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Planning The Us101 Loop & Olympia National Park


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#1 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 10:01 PM

US101 in Washington does a nearly complete circle or loop, something I don’t believe any other US numbered highway can claim. The following map shows the Olympic Peninsula loop, around Olympic National Park.

I have lived in the Northwest most of the past 40 years, and have never taken the full loop! In fact, I have only seen the Olympic Mountains from a distance, never from inside the Park! I have never been in the Park. I guess it’s that thing about the grass is always greener somewhere else.

Well, I think we will “do the loop” soon…at least if our “dog sitter” (his former master, and my son) arrives next week to watch “ole Bo, the now homebound Malamute Wonder Dog. Believe it or not, a deer actually laid down within 100 feet of him today, and neither he nor the deer seemed to care. He is just too old (13), and the deer too confident to care, I guess. The ‘ole boy is sleeping beside the chair as I write.

Becky has made several suggestions on the chat this evening as to places to see. But perhaps there are others here who have been to the Park or around the loop. Any advice?

I am thinking this will be just a few days, maybe no more than two, maybe three. The whole loop is two lanes, with just a few miles exception. We have traveled the area between Olympia and Port Angeles, and between Olympia and Forks, but never connected the dots, so to speak.

As usual, we will make a report, perhaps even in transit…depending on time and WiFi connections.

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave



#2 Chris Rowland

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 10:22 PM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Jul 13 2008, 10:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think we will “do the loop” soon…

I'll bet that's one beautiful route!

Chris

#3 DennyG

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 03:17 AM

Whoa!! I'm going to be doing something similar in about three weeks. After visiting a son in Silverdale, I'll be driving to see his brother in San Francisco and the first part of my planned route coincides with much of yours. I plan to pick up US-101 just north of Leland. For reasons I can't recall just now (maybe just staying on the coast), I've plotted WA-112 rather than US-101 west of Port Angeles but your map and mine are otherwise duplicates.

Since you're going next week, you can clear a path for me and give me some up-to-date pointers. Sounds like I ought to ask Becky for some pointers, too. (Sorry I missed last night's chat.) I had intended to inquire about a hookup somewhere so you could buy me a cup of coffee. I'll be leaving Silverdale sometime on the 4th of August so might be somewhere around Hoquiam on the 5th. I'm guessing that's the closest point (unless you break down in Humptulips and I catch up with you on the road).

#4 mobilene

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 01:15 PM

I think the idea of a US highway that loops like that is so cool, and then to think of the country it must pass through....

You must post copious photos, Dave!

#5 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 02:06 PM

QUOTE (mobilene @ Jul 14 2008, 10:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think the idea of a US highway that loops like that is so cool, and then to think of the country it must pass through....

You must post copious photos, Dave!


It is nice country. The road is actually quite rural in character. You pass along the Hood Canal, which I think was cut by glaciers, then you can detour into Port Townsend for one of America’s premier Victorian towns, then up to Fort Worden where “Officer and a gentleman” was filmed.

Back on 101 you head toward Olympic National Park, and Port Angeles where the ferry goes over to Victoria BC. We can’t go because our passports have lapsed. But there is plenty to see in the USA. For the first time in my life, we will actually drive into Olympic National Park! We would have goon sooner but I had to wait to be eligible for my Golden Age Pass. Having reached a “golden” age some years ago, it is now time to use the pass.

I haven’t been between Port Angeles and Forks, but there is Neah Bay and the Olympia Rain Forest to see. Then down the Washington Coast for several miles, perhaps into the lodge at Lake Quinault for lunch, and back through the former mill and lumber towns of Hoquiam and Aberdeen.

It can be done in a single day, but I think we will do at least two, and perhaps three.

And we will do lots of photos…as usual.

I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that our dog sitter keeps his promise and doesn’t cop out on us.

