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Warning for those traveling to Mendocino

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Warning for those traveling to Mendocino

PLEASE be aware that Hwy 128 is nothing but a two lane highway (one way coming, one way going) with no divider and no lights in the evening. It is 55 miles once you jump on to Mendocino and very winding and narrow.

We were almost hit head on (a driver in the other lane decide to go around another slower driver not knowing we were in the other lane) and then we almost ran into a hill when letting a faster car pass.

Many drivers familiar with the area go much faster than the posted speed limit which makes it nerve wracking for those unfamiliar who do go the posted limit.

I wish we would have known before booking our trip.

northern california
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31. Re: Warning for those traveling to Mendocino

Sorry, Firewind, I reread my last post and I do make it sound switchbacky all the way. It is not.

Point is, if you don't know the road it is better to drive it during the daytime, and, it doesn't have the fear factor of 1.

New Jersey
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32. Re: Warning for those traveling to Mendocino

I'm actually sweating after reading this entire post. I've almst decided to go to Mendocino Cty. for vacation this July but am TERRIFIED of driving on roads like hway 1. I've done it twice and almost went into the state of shock. We'd be driving from SF and from what I think I've read, would go on 128. Will I survive?

Chatham, United...
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33. Re: Warning for those traveling to Mendocino

We travelled this last year, and didn't find it a problem at all. It's just like most of the roads we have over here in the UK!

SF Bay Area
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34. Re: Warning for those traveling to Mendocino

I have driven all of the roads mentioned previously. I live in the Bay Area and grew up driving 17 before the K rails were installed. That was another fun road to drive!

Seriously, my experiences with driving 128 during the day are similar to the OP. It is hard to enjoy the scenery for most of 128 because of having to be constantly looking in the rear view mirror for speeders. I have given up using 128 and use either 20 or go further down the coast and take my chances with the stretch above Jenner.

My suggestion is to use hwy 20. Yes it is a local road with some dropoffs but the Locals are generally nicer and there seem to be more pull out spots to get out of the way. And there are lots of trees, so the dropoffs aren't quite so dramatic!

Years ago I learned if I wasn't the driver, that sitting behind the driver kept me from being freaking out too much. So, even tho it might seem strange if there are just two of you in the car, consider sitting in the back seat behind the driver if you are the passenger.

Destination Expert
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35. Re: Warning for those traveling to Mendocino

Coxy--there's really no way to tell until you do it. Everyone reacts very differently. For me (and I AM afraid of heights; like climbing ladders higher than 6 ft.), I have no prob's at all with Hwy. 1 or with #128. Hwy. #128 is less apt to be scary since brush and trees obscure the drop down, unlike #1 where it's very evident how high up you are. But if having cars behind you makes you extremely nervous, you might want to reconsider things. Yet if you can wait till there's a safe place to pull off and let those speedier cars go by, you'll be fine. You refer to "we" so there must be at least one other person with you--can they drive if you start to feel uncomfortable?

Santa Cruz...
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36. Re: Warning for those traveling to Mendocino


Believe me, you are going to be fine on 128 and also the part of Highway 1 you will be involved with.

Geez, I can't believe what I have been reading here.

So, 128 is a two-lane highway. Well, you are in the country, aren't you?

I guess people who want urban experiences should stay away from places where the "highways" are only two lane and not lit at night.

I am having a terrible time not being judgmental about some of the posts here.


Why don't we all just go to Disneyland?

Kapiti Coast
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37. Re: Warning for those traveling to Mendocino

We did this drive last year and absolutely loved it. Yes there was some amazing drop offs but at no time did we feel nervous or worried. It was like many of the coastal roads we have here in New Zealand.

It is beautiful and well worth the trip. My suggestion would be not to rush it, give yourself plenty of time so that if you do feel pressured by someone sitting in your boot (oops trunk!) you can pull over and let them pass.

I tend to be a nervous driver at the best of times but even I drove some of this route so it cant have been too bad!

New Jersey
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38. Re: Warning for those traveling to Mendocino

Thanks everyone. I definitely won't be the one driving and my husband is certainly not the nervous nellie that I am but on our last time on hway 1, while I was lying on the seat with my eyes close he wasn't even breathing through some spots. I certainly don't mind two lanes, will absolutely not be on that road at night and as long as I'm not forced to be on the outside lane of a sheer drop I think it will be ok. After getting off 1 the last time, I was in constant fear that we'd come upon a similar road again and it kind of ruined things for me.I hate that this would stop us from seeing this place but can't help my fears. We actually live on top of a mountain and I drive up/down a very steep, two lane road everyday. I don't like it but am used to it. It's the "what's next" aspect of the unknown road that bothers me most I guess.

39. Re: Warning for those traveling to Mendocino

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