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Vegas To Seattle - West Coast Trip 09


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#21 DennyG

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:10 AM

QUOTE (Mikey_Freedom @ Mar 12 2009, 03:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I really like the sound of Santa Cruz.

Has anyone got any thoughts on the Grand Canyon 'day trip' as I mentioned before?

Thanks

Mike

Yeah. I'm thinking "Wish I could do that". I haven't but it must be plausible because tour companies do it regularly on a bus. Here's one, as an example not an endorsement, that says it's a 14 hour trip with 3 hours at the canyon plus stops at the dam and in Kingman. You might think you could do it faster in a car but don't count on it. You'll find different places to stop, etc., and you won't have a rigid schedule to keep you moving. You may even want to consider a bus tour to eliminate some planning and allow some sleep on the expressway run back (I assume) to Las Vegas. But, if you chose to drive (and I think you should;-) you'll also be able to experience one of the better remaining strips of Historic Route 66. Yeah, the bus tour description says it does "Travel along historic Route 66" but...

The hundred mile stretch between Kingman and Ash Fork is the longest unbroken piece of the historic road that's left. It includes Hackberry General Store, Seligman, and plenty of lesser known cool spots. There is no single "best part of 66" but this section is a legitimate candidate. DeLorme says it's a three hour drive and you'll want to allow for a "half-off cone" at the Snow Cap and a couple of other stops. I-40 covers the same distance in an hour and a half. Do Sixty-Six one way and I-40 the other. One direction or the other is almost certain to be in the dark. Make sure it's the I-40 bit.

My one visit to the Grand Canyon was about three hours and, no, it isn't "enough". I mean it isn't enough to say you've seen it all but that would take infinity plus or minus an hour. It is enough to be incredibly impressed.

This year, you will be able to drive across the Hoover Dam and, as far as I know, stop on top of it. Next year, traffic will travel over a separate bridge currently under construction. My first view of the dam was driving north from Kingman at night. As an ignorant young (well, younger) man, I didn't even know we were anywhere near Hoover Dam. When the lighted towers appeared around a curve, I thought I was approaching the witch's castle from the Wizard of Oz. You'll get to experience that -- minus the ignorant part.


#22 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:46 AM

Denny has done ax excellent job of describing the route to Grand Canyon.

I guess I don’t fully understand why “one day” is the issue, unless you have to return a rental car to Las Vegas. Supposing that you spend X days in Las Vegas, then plan one day for the Grand Canyon trip. If you want to make it a day and a half, you don’t have to return to Las Vegas, you can stay at some intermediate point.

Which sort of leads me to another point. If you schedule every day to the nth degree, you may miss a lot. I think it is great to pick the places you want to see, and the routes to get there in advance, especially on this kind of trip. But I wouldn’t use a stop watch!

I’m not thinking you are going to have a lot of problem with accommodations, since I believe the depressed economy will reduce travel a bit and increase vacancies. Nonetheless, it is the peak travel season.

I find it handy to have a cell phone, and I call ahead mid afternoon when I have a clear idea where I am likely to be for the evening. That leaves me a bit more flexible than if I had fixed reservations. And should there be a problem in any location (e.g. a big event that fills motels) I can adjust accordingly.

I have decided to “pass” on suggesting what to see in LA. I won’t do it justice, and my preferences are not likely to be yours. You wouldn’t visit a trolley museum any more than I would go to the Sunset Strip, so I’m going to leave LA to people who love it.

You might add Mt St Helens to your itinerary as the UK is short on recently erupted and still steaming volcanoes! I had to shut down a college in Tacoma, Washington for awhile when that puppy went off, so I have some not so fond recollections of when it was erupting.

I wonder if you or your traveling buddies want to practice a little old “yankee” bombast before and during your trip. Like “British Blokes Discover the American Roads” along America’s byways and highways. You would have to post a daily report, preferably with photos, here on the forum, and write a letter or two to the editor at American Road, along with a photo or two.

It is up to the Powers That Be whether you get any ink, but I’m guessing that if the hook was that you discovered America’s two lane roads on the American Road Forum, the PTB might look twice. (PTB, maybe take note)

Gotta go….

Dave

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#23 Mikey_Freedom

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:32 PM

Funnily enough, one of my friends is a budding journalist so I've just told him about this potential new 'assignment'. It's something we're very much interested in...

Regarding the Grand Canyon trip, i was mainly unsure as to whether we could make a substantial visit to it within 24 hours. I wasn't sure how far away it was and didn't want this to be a major diversion from our trip. It appears that this isn't the case, so it's definitely going on our list.

