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Driving Vancouver to Los Angeles

new york
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Driving Vancouver to Los Angeles

Hi all,

I'm planning to drive from Vancouver to Los Angeles mid-January, and would love suggestions on the safest route to take. I know the coast is the prettiest, but since it's this time of year, and I'm solo and well, driving mountainous, snowy passes make me a little nervy...given all that, any thoughts?

And what do I need to do to my LA Jetta to make it safe to travel south in this weather. I have to confess, I'd love to not have to do a huge winterize overhaul, since the car will then be in LA...but whatever I need to make it safe, I'll do.

Thanks so much!

nyinla

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Driving Vancouver to Los Angeles

I-5 is the safest. It's also the most boring and the fastest.

You might want to ask this question on WA, OR, and CA forums as with exception to the first 45 minutes of your drive, your drive entirely takes place in the USA.

1-5 doesn't even enter any mountains until you get to around Medford, Oregon... and then it's only like that until you get to about Weed, California. Then it's flat again. No real mountain passes - just some gains in elevation here and there.

As far as I'm aware, you will not need any sort of winterization for your car along 1-5, nor for driving around Vancouver.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Driving Vancouver to Los Angeles

Oooops - just reacquainted myself with Oregon state geography.

The drive gets twisty once you head south of Eugene, but mellows out around Medford. Then once you leave Medford it gets a bit mountainous/twisty until you get to Redding (not Weed).

So if there's anywhere to be concerned about, it's the bit between Eugene, OR and Redding, CA. I'd ask on the Oregon and California forums to see what driving that stretch of 1-5 is like in the winter. I've only driven it in the summer.

Port Moody, Canada
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3. Re: Driving Vancouver to Los Angeles

have often driven this route in the winter and it can be a breeze OR it can be full on chains required!

Have encountered ice and snow from border through Seattle ( once took 6 hours to do this stretch normally 2 hour drive) also around Grant's Pass can be lots of snow...however have also had no snow whatsoever, rain and also clear dry roads.. so you really are at the mercy of the weather.

I would advise all weather or snow tires and carry chains. Be sure your antifreeze is topped up and also your windshield washer fluid. Carry a blanket and if you have room get a small collapsible shovel, I think MEC carries them. Also would advise taking I5 even though it's boring.. the coast can be really wet, windy and windy (both).

Don't mean to put you off but have done this trip more times than I care to count in 40 years...best to take your time and be prepared to stop if weather is bad.

new york
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4. Re: Driving Vancouver to Los Angeles

Thank you so much! So helpful, those posts - really I do love this site. Many thanks.

nyinla

new york
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5. Re: Driving Vancouver to Los Angeles

Thank you so much! So helpful, those posts - really I do love this site. Many thanks.

nyinla

Vancouver BC
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6. Re: Driving Vancouver to Los Angeles

Take an extra day and drive the coast. It is wet and mild this month and no winter conditions are along either I 5 or Coast 101. I'd drive I-5 to Portland (6 hours) and move out to 101 in Oregon and continue to San Francisco on 101. You can decide at SF whether to head down I-5 or continue 101. Driving time Vanc to LA is around 22 hrs on I-5 and quite boring.

seattle
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7. Re: Driving Vancouver to Los Angeles

agree in part with above. First of all in the states calling 511 on cell phone will give road conditions ahead. Just like Vancouver weather conditions change very often. To Grants pass your probably ok then you can find out the conditions in the Siskous. If its bad you can divert at Grants Pass and drive thru the redwoods and merge back to I'5 at SF if you want to continue on. The coast route from SF south is very interesting and not all that much longer than I-5

8. Re: Driving Vancouver to Los Angeles

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