Vancouver Island to Grand Coulee Dam - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-16-2009, 11:11 AM   #1
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Good morning,

We are off next week to Montana. Our first stop after Vancouver is going to be the Grand Coulee Dam for the Laser Light show (hopefully the kids can stay awake for it).

If I go through BC I would probably go via Manning Park->Princeton->Osoyoos and then down through Washington via highway 97. However, is there a better route via Washington that would be worth taking? I would prefer a route with the least amount of grade (of course) and if there is a campground enroute that you recommend if we need to stop early then please mention it.

Thanks!
Booker
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:50 PM   #2
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Good morning,

We are off next week to Montana. Our first stop after Vancouver is going to be the Grand Coulee Dam for the Laser Light show (hopefully the kids can stay awake for it).

If I go through BC I would probably go via Manning Park->Princeton->Osoyoos and then down through Washington via highway 97. However, is there a better route via Washington that would be worth taking? I would prefer a route with the least amount of grade (of course) and if there is a campground enroute that you recommend if we need to stop early then please mention it.

Thanks!
Booker
Hi Booker,
This is bit off your question, but since you live on the Island, I would love to pick your brains about trailering over there. I've been to Vacouver Island on business, several years ago, and fell in love with the place. One of my "before I die" trips is to the Pacific Nortwest, Ferry over to the Island and spend a good amount of time seeing and experiencing everything there. A PM would be nice or a posting from you.

I'm sorry I can't help with your question, but if you want to know about Colorado, I'd love to help.

Thanks,

Keith
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:08 PM   #3
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Yes......come down to Washington west side of Cascades (highway 5) and cross over highway 20, the North Cascade highway, it is the second highest mountain highway in the country, second only to Going To The Sun which you will have an opportunity to go up in Montana at Glacier Nat. Park. North Cascade is stunningly beautiful, there is a nice easy walk to a lake at Rainy Pass for a drive break, also Liberty Bell mountain area has spectacular views. This does have grade, but it is a well made highway with gradual increases, I think it is worth it, we pulled our 13" Burro over it several times with no problems and plan to take the Escape.

You could also drive over highway 2 - also scenic and not the grade, but you'd have to go north a bit to Grand Coulee

If you drive highway 20 you will come down to Winthrop - Twist area, Winthrop is touristy but it's frontier town motif has charm especially for kids. You can continue on highway 20 over the next 'hills' to the Okanogan area, there are DNR campgrounds along Loup Loup summit area, of if Winthrop is as afar as go first day there is a state park there, Pearrygin Lake. There are also campgrounds as you come off North Cascade Highway before you get to Winthrop. Sounds like you might try to get to Grand Coulee first day, highway 20 will intersect 97 at Okanogan.

It would be a spectacular way to start your trip and if you go up Going To The Sun in Montana you will have driven the two highest paved roads in US on your vacation! By the way, we left our Burro in the campground and drove up that one, much steeper and twisty than North Cascade Highway.

Highway 20 is a great way to cross Washington to and from Idaho, far more scenic than 90, if you are going to the Grand Coulee you will be heading south of it but if you have the time coming home I recommend it......or for another trip!

Have fun!
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply Penny/Mike. I think we are going to try that route as it looks the most interesting route to travel. We will be coming back through lower BC so this helps us avoid backtracking on the same route.

Keith, Vancouver Island is great for camping. All of the provincial campgrounds are excellent though the more family campsites do get booked up - however, there are always a number of first come first serve sites that might be availab.e. We also have a number of 'forestry' campsites which are maintained by the forestry companies. These sites are unserviced but are generally in some of the nicest areas beside lakes and rivers. I would highly recommend the Ralph River campground by Buttle Lake outside Campbell River as well as any of the sites around Parksville and Miracle Beach outside Courtenay. This summer we are hoping to check out the Cowichan river and lake campgrounds by Lake Cowichan. The West Coast (Long Beach) is way too busy in summer unless you pre-book but September is an amazing month out there.

The BC government has an excellent site that will allow you to find area/facilies or name:
BC Parks

Just found the BC Forestry (Recreation) Camping site:
BC Forest Service Recreation Campsites

Happy Camping!
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Old 06-18-2009, 12:59 AM   #5
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Yes, Highway 20 is my favourite road in the world. I have not been on every road, of course, but you get my drift.

Ron
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Old 06-18-2009, 03:04 AM   #6
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Take the ferry to Anacortes and then it is a straight shot.

Total Estimated Time: 9 hours 17 minutesTotal Estimated Distance: 295.72 miles
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Old 06-18-2009, 03:15 AM   #7
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This is the order. I didn't know how to rearrange them in the other post.
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Old 06-18-2009, 04:35 AM   #8
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It would be a spectacular way to start your trip and if you go up Going To The Sun in Montana you will have driven the two highest paved roads in US on your vacation! By the way, we left our Burro in the campground and drove up that one, much steeper and twisty than North Cascade Highway.

Have fun!
Beartooth pass in Montana is 10,990'.

Whereas on Hwy 20 Rainy Pass is a mere 4860' and Washington Pass is 5477'.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:38 AM   #9
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Thanks Roger, those heights don't seem to bad. We did go over the Rockies through Banff last summer and it wasn't too hard on the Suburu. Actually, the hardest hills we expereinced were in Manning Park - some of those just felt endless.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:10 PM   #10
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Thanks to those that recommended highway 20 - it was awesome. We travelled down highway 9 from Sumas (which was very pretty) and it was a great drive. We are pulling a pretty loaded Trillium 13' with our Subaru Forester and there we were able to pull the speed limit for pretty much the whole drive through the Cascades.
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:54 AM   #11
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planning on taking "97" south from Osoyoos then "20" West thru the Cascades. Any suggestions on spots to overnight in our Trillium?

thanks

Chuck
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:18 AM   #12
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Hi Chuck,

We stayed at the Colonial Creek campground as it was the 1/2 way point of the park - there was lots of room in it the day we were there. It's a bit of a steep site and the sites aren't as level as your typical provincial campground so either take your time to find a level spot or be prepared to level it out. However, it was a pretty site and there is minimal traffic noise from the highway.

Make sure you pull over to the Diablo lake look out as it's got some great views (that will be just before you reach colonial). Also check out the company town that is located at the North Cascades Information Center (oddly enough, you will not find the name of the town on any map). It's a pretty cool little place.

Give yourself a bit of time to check out Winthrop before you hit the park - it's a pretty nifty little town.
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