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Jun 26, 2007 10:55 AM

LA to YREKA: ISO good stops btwn LA and Gustine....

So the giant road trip to Seattle starts this Saturday. This time, we are two cars, three gr'ups and three pups. The plan is to do the drive in two days with an overnight in Yreka because we like the name........

From past posts, I gather that we need to stop at Gustine to eat barbque and buy lots of sausage for the fourth of July. Mapquest directions are already printed, tummies already rumbling.

And we are planning to go to Willows for a sandwich, snack or at least coffee before making the final trek to Yreka. In Yrkea we are planning on breakfast at the Black Bear Diner but open to thoughts on dinner.....

The big question is stops post-LA but pre-Gustine. Mapquest says that from LA to Gustine is a four plus hour trek. With much distance and pups, seems like we need at least a coffee break in there. I have a handy-dandy map from InNOut listing all their stores but alternatives suggestions would be appreciated. I seem to recall stopping at something called Apricot pit or some such thing the last time we did this trip way back in '03.

Please don't suggest to take the 15 instead of the 5--it may just be a couple more hours but with kids in the car and an annoying short span of time in Seattle, we just can't do a big detour. Heck, I'm even thinking of driving straight through on the way back..............

thank you!

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  1. okay, it was the Apricot Pit and a 'hound recommended it for the pie and nothing else.

    Myself, I remember it most for the collection of metal lunch boxes in the dining room.

    But alas, its a bit close to Gustine.

    Any other ideas?

    1. I would recommend Williams instead of Willows. Williams is ~30 miles south of Willows. In Williams is Granzella's: gift shop, olives, deli/sandwichs, coffee shop, restaurant, sports bar, very large parking lot. Henry Cairo's, I haven't been there in ~20 years, but it was a nice sit down restaurant. I have been getting my food at Granzella's for ~20 years. In addition to those two is probably every major fast food chain.

      I have made the drive from ~San Francisco to the Canadian Border (I-5) in ~24 hours, add ~6 hours for LA to SF is 30 hours, subtract ~2 hrs for Seattle, check your route planner, if you stay overnight in Yreka (I have on my trips to Canada), will you have a 14-16 hour leg?

      Willows has Jerry's, sort of a bad Denny's, and some fast food. On the south east side of town is a restaurant/bar that is very popular with duck hunters/farmers. I know how to get there from Sacramento Refuge (public Duck hunting area), but don't know how to tell you, other than take the frontage road north from Princeton Road. It will be on the east side of the road.

      From SF to LA, my usual stop is Buttonwillow, many on this site like Tita's, a few miles from town, Salvadoran IIRC. In Buttonwillow there is an Indian style restaurant that has been reviewed favorably on Chowhound.

      Instead of Gustine, I would stop in Los Banos, at Woolgrower's, a Basque style restaurant. Portions are large.

      Oh, and north of the Grapevine, nobody puts a "the" in front of the name of a freeway, it is "5 or I-5", not "the 5".

      1 Reply
      1. re: Alan408

        Woolgrowers in Los Banos was my first thought. There are some Mexican places there too - but I haven't tried any of them.

      2. Just for clarification: when you say...

        "Please don't suggest to take the 15 instead of the 5--it may just be a couple more hours but with kids in the car and an annoying short span of time in Seattle, we just can't do a big detour."

        ...did you really mean 15 as in I-15? or did you mean Calif. route 99?

        1. Not because of the food, but to split the trip up better think about stopping in Redding. LA to Yreka with that crew is killer. Granzella's is good but they can get busy.

          If you decide to go all the way to Yreka there is a place right across the street and the same side as Black Bear. I drove by a few months ago and it had changed hands. It was a pretty decent place before. Maybe someone else has been recently.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Stan

            well, perhaps because of the food also. Redding is a much bigger town than Yreka, so there should be more dinner options. Last time I was in Yreka, the best dinner option was steak (can't remember where). There is a fair amount of cattle farming near there.

            This recent post on Redding might get you started:


            1. re: susancinsf

              I’ve had perfectly nice meals in Yreka and Redding. We travel as a couple so my route would be Leave in the afternoon (night 1) Harris Ranch (night 2) Ashland (New Sammy’s Bistro) (night 3) Seattle.

