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reasonable driving times -- help me think this through

reasonable driving times -- help me think this through

Old Mar 8th, 2009, 06:11 AM
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reasonable driving times -- help me think this through

I have been looking at Oregon for vacation. With up to 2 weeks, I was thinking about doing the Oregon Coast, Crater Lake and the Gorge. The more I think about this, the more I think that trip needs closer to 3 weeks or some longer driving days -- 4-5 hours. Cannon Beach or Seaside to Yachats looks like a long drive and then Yachats to Brookings looks pretty long as well. And with tese being on the coast -- what if it gets really foggy and difficult to drive? Then the drive to Crater Lake area looks to be 4-5 hours as well.

Should we consider doing half this trip -- and then which half? If we fly into Portland we could do the coast down to Florence, over to Bend and the Gorge. If we fly into Eugene we could do the lower half of the coast over to Crater Lake and the Bend area.

On either of these two, the stops on the coast would be closer together -- perhaps 2 hours or so of driving apart.

Which would you do and why? Is it really worth it to try to do the whole thing or would it be more enjoyable to do half and leave the other half to another time. Which half? And where on the coast would you stop?

Thanks!
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 07:03 AM
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I can't help you with any specific Oregon suggestions as it's one of the few states I have never been to unless you accept the fact that my flight to Seattle was diverted to Portland where I spent about an hour at the airport....

That said, I really don't understand your question.

You have 2 weeks and the possibility of driving 2 or 3 times during the 2 weeks for 4-5 hours in order to get to and enjoy different destinations.

What's the problem?
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 07:40 AM
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ttt
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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AAFrequentFlyer

What I was looking at is that the Oregon Coast is twisty and time consuming to drive. It is 360 miles and I think it would take about 12 hours to drive it all. I prefer not to pack and move every day. If we spent 7 days there and stayed at 3 different places, we would have about a 6 hour drive every other day and I did not want to do that. Then going to Crater Lake area would take at least 5 hours that day. I think the driving would get old. So I was asking which part of the coast to do if we did half of it -- the Northern Half or the Southern Half -- and also a choice between seeing the Gorge or Crater Lake.

One thing my husband did suggest is that we could fly in and out of Portland. Stay there 2 days to day trip the Gorge. Then we could do the Northern Coast to Florence - 6 nights -- over to Eugene -- down to Crater Lake 1 night or 2 up to Bend 3 nights and back to Portland 1 night the more direct way. WE could add another night somewhere if we wanted to make it 14 nights.

An alternative would be to fly into Portland and spend 1 night. Then do the Gorge and spend a night around Timberline. From there go to Bend for 3 nights then Crater Lake for 1. From Crater Lake we could go to Brookings for 3 nights to give us a chance to see the redwoods ; and then find 2 other places for 2 nights each along to coast(maybe Ophir and Coos Bay?) to Florence. Then over to Eugene and up the expressway for the last night in Portland.

I want to enjoy what we do and not fly past everything. Trying to do the whole coast in the time we have might be a little rushed. I don't know how rainy or foggy the coast gets in August but that could make a 5 or 6 hour drive very difficult.

Any input about how to do this is appreciated.

Thanks
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 09:20 AM
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I have been to all the places you mention AND I admit I am so partial to the Oregon coast I can't give you unbiased advice.
This has been our route. --5 times last 8 years.
Portland -2-3 days (always seem to spend lots of time at Powell bookstore-largest privately owned in US,) Pearl Bakery 2 blocks from Powells is wonderful-June is Rose Festival and Portland area could be very crowded
Onward to Astoria-stay at the Cannery if you can afford it--realy was a fish cannery in the old days. great view of the Columbia river- Astoria Column top of the town--can see for miles-Art-Deco theater downtown recently restored is beautiful.
OK now here is my bias--it takes minimum of 4-5 days to "do" the coast.
Brookings near California border is so close to the Coastal Redwoods it is a must...
It is easy to cross over to highway 5 via 199 could go to Crater Lake and then up to Bend on 97 to The Dalles on the Columbia..and on to Portland.
Get out your map or Mapquest and figure the driving distances.-On the coast your average driving speed 40-45 MPH-
After all this advice -If you go in May or June-could be lots of rain, July & August early Sept.very crowded . Our favorite time is first 2 weeks Oct.- Did go one year in early June-only rained at night..Local person said best weather this time of year in his 30 yrs. on the coast!!!
I envy (in a good way)your coastal experience ..
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 10:48 AM
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I favor the southern half of the Oregon Coast for the best scenery, especially south of Port Orford.

