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Old 07-08-2014, 12:38 PM   #1
darklord700
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I'm planning for a two week a road trip this December around Christmas.

Day 1 Calgary - Idaho Falls
Day 2 Idaho Falls - Las Vegas
Day 3-4 Las Vegas
Day 5 - Las Vegas to San Fran

After day 5, it's wide open. I'll probably stay in San Fran for 4- full days and then take the highway 101 for the scenic drive. Has anyone done the Highway 101 scenic drive? What would be your recommendation?

Should I do the whole trip in reverse (drive from Seattle to San Fran) so that I'm driving South on Highway 101 with the Ocean on the right hand side? Thanks.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:43 PM   #2
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Carlifornia
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:43 PM   #3
Matt Reeeeead
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Drive to the Mexican border and get into some trouble.

But really, the drive is beautiful. I made stops in LA, San Diego, Orange County, and a few other cities (Half Moon Bay was kind of neat if you want a quiet day on the beach, Santa Barbara, etc. cant really go wrong). you're right possibilities are endless, but you should probably go to Tijuana. My trip was mostly centric around baseball, ended up seeing all 5 stadiums.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:49 PM   #4
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Calgary to Idaho Falls could be real dicey in December. You have to go over a high pass between Butte MT and Idaho. Day 1 is a really long drive, in good conditions (1100 km). Idaho Falls to Reno is another 1000 km.

Idaho Falls to Reno/Tahoe to San Fran is more direct. Las Vegas is quite a bit further South. Could encounter bad conditions again crossing from Nevada to Cali.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:53 PM   #5
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Carlifornia
The Carl-themed amusement park. Not quite as big a hit as Itchy & Scratchy land but still worth the drive.

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Old 07-08-2014, 12:58 PM   #6
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1. Take the PCH/101 as much as humanly possible. One of the most beautiful drives anywhere in the world. My favorite sections are in Oregon, but the whole route is pretty nice. Stop at Cannon beach...if it looks familiar, its because that's where they filmed the Goonies. Multnomah Falls (more inland, closer to Portland) is beautiful too...it's along the way if you do Calgary > Portland.

2. Watch out for all the weirdo meth heads that permeate small-town America.

3. Stop to enjoy the red woods on the way.

4. Don't ever call it San Fran.

5. Calistoga is a great day/weekend trip in the Bay Area.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:05 PM   #7
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Calgary to Idaho Falls could be real dicey in December. You have to go over a high pass between Butte MT and Idaho. Day 1 is a really long drive, in good conditions (1100 km). Idaho Falls to Reno is another 1000 km.

Idaho Halls to Reno/Tahoe to San Fran is more direct. Las Vegas is quite a bit further South. Could encounter bad conditions again crossing from Nevada to Cali.
Monida pass right on the border of Idaho and Montana on the I15. As troutman said, it can get real dicey. I did the trip before Christmas a few years ago and I can't say I would want to go through that pass again in the winter. Further south in Utah there are some high passes as well, I think the State Troopers can require you to have chains to even let you try it.

Going to Reno/San Francisco would go through Donner Pass. There is a National Geographic show Hell on the Highway about it. It seems like it can get pretty nasty in the winter as well.

Finally, if you can, go from North to south on the 101/PCH and hope it isn't foggy! It might be less sketchy getting to Seattle in the winter than going south.

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Old 07-08-2014, 01:15 PM   #8
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Couple of threads to check out:

http://forum.calgarypuck.com/showthread.php?t=105946
http://forum.calgarypuck.com/showthread.php?t=129630
http://forum.calgarypuck.com/showthread.php?t=110697

Are you going south from SF? We went south (from SF to LA) on the 101 through Big Sur. Stayed overnight in Cambria, visited Hearst Castle. Heard the Oregon Coast is nice but can't speak from personal experience (just stayed on I-5; we were heading south).

