July road trip - Seattle to San Francisco

Old May 8th, 2021, 05:47 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 81
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
July road trip - Seattle to San Francisco

Hi all -
After canceling our Spain/Greece trip for the second year in a row, my 16 y/o son and myself are taking a road trip on the west coast. Weíll have 4 days in Seattle without a car and then will collect a rental car (already reserved) Sunday morning which will be dropped off Friday in San Francisco.

Iím planning to spend part of Sunday on Mount Ranier before heading to a friendís house in Gig Harbor for dinner and the night. Monday we start south, hoping to make it to the Eugene area by late in the day, bypassing Portland completely. My son isnít interested it, preferring to spend more time in southern Oregon and Northern California, before we hit San Francisco.

It seems that Ranier is 80 miles from the area of Seattle where our Airbandb is and Waze suggests itís approximately a two hour drive. Does that seem accurate? My local(ish) friends said itíll take 3 hours to get there.

After departing the Seattle area, Iím interested in checking out Crater Lake, Grantís Pass and some of the coast in both southern OR and northern CA. Weíll have 4 days to make the drive. Are there any must sees, in your opinion? Tips for scenic routes and avoiding traffic prone spots are welcome, as well as suggestions for getting around Seattle pre-car and sights we shouldnít miss.

Thanks for any thoughts and experiences you might share.
nylilly is offline  
Old May 8th, 2021, 10:48 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 67,891
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Tough to do in 4 days.

Gig Harbor > Eugene > Crater Lake > Grants Pass > SW OR coast > the redwoods > SF by the fastest route would easily take 20+ hours butts in seats car time without a single stop or detour. That is taking I-5 through Portland and as far as Roseburg. Dropping Crater Lake and Grants Pass would help -- it would still be busy but at least you'd have time for some hikes or detours. I-5 as far as Roseburg then over to the coast at Bandon and south down 101 from there. That would cut the drive time by about 20%

(Your friends are right - whether its is waze or googlemap or whatever -- the on-line mileage calculators are notoriously optimistic.)
janisj is offline  
Old May 9th, 2021, 02:00 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 81
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you, Janisj. Your advice is exactly what I was hoping for. I don’t enjoy vacationing on a tight agenda and needed a dose of reality. Is Gig Harbor to Eugene a brutal one day drive? Should it be broken up and, if so, would you have a suggestion for an area to overnight?
nylilly is offline  
Old May 9th, 2021, 06:49 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,991
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Gig Harbor to Eugene isn't too tough in terms of just the mileage, about 4 hours total, but that is with no stops or sightseeing. Be careful of the traffic times around Portland though. The commuter traffic there can be really tough there, which is also true of the Seattle and Tacoma area as well. I don't know if your plan would allow it but the coastal stretch between Astoria and Newport is particularly pretty IMO.

Also, about 100 miles south of Eugene at a freeway turnoff for a a little town called Azalea, there is a the Heaven on Earth Restaurant and Bakery which is famous around those parts for cinnamon rolls "the size of your head". They are sold in cake holders and we actually bought one to bring to friends we were staying further south. They sell smaller ones as well along with pies and jams. It makes a fun stop especially if you have a sweet tooth They are a full fledged restaurant and apparently are open 365 days a year-apparently Thanksgiving is big deal there....

https://www.heavenonearthbakery.com/
jpie is offline  
Old May 9th, 2021, 07:44 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,467
Received 77 Likes on 7 Posts
With four days available to get from Gig Harbor to SF, you're going to have to set priorities that might mean skipping some points on your route. Fortunately for those of us who live in this part of the world, and unfortunately for those that don't, the country between Puget Sound and the SF Bay Area is so crammed full with scenic wonders and amazing destinations that four weeks, never mind four days, wouldn't be enough to see everything. But some basic choices present themselves.

Crater Lake: the zigzag detour needed to include Crater Lake along with a reasonable part of the Oregon coast is very time consuming. Most of the map estimates of the drive times over the Cascades and through the Coast Range to get from Crater Lake to the coast or v.v. are usually far more optimistic than the reality. It would basically take one of your full days - a quarter of your time - to add Crater Lake to your itinerary. Could this day be spent doing something else that might be equally (or more) enjoyable? I would say yes, but this is just me.

To me, the highlight of the trip - which I've done literally more times than I can remember, is the 250 miles or so between, say, Bandon, on the southern Oregon coast, and the Humboldt redwoods an hour or so south of Eureka, California. This distance includes stunning coastal scenery followed by the redwoods, which leave most visitors gobsmacked. There are picturesque and historic towns like Ferndale, access to the last wilderness area on the California coast (the "lost coast") and fun stops like the Samoa Cookhouse (in Samoa, across the bay from Eureka) and many other places to slow down and explore.

I would also suggest you consider swinging through the Columbia Gorge and the Hood River Valley on the way south, and maybe even a detour to the Johnston Ridge Observatory overlooking the Mount St. Helens caldera, perhaps in lieu of Crater Lake.

Have a look at this map that shows one possible driving route that (in my view, and there are plenty of alternatives) would give you a terrific selection of landscapes and destinations along the way.



Note this excludes Crater Lake and the Rogue Valley (Grants Pass et al) but adds in Mt. St. Helens, the waterfalls and vista points of the Columbia River Gorge, Timberline Lodge on the side of Mount Hood, and then heads out to the coast via OR Hwy 38, a very scenic route that follows the lower Umpqua River to the sea. It then follows US 101 all the way to the Golden Gate.

With this route I'd include overnights at Hood River, Bandon and around the Trinidad/Eureka/Ferndale area in Humboldt County. With four nights available (Mon-Thurs) I'd probably add an extra night someplace, most likely the Oregon coast where it's common for many operators to require 2-night minimums in peak summer weeks.

Google the places on the map and see what you think. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful trip regardless of what route you choose.
Gardyloo is offline  
Old May 9th, 2021, 12:49 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 81
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cinnamon rolls and black & white cookies are my passion! Thanks for that tip. Hoping to incorporate a stop there into the terrific itinerary put together below. ​​​​​​​
nylilly is offline  
Old May 9th, 2021, 12:51 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 81
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you so much for this information! I’m so burned out on trip planning after putting together two European adventures in the past two years and then canceling everything twice. Your itinerary looks amazing and I so appreciate the thought you put into this and the experience you shared. That’s why I come here! Do you think I could work Azalea and a giant cinnamon roll into the mix?!
nylilly is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
desirees
Road Trips
6
Dec 22nd, 2016 10:54 AM
creativepeeps
Road Trips
24
Nov 1st, 2015 03:12 PM
heythererena
Road Trips
4
May 27th, 2014 03:08 AM
westcoastbound
United States
4
Aug 19th, 2009 08:02 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:31 AM.