Fog will slow you down, it won't make the driving more difficult.

When you refuel in Oregon, they do the pumping...you stay in the car.

If a future trip is a certainty, I would skip Crater Lake this time.
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 02:31 PM
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I have been to Oregon hundreds of times and I cannot fathom just what I would do with a full three weeks there.

Portland was just named "The Unhappiest City in America", and most trips to Oregon are centered there in some way.

I am not saying you shouldn't visit, in fact I think you'll have a great time, but you do not need three weeks for all of that. You could probably spend a week swimming in Crater Lake and still cover the rest of Oregon sufficiently in two weeks. (and lets be honest - you won't likely even think about the eastern two-thirds of Oregon)

OK, what would I do?

I would fly into Portland and after some amount of time in the city, I would then drive eastward up the Columbia to perhaps Hood River. From there I'd go south to Mt. Hood and then farther south to Bend and on down to Crater Lake.

From Crater Lake I would take the highway #138 toward Roseburg and then follow #42 to Coos Bay on the coast. Then I would drive northward from there all the way to Astoria, perhaps. (if interested in the aforementioned southern Oregon coast, spend two nights in Coos Bay with a day trip to the south and back in between)

I just did a crude (but accurate) look-up of driving distances around my mentioned circle of western Oregon. It is the sum total of 842 miles beginning and ending in Portland via:

Hood River
Madras
Bend
Crater Lake
Roseburg
Coos Bay
Astoria
Portland

Take 842 miles and divide it by "two weeks" and I think you're all the way up to an average of 60 miles per day.

I really think you can do it, with plenty of time to ad-lib along the way.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 05:41 PM
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When would you go -- Should we go August 15 - 29 or Sept 19 - Oct 3? I would usually go when it is a little less crowded but I want to be able to hike and do things outside -- also want to see Crater Lake -- so I don't want to go too late.

Thanks
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 05:59 PM
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I actually agree that three weeks is a bit much IMO. Of course it's all a bit personal - for example I regard Crater Lake as a three-hour destination, or frankly less if you're there on one of the days when it's socked in and you can't see bupkis from the rim road. To me (again, personal opinion) Crater Lake is not worth the investment in road time if you're otherwise interested in the coast, the Columbia Gorge, or the wine areas, etc. But as always YMMV.

For another example, Cannon Beach to Newport/Yachats is maybe three hours, one of which is transiting the interminable strip commercial essence of Lincoln City. It's the least scenic part of the coast, but the ice cream in the mega-ice cream "parlor" in Tillamook is pretty good. That's a day you can step on the pedal and not miss very much.

I would definitely add the north coast Redwoods in California to the agenda, or maybe a play in Ashland (www.orshakes.org) or go through the Gorge to Maryhill Museum (www.maryhillmuseum.org) or hit Mt. St. Helens or the Klickitat Gorge, all of which can be done as day trips from Portland. I also like the north bank route on the Columbia between Longview and the river mouth - the big bridge into Astoria is very dramatic. You might also enjoy the Long Beach Peninsula, Willapa Bay and the lighthouses around Ilwaco (all on the WA side of the river.)

You don't indicate time of year; be advised that the east side of the Cascades (as well as the Rogue Valley) can get quite hot in high summer, so plan accordingly.

Regardless, I think driving too much is not a danger in all this.
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 06:20 PM
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So, if we were to fly into Portland, get a car and go to Seaside or Cannon Beach the first day and spend 2 nights -- that would be 1-2 hours of driving. Then down to Yachats -- 3 hours but a full day with stops. Spend 2 nights there. Then how long to Brookings -- or should we break this leg around Coos Bay, Bandon or Port Orford for one night. Then down to Brookings -- or go all the way to Crescent City for the night? Over to Crater Lake for a night - I think this would be about 4 hours of driving from Crescent City - and then up to Bend for 2 or 3 nights. From Bend over to Mt Hood with a stay at government camp or Hood River. Then the Gorge Drive back to Portland for a night and home. A lot of one night stays but I think I count 12 nights so I could add 2 more nights and make a couple of those 1 night stays into 2 night stays. Which ones?

