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Author: Subject: Which route from Canada to Baja is best?
mrioux
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question.gif posted on 5-14-2018 at 10:42 AM
Which route from Canada to Baja is best?


Looking to drive from British Columbia to Baja in mid February towing a 5th wheel (24 ft.) trailer.

Google maps suggest 2 routes, one is via I5 thru Washington,Oregon and California and the other is via Washington, Idaho and Nevada.

For those of you who have driven from B.C. to Baja what would you suggest.?

Thanks for your responses.

[Edited on 5-14-2018 by mrioux]
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StuckSucks
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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 12:50 PM


I have not made the drive from BC to BC, but I know that I-5 will dump you at the border crossing at San Ysidro/Tijuana. Easy.



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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 01:08 PM


Most Canadian friends I know do the Washington - Idaho - Nevada-Arizona route because of California gas prices being so high.

Might also depend on you destination in Baja, Mexicali crossing would be good if going to San Filipe or down Highway5---Tecate crossing if going down to Valle Guadalupe or driving down the West Coast via Highway1





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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 01:37 PM


i-5 is a 4 lane fast interstate, pretty straight through most of California. Probably not as straight through WA & OR. The other route will be two lane at slower speeds. I know the Nevada route will have significantly less traffic, and would be my choice.

Good luck and have fun.
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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 02:26 PM


We live in Carson City, NV and have taken US 395 south to Baja every year for more than twenty years.

We have also towed a 24 ft travel trailer for most of those trips. The drive is very scenic and the roads are good.

We have also taken US 395 north to British Columbia and the roads are equally scenic and in good condition.

Your trip is in mid-February. The US 395 parallels the Sierra mountains and is subject to winter snowstorms. The roads are generally clear within a day or two after the storm ends but, you DO NOT want to travel this hwy during a snow storm.

So, from BC to Bishop, Ca, you will probably need a three day weather window to get south of the snow zone. Check the forecasts carefully. There are several passes on US 395 that approach 8,000 ft in elevation.

US 95 from BC through Idaho and Nevada to Bishop, Ca. is similiar but farther from the Sierras and isn't affected as much by winter storms. But, it can still snow on US 95. Here, the passes range up to about 7,000 ft.

I-5 in Oregon and south to about Redding/Mt Shasta area can also be affected by winter storms. South of Redding, Ca it is a flat, boring, valley bottom, 4 to 6 lane Interstate hwy.

In California, vehicles towing trailers are limited to 55 mph and the right hand truck lanes. You will be surrounded by semis on I-5 and just need to get in line and join the parade. CHP does enforce the speed and the lane requirements, at times. (Ask me how I know .....?)

Nevada's speed limits are up to 75 mph and it is very easy to tow at 65 -70 mph. The road surfaces are very good.

Your driving preferences and the weather forecast will dictate your route.

One other thought about your trailer and your mid-February trip. It will be cold in Idaho and Nevada. Expect below freezing temperatures every night. Plug in and run the furnace at night or leave the anti-freeze in the water system until you are south of Bishop, Ca.

Good luck and enjoy the journey.
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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 02:27 PM


I-5 is the most efficient route, and pulling a fifth wheel, that counts for something. Having said that, I still prefer driving down through Nevada.







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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 02:55 PM


I5 is the most direct route. When you get to Bakersfield take 52 east to 395 south t0 I 15 to avoid the horrendous LA traffic. Than to Tecate border on 94.

[Edited on 5-14-2018 by vandenberg]




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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 04:04 PM


Quote: Originally posted by vandenberg  
I5 is the most direct route. When you get to Bakersfield take 52 east to 395 south t0 I 15 to avoid the horrendous LA traffic. Than to Tecate border on 94.

[Edited on 5-14-2018 by vandenberg]


That's good advice to avoid LA. We have also taken Highway 99 to 58 down instead of I-5 in our RV from Stockton and it was a little less frenetic.




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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 04:11 PM


As a fellow BC'er, I have taken a variety of routes to and from Baja. 395 is good and fewer freeway tie-ups (Seattle, Portland, LA/south Cal).

I-5 may be a bit more direct....