Thanks

Mike

#24 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 03:59 PM

I wouldn’t want your colleague to assume he is going to grace the pages of the American Road Magazine….and I have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with that anyway. But Becky Repp who is the general manager of the magazine wanders these pages, and gets ideas here.

A two week road journey of discovery by a Band of British Bards (I was going to use Band of British Brigards ohmy.gif biggrin.gif , but Sheila said it might offend. Who me, offend!!? rolleyes.gif ), who make every effort to stay on the two lane roads, and see them through fresh eyes, has the touch of The Motor Boys Visit the West.

Worst case is you end up with something like my Hypotenuse Trail “adventure” on this forum which has collectively enjoyed over 50,000 visits. And it serves as a great journal for family and friends back home, and a way for them to track your travels…..not to mention we get to “go along” and enjoy the trip ourselves.

Dave

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#25 roadhound

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 06:31 PM

QUOTE (DennyG @ Mar 12 2009, 11:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah. I'm thinking "Wish I could do that". I haven't but it must be plausible because tour companies do it regularly on a bus. Here's one, as an example not an endorsement, that says it's a 14 hour trip with 3 hours at the canyon plus stops at the dam and in Kingman. You might think you could do it faster in a car but don't count on it. You'll find different places to stop, etc., and you won't have a rigid schedule to keep you moving. You may even want to consider a bus tour to eliminate some planning and allow some sleep on the expressway run back (I assume) to Las Vegas. But, if you chose to drive (and I think you should;-) you'll also be able to experience one of the better remaining strips of Historic Route 66. Yeah, the bus tour description says it does "Travel along historic Route 66" but...

The hundred mile stretch between Kingman and Ash Fork is the longest unbroken piece of the historic road that's left. It includes Hackberry General Store, Seligman, and plenty of lesser known cool spots. There is no single "best part of 66" but this section is a legitimate candidate. DeLorme says it's a three hour drive and you'll want to allow for a "half-off cone" at the Snow Cap and a couple of other stops. I-40 covers the same distance in an hour and a half. Do Sixty-Six one way and I-40 the other. One direction or the other is almost certain to be in the dark. Make sure it's the I-40 bit.

My one visit to the Grand Canyon was about three hours and, no, it isn't "enough". I mean it isn't enough to say you've seen it all but that would take infinity plus or minus an hour. It is enough to be incredibly impressed.

This year, you will be able to drive across the Hoover Dam and, as far as I know, stop on top of it. Next year, traffic will travel over a separate bridge currently under construction. My first view of the dam was driving north from Kingman at night. As an ignorant young (well, younger) man, I didn't even know we were anywhere near Hoover Dam. When the lighted towers appeared around a curve, I thought I was approaching the witch's castle from the Wizard of Oz. You'll get to experience that -- minus the ignorant part.


Two years ago during spring break we took a family roadtrip to the Grand Canyon. Our second day of the trip started in Las Vegas and we were on the road by 9:00 AM. We stopped for an hour at the dam, an hour in Kingman at Mr. D'z Diner for a burger, took the Interstate to Williams where we stopped for another hour, and finally got to the rim of the Grand Canyon at ~5:00 just before sunset. Granted, you could get an earlier start, and do have more hours of daylight in the summer months, but a one day trip driving it yourself is pushing it. If you are going to drive it yourself I would recommend 2 days, that will give you a chance to see The Dam, The Canyon, and maybe take in the Grand Canyon Caverns.

There are a number of photos from that area here

As Denny alluded to the section of 66 between Ash Fork and Kingman is a great section of road to drive.

Roadhound


#26 Mikey_Freedom

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 02:37 AM

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, 31 March 2009 - 02:41 AM.


#27 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 10:56 AM


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

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#28 Mikey_Freedom

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 03:05 PM

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

#29 mobilene

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 04:24 PM

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

#30 DennyG

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 07:59 AM

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.

#31 beckyrepp

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 10:32 AM

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

#32 usroadman

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 12:00 PM

QUOTE
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
QUOTE
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.

#33 beckyrepp

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:35 PM

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!
sSig_goodjob.gif



#34 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 07:58 PM

QUOTE (beckyrepp @ Apr 9 2009, 11:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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!
sSig_goodjob.gif


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

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#35 Mikey_Freedom

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 05:25 AM

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

#36 roadhound

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 02:33 PM

QUOTE (Mikey_Freedom @ May 26 2009, 05:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

#37 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 02:50 PM

QUOTE (Mikey_Freedom @ May 26 2009, 03:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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).




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

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#38 mga707

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 10:41 PM

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'.

#39 roadhound

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 10:58 PM

QUOTE (mga707 @ May 27 2009, 11:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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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