Seattle, Portland, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Alturas, Cedarville, Gerlach via:
I-5, OR-58, US-97, US-395, CA-299, CA/NV-447
Pros: Follows I-5 down to Eugene which is a familiar Freeway. Willammete Pass is spectacular. Klamath Falls and Alturas provide some sense of civilization lacking on the trek across Oregon on Route 2 & 3.
Cons: Commuter traffic can bog down the road between Vancouver, WA and Eugene, OR. Willamette is a steep pass. An accident can shut down the road.
Overview: This route takes you down I-5 along a fairly flat, familiar road. It's great if picking up friends and the driving time is about the same as the faster path. Willammete Pass on OR-58 is one of the most scenic spots I have ever seen in the Western United States. The drive across central Oregon is remote and beautiful. Crater Lake is along the route and a wonderful side trip.
Estimated route time & distance:
Seattle to Gerlach, NV
Distance: 700 mi.
Driving time: 18 hours
Seattle to Eugene, Oregon
Distance: 288 mi.
Driving time: 5 hours
From Seattle to Eugene, you will be on I-5 and most services you expect to find along an interstate corridor.
Eugene to Klamath Falls, Oregon
Distance: 168 mi.
Driving time: 4 hours
I-5, OR-58, US-97
From Eugene you will pass through the Willamette National Forest with breathtaking views and wonderful Douglas Firs. This is the last time on the journey you will see trees like this. From here on out the land becomes more arid as you go. Halfway down your journey along US-97, you run across Crater Lake. This is a worthy detour if you can make the time and it is during the day.
Klamath Falls to Alturas, CA
Distance: 100 mi.
Driving time: 2.5 hours
US-97, OR/CA 139, CA-299
Gas prices are on average 17 cents higher per gallon in California than Oregon. We highly recommend that you completely top off before leaving Klamath Falls. Klamath Falls is the largest town in the area and the only town that you will pass through that has a population higher than it's elevation.
A great place to stop is Pixie's Gas at 27600 Highway 97 N; Chiloquin, OR 97624; (541) 783-3933
Alturas, CA to Cedarville, CA
Distance: 23 mi.
Driving time: 40 minutes
US-395, CA-299, CA/NV-447
We highly recommend that you top off your tank in Alturas. We recommend the Alturas, Chevron because it is open late (not always 24 hrs, but the pumps take credit cards) and popular with Burners. This is also where you face the Cedarville Pass. It is 6305 ft and there is no other alternative. Check your water and if driving with a trailer, be courteous to other drivers going up the pass who may be able to pass you. If you ride your brakes going down the pass, they can easily overheat and catch fire. Instead, Downshift.
Cedarville, CA to Gerlach, NV
Distance: 85 mi.
Driving time: 2 hours
This is the most desolate stretch of the journey. The only business along the way between Cedarville and Gerlach is the small store and Post Office in Eagleville, Planet X Pottery a few miles outside of Gerlach and thats it. There is almost no houses and I do not know if the ones along the route are occupied or not. One mile before you reach Gerlach, there is a short road that allows you to cross directly to NV-34 and skip Gerlach entirely.
Gerlach, to Burning Man
Distance: 11 mi.
Driving time: 20 minutes
We can't emphasize this enough, when in Gerlach and the surrounding suburbs, drive belowthe speed limit. You will see more police officers in Gerlach than you saw during your entire journey. They have no problem writing tickets for any offense. However, it has been our experience that the officers will treat you with the same amount of respect that you show them. So our advice is to be courteous to the locals an participants alike. I hate to be preachy, but anything you do reflects on the festival as a whole.
I like to encourage people to fuel up completely before entering the event. In 2012, we can expect 60,000 people braving Exodus and most of those will leave on Monday. Even if you left at 6:00am, you can expect a 4-8+ hour wait in line before you hit NV-34. It is very wise to consider fueling up your vehicle before you get to Burning Man. I personally recommend a stop at the Empire Store. However, if you hit Cedarville, perhaps consider purchasing an extra five gallons of fuel, just in case. Optimally, you would have enough fuel in your vehicle to make it to Burning Man, wait to get in, wait to leave and make it back to Cedarville and skip any gas lines at Bruno's or Empire Store.