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driving from DC to Seattle & back
Old 07-24-2011, 07:08 AM   #1
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driving from DC to Seattle & back

DW and I are taking two months off, Sept & Oct and driving from DC to Seattle to visit our daughter. Both of us were raised and have lived on the East coast. We plan on leaving Seattle, taking our time and going down the coast to CA. See Yosemite, Death Valley, then maybe drive Rt 50 back east. We will stop by to see our son at Ft. Campbell, KY, then back home to DC. Any ideas on what are some must sees, must eat at or whatever. Also any tips for road trips with you SO, and any other words of wisdom. Thanks
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:31 AM   #2
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If you haven't been there, I suggest a detour through central Oregon to see Crater Lake. The place can be snowed in from October to July, so you should plan on visiting on your way out, rather than the return trip.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:54 AM   #3
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Don't bother with the SW Washington coast, not much is accessible.

For a side trip from Seattle I recommend taking the Bremerton Ferry (more scenery for the $ and is the boat to the left) then go to Port Townsend, cross the Sound again from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island, then up to Deception Pass Park, take the bridge continuing north, then back to I-5 south. To really enjoy this jaunt make it an overnight-er .. Port Townsend would be my choice.

Another jaunt would be to take the jet boat to Victoria and back.

Eat at least one meal at Ivars Salmon House near UW.

More, later, on your Oregon coast drive. Doing that south bound is smart, there are lots of places you will want to stop so you will rarely need to cross Hgwy 101 (which is basically 2 lane). I assume you know that Oregon beaches are all public property up to the vegetation line (unlike WA or CA) I concur on trying to include Crater Lake but you don't need to enter from the east, I think there is a County road from the coast to Roseburg, then to the west entrance to the park.

Enjoy!!
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:12 PM   #4
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For absolutely stunning mountain scenery, add Mt Lassen National Park to your itinerary. In northern California (180 miles south of Crater Lake) it is easily accessed on a southbound trip. You can drive the park in a few hours from north to south and then continue south to Lake Mono and east across the Tioga Road to Yosemite.

Like Crater Lake, snow is a problem in early July, plan to get there mid- to late- July for best views and access to picnic/walking trails.

-- Rita
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:41 PM   #5
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Don't bother with the SW Washington coast, not much is accessible.

For a side trip from Seattle I recommend taking the Bremerton Ferry (more scenery for the $ and is the boat to the left) then go to Port Townsend, cross the Sound again from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island, then up to Deception Pass Park, take the bridge continuing north, then back to I-5 south. To really enjoy this jaunt make it an overnight-er .. Port Townsend would be my choice.
Stay at the Townsend Hotel and rent the 1000 sq.ft. suite with the 950 sq.ft. balcony overlooking the sound.

In Oregon, Cannon Beach on the way to Tillamook (for cheese), then inland.

In CA check out the north coast (Crescent City), and then maybe Mendocino. From there, take 128 through Anderson Valley, Sonoma and Napa.
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:14 PM   #6
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I'd add a loop to Brat's suggestion and head out from Bremerton through Shelton, McCleary and Aberdeen and take 101 up the Olympic Peninsula. Depending on how much time you want to spend you could then hit the Hoh river valley in Olympic National Park for some stunning rainforest walks, maybe see some elk. Then stop along the coast if you wish on the ONP beaches, through Forks and then, again time permitting, you could go up to Neah Bay and hit Cape Flattery (Western most point of continental US) or just head E to Port Angeles with a side trip up to Hurricane Ridge, again in Olympic National Park. From there drive E to Port Townsend and continue on Brat's route.

DD
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Old 07-24-2011, 03:09 PM   #7
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We're from the Pacific Northwest originally and miss it tremendously. We were regulars at Ivar's Salmon House. They revamped their menu in 2009-ish and some of the food is not *quite* as fresh but its still a great place to enjoy a cup of chowder and admire the skyline. I also love Agua Verde (near UW), May Thai (Wallingford neighborhood) and mini-donuts at the Pike Place Market.

Snoqualmie Falls is a fun day trip from Seattle if the weather is nice. The Olympic Peninsula is great so I'll just ditto the prior recommendations. The Southwest Washington coast is just okay so I would skip it to conserve time.

In Portland, check out Powell's bookstore and the surrounding Pearl District. Multnomah falls are a fun hike. The Willamette Valley is a great place to grow Pinot grapes and Willamette hops and the local wineries and microbreweries tend to do a lot of events in the fall. On the Oregon coast, I like Cannon Beach, Seaside, Lincoln City and Newport.
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:31 PM   #8
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Thanks to all for your info. I forgot to say, that when we leave Seattle, we are going to visit my nephew who lives in Forks. Then I guess just point the caddy south on 101. Looks like Crater Lake is a must if the roads open. Cheese at Tillamook, need to find out more about it. Then into CA
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:49 PM   #9
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I'm not an expert on Oregon but we had a very enjoyable trip one year to a wedding in Portland. All the guests stayed at the Timberline Lodge at the foot of Mount Hood. How wonderful was that! It's where they filmed "The Shining" and the hotel is impressive. Take a ski lift ride up as high as they allow. It's snow covered year round and that is where the US olympic ski team trains. Also, a side trip up the Columbia River to the salmon runs is very scenic. Going down into CA you should consider the Pacific Coast Highway, go to Pebble Beach Golf Club (just for the view) on the Monterey Peninsula, see the Hurst Castle.

