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  1. Default Dallas to LA to San Fran to Portland to Denver

    I am going with three of my friends on a West Coast exploration vacation. We're giving ourselves three weeks for this quest. We're planning on camping the majority of the time so if you know of any hip spots to chill out and camp or cool places to visit on the coast, I'm all virtual ears. The cities that we plan to stop in for a minute are LA, San Fran, Arcadia, Eugene, Bend, and Portland. Also if you know of any co-ops or friendly communities that we can stop and rap with, that would be the hippest. We're not tourists, we're travelers so we try to stay as close to the land as we can. In other words, no, I don't want to go to Disneyland. :)

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks people.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Not a Disneyland traveler eh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Illmaeo
    I am going with three of my friends on a West Coast exploration vacation.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    We're giving ourselves three weeks for this quest.
    I love the Quest form of roadtrips.
    We're planning on camping the majority of the time so if you know of any hip spots to chill out and camp or cool places to visit on the coast, I'm all virtual ears.
    When is this trip planned for? It is foggy and chilly along most of the coast after the 15th of June most years.
    The cities that we plan to stop in for a minute are LA, San Fran, Arcadia, Eugene, Bend, and Portland.
    Would that be Arcata (instead of Arcadia? Arcadia is near Los Angeles and Arcata is near Eureka).
    Also if you know of any co-ops
    Being a college town, Arcata has an extensive Co-op presence.
    We're not tourists, we're travelers so we try to stay as close to the land as we can. In other words, no, I don't want to go to Disneyland. :)
    Interesting distinction, since by definition, if you are not a local, you would be a tourist, traveler or not. Unless you are are "professional traveler".

    There are hundreds of posts about destinations along your route of travel. Five are listed on the bottom of this page.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. Default

    thanks for the reply. We're leaving Dallas on June 3 and will return on the 25th. I have a friend that lives in Arcadia so we are definitely stopping there. Arcata is in Humboldt County right? We have plans on exploring the Humboldt area so we will have to check out Arcata as well. Also, we were planning on spending some time camping in the Redwoods.... will we have to rent a camping spot at the national park or is it reasonable to risk taking a sideroad and finding a tree to sleep in? I mean obviously we would make sure it wasn't private property and we would make sure we are out of sight, because I really don't feel like shelling out 25$ a night for the privilege of sleeping out under the stars. I know here in Texas if you are out of sight of the highway and not in someone's yard it's cool to camp overnight.

    by definition i'm a tourist which is just fine; the reason I said what I did is so people wouldn't recommend I go see the grand canyon or go to china town or go see the golden gate bridge, you know what I'm saying? I want to kick it with the locals, not walk around the city square with a camera around my neck. so if you know of any places here in cyberspace where i could get in touch with locals on my route that would be super green too.

    by the way, I'm just an amatuer traveler. ;)

    thanks every body.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Free/Cheap places to camp

    Hi Illmaeo.
    will we have to rent a camping spot at the national park or is it reasonable to risk taking a sideroad and finding a tree to sleep in? I mean obviously we would make sure it wasn't private property and we would make sure we are out of sight, because I really don't feel like shelling out 25$ a night for the privilege of sleeping out under the stars. I know here in Texas if you are out of sight of the highway and not in someone's yard it's cool to camp overnight.
    Here are a couple of suggestions of free/cheap places to stay overnight (look at the bottom of the page). BLM campgrounds are usually a lot cheaper (~10-15$) than KOA's, private campgrounds and a lot of National Parks campgrounds.
    so if you know of any places here in cyberspace where i could get in touch with locals on my route that would be super green too.
    Well, you could get in touch with some locals on this very forum and you could also look into couchsurfing.

    Have a fun trip!
    Gen

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Coastal trip?

    With your planned stops in Bend, Eugene, etc., it sounds like you're going to be missing most of the coast itself. While Bend and Eugene are terrific places, I think you'll be missing some of the most beautiful parts of the country if you skip the coastal highway.

    I would suggest driving north on the coast until you get to Newport, OR. Then go east on Hwy 20 to Corvallis, then south on 99 to Eugene. This route will take you a bit north and then you'll have to go south again but I think it will be worth it. You'll see most of the awesome Oregon Coast and then drive through beautiful country on your way back to Eugene. I really don't think you'll regret the coastal drive.

