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ROAD TRIP! Seattle to San Fran... Help!

Old Mar 22nd, 2005, 07:49 AM
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ROAD TRIP! Seattle to San Fran... Help!

Hi! I am planning a roadtrip in the fall (~october ish). Wanted to do Pacific NW- California. I have no idea where or what to do or see. I have anywhere between 8- 12 days. I want to do lots of outdoors stuff, ie national/ state parks, rivers, I want to go to Napa, maybe a semi-fancy hotel for a little R&R, nice restaurants, etc.. I also would be willing (if feasible) to perhaps start the trip in vancouver? Any suggestions, ideas or help would be greatly appreciated. In particular maybe a website w/ sample itinerary? Thanks! My wife and I will be celebrating our 30th B-days!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2005, 08:11 AM
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Sounds like a great idea. I did a two week San Fran --> Seattle (and back) trip in October 2003. Although I just drove through California, as my goal was to see Oregon and Washington.

Here are some thoughts:

1) There are many beautiful places to stay in Napa and Sonoma. You might also find a nice B&B in Mendocino to stay in. All of this depends on budget and I'm probably not the best person to make any recommendations, aside from the famous places (i.e. Auberge du Soleil). My only recommendation in terms of seeing wine country is to find some wineries that operate by appointment only and make appointments to go to them. You'll often get better wine and you will certainly get a more intimate experience. I would try Joseph Phelps and Storybook Mountain (off the top of my head).

2) There are two main roads going from SF --> Oregon/Washington, I-5 and the 101. The 101 is better for seeing the coast (and the Oregon coast is worth seeing, I would say). But I-5 gives you better access to the northern Cal national parks (i.e. Lassen Volcanic) and to Crater Lake in Oregon.

3) Must sees in Oregon: Crater Lake National Park (one of the most beautiful sites in the world and easy to see even in a short time); Oregon wineries (south of Portland); Oregon coast (I have only seen the mid-northern part as day trips from Portland...it was beautiful, but enough for me); Mt. Hood; Columbia River Gorge; Washington Park in Portland.

4) In order to see Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, I would suggest making a loop from Portland: driving east to Mt. Hood (try to see the Timberline Lodge, that's the hotel from the Shining), loop around up north to the town of Hood River (lots of fresh fruit buying opportunities there; pretty little town to walk around). In Hood River, you might want to stay at the Columbia River Gorge Hotel. Even if you don't, they have an amazing breakfast. From Hood River, drive back to Portland along the Columbia River Gorge, stopping to view and hike around the waterfalls along the way. You could spend days there (on both the Washington or Oregon sides) driving around and hiking.

5) From Portland to Seattle, you can see Mount St. Helens. You don't need to spend a whole lot of time there to get the idea.

6) In Seattle, two recommendations: 1) the Underground Tour; 2) the Experience Music Project.

7) I didn't explore too much of Washington outside of Seattle. I might recommend going to Snoqualmie Falls (about 1/2 hour from Seattle) where you can view the falls while eating at a great restaurant at the Salish Lodge. Of course there's the Mt. Rainer area, but it was raining while I was there. So, not much I can say about that.

Hope this helps. If you have any specific questions, let me know.

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Old Mar 22nd, 2005, 09:18 AM
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Sounds great, any recomendations on other parks, etc--- I'm only planning one way, probably end at san fran/ napa this way can end the trip relaxing. Some of the things I heard about... rogue river boat rips? crater lake? any suggestions on number of days i need at each stop? Thanks!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2005, 09:36 AM
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If you fly into Seattle, spend a couple days there (there are many threads here about what to do in Seattle), and stop at either Mt. Rainier or Mt. St. Helens, preferably overnight) on your way to Oregon if that interests you.

For the southern Or/NoCal section: You must go along the CA coast through the Redwoods. It's a wonderful drive. Leave I-5 at Grants Pass, and head toward the coast on Hwy 199, stopping Oregon Caves National Monument. They have terrific cave tours. Continue on 199, and you'll hook up with 101 at Cresent City, take this down through the redwoods. Take the "scenic route" (it's marked) detour through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. There are lots of places to stop and admire the redwoods and lots of hiking opportunities. In this area, you'll cross a number of rivers that are perfect for swimming-either keep your eyes peeled for good spots, or, at Redwood NP or one of the state parks, ask the rangers for good swimming hole locations. www.nps.gov/redw

You can take 101 all the way to SF, or if you want more beautiful coastal scenery, you can hook up with Hwy 1 and take that along the coast through Mendocino and eventually back to 101.

Here is a thread from another message board that might be helpful:
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewt...ght=california
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Old Mar 22nd, 2005, 10:58 AM
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I would suggest the general route be:

Seattle to Portland via I-5 with side trips to Rainier or St. Helens, or wherever. If it works into your schedule, I'd also suggest a loop around the Olympic peninsula.

While in Portland you can do day trips out the Columbia River gorge, and wine country. IMO, if you're planning Napa and/or Sonoma, I'd not include Oregon wineries unless you really love pinot noir.

Portland to the Oregon coast via 26. Down the coast to Reedsport. Reedsport to Crater Lake via 38/138/I-5/138. Crater Lake to north California coast via 230/234/I-5/199. Crescent City to Napa/Sonoma via 101, or if you've time, throw in a part of 1.

This general route includes most of what has been recommended as must sees, and the best of the Oregon coast. But it doesn't include one of my favorites: a jet boat trip up the Rogue River from Gold Beach, Oregon (though you can also do a Rogue trip from Grants Pass).

Once you've settled on a general route, we can further help fill in the details.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2005, 12:38 PM
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Would it be too much to orignate the trip in vancouver, and regardless where I start would about 10 days be enough so I don't feel like I'm spending all my time on the road? I figured maybe 3-4 days in washington, 2-3 Oregon? and then 3-4 in Napa/ San Fran? With maybe day tirps to points south? Thanks again for all the advice, I figure that once I know how many days I'm spending in each area, I can then find specific things to do? Or should I do the opposite? Thanks (this is my first BIG road trip)!!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2005, 01:54 PM
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With almost unlimited possibilities, I think you should definitely decide what you want to do before deciding how much time to spend in each area. So far, the only thing definited I see on your itinerary is Napa. 2-3 days in Oregon is little more than a drive-by viewing, especially if it includes the Columbia River gorge, any part of the Oregon coast, and Crater Lake. Starting in Vancouver would only add more to what is already a tight schedule.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 11:12 AM
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OK, I am having a hard time finding good websites for research/ advice. However, I feel that this would be the very premature- prelim. Itinerary (Don't know how much drive time between spots)
Day 1 arrive Seattle- spend day sightseeing in downtown.
Day 2 and 3- daytrips to Mt. Ranier/ San juan Islands? (would this be compatible w/ staying somewhere near seattle?)
Day 4, 5, & 6 leave for oregon (would be willing to stay multiple places or central location?)-
things I want to see- Coastline/ Columbia river gorge/ Crater lake/ Rougue river?
Day 7 arrive in N. California- things i want to see Redwoods/ Coastline/ ideas?
Days 8, 9 - Napa/sonoma

Days 10 & 11 San Francisco

Depart Day 12

would be willing to shift days here and there (I have been to san fran before and could take a day away) Thanks for your Help? and feel free to add suggestions!
PS- Will Early- Mid October be terribly cold?
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