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave


#6 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 02:55 PM

QUOTE (DennyG @ Jul 14 2008, 12:17 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Whoa!! I'm going to be doing something similar in about three weeks. After visiting a son in Silverdale, I'll be driving to see his brother in San Francisco and the first part of my planned route coincides with much of yours. I plan to pick up US-101 just north of Leland. For reasons I can't recall just now (maybe just staying on the coast), I've plotted WA-112 rather than US-101 west of Port Angeles but your map and mine are otherwise duplicates.

Since you're going next week, you can clear a path for me and give me some up-to-date pointers. Sounds like I ought to ask Becky for some pointers, too. (Sorry I missed last night's chat.) I had intended to inquire about a hookup somewhere so you could buy me a cup of coffee. I'll be leaving Silverdale sometime on the 4th of August so might be somewhere around Hoquiam on the 5th. I'm guessing that's the closest point (unless you break down in Humptulips and I catch up with you on the road).


Well, great minds run in the same loops! BTW, I wasn’t planning to clear a path for you….but I can give folks along the route advance warning! tongue.gif

Not having been west of Port Angeles myself, I don’t know whether 101 or 112 would be preferred. In fact, I haven’t given the route between Port Angeles and Forks much attention yet, but I hope to before I leave. And I can certainly report back.

I wrote the post to Mobilene before I saw your post, so you might want to scan it.

From your “closest point” note, I’m assuming that you plan to continue on down 101 to Astoria and not go through Olympia.

A hook up in Hoquiam may be problematic in that you may find yourself substantial influenced by interests or traffic. We had dinner guests who arrived an hour and a half late Saturday because they took the loop and misjudged time.

When you’re in Silverdale, send me an e-mail and let’s see what our respective plans are. If a hookup looks good, then you could give me a call when you leave Kalaloch, as your travel time (about 1.5 – 2 hours) and mine to Hoquiam will be roughly the same.

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

#7 DennyG

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 05:03 PM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Jul 14 2008, 03:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
….but I can give folks along the route advance warning! tongue.gif

Maybe that is more appropriate. smile.gif

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Jul 14 2008, 03:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don’t know whether 101 or 112 would be preferred.

I certainly don't know and believe I went for 112 to stay near the water and to pick up the Crescent Beach area. I intentionally routed through there for some reason or another. I then routed back to 101 at WA-113. You mentioned Neah Bay in your response to mobilene. If you mean the town, that's a place that neither my route or US-101 gets to. I've been to Port Angeles once specifically for the ferry and recall that I really enjoyed the drive (from somewhere around SeaTac) and that it was very green.

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Jul 14 2008, 03:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
From your “closest point” note, I’m assuming that you plan to continue on down 101 to Astoria and not go through Olympia.

Yep. I plan to stay on 101 to Leggett, CA, then take CA-1 on to San Francisco. It's around 1100 miles and I've got six days to cover it. Seven elapsed days but I intend to spend one day seeing that Columbia River I've heard so much about.

Hopefully we can tune things to allow at least a brief hello somewhere.




#8 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 06:29 PM

QUOTE (DennyG @ Jul 14 2008, 02:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe that is more appropriate. smile.gif


I certainly don't know and believe I went for 112 to stay near the water and to pick up the Crescent Beach area. I intentionally routed through there for some reason or another. I then routed back to 101 at WA-113. You mentioned Neah Bay in your response to mobilene. If you mean the town, that's a place that neither my route or US-101 gets to. I've been to Port Angeles once specifically for the ferry and recall that I really enjoyed the drive (from somewhere around SeaTac) and that it was very green.


Yep. I plan to stay on 101 to Leggett, CA, then take CA-1 on to San Francisco. It's around 1100 miles and I've got six days to cover it. Seven elapsed days but I intend to spend one day seeing that Columbia River I've heard so much about.

Hopefully we can tune things to allow at least a brief hello somewhere.


Denny,

Green it is! It is so green and tree studded you may very well get tired of tall things with leaves or needles!

On the other hand, I think it is nearly impossible not to enjoy the coast and environs. And on a clear day, the Columbia River George is absolutely awesome. You will not see the falls at their best because it will be mid summer, but they will not disappoint you in any event. If you imagine the great floods out of Lake Missoula carving the sheer walls on the south side, you will enjoy them even more.

