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No salt, just cinders

The latest transportation studies show that the average American spends 36 hours a year stuck in traffic jams. In sunny Southern California the figures rise to 56 hours per year. This page is here to help you avoid spending a good chunk of your vacation sitting on the freeway & more time for yourself.

Check out the Time Guide page for planning travels in California & also our infamous backroads section for enjoying alternate scenic routes. The listed tips below will help you to NOT be sitting in gridlock traffic waiting to get to your destination.

Nothing is more aggravating than getting off of work early in order to get a head start on your weekend trip, only to sit in a traffic jam for two hours, just trying to get out of the city. Here some advice to ease your travels & get you weekend off to a pleasant start.

We drive into the future using only our rear view mirror. - Marshall McLuhan

California Highway Conditions, & Motorhome Length Limits


California Highway Info, Construction & Restrictions

  • RV size limits & Motorhome restrictions
  • Trailers Length Limits
  • Bus Routes and Limits
  • Real-time Freeway Maps

    - LA traffic map / SIG alert

    city traffic jams:
    Large urban areas such as Los Angeles, San Diego & San Francisco Bay area traffic is difficult to judge, so a visit various web sites a few days in advance to check traffic patterns of local commuters. Plan for a better drive and it could happen smoothly, this time.

    Map Book California

    Planned Lane Closures

    California State Routes / California Highway Conditions

    real time traffic cams
    - mapping of California roadways w/ constant update on current traffic conditions.


    All hours of the night & day you can find the California Dept. of Transportation (Cal Trans) closing roads & freeways. Just for peace of mind: Call ahead, especially on mountain routes & snowy winter conditions.

    Road Information - Snow & Closures

    Driving Directions: Map out one destination to another, specific directions plus map. - (1996) was the first decent map source online, then came Yahoo! Maps (1998) and finally came the most used, Google Maps (2005).

    BayLink Ferries - provides high speed commuter ferry service between Vallejo & San Francisco's Pier 39 and Ferry Building.

    California Train Travels - local trolley, subways, metro, bart, amtrak, historic railways, museums, railroad info

    California Snow in the Mountains - road conditions in higher altitude Sierra mountains, Sierra Nevada, CA Sierra passes and highways. Mountain areas, basically anything above 2000' could get some snow. Generally, west coast snow generally falls above 4000' elevation mark, during winter. If storm is significant, snow levels can go down to 1000' elevation, especially in NorCal.

    Leave Late - Stay Late
    Leave early Friday
    - Before 3 pm!
    - Leave early before the rush
    - Bring your bags/luggage to work on Fri. & leave straight from there
    Leave late Friday
    - After 7 pm!
    - Leave late after the traffic dies down
    - Make sure you tell the innkeeper that you'll be arriving late.
    - Bring your bags/luggage to work on Fri. & leave straight from there
    Stay Later
    So many times I have had friends leave our vacation early (around noon) on Sunday to "get back early"... which blows my mind. Why not enjoy your day off?
    Gotta get back, beat the traffic!!! Rushing home to do laundry & watch that boob tube? Enjoy your free weekend more. Why rush back to the city - just to sit in more gridlock traffic? Hang out & enjoy your destination longer. Avoid the stressful traffic jams; drive back late Sunday afternoon or early evening. Enjoy a relaxing restaurant dinner on the return trip. Maybe have time to check out another cool small town on the way home. Leave your weekend destination after 5pm & choose a new or less traveled route back.
    California Checklists

    Try these helpful suggestions for touring California -

    Take the train

    Check our Train Travel section
    Journey on with suggestions on Sample Trips

    - Bring your bags/luggage to work on Friday & leave straight from work.
    - Take a cab/shuttle/drive over to the nearest train depot & have your travel partner meet you there
    - Sit back & relax, snack, rest; rejuvenate yourself for the weekend
    Making the drive better -
    • Share the driving with a friend or family member
    • Carpool on long Road Trips - saves gas & nerves
    • Caravan w/ another vehicle or group
    • Pre-plan your stops & meeting spots down to the exact location
    • Use handheld 2 way radios or CBs to keep communication lines open. Cell phone coverage is spotty at best on mountain back roads and in many rural regions.

    Listen to the local radio

    Keep up with road conditions and make time fly while driving:
    LA traffic reports: KFI 640 AM & KABC 790 AM
    SD traffic reports: KOGO 600 AM & KFMB 760 AM
    SF traffic reports: KGO 810 AM & KSFO 560 AM

    Hwy 299 / CA SR 299

    Total Escape California Camping


    California Weekends

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