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Driving from Seattle to San Fran in December


Jun 26th, 2014, 05:04 PM
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Driving from Seattle to San Fran in December


My fiancé and I are getting married December 19th in Florida and looking to fly to Seattle December 21st to drive down the west coast for our honeymoon. We have about 11-12 days for the trip and we are looking for suggestions. We are big beer nerds, love food and we also love hiking. We know we want to see the red woods. We were wondering if anyone who had done the trip could tell us must sees or things to avoid. Any type of timeline or itinerary would be a great help as well.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 08:15 PM
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If I were going to be in this part of the country at this time of year I would go to Leavenworth,WA. It's a little detour east by 2 hours but it's a honeymoon. Tree lighting on the 21st and lots of beer. It's a Bavarian Winter Wonderland. So romantic.
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Jun 27th, 2014, 08:29 AM
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I agree with Leavenworth in late December. From Leavenworth go east on US 2 to tie in to US 97 south. Take US 97 south all the way to Bend Oregon. Bend has more than 4 breweries. Deschutes is the largest of them.
Do you have any interest in snow skiing? The season might start at Mt. Bachelor outside Bend by then.
From Bend, head west on US 20 through Sisters which has its own brewery all the way to Newport. Drive south from Newport on US 101 all the way to the Redwood NP near Crescent City California.
There are plenty of things to see and do in northern California after you see Redwood NP. If you continue down the coast on 101, you can see Muir Woods before crossing the GG bridge into SF.
Are you paying a big drop off fee on the rental car?
The way to avoid it is to return it where you rented it and then take the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Seattle to Emeryville (nearly 24 hours) with a dedicated Amtrak bus over to Fisherman's Wharf.
I've spent many nights sleeping in coach on Amtrak trains but could understand if you wanted to splurge and get a bedroom on the train. A roomette is a little cheaper but somebody has to take the upper bunk. Both the roomette and bedroom come with meals in the dining car.
tomfuller is online now  
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Jun 27th, 2014, 08:58 AM
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A few thoughts.

I love Leavenworth in the winter, but you need to be ok with driving on snow and ice. Also, many places in Leavenworth book up for the holidays far in advance. We will be there during that time and we booked our place over a month ago. If you are ok with driving in snow and can find a place and like to ski, definitely go to Stevens Pass which is only about 17 miles or so west of Leavenworth right on hwy 2. They also have a nordic center a few miles further down the hwy. As mentioned, lots of beer in Leavenworth! We really like Icicle Brewing Company, FWIW.

As for hiking, that is a tough one that time of year. Consider snowshoeing instead Lots of great places for that both near Leavenworth and Bend.
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Jun 27th, 2014, 10:33 AM
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I love the redwoods in the winter and the coast can be absolutely spectacular. I would make sure to spend some time around Prairie Creek Redwoods state park and Patrick's Point state park - the former for redwoods, the latter for the coastline. Mendocino/Fort Bragg would be on my list too.

And because you are beer nerds - me too - this would allow you to visit 2 of my favorites. And because it will be winter, you can try all the winter seasonals. I am not really a winter person, but I do love the winter beers, so a beer nerd honeymoon in the winter time definitely sounds like a good time.

In the town of Blue Lake, just inland from Eureka, you will find Mad River Brewing Co. I actually planned an entire camping trip specifically so we could go there to try their John Barleycorn Barleywine It was well worth the trip - and they make a lot of other good brews as well and the people there are great - the brewer was pouring in the tasting room and the other patrons were lots of fun. While on that trip, we also visited Lost Coast in Eureka, Eel River in Fortuna, Bear Republic in Healdsburg, and Moylands in Novato (those last 3 are all off Hwy 101 and we visited either on our way up or on our way back to Eureka).

In Fort Bragg is North Coast Brewing - this is another favorite of mine - specifically for the Old Stock Ale and the Brother Theloneous, but again, they make a lot of other good brews as well. They have a terrific porter named after an old steam train - Engine 38 or something like that. Perfect for a rainy winter day

If on your drive, you take Hwy 128 between the coast and Hwy 101, you will pass through the tiny town of Boonville, home to Anderson Brewing Co. Their Boont Amber Ale is one of my perennial favorites. Brother David's Abbey Ales are also really nice. I didn't actually care for their Winter Solstice even though I generally like winter seasonals quite a lot, but their other stuff is great.
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Jun 27th, 2014, 10:41 AM
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If the ski season has started by the time you get to Bend, you can rent skis (X-country or downhill) or snowshoes at a place called the Powderhouse on Century Drive on the way to Mt. Bachelor.
There is also a shuttle bus service from near the Old Mill district up to Mt. Bachelor if you didn't want to drive up.
Any plans on where to be for New Years Eve?
Mt. Bachelor also has a snow tubing hill if you are scared of skis or snowshoes.
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