Best travel route(s)

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Best travel route(s)

Postby Drizzt321 » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:08 pm

So, looking at the Google Map, from LA area, it defaults to using option 3, http://www.burningman.com/preparation/travel_info/la_to_brc.html#spooky_desert, which actually sounds like it might be cool (well, minus the almost complete lack of gas stations), however the page also says that (at least 2005) there were reports of police harassing/arresting without probable cause. I'll take that with a small grain of salt, but it easily enough could have been that way.

So that least option 2, http://www.burningman.com/preparation/travel_info/la_to_brc.html#american_dream. Is that the most recommended route?

What about staying on 395, but then taking 182 at Bridgeport? That becomes 338 to Smith Valley, take 208E, then onto 339N which hits 95 outside of Yerington. Take 95N up through Silver Springs which continues up until it hits 427N, then 447N and then hope I don't run into any big lines once I get to BRC.

Is it probably not worth it, and I should just stick to the same route everyone else is going to be going on (395 up to Reno)?
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby portaplaya » Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:21 pm

The warnings about "Spooky Desert" are six years old.

This is now the preferred route for southern CA folks with heavy loads, at least as I was told by people from LA.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby Drizzt321 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:50 pm

Ah, good to know, thanks portaplaya. While I won't have a 'heavy' load, I'll probably have a pretty good load for my poor Honda Civic, lol. I am bringing a 5-gal gas can with me, so if I miss a gas stop or something, I have enough to still go another 80-100 miles (or more). Time to start doing LOTS of searches and find where the gas stations are and plan out the stops, at least at in the less populated areas where they likely won't have 24-hr gas stations.

That's another concern for me, I'll be traveling at least most of the way, at night.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby portaplaya » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:16 pm

From Vancouver/Seattle/Portland:


Name: Wally's favorite - flattest
Origin: Seattle
Route: I-5 to Portland, I-5 to Salem, I-5 to Albany, I-5 to Eugene, SR-58 to Klamath Falls, SR-139 to Alturas, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 654 (abt. 12 hr 23 min)
Elev. Gain: 21488 / Elev. Drop: -17459.8
Max Up Slope: 8.7% / Down Slope: -9%
Ave asc: 1.2% / des -1.1%
Big crests: 3 (Willamette Pass, Cedar Pass, Surprise Vally asc.)
Highest Point: 6323

Name: Summer Lake Hot Springs
Origin: Seattle
Route: I-5 to Portland, US-26 to Government Camp, US-26 to Bend, US-97 to La Pine, SR-31 to Summer Lake H.S., US-395 to Alturas, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 666 (abt. 13 hr 8 min)
Elev. Gain: 26242 / Elev. Drop: -22515
Max Up Slope: 11.8% / Down Slope: -9.1%
Ave asc: 1.5% / des -1.4%
Big crests: 5 (Mt Hood asc., Madras River asc., Dechuttes River asc., Cedar Pass, Surprise Vally asc.)
Highest Point: 6323

Name: Santiam Pass
Origin: Seattle
Route: I-5 to Portland, I-5 to Salem, SR-22 to Bend, US-97 to La Pine, US-97 to Klamath Falls, SR-139 to Alturas, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 687 (abt. 13 hr 18 min)
Elev. Gain: 23803 / Elev. Drop: -20062
Max Up Slope: 9.2% / Down Slope: -9%
Ave asc: 1.2% / des -1.2%
Big crests: 4 (Santiam Pass, Dechuttes River asc., Cedar Pass, Surprise Vally asc.)
Highest Point: 6323

Name: Mt. Hood, Klamath Falls, Gerlach
Origin: Seattle
Route: I-5 to Portland, US-26 to Government Camp, US-26 to Bend, US-97 to La Pine, US-97 to Klamath Falls, SR-139 to Alturas, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 672 (abt. 13 hr 15 min)
Elev. Gain: 25066 / Elev. Drop: -21339
Max Up Slope: 11.8% / Down Slope: -9.1%
Ave asc: 1.4% / des -1.3%
Big crests: 5 (Mt Hood asc., Madras River asc., Dechuttes River asc., Cedar Pass, Surprise Vally asc.)
Highest Point: 6323

