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Portland to Coos Bay at Christmas/New Years-What should we do??

Portland to Coos Bay at Christmas/New Years-What should we do??

Jun 24th, 2009, 06:58 PM
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Portland to Coos Bay at Christmas/New Years-What should we do??

Hi, we will be visiting our son and daughter-in-law the week between Christmas and New Years. We are probably going to be flying into PDX and driving to Coos Bay, where they live. I am wondering what we should try to do besides ski. Will it be too cold to hike? Do the waterfalls freeze? Does everything turn brown or are there leaves left on the trees (on the coast)?

We have never been to this area before and would've loved to visit in the summer, but it didn't work out. This may be our only chance to visit them in the area since our son is in the military and may transfer within a year or so. Thanks in advance for any advice!
Jayneann is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 07:22 PM
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Coos Bay in late December? Glub gurgle splash. Wetness happens. Lots of wetness. Nearest skiing is a long way away, in the Cascades, a good 2-3 hours from Coos Bay (and no guarantees of ski-worthy snow then either.) You might get a sunny day or two, but no guarantees.

Pack rain gear, and plan on some storm-watching or beach walks (also some marvelous sand dunes to the north) and maybe lighthouse viewing. Days will be short of course.

Evergreens stay green. Deciduous trees drop their leaves. Along the Oregon coast the evergreens outnumber the deciduous big time.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 24th, 2009, 07:45 PM
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If it isn't too wet, you can golf....skiing is a long drive away. Nice ocean views north and south of Coos Bay, sand dunes to the north, redwoods to the in CA. Any waterfalls between the coast and the Cascades won't freeze. Some wine county inland along I-5. covered bridges in Roseburg area...historic Jacksonville.
boom_boom is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 06:00 AM
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Thanks for the replies Gardyloo and boom_boom! Exactly what I was afraid of!!! I know the most amount of precipitation occurs in Dec, but does it rain all day long or more sporadically?

We don't mind traveling to ski, used to it living in Massachusetts and driving to VT or NH, but we are hoping there will be snow of course! We'll have to wait and see, then try to find a hotel last minute. What time does the sun set in Dec?

boom, don't think we will want to bring clubs and skis on the plane, thanks though. I do like the idea of touring a winery. Any recommended ones not too far away? How long to drive to the redwoods?

Why didn't they transfer to Hawaii??????
Jayneann is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 06:47 AM
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Coos Bay to the nearest ski areas (which I presume are either Mackenzie Pass or Willamette Pass) is probably 4+ hours each way in ski season; don't expect much snow before mid-December, and some years the southern Cascades don't really get going until after New Years. (And note that skiing conditions in wet "Cascade concrete" are different than in other areas.)

As for rain duration, on the coast when storm systems roll through (pretty much clockwork in December) it will blow, rain sideways, rain vertically, drip, partly clear and get breezy, then cloud over and repeat - roughly on a 48-72 hour cycle. There can be times when a front stalls over the Oregon coast when it will drizzle for days on end, but most of the time it's a dynamic picture, with fronts rolling in off the Pacific one after another.

Coos Bay is one degree farther north than Boston, so daylight will be virtually the same. On Dec 25, sunrise is at 7:47 AM, sunset at 4:45 PM. Of course if it's raining/overcast it's gloomy longer than that.

The main winery areas are inland and north of Coos Bay, also in the 3 - 4+ hour range. I'd be surprised if much touring is available over Christmas/New Years week, but I'm no expert.

The Redwoods start around Crescent City and the main groves continue to the south of Eureka. Crescent City is around 2 1/2 hours from Coos Bay, via the most scenic stretches of US 101 in the state.

If it was me, I'd focus on visiting the coast - lighthouses, beach walks, etc. - including the redwoods. Any excursions to snow or wineries will be hard driving on two-lane roads in the rain and dark.

I know this doesn't sound like fun fun fun, and truth be told winter around Coos Bay can be dreary, but there are ways to make it enjoyable, especially in the company of family.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 25th, 2009, 08:00 AM
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Thanks for your honesty, Gardyloo! I do have to keep remembering we are going because of family, but this trip is soo expensive!!! Just wish the destination was a warm and sunny one, especially after all the NE rain we've been having for weeks now!!!

What about going to Mt. Hood since we are traveling in and out of PDX? Isn't it only an hour from the airport? Maybe we could tack this on to the end of the trip. Thoughts??
Jayneann is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 08:20 AM
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Sure - Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge are easy shots from PDX. Chances are good there will be skiing (and holiday crowds) at Mt. Hood and surrounding areas; you'll need to watch the weather reports closely as I don't think too many rental car agencies will allow use of chains, which may well be needed on the mountain.

