93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
12/20/17 1:52 p.m.

My wife and I are working on planning our summer trip for next year. We are thinking about taking the Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle then getting on US 101 and heading down to CA 1 and taking that do to San Francisco. I am trying to figure out realistically how long I need to figure to make that drive. Also is there anyway to rent a littler more fun the standard rental spec Focus? Something convertible would be awesome. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
12/20/17 2:09 p.m.

A one way car rental (pick up at one town and turn back in another town) can be considerably more expensive than a standard rental of pick and drop off at the same place.  Be sure to research this before building other plans around it.  

 

I just ran a basic search with Hertz.  A one week rental from Seattle Airport to Seattle Airport is about $400 per week.  

Same week, one-way from Seattle Airport to San Francisco Airport is about $1,000

 

Here is another huge tip when renting a car.  If you pick up or drop off the car at the Airport or other major hubs like possibly a train station your rental will include the taxes and fees that are locally imposed on tourists.  These can be considerable.  

However, Hertz also has what they call, Hertz Local Edition (HLE) rental locations.  There are the more suburban locations dedicated to serving locals like when their car is in the body shop.  If you rent from a HLE you will not be subject to the tourist taxes and fees.  

So, I re-ran a sample Hertz rental from a HLE in Seattle to a HLE in San Francisco.  In this case, a one week, one-way rental is $500.  That is a $500 savings!   To reap this savings you might have to take a cab from the train station to the Hertz office so that is a little expense and a little inconvenience but $500 is a huge "convenience fee"

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
12/20/17 2:17 p.m.

It took the wife, baby and I bout half a week to go from Lincoln City, OR to the Redwoods in Northern California.  That was with lots of stops to look at view points, etc.

Plan on a good amount of stops, also the roads may not be in the best shape in some areas due to slides and the like.

As for the rental, I think Hertz still has a "fun" option available for Corvettes or Mustangs and the like.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
12/20/17 2:28 p.m.

Dress warm.  We did that on 2 wheels and nearly froze our asses off.  In August.  Finally turned inland at Mt.Shasta and started to warm up.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
12/20/17 2:50 p.m.
John Welsh said:

A one way car rental (pick up at one town and turn back in another town) can be considerably more expensive than a standard rental of pick and drop off at the same place.  Be sure to research this before building other plans around it.  

 

I just ran a basic search with Hertz.  A one week rental from Seattle to Seattle is about $400 per week.  

Same week, one-way from Seattle to San Francisco is about $1,000

I was seeing about $700. Either way I am willing to pay the extra for a basic. I am having trouble finding a convertible.

RossD
RossD MegaDork
12/20/17 2:54 p.m.

Just be aware that you can have some delays with Amtrak especially since the Empire Builder runs on freight lines. We didn't have much problem with that though, except on our way back home, the train was something like 1.5 hours late but we still arrive in Wisco on time.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
12/20/17 2:58 p.m.
RossD said:

Just be aware that you can have some delays with Amtrak especially since the Empire Builder runs on freight lines. We didn't have much problem with that though, except on our way back home, the train was something like 1.5 hours late but we still arrive in Wisco on time.

Cool thanks for the heads up.

I think the ideal plan is to fly up to Chicago from Huntsville, take the Empire Builder to Seattle, drive down the 101 to the 1 to San Francisco/ San Jose, visit my wife's aunt, fly back to Huntsville. 

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
12/20/17 3:06 p.m.
93EXCivic said:
John Welsh said:

A one way car rental (pick up at one town and turn back in another town) can be considerably more expensive than a standard rental of pick and drop off at the same place.  Be sure to research this before building other plans around it.  

 

I just ran a basic search with Hertz.  A one week rental from Seattle to Seattle is about $400 per week.  

Same week, one-way from Seattle to San Francisco is about $1,000

I was seeing about $700. Either way I am willing to pay the extra for a basic. I am having trouble finding a convertible.

Its winter in Seattle.  Try again closer to spring/summer.

BTW, try https://www.sixt.com/convertible-rental/seattle-washington/

BoxheadCougarTim
BoxheadCougarTim MegaDork
12/20/17 4:16 p.m.

Keep in mind that the interesting, often photographed parts of Hwy 1 are all south of Monterey. Taking 1 down from the redwoods to SF is nice, but not comparable to the southern end.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
12/20/17 4:39 p.m.

Yeah I had seen that but I am not sure if I will be able to work that into the trip or not. May have to make a second trip sometime to do that leg.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago SuperDork
12/20/17 4:55 p.m.

I think Hwy 1 might still be closed in Big Sur. The big rains and subsequent slides knocked out a fairly substantial bridge. 

APEowner
APEowner HalfDork
12/20/17 5:58 p.m.

Avis has convertible options in their fleet.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
12/20/17 6:36 p.m.

It's been a long time since I've driven it, but we've stitched together most of the drive at one point or another.  The only part we've never done was the coast in Washington.  

