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Old 07-04-2013, 04:56 PM   #15
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If you are in Northern CA don't forget about Lassen Volcanic National Park. Often over looked. The eastern Sierra are spectacular and there are a lot of areas to visit from Mammoth and Mono Lake as well as several places where there are hot springs.

There is so much to see in No Cal, Oregon and Washington it will be hard to decide where to go and stay. The Redwoods are spectacular and so are the Giant Sequoia in the western Sierra range.

Sounds like a fun trip. Late August and September are good times. Especially since school will have started and the campgrounds will be less crowded. It has been excessively dry this year in California so be aware of the fire danger which will be extreme this year.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:09 PM   #16
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One draw back to the after Labor Day camping thing. Many FS campgrounds close on the Tuesday after Labor Day.
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Old 07-05-2013, 03:10 AM   #17
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Smile Traveled 101 several times

We have traveled to OR, CA, AZ for the last 4 years. There is much to see!
We travel January/February. Here are some highlights, South to North:

HINT: Fill your car with gas before entering California. Don't worry about the price, it is more expensive in CA.

(You don't say how far south you plan on hitting the coast.)

Hearst Castle - really worth while to see at least once, ($25) [Note all prices are adult rate for one person]. 232 miles south of San Fran. The drive up CA46 is spectacular.
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Hollister, CA - The San Andreas fault goes right through this city creating some very interesting views of sidewalks that don't go to front doors, etc.

Winchester House - not as far south. Only 50 miles to San Fran ($33)
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If you want to see only the Winchester House, take 880 south from I-80 to San Jose. Don't take I-80 into SF. See below.

If you do go this way, upon leaving San Jose, take 280 and Hwy 1 north through SF. Do not follow 101 it goes right through the downtown. (Don't ask me how I know this.)

Golden Gate Bridge - Alcatraz Island - The bridge is toll free leaving the city going north, but does have a toll going south. Do not stop on bridge. Even if you get a flat, run on the flat until you are across.

If you come across I-80 it costs $15.00 to cross the bridge from Berkeley to San Francisco. Take the free 580 cutoff. This will connect you to 101 but you will miss the above sights.

A word about 101 in California. In some places it is like a freeway. In others, like a cowpath.

Note if you need gas coming into Willets, the independent gas station is more expensive than the Arco station a few blocks further at the light.

Chandelier Tree - 183 miles north of SF exit 613.
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Avenue of the Giants exit 645. If you want to see big trees this is a good side trip. It rejoins 101 at Myers Flat MP456. However, see 3rd paragraph below.

We like Peppers Restaurant in Fortuna. If you want to be weird like me, you can go to the Safeway behind the restaurant and buy a can of tuna so you can say you went to Fortuna for tuna.

Eureka, CA - If you are into old houses, Eureka has some interesting ones.
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You will drive through redwoods right on 101. They end at Crescent City.

If you want to go to Crater Lake, take 199 out of Crescent City. Don't plan on making time on this route, but make sure your camera has batteries. Hint buy your gas in Oregon if you can. It is a lot cheaper, and they pump it for you!

After Crater Lake take 42 to get back to the ocean 101.

If you don't go to Crater Lake, be sure to stop at The Crazy Nowegian Fish and Chips in Port Orford.

Back on 101, Cape Perpetua is worth a stop. A nice visitor's center and if the surf is up be sure to watch the waves come up the canyon in the "Devil's Churn."

Sea Lion Caves, Florence, OR - May be worth a stop if the sea lions are in ($14) . OR you can stop at the wayside just north, follow the barking sound, and see the sea lions on the rocks below. Also a nice view of Heceta Head lighthouse across the bay.

Newport has a nice aquarium ($19) and a Ripley's Believe it or Not ($25).

If you stay in State Parks, Cape Lookout, while beautiful as is the drive to it, but the tsunami warning signs may give you a restless night.

Then you arrive at Tillamook. don't think the cheese is cheaper at the factory, it isn't. It is cheaper at Fred Meyer but they do have some free samples. There is also a nice air museum there in a former dirigible hanger ($9). It doesn't have the Spruce Goose, but then it isn't as expensive as McMinnville ($25) either. I liked the Spanish Messerschmidt.

Just out of Manzanita, is Oswald West wayside. A good place to view migrating whales or just look at the scenery.

Near Astoria is Fort Stevens SP. You can view old forts and if there is anything left of the Peter Iredale. Fort Stevens is unique in history as the only place on the mainland shelled (by a Japanese submarine) during WWII.

Now you can take the Astoria bridge to Washington and see Dismal Nitch, or you can drive east on US30 to Longview/Kelso and cross the Columbia there.

There is plenty of signs directing you to Mt St Helens, a worthwhile trip.

I like Spiffy's Restaurant at exit 88, US 12, or you can go to exit 111 and eat at Hawk's Prairie.

Then you can drive around Mt Rainier, 14,441'.

Taking I-90 east, the Country Cafe in Cle Elum is a good place to eat. Also the Warrior gas station at the west end as you come into town across from Safeway, has the cheapest gas.

At Vantage, at the west end of the I-90 bridge across the Columbia is Ginko Forest SP. Only these trees are all rock! The viewpoint on the east side is worhwhile and you can view the horse sculptures. Then there is George, Washington, Moses Lake, and on to Spokane.

Have a happy trip.

