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6 Day Drive Up Western Coast

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I am starting a new job and am taking 6 days off beforehand to 'soak it all up' before not having any vacation time for a whole year. I live in Los Angeles and am planning a trip up the coast with the destination being Vancouver. I've driven up HWY 1 to SF many times before and plan to do so again in the future, so my itinerary calls for me to fasttrack my way past SF on the I-5 then take in all in from there, just not sure what to see. My gf and small dog will make this trip with me. Trip date is planned for beginning of September. We are into nature, farmers markets, outlet shopping, trail walking, local cusine, exploring big cities. Our budget is around $75 per night, I am thinking we can stay in clean chain motels that accept dogs like la quinta or best western (reading http://dogfriendly.com for ideas on places that accept dogs).

I would like some ideas on sites we can see on the way up to Vancouver. Should we take the I-5 or 101 once were past SF? I am guessing the 101 is more scenic but will take longer to get to Canada. Whats a good place to spend the 1st night if we start in the morning from LA.

Now that I am thinking about it, 6 days is not a lot of time if we want to stay a night in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Thats our priority to see and stay in each city with nature/activities secondary. I know the Pacific Northwest has lots of nature/trails that I'd love to see, but I don't know how I am going to fit it all in. Any suggestions.

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