    If you can swing being in Eugene on the weekend, there's a fantastic farmer's market area there with fun booths with crafts by local artisans, local foods, and funky-fun things like fortune tellers. It's a great way to hook up with some of Eugene's infamous hippies. I can't remember where it's located in Eugene. If you want some help with this, let me know and I'll contact my friends who live there. But I'm sure you could easily find it when you get there because it's pretty well known.

    From Eugene, I would then head toward Bend via Hwy 126. Awesome, amazing, breathtaking drive! If it's open, part way along this drive there will be signs for the McKenzie Pass (Hwy 242). If the pass is open, take it!!! You won't regret it. But it opens late in the season most years. Last time I was down that way it was mid-June and it was still closed. If it's not yet open, continue on Hwy 126. It is only a notch less amazing than 242 so you will still enjoy a gorgeous drive the whole way.

    Both these routes come into Sisters, OR. I like Sisters much more than Bend. Sisters is a mountain village and, yes, there is something slightly touristy about it but it's also full of warm, welcoming people and there is a large community of artists/artisans there who are definitely NOT mainstream. If you could hook-up with any of them, even for brief visits, I'm sure you'll have a great time there. Even without that connection, it's a town worth exploring, imho.

    From Sisters, it's just a short drive south on Hwy 20 to Bend.

    To get to Portland from Bend, I would suggest going north on Hwy 97. Just north of Madras, OR, take Hwy 26 through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. You will go through high desert country into deep green Evergreen forests. Awesome changing scenery that happens pretty quicky. Hwy 26 will take you up by Mt. Hood (very scenic mountain) and directly into the Portland area via scenic mountain roads.

    If you have the time at this point, I would suggest the following: when you get up to the Mount Hood area, go east on Hwy 35 through Barlow Pass and Bennett Pass to Hood River, OR. Hood River is a neat town and this is a huge wind-surfing area. It's fun to just watch the wind-surfers. They do some amazing stuff. And there are places where you can take a short lesson and try it yourself.

    Then take I-84 west towards Portland. This is one of the most beautiful interstates I know of with great scenic views of the Columbia River Gorge. When you get just a tad west of Dodson, OR, take exit 35 to travel the Historic Columbia River Highway that takes you on a slighly more windy path (fun twisty-turns) and gives you scenic views of the gorge from a little higher elevation. Beautiful drive. Along the way you will probably enjoy stretching your legs at Bridal Veil Falls and Multnomah Falls. And the historic Crowne Point Vista House is worth a stop.

    You can then merge back with I-84 and continue on into Portland or, if you have a good map, continue west on small, local roads through some beautiful country into Troutdale. You can still do local roads that go through various smaller towns until you get more into the Portland metro area or hook-up with I-84 at numerous places along the way.

    Anyway, that's the way I'd do. I live in Washington and have traveled these roads quite a bit so I'm fairly familiar with these areas. I truly think you're seeing some of the best roads through Oregon if you take my advice.

    As for the traveler vs. tourist debate....I'm happily both. I usually do whatever I can to avoid chain restaurants and eat at local restaurants. I love to strike up conversations with local people, etc. I love to find out what local people think about various issues, and get their recommendations on things to do and see. But this doesn't negate enjoying the touristy things to do as well. In fact, tacky tourist traps are some of my favorite things. They can be a hoot. Add to that, there is usually a good reason why people live where they live. And, usually, the local tourist attractions are a part of that reason. The coastal highway is definitely a tourist draw in Oregon yet most people live there because they are in love with the coast. The liberal atmosphere of Eugene draws a lot of folks to this unique, liberal enclave. However, the hippie-types that live there are a bit of a tourist draw for others who come to Eugene as tourists. The same can be said for Sisters and Bend with their snow, mountainous terrains, and winter sports. The same can be said for Hood River with its vibrant water sports community.

    People move to those places to enjoy the very things that make them tourist attractions and, by enjoying those things yourself, you will understand the people who live there better. Enjoying one doesn't negate the other but, rather, enhances it. Does that make sense?

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