Name: Grants Pass
Origin: Seattle
Route: I-5 to Portland, I-5 to Salem, I-5 to Albany, I-5 to Eugene, I-5 to Grants Pass, SR-140 to Klamath Falls, SR-139 to Alturas, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 722 (abt. 15 hr 21 min)
Elev. Gain: 27468 / Elev. Drop: -23439.8
Max Up Slope: 8.7% / Down Slope: -9%
Ave asc: 1.4% / des -1.4%
Big crests: 4 (Mtns south of Canyonville, Mount McLoughlin asc., Cedar Pass, Surprise Vally asc.)
Highest Point: 6323

Name: Mt. Shasta
Origin: Seattle
Route: I-5 to Portland, I-5 to Salem, I-5 to Albany, I-5 to Eugene, I-5 to Grants Pass, I-5 to Mt Shasta, SR-89 to Alturas, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 766 (abt. 13 hr 44 min)
Elev. Gain: 32621 / Elev. Drop: -28588.8
Max Up Slope: 9.8% / Down Slope: -9%
Ave asc: 1.6% / des -1.7%
Big crests: 10 (Mtns south of Canyonville, Siskiyous Pass (three summits), Mt. Shasta asc., Cascade asc., Adin Pass, Cedar Pass, Surprise Vally asc.)
Highest Point: 6323
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby portaplaya » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:25 pm

By the way, if you start east of LA, the break even point for going up I-5 or going up I-15 to reach 395 is Anaheim or West Covina. Further east, take I-15.

From Greater LA:

Name: "Spooky Desert"
Origin: Los Angeles
Route: US-395 to Bishop, US-6 to Fernley, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 563 (abt. 9 hr 33 min)
Elev. Gain: 19754 / Elev. Drop: -16134
Max Up Slope: 7% / Down Slope: -6.8%
Ave asc: 1.3% / des -1.3%
Big crests: 6 (San Fernando Valley asc., Sierra Pelona Mtns asc., Soledad Pass, Owens Valley asc., Sierra Nevada asc., Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 7136

Name: "American Dream"
Origin: Los Angeles
Route: US-395 to Bishop, US-395 to Reno, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 579 (abt. 10 hr 53 min)
Elev. Gain: 23915 / Elev. Drop: -20297
Max Up Slope: 6.7% / Down Slope: -7.9%
Ave asc: 1.6% / des -1.4%
Big crests: 9 (San Fernando Valley asc., Sierra Pelona Mtns asc., Soledad Pass, Owens Valley asc., Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 8123

Name: "Astroturf Highway"
Origin: Los Angeles
Route: SR-99 to Fresno, SR-99 to SE Sacramento, SR-51 to NE Sacramento, I-80 to Reno, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 622 (abt. 10 hr 37 min)
Elev. Gain: 22162 / Elev. Drop: -18540
Max Up Slope: 9.3% / Down Slope: -8.9%
Ave asc: 1.2% / des -1%
Big crests: 7 (San Fernando Valley asc., Tejon Pass, Sierra Nevada asc., Donner Summit, Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 7227

Name: Yosemite
Origin: Los Angeles
Route: SR-99 to Fresno, SR-4/SR-120 to Reno, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 628 (abt. 12 hr 6 min)
Elev. Gain: 31250 / Elev. Drop: -27630
Max Up Slope: 7.2% / Down Slope: -13.7%
Ave asc: 2% / des -1.8%
Big crests: 8 (San Fernando Valley asc., Tejon Pass, Yosemite, Sierra Nevada asc., Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 9928

Name: South Lake Tahoe - I-80 bypass
Origin: Los Angeles
Route: SR-99 to Fresno, SR-99 to SE Sacramento, US-50 to Reno, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 651 (abt. 11 hr 39 min)
Elev. Gain: 22262 / Elev. Drop: -18664
Max Up Slope: 7.7% / Down Slope: -9.7%
Ave asc: 1.1% / des -1%
Big crests: 8 (San Fernando Valley asc., Tejon Pass, Sierra Nevada asc., Camino Ranges asc., near Camino, Echo Summit/Luthur Pass, Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 7377

Name: Vegas Baby!
Origin: Los Angeles
Route: SR-57 to Ontario, I-15 to Start of US-395, I-15 to Las Vegas, US-95 to Fernley, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 763 (abt. 13 hr 11 min)
Elev. Gain: 28761 / Elev. Drop: -25140
Max Up Slope: 6.8% / Down Slope: -6.8%
Ave asc: 1.4% / des -1.5%
Big crests: 7 (Cajon Summit asc., Sierra Nevada asc. near Zzyzx, Sierra Nevada asc. near Halloran Springs, Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 6251
Last edited by portaplaya on Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby Drizzt321 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:37 pm

portaplaya wrote:Name: Yosemite
Origin: Los Angeles
Route: SR-99 to Fresno, SR-41 to Reno, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 628 (abt. 12 hr 6 min)
Elev. Gain: 31250 / Elev. Drop: -27630
Max Up Slope: 7.2% / Down Slope: -13.7%
Ave asc: 2% / des -1.8%
Big crests: 8 (San Fernando Valley asc., Tejon Pass, Yosemite, Sierra Nevada asc., Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 9928


