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Dec 22nd, 2011, 10:01 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 48

So sorry to take so long to post this, but we had an awesome trip thanks in a big way to all the info supplied by you folks.
We left Victoria on the 10:30 Black Ball ferry to Pt Angeles on Saturday Oct 29th. We stayed at the Victoria BW Harbor on Friday night…a perfect location for the ferry.
Since my husband is in a wheel chair, the crew pushed him up the ramp to the deck and I parked the car…it became apparent why, when I saw how they ‘sandwich’ cars in the parking area…very tight fit and stairs to climb to passenger deck…no elevators. But all worked well, we had a sunny calm crossing, and I drove off the ferry and met him in the parking lot, where the crew had left him. Cleared customs, and headed West, then South on #101. There was very little traffic and we enjoyed the fall colors on the forest drive. Went through Forks, home of the Twighlight series. Mainly a rural drive, lots of fields and forest, occasional beach views but usually trees between the road and the ocean. We arrived about 5:30 in Astoria, Or, just as it began to spot rain. Wonderful drive over the Columbia River…great views of both sides, and we stayed under the bridge at the Holiday Inn Express. Tired of driving, so we just walked along the boardwalk outside hotel to the Bridgewater Bistro. Had some very good appetizers to share as our dinner along with some local wine!
Good sleep in a very well appointed accessible room, and had breakfast there before we left in the morning.
Left by 10:30 on Sunday morning, and drove along #101 in light rain all day. Again traffic was light, roads were good, and everyone we saw seemed to be either fishing or hunting! The day was pretty well beach views, sand dunes and small towns…very relaxing drive. We stayed at the BW in Bandon…again a nice clean place with accessible room and parking just outside our room. Since it was still raining and dark we decided to eat at the on site restaurant….Bandon Bill’s Grill. Sundays are BBQ nights there, so we had huge rib dinners and of course red wine…just fine!
Breakfast Monday morning at BW included, and we got away again at about 10:30. I managed a quick beach walk across from the hotel…great dunes, perfect clean sandy beach and sunshine!
The drive along #101 was picture perfect along the coast…crashing surf and lots of pull offs to take in the views. The Drury Scenic bypass was closed, but we did drive through the redwoods…truly amazing.
We turned onto Hwy 1 at Leggett, and arrived at Ft Bragg after an extremely twisty stretch through the forest. Stayed at the Holiday Inn Exp. Great rate for a huge room with fireplace and balcony. We had dinner at the North Coast Brewing company…not the greatest food, but beer was good, and it was fun to watch all the costumed folks (Halloween)…and we even bought a T shirt at the in house gift shop.
Breakfast Tuesday courtesy of the Holiday Inn, and we got away by 10:15. Slow driving on #1 due to road work, so we decided to go cross country at Manchester…took Mtn View Road to Boonville then #253 to Hwy 101. Interesting trek through forested high mountain road…only met 2 other cars, and probably not a good route in poor weather, or in the dark! But a bit of an adventure! Hwy 101 was 4 lane and fast. Took #101 to #280 then back to #1 through San Francisco…amazingly we had no problems through San Fran, and were driving south in less than 45 minutes.
The ocean drive along #1 was perfect…a couple of hold ups for construction, but no more than 10 minutes wait.
Stayed at Best Western Seacliff Inn in Aptos, just south of Santa Cruz. A little dated, but very close to the highway, and there was a good on site restaurant. ..Severeno’s Bar and Grill…and as luck would have it Tuesday night all the main courses are half price! Great steak dinner!
Wednesday morning we actually got away at 9:59 after breakfast ...which was included. Followed the coast again and did the 17 Mile Dr at Pebble Beach. Amazing ocean views...clear and sunny, so the colors were outstanding.
We headed back along Hwy 1 by noon, and enjoyed a perfect drive down the coast…very little traffic and great weather…we were very lucky. Stayed at Pismo Beach at the Pismo Lighthouse Suites. Had a large end unit and made use of the on site laundry. Beautiful sunset…dinner at Marie Calender’s as the Ventana Bistro had a half hour wait…next time!
Left by 10 on Thursday following breakfast ( included).
We took #101 south to Ventura, then east on #126 (Santa Paula Fwy) heading to Santa Clarita. We got on Hwy 5, but missed our turn-off, so headed into LA…yikes where do all those people come from and go to??? But our GPS “recalculated” and we headed towards San Bernardino and then got on Hwy 10 east. Survived our first oops…luckily just ahead of serious rush hour.
Outside of San Bernardino, the scenery change to desert… flat and sandy…and the speed on the Hwy increased. We stayed overnight in Palm Desert...another Best Western. We had dinner around the corner from the hotel at John’s Dinner...recommended by hotel staff. Good food, huge portions, good price.
We left by 10 on Friday morning, after another BW breakfast.
Fast uneventful drive on Hwy 10 east and we arrived in Sun City in the early afternoon, just ahead of a big sand storm!
We stayed at HI and BW because we needed an accessible room, and it’s easier to have breakfast on sight rather than have to head out to a restaurant first thing in the morning.
A huge thanks to all of you whose advice and tips contributed to our wonderful trip. We are now searching forums for the Phoenix area!
Happy Christmas and safe travels in the New Year!
amr67 is offline  
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Dec 23rd, 2011, 09:57 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,159
Sounds like a great trip. You were lucky as far as weather goes with mostly sunny days.

Thanks for reporting.
emalloy is online now  
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Dec 25th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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Reply to amr67. We plan on a California trip in late April. Our thoughts were to fly from Augusta, GA. to LA. Drive to Yosemite then visit Eureka and(or Cresent City), then down the coast to see Golden Gate Bridge and continue on south on 101. We've heard that the best views are along the entire west coast. We will end up in San Diego. Catch a 3 day cruise to Vancouver and then fly back to Augusta, Ga. Heard that LA was good and less traffic on weekend, the being in National Parks during the week back to board our ship on Sat=Mon. fly home Tuesday. Do you think 7 days is good for the road trip of our vacation?
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Dec 28th, 2011, 07:06 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Hi greensisters,
sorry, haven't check in for a bit. I would start a new post with your question. We are from Vancouver Island, and this was our first time driving down the coast. It was wonderful, but we really didn't do a lot of sightseeing, and I'm not sure about your timing..sounds like a lot of driving. There are folks a lot more knowledgeable re this stretch...post for Oregon and California. It's pretty awesome! Have a great trip.
amr67 is offline  
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Dec 29th, 2011, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Got very valuable information from this as i am new to fodors. Thanks for this trip report.
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