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17 days to spend in North America

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I'm exhausted. Have been thinking and changing my mind way too much lately, and frankly, at the moment I'm just not sure what I should do.

I have about 17 days to burn and plan on flying over the Atlantic from Europe to do so. That's where my problems start. Which cities, which part of the continent and so on. I have been to New York three times and adore it, but will probably skip it this time around (even if it makes my heart bleed).
And when? Starting from the last week of September this year (around 23-24th), need to board a plane home on October 11th.

The initial plan: Helsinki- Chicago (5 nights) -Seattle -hire a car and drive down to San Francisco, where I'd like to spend about 4-5 nights- Helsinki

Is this stupid? Or better yet, if you had the option of spending 17 days in the US (or why not include Canada too), where would you go, what would you do?
LA, Florida and Las Vegas are no no's for me, just don't feel the need at the moment. Love history, love nature, love my camera and my note book. Love to sit and watch the world go around, love to just walk around and get a feel for places, sit on benches on rocks on anything. Stroll through fascinating neighbourhoods.

I have had a longing to experience the northwestern parts of the US for some time though, you know, stand on a chilly rocky beach watching a storm coming in, experiencing the lushness of the Ewok-forests. So... driving down the coast of Oregon has its appeal.

But anyway, all these things aside. What do you think I should do with 17 days?
What would be the SMART thing to do?

I would really appreciate any ideas/thoughts or hints about this matter. Maybe I'll get a light bulb moment thanks to some random input.

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