It is at least a three day drive to the Mexican border ....take your time and carry state maps....don't rely on a GPS...they take you to nightmare "shortcuts" :light:




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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 05:27 PM


What? No map?
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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 05:30 PM


If you want scenery, take 395. Eastern Cal around Bishop is as pretty as your Canadian Rockies.
If you want straight and direct, then take I-5.
As to 55 mph speed limit..... if you decide to mind that limit make sure you have big bumpers on the back of your rig, cuz everyone else will run right up your back. 65 will be very comfy and safe. Anything under 80 without a tow is safe these days.
Beware of our wonderful California freeways, they are really rough in the right lane, thanks no doubt to Gov. Brown devoting all of our outrageous road taxes to their rightful destination. (NOT!!!)
And the money you save on gas taking the Eastern route might just be enough to buy dinner for everyone at In N Out.
OOOPS no In N Out on that route.
LA basin traffic.... just grit your teeth and ride it out.
And know why many of us live up here in Central Cal where the traffic is not so gnarly (Except on weekends coming out of Yosemite)
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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 05:44 PM


The last time I drove through L.A. It was the last time I will ever drive through L.A..... ever!Total nightmare no matter what time you pass through. They will not let you merge if you need to exit. It is like they try to make you miss your exit especially if towing.
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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 05:53 PM


Actually, there are In-N-Out's along US 395 in Reno, Carson City and near where 395 meets the I-15 in Hesperia, then plenty along I-15 south to the border.

Quote: Originally posted by thebajarunner  
If you want scenery, take 395. Eastern Cal around Bishop is as pretty as your Canadian Rockies.
If you want straight and direct, then take I-5.
As to 55 mph speed limit..... if you decide to mind that limit make sure you have big bumpers on the back of your rig, cuz everyone else will run right up your back. 65 will be very comfy and safe. Anything under 80 without a tow is safe these days.
Beware of our wonderful California freeways, they are really rough in the right lane, thanks no doubt to Gov. Brown devoting all of our outrageous road taxes to their rightful destination. (NOT!!!)
And the money you save on gas taking the Eastern route might just be enough to buy dinner for everyone at In N Out.
OOOPS no In N Out on that route.
LA basin traffic.... just grit your teeth and ride it out.
And know why many of us live up here in Central Cal where the traffic is not so gnarly (Except on weekends coming out of Yosemite)
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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 07:24 PM


You don't want to hit the I-15 during rush hour. Mid day or late evening OK.
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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 07:32 PM


Also don't want to be on US 395 south of Mammoth Ski Area on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Crazy drivers headed north on Friday and Saturday wanting to be first on the lift, and everybody headed south on Sunday

Quote: Originally posted by TMW  
You don't want to hit the I-15 during rush hour. Mid day or late evening OK.
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[*] posted on 5-14-2018 at 07:56 PM


I live by a simple rule: never drive the same road twice. Do 'em all, enjoy the ride, don't push your luck and keep the black side down. :cool:




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[*] posted on 5-15-2018 at 05:37 AM


We live in Armstrong BC and have driven to Baja every which way cept sideways.Hands down the only way we will go is thru Twin Falls ID then down thru Ely NV, Vegas, Yuma and over to Tecate to cross.

Which part of BC are you from ??
Perhaps we could get together and I could give you a list of stops with hotels or campgrounds for your trip south.




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[*] posted on 5-15-2018 at 09:20 AM


Well, now that I see you are traveling in February I would recommend staying on I-5, the other routes can be rough with weather. I-5 will have the most crews keeping clear of snow. I have been on all those routes and 395 is pretty, but if you hit weather, yikes. Especially towing. Yes, LA traffic sucks but surprisingly is not bad at 4:30 AM. (one of the few hours I will drive through...).
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[*] posted on 5-15-2018 at 10:11 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Timo1  
We live in Armstrong BC and have driven to Baja every which way cept sideways.....


Tim,
Looking forward to your trip report after you and Barb do the trip sideways....I haven't tried that route yet...:biggrin:

Bu when I look at a map looking southwards to Baja....I see that the drive to Armstrong takes me sideways...




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[*] posted on 5-15-2018 at 10:39 AM


Many of our friends who live in the Interior of B.C. travel through eastern Washington, then through Idaho, Oregon and Nevada; if you are near the coast as we are, we drive I-5, but always traverse Seattle on a Sunday. If you are on Vancouver Island, and take an American ferry to the mainland, you can miss most of Seattle. Our best trip through Seattle was on a Monday Holiday, think it was Veterans Day/November 11th. Nobody almost, on the Seattle roads but of course that is a quirk of the Calendar. I-5 of course has the distinction of having seven mountain passes from southern Oregon into northern California. Check the passes via the cameras setup when weather is colder. If traveling through Oregon, check the cameras leaving Pendelton in the winter. We always traveled to the main;and, but even so, traveling east through Baskersfield and doing the Pass and following Vandenberg"s route gets you past Los Angeles if you think that might bother you. Go through Yuma west, for Tecate or try Mex Hwy 5 to San Felipe if the newest piece of roadway would be okay.
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