Seattle to Yosemite

Old Jun 7th, 2012, 11:34 AM
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Seattle to Yosemite

It all started innocently enough..."Honey, let's go to the Northwest USA, fly to Seattle, work our way to San Fran via Oregon wineries and Yosemite." Hmmm, how about you build me a kitchen bump-out and then we go, I said? Well, he started digging today so I'm turning to Fodor's forum once again for help to plan a 14 day trip leaving right after Labor Day. We"ll fly from the wine country of upstate NY (Finger Lakes region) to Seattle, rent a car and leave it wherever we wind up and fly back home .. What to see, what not to miss? Help, please, from my Fodor friends, the best travelers in the world! Deviously yours, Carol
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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Tall Order for sure. Check under Oregon and Wash - as there are many posts in here about such a journey, or at least parts of it.

Would suggest you decide if you want to see some of the Olympic Peninsula - maybe even get over to Victoria/Vancouver island - which is closer to Seattle - or perhaps enjoy some of the sights outside of Portland (the Gorge - Mt. Hood, etc) before heading down the beautiful Oregon Coast - maybe stopping at wineries or getting over to see Crater Lake, etc.

Once in Cal (and there are many other posts in here on that part of your potential wanderings) - you could stop at the Redwoods along the way - or beat tracks for Yosemite - and then perhaps kick back in Napa/Sanoma wine country for a few days - ending up in SF. Maybe drive through Gold Country - along 49?

Again, there are plenty of different ways to peel this grape.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 11:46 AM
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And here is one page about Oregon wineries - and there are others to google. http://www.oregonlive.com/wineries/

I like several outside of Eugene - toward/from the Coast - such as King Estate, Sweet Cheeks and Hillman.
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 12:03 PM
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Actually - it's called Silvan Ridge-Hinman - not Hillman - and it has a nice outdoor picnic table overlooking the vinyards. See: www.silvanridge.com, and: http://theeugeneguide.com/articledetail-95.php

You could - after spending whatever time you wanted to in and around Portland - drive over to the Coast (either going by way of Victorian themed Astoria - or a straighter shot over toward Cannon Beach) - and then down to Florence and then inland toward Eugene (a cute University Town) to visit these wineries.

After that - you could head back and travel further down the Coast - maybe taking the Jet Boats at the mouth of the fabled Rogue River (@ Gold Beach and here is one company and there are others - http://www.roguejets.com/)

or zip down I 5 and at Roseburg - if 138 is open - head east to Crater Lake - or continue further down 5 and get off by cute Ashland (a small college town) and go to Crater Lake that way. http://tinyurl.com/ckvtjhe,
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 05:43 PM
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Considering your time restraints, I suggest the following highlights: Mt. Rainier, Columbia River Gorge, the Oregon Coast from Cannon Beach to Brookings, the Redwoods, Sonoma/Napa Valley, Yosemite via Gold Country (Highway 49), Highway 1 from Carmel to Santa Barbara (or Santa Monica, if time permits).

HTTY
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Old Jun 7th, 2012, 06:30 PM
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There is a ton of great suggestions on these boards re: Northern California and Yosemite. To find them enter those words in the search box.
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 01:18 AM
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Not to be missed on your way down: Crater Lake and the Avenue of the Giants. I agree with Napa Sonoma wineries and from there 49 to Yosemite. The best taste of the Big Sur (literally) is Carmel to Nepenthe and back, one way through 17 Mile Drive and Pacific Grove. A day trip from Carmel. You will need more time than you plan in Yosemite, but extend it at Evergreen Lodge or nearby to explore Tuolumne Meadows, Hetch Hetchy and the Tuolumne grove.
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 02:54 AM
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Up at 5:30, made coffee and went directly to Fodor's.Didn't disappoint. Thanks for all the good info. Today,starting notebook and buying state maps. Printed out all your stuff.
Where to stay in Yosemite? Probably need to work the trip on the YNP stay as park lodging always problematical. What to see and how long? (Noted the Evergreen, Hetch Hetchy and Tuolumne comments)..thanks again. So excited, Carol
PS. Weather early Sept.in WA ,OR any better, worse regarding precip? what's typical...yeah, I know, but we hear so much about rain out their. We're used to it back east!
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 03:34 AM
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Weather in early Sept in WA tends to be glorious.
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 04:20 AM
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CarolRob, you might want to check out my thread, The Great North American Road Trip. We are just finishing something like the same itiinerary from the other direction.
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 04:39 AM
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If you do follow Tomsd route out of Roseburg on 138, you will see a sign just before Rt. 230 near Diamond Lake that will tell you whether the north entrance to Crater Lake is open or closed.
If it is closed, you have to drive south on 230 and enter off Rt. 62 at the south entrance. Right now the north entrance will be closed until the first week of June.
Enjoy your trip to Oregon.
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 05:03 AM
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Thanks for the info tomf. And will read about the Great American Road trip. Love that kind of report. Keep it rolling.

