Help with Northwest Trip


Jun 22nd, 2017, 04:19 AM
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Help with Northwest Trip

I am planning a trip to the Northwest and California next May/June (2018) and I need lots of help. We are an active 65+ couple, love urban (museums, interesting sites, city life, music performances of all types, festivals), the outdoors (scenery, hikes but my husband can only do the easy trails), wineries, beer, good food…… I want the trip to include as many of these as possible.
We have 18-21 days to do a trip (partly with a car) from Seattle to San Francisco (or the opposite direction). Those are the cities we must fly in and out of, no other options. We are going to Mount Shasta where my daughter lives, therefore the California part. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far after researching on the Net.
Days 1- 4: Arrive in Seattle, include a day trip (islands? Takoma? We won’t have a car yet.)
Days 5 – 7: Train to Portland, 2 full days in the city.
Days 8 – 10: Pick up car. Do a loop to Mount Hood, Columbia River and back to Portland area.
(scenic byways)
Days 11 – 14: Drive past Portland to the coast. Drive south on the coast(visiting as many places as
we can)
Days 15 – 18: Cut across to Route 5 and drive to Mount Shasta (I need help here. I want the
easiest route to get to Route 5– no twisty mountain roads.). Visit my daughter.
Days 19 – 20: Drive to Sonoma / Napa. Some R + R and wine tasting.
Day 21: Drive to SF and flight.
I read that there’s wine country in Oregon. If it works into my plans, I would gladly give up Sonoma/ Napa and add some time there.
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Jun 22nd, 2017, 04:41 AM
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If possible I would do this route in reverse; give the weather a little time to improve as you head north.

In terms on roads between I-5 and US 101, avoiding twisty roads is a serious challenge anywhere between Reedsport and roughly Ukiah. So my suggestion might seem a little counter-intuitive, but it might provide a decent alternative.

(I'll go south-to-north as I suggested.)

Map -

Head north to Sonoma, then up to Mount Shasta for your visit. Then continue north on I-5 to Ashland and maybe take in a play at the Shakespeare festival - - then a little farther north to Grants Pass and then (slight backtrack) out to the coast via US 199. Right before the junction with US 101 you'll pass through the Jedediah Smith redwoods, some of the premier redwood groves on the north coast.

Continue north on US 101 through the southern and central Oregon coast. Bandon and Yachats are IMO the nicest places to stay. Then cut inland to the Willamette Valley wine country, centered around McMinnville, and finally to the Portland area.

You have plenty of time to plan, so one thing I'd strongly suggest is that you think about flying to Portland and doing the whole thing as a round trip rather than a one-way drive. Given the awful one-way surcharges involved, the cost savings on the rental car (round trip vs. one way) would almost certainly more than compensate for the price of plane tickets (around $100 each) to fly from SF to Portland. This would give you more time to explore the Oregon coast, the Columbia River Gorge, etc., at lower overall cost. Here's a map for this option -
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Jun 22nd, 2017, 06:49 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I forgot to ask about the weather but I was considering the possibility of leaving the northern part for later in the month. What is the weather like in Oregon during the last two weeks of May?
I'll have to sit down and look at the map with your suggestions.
I saw Willamette mentioned in some posts but I haven't checked it out (yet).
Dos anybody have any other suggestions or tips for me?
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Jun 22nd, 2017, 07:33 AM
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Great advice from Gardyloo. Not sure what sort of accommodations you prefer, but there are some nice B&Bs in Astoria. We stayed at a very cute but modestly-priced one in Astoria (Clementine's). Enjoyed eating at the Silver Salmon downtown Astoria - but their portions are very large. It reminds me of old places I ate in growing up around San Francisco.

Bring your raincoat, and just pack to layer up as needed.
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Jun 22nd, 2017, 07:38 AM
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I live in Seattle and can say a bit about days 1-4 for you...

I would not go to Tacoma, especially if you don't have a car. Nothing wrong with the city but I think there are more interesting things to see & do in the Seattle area.

Getting to any island without a rental car is a bit of a trick and fairly time consuming.