I was just checking this out on Google Maps, and from Fresno, are you sure SR-41 goes all the way to Reno? According to GMaps it ends up near Mt Whitney. If you take SR-49 from SR-41 you start going in the right direction, and looks like there are various routes you can take, but SR-41 doesn't take you all the way. Unless I'm missing something of course.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby portaplaya » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:39 pm

From Bay Area:

Name: Straight-shot
Origin: San Francisco
Route: I-80 to NE Sacramento, I-80 to Reno, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 325 (abt. 5 hr 51 min)
Elev. Gain: 17610 / Elev. Drop: -13662
Max Up Slope: 11.5% / Down Slope: -10.5%
Ave asc: 1.9% / des -1.6%
Big crests: 2 (Donner Summit, Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 7227

Name: South Lake Tahoe - I-80 bypass
Origin: San Francisco
Route: I-580/SR-12 to SE Sacramento, US-50 to Reno, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 357 (abt. 6 hr 58 min)
Elev. Gain: 18188 / Elev. Drop: -14259
Max Up Slope: 12.2% / Down Slope: -10.5%
Ave asc: 1.8% / des -1.6%
Big crests: 3 (Camino Ranges asc., near Camino, Echo Summit/Luthur Pass, Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 7377

Name: Carson Pass
Origin: San Francisco
Route: I-580 to Stockton, SR-88 to Reno, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 372 (abt. 7 hr 25 min)
Elev. Gain: 18720 / Elev. Drop: -14776
Max Up Slope: 9.1% / Down Slope: -8.8%
Ave asc: 1.8% / des -1.7%
Big crests: 2 (Carson Pass, Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 8578

Name: Ebbett's Pass
Origin: San Francisco
Route: I-580 to Stockton, SR-4 to Reno, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 389 (abt. 7 hr 26 min)
Elev. Gain: 20777 / Elev. Drop: -16831
Max Up Slope: 10.5% / Down Slope: -12.5%
Ave asc: 2% / des -1.8%
Big crests: 3 (Pacific Grade Summi, Ebbett's Pass, Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 8724
Last edited by portaplaya on Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby portaplaya » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:49 pm

I was just checking this out on Google Maps, and from Fresno, are you sure SR-41 goes all the way to Reno? According to GMaps it ends up near Mt Whitney. If you take SR-49 from SR-41 you start going in the right direction, and looks like there are various routes you can take, but SR-41 doesn't take you all the way. Unless I'm missing something of course.


No, you switch to I-120 at Yosemite. Also known at Tioga Pass Road.

In no way is this the "fast" route. Or good for heavily loaded vehicles. Yosemite and Vegas are there more for the people that are taking a month off. Foreign tourists, for example.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby Drizzt321 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:17 pm

portaplaya wrote:
I was just checking this out on Google Maps, and from Fresno, are you sure SR-41 goes all the way to Reno? According to GMaps it ends up near Mt Whitney. If you take SR-49 from SR-41 you start going in the right direction, and looks like there are various routes you can take, but SR-41 doesn't take you all the way. Unless I'm missing something of course.


No, you switch to I-120 at Yosemite. Also known at Tioga Pass Road.


Ah, yea, that makes sense now.

In no way is this the "fast" route. Or good for heavily loaded vehicles. Yosemite and Vegas are there more for the people that are taking a month off. Foreign tourists, for example.