The Gorge can also get ice storms during the winter, turning the freeway into one big glare ice highway. Odds are low, but I'd have some contingency plans in mind for travel to and through PDX at that time of year.

In case you're considering it, the airport serving Coos Bay is North Bend (symbol OTH.) Flying into OTH itself (via PDX or SFO) might save time and driving nerves, and rental car savings might partly offset the extra airfare cost.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 25th, 2009, 08:46 AM
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Gardyloo, are you saying it can be difficult to travel from Portland to Coos Bay in December? I know last year Portland got hit with some snow, but is this typical? Would it actually prevent us from driving? I'm used to bad snowstorms, driven in a few before.

My son has a huge diesel truck that can fit all of us, so he could put chains on the truck if necessary.

Thanks so much for all your help! It's good to be prepared and many of the websites I've been searching haven't been all that helpful in terms of winter activities and weather!
Jayneann is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 09:39 AM
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(Feels like we're tweeting each other.)

Snow is rare, but the region is not really equipped for it like the northeast. Last winter was a total train wreck on the driving front; a lot of Seattle and Portland merchants simply missed out on the Christmas shopping season altogether, and many went tango. But I wouldn't jump through hoops about the chances, just be prepared. Typically the air warms up (and the rain increases) as you cross through the Coast Range between the Willamette Valley and the coast.

The drive from Portland to Coos Bay is not challenging; my suggested route would be Interstate 5 south to Drain (SR 38) then through the very scenic Umpqua river canyon to Reedsport, then an hour or so south on 101 to Coos Bay. But it's a good 4-5 hours, slower if the weather's punk or if you get stuck behind a log truck or some such on SR 38. Not sure when you're arriving at Portland, but I would definitely try to make the whole thing a daylight drive, as all the various routes between the central/southern valley and the coast are two-lane and winding, and in the dark (and likely rain) it might be a bit nerve wracking, especially along parts of SR 38 where elk are numerous. Not a good interface, elk + car.

If you're being picked up at PDX by family, then the rental car bit is moot.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 25th, 2009, 10:15 AM
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Haha, yes, I just got back from a run and here you are!!! Thanks though, really appreciate all the info!! I've already decided that if we land at night, we'll spend it at an airport hotel! I've only booked our way back home, PDX to PVD Jan 4, to take advantage of a couple of free tickets that were available!

Actually, I plan to rent a car so my son doesn't have to drive to Portland and back x 2!. I was just thinking if we all go to Mt Hood, then we could stash the rental for a couple of days near Portland (or even return it) and drive to the mountains in his truck. On the TA forum, most people had recommended Mt. Bachelor to ski, but Mt. Hood might make more sense. Timberline Lodge looks pretty cool! Have you been there?
Jayneann is offline  
Jun 27th, 2009, 04:47 PM
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Last year at Christmas not only did Portland get hit with snow- It was treacherous ice.

I drove from Eugene to pick up daughter at airport and it took me 9 hours to get back- (usually takes 2 hours) however must say that is the worst I have ever experienced. We sat all night on 205-

Timberline is a very cool lodge- have not stayed only did walk throughs.

I believe part of "The Shining" with J Nicholson was filmed there- now that is a scary movie!
sunbum1944 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2009, 07:24 PM
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Hi sunbum,

Thanks for your reply! Ugh, 9 hours on the road at night in a snowstorm - certainly not fun!!! Hopefully we'll have good weather! We are staying at the Lodge Condos, but will be able to tour and use Timberline's facilities so it should be good. Now I just need to pray for a mild winter, but with enough snow so we can ski/snowboard!!!
Jayneann is offline  
Jun 29th, 2009, 01:45 AM
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Hi Jayneann,

I live in Coos Bay and just had to add that you don't want to miss the Holiday Lights at Shore Acres. There's over 300,000 lights strung in the gardens and its just beautiful. You also want to hit the Charleston Volunteer Station as they do a wonderful miniature Christmas train display. Both are open every night.

For an easy route, you can always fly into Medford and ski Mt. Ashland; which is only about 30 miles away. From Ashland to Coos Bay its about a 3.5 hour drive. There's also tons of wineries in that region. I'm afraid i don't know the ski resorts in the portland area well but a great website to check out is http://www.traveloregon.com/ski-oregon.aspx
oregonkat is offline  
Jun 29th, 2009, 05:12 AM
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Hi oregonkat,

Thanks so much for the information! The Holiday Lights at Shore Acres looks great, definitely something we'll enjoy!

Also, thanks for the ski website, very informative! Do you know how long it will take us to drive to Mt.Hood?

And, if you think there anything else around Coos Bay that would be interesting for us to do around the Holidays, please let me know!!

Thanks again!!!
Jayneann is offline  
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