New and need help please!

Aug 7th, 2008, 04:22 AM
  #1  
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New and need help please!

Hi- I am new to the site- hello everyone- my first request is a big one so I hope you will all help me with this.
Just recently semi- retired- want to do some serious traveling - budget minded as the more we can save- the more trips we can take.
I have booked a flight to Seattle Sept 9-Sept 24-- a total of 15 days- we will rent a car in Seattle.
The plan is to ferry to Victoria- Vancouver- from there we want to go to Banff and Jasper NP- Icefields Parkway- then we plan to drive back to Astoria Oregon and then on the Portland Oregon before returning to Seattle and flying back out of Seattle on the 24th. I can clearly see from reading this forum- that you guys know what you are doing- so I feel much more comfortable with you helping me with this than going to AAA for a triptic. Please give me your opinions. Is this too much?
Our home is in Myrtle Beach SC- we flew to the West Coast in May and took two weeks to see the Oregon and California Coastline- We arrived in Astoria on Sunday when the Sunday market was going on- and Bob loved it so much he wants to go back to Astoria- and try to be there for the Sunday Market again. We both love scenery and I really want to see the Canadian Rockies and hope we can work in Astoria and Portland as well- ok- now you have it-- I look forward to hearing opinions- I sincerely appreciate any help with this. Thanks
debra1955 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 05:40 AM
  #2  
 
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Hi Debra - welcome - if you do a search on here for Banff and the other places you mention, you'll find a lot of information that should help you with your planning.
SallyCanuck is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 08:38 AM
  #3  
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Hi Sally- thanks- I am hopeful that someone that knows the area well will take a look at the proposed plan and let me know if it is feasible.
Actually- there are two couples going-we are all just now reaching the point in life that we can travel- so this will be our first trip together. The other three in the group for the most part have left it up to me to decide where we will go. Knowing what I do about my guy and the other couple- I know they all like fishing- scenery- wildlife- we are all more into nature than we are into fancy hotels and restaurants- been there- done that- I spent 33 years in my own restaurant business- so we want to see the world- and we are just beginning this journey. This will be our first trip together- and I want to bowl them over. Initially- we had planned to do a three week camping trip- but we are able to get really cheap airfare into Seattle and a good price on a rental car- (Bob and I were in Seattle and the California coastline area and oregon coastline in May of this year for two weeks of driving.) He was so impressed with Astoria Oregon- that he wanted to see it again with this other couple. I am hopeful that we can be at the Saturday market in Portland on a saturday and then the Sunday market in Astoria on a Sunday- saving those for the last week and doing the Banff and Jasper the first week- and possibly work in the Victoria/Vancouver idea. I need some idea from folks that know that area well if this will work. We are all in the upper 50-early 60's, with a fair amount of energy- however, I do not want it to be a really pushed and rushed vacation either. Thanks for your help and hope I get some great responses from others who know the area.
debra1955 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 08:39 AM
  #4  
 
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You can ferry from Seattle to Victoria but not Vancouver...that would be a car trip (tell the rental agency that you are going into Canada). Of course, you can ferry from Victoria to Vancouver, which might be best since you plan to go farther east.
Bobmrg is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 08:55 AM
  #5  
 
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There are westeners that will help you out - I am in the lowlands in the east.
SallyCanuck is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 09:07 AM
  #6  
 
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For starters, let me suggest that you contact Travel Alberta and Tourism BC.
Travel Alberta can supply information about Jasper, the Icefields Parkway, and Lake Louise.

The Alberta government agency can be reached at as follows: Call at 1.800.252.3782 or on Internet access http://www1.travelalberta.com/en-us/

For British Columbia, try the official provincial site first:

http://www.hellobc.com/en-CA/default.htm
or call them at 1-800-435-5622.

In years past I have gotten beneficial information from both agencies. The most valuable aid, however, was a good road map.

The one I have for Alberta is excellent and covers the Canadian Rockies portion of British Columbia.

The one for British Columbia was also good.

I hope these maps are still available in paper form.

Both sites offer on-line maps, but these are often large and do not print well at full size.

Also, you should look at the BC ferries information.
bcferries.com
It has a complete listing of ferry schedules.