              That won’t work for them. Honestly, I don’t know how that crew is going to do that distance, during that week, at that speed and do anything other than making sandwiches while driving. If I was stuck on just two days for that distance I’d be turning it into a road rally where the winning team is the one who spends the least amount of time stopped during official drive times. Make sure the kids have books about space travel so they can imagine no bathrooms for many miles to reach their goal. Sorry for the rant! There is a reason I’m not allowed around children;-)

              1. re: Stan

                I definitely get what you are saying but we have done the trip before back in 2002--and with kids too. In fact, thats how I know about the Apricot Pit -- a tip from the Board. The original plan was to make it a two night trip but our traveling companions got jammed up over a dog sitter so to accommodate their needs, we have shortened the road trip. Its a diner sort of trip but alas, my work schedule won't allow anything more leisurely. If you think the trip up is sad, consider this: I now have to go to work while in Seattle. least the pups and spouse will have fun.

                At this point, we are planning to stop at Buttonwillow for pupusas/coffee in the am, at the Apricot Pit for pie before lunch and at Gustines for barbque and to buy lots of sausage for the 4oJuly. I will try for Woolgrowers on the way back.

                Distance-wise for the curious, its about 9 hours of driving on day one and 8 on day two. While not ideal, it is doable. In my youth, I used to regularly drive from Cleveland to DC [6 plus hours] with one bathroom break no problem. At least we can swap drivers on this run. It will involve a couple more rest stops and some jump rope competitions and perhaps a bribe or two. My pups are actually very good travelers---they have both traveled to from States to China non-stop thrice and to Europe [the elder pup has been there 3 x]. As for their friend, Vanilla Boy, he should be ok as long as his mom lets him have his DX game.......

                Thanks for the Tips! I will report back.

          2. Jenn:
            Good luck with your trip. I live in Northern California but travel to the Central Valley quite a bit on business. I would say that Woolgrowers is a great place but with your time frame, I would say you may not have enough time to fully enjoy and appreciate Woolgrowers-- they serve a multi-course meal that you need to enjoy at a leisurely pace. If you do stop in Los Banos, there is a pizza place on the main drag called Me N Ed's that the kids might like more.

            Less out of the way and a closer stop to I-5 is in Santa Nella at Pea Soup Anderson's. Lots of fast food places close by if split pea soup and a cafe type place isn't what you want.

            Gustine is a great stop for the sausages but there is hardly anything there in town for you all and the kids. You might just plan to make the stop there for the sausages. Or if you are in a real hurry, you can buy sandwiches from the sausage place to eat on the road.

            If I were trying to make this trip with kids, I would plan the first rest stop at the Harris Ranch. Good bathroom break and if you want, there is a Subway sandwich shop across the street. Then you could make the sausage stop in Gustine. If you can make it to Stockton for the next stop, there's plenty to choose from there. You can grab some sushi on the run at Sho Mi at the Lincoln Center about a mile east of the freeway at the Benjamin Holt exit or at Adalberto just about a block off of the freeway at Hammer Lane. Sho Mi is cash only but they are quick. I think Adalberto's will take credit but they are also very fast and even closer to the freeway.

            Another possibility is to make the stop in Elk Grove, just south of Sacramento. Either the Elk Grove Blvd exit or the Laguna exit have lots of fast food options within the block or two east of the freeway.

            Good luck with your trip and don't forget to have fun!

            4 Replies
            1. re: dimsumgirl

              dimsum girl, so you know the name of the Pho place in Evergreen Center? near an Asian market in an old Safeway? Can't remember the offramp. Is it Hammer or B Holt? Going up that way on Fri.

              1. re: toodie jane

                toodie jane: sorry I didn't respond to your post; we left for japan right after i posted my reply to the OP. I don't know the name of the pho place. Did you find it? Please report back if you did; I often pass through Stockton and would love a good pho place to add to my rotation.

                1. re: dimsumgirl

                  thanks for the sushi tip--will add it to my traveling list.

                  Did some sleuthing and Lucky Pho is here:

                  Great noodles and the lemonade is out of this world on a hot day. Fresh limes, sugar, water and ice. Aunties in the kitchen.

                  Pho Lucky
                  8034 N El Dorado St, Stockton, CA 95210

                  1. re: toodie jane

                    i have marked it on my map as a must try stop for the next trip down to the central valley. thanks for marking it for me. I'll have to try to figure out how to do this slick marking trick next time!