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Old 07-02-2013, 10:01 PM   #1
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Northwest USA

Sitting around tonight, we are inspired to take our vacation next month with our Scamp to the northwest. We're in Salt Lake and want to go up for ten or fourteen days.

Mandatory items include: a spot in the redwoods, one looking at the beach, and maybe a stop at Corvallis (I am now an Oregon State Beaver).

Anyways, we tend to go to dry camp sites and prefer places off the beaten track. Power and water hookups are not mandatory. Any tips or suggestions you have will be much appreciated.

I know my area well and I know there are a lot of magnificent places to see I this part of the world, but WE NEED ADVICE! Just tell us some of your favorite, must see places. And many thanks to you all in advance for your help!
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LUCINDA 1989 Bigfoot 5th Wheel | Steve, Rosemary, Maude Pod & Tripawd Hope
'Glass trips: Moab 03/10 * The Swell 5/26/11 * Antelope Island 12/21/11 * Strawberry Res 6/12 * Whitney Res 6/14 * Uintahs 7/15 * East Fork of Black's 6/16 * St Mary-Ennis-Lava 6/18
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:12 PM   #2
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In the Oregon Part of your trip I suggest Crater Lake and/or National Forest campgrounds. Avoid Oregon State Parks in the summer.
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:32 AM   #3
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Wonderful! I had forgotten that Crater Lake was one of the things we wanted to include. And thanks for the tip about the State Parks. I'll keep that in mind.
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'Glass trips: Moab 03/10 * The Swell 5/26/11 * Antelope Island 12/21/11 * Strawberry Res 6/12 * Whitney Res 6/14 * Uintahs 7/15 * East Fork of Black's 6/16 * St Mary-Ennis-Lava 6/18
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:57 AM   #4
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I also forgot to ask if August is a good time to travel to this area. I went up for a trip many years ago in early October and it was rainy but beautiful. Would it be better for us to postpone the trip until September?
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'Glass trips: Moab 03/10 * The Swell 5/26/11 * Antelope Island 12/21/11 * Strawberry Res 6/12 * Whitney Res 6/14 * Uintahs 7/15 * East Fork of Black's 6/16 * St Mary-Ennis-Lava 6/18
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve and Rosemary View Post
I also forgot to ask if August is a good time to travel to this area. I went up for a trip many years ago in early October and it was rainy but beautiful. Would it be better for us to postpone the trip until September?
Some times September and maybe October are great, sometimes not so good. August is usually the month with the least rain. Could be a bit dry this year, so watch for campfire restrictions. Insects are usually gone in August. It can be a bit warm, but nights are cool. If the choice is October or August, August might be the better bet.
That said, September and October can be great with warm days cool night. Larch trees turning yellow and vine maple turning red. But there is a greater chance of rain and cold or even snow at higher elevations like Crater Lake.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:19 AM   #6
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I enjoyed a drive to Artists Point on the Mount Baker Highway. The only problem was there was so much fog and snow at the top that I couldn't see the view, even though it was on July 27th. The Silver Fir campground is at mile 46, about as far as you would want to pull a trailer. The road gains 3000' in the next 7 miles.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:46 AM   #7
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There's lots to see on the Oregon Coast, but camping might be a bit difficult. I would suggest that you look for campground a few miles inland. There's a couple on highway 34 a few miles from the coast.
If you want to stay high there's Newberry Crater off highway 97. Come across 26 to Timberline Lodge, (not to be missed). There's a couple campgrounds off 26, (Still Creek, Camp Creek, and lower is Toll Gate) which are all close enough for day trip to Timberline Lodge.
A trip to the Columbia River Gorge is nice. You can go down highway 35 then west through the Gorge. Campgrounds, Wyth, Fish Creek, Memolose SP, and Ainsworth SP (these are State Parks are oK). Drive the old Columbia River highway (Scenic Highway) for some great waterfall viewing. The lodge at Multnomah Fall serves a nice lunch. If you're into hiking some of the best hiking in the country is in Gorge along the Scenic Highway.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Steve and Rosemary View Post
I also forgot to ask if August is a good time to travel to this area. I went up for a trip many years ago in early October and it was rainy but beautiful. Would it be better for us to postpone the trip until September?
Last year September and October were great- but smoky. But I'd pick September; odds are reasonably good for nice weather, and crowds are down.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:19 PM   #9
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Wow! Thanks everyone for great ideas. I'm going to write these down and map them to try to put a route together. I think I'm leaning towards going in September but we'll see.... Thanks again!
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'Glass trips: Moab 03/10 * The Swell 5/26/11 * Antelope Island 12/21/11 * Strawberry Res 6/12 * Whitney Res 6/14 * Uintahs 7/15 * East Fork of Black's 6/16 * St Mary-Ennis-Lava 6/18
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:08 PM   #10
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Is it your intention to go no farther north than Crater Lake?