I will try to limit my unsolicited advice, but I will offer a few thoughts.

101 south of Aberdeen goes mostly through the woods. Long Beach is a busy tourist town, and you can visit Ilwaco and Cape Disappointment if you are a Lewis and Clark fan. Astoria can be quaint, and the ride to Portland is pleasant. The vast majority of that is along two lanes.

I would get on the old Columbia River Highway at Troutdale and cross the two old bridges, but you can also enter the old road via Corbert, and miss the bridges. I would go at least as far east as the Bonneville Dam (which means some freeway), if you have not viewed a big dam. You could go further east and pick up the old road again and see the part tourists don’t usually visit, but that may be further than you want to travel off your 101 route.

The Oregon Coast and some of the towns along 101 are among the best in the country. Your normal instincts will lead you to nice places. Obviously look for the older parts of towns down by the waterfront or at the entrance to a bay or river estuary. Most of the time the newer sections of towns along the highway are better left for another trip.

Sheila and I enjoy staying in Yachats on the Oregon Coast because it is small and quaint and there are several nice beach front motels and at least a restaurant or two with the waves crashing almost in your lap…viewed though the big windows. But there are so many nice places, that is just one.

Eureka is interesting in the old town area. Roadhound will be just getting back from his trip and should have some fresh insights to share about that area.

Definitely let’s see if we can do hook up as you fly by.

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave


#9 DennyG

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 09:14 PM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Jul 14 2008, 07:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I will try to limit my unsolicited advice...

Your advice is unsolicited only because I hadn't gotten around to asking. It is all appreciated.

I've plotted the CRH from Troutdale to just past The Dalles with hope that I can do that during one day's sun light. You can probably help me out on the area just west of the Hood River Bridge. The CRH is shown as riding I-84 while (a possibly 2-lane) US-30 runs along its south side. Is there any advantage or disadvantage to picking up US-30 here?

I didn't mean to trick you into giving advice in a thread in which you asked for advice yourself but I do appreciate it.


#10 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 10:51 PM

QUOTE (DennyG @ Jul 14 2008, 07:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Your advice is unsolicited only because I hadn't gotten around to asking. It is all appreciated.

I've plotted the CRH from Troutdale to just past The Dalles with hope that I can do that during one day's sun light. You can probably help me out on the area just west of the Hood River Bridge. The CRH is shown as riding I-84 while (a possibly 2-lane) US-30 runs along its south side. Is there any advantage or disadvantage to picking up US-30 here?

I didn't mean to trick you into giving advice in a thread in which you asked for advice yourself but I do appreciate it.


Denny,

The old Columbia River Highway is closed to autos between Hood River and Mosier. You could hike it and walk through the historic Twin Tunnels, but you don’t have the time anyway.

If you might go as far as The Dalles, the drive between Mosier and The Dalles has some spectacular views, and the Rowena loops. And it is much less traveled than the western section. I would definitely make time to take it if I could.

I posted some material from along that segment some time ago

After you leave Bonneville Dam you will be on freeway for some distance. A stop at Cascade Locks will give you a view of the locks built around the turn of the century to bypass rapids that hindered riverboat traffic. Then I would pull off at Mosier to pick up the old highway again.

I’m guessing you will be there mid week so I don’t think you will have great problems with crowds. The biggest problem may be with parking, because the parking areas were not designed to handle the level of interest the old road is getting. But I’m thinking you may just get more exercise walking a little further.

Going west to east, and assuming you start in Troutdale, you can’t miss the old bridges, but you might miss Chanticleer Point (Women’s Forum State Park). Don’t!

But rather than me giving you a blow by blow, go to the site below and print out the excellent material there, or load it on your hard disk on your laptop.

Go to the Nomination for National Historical Landmark and start about page 17 in the first document

http://www.oregon.go...documents.shtml

These are the nomination for National Historic Landmark and include a mile by mile (more like a foot by foot) description and terrific historical material.

http://www.oregon.go...nomination1.pdf

http://www.oregon.go...nomination2.pdf


Hope this helps!

