
  18. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

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    I have your slow route right here, yes sir, I have ridden San Fran to Lewiston a few years ago on a nice 5 day route. If you have 4-5 days at least, you will have a GREAT ride from LA to Lewiston to get to the Lolo Pass.

    I recommend the following route:
    Leaving LA: Head up the coast from LA on CA-1, and keep going north past San Fran. To avoid some of the mess of the urban sprawl of LA, do this:
    CA-33 North
    CA-58 West
    CA-229 North ("Rossi's Driveway", short but very fun road)
    CA-46 West
    CA-1 North
    CA-36 East
    CA-3 North
    US-97 North
    Stop at Crater Lake if you have time
    US-26 North
    OR-19 North
    and so fourth to get to Lewiston for the Lolo.

    Google Map: http://goo.gl/maps/PWMNu

    Second option is going up 395 to experience the Sierra Nevada's instead of the coast: http://goo.gl/maps/ykh7t

    On this route (the first option up the coast) you will see:
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    #18
  19. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

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    I've driven the 14 many an evening in the car heading out for weekend rock climbing and hiking trips, but luckily I'll be on the bike and have access to the HOV lane. Plan is to leave on a Thursday evening, which shouldn't be as bad as the weekend rush of a Friday night.

    I think I will head up 14 to 395 and get to at least Lone Pine the first night. From there, depending on weather and how I feel, I will either take 395 to 97 to Eugene, or 395 to 44/89 at Susanville to get onto the 5. And then just use 5 all the way up. Technically I have all of Day 3 to use if need be, which would put the total allotted riding time at 2 full days plus the 4-5 hours from the evening of day 1.
    #19
  20. bonneville53

    bonneville53 kiwi

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    Well we followed you directions sort of
    That pch below San Fran was pretty but so crowded
    Coming into SF on the 101 at 100mph on the 6 laner was exciting
    Rode a pushy over the golden gate
    The pch north of SF was fantastic
    As was the avenue of the giants
    The ca36 fortunate to redding
    Hells canyon
    Now today we go Lolo pass to Missoula
    Thanks again for the advice
    That to us 8 days
    Regards Paul
    #20