I ask because most of "the Northwest" is actually- well, north of there!

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Old 07-03-2013, 03:16 PM   #11
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Redwoods

Are you planning to dip down into California to see redwoods? If so, there are beautiful, old growth redwoods to see in Jedediah Smith State Park, a few miles east of Crescent City. It's likely one of the best places to see old growth redwoods, anywhere! The campgrounds are along or near the Smith River, which was listed in the top 10 of the cleanest, most pristine of the wild rivers left in the US. Here's a link to some park info:

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

There's also another really nice redwood park another hour or so south on Hwy 101. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park also has lots of beautiful old growth redwoods and is the place where National Geographic did their big photo essay a few years ago, highlighting the tallest tree in the world in a remarkably photographed centerfold. There's a trail that starts at the Visitor Center and has you in and amongst old growth in less than 200-300 yards. It's beautiful and has a very primordial feel to it even though you know the road is very close!

Of the two, I much prefer Prairie Creek over Jed Smith, but that's just me.
Here's a link for Prairie Creek:

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

North into Oregon on Hwy 101, about 20-30 minutes north of Crescent City, CA is Harris Beach State Park, just north of Brookings, OR. The campsite is on a bluff above the beach, so it's camping above the beach as opposed to camping right on the beach. Very beautiful! Here's a link:

Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department: Harris Beach State Park

I agree with the plan to come in September. Our foggy summer tends to lift a bit at the end of August, the redwoods are still cool and lush but have had a chance to dry out a bit, and the mosquitoes are not as bad. Also, the crowds will have dropped significantly after Labor Day.

Have a great trip!
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Old 07-03-2013, 04:17 PM   #12
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We were definitely planning on going further north than Crater Lake -- I don't know that we can get as far as Seattle but I'd like to get up into Washington if we can.

Since we live in Utah, we'll probably go through California either on the way there or on the way home. Depending on how much time we can take off, we can go a couple of different ways. First, we could take I 15 south into Southern California and head north. Given that that will probably take too long, however, I'm thinking of creating a loop from Salt Lake, west on I80 to Reno and Sacramento, north to Portland (and beyond?) and then head home west and south through Boise, Idaho. Does that sound like a good idea? We could always reverse the loop, too.

Basically, we'd like to see the Sierras, the redwoods, the ocean, Crater Lake, and anything else that we can fit in!

We have a wedding in Minnesota during the weekend of Sept 6/7 so we'd have to be back to SLC before that or leave afterwards. Of course, the weekend before that is Labor Day so I don't really want to be travelling that weekend either. That leaves us with doing it either August 17th through the 30th OR leaving September 10th or so and spending a couple of weeks into the later part of the month.

Anyways, so far, your suggestions have all been really helpful and I'm sure we'll spend this weekend planning out some details. Thanks!
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'Glass trips: Moab 03/10 * The Swell 5/26/11 * Antelope Island 12/21/11 * Strawberry Res 6/12 * Whitney Res 6/14 * Uintahs 7/15 * East Fork of Black's 6/16 * St Mary-Ennis-Lava 6/18
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:03 PM   #13
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We've started to look at everyone's suggestions and are getting really excited. Another part of the trip we could use help with is that through and around the Sierras. Are any of you familiar with them? Neither if us have been there and we'd like to explore them, albeit superficially, on this trip. Thanks!
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LUCINDA 1989 Bigfoot 5th Wheel | Steve, Rosemary, Maude Pod & Tripawd Hope
'Glass trips: Moab 03/10 * The Swell 5/26/11 * Antelope Island 12/21/11 * Strawberry Res 6/12 * Whitney Res 6/14 * Uintahs 7/15 * East Fork of Black's 6/16 * St Mary-Ennis-Lava 6/18
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:00 PM   #14
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Sierras are incredible. Go to Lake Tahoe and my preference is So. Lake Tahoe for a base for a day or more. Explore the area around the Lake. Make reservations early or stay at the base in Minden or Carson City NV and take trip up to Tahoe. Plenty of places to hike, fish, boat or whatever your preference. Desolation Wilderson will not disappoint you. Permit Area Facility Details - Desolation Wilderness Permit, CA - Recreation.gov
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:56 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, 04:09 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, 02:10 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, 09:16 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, 05:44 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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'Glass trips: Moab 03/10 * The Swell 5/26/11 * Antelope Island 12/21/11 * Strawberry Res 6/12 * Whitney Res 6/14 * Uintahs 7/15 * East Fork of Black's 6/16 * St Mary-Ennis-Lava 6/18
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:10 PM   #20
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