I should add, as you might expect, I have a ton of old maps and guides for the Columbia River Highway, including a 1926 volume designer builder Samuel Lancaster published. The highway is so well documented, I doubt that my stuff would add anything at all, but if time permits I may post a few items that may be less frequently cited, and which you may see on your visit.

Maybe I should also note that the old highway is also part of the Old Oregon Trail Highway so you get two for one!


Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

#11 hutchman

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 02:51 PM

Dave,

I have lived out here for 30 years and have always wanted to take that trip, but never have. Please do take lots of pics!

Hutch

#12 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 03:18 PM

QUOTE (hutchman @ Jul 18 2008, 11:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Dave,

I have lived out here for 30 years and have always wanted to take that trip, but never have. Please do take lots of pics!

Hutch



Hutch,

Yah, tell me about it! It is kind of amazing that we often don’t visit what is next door! For example, I have never been up to Mt St Helens! Some of the mountain came to me years ago, at least some of it settled on my lawn, etc! But I have never driven up to see the results of that blast close up.

I was hoping to do a trip this week around the Olympic Peninsula, but the weather forecast has been for clouds along the western shores all day long, even though it clears inland in the afternoon. I am waiting until the beaches are at least partly sunny for some photos.

I have been looking at photos on Google Earth. Some are quite spectacular, especially the mountains, lakes, and sea shore. The rain forest is also pretty, but living basically at the southeast corner of the peninsula, I feel I have seen and live with enough “rain forest” already!

I definitely will take photos when I go.

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave


#13 DennyG

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 04:26 PM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Jul 18 2008, 04:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was hoping to do a trip this week around the Olympic Peninsula, but the weather forecast has been for clouds along the western shores all day long...

It sure would be sad to read "I have lived in the Northwest most of the past 41 years, and have never taken the full loop! I almost did once but I heard that it might be cloudy"


#14 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 05:09 PM

QUOTE (DennyG @ Jul 18 2008, 02:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It sure would be sad ....never taken the full loop!


Denny,

Yah, I can see the tears streaming down your cheeks from here! rolleyes.gif

I should have added that the weather forecast for Sunday and Monday looks promising, with only 55% cloud cover offshore both afternoons.

I only have the one deadline; I have to sound the warning before you make your pilgamage out here! laugh.gif

Seriously, I am hoping the summer weather pattern will give you a clear day for your visit. I have been looking at the National Weather Service graphic forecast, which is..…well, graphic and quite good. Just about every day, the clouds cover the coast and the peninsula, with a big opening in the grey over the center of Olympic NP. Then the clouds burn off in the afternoon, out to the coastline, but not out to sea. Sunday and Monday, the clouds retreat offshore, which is what I’m looking for.

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave


#15 DennyG

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 06:46 PM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Jul 18 2008, 06:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I only have the one deadline; I have to sound the warning before you make your pilgamage out here! laugh.gif

Better not let those unsuspecting good folks down biggrin.gif

I know of clouds in the northwest. My first visit to Seattle was for business. Another fellow and I flew in, spent the night at a motel somewhere between the airport and Seattle, then drove into downtown the next morning. At the end of the day, we returned to the motel. After a pleasant night, it was back to the city the following day. But, at day's end, as we headed back to the motel, we really thought we were lost for awhile. Right in front of us was this huge mountain that was impossible to ignore. Mount Rainier had been completely hidden by clouds during the first day and a half we were there.

As for the upcoming trip, I'm resisting getting too organized but I'm kind of concerned about the availability of spontaneous and affordable lodging. You mentioned Quinault Lodge in the context of a lunch stop for you and Sheila so I took a look at it and it seems like a possibility for my first night's roost. Any thoughts on the Lodge as an overnight or on the general availability of motels along the route? I've noted your recommendation of Yachats but my first thought is that it's at an awkward point for me since I'm thinking in terms of a place where I can spend the night before and the night after a Columbia River Highway drive. I'm hoping that Roadhound will have some up to the minute input on places further south.


