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Old 06-26-2012, 07:33 PM   #1
dayzemair
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The highway from San Francisco to Anaheim??

I just have a quick question for those of you who have driven from San Francisco to Anaheim many times before: looking at the map, it doesn't look like there is much between those two places for stops, where are the usual stops for gas and food and bathroom breaks on that drive? Just wanting an idea of what towns to look for on the way - Thanks!
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:53 PM   #2
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Do you mean 5? There are rest areas on the way we stop for bathroom breaks. We stop for gas around Buttonwillow. I've heard that the last rest area before getting over the Grapevine is still closed and I can't remember where people said to stop instead. Cheveron, maybe? It was on a thread I can't remember now. I think we'll just eat lunch in car as we drive. Once we get over the hill, we don't stop until DLR. On the way back up we stop in Santa Nella for gas and dinner.
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:53 PM   #3
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Assuming you are taking I-5, we've stopped in the following places:

Kettleman City
Buttonwillow
right before you go over the Grapevine

All of easy exits with fast food, gas stations, etc. They are well-lit and generally safe (with normal diligence).
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:01 PM   #4
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Thanks a lot, that is exactly what I was wondering - I saw buttonwillow on the map but it didn't look like there was anything there! What is the grapevine? and what "hill" are you talking about - I have NO idea of the geography of the area! Thanks again, I appreciate the info!
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:15 PM   #5
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I5 is pretty barren, but there will be several places Yo stop along the way.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:17 PM   #6
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The Grapevine is the big hill you need to go over as you travel down I-5. It's about 40 miles long. In the winter, it can snow there. In the summer, your biggest issue is probably trucks/buses going slow with the possibility of the pass closing due to smoke from wildfires but that's pretty rare. In the old days cars would overheat but unless you're driving your 73 Buick Station Wagon you'll probably be okay.

If you're in need of a break it's good to stop before going over. The trip takes around an hour give or take. Once you're over, then you deal with LA, UGH.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dayzemair View Post
Thanks a lot, that is exactly what I was wondering - I saw buttonwillow on the map but it didn't look like there was anything there! What is the grapevine? and what "hill" are you talking about - I have NO idea of the geography of the area! Thanks again, I appreciate the info!
Buttonwillow (as well as Kettleman City) both have lots of services available. Santa Nella is good also, although I find it a bit too much on the SF side of the trip. The "grapevine" is the name given to the I5 as it goes over the "hill" (also known as a mountain) between the central valley and the LA area. That's because it has many turns to it (not a straight line like through the valley) as well as places where the two sides cross over each other. And it is steep on the north side of it, lots of slow vehicles in the right two lanes going up the hill.

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Old 06-26-2012, 08:26 PM   #8
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Thanks again! Just one more question - does anyone know of any restaurants that have decent play areas in any of these cities? I will have 3 kids with me that will want to burn off some energy - haven't been able to find any in my searching on the internet though... I am thinking that this drive sounds similar to my drive from western washington to Pullman in eastern washington - BORING! and about the same distance lol
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dayzemair View Post
Thanks again! Just one more question - does anyone know of any restaurants that have decent play areas in any of these cities? I will have 3 kids with me that will want to burn off some energy - haven't been able to find any in my searching on the internet though... I am thinking that this drive sounds similar to my drive from western washington to Pullman in eastern washington - BORING! and about the same distance lol
Sorry, can't help with this one. Never made the trip with little kids. Most of the rest areas have picnic tables and grassy areas for running around in.

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Old 06-26-2012, 08:38 PM   #10
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BORING is an understatement and your kids will love driving past the Harris Ranch stockyards.

No idea on a kids play area. Sorry.
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Old 06-26-2012, 09:08 PM   #11
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There a several Carls Jr's down 5...they have a small play area. There are plenty of places to stop, eat and get gas down 5. It's not THAT barren. LOL! Just boring. Be sure to stop at all reststops for potty breaks tho...

we have driven from Sonoma CA to DLAND many many many times
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:47 PM   #12
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I-5 from the Bay Area to So Cal is one of the worst drives. It goes on and on and there is nothing to see and not many places to stop. We live in San Jose, so we take 101S to 152E and then hop on I-5. There are a few rest stop areas with chain restaurants like Taco Bell and Carls Jr. If I'm not driving I'll bring a portable DVD player or play games on my phone...something to pass the time.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:01 PM   #13
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When our kids were small they just ran around at the rest areas. A quick picnic at a table or on the lawn. Bring a small ball and play catch. Have a few races from here to the tree. That sort of thing.

The Buttonwillow area has a travel center with gas station, bathrooms, store, and food. It also happens to be at just the right time for us to need gas as we come from the North Bay. I've never eaten there but I always look for the Taste of India signs to watch for the exit because it's at that exit too. That's I know where to get off.

I remember having our old car 20 years ago when we were first married and driving down there. It was about 100 degrees that day and we had to have the heater on full blast just to keep the car from overheating while going up the hill!
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:02 PM   #14
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I have several ideas for you. My best friend has 2 kids (4 & 2) she stops in Harris Ranch because they have more sit down places for families. It's always clean. Anderson's Pea Soup is another good place to stop. Kettlemen City has every gas station and fast food joint ever created there. There are plenty of rest areas to pull off on and let the kids run around. There are LOTS of little towns all the way down I-5, there will be about 50-60 miles between towns.

The Grapevine is a mountain that you go over, it takes about 1-2 hours depending on traffic. You will go from just above sea level to over 4000 feet elevation and back down again in that span. If you're going during hot weather, I suggest you turn off the AC and use good old 4/60 air conditioning. I have a newer car, and I just don't want to risk over heating. It's a tall climb and can be really rough on your engine.

Personally, I prefer Kettleman City because I like one stop shopping. I only stop once for gas. My goal is to get to Disneyland ASAP. Kettleman city is a marker for me, and I know once I leave there, I'll be in Disneyland in about 2 hours! Of course, that is all depending on traffic on the other side of the Grapevine.

Yes I5 looks barren on a map, but would you believe me that it actually has A LOT MORE on it now then ever before? Another suggestion is to pack a cooler with your lunch in it, and stop at a rest area to picnic. Lunch and running all at once. I-5 is patrolled heavily by CHP and by air. I could tell you all the speed traps, but that would ruin all your fun in trying to spot them
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkBudgie View Post
When our kids were small they just ran around at the rest areas. A quick picnic at a table or on the lawn. Bring a small ball and play catch. Have a few races from here to the tree. That sort of thing.

The Buttonwillow area has a travel center with gas station, bathrooms, store, and food. It also happens to be at just the right time for us to need gas as we come from the North Bay. I've never eaten there but I always look for the Taste of India signs to watch for the exit because it's at that exit too. That's I know where to get off.

I remember having our old car 20 years ago when we were first married and driving down there. It was about 100 degrees that day and we had to have the heater on full blast just to keep the car from overheating while going up the hill!

I think we're neighbors! Maybe we should hatch a DIS meet/GKTW fun raiser in the North together!
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