Olympia National Park is supposed to be incredibly spectacular.  

We did most of the coast of Oregon- very chilly, even in the summer.  If you have a little time, the drive over the mountains into the wine valley area in Oregon is really interesting- go quickly from cool and very damp to hot and very dry.

Of the drive- the slowest part is highway 1 north of San Francisco- very curvy. This is the area you want the nicer driving car, and you will have a BLAST.  Hwy 1 south of SF is not nearly that tough.  We did the drive from LA up to SF all along the coast, sight seeing, and taking time over 2 days.  I wish I could give you more driving time perspective, but of your trip, that's the only fully route we've done for one trip.

Even with a "crappy" car, you will have a great time.  Really great drive. 

Sparkydog
Sparkydog New Reader
12/20/17 6:37 p.m.

Beware that once you commit to Hwy 1 South of Leggett you have few opportunities to bail out. It is a beautiful but twisty, slow, grueling drive. And the few connecting roads that would take you East back to 101 are equally long, twisty and grueling. If you aren't enjoying yourself by the time you get to 128 then bail because after that you won't have much choice.

Johnboyjjb
Johnboyjjb Reader
12/20/17 7:43 p.m.

I did a loop two years ago going down 101 and coming up through Lassan national park.

Planned it with Google maps, MyScenicDrives.com, and Roadtrippers. One of them, scenic drives I think, adds about 8 minutes of down time to every hour of driving which means for us that it overestimated the travel time. We showed up early to everything. Google maps will only show you current time, or average time, not the time they would expect a multi day trip to take.

Driven5
Driven5 SuperDork
12/21/17 10:19 a.m.

I don't know about other car rental companies, but recently found that If the local Hertz you want to rent from doesn't have a particular car, they can often simply get one brought in. Our local Hertz is very small and only keeps a handful of the basic cars 'in stock'.  Specifically we needed a minivan, which they don't normally keep, and they simply got one for us.  They also have both "adrenaline" and "dream" car collections.  Again typically not kept on hand by our local Hertz, but they  obviously could get them too, as when I picked up our minivan there was an "adrenaline" collection Camaro SS waiting right in front for some fortunate customer.  Call and talk to a live person, and you may be able to find out how to get your hands on something more like a Camaro SS Convertible or Boxster.

daytonaer
daytonaer HalfDork
12/21/17 11:21 a.m.

I planned this trip in 2015 after finding out Hertz rents 911's. I planned it with roadtrippers webside and app. I did not anticipate my little sisters late mornings and early sun setting. We drove the PCH mostly in the dark. 

 

Budgeting for rental and mileage fee's it would have been about $3500 to drive up and down the PCH.

 

I bought a 4runner in Monterey for $3000 and drove it home instead. After you set your budget check craigslist for fly and drives. 

 

If you can budget it all the major rental companies have sweet rides. Picking it up at LAX, sanfran or SanDiego airport. (hertz SanFran has a c63, 911, panamera, enterprise SanFran has a few austin martins, ferrari california etc.)  enterprise , hertz.

 

 

Also, look at Turo. I have had no experience with it, however it may let you try something cool for a smaller budget. 

 

Have fun and post pictures!

 

 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
12/21/17 11:40 a.m.

In reply to daytonaer :

LOL- when we did the last drive up highway 1, we bought a Milano.  It was for a good reason- the reason we went to LA was for an Alfa convention.  (and the Miata we had reserved was dropped from the rental car company)

Type Q
Type Q SuperDork
12/21/17 4:01 p.m.
thatsnowinnebago said:

I think Hwy 1 might still be closed in Big Sur. The big rains and subsequent slides knocked out a fairly substantial bridge. 

 

I was down that way two weeks ago. Its still closed between Big Sur and San-Simian. However, if you made the trek all the way to San Francisco, it only another two to three hours south to the really spectacular section of 1 that is south of Monterey.

CyberEric
CyberEric Reader
12/21/17 6:56 p.m.

I live in the SF Bay Area and I have done the SF to Oregon drive along Highway 1. In fact, it was last summer in an '91 325i convertible. Lots of fun.

I have also done the southern stretch from Monterey to basically LA in a Miata. Also fun. It's probably prettier around Big Sur, but the northern stretch is gorgeous too. 

Figure at least 2 days on Route 1 from SF to the Oregon border. It's a VERY curvy road, which makes it a lot of fun, but very slow. Try to divide it into SF to Mendocino in 1 day, then the rest of the way to Oregon the second day. You actually reach the end of Route 1 when it merges with 101 near Legget around the Lost Coast. It's called the Lost Coast because there are no roads. Not even Route 1 goes there. The Redwood state parks around there are incredible, definitely worth a stop for a hike if you can afford another day. I especially liked Jedadiah Smith. North of SF, stop for oysters near Tamales Bay. 

I can't speak much about the Oregon section. 

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