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Old 10-31-2018, 12:31 AM   #1
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Corvallis to Oregon Coast in January

I'm planning a trip in January to the Oregon Coast, via Corvallis. I've been to the coast multiple times, along different routes. But, not at that time of year, so I'm hoping for some feedback from those in that neck of the woods or those that have driven these routes that time of year.


I'm traveling during the day. And yes, I know the weather is variable, but I'm trying to get a feel for the route that will be the least likely to be icy that time of year.



I could go directly west from Corvallis to Newport, via highway 20. I seem to recall there are some decent elevation changes on that route, so I'm not sure if they'd be icy or not.


I will be heading down to Coos Bay, so I could either go along 101 from Newport, or head there first, via I5, past Eugene and zip over on 99/38. Or head over from Eugene on 126. (I plan to stay in Newport as well.)


So, any thoughts on which route would be my best bet from I5? I'm flexible as to where I go after Corvallis.


Thanks much!
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Old 10-31-2018, 01:03 AM   #2
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I assume you have lots of cat litter for traction.
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Old 10-31-2018, 01:39 AM   #3
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Oregon’s Coastal Range is very likely to be wet in January, but unlikely to be icy, although it could happen. Any of the routes you mention will be about the same so check conditions in January. If it were me I’d just head straight from Cornvallis to Newport. Have done that route a few times in the last couple of years. Pretty but otherwise nothing special to worry about. If you’ve never been, the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, run by Oregon State University, is excellent and Free!
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Old 10-31-2018, 07:28 AM   #4
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Past weather conditions are not 100% helpful when planning for the future. Oregon's weather is getting weird. We've had two tornadoes the last couple of days! Plan to take the route you wish, then be adaptable to make last minute changes based on current conditions. Keep an eye on the passes temperatures AND the wind on the coast. Due to the time of the year, you won't need to make reservations at any coastal state park (if that's your plans).
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Old 10-31-2018, 12:21 PM   #5
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I’m jealous, I would think that this would be an incredible time of year to be there. No crowds, good snuggle weather, beautiful walks, and nice meals finishing with some hot cocoa.
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Old 10-31-2018, 02:04 PM   #6
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As mentioned, icy is possible in the Coast Range, but unlikely. From the route options you mentioned, you are probably most likely to get ice between Corvallis and Eugene in the valley rather than over the Coast Range or along the coast. So, if it were I, I would head straight for Newport, and enjoy the drive over Hwy 20 and along the coast.
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Old 10-31-2018, 02:45 PM   #7
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We take route 20 fairly often. Easy peasy towing but, as stated, watch the weather that time of year. Snow and ice are possible on the pass. We do not like 126 out of Eugene for towing. It's narrow and winding. When we are headed to Coos Bay we take 38 south of Cottage Grove (Tomaselli's Bakery and Cafe in Elkton is great and the gas station there sells non ethanol fuel). The Dean Creek Elk regfue is worth a stop and the bakery in Reedsport as you come into town is great!



Have fun, safe travels,
Kathie
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg A View Post
I’m jealous, I would think that this would be an incredible time of year to be there. No crowds, good snuggle weather, beautiful walks, and nice meals finishing with some hot cocoa.

You forgot to mention Gray Whales! Of which I saw some during my recent trip over there, along with wads of sea lions. Some of the whales were so close in one calm area you could see them under the water surface and hear their spouts. Exciting times!



And I've already got the dark chocolate cocoa packed in the trailer!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave&Kathie View Post
We take route 20 fairly often. Easy peasy towing but, as stated, watch the weather that time of year. Snow and ice are possible on the pass. We do not like 126 out of Eugene for towing. It's narrow and winding. When we are headed to Coos Bay we take 38 south of Cottage Grove (Tomaselli's Bakery and Cafe in Elkton is great and the gas station there sells non ethanol fuel). The Dean Creek Elk refuge is worth a stop and the bakery in Reedsport as you come into town is great!

I've not taken 126, so that's good to know - thanks. Usually I take 38 and I like it, although it wasn't fun this recent trip due to heavy fog for most of the trip, even past Corvallis. I'm still flabbergasted by how many folks drive without full lights on.


Trip before I went past the refuge and there weren't any elk. However, there was a small herd of bulls just past and there was a pull over right there. Exciting times!
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Old 11-01-2018, 04:05 PM   #9
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I'm still flabbergasted by how many folks drive without full lights on.
One of the many ways in which typical drivers fail to meet even the most basic level of competence is the use of headlights. NHTSA reports that "most drivers use the low beam most of the time, even when the high beam would be more appropriate for forward visibility". Other failures include driving at night or in obscured conditions (such as that fog) with only Daytime Running Lights (or no lights at all in the case of cars without DRLs), using fog lights in clear conditions, and leaving high beams on with oncoming traffic.

I think that the best we can hope is that advanced automatic lighting control systems (not just auto-on, but adaptive beams) will take all decisions away from the driver, and do a better job than most people would manually.
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Old 11-01-2018, 05:05 PM   #10
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Some of the new cars have automatic lights as well as wipers....
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Old 11-01-2018, 06:09 PM   #11
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Some of the new cars have automatic lights as well as wipers....
Most recent (last decade or so) cars have automatic lights (and often wipers) - at least in a high enough trim level - but generally that just means turning the lights on when it is dark. Basic automatic headlight control
  • doesn't switch between high and low beams,
  • doesn't turn on the lights in obscured (fog, snow) daylight conditions,
  • doesn't control fog lights, and
  • is disabled by leaving the headlight switch in the "off" (or "DRL") position instead of "auto".
This helps, but is a long way from full control of the lighting system, and still needs the driver to make intelligent choices.
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Old 11-01-2018, 07:36 PM   #12
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Fog lights have always been an option, most cars do not have them, I always get them and when driving at night I drive with them on to illuminate the sides of the road!!
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:37 PM   #13
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Some sort of "fog" light is common on all but the bottom trim level of most vehicles now.

Using fogs to add illumination of the road very near the car (which is already illuminated and which is too close to react to anything there anyway at highway speed) just makes it harder for you to see things which are further away. Lighting to the sides at a greater distance is useful, but that's a type of driving light called a cornering beam, which can only be used with the high beams - fogs don't work for that because they are too low and too wide.

Well-designed lights (which would exclude most factory fogs) controlled by a good fully automatic system (which is rare if it exists at all) would certainly be better than having most drivers flip switches semi-randomly, as they do now. In the mean time, most cars with fogs could be improved by pulling the fuse out of the fog light circuit.
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:52 PM   #14
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And then there is the Subaru ad with the headlights that turn with the steering, illuminating a deer in the ditch, presumably so you can hit it.
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