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Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       02-13-2012, 10:40 AM Reply   
I am hoping some of you are familier with this drive or stop along the way. In late April my buddy, his fiance, my girlfriend and myself are thinking about heading down to Reno for the weekend. We may take 2 or 3 days before and drive down in a couple days. The original idea might be to leave Seattle around noon on a wednesday and drive to central oregon(Bend or Salem depending on which way to go) and camp or stay in a cheap hotel/cabin. Then drive either to Reno on Thursday or maybe stop somewhere else Thursday night and camp.

Is there anything between Seattle and Reno worth stopping at and seeing?

Which way would you all go out of these options?
-I5 all the way down to Weed/Mt Shasta and cutting over at 89. Will this way go over any passes that may be a problem with snow? I know a couple years ago I was up by MT Lassen in early June and there was still a ton of snow up there.
-I5 to Eugene and cut over to 97 via 58. 58 doesn't look like a very large highway and I have never been on it. This would take us past Klamath falls and I think a pass there. Anythign worth seeing in Klammath falls? After Klamath we would jump on 139 till susanville and then on to Reno.
-Head to Bend then just run down 97 till we meet up with the previous route in southern Oregon.

My main concern is snow in any high passes if there are any and finding something worth seeing on the way and taking up a couple nights. We will be driving back in one day on Sunday so what is just the fastest way? Google maps says through Eugene and Klamath falls is the fastest way.
Old     (markj)      Join Date: Apr 2005       03-26-2012, 11:58 PM Reply   
I've done this trip three times in the last three years. Hwy 97 sucks unless you have time to kill or you need to stop in Bend or you like to drive Hwy 97 in a straight line with the same scenery for 80 miles for some reason. I-5 to 89 is the best way I think. Roseburg is a good place to stop in central/southern Oregon where there are many cheaper hotels to chose from.
Old     (magicr)      Join Date: May 2004       03-27-2012, 1:33 AM Reply   
I live in Southern Oregon, and have traveled both the Mt.Shasta cut-off and the Klamath Falls to Susanville route many times, the Klamath Falls to Susanville route will be less trouble with any snow as you are not going over any passes. But it is very desolate between Alturas and Susanville, so take a dependable car and plenty of gas. Also be careful to stay close to the speed limit as it is easy to go fast on that stretch. My brother got pulled over for doing close to 90 going down (kind of ruined the Reno fun).

I prefer the Mt.Shasta route as there is more scenery, and more small waysides to pull over and stretch your legs. The snow can be trouble but by late April you will probably be fine, but unless you have a 4 wheel drive, I would put in chains.

Don't waste your time in Klamath, there's is nothing to do or see really, Roseburg as well as Medford have cheap motels, If you want to have a little more variety on places to eat go to Ashland.
Old     (diamonddad)      Join Date: Mar 2010       03-27-2012, 9:49 AM Reply   
I drive Olympia WA to the SF Bay Area every year for the holidays.

If it's a two day trip, I stay in Ashland. But, I feel like making it a two day trip simply makes for 2 bad days. So, these days, I start early and do the entire drive in 1 day.

So, my recommendation is to trade off driving and power through it in one day. And, stay on the major hwys if the weather is bad.
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       03-27-2012, 12:16 PM Reply   
Thanks guys. Plans have changed a little. I am now going to get the gas paid for by making it a business trip of sorts. I am going to be driving straight down to Turlock in one day. I would rather power through and have an extra day to take it easy. I am not sure we will make it all the was to turlock but would at least like to get south of Sactown. Anybody have any ideas where about I should try and find a cheap motel close to the freeway between Sacramento and Turlock? I am going to pick up some stuff at a vendor first thing in the morning then head up to Reno. Also, am I going to have any problem driving between Turlock/Sacramento and Reno if I am in a 2wd truck in mid April? The drive back will end up being either the Shasta route or the Klammath falls route.

Also, if we don't end up driving straight up to Reno Thursday morning does anybody have any good suggestions of something cool to go see/do between Turlock/Sac/Reno? I see the MB plant is in Atwater is just south of Turlock so I might have to try and finagle a plant tour if they do that kind of thing. I have a feeling my girlfriend isn't goin got like that so much though.
Old    LR3w8kbrdr            03-27-2012, 12:46 PM Reply   
How long is this drive?? I drive 16hrs straight through over on the east coast by myself with no issues. I guess people w/ kids prob make it a 2 day trip. But I've done it a few times w/ my dog, twice towing the boat.

If it only takes 11-12 hrs like google says, sounds easily doable in 1 shot.
Old     (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       03-27-2012, 3:04 PM Reply   
Oh yeah, I have decided to do down in one day and back in one day now.
Old     (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       03-27-2012, 4:39 PM Reply   
drive by lake tahoe?

2wd truck over the summit in mid april.... ya never know. Totally possible to have chain controls that time of year if there's a storm.

I've done both the Klammath and Shasta routes. The Shasta route is the easiest by far. There aren't really any hairball steep parts and it's not that high, even though it's forrested. It's a pretty pleasant and scenic drive between susanville and i5. Lassen views are really killer. But then you are on 5 at weed and I don't know what it is but I really hate driving 5 through oregon. It's really slow between CA and wherever you come out of the mountains (Eugene?). And people in oregon all seem to drive like they are totally baked (sorry oregoneons). Stark contrast to I5 in CA, where traffic will be bumper to bumper at 85 through the central valley.

That said the Klammath route is through some b mutha f'in e. Between susanville and and Klammath Falls it's a whole lotta nuthing, and the roads are pretty substandard too. It is not fast driving out there. Poor pavement, undilating roads, poor shoulders, etc. If you want to see some desert, it's good, but it's not a great way to make time. From Klammath Falls to Eugene it's pretty sweet. I enjoyed that part a lot. Nice scenery and such.

Take all of the above from the perspective of a desert dweller who doesn't see forests much. If you prefer to see desert to forest, the Klamath route is best (and through alturas and bend would be even better).


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