Any questions, my contact information is on this website. The fireworks have stopped and it is time to go to bed.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:16 AM   #18
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Lassen

x2 on Mt Lassen!

It's such a beautiful and easily accessible park but most people skip it as they hurry up and down I-5 for other destinations.

You can drive across the entire park in a few hours at the most and still have time to get out and take some short hikes. Some places to check out include the trail through Bumpass Hell (volcanic pools and mud pots), a hike to the peak, which is pretty doable for most, and a beautiful campground at Manzanita Lake. If you catch it a night or two before the full moon, you can simultaneously watch the sun set over the lake and the moonrise over the peak.

Park entry is about an hour off of I-5, heading east out of Redding to get into Manzanita Lake. Other more primitive campgrounds are also available further into the park and are beautiful!!! Another entry is through the town of Mineral, from the Red Bluff area.

It's a relatively small park with so much packed into a small area. Great bang for your camping vacation buck.

Lassen Volcanic National Park - Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park - Mineral, CA
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:44 PM   #19
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First of all, thanks to everyone for your tips -- I appreciate them all SO much and really take them to heart!

A quick google maps to-from query has shown me that we're going to have to make some tough decisions about what we want to see and how we want to see it. I tend to appreciate trips where I have time to relax and "take it all in" but it seems a shame to cover so much ground only to see bits and pieces. With two weeks or less, though, how else are we to travel?

Do any of you have thoughts on this? My fear is that if we drive four or five or six hours a day, every day, we won't have much fun. But then, if we drive one day, rest/play another, it seems like we might have to give up on almost half of our "stops". Does that make sense? What are your preferences? How do you travel when you're trying to cover a lot of ground and hit multiple locations?
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:10 PM   #20
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come every year for the next several
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:01 PM   #21
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I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for 31 years and I find the best weather and time to vacation here is the last two weeks of August and the first two weeks of September.

You might consider Cape Disappointment State park in Ilwaco Washington It's just north of Astoria Oregon and one of our favorites. A few campsights have ocean view. All campsights are a short walk to a beautiful beach. There is a wonderful Lewis & Clark Interpetive Center and 2 lighthouses. Lewis & Clark named it Cape Disappointment because the weather was fog and rain.

Ilwaco has salmon fishing and the Long Beach Peninsula has great food and entertainment places. Lots to do for adults and kids. You can drive on the beach and the beach approach in Longbeach is very good but be careful if you do. Check tide times and stay in the hard sand.
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:09 AM   #22
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Cool Ooo! A time limit!!

You are between a rock and a hard place.

We used to drive Seattle to Milwaukee, WI and back in two weeks (2K miles both ways). We made the best time we could going, and then took our time coming back and visiting the things that interested us on the way. However you don't have that luxury of coming back the same way. Of course we had no trailer at that time, but we did have 5 kids.

I make your trip to be about 2200 miles,
SLC-767-PDX-725-(via 101)SFO-736-SLC.

The only secondary roads you would travel would be between PDX and SFO the rest is freeway. Note: Towing speed limits in CA and OR are 55mph.

Here is what I would do: Drive with all alacrity to PDX. This is your longest leg and it is best to have it behind you. Then tour down the coast using the various suggestions from this site and then return via freeway SFO-SLC. 700 miles you should be able to make in two days. That would leave 9 days for the 'touring' part of the trip. At any rate, I would plan on 3 days for SFO-SLC..

Only you can decide what you want to see along the touring route.

Just before arriving at PDX you should visit Multnomah Falls.

"The falls drops in two major steps, split into an upper falls of 542 feet (165 m) and a lower falls of 69 feet (21 m), with a gradual 9 foot (3 m) drop in elevation between the two, so the total height of the waterfall is conventionally given as 620 feet (189 m)."

Good luck.
.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:41 AM   #23
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Thanks to everyone for your tips. I like the idea of getting there quick and taking it slow on the way back. We are going to ake a look at possible routes to figure out if it's doable in two weeks. If not, we'll just have to break it up. Darn, another trip to get excited about!
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:40 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve and Rosemary View Post
Thanks to everyone for your tips. I like the idea of getting there quick and taking it slow on the way back. We are going to ake a look at possible routes to figure out if it's doable in two weeks. If not, we'll just have to break it up. Darn, another trip to get excited about!

I suggest NOT trying to do it all in one trip or two trips.
We've been going to Death Vally and points south and east of there for the last 4 years. Spending 3 months per trip and still have left a lot of things and places to see. For us rushing takes a lot of the fun out our trips. Relax and make plans loosely so they can be altered. Note places to visit the next trip. Go home happy and relaxed.
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Old 07-07-2013, 02:45 PM   #25
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One thing to keep in mind is that much of the drive is enjoyable in itself. Driving half a day up the Oregon coast is not quite the same as the drive from Bakersfield to Redding! I don't mind longer days if I am enjoying the drive itself. So when getting from A to B can be done with a scenic drive, you'll enjoy it more.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:47 PM   #26
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Byron and Bobbie, we are in total agreement. I think we'll try to focus on a smaller area so we can be less urgent. And of course, we'll discover places to which we'll want to return. Thanks for the sound advice.
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Moab Maiden Voyage 03/10 * The Swell 5/26/11 * Antelope Island 12/31/11 * Strawberry Res 6/12 * Whitney Res 6/14 * Uintahs 07/15 * East Fork of Black's 06/16
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