Gardyloo -- are you suggesting that driving the Washington side of the gorge might be better than the Oregon side?
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 08:34 PM
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mpkp, my recommendation was in regard to the river downstream from Portland, i.e. the route to the coast. Follow US 30 or I-5 north to Longview, then follow the Washington side of the river down to the mouth. There are some interesting historic towns, and the north bank is (IMO) more scenic than the south. That way you end up in Astoria; for my money the ride across the (immense) mouth of the Columbia is worth the northern detour.

As for the Gorge, the highlight is the old ("Historic") Columbia Gorge highway, which hugs the ridge on the Oregon side, rather than the freeway (I-84) which runs along the riverside. I personally think the Washington side is much more scenic from Cascade Locks or Hood Canal onward (eastbound) as you have frequent views back across the river to Mt. Hood, and the road is not a freeway full of trucks.

You can do one of two "loops" as a day trip involving the Gorge. One is to see the scenic part of the Gorge as far as Hood River, then head south to Mt. Hood (up to Timberline Lodge) then back to Portland, or the same route in reverse.

The second is to take the Oregon side of the Gorge as far as Hood River or Cascade Locks, then cross the river and go east to Goldendale for the Maryhill Museum, then back (on the WA side) via the Klickitat Canyon, accessed near White Salmon (WA) - Google is your friend.

Quite a lot of spectacular scenery in either case; the road out to Maryhill will entail you crossing over to the "dry side" (east of the Cascades) for some remarkable changes in landscape and foliage.

On the south-central coast, Bandon is your stopping point - by far the most attractive town between Florence and the Calif. state line.

If you want to go to Crater Lake, you can take US 199 from Crescent City to Grants Pass, then over to the lake. I'd frankly head back to the Rogue Valley after the lake, but you can also head north over Willamette Pass to Eugene, then freeway from there. If Bend is your choice, you might think about staying in Sisters, which has a variety of accommodations, good restaurants, art galleries, etc.
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Old Mar 9th, 2009, 06:06 PM
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How long does it take to drive from Yachats to Brookings? Wondering if we need the stop in Bandon.

If we fly into Portland and do the gorge drive that day; spend the night in Hood River. Next day stop at Timberline and meander down to Sisters or Bend -- maybe 2 hours of driving plus stops. Does this area warrant 2 or 3 nights? Then the 2 hours or so to Crater Lake. Would spend 1 night at Crater Lake and then on to Brookings or Crescent City -- Or should we consider stopping around Cave Junction to see the Caves and then go on to Brookings? This would be around 6 nights by my count. We would have 7 nights to go up the coast to Astoria and then a day to get to Portland. Stops at Bandon, Yachats, Netarts -- saw a place there that look interesting and budget to stay at; and Astoria -- would you do 2 nights Yachats, 2 nights Astoria and that leaves one night somewhere else?? Or a 3 night stay somewhere.

Does this seem like a good itinerary? Should we spend 2 nights in Brookings?

Thank you
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Old Mar 9th, 2009, 10:10 PM
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When you head east from Portland on the historic highway through the Columbia River Gorge, be sure to pull over at the Portland Women's Forum Scenic Overlook, which is about 9 miles east of Troutdale. It's the first view you can get of the Gorge, and it really is an incredible one, probably the best view of the Gorge there is. There are a number of scenic waterfalls along the old highway, several that you can see either from the highway, or very near, so do plan to stop and look at these. Multnomah Falls is the 2nd highest waterfall in the country, and there is a beautiful historic day lodge at the base of the falls, which has a nice restaurant, and is a good place to stop for lunch. Bonnieville Dam is about 10 miles east of there, and you can take a tour of the dam and see the fish ladders, which is pretty interesting. If you want to take some extra time for a great view (if it's a clear day), you can take a detour off the historic highway and drive to the top of Larch Mountain (the road is only open about 6 months a year due to snow). There's a short, steep trail (steps, actually) from the parking area to the top, where you can get a great view of several surrounding snow capped mountains, especially Mount Hood, which is the closest. The Larch Mountain Road turnoff is about a mile east of Crown Point, and goes up to about 4,000 feet at the top of the mountain.

I'm sorry I can't give you any help with the rest of your itinerary.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 06:10 AM
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Yachats to Brookings/Crescent City will take around 4 or 5 highway hours, maybe 6 if you're pokey. There is some excellent scenery en route, sand dunes around Florence, so I wouldn't rush it. Whether you take one, two or three days on the south/central coast really depends on your traveling style.