One simple thing you can do on foot is take a ferry ride from downtown. Just walk on to the Bainbridge Island ferry (half over ride) and go over, get off and walk into the downtown area for lunch and a little shopping. Then come back. It's easy, inexpensive, and gets you out for great views on the water.

Other city highlights that are easily done by walking and public transportation include but are not limited to:
The Pike Place Market
Pioneer Square Historic District including Klondike Museum, Underground Tour, Waterfall Garden Park
the Waterfront
Seattle Art Museum
Frye Art Museum
Seattle Center/Space Needle
Chihuly Glass Garden
Olympic Sculpture Park

If you happen to be here over the Memorial Day weekend, that's Folklike Festival at the Seattle Center and sounds like something you might be interested in doing one day, if the timing works.
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Jun 22nd, 2017, 10:02 AM
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You've gotten some good advice so far. Unless you really want to see San Francisco, just fly to PDX and rent a car or take the train to Seattle from Portland.
The southbound Coast Starlight stops in Dunsmuir very early in the morning if you can get someone to pick you up from Mt. Shasta.
We have a couple of good wine regions in Oregon that you will be going through - Willamette (around McMinnville) and Rogue (near Medford).
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Jun 23rd, 2017, 12:58 AM
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I'm really pleased with the information that I'm getting. I'm definitely looking into flying either in or out of Portland. I don't want to visit SF (had a long visit there the last time I was in the States). We are coming from abroad and the best (cheapest/ most convenient) flight bundle available to us uses American Airlines in the U.S. I checked and there are flights to and from Philadelphia (where we are landing) and Portland, as well as Seattle.
At the moment, the revised route looks like this:
Days 1- 4: Arrive in Seattle, include a day trip ( We won’t have a car yet.)
Days 5 – 7: Train to Portland, 2 full days in the city.
Days 8 – 10: Pick up car. Do a loop to Mount Hood, Columbia River and back to Portland area.
(scenic byways)
Days 11 – 14: Drive past Portland. Drive south to Mount Shasta on Route 5 (maybe stopping overnight on the way / include Rogue Valley for wineries). Visit my daughter in Mount Shasta.
Days 15 – 18: Drive up the coast to Portland using the route that Gardyloo suggested through Grant's Pass. Return the car.
Days 19 – 20: Portland and flight to Philadelphia.
Another possibility is to flip the trip so we're in the Mt. Hood area later in the season (in early June). We'd fly into Portland, drive down to Mount Shasta, come up the coast, do the Mt. Hood loop, then take the train to Seattle and fly out of Seattle.
Are there any interesting places/sites on Route 5 down to Shasta besides Rogue Valley?
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Jun 23rd, 2017, 04:31 AM
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You don't really need two full days plus your day of arrival in Portland. One+ day is plenty. I would take that other day and still stay here, but get your rental car and do a day trip to Mt St Helens. That is just north of here, in WA, so you might consider getting your rental car there and then you could just do Mt St Helens on your way down, instead of taking the train, for less backtracking.

The largest, and most well regarded wine region in our state is the Willamette Valley. You could easily do that on your way down to Shasta, and I would suggest staying a night somewhere in here along the way. The main part of it goes from Newberg to McMinnville. This is mainly Pinot Noir country, but you will find other varietals here as well. We have over 400 wineries in this region alone, so you have lots of options.

Just east of Salem is Silver Falls State Park which I think is a must. Since your DH can't do the entire hike, you are in luck as you can drive to most of the big falls along the way. Park at the south falls (the main entrance) and take the walk that goes under the falls and then come back. If you get a warm day, at the bottom of that is a body of water that is really nice to relax in/next to.
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Jun 23rd, 2017, 06:18 AM
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Just googled Silver Falls State Park and it looks great - just what we like and on the way. I've been researching this trip for a while and I decided to concentrate the driving in Oregon and of course to Mount Shasta. Knowing us, the additional driving from Seattle will be too much. I know that Portland is known for its beer/foodie/music scene so we'll want to take advantage of that. That will mean late nights and taking it easy in the mornings.
Any other interesting sites Route 5?
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