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Old 08-14-2008, 02:40 AM   #1
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Default Road Trip: Portland, OR - San Francisco, CA

SWMBO and I are taking a road trip next weekend to San Francisco. We're trying to decide if we take the boring quicker route of I-5 all the way down or do we enjoy it and taker the longer scenic route down US-101? Has anyone done this ride before?

Right now I think we are heading out sometime Thursday Morning. Don't NEED to be in San Fran till later Friday evening (Outsidelands Festival in Golden Gate Park, Anyone else going?).

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Old 08-14-2008, 03:09 AM   #2
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I have done both. I always thought I-5 out of Portland was a pretty nice ride until Redding. After that the drive is flat but you can make time.

We took the highway from Redding to the coast and then South on 101 which was pretty nice.

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Old 08-14-2008, 04:14 AM   #3
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I've made both trips many times and much prefer 101 if you have the time. Cut over at Grants Pass to Crescent City. Drive through the redwoods especially Avenue of the Giants. Alot of breweries along this route all the way to San Fransisco as well. Lost Coast, Mad River, Eel River, Six Rivers, Bear Republic, Russian River, Stumptown, Moylan's, Marin, Lagunitas...the list goes on.

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Old 08-14-2008, 06:26 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Blender View Post
I have done both. I always thought I-5 out of Portland was a pretty nice ride until Redding. After that the drive is flat but you can make time.

We took the highway from Redding to the coast and then South on 101 which was pretty nice.
I agree the trip is ok from portland to Redding. I hate the trip from Redding south.

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I've made both trips many times and much prefer 101 if you have the time. Cut over at Grants Pass to Crescent City. Drive through the redwoods especially Avenue of the Giants. Alot of breweries along this route all the way to San Fransisco as well. Lost Coast, Mad River, Eel River, Six Rivers, Bear Republic, Russian River, Stumptown, Moylan's, Marin, Lagunitas...the list goes on.
101 through the Giants is KILLER its a must see but from portland to frisco on 101 is 3 maybe 4 days to enjoy it.. most of it is 35-40 MPH its a windy MO-FO.
Cheers enjoy the ride.
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Old 08-14-2008, 01:09 PM   #5
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Never done it, but since moving to Eugene 3 weeks ago we have been thinking about it. I would much prefer 101. In any event, let us know what ya did and how it went.

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Old 08-14-2008, 02:05 PM   #6
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We just did 101 a few weeks ago (with a side trip out to 1) and it was great. If you have the time, go 101. Unless you have a lot of time, I don't recommend going over to 1 (which runs along the coast), it looks close on the map but it's up and over coastal mountains so you can't go much more than 15mph. 101 is great though.

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Old 08-14-2008, 02:18 PM   #7
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Many times, both ways. I5 is boring, but it can be done in 12 hours.

Since you have two days, do the 101. If you are a hophead, you MUST stop at Bear Republic. They just might have some RacerX on tap.

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Old 08-14-2008, 03:11 PM   #8
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Alot of breweries along this route all the way to San Fransisco as well. Lost Coast, Mad River, Eel River, Six Rivers, Bear Republic, Russian River, Stumptown, Moylan's, Marin, Lagunitas...the list goes on.
You had me at breweries...HA....
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Old 08-14-2008, 03:33 PM   #9
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We make it to Marin on the I-5 route in about 9 hours. The 101 is WAY cooler but will take you two days. I would go down I-5 a ways and then cut over, the cool part is really the Redwoods. If I had time, I'd go down to Grants pass and take 199 over to the coast, then down.

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Old 08-14-2008, 04:01 PM   #10
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Like others have said, 101 is beautiful and gets you away from the boring stretch of desolation that is I-5. Not as bad as say I-80 through the Nevada desert, but it's a long stretch of nothing but rice fields for hours.

If it were me, and I could take a while to drive down...here's what I'd do.

1. I-5 from Portland to Redding
2. Hwy 299 from Redding to Eureka and get on Hwy 101. Do yourself a favor, and take a short detour up to Six Rivers Brewing. Once you get to 101, go north for about 10 minutes to McKinleyville. Nice place, with a view of the ocean in the distance, and more importantly a killer Kona Porter.

3. Head south on 101 down to Eureka, and you'll see the Lost Coast Brewery on the west side of the road. Nice old building with some pool tables in the back and some pub fare. Definitely try the 8 Ball Stout and the Downtown Brown.

4. Head south on 101 to Fortuna, where you can visit the Eel River Brewing Co.. They've got a nice patio, some good organic beers, and an appetizer of Calamari steaks that are to die for. Don't forget to throw a few horseshoes!

5. If you want to get a taste of Hwy 1, take it West towards the coast around the town of Leggett. Lots of windy turns here, so if you get queasy it may not be for you. However, if you endure the windy stretch of road you'll be rewarded with fantastic views of the rugged N. CA coast...and it will take you into Ft. Bragg, the home of the North Coast Brewing Co.. They make some fantastic food there, and have some glorious belgians and strong beers on tap, as well as a good wheat and pilsner.

6. Heading south on Hwy 1, you'll come to the turnoff to Hwy 128. This takes you through Anderson Valley which is just a beautiful drive. As a bonus, in Boonville just off the highway is the Anderson Valley Brewing Co.. Nice place to stop for a sample, a pint or a few bottles for later.

7. Keep heading south on 128 and this will eventually lead you back onto 101 just north of Cloverdale. At this point, there are all sorts of wineries about, and you are very close to Santa Rosa where you could hit Russing River Brewing.

8. South of Santa Rosa on Hwy 101 is Petaluma, where you can visit the folks at Lagunitas.

9. Just keep going south until you cross the Golden Gate bridge...and go to Anchor Brewing!

EDIT: Google maps shows me: 445 mi – about 9 hours 17 mins from Redding -> SF via the route I describe. Totally worth it though...just get a hotel room in Eureka or Ft. Bragg.

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