#16 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 07:55 PM

QUOTE (DennyG @ Jul 18 2008, 03:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As for the upcoming trip, I'm resisting getting too organized but I'm kind of concerned about the availability of spontaneous and affordable lodging. You mentioned Quinault Lodge in the context of a lunch stop for you and Sheila so I took a look at it and it seems like a possibility for my first night's roost. Any thoughts on the Lodge as an overnight or on the general availability of motels along the route? I've noted your recommendation of Yachats but my first thought is that it's at an awkward point for me since I'm thinking in terms of a place where I can spend the night before and the night after a Columbia River Highway drive. I'm hoping that Roadhound will have some up to the minute input on places further south.


Denny,

I think there are three choices of where to stay that would be viable for you, assuming you get out of Silverdale say around 8 or 9AM. I would look at Forks as having the most motels, and probably the more economical….but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

I would look first at Kalaloch. It overlooks the water, and has a nice restaurant. You will need reservations, and a full wallet as overnights start around $150. But it would be worth the bucks, if you can get in. And their cancellation policy is three days in advance. Lake Quinault Lodge would be my second choice....mainly because it is on a lake, not the ocean. The amenities equal Kalaloch. Kalaloch or Lake Quinault will not disappoint. other than your wallet. Check their web sites. You can make reservations on line. They are run by the same company.

As for your next day (day two), let me make a few observations. I will assume you are planning to drive down 101 to Astoria then come east along the Columbia River through Portland (or via Longview) to pick up the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH). If you did that, it would not make sense to return to Astoria, because you would be backtracking along road you had been on. In that scenario you would be wise to skirt Portland and get to the Oregon coast via McMinnville.

The northern Oregon Coast is very nice, but more developed than the southern section. There are more condos and commercial tourist attractions north because they can be more easily reached from Portland. So I personally prefer the coast south of Lincoln City (Lincoln City itself is touristy, if you want that).

So Alternate one for day two is to go down 101 to Astoria, along the Columbia River eastbound, through Portland (or via Longview), and stay along the Columbia River near the HCRH. If it were me I would get east of Troutdale, maybe to Cascade Locks. There is a nice Best Western there. Or as far east as Hood River where there are lots of choices.

Alternative 2 for day two would be to cut over on US12 or State 6 to I5, then down to pick up the HCRH. Frankly that would be my choice. It is shorter (about 40 miles), has some lovely scenery and small towns, and saves time (maybe 2 hours) so you get to spend it on the two lanes of the HCRH. And if you hate the freeway, you could follow some of the old Pacific Highway….but I’m thinking the HCRH is the objective. The downside is you miss Astoria.

Whether alternative one or two, I would hit the Oregon Coast at, or south of Lincoln City on day three.

I’ll let you digest those thoughts, and please ask any questions that you think I might be able to answer.

Keep the Show on the Road

Dave


#17 DennyG

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 07:37 AM

The lodges at Kalaloch and Lake Quinault both look great but I won't have time to enjoy them which makes them appear even pricier. I have all but settled on the Quinault River Inn as a somewhat less expensive substitute. I'm within one impulse of booking it for Monday night. If I do, then I could be looking for Tuesday morning breakfast company in the Aberdeen area if you're interested. I know that your alternate route over US-12 would bring me closer to Olympia but I'm reluctant to miss that much of the coast.

I had the same thoughts as you about backtracking to Astoria. I picked US-26 over US-30 because there would be less of it but I think what I'm hearing is that, if I'm going to miss coast, Astoria or Cannon Beach to Lincoln City is a good coast to miss. So I'm now thinking about getting to the HCRH on US-26 (a.k.a., incidentally, the Sunset Highway although not because of the setting sun) and back to the coast through McMinnville as you suggest. I looked at I-5 to US-20 but it saves little time, involves an expressway, and misses Lincoln City. I'm guessing that lodging should be plentiful around Portland for Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

The same cannot be said for Saturday night lodging as I approach San Francisco. Most of what I've found is either AbE (Available but Exorbitant) or AbF (Affordable but Full). I suspect I'll book something in advance for Saturday and maybe Friday to avoid last minute on site shopping in a seller's market.

