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  1. Default Oregon to Canada Rocky Mountain RV trip questions

    I am currently living in Portland Oregon and this summer I am planning driving the up to Canada Rocky Mountain with my family. I would like to explore Vancouver BC to Banff National Park and return back to Oregon Portland. We only have 4 days and my plan is to camp along the way in our rental RV. I have a lot of questions in mind since this is our first RV road trip. Does anyone have any suggestions on RV trip to Rocky Mountain.... camping...places of interest...places to miss...unsafe, safe places...

    Hope to hear from you all soon!

    Rick
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-20-2006 at 12:59 AM. Reason: Graphic crosses the line for advertising

  2. Default Only 4 days!

    Rick,

    With ONLY 4 days...there is no way I would try this in a car let alone an RV. It's 835 miles from Portland to Banff via Vancover. It's going to take 2 days of just driving to get to Banff and then you will just have to turn around and come right back. Over 400 miles a day in an RV is a pretty long day! I personally wouldn't even bother with less than 6 days.

    We've been to the Jasper/Banff parks twice in a motor home. We came up from California. The first time we had 16 days and that was barely enough time and we were in the Canadian rockies for 10 days. The second time was a 4 week trip!

    Utahtea

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

    Default I agree with Utahtea

    Sorry to be putting a damper on your plans but I think this sounds like a horrid idea. Utahtea is a very experienced RVer and if she says this would be miserable in an RV, then she deserves your attention. Yes, it's a very quick trip in a car as well but it will take even longer in an RV since it will be slower on elevation gains and windy roads.

    I would add that driving an RV, hooking it up at night for camping, and other daily chores associated with that type of rig, will be time-consuming as well. With experience you can get these tasks down to a fairly short period of time but, as a new RV driver, these things will likely take you quite awhile.

    I'm afraid you're going to spend all your time driving and hooking-up/unhooking your RV and sleeping. That's it.

    Is there anyway you can get a few more days? If not, I'd pick a trip closer to home. Go ahead and rent an RV but head out to Astoria/Seaside/Tillamook and make the loop back to Portland. Or take a trip to Mt. Hood and/or the Columbia River Gorge. Or go to Bend and back checking out charming places like Sisters and/or Warm Springs along the way. A shorter trip like this will give you the chance to get experienced with an RV and to see if you even like driving one.

    Personally, we didn't. So, when we had our truck/camper combo, we only did fairly short trips with the kids. When we did longer trips, we took tent-camping gear. Now we're back to tent-camping only as we like driving a car so much more. However, if I was going to be on the road long-term, like 6 months minimum, I would consider a small RV.

    Gosh....I hope we didn't make you feel too abd nixing your plans.

  4. Default Thanks for your information (photos enclosed)

    Thanks for all your replies. I am a beginner, and have never taken road trips to the Canadian Rockies. After reading up on some forums last night, Iíve realized that I should extend the trip to 8 days or even more, which is fine with me.

    My brotherís family will be joining us for this trip, which will make it a total of 10 people. Therefore, I need to rent a 10 passenger FULL-SIZE VAN instead of RV. (I doubt that the rental RV can fit 10 passengers)

    Iíd appreciate your expertise on what I need to know for this road trip to the Canadian Rockies. Thanks!

    1.As you can see from the photos below, would this be a good route (going and returning) to the Canadian Rockies from Portland, OR?
    Portland to Seattle, Vancouver, take Hwy 1 E to Mt. Revelatoke National Park, Glacier National Park, Yoho National Park, Banff National Park ,Jasper National ParkÖ
    If not, what would be a better alternative?