LOL, yea, I noticed this. I'll probably take "Spooky Desert", and what'll make it even spookier is I'll be going through much of it in the dark. I've started compiling a list of 24hr gas stations, even if the mini-mart parts aren't. I'll probably aim to fill up 1/2 take or so, which is ~200 miles, mostly to make sure I'm not a statistic.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby Dr. Pyro » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:11 am

From Los Angeles to Sacramento, why would you ever take CA Rt. 99 instead of I-5? 99 is more crowded, dangerous, and slower. This is simply bad advice. Stick to the interstate if you're thinking of going through Sacramento from anywhere south of the Grapevine.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby trilobyte » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:27 am

I agree with Dr. Pyro, and suggest that whenever traveling with a heavily loaded vehicle (and hey, who isn't when they're heading off to Burning Man?), try and stick to the interstate (red-white-and-blue highway signs). They're designed for heavy commercial traffic, and as such usually have more gradual inclines and descents. Easier on the transmission and all that. Might be a few more miles, but a greater capacity road that's less wear on the vehicle may be worth considering
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby portaplaya » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:03 am

Here is the comparison on the two routes:


Name: LA to Sac
Origin: Los Angeles
Route: I-5 to Stockton, I-5 to NE Sacramento
Miles: 395 (abt. 6 hr 29 min)
Elev. Gain: 8712 / Elev. Drop: -8966
Max Up Slope: 7.2% / Down Slope: -6.7%
Ave asc: 0.7% / des -0.8%
Big crests: 2 (San Fernando Valley asc., Tejon Pass)
Highest Point: 4163


Name: LA to Sac on 99
Origin: Los Angeles
Route: SR-99 to Fresno, SR-99 to SE Sacramento, SR-51 to NE Sacramento
Miles: 392 (abt. 6 hr 31 min)
Elev. Gain: 7221 / Elev. Drop: -7475
Max Up Slope: 6.3% / Down Slope: -7.2%
Ave asc: 0.6% / des -0.6%
Big crests: 2 (San Fernando Valley asc., Tejon Pass)
Highest Point: 4163


The average slope is less, the elevation gained is 1500 feet less, the max slope is less and you save 3 miles taking SR-99.
However an elevation plot of the highway does not take into account number of lanes, traffic congestion and any possible construction at the time of travel.

In this case SR-99 and I-5 are both two lane divided highways for almost the entire route. Neither has construction at this time. And the travel time listed on Google Maps (which figures in the speed limits) are the same. That's why I advise SR-99.

Have you been on SR-99? From what I recall it is no different than I-5, a full freeway. Certainly not "more dangerous".
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby Drizzt321 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:14 am

Don't know if this holds true, but potentially there are more 24hr gas/rest stops off of I-5 than SR-99, for those traveling at night. Not saying there are, having never been on SR-99 and up I-5 once during the day time.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby portaplaya » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:45 am

Drizzt321 wrote:Don't know if this holds true, but potentially there are more 24hr gas/rest stops off of I-5 than SR-99, for those traveling at night. Not saying there are, having never been on SR-99 and up I-5 once during the day time.


Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto and Stockton have plenty of 24 hours stops. It's not like this is the boonies, guys.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby Drizzt321 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:49 am

portaplaya wrote:
Drizzt321 wrote:Don't know if this holds true, but potentially there are more 24hr gas/rest stops off of I-5 than SR-99, for those traveling at night. Not saying there are, having never been on SR-99 and up I-5 once during the day time.


Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto and Stockton have plenty of 24 hours stops. It's not like this is the boonies, guys.


As I said, never been on SR-99, so I don't know how much (or not) in the boonies it is. Thanks for correcting me on that.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby Eric » Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:13 pm

portaplaya wrote:From Bay Area:

Name: Straight-shot
Origin: San Francisco
Route: I-80 to NE Sacramento, I-80 to Reno, SR-447 to Gerlach
Miles: 325 (abt. 5 hr 51 min)
Elev. Gain: 17610 / Elev. Drop: -13662
Max Up Slope: 11.5% / Down Slope: -10.5%
Ave asc: 1.9% / des -1.6%
Big crests: 2 (Donner Summit, Pyramid Lk asc.)
Highest Point: 7227


We take this route every year. It has never been as fast as 6 hours, not even on the Saturday before Gate. More like 8, possibly 9 depending on what you get stuck behind on 447.

None of these take into account, oh, people. You know- food, gas, toilet, stretch your legs... Good for a general estimate, but based on this one I'd add at least 1-2 hours to the estimate, minimum.
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Re: Best travel route(s)

Postby portaplaya » Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:29 pm

Eric wrote:
We take this route every year. It has never been as fast as 6 hours, not even on the Saturday before Gate. More like 8, possibly 9 depending on what you get stuck behind on 447.

None of these take into account, oh, people. You know- food, gas, toilet, stretch your legs... Good for a general estimate, but based on this one I'd add at least 1-2 hours to the estimate, minimum.


Correct. These times are the fastest you could possibly get there if you did not exceed the speed limit.
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