The "5"

Excuse my ignorance…

Will be driving up the 5 Fwy from OC to St. Helena on Thursday. Any points of interest that anyone can suggest seeing during the drive between LA and Napa?

Thanks in advance!

My only advice would be drive as fast as humanly (and as safely) possibly. It’s a painfully boring drive, short of Harris Ranch, which you’ll smell long before you hit it.

he speaks the truth. It is the worst drive ever.

I was afraid of this. Thanks!

um, guys aren’t you forgetting something???

great place to buy cassette tapes from artists that you’ve never heard of

Take 101/1 instead - WAY longer, but WAY more interesting…

There are a few really top shelf Taco Bells along the 5, probably some of the best Taco Bells out there. Plus, the industrial cattle farm near Coalinga is really cool, particularly if you are driving in a convertible. Oh, and don’t pick up any hitchhikers–lots of prisons along the way.

What Walter said. But don’t forget the in n out off the exit for kettleman city. Lots of carls jr. Taco bell. Mcds. Bugerking.

it would be faster to take HWY 1 then take 5 and stop at that In & Out…the line usually extends all the way back to LA

A friend of ours, describing this very stretch of highway, put it best: I’ve driven that stretch more times than I can count, and it never stops being boring.

My advice: chocolate covered espresso beans. All the caffeine, none of the liquid, so no need for rest stops.

I always say I’m going to take the 5 for time sake … but once I am in the car a can’t leave the 101.

Definetely take the 5 if you are heading up north - I’ve driven both the 101 and the 5 many times and the 5 is certainly much faster. I can make Hollywood Blvd from just north of downtown Santa Rosa between 5 and a half hours and 5 hours and 45 minutes depending on traffic and downtown in not much more time. I am writing a book on the LA freeways to be published later this year - yes, I can’t get enough of the freeways!

I always enjoy pulling off the 5 if its warm enough - for a quick dip in Pyramid Lake near where the 5 has its 4 miles of inverted lanes.

If you need any help for what to do in Napa let me know.



Todd’s right about one thing here … the 101/1 is WAY longer. The only way it’s more interesting is if you’ve never seen the ocean, mountains, or bad traffic.

Take the 5, and go as fast as safely possible.

Actually, depending on when you drive, the 101 is only about 45 minutes longer and the drive A LOT Better. It’s not as long as people think.

true, but can you predict when that would be with any accuracy? Like you mention, you could get lucky and have the 101 only take 45 min. longer (I still maintain it’s nothing fascinating, however) … but the more likely scenario is that you run into horrible traffic and it ends up taking anywhere from 1.5-3 hours longer. After getting burned a couple times, it’s a gamble I no longer take.

Have you ever driven I-70 from Kansas City to Denver? If not, you are in no position to give an opinion about worst drives ever. The worst part is when you finally get to the Colorado border (expecting relief from the monotony) it stays flat and boring for a long way.

Feel your pain, Shawn. Having driven Hwy 10 from California to San Antonio a few times, that stretch to El Paso was unbearable. Made ‘The 5’ look like a ride through Disneyland.

I’ve done both, and I give the edge to the 5, simply because you have to factor in the distinct possibility of bumper-to-bumper traffic at any or all points during that drive. I’ve had hair-raising trips where everyone goes from 75 mph to ZERO every mile or two. Absolutely maddening.

On the other hand, I-70 can certainly deliver some interesting winter driving conditions…

Do they still have the “birthplace of Bob Dole” signs every 50 miles?

I had a terrifying trip from Vail to Denver on I-70. They actually closed parts of the interstate. I’ve dealt with winter roads all my life, but I have never seen anything like that.