As far as stopping points, perhaps some are suggesting that you spend two nights here or there in order to do day trips, or spend one day beachcoming or doing laundry, things like that. Again, personal style. In terms of distances, you have plenty of time to smell the roses as it were, but some of us don't like breaking camp every morning. From Brookings you can easily explore the northern Redwoods as a day trip, or take a boat up the Rogue from Gold Beach, or get to the Oregon Caves and back.

If such "spur" pursuits are not to your liking, then I'll say again that 6 nights on the coast sounds a tad excessive to me. One thing to ponder is, what's your rainy day plan? Are you intrepid enough to walk on beaches in the rain or wind? The reason being, this is Oregon we're talking about, and when it's socked in or rainy/windy there's not a lot to do in Brookings or Yachats. This will especially be the case if you select your later dates, which I would advocate from the viewpoint of crowds. Before Labor Day the Oregon coast can be quite heavily impacted by tourists, especially the southern coast (Brookings etc.) which is well within the tourist influence of the SF Bay area.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 07:10 AM
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Gardyloo

Part of what I have been struggling with is that we do not like packing and moving every day. On the other hand, if we drive an hour or so up the coast and come back only to do it the next day when we move to the next place, that seems like it would get old. On the way to Brookings, we pass the Oregon Caves so on the one hand, it makes sense to have that be an overnight stop but on the other it becomes another one night stay. Guess it depends on what time we reach there and if there is enough time to see the caves. An early start from Crater Lake might make this work and then overnight in Brookings for two nights -- that night and the next day to see the Redwoods. The boat up the Rogue River sounds like something we would enjoy but should we do it from Brookings or move up the coast for that night -- again the backtracking thing. If it takes a half hour then we would probably stay in Brookings for the night but if an hour or more then it might make better sense to move. I would enjoy walking on the beach even in rain if I am prepared for it.

We would like to stop at the sand dunes as well. So maybe we should do a night in Bandon to both break the trip and give us more time to stop. Probably about 25 years ago I actually droe the coast by myself and know it is much different now. I was alone and it was beautiful and exhausting. I know I spent the night in Timberline and Crater Lake was closed so I did not do that. So much time has passed that it will be as if I never went there and my husband has not been.

Thanks for all your time answering my questions.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 02:19 PM
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Another try, (this time with emphasis on not packing up and moving every day)

Night #1 Portland
Night #2 Portland

Night #3 Hood River/Mt. Hood area

Night #4 Bend area
Night #5 Bend area

Night #6 Crater Lake area

Night #7 Coos Bay area
Night #8 Coos Bay area

Night #9 Newport/Lincoln City area
Night #10 Newport/Lincoln City area

Night #11 Seaside/Astoria/Portland somewhere
Night #12 Seaside/Astoria/Portland somewhere

Night #13 Portland (cover loose ends & fly out)


Truth be told it makes sense to cover Portland immediately (after plenty of online studying at home) and then hit the eastern interests first, so as to have them behind you beFORE you descend upon the Oregon Coast, which is of considerable interest to you, it seems, and then you' have, by this example, SIX nights there, which you could really rearrange as you saw fit, rather than the 2-in-each-spot I laid out here.

YOU DO have plenty of time, but at some point you're going to have to cover some distance, and it just seems right to cover the meaningless miles 'early' so you can then make the most of your time near the end.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 10:37 AM
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You may have already taken your trip by now, but I thought I would respond. I have driven the entire Oregon coast coming from California 3 times. The highway is excellent and the state parks along the way have clean restrooms and picnic areas. The road does not wind like in California as the terrain is mostly flat. It can easily be driven in 2 days. The aquarium in Newport is wonderful and must less crowded than big city aquariums. The Willamette Valley (about 1 hour from Portland) is lovely and a must if you enjoy wine. McMinnville would be a good place to stay. The Columbia Gorge is beautiful, and it can easily be driven in 1 day. Dalles would be a good place to spend the night. There are roads on both sides of the gorge. I find the Oregon side to be most beautiful. Portland is a lovely small city. A couple of nights there would be perfect. Stay downtown (Benton Hotel is nice) and walk along the river at night. Crater Lake is beautiful as is the drive there. Crater Lake Lodge is very nice. One night would be enough for me, but if you hike perhaps you want to stay longer. The only place you mention that I do not like is Bend. I cannot imagine staying there 3 nights. Oregon is large, so if you want to see it, you will want to stay only one night in each place except in Portland or in wine country in the Willamette Valley. Two weeks is plenty to get a good overview of Oregon.
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