Also if you are going to the national parks, the Parks Canada website has links to all of the individual national parks.

You have a lot planned for 2 weeks because so much of your time will be spent driving that you will lose at least 3 days just in transit.
For me it would be 4 days.

The drive from Vancouver Island to Banff is quite long timewise and I do not suggest that you plan to make it one day. The same thing is true for Jasper from Vancouver Island.

The road across BC is both mountainous and congested in places.
You go along quite rapidly until you get to Kamloops. From there to Lake Louise is slower going.

I suggest you get the maps and study them carefully and decided just what you want to see and where you want to go.

I have taken various routes from Seattle into Canada, but I have not gone to Vancouver Island first and then to the Rockies. We usually headed straight to the Rockies because we knew that about 4 days would be consumed by travel alone.
bob_brown is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 09:56 AM
  #7  
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Thanks Bob and to all that posted- and please keep the tips coming- we have just began to plan this trip- and time will be here before I can get it all figured out-- ( I just lost my Dad in addition to a lot of business related stuff to take care of)--so I appreciate all help that will save me some time in planning.
Bob-- I appreciate your input--from what I can determine so far- it seems to me that we should fly to Seattle- FORGET about the Victoria/Vancouver idea- and go to the canadian rockies and back to astoria and portland. How does that idea sound? Does it seem practical that we could get all that in in 15 days? Thanks!!
debra1955 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 10:37 AM
  #8  
 
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If you're only going to do the Rockies, why fly all the way to Seattle? Would make more sense to fly to Calgary and do the Rockies touring from there. The drive from Seattle to the Rockies is just as long as from Vancouver.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 11:57 AM
  #9  
LJ
 
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Well, I am glad that cruiser chimed in because this was my thought, too. I never want to suggest folks are attempting too much, because DH (Dear Husband) and I are definitely into slo-o-o-w travel and can only marvel at some of the itineraries that get posted here.

But, my first reaction when I read your original post is that it was WAY too ambitious, with much doubling back and long days in the car.

If you truly want to see the Rockies, do think carefully about the idea of Calgary-Banff-Lake Louise/Jasper-Okanagon Valley-Vancouver and back (via Astoria?sorry, don't know this area at all?) if there is still the option to get out of the Seattle flight thing.

Otherwise, I would think seriously of Vancouver-Victoria-Vancouver Island-with, maybe Okanagon Valley and back to Seattle.

In other words, you can "do" Van-Vic and the island (with a 2 night stint in the valley) OR you can see the Rockies.

And that car rental issue, do please ensure you are allowed to take your car across the border before you go any further. I have heard of difficulties.

Having traveled with other couples many times, DH and I heartily suggest a rule of thumb that says "any trip you can do as a couple in one day, takes a day and a half when you add another twosome". Now, thats not to say it can't be twice the fun!

Best of luck and welcome to Fodor's now and to Canada in the future.
LJ is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 06:40 PM
  #10  
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Hi all- again- thanks for the responses and help. Roundtrip airfare to seattle is already booked- in the beginning the plan was to go to Astoria Oregon and Portland- but I felt the group would love the rockies so much and I hoped to be able to fit in Victoria and Vancouver- we have 15 days- is it practical to try this- We want to save Astoria and Portland for last before arrival back to seattle for departure on the 24th of Sept.
debra1955 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2008, 06:52 PM
  #11  
 
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I don't entirely agree that you should abandon your idea of seeing Vancouver Island and Vancouver as well on this trip.

There are two ways to approach a trip. One way is to treat it as a scouting trip with full intent to return. We did that in 1987 in Canada. Since then we have been back several times to fill in the gaps we know we left.

The other way is to treat it as a possible one time only visit. If that is the case I would narrow the geographic scope and concentrate on a more limited area.

The only problem I see is that there are things to see and do on Vancouver Island that could well take 4 days, even 5. Vancouver is worth a day at least. By the time you get there and get back even for that part of the trip you would need 7 days.

If you go to the Rockies, you lose two more days for travel, minimum.

That does not leave much time for some very spectacular scenery.

Having been to both, I personally would give my preference to the Canadian Rockies. But, I will admit that I prefer visiting the mountains. Others may prefer city life.

