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Old 02-08-2011, 12:45 PM   #1
xipetotec
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Disney to the North

So we'll be leaving DisneyLand Wednesday March 2nd. Heading North towards Hearst Castle, then onto San Francisco.

Any tips of leaving LA on Wednesday morning? We're kind of scared of the traffic we'll be up against leaving from fairly south of the city to plow our way northwards...
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:07 AM   #2
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Well, just a couple of tips that may seems obvious...

Try to leave either before or after the typical rush hour times (before would be better but I don't know how keen you will be to get going so early).

On some of the highways through the LA area there are car pool lanes that you can use if there are 2 or more people in the car - using these can speed you through a ton of traffic.
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by kalamazoo View Post
Well, just a couple of tips that may seems obvious...

Try to leave either before or after the typical rush hour times (before would be better but I don't know how keen you will be to get going so early).

On some of the highways through the LA area there are car pool lanes that you can use if there are 2 or more people in the car - using these can speed you through a ton of traffic.
For sure obvious, but good advice. Any idea when rush hour tends to die down over there? Here in Montreal it's between 9-10... hopefully this is not later?

Carpool lane, hadn't even thought of that! We'll definitely be carpooling! We'll either be 8 people in a fullsize VAN or two cars of 4 people each. So that should be great!! I know once we get out of the city, it should be smooth sailing.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:33 PM   #4
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Others may chime in to say differently but based on what I've seen on traffic reports rush hour is from 6 - 9 am with 6 being on the lighter side building to very slow traffic by 7 am.

From experience though I would say that LA traffic is an unpredictable beast so that's why I suggest leaving early in the morning rather than waiting until after rush hour. It's kind of like a doctor's appointment - if you have the first one of the day you'll see them on time but the later in the day you go the more likely things get backed up and more potential to be waiting for hours (or, if everything is running smoothly, no problem).

If you don't want to leave early don't stress too much about it just travel with an open mind and without too tight an itinerary. If you can leave early (which you might not find too hard if you have not totally adjusted to the time difference) then do that and then maybe stop for breakfast once you have cleared the city.

There is no question that the car pool lanes will save you time but just be aware that they do not run the entire length of the highway.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kalamazoo View Post
Others may chime in to say differently but based on what I've seen on traffic reports rush hour is from 6 - 9 am with 6 being on the lighter side building to very slow traffic by 7 am.

From experience though I would say that LA traffic is an unpredictable beast so that's why I suggest leaving early in the morning rather than waiting until after rush hour. It's kind of like a doctor's appointment - if you have the first one of the day you'll see them on time but the later in the day you go the more likely things get backed up and more potential to be waiting for hours (or, if everything is running smoothly, no problem).

If you don't want to leave early don't stress too much about it just travel with an open mind and without too tight an itinerary. If you can leave early (which you might not find too hard if you have not totally adjusted to the time difference) then do that and then maybe stop for breakfast once you have cleared the city.

There is no question that the car pool lanes will save you time but just be aware that they do not run the entire length of the highway.
That's a good point. But yeah I don't think I'll be getting my group out of the hotel by 6am . I think they'll prefer staying at GCV, having a nice breakfast and then heading out. Our plans are fairly loose. We're stopping in San Simeon, and *maybe* checking out Hearst Castle if there's time, it's not a requirement or hard fast rule. Then onto San Jose and San Francisco the next day.

Thanks !
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by xipetotec View Post
That's a good point. But yeah I don't think I'll be getting my group out of the hotel by 6am . I think they'll prefer staying at GCV, having a nice breakfast and then heading out. Our plans are fairly loose. We're stopping in San Simeon, and *maybe* checking out Hearst Castle if there's time, it's not a requirement or hard fast rule. Then onto San Jose and San Francisco the next day.

Thanks !
If you get going post breakfast, you will find the carepool lanes for the first part and busiest time on the road. The carpool lanes will end when traffic has the chance to die down. I'd recommend making reservations for Hearst. Just make one for late afternoon or early evening. That way you will give yourself lots of time to get north.

Last edited by skiingfast; 02-10-2011 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:34 PM   #7
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We're stopping in San Simeon, and *maybe* checking out Hearst Castle if there's time, it's not a requirement or hard fast rule.
On a Wednesday you may be able to get away with that, and still get tickets to Hearst Castle. Although for 8 tickets, it's a real gamble. In general, I'd advise you to order tickets for Hearst Castle in advance, and as soon as possible. For example, I just plugged March 2 and 8 tickets into their web site, and I see that, for the introductory tour, already you can't get the last tour of the day at 3PM. The last available tour right now is for 2:20PM.

-Bob
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:05 PM   #8
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On a Wednesday you may be able to get away with that, and still get tickets to Hearst Castle. Although for 8 tickets, it's a real gamble. In general, I'd advise you to order tickets for Hearst Castle in advance, and as soon as possible. For example, I just plugged March 2 and 8 tickets into their web site, and I see that, for the introductory tour, already you can't get the last tour of the day at 3PM. The last available tour right now is for 2:20PM.

-Bob
We would, except 1) We're not sure we'll make it there on time and 2) My mother had this vision of an off-the-cuff vacation, and it took all my power to make her see that 1 week to see hollywood, DisneyLand AND drive north to San Francisco, we'd at LEAST need to book some hotels... there's no way I'll get her to agree to buy tour tickets to hearst castle in advance. She'll probably rather risk not seeing it...

( as for me, I don't care either way ... i'm more into the hokey and want to see the Winchester House )
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