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Mikey_Freedom

Vegas To Seattle - West Coast Trip 09

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Hi Guys, I presented the proposed trips to my friends and we have all agreed to take the 'No L.A' route and also intend to visit Santa Cruz on the way from Yosemite to San Francisco. I am currently looking into how many nights we are going to spend in each place, what we're going to do, and how long it will take to drive from place to place. However, this will not be a strict rota as I tend to agree that it will be best to 'go with the flow' and improvise somewhat along the way. I will post another rough draft shortly and may need help as to things to do and see in certain places.

 

My main concern at the moment is that the longest distance appears to be from San Francisco to Portland Oregon and I think that we should split the drive up by staying overnight somewhere about halfway through the journey. I think we will be driving up the Northern California coast towards the Oregon border. Any suggestions of somewhere good to go/stay the night in that area or once we have reached the Oregon border would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

Mike

Edited by Mikey_Freedom

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I admit that I am a little skeptical about enjoying the Redwoods and Crater Lake, and all the other good stuff along that route in two days…unless you are planning on 14 hours traveling each day.

 

Roadhound may know better than I do, but given a two day schedule, you will have to get beyond Eureka and Crescent City to make it to Portland the next day, so Grants Pass is the logical over night stop. Assuming you are still planning on seeing Crater Lake the next day and going via Bend to Portland, don’t go beyond Grants Pass toward Crater Lake without overnight reservations somewhere along that route, other wise you may sleep in the car!

 

Grants Pass is a pleasant community and has tons of motels. We have stayed at several, and they are all OK or better. If you want to get on the river, there is one next to the Caveman Bridge as you come into town that you might take a look at. The speed boats that take tourists down the river dock there.

 

If you decide to split the trip into 2.5 – 3 days, I would stay in Eureka and Bend….first night in Eureka, second in Bend, then about 4 or 6 hours into Portland via Mt Hood and the Columbia River. If I got an early start out of SF I might make Crescent City day one, but I think you will enjoy Eureka more.

 

That’s my initial suggestion….questions welcome.

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

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Thanks!

 

You're right, I'm not expecting to cram all of that part of the trip into one day - It's just taking a while to get my head round how much time to devote to each part of the route. Inevitably, with only two weeks to spare, it's probably going to be a tight squeeze. I think the best idea is to book a place to stay in Vegas in advance and then book ahead the same day or a day in advance as we travel along the planned route. I figure that as long as i have a good idea of travel distances/times and some clue to roughly how long we want to take in certain places we can improvise along the way. I have quite a good book here with lots of phones numbers for hotels etc... so hopefully that will come in handy. I guess that leaving certain things unknown and spontaneous all adds to the adventure rather than having a strict plan that we have to stick to and therefore missing out all the good bits.

 

I hope this is the case anyway!

 

I'll go into more detail about the trip again soon.

 

Mike

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Mike, if I may offer a tidbit, I encourage you to squeeze a bit less in so you can enjoy what you do see all the more! jim

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I won't venture any specific suggestions but will note that not long ago I made four overnight stops getting from Hood River (approx. 50 miles east of Portland) to San Francisco. I followed more coast line than I believe is in your plans so your path may be much shorter but DeLorme estimates even the quickest all expressway route from San Francisco to Portland to be a ten hour drive. So I guess I'm just agreeing with you in designating this section your "main concern" and with KtSotR & mobilene in suggesting a bit of a rework.

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Greetings Mike,

 

It looks like you've been receiving lots of great advice form our American Road Forum family!

 

I don't know if anyone mentioned to you stopping at Fat Smitty's on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington when you are on 101. But, I highly recommend it. If you like hamburgers - you'll find this place heavenly! One of our favorite stops in Washington is Sol Duc Falls (about a 1 mile hike in if memory serves). Follow that with a soak at Sol Duc Hot Springs.

 

The Oregon Coast is absolutely fabulous. If you like lighthouses, you'll want to see all of them. You can tour some of them, including a light ship and one that is haunted. And, if you like clam chowder - you must eat at Mo's.