    2.If not traveling with RV, I was wondering if there would be enough motels along the way to Canadian Rockies that I can easily lodge during mid July? (Without the hassle of having reservations made in advance)


    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-20-2006 at 10:02 AM. Reason: Illustrations are nice -- but not appropriate on this Forum

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,059

    Default More Reasonable, but still pushing the envelope

    Quote Originally Posted by portland
    Iíve realized that I should extend the trip to 8 days or even more, which is fine with me.
    Eight days will give you a little more space, but you are still going to be rushed, unless you scale back the farthest destination a little.
    My brotherís family will be joining us for this trip, which will make it a total of 10 people. Therefore, I need to rent a 10 passenger FULL-SIZE VAN instead of RV. (I doubt that the rental RV can fit 10 passengers)
    Good choice -- even the largest rental RVs have a human payload of 4-6 adults and the one you were considering is much smaller. Those 10 passenger Vans are gas-hogs and so you might wish to use our Fuel Calculator tool and make some cost estimates.
    would this be a good route (going and returning) to the Canadian Rockies from Portland, OR? Portland to Seattle, Vancouver, take Hwy 1 E to Mt. Revelatoke National Park, Glacier National Park, Yoho National Park, Banff National Park ,Jasper National ParkÖ
    Your route is fine and you will be able to find plenty of motels on the road between the national parks -- lodging inside any of the parks in July without reservations could be iffy.

    The one change I would make is to avoid the travel in the Alberta plains south of Calgary -- unless you like plains. The country west of the Rockies is gorgeous -- full of hot springs and natural wonder. I really like the area around Fairmont and Nelson. I still don't think you can really "see" this entire area (including visits to Vancouver, BC) and back to Portland in eight days.

    Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Default Route? Vehicle? Some suggestions

    First, I'm a bit confused on the vehicle issue. Does your brother have a vehicle that carries his whole family? Do you have one that carries your's? if so, why rent a big, cumbersome van? I've done a lot of caravans with other cars that are a hoot and make travel fun. Here's an idea that might work for you. Take your own vehicles and buy some inexpensive FRS radios. You can get good ones for about $40-50 for a pair, one for each vehicle. Hopefully you both also have cellphones in case you get out of FRS range. FRS range is about 1-2 miles....frankly, only expect about 1 mile with decent reception.

    So, now you can travel in the comfort of your own cars but still jabber and talk the whole trip. And, the best part, is that you can mix things up a bit. The two wives can ride in one vehicle for awhile and take half the kids, while the two brothers can ride in the other with the other half of the kids. Then, a few miles down the road when the kids need a break from each other, mix it up and switch the kids around. Switch the adults around, too. It might be fun for whichever in-laws don't know each other that well to spend some time visiting together and getting to know each other, too.

    Yes, overall gas might cost you a bit more by taking two vehicles but you should save more than enough for the gas by the money you will save not renting a huge, cumbersome van. And your own vehicles are probably more comfortable. And I really think the ability to mix-it-up will go a long way to making the trip more fun for everyone.

    Also, this way if you are somewhere and some of the folks want to do one thing, and some want to do something else, but both activities are fairly close-by, you can split up, go your separate ways, have fun, and meet up later.

    I realize this might not appeal to you but, what the heck, it's worth considering.

    As for your route, I plugged your destinations into MS Streets & Trips, then fiddled a little, and came up with this.

    * Portland to Yakima via I-84, 97, and I-82.
    * Yakima to Omak, Penticton, and Kelowna via 97 until it merges with CA-1 at Sicamous
    * CA-1 through Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho, and Banff National Parks to the Lake Louise area.
    * 93 through Jasper National Park to the merge with 16 at the town of Jasper
    * 16 through Mount Robson Provincial Park to the merge with 5 at around Tete Jaune Cache
    * 5 through Kamloops to Hope
    * At Hope, take CA-1 to Abbotsford
    * Take the border crossing at Sumas and continue south on Hwy 9/542 to Sedro Wooley (pretty drive).
    * Then zip over to I-5 for the speed run to home.

    This trip is about 1700 miles. Still quite a bit for 8 days but it is do-able.

    I'm no help on the hotel concerns as I haven't traveled this whole route. The parts I've been on, I've always been camping. If you like to tent camp, buy a cheap roofrack and bring your camping gear. Again, the money you save on renting that huge van could help pay for items like that.

