Safe place to spend the night between Phoenix and San Francisc?
May 16, 2009 6:58 PM   Subscribe

I am driving from Phoenix to San Francisco, with all my worldly possessions in the car. I plan to split the trip into two days. Any suggestions of a good place to stay overnight where my stuff will be safe in the car?

I don't know yet if it will be on the weekend or on a weekday, but I want to avoid the worst of LA traffic. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
posted by twiggy32 to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not familiar with the west coast, but I will let you know that I did a similar move years ago on the east coast, and everything I owned was stolen out of my van in a "guarded" garage at a high-end hotel. If you value it, take it inside with you. Take CDs inside regardless because insurance will not pay to replace them. Car insurance covers damage to your vehicle; home owners insurance or renter's insurance covers the contents--so if you will be between policies, investigate a temporary umbrella policy of some sort.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:02 PM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I haven't driven distances like this, but Google Maps says it's an eleven-hour drive. I know if all my stuff were sitting somewhere outside and I were inside, I wouldn't be able to sleep well. Can you do it in one (obviously long) day?
posted by madcaptenor at 7:15 PM on May 16, 2009

Sleep in the car at a rest stop on the interstate.
posted by torquemaniac at 7:31 PM on May 16, 2009

Regarding LA traffic, perhaps it would be worth it to skip that region entirely by cutting north off Interstate 10 to Needles and then picking up Interstate 40 to Barstow, winding through to Bakersfield on 58 and then rejoining Interstate 5.
posted by carmicha at 7:44 PM on May 16, 2009

Midway between Phoenix and SF would put you in the Central Valley on I-5.
posted by salvia at 7:49 PM on May 16, 2009

Best answer: My thought is to pick an upscale hotel in or around LA that has a monitored valet lot. Perhaps the Westin in Pasadena? It isn't too far off track.

I'd also agree with carmicha that it would be best to bypass LA altogether. But I don't see any cities along that path that would have the kind of hotel I'm talking about.
posted by mullacc at 7:54 PM on May 16, 2009

I was also thinking hotel with private parking (parking deck rather than lot though, just for that added level of security), but I was thinking Vegas, because I'm ignorant of geography.
posted by box at 8:16 PM on May 16, 2009

We drove from Phoenix to San Francisco in January for MacWorld. It's a really long trip, but definitely doable in one day. Audio books can be great to help pass the time.

I wouldn't trust the safety of a garage or other parking environment to help keep my belongings secure.
posted by Aleen at 8:22 PM on May 16, 2009

Note the Google Maps route to SF sucks. Get on the 210 as soon as you can by taking the 215 cutoff from the 10 before Fontana.

It's ~6 hours to Valencia, CA, that's the last stop on the 5 before the Central Valley hell.

Take an hour break there, and drive on up to SF (another 6 hours . . .)
posted by toroi at 8:58 PM on May 16, 2009

Sleep in the car at a rest stop on the interstate.

Just felt the need to say: you are more important than your stuff! This seems like a dangerous idea.
posted by palliser at 9:25 PM on May 16, 2009

Do it in one day. I've done the exact same route with my things but with twice the amount of stuff (two trips). Start early, take a nap parked somewhere public/busy.
posted by user92371 at 9:44 PM on May 16, 2009

Weird idea, nap in the car next to a police station?
posted by Polgara at 10:19 PM on May 16, 2009

Friends with a home garage to lend you?
posted by mdonley at 4:06 AM on May 17, 2009

I have a relative who swears by parking overnight at hospitals while traveling. There's people coming and going all hours of the night, there's usually some security presence, and if she's sleeping in the car, she can go in and use the restroom and get food without anyone being suspicious of why she's there.
posted by BlooPen at 5:34 AM on May 17, 2009

I've done several multi-day cross-country moves, and each time I've just stayed at motels on the interstate, taking the valuables inside and leaving everything else outside. The way I see it is, if I were a thief, it would be because I was lazy, and the last thing I'd want to do is fish through a ton of boxes of clothes, dishes, books, and bric-a-brac.

Which, incidentally, is also why I used to keep my car full of clothes, books, and bric-a-brac. Or at least, that's what I told people...
posted by sesquipedalian at 2:46 PM on May 17, 2009

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