My tip - depending on how much time you have (and how much you like SF), I would spend as much time in places accessible by road only (i.e. on the 101, especially if you decide to go up north through Oregon). A future trip back to SF is only a plane ride away, but to get to the Oregon Coast or along the Pacific Coast Highway will be a lot harder to schedule for the second time around.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:31 PM   #9
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Don't get too worried about the drive. 10's of 1000's of snow birds make the drive down I15 every winter. There can be some bad parts through Montana as it is mountain driving in the winter. You can also by pass Salt Lake and the mountain passes south of there by taking the 93 which just goes through Nevada. It's not too busy and is a lot flatter, lots of the seniors will pull their trailers down this way. It adds about 1 1/2 to two hours.

We were going down in May one year and ran into a wicked snow storm just south of Nephi (UT) cars were going in the dithch every which way and nobody slowed down at all, it was just crazy.

We always stay the first night in Idaho Falls at the Driftwood Inn and got to Applebees for 1/2 price drinks and 2 for 1 appetizers.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:57 PM   #10
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drive thru the donner pass and try and get on that tow truck show.

don't forget to visit compton and LBC.......
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:35 PM   #11
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_15

http://past.theweathernetwork.com/in...&roadcode=i-15
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:39 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input. I think I'm gonna ditch the Vegas leg, since it's just Vegas. And just gonna go up and down the Oregon and Carlifonia coast through Vancouver and Seattle and back to Calgary.
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:59 PM   #13
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Good call...as long as the weather is relatively nice, it will be an amazing trip.

Take your time going down. You can always do inland on the way back if you need to save time (and that way you can drive by Lake Tahoe). SF to Calgary can be done in two days.
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Old 07-08-2014, 04:45 PM   #14
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5. Calistoga is a great day/weekend trip in the Bay Area.
Not sure about the time of the year in the Napa Valley (been there twice, both around July 4th) but it is such a awesome place. The scenery is gorgeous, the wine of course was in abundance, but what really got me was the food. So many great restaurants, outta the 10 days total we have stayed there, have yet to have a place with bad food. My favorite being Mustards Grill.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:52 PM   #15
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Calgary to Idaho Falls could be real dicey in December. You have to go over a high pass between Butte MT and Idaho. Day 1 is a really long drive, in good conditions (1100 km). Idaho Falls to Reno is another 1000 km.

Idaho Falls to Reno/Tahoe to San Fran is more direct. Las Vegas is quite a bit further South. Could encounter bad conditions again crossing from Nevada to Cali.
Make sure you keep track of the weather conditions for Helena and Butte before you go down. You don't want to hit that area if there is a blizzard forcast. It is a long drive to Idaho Falls - we normally leave at 6:00 am and we are in Idaho Falls for supper. We usually continue further south, down to Salt Lake City and spend the first night there.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:21 PM   #16
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Beware - "dry" towns in Utah.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:33 PM   #17
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Good call...as long as the weather is relatively nice, it will be an amazing trip.

Take your time going down. You can always do inland on the way back if you need to save time (and that way you can drive by Lake Tahoe). SF to Calgary can be done in two days.
Unfortunately, December is one of the worst months for the Oregon Coast weather-wise. Average temps 3-10 degrees C, very windy and 11 inches of rain on average for the northern half. A bit warmer as you get further south, but not by much.

By my count there were 12 days December 2013 with no or trace rain, however, so there's a decent chance of getting at least 1 dry day on the way.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:46 PM   #18
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Beware - "dry" towns in Utah.
Also, the alcohol content of beer in Utah is less for similar brands in neighbouring states. Not a place to party
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:25 AM   #19
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don't forget a vietnamnese mani/pedi in san jose!

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Old 07-09-2014, 11:37 AM   #20
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We're taking the PCH from Portland to San Diego on the 20th and have given it 5 or 6 days. Any tips or cool things to check out? I've looked into the avenue of giants, alcatraz, Hearst Castle, Big Sur Point, Pfeiffer Falls, Julia Pheiffer state park, McWay Falls, and Morro Rock. Just looking for other neat stops along the way.
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