 

I don't know if you are aware, but, in our magazine we have written about many places along the route you are planning to travel - as we have a regular department in American Road on US Hwy 101. You might want to check out the index of back issues compiled by one of our terrific readers and forum members, Rick Etchells. Articles are sorted by highway, department, issue, and author. It is a PDF file, so you can also search by city or state. There is even an article about Mos, Fat Smittys, the haunted lighthouse that I mentioned above, and Sol Duc.

 

Keep us posted on your progress. We'll look forward to seeing photos and hearing about your trip.

 

Best,

Becky

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And, if you like clam chowder - you must eat at Mo's.

I'll second Mo's (actually Mo's Annex across the street so you can sit and watch the seals). I haven't thought about that place in years. Stopped there on our honeymoon. Didn't know about Fat Smitty's at the time, so we missed that one.

 

I think they've now decided to forgo the Oregon coast in favor of some of the inland attractions though. Some tough decisions though. From our own experience in early August, 12 years ago driving US101 from Seattle to LA, then CA-1 back up to Mendocino / Leggett: we loved Washington, thought the Oregon coast was spectacular, enjoyed northern California, 101 from SF to LA is a freeway so not much to say, then CA-1 back up the California coast was --- kind of boring (or at least really didn't live up to our expectations). Now, before I get slapped, a weather report is in order. In Washington and Oregon we had beautiful warm sunny days with easily 20 miles visibility on the coast. In California, especially south of the 101-1 split, east of the mountains (on 101) was warm and sunny, while the coast was overcast with a cool drizzle pretty much the whole time. Even all 4 days we were in San Francisco, 80 degrees and sunny on the bay, and 60 and drizzle 5 miles away on the ocean. While this weather pattern was really cool to see from above the clouds on Mount Tam, the natural splendor of the coast is kind of lost when everything more than a half mile from your face disappears into a shroud of gray.

 

So, my recommendation is to stay flexible. Once you get into town, check on the weather for both coasts, and if one is expected to have better weather than the other one, aim for the good weather. In all of my traveling, I've found weather really does make a big difference in how I remember someplace.

 

As I was flipping through the older posts, I noticed your comment

Wow people here are friendly, positive and helpful. It makes a change from quite a few internet forums that I have browsed! Keep the advice coming guys it's much appreciated!

 

Yeah, the folks here really are great. Since I started looking at forums a few years ago, I pretty much spent all of my time here and on a few other road forums on Yahoo. On all of them people have always been pretty helpful and friendly, so I kind of started taking it for granted. Recently, I started lurking on some other forums on a bunch of non-road-related topics that interest me, and I'm really amazed at the number of negative, crude, abusive posts out there on other forums. The folks here really deserve a big thank you for consistently being positive, upbeat, and helpful.

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I'll take the window of opportunity that you just opened to give a BIG thank you to Pat and Jennifer, and all of our Forum Moderators for doing a great job at leading our Forum!

:goodjob:

 

 

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I'll take the window of opportunity that you just opened to give a BIG thank you to Pat and Jennifer, and all of our Forum Moderators for doing a great job at leading our Forum!

:goodjob:

 

USroadman,

 

You make a terrific point about weather. Excellent advice for anyone.

 

Happily for these guys, they are doing this trip in August, and it will be tough to find a cloud anywhere on the west coast in that month. That said, let me add that the National Weather Service site has a terrific graphic presentation of forecasts ahead for about a week. The cloud cover one is so good you can bet on it.

 

Like any weather forecast, it isn’t always perfectly accurate, but it is very good, and because it uses a nice map graphic, it is easy to interpret and decide which way to turn at the “Y.”

 

And I want to second Becky’s praise of Pat and Jennifer. If I ever decide to run a forum, I will seek them as consultants!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

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Hi There. Could any one suggest a good route betweem Yosemite National Park and Santa Cruz and any points of interest along the way? It's a relatively short part of the journey but I'm not quite sure of the best way to go. I'm still mulling over whether to check out the Oregon Coast or swing inland as suggested, however the trip is starting to take shape and I'm counting down the weeks until August!