I'm sure many suggestions will be made and you'll just have to fit those ideas into your schedule. I know you'll enjoy that trip.
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:37 PM   #10
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I'm not an expert on Washington, though I have lived here most of the last 50 years. These intineraries wear me out. If your daughter will be here a while, do some Seattle stuff with her, do some day trips with her, then kick around the Peninsula (there are plenty of guidebooks) until you leave Forks.

Pick up your Tillamook cheese in a Safeway and head straight for Crater Lake, after enjoying Portland for as long as you like.

You will be coming back to visit her again before long, likely you will fly, and rent a car here.

Everything in California is spectacular, again there are guidebooks.

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Old 07-24-2011, 11:07 PM   #11
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We're from the Pacific Northwest originally and miss it tremendously. We were regulars at Ivar's Salmon House. They revamped their menu in 2009-ish and some of the food is not *quite* as fresh but its still a great place to enjoy a cup of chowder and admire the skyline. I also love Agua Verde (near UW), May Thai (Wallingford neighborhood) and mini-donuts at the Pike Place Market.

Snoqualmie Falls is a fun day trip from Seattle if the weather is nice. The Olympic Peninsula is great so I'll just ditto the prior recommendations. The Southwest Washington coast is just okay so I would skip it to conserve time.

In Portland, check out Powell's bookstore and the surrounding Pearl District. Multnomah falls are a fun hike. The Willamette Valley is a great place to grow Pinot grapes and Willamette hops and the local wineries and microbreweries tend to do a lot of events in the fall. On the Oregon coast, I like Cannon Beach, Seaside, Lincoln City and Newport.
Ivar's Salmon House is on Lake Union and has a First People's theme (NW Native Americans). That is what makes that restaurant distinctive.

Timberline Lodge, on Mt. Hood east of Portland, is a WPA structure and a wonderful place to visit. Always on my list for out of town guests. A nice side trip is to drive from Portland east out I-84 stoping at Multnomah Falls and Bonnieville Dam (fish hatchery), continue east to Hood River, then head south on Hgy 35 to Hgy 26 where you go west (Portland direction), a couple miles from that intersection is the road that goes to Timberline ski area and the Lodge. Have dinner there before heading back to Portland.

Seaside is a town reminiscent of the Jersey Shore IMHO. It is about an hour's drive west of Portland and a fun place to take young children but wouldn't be on my list for out of town guests. If you drive Hgy 26 to the coast turn south, not north, IMHO. Yes, buy Tillamook cheese at Safeway, a visit to their factory isn't necessary. The NW has great wines too, particularly whites. Try them.

We live quite close to Washington Park in Portland. Send me a PM about a day in advance of your arrival and if I am in town we can meet up.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:08 AM   #12
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One more comment about Seattle... stay off the freeways unless you have at least 5 miles between entrance and exit. My gps directed us the shortest route which was a quick on I-5 from the left, then take the next exit - on the right across 4 lanes of heavy traffic. We survived unscathed but I never want to do that again.

Traveling short distances on freeways should not be a permitted routing, they aren't engineered for that.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:25 AM   #13
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Thanks to all for your info. I forgot to say, that when we leave Seattle, we are going to visit my nephew who lives in Forks. Then I guess just point the caddy south on 101. Looks like Crater Lake is a must if the roads open. Cheese at Tillamook, need to find out more about it. Then into CA
Then the Hoh river is a definite stop just 30 miles south of Forks. Hike on the trail (trailhead at ranger station) that leads to Mount Olympus.
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:10 AM   #14
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An introduction to caving tour in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is one of the most unique tours we've done in 15 months of traveling around the U.S. It's worth a look-see if you're up for mildly strenuous nature activities.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:39 AM   #15
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AT Yosemite, the view from Washburn point is spectacular, though at that time of the year the waterfalls will likely all be dry. The giant trees at Mariposa grove are nice but you can get a lot closer to a lot more giant Sequoias at Sequoia National Park farther south on your way to Death Valley.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:48 AM   #16
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You'll be close to Nashville, so consider checking out the grounds and innards of the OpryLand Hotel. Great place to grab a lunch and wander for an hour or so. If you are so inclined, the Grand Ol Opry is right next door.
From there a trip through Gatlinburg and the Smokey Mts would be a must, followed by Asheville for more scenery, Blue Ridge Parkway, and a day long visit to the famous Biltmore estate.
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:53 AM   #17
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Don't think you are going to get squeaky cheese at a Safeway... Tillamook cheese is pretty good, but what we buy at their company store is the squeaky cheese, which is new cheese curd that is mostly mouth feel rather than amazing flavour. Real good stuff though..
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:00 AM   #18
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I am not sure what the age requirement is, but if you are eligible, pick up a "National Parks Senior Pass" for lifetime free entrance to the national parks.
Ten bucks and it gets you and your passengers in free.
Sounds as if you may be visiting a few parks along the way.
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:05 AM   #19
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I am not sure what the age requirement is, but if you are eligible, pick up a "National Parks Senior Pass" for lifetime free entrance to the national parks.
Ten bucks and it gets you and your passengers in free.
Sounds as if you may be visiting a few parks along the way.
Senior Pass:
  • $10 Lifetime pass
  • For U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over.
You must purchase it at a park - it's a great bargain!
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Old 07-31-2011, 08:54 AM   #20
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The annual pass saved us money on our California to St Louis trip. Run the numbers.
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