Referencing your response to my direct email, I assure you that an ocean (or lake or river) view is not worth $100. The Quinault River Inn is an improvement but Aberdeen prices would probably be even better. It's an hour beyond Quinault which might be pushing that first day but I generally have more timing problems on the last days than on the first. It's those thoughts that kept me from already booking in Quinault.

Big thanks for the advice (and I'm not done asking:-).

#18 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 12:39 PM

QUOTE (DennyG @ Jul 19 2008, 04:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The lodges at Kalaloch and Lake Quinault both look great but I won't have time to enjoy them

Referencing your response to my direct email, I assure you that an ocean (or lake or river) view is not worth $100. The Quinault River Inn is an improvement but Aberdeen prices would probably be even better. It's an hour beyond Quinault which might be pushing that first day but I generally have more timing problems on the last days than on the first. It's those thoughts that kept me from already booking in Quinault.

Big thanks for the advice (and I'm not done asking:-).



Denny,

Sounds like your plans are starting to “jell.” I agree that the Kalaloch or Lake Quinault Lodges are best if you are going to spend some time there. It is too expensive for just a bed and place to shave.

Taking US26 from the coast didn’t occur to me, but it is a good plan, and should avoid some Portland area traffic as well. We don’t use it because it angles the wrong way for our purposes, but it should serve you well coming in from US101.

We had a reunion with friends a couple of years ago near Astoria, so I probably have some shots around here, and plenty of advice…Trouble is you will be just driving through so you will need to be selective.

Let’s wait until we get closer to your travel dates to see if and where a cup of coffee might work. I might prefer connecting along the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) instead of Aberdeen. It is a longer drive to get down to the HCRH from Olympia, but I (or Sheila and I) might make it a day excursion. It is about a 1.5-2 hour drive to Troutdale from our place, so if I knew the day, we could probably work out the details while you are in transit to meet there or further east

Sheila went with a friend to Sequim (which is on your Olympic Peninsula route) yesterday for the Lavender Festival, and reported the area to be in full “bloom.” The weather there was great and the Olympic Mountains were as spectacular as ever. I’m hoping she and I can do the loop the last weekend in July. I may also do all or part tomorrow or Monday, if the coastal weather is favorable for photos.

Speaking of weather, the summer pattern is typical for western coastal areas, with the potential for morning clouds clearing to sunshine before mid day. Sometimes that applies to the Columbia River, perhaps as far west as the HCRH. The vistas of the Columbia will be spectacular in the sunshine, so watch the weather patterns on your laptop. I find the National Weather Service site to be a real asset on the road.

My son, who now lives in Coos Bay on the Oregon Coast, will be here Tuesday (7/22). I will ask him to provide a report as well.

As you plan, I’m thinking you will enjoy a stay in Cascade Locks or Hood River more than one in Portland, Troutdale, or The Dalles. The former are quaint and charming, with Hood River having a variety of sights, quaint downtown, and young wind surfer crowd, and Cascade Locks having a nice park and the locks on the river with the Bridge of the Gods in the background.

Enough rambling….

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave


#19 DennyG

DennyG

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 06:31 PM

Yes, indeed. With your help, my plans are "jellin' like Magellan" (or at least like Garmin wink.gif ). Plus, assuming you're serious about the possibility of you & Sheila driving to the HCRH, they're getting brighter. It would be fantastic to have you join me for all or any part of my HCRH visit. Wednesday, August 6, is becoming rather solid as the date.

