Plannig a vist in Sept.

Old May 21st, 2006, 12:03 PM
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Plannig a vist in Sept.

Hi:
Right now my sister, and I are planning to vist Olympia, Wa. we are from South Dakota.
We are not used to driving in great big Citys. So the idea is making me think about the idea. We have to arrive at SeaTac, and then get a car, as we have been looking on the internet the car rental places around the airport are rather expensive.
I guess my real question is are there ways of getting around with out going on the busy interstates, or freeways?
Going out of my way to stay out of megga traffic more my style.
JL
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Old May 21st, 2006, 12:12 PM
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I think you'll get better answers if you rephrase you heading to something like "Olympia WA. area driving"....
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Old May 21st, 2006, 12:25 PM
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Thanks, I should have been more detailed
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Old May 21st, 2006, 12:31 PM
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Olympia itself is far from a big city. I think you will have no trouble driving around it once you get there. Yes, I-5 traffic between Seattle and Olympia can be a bit aggressive but I don't think it's so bad that you couldn't handle it. Seattle was recently ranked among the top 5 most courteous cities in terms of drivers.

Another possibility might be to fly into Portland, Oregon instead of SeaTac. Yes, it's an extra hour each way, but traffic between Portland and Olympia is much lighter than between Olympia and Seattle. Check airfares and car rental rates in Portland. If by chance cars are cheaper in Portland keep it in mind as an option. Many people like to visit Mt. St. Helens anyway and that is sort of on the way between Portland and the mountain.

Andrew
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Old May 21st, 2006, 12:51 PM
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Thanks; Andrew, We will look into that,sounds like a nice extra bonus.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 04:32 PM
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I'm just sitting here amazed at the idea of Olympia Washington as a "great big city". It has a grand total of 207,000 people. (I don;t think this qualifies as a city at all - does it?) And mega traffic is when it takes you 35 minutes to go a mile - does Olympia get a lot of that?

There is only one "great big city" in the US. There are several other large cities and a bunch of sizeable ones - but Olympia doesn't even come close.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 04:57 PM
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The inquiry is from a person living in South Dakota to whom a city of 200,000 may seem large.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 05:56 AM
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sxfalls --

You might want to think about using a shuttle service to Olympia. One (there may be others) is Capital Air (http://www.capair.com/) - looks like they leave Sea-Tac about every hour. That would probably be the easiest, least stressful way to get to Olympia. If you'll need a car once you get there, you can always rent locally, though the airport usually has the better rates.
Other than that, the suggestion to fly into Portland is a decent one. Traffic between the Portland Airport and Olympia (as long as you're not arriving during rush hour) is less crowded. Sea-Tac to Olympia isn't awful traffic, but Tacoma can be confusing, as there are lots and lots of exits, entrances, lanes, and cars.

And nytraveler -- we realize that people like you think that nothing is as great as what you have. But get a little perspective in your life. If your puprose here is just to put down people and places that aren't you, why don't you find somewhere else to play.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 08:04 AM
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You're better off taking highways and interstates than trying to avoid them. They are well signed and easy to drive, but if you try to avoid them and take secondary roads, you will have a much greater chance of getting lost or confused. Seatac to Olympic is a very easy drive-seriously, if you can operate a car, you can do this drive-and as others said, Olympia is a not a big city at all.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 09:17 AM
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I just made that drive last week and it was my first time in Washington. It was very, very easy. It is not a "big" interstate like you would imagine in LA or Atlanta, if that makes sense. Nobody was driving crazy or anything like that. I would probably stay away from driving in downtown Seattle but going from SeaTac to Olympia really shouldn't be a problem.

Are you staying in Olympia the whole time? We drove up to Olympic National Park and it is really laid back up there. You might enjoy that a lot.

Now I have to get going on my trip report!
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 09:34 AM
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I'm sorry to be contrary, but I think that driving through Tacoma on I-5 might be disturbing to drivers who don't like driving on freeways.

If merging onto freeways or from lane to lane on freeways causes you anxiety, you will be anxious on this drive.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 06:03 PM
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If you're so inclined, you can take a Sound Transit bus from SeaTac to Tacoma Dome Station then transfer to the Olympia Express straight to downtown Olympia. Phoenix Inn is several blocks from the Olympia Transit Center. I'm not saying I wouldn't prefer to have a car, but if you don't want to drive, the entire trip can be made with one transfer for about $5. Olympia buses run all day but not particularly frequently, so check the schedule at www.piercetransit.org. Sound transit schedules can be found at www.soundtransit.org.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 06:23 PM
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Oh, and if you were asking about a driving route without freeways, yes it can be done. It's not particularly easy because the freeway has no immediate parallel route past Fort Lewis. However, the route is not at all hard to follow.

Take Highway 99 south from the airport all the way to downtown Tacoma, about 20 miles. Turn left on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma and continue to Highway 507, about 12 miles. Bear right at the Y onto 507 and continue to McKenna, 12 miles. Turn right onto Highway 510. Continue through Yelm for about 10-11 miles and, when you come to the roundabout continue straight through onto Pacific Avenue and you'll be headed straight into Olympia.
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