As for Yosemite - you can stay anywhere from the classic Awahnee if you want to pay the freight - down to an acceptable tent "cabin" in Curry Village. All up to you but suggest you get a reservation - although Sep may not be too crowded as the kids are back in school.
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 06:32 AM
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Ah, yes, the great travel motivator, blackmail...

Well here's a Seattleite reporting from Yosemite. (Proof, taken yesterday: http://gardyloo.us/20120607_285a.JPG )

My choice of route would be: Seattle to Mt. Rainier, then follow US 12 east into the Yakima Valley wine country. Then US 97 south through the Yakama Indian reservation and real cowboy country to the Columbia River near Goldendale. Visit the Maryhill Museum ( www.maryhillmuseum.org ) and some of the nearby vineyards in the Columbia Gorge, then stay at McMenamin's Edgefield ( http://www.mcmenamins.com/54-edgefield-home ) outside Portland (more vineyards, also a brewery and distillery.) While in the Gorge area, drive up the beautiful Hood River Valley to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.)

Then hit the Willamette Valley wineries (at least the ones in the northern part of the valley) and then out to the coast. My preferred route to the coast is Oregon Hwy 38 - a very scenic road between Drain and Reedsport, but you can use any of many alternatives, depending on your itinerary inland. The point (IMO) is to by on the coast by the time you get to Bandon on down.

Follow US 101 through the Redwoods, then follow CA SR1 from Leggett to the Golden Gate.

From SF it's around 4 hours to the Yosemite park entrances. We're staying in Mariposa (everything inside the park is full and has been for weeks) but if possible I'd recommend a splurge for one or two nights at the Ahwahnee in the park, so time your visit around availability. Otherwise do the best you can. The valley floor is crowded but it's still so worth it.

Then I'd drive up Hwy 49 through the beautiful Gold Country, cut across to the Napa/Sonoma vineyard areas, and you're done.

Fantastic intro course to the northwest, the Cascades and Sierras.
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Old Jun 8th, 2012, 02:52 PM
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Gardyloo, this is a great Washington/Oregon itinerary. Bookmarking it for our next pass through.
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Old Jun 10th, 2012, 06:41 PM
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While in Yosemite have at least one meal at the Awhanee, breakfast is not so expensive or formal.
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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 07:28 AM
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Hey Gardyloo, Tomsd and the rest....Printed out your tips and added them to the short list. Took your advice Nancytwo and booked a meal at the Ahwanhee (can't get in the place to sleep but will dine there.) Speaking of which, where to stay. I am starting to seriously chase down motel reservations and while I found a list of most of the lodging options, I could not pin down their exact locations in, on, or around YNP. Consequently, I am on the phone calling each one. All I can picture is leaving dinner at Ahwahnee and driving back 35 miles in the dark to a bed someplace.Are you allowed to drive most places? Is it a pain staying at the western entrance at a motel? The Valley floor seems almost impossible to book, but I'm on it. Both of us working long days and not enough computer time.We put maps of WA,OR and CA on the wall and "posted notes" on the many Fodor family recommendations. Great stuff from all you guys. Thanks, Carol
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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 09:25 AM
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You have a BIG problem if you are eating dinner at the Ahwahnee but are staying outside the park. 35 miles translates to more than an hour drive.

The ONLY places outside the Valley I would consider (and definitely if I was dining there) are the two motels in El Portal (Yosemite View or Cedar Lodge) or one of the condos in Yosemite West. Everywhere else will be a 1 to 2 hour drive on dark winding mountain roads.
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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 09:40 AM
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Switch to a lunch reservation. Less expensive and a great experience.

I would definitely look at Groveland rather than Mariposa for outside-the-park accommodations. Much wider range of options, and not particularly longer to access the Yosemite Valley (and much closer to the south entrance.)
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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 11:47 AM
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IF you can get in to El Portal - that would be my very first choice (in fact once stayed there when the only option in the Valley was a tent cabin).

Otherwise, then Groveland would be good. It is about an hour 20 mins from the Valley.
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Old Jul 13th, 2012, 11:59 AM
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Did you check www.yosemitepark.com for in-park lodging for Yosemite?

Seems like after Labor Day you'd be able to get somehting. Keep checking as there are alsyws cancellations.

Yosemite View on the Mighty Merced is also a great choice. A quick drive into teh valley unlike other locations outside the park.

http://www.yosemiteresorts.us/
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