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Old 08-04-2013, 11:50 PM   #1
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Best route San Diego to San Jose

we will be traveling from San Diego to Santa cruz/San Jose often and I am feeling nervous about the narrow lanes and construction on the 405. does anyone take that regularly with a trailer or do you use an alternate route?
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:04 AM   #2
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I would avoid the 405 if at all possible. Depending on the time of day I-5 right through LA could be better. You may want to consider taking the 15 north to the 210 west and then over to I-5 north. That would be 45 extra miles but much less stress.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:24 AM   #3
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Thanks, that is what I was feeling, having recently driven the 405 in our tow vehicle, it seemed like a scary route for pulling the trailer.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:25 AM   #4
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You might take a look at the following route to avoid the LA area:

* I-15 to I-215 near Murrieta
* I-215 to I-15 north of San Bernardino
* I-15 to US-395 south of Victorville
* US-395 to CA-58 at Kramer Junction
* CA-58 to Bakersfield, then continue on CA-58 to I-5 near Buttonwillow
* I-5 to CA-152 near Los Banos
* CA-152 to US-101 at Gilroy
* US-101 to San Jose area

This route adds 56 miles, but the traffic is much lighter. And, it's possible that the time added by the extra miles might be offset by the time you will sit in traffic going through LA.

We avoid downtown LA at all costs, and this route is much more scenic with several camping opportunities along the way. We especially like Tehachapi. (Send me a PM if you want the exact location of a beautiful county park campground in Tehachapi.)
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:17 AM   #5
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We have been driving from Fresno to Orange County a lot over the past few years with a daughter in college and a son playing water polo. We always get stuck in traffic no matter what the day or time. We just had this conversation two weekends ago, we would never drive through LA with our trailer. It is stressful enough without the trailer.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
You might take a look at the following route to avoid the LA area:

* I-15 to I-215 near Murrieta
* I-215 to I-15 north of San Bernardino
* I-15 to US-395 south of Victorville
* US-395 to CA-58 at Kramer Junction
* CA-58 to Bakersfield, then continue on CA-58 to I-5 near Buttonwillow
* I-5 to CA-152 near Los Banos
* CA-152 to US-101 at Gilroy
* US-101 to San Jose area

This route adds 56 miles, but the traffic is much lighter. And, it's possible that the time added by the extra miles might be offset by the time you will sit in traffic going through LA.

We avoid downtown LA at all costs, and this route is much more scenic with several camping opportunities along the way. We especially like Tehachapi. (Send me a PM if you want the exact location of a beautiful county park campground in Tehachapi.)
We've been over that route a few times and I think it is the best one for going north. A lot of it is fun (well, ok - "interesting") to see too.

Good luck, and drive safely.
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Old 08-11-2013, 04:40 PM   #7
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I just drove through there (Orange County to San Jose) in mid-May and the road construction is HIDEOUS with no end in sight. I have a 4Runner, not too wide, and the lanes were SO NARROW through Santa Monica where the worst traffic is that I was having heart failure. Plus, the 405 up through the winding hills north of LA to San Fernando Valley was a ton of road construction as well. I cannot imagine that they will be done any time soon. On my way home, they actually CLOSED ALL LANES OF THE 405 FOR A FEW MILES!!! We had to detour from just north of LAX to just south of Santa Monica Blvd!! Thank god it was 5:30am or we could have sat for hours.

That is always the route I've taken for the last 30 years, but I definitely think you should find an alternate route if you are pulling a camper. Those drivers are bad enough as it is, you will have real problems with those narrow lanes. I hope this helps you!
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Old 08-11-2013, 04:51 PM   #8
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Here's one more route:

North 405 to North 605 up to West 210 (which turns back into 5 North near Magic Mountain) and BANG ! there you are.

Not too much out of your way and resolves the issue of that dreaded 405 construction going on.

Oh, and no matter what route you take, you can be assured that you'll be stuck in traffic (In L.A. area) 8am - 9am and evening traffic 3 pm to 6:30 pm

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Old 08-11-2013, 05:08 PM   #9
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For years we ran the route from Nor-Cal to Baja, MX, back & forth...

We always chose to run thru the LA area in the wee hours of the morning, 2-4 AM... Of course I-405 wasn't torn up in those days, but I-5 was available, and traffic was sparse during those hours...Also, we weren't to concerned with all he 'scenery' we were missing after dark...

I agree, that the route out to San Bernardino & up to HWY-58 into Bakersfield is less stressful, with easy stops along the way for a breather if need be...

Enjoy the cool temps of the coast near Santa Cruz this time of year...
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:27 PM   #10
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OMG. I lived in San Diego for 8 years and moved to NC in '04. I get chills just thinking about Freeway misery. It's NEVER about how far, it's what's happening on which Freeway when. And then I also loved the fact that gas in SD was always .25 higher than LA. The reason? "Oh, that's the Sunshine Tax." It's a beautiful place with the best weather in the USA...but life without "the 5", "the 15", "the 805" .... well it's a whole lot better. There is no earthly way I would willingly subject myself to So Cal freeways with my Airstream.
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:44 AM   #11
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From Lemon Grove I would just find the 15 then to the 210 to the 5 to 152 to 101 then north or south depending where you want to go.
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Old 08-13-2013, 11:44 AM   #12
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Lived in San Diego in 60's/70's, beautiful city, easy to get around and pleasant drive to San Jose. Incredible to see the automobile hell is has become.

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Old 08-13-2013, 12:28 PM   #13
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Another vote for swinging up east of LA on I-15 and then over on 210 freeway to base of Grapevine.. We've driven from Silicon Valley to San Diego a lot, and I-5 is quicker through LA than I-405 (except at 3 AM...), but the road surface is in terrible shape, and you'll be bouncing and wondering about wheel alignment.. I-15 and I-210 are newer roads, and in better condition.. North of Gorman, I-5 is in pretty bad shape as well, and Hwy 99 might be a better option, especially when weekend traffic and crazy people have I-5 jammed up...
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:34 PM   #14
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Unless we plan a transit of LA in the wee hours, Phoenix' route is our preferred route north. If you are traveling through Murrietta in the mid-morning I recommend you stay on the 15 instead of using the 215. And we prefer to avoid the steep Cajon Pass grade and take the 138 through Pinon Hills and then the 14 through Lancaster to get to the 58. Tehachpi is worth a stop!
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