More than once I have spent all day driving from Lake Louise to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway.
There are many interesting short hikes to make along the way to say nothing of visiting the Icefields themselves by riding on ice buggy (or whatever they call it).

I think you need to read the advice here, but inform yourself and be comfortable with your decision.

Just bear in mind that the driving is a major component of this whole idea.

I have done stuff like that, and recently, too. We drove all the way to Prince Rupert after we arrived in Calgary. Of course we had a few days in Yoho National Park before stetting out for the west coast.

Then we rode the ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy on the northern end of Vancouver Island.

We then drove the full length of the Island to Victoria.

From there we drove all the way back to Yoho with an overnight in Manning Provincial Park.

After 3 nights in Yoho we returned to Calgary for our flight home.

As I recall we had 15 days for that particular trip.

The point is your plan is doable. You just have to be willing to grind out the driving times. Leave early and go late a couple of times to get there.

I might add that I was not exactly a kid when we did this Canadian caper as we call it. It was not the first one either.

Of course none of this kind of stuff is possible without my partner. We usually split the driving.




bob_brown is offline  
Aug 8th, 2008, 04:25 PM
  #12  
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Thanks to all- and Bob- you have been a real jewel- I appreciate all the time and efforts in responding. I have not yet tried to route this trip and determine driving distance- been doing so much catch up work lately- but If it is doable - I think we want to give it a try- we like driving- there are 4 of us adults on this trip- a couple of long days of driving will be ok by us. We have been friends with this other couple for years- but this will be our first trip together. Initially- we 4 had planned a three week camping trip around the eastern shores- but my Bob and I had been to Astoria in May and he really liked the area.
Since we live in Myrtle Beach- it being more than 3,000 miles to Seattle alone- it is necessary to fly there and do a rental - but scenery and wildlife are high on our priority list- thanks again to all of you.
debra1955 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2008, 08:08 AM
  #13  
 
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Having lived in the Pacific NW there are many beautiful areas right in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
Seattle - Vancouver - city and island - Olympic National Park - Ocean Shores which is a wonderful vacation place on the coast of Washington State.

http://www.oceanshores.org/

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho is beautiful. Coeur d'Alene Lake is large and beautiful. You would drive through mountains on the freeway to get there from Seattle. CDA is in the mountains.
http://www.coeurdalene.org/index.asp?PageId=343
bratsandbeer is offline  
Aug 9th, 2008, 08:49 AM
  #14  
 
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Well, I think the original plan covers a very wide range of attractions.
If Washington and the Oregon Coast come into play then the ball game changes to something else again.

I think we could easily be talking 6 to 8 weeks here if anything more than a cursory ride by is involved.

bob_brown is offline  
Aug 9th, 2008, 09:34 PM
  #15  
 
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Hi Debra,

Although your plan is feasible (fly to Seattle and drive to the Rockies and back) it will be a grind. If you're up for that, great, but it's not something I would recommend.

It's about a 10 hour drive between Vancouver and Banff and that's with only stopping for gas and a quick bite to eat a couple of times. Most people find that too much to do in one day so break it up and stop in the BC interior along the way.

I don't know how long the drive from Seattle to Vancouver would be, including what is the normal time involved in the border crossing. Perhaps someone else has that information. However, I think that could potentially add 1/2 to one more full day of travel.

So, you're looking at 4-6 days of your vacation time just driving. Then you have your air travel time (including airport checkin times) and it seems a bit of a waste to me.

How many days were you planning on spending in Oregon? Sorry if it's in a previous post, but I didn't see it.

Since you're flying into Seattle, I would recommend spending your time in BC (Vancouver/Lower Mainland and Victoria/Vancouver Island). The scenery is spectacular and there's lots to do. If you wanted to go further into the interior and see some of the Okanogan, that could be done in a much more relaxing fashion.

Good luck with your trip planning!
ShelliDawn is offline  
Aug 11th, 2008, 05:34 AM
  #16  
 
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debra - see my responses in your US post.
dfr4848 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2008, 04:31 AM
  #17  
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Thanks all- keep the suggestions coming- I am so excited- my better half just gave his notice of retirement yesterday- and we are ready to do some serious traveling!!
debra1955 is offline  

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