Driving SF to Seattle With Cat - 2 Day Route Maximizing Scenic Beauty?
September 7, 2019 1:47 PM   Subscribe

In two weeks I will be driving from San Francisco to Seattle with my cat. I would like to split this drive up over two days and maximize the scenic beauty of the trip. What is the best route for us?

I'll make an overnight stop (possibly with friends in the Grants Pass, OR area or could be elsewhere along the way) but other than brief rest and meal breaks I don't plan to make any stopovers or side trips. I am quite comfortable with long-distance driving and back roads, but for the cat's safety and comfort I would prefer to avoid areas with very hot temperatures and should keep off really bumpy or twisty roads as well.

I have done SF <> Eureka on US101 and SF <> Leggett on CA1 before. Happy to drive part/all of that again or see something different.

(I saw a few previous related questions but they were pretty old and/or had different constraints).
posted by 4rtemis to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
101 along the coast is the usual answer, because it really is that gorgeous, the Oregon Coast especially.

But if you go up to Reno you can go up one of the 'back ways'. 395 to 97 and hit Klamath Falls, Deschutes national forest, to Mt Hood. Very pretty and this time of year not all snowed in! Or you could probably go through Shasta to hit Grants Pass. Or stick to eastern Oregon and come up into WA via Walla Walla or the Tri-Cities.
posted by lovecrafty at 2:46 PM on September 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

It might be too early, but one of my most memorable trips was along the Pacific Flyway. More information here. Granted, I5 isn’t very inspiring, but once you start climbing out of the valley north of Redding, I think it’s gorgeous. You can stay in Dunsmuir or the town of Mt. Shasta to break up your drive.
posted by Gusaroo at 6:26 PM on September 7, 2019

101 along the Oregon coast is beautiful, but very tiring to drive. The coast is very likely to be rainy this time of year.

When you get to Grants Pass, you can cut over to take highway 97 along the east side of the Cascades to Yakima WA. This should be dry and beautiful with great views. 97 is not at all twisty, so it is a more relaxing drive than 101. If you're making good time, you can even go to Crater Lake National Park.
posted by monotreme at 6:54 PM on September 7, 2019

Taking a cat with you, I'd aim to just go straight through. Car travel is just too hard on most cats. And the scenic beauty between you and Seattle is laid out in such a way that what should (ought, not is) already be a two day drive can easily turn into three, or require much longer days in the car than you should spend. I've done this route, and separately traveled quite a bit with cats (single and plural).
posted by wotsac at 8:55 AM on September 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

Vindaloo’s wife here. Have you travelled for a long time with your cat before? Just echoing wotsac - when we moved, we were surprised by how traumatized our two cats were by the six hour car ride, despite each having large carriers with blankets and one of us sitting in the back seat with them. Lots of terrified meows plus vomit/poop/pee issues. It was not a great road trip...
posted by Vindaloo at 2:19 PM on September 8, 2019

Yeah, I was gonna suggest cutting the ride in half at Shasta or Humboldt, but everything to see except for the stuff that passes while you're driving or stopping for 10min at a rest stop is multi-hour activities or out of the way. Powering through is 8a-11p and done.

Maybe another way to look at it is: how do you think kitty will fare in a motel room? Yowling all night perhaps?

Sadly it only happens at dusk, but this is the Chapman Swifts time of the year in Portland.
posted by rhizome at 2:20 PM on September 8, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. It sounds like I am better off sticking with I5 most of the way up, maybe detouring on US97 around Klamath Falls and Crater Lake if we make good time. I do have to split the trip up over two days as any delay would push the limit of how long I can safely drive solo in a single day.
posted by 4rtemis at 8:10 PM on September 12, 2019

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