Your comments on Cascade Locks and Hood River really clicked. I'm guessing that the Best Western there is the one you mentioned earlier. Their rates aren't bargain basement but they're reasonable. Even the "river view" rooms aren't outrageous but by foregoing the premium view, I might almost pay for a tank of gas. So I'm just about sold on making that my Tuesday & Wednesday night home. Getting there from Quinault River shouldn't be a problem (especially if I'm not spending time chit-chatting with someone over coffee in Aberdeen smile.gif ) and even if the last hour or two is after sundown it doesn't matter - it's expressway! On Wednesday morning, I'll backtrack to Troutdale to pick up the beginning of the HCRH and can time things to meet you there or somewhere else along the highway.

With Wednesday night at Cascade Locks, your earlier suggestion of Yachats becomes a possible Thursday night stop. Any specific recommendations? Actually, Lincoln City and points up to an hour or so south are possibilities.

Over lunch I reread the "Oh, Columbia" article from AR V III N 3. Of course it got me even more psyched about the trip but I realized that it was (something I bet you don't hear often:-) "before your time". The article, by David J. Sell, is quite good and the Rowena Loops are on the cover. There is also a 1 to 101 article by Thomas on Sol Duc Hot Springs and that made me think of you because the Springs are less than 10 miles south of US-101 west of Port Angeles. It's an area where I'm planning on being north of 101 on WA-112 so I doubt I'll go for it. The road is really skinny in DeLorme plus you may take 112, too, but thought I'd mention it. I'd be glad to pass on more details if you'd like. Looks like the issue is still available in case you're short on HCRH information.

#20 Keep the Show on the Road!

Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 09:23 PM

It is impossible to be “before my time” regarding American Road Magazine. biggrin.gif I have Vol. I, Issue 1 as I was a charter subscriber…but alas issue 3 of Volume III is missing. However, I traveled the Historic Columbia River Highway long before it was “historic” and many times since. And I have read enough, and seen enough photos, that I probably won’t get lost, even without the fine write up.

But I absolutely deny “expertise,” and any drive will certainly reveal much that I have missed…or forgotten. Besides I have never traveled it as a passenger, other than when I was perhaps eight or nine. So should we connect and do a short tour, it will still be a “new” experience for me.

The section between Troutdale and Cascade Locks is the primary tourist section and contains all the waterfalls the highway is famous for. It is also the most busy now that heritage travel is catching on. Being there mid week will be to your advantage. I seldom have traveled the HCRH at peak season, so I am a little concerned with parking at prime sites.

I wouldn’t wait until Wednesday to do the section between Troutdale and Cascade Locks. The warm late afternoon sun, low in the sky, illuminating the Columbia River will take your breath away. And even a dusk visit will be spectacular, as the lights on the Crown Point circle are illuminated. ( And if there is a parking problem, it will be less in the late afternoon.) Then if you do backtrack to Troutdale Wednesday for another run, you will see it in a different light.

My point is, two runs at different times of day will be well rewarded.

The run between Mosier and The Dalles is entirely different. Even though you are practically at sea level through the entire Columbia River Gorge, you actually cross the Cascade Mountains in the process, and the climate changes dramatically on the east side. The mountains drain the clouds of rain, and the east side is much dryer, and at this time of year golden…in contrast to the lush green on the west side.

The advantage of the east side is that it is more open, and the views less restricted by big trees. You will note on the west side that some of the vistas and scenes in 1916-1926 photos are obscured by trees. Not so on the east side. But no waterfalls, and not many bridges and viaducts grace the east side.

A thought just occurred to me. If you are thinking you will backtrack from The Dalles to Cascade Locks for Wednesday evening, consider instead backtracking to Hood River, then going over the shoulder of spectacular Mt Hood, and spending the night at Timberline Lodge…or along US26 further west. The road is good, and has much to recommend it. It is a good and beautify mountain road, and you will be practically top of Mt Hood…something you won’t see up close and personal in Ohio! And it is real northwest mountain country!

Check that one out. It would still be possible to hook up, but I would follow you to Hood River. Then we could take one car between Hood River and The Dalles. We would pick my car up at Hood River on the return as you headed for the mountain. Boy, including Mt Hood would be a real bonus!

Enough rambling

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave













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