 

Thanks

 

Mike

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Hi There. Could any one suggest a good route betweem Yosemite National Park and Santa Cruz and any points of interest along the way? It's a relatively short part of the journey but I'm not quite sure of the best way to go. I'm still mulling over whether to check out the Oregon Coast or swing inland as suggested, however the trip is starting to take shape and I'm counting down the weeks until August!

 

Thanks

 

Mike

 

There is really not much to see between Yosemite and the coast. Having spent a few years covering that area as part of a service territory I was responsible for I can say that the only attraction worth stopping for is the Castle Air Musuem which lies east of Hwy 99 near the town of Atwater. The Museum is located at the front gate of the former Castle Air Force Base. They have a good collection of post World War II aircraft.

 

Once you are out of the Sierra Nevada's and into the Central Valley the temperatures will likely be in the high 90's to low 100's. The terrain is agriculture and you will likely not want to linger around at anything outdoors. My advice would be to take CA 140 west out of Yosemite, pass through Merced with a diversion on 99 north to Atwater if the Museum interests you, otherwise take 59 south to 152 and continue on 152 to the coast.

 

Once you are on the coast there is plenty to do depending upon your interests. Monterey and Carmel are a short trip south on Hwy 1, Santa Cruz is to the north and there are plenty of beaches in between.

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Hi There. Could any one suggest a good route betweem Yosemite National Park and Santa Cruz and any points of interest along the way? It's a relatively short part of the journey but I'm not quite sure of the best way to go. I'm still mulling over whether to check out the Oregon Coast or swing inland as suggested, however the trip is starting to take shape and I'm counting down the weeks until August!

 

Thanks

 

Mike

 

Mike,

 

I thought I had posted the following yesterday, but it "ain't here." So here is another try:

 

Regarding the route between Yosemite and Santa Cruz. There is no reason whatsoever to end up going into the Oakland, Hayward, East Bay, Fremont, San Jose quagmire. I lived there and was there a few weeks ago. So enter Santa Cruz from the south. I might see the mission at San Juan Batista. (See map).

 

Yosemite.jpg

 

 

State 49 which runs roughly north and south from Mariposa takes you through the old California gold rush country, so you might take a side trip if time permits. I have not been on the sections near Mariposa for years, but Coulterville (north of Mariposa) was interesting 5 or 6 years ago. And I have to assume that Mariposa still plays up its gold rush history.

 

My thought on the Oregon Coast vs Inland is simply a trade off. You will have seen the Northern California Coast, so Crater Lake will be a change. And you get Bend, Warm Springs Reservation, and the Columbia River Highway.

 

You won’t lose either way.

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road

 

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Another possible side trip:

If you are interested in 'bagging' NPS sites on your travels (as I am), Pinnacles National Monument (east entrance) is about a 30-mile each way side trip south from Hollister (on the more southerly of Dave's two 'blue routes' above) on CA SR25.

I haven't been there--it and King's Canyon NP are the two main NPS sites I have left to 'bag' in Cali--but it looks interesting.

Like Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP (and my own state's Grand Canyon), Pinnacles has two separate entrances (east and west) that are not connected by road. According to my NPS references, the east side is by far the more 'developed'.

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Another possible side trip:

If you are interested in 'bagging' NPS sites on your travels (as I am), Pinnacles National Monument (east entrance) is about a 30-mile each way side trip south from Hollister (on the more southerly of Dave's two 'blue routes' above) on CA SR25.

I haven't been there--it and King's Canyon NP are the two main NPS sites I have left to 'bag' in Cali--but it looks interesting.

Like Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP (and my own state's Grand Canyon), Pinnacles has two separate entrances (east and west) that are not connected by road. According to my NPS references, the east side is by far the more 'developed'.

 

The east side of the park is best at that time of the year as there are some caves you can hike through that that are not far from the parking area. Everything else is a hike up hill in the heat. Take plenty of water if you go.

 

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