    Personally, I would skip adding the extra miles to go to Calgary. You have some great parks with stupendous views on your must-see list and, if I were you, I would concentrate on those places for this trip. To get to Calgary, you're adding a lot of extra miles you really don't have time for.

    I would also skip Vancouver BC this trip. Heck, if you've never been there, remember that it's only about 5 hours from Portland (as long as you plan on hitting Seattle when the rush hour traffic isn't causing slowdowns). You can zip up there on a 3-day weekend and have a great time. Drive up on a Friday night, play Saturday and Sunday, enjoy a few more hours of sightseeing in the morning before starting for home sometime early-to-mid afternoon. You should get home in plenty of time to get to bed for work the next morning if you left around 2-3pm for Portland.

    Well, at least this is all how I'd do it. Just my 2 bits.

  7. Default What are some of the must see places?

    Hi Utahtea , Judy , Editor

    Thanks for taking the time in sharing your views and suggestions. Your information really helped me on making better plans for summer my trip. My brother is coming from overseas to Portland with his family so they don't have a car. They're only here for 12 days so my schedule can be flexible within those 12 days. Since this is our first trip to Canada Rockies, I'm still figuring out of what would be the major sight seeing area around Canada Rockies. We can be flexible skipping Seattle and Vancouver BC in order to get to exploring Canada Rockies.

    My first option is traveling with my mini van that can sits 6 with my brother renting another mini van. As we take 2 vans for this trip like Judy suggested.
    Or go for the second option of renting one full size van (sits 12) that can put all passengers (9 people) in one van. I know those vans burns a lot of gas but children will have more fun in one van.

    I would like to ask you or anyone who had been to Canadian Rockies few question below:
    1. What are some of the must see places?
    2. Is there a lot to do for kids? (ages 7-11)
    3. How is the driving condition between mid July?

    Thanks again for your input.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-20-2006 at 11:06 PM. Reason: Removed image (again) Please don't do this again!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Default two is better than one

    Quote Originally Posted by portland
    My first option is traveling with my mini van that can sits 6 with my brother renting another mini van. Or go for the second option of renting one full size van (sits 12) that can put all passengers (9 people) in one van. I know those vans burns a lot of gas but children will have more fun in one van.
    Just our opinion -- but 2 min-vans would be more fun than 1 large van for all of these kids. These over-sized multi-passenger vehicles are great for commuting to work, but I would never recommend them for such a trip of this size. If only have one vehicle, you are pretty much stuck, whereas with two, you have all sorts of options.
    3. How is the driving condition between mid July?
    I have been in the Canadian Rockies a dozen times or so -- all of the places in your previous post are great. July is summertime driving -- chance of light thunderstorms most afternoons, followed by clearing and more sunny weather. Pretty much ideal.

    {Please don't put vehicle images in your posts again, or you may lose the ability to post on this Forum}

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    Default Oh, my.....

    Everyone in the same van for 12 days. No chance to separate kids who are getting on each other's nerves. No chance for the adults to take turns in the quieter vehicle with less kids, or even no kids, to enjoy a quiet conversation and solitude for awhile. And everyone always having to go to the same place together even if some people would really rather go to someplace else for awhile.

    Do you really think this sounds like more fun? As a veteran roadtripper, I stand by my original post on this matter.

    You are heading into some of the most beautiful outdoor recreation areas in the world. If your kids like playing outdoors, exploring, hiking, etc., there should be plenty for them to do. If they are into video games, movies, and the mall, not so much.

    I haven't been to most of those areas yet. Unfortunately! I wish I could give you advice but I'm hoping that you'll do a roadtrip report when you get back so you can give me hints on where to go and what to see.

  10. Default

    Hi Mark , Judy

    Thanks for your quick responses. I probably go for my first option, traveling with my mini van and my brother renting another mini van. As we take 2 vans for this trip like you suggested.

    I have to sleep now. Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate all of you.
    Rick

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