Scenic West Coast Route


Mar 26th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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Scenic West Coast Route

Wife and myself are visiting her girl friend in Victoria BC. Then the 3 of us (seniors) are driving down to San Francisco. Leaving May 11th and returning May 21st (10 days). Interested in scenery and interesting stops as well as suggestions for overnight stays.
Bill_Bruner is offline  
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Mar 26th, 2013, 01:27 PM
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So you leave Victoria on May 11, go to San Francisco, and return to Victoria on May 21? Sounds like a long way, probably about 3000 km in ten days. So doable certainly, but I'd be worried it doesn't leave you a lot of time for stops on the way (especially if you take the slower but more scenic coast route), and you won't have a lot of time in San Francisco either.

Do you want to spend time in the cities (Seattle, Portland, San Francisco)?

Some ideas: The Oregon Coast is really nice. Hit the redwoods area of the northern Cali coast. Sonoma county wine country. Mt Hood. Crater Lake.
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Mar 26th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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Maybe it's not quite as bad as I thought, since you wouldn't do the coast route both down and back. You could do the coast route down, and then do SF -> Crater Lake -> Mt Hood -> Port Angeles. Each of those legs could be driven in a day, although you'd want some time to check out the sights at each. It's still going to be tight.
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Mar 26th, 2013, 01:37 PM
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How many days are you counting for SF itself?

One possible route - overnights shown as waypoints:

First day, visit the Hoh Valley rain forest (south of Forks) and stop at Ruby Beach near Kalaloch. Overnight in Ilwaco, an attractive little fishing town near the mouth of the Columbia - lighthouses and rock/surf scenery at Cape Disappointment nearby. You'd want to take the first Coho ferry of the day (10:30) which would put you into Ilwaco around dinner time, given the drive and the stops.

Second day, Oregon coast - numerous pull-outs for scenery, beach walks, etc. Overnight in Bandon, probably the most attractive town on the central/southern coast.

Third day, southern Oregon coast and northern Redwoods. Fantastic scenery from Port Orford to the state line, then wonderful redwood groves between Crescent City and Eureka. Ferndale (overnight) is a lovely Victorian-era town with plenty of accommodations, off the highway but still convenient.

Fourth day, take the Avenue of the Giants byway, then 101 into SF.

Coming back, the first day is a longish push to Ashland, Oregon via I-5. You might want to see if there's something playing at the Oregon Shakespeare festival that night.

Next night, Olympia (or environs) - so that the final day isn't a back-breaker to Port Angeles and the ferry. Note that the Coho ferry's timetable changes while you're en route - more sailings after 5/15 than before.

That's 7 driving days, which would give you 3+ in SF. If that isn't enough time, then you'd probably have to use I-5 both ways.

But of course this is just one of umpteen possible approaches.
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Mar 26th, 2013, 01:39 PM
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Another interesting stop: Mt. St. Helens off of I5.
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Mar 27th, 2013, 07:52 AM
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Thanks for your great responses. Our time in San Francisco would be 2 days maximum.
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Mar 27th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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Wow, that's a lot of driving! You're looking at 4-6 hours per day. At least the days will be reasonably long; you'll get 14-15 hours of daylight per day. And if you're leaving the 11th and returning the 21st, you actually have eleven days, not ten.

I think Gardyloo's itinerary is good. But since you only want 2 days in SF, and you have eleven total, let's modify it a bit to add it a few stops:
1 - Washington, overnight in Ilwaco (I don't know this drive, so I'll leave this part alone)
2 - Oregon Coast, perhaps to somewhere like Waldport or Florence, which are about halfway down
3 - Southern Oregon Coast, to Gold Beach or Brookings
4 - See Redwoods NP, Humboldt Redwoods St Park & Ave of the Giants, then on to Mendocino
5 - Walk around Mendo, incl the bluffs, then drive to SF by way of Anderson Valley and 101. If you're into wine, stop at a winery or two in Anderson Valley or Healdsburg
6 - SF
7 - SF
8 - Drive SF to Ashland, OR
9 - Ashland to Mt Hood area / Columbia River gorge. Alternatively, I think you can go Ashland > Crater Lake > Bend > Mt Hood, but it's probably a very long day (I've never done that drive)
10 - Mt Hood to Olympia
11 - Home
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Mar 27th, 2013, 10:14 AM
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Good ideas above. On the way down the Oregon coast make a stop at the Tillamook Cheese factory. You might want to stop for an hour or two at the Oregon Coast Aquarium just south of Newport.
At the end of your second day in SF you could drive up to Sacramento to spend the night.
This would make it easier to head north on I-5 as far as Eugene or even Bend if you wanted to go up US 97 from Weed.
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Mar 27th, 2013, 10:22 AM
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If you stop in Sacramento, Old Sacramento is nice. The Delta King has rooms for about $150 per night, breakfast is included. Good dinner too. If you do one leg of the trip I-5, McCloud and Mt. Shasta City are wonderful, tiny towns!
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