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  1. #1

    Default 7200+ miles in April 2007

    New to the forum, so hello!

    My girlfriend and I are planning a big trip upon my return from Iraq and her graduation from college, and its a big one. We have friends and places we want to see spread across the US, and also the time and urge to get away from it all, so what started slightly small has grown to pretty large!

    I have some experience doing solo trips myself (though mostly trips that I can finish after one day of long driving), and as a pair we've done some driving that was a little further.

    We've got a Toyota Echo which is itching to stretch its (small) legs, and with me in Iraq, I have more than the time I'd need to plan (and overplan) our trip.

    Our plan:
    Richmond (start)
    Nashville
    Little Rock
    Amarillo
    Albuquerque
    Grand Canyon
    Las Vegas
    Fresno
    Sacramento
    San Francisco
    Ferndale/Redwoods
    Medford, OR/Crater Lake
    Seattle
    Twin Falls, ID
    Jackson, WY
    Denver
    Kansas City
    St Louis
    Nashville
    Richmond

    We're planning on journaling our trip online, and some of that is already up, at least for some planned locations. We do have a lot of 2 day stops spread out throughout the trip to help us not burn out too much, though we expect to be absolutely exhuasted at the end. But we think it's worth it!

    Feel free to check out the website, as much as is there right now. (The entries of course is just to check the look).
    Last edited by drmfreek; 10-19-2006 at 10:26 AM. Reason: format issues

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

    Default Miss Pearl + 2

    Quote Originally Posted by drmfreek View Post
    My girlfriend and I are planning a big trip upon my return from Iraq and her graduation from college, and its a big one.
    As good a reason to take a roadtrip as we know -- hope your return to the States is swift and safe. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    We have friends and places we want to see spread across the US, and also the time and urge to get away from it all, so what started slightly small has grown to pretty large!
    Yeah, you have some large distances built into that schedule, but most of it looks doable.

    An April trip I did solo a few years ago was 10,000 miles -- so 7200 miles seems positively sane by comparison!

    Enjoy the planning!

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Hello!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    An ambitious plan, to be sure, you're making a lot of us envious here!

    Many if not most of the places on your itinerary have been discussed here before, but be sure to check by every so often as we are always getting new information from the road.

    Looking forward to your input.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for the quick response!

    I think thats the first time my trip has been called sane. All our friends and family are supportive, if a little skeptical. They can't imagine why we would want to do it!

    I forgot to mention the time we've allowed, which is a minimum of 25 days. We're looking into hotel reservations or not depending on how tight we think we'll stick to the schedule.

    This site is already won me over with all the info available, I look forward to reading more!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Reservations

    You should be pretty safe regarding finding places to stay during that time of the year - in fact, you may notice a reasonable discount during the weekdays, provided you aren't in a conference center (they always seem to cost more, for nothing extra).

    Quote Originally Posted by drmfreek
    I think thats the first time my trip has been called sane.
    It is few and far between that any of our trips are called sane by anybody other than the regulars on this site - a common quote I hear is "You DROVE all that way???"


    We understand!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Welcome!

    And godspeed on your safe return to the US!

    Your trip doesn't sound insane to me. My dream is to have that kind of time to travel. And you've certainly earned it.

    I would encourage you to not stay on I-5 all the way from Crater Lake to Seattle. The Oregon coast is gorgeous. If you have the time, I suggest taking Route 42 from Green to North Bend on the coast and then driving the coast at least up to Astoria, then taking 30 into Portland.

    If you're not planning on visiting Portland (but you might want to spend time in this lovely city), then cross the Astoria bridge over to Washington and continue up 101 for awhile enjoying the Washington coast. In fact, if you have the time, I would really encourage you to do the whole Washington coast and loop up around the Olympic Peninsula. There's some gorgeous things to see and do here.

    But, then again, I would also encourage you to make a stop at Mt. St. Helen's. Fascinating place. This would be off of I-5 between Portland and Seattle.

    And some time in the Columbia River Gorge area would be worth your time as well.

    Gosh....I don't mean to confuse your trip plans any but I really hope that you'll try to do some or all of these things. I really think any would be among the high points of your trip.

    If you have any questions, let us know.

    Oh, and very nice website!
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 09-07-2006 at 09:28 AM. Reason: addition

  7. #7

    Default

    I'll take some of those suggestions into my plans, Judy. I do like the idea of going up the coast as much as we can. We'll get to Crater Lake early enough in the day hang out there till the evening, allowing us to head out early next morning on our way to Seattle. We'll take 42 like you suggested on up to Astoria, and then on to Seattle. I'd love to do the Olympic Peninsula, but it just becomes so long a drive we would need another day to complete it decently.

    But the coastline will definitely be visited!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Cool!

    I really think you won't regret it.

    If time is short, I'd suggest the following: Take 42 to the coast but take the 18 and then 99 from the coast (just north of Lincoln City into Portland). This way you get the heart of the Oregon coastal drive but then can zip over to I-5 for a quick run from Portland to Seattle. Of course, I still suggest a visit to Mt. St. Helens, too. In Castle Rock, WA, go east from I-5 on the Spirit Lake Highway to the Johnston Visitor Center for an amazing view into the Crater. It's about an hour from the freeway.

    Or, if you have a bit more time, I would continue up the coast to Astoria, cross the amazing bridge (over 5 miles long) across the Columbia River to Washington state, and then turn around and come back to Astoria. (It's just a really cool drive as you are very low to the water and will only take you about 15-20 minutes or so to do). Then, in Astoria, go east on 30 for 25 miles to Westport, OR, and take the ferry to Cathlamet, WA. Then go east on 4 to Longview/Kelso and then north up I-5 towards Seattle.

    You can find out more about the Westport ferry here. Scroll down the page and look for Westport ferry. I would call the phone number listed to ensure that this schedule is still good.

  9. #9

    Default

    Changes!

    I was looking at a map last night (a dangerous thing) and noticed that a lot of the California coast I wanted to see (Big Sur and surrouding area) was BELOW San Francisco, and not above it like I thought. Thats what I get for looking at a lot of closeup maps, and not the big picture. SO, changes were made. Added another day to the road trip!

    Instead of-
    Las Vegas-Fresno
    Fresno-Sacramento/San Francisco

    Now we have-
    Las Vegas-Fresno (with Sequoia national park in the afternoon)
    Fresno-Big Sur
    Big Sur-San Francisco (with a stop in Santa Cruz in the middle, Mystery Spot looks awesome)

    We were already doing 3 nights in the San Francisco/Sacramento area to see a friend, now I think we'll just spend all the nights in SF, and just drive to Sacramento if they can't drive to us. Easier!

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

    Default Looking at a map -- What a concept!

    Quote Originally Posted by drmfreek View Post
    I was looking at a map last night (a dangerous thing) and noticed that a lot of the California coast I wanted to see (Big Sur and surrouding area) was BELOW San Francisco, and not above it like I thought.
    The north coast is pretty too, but you are right, the Big Sur is south of San Francisco!
    Thats what I get for looking at a lot of closeup maps, and not the big picture. SO, changes were made. Added another day to the road trip!
    That is ALWAYS a good thing!
    Now we have-Las Vegas-Fresno (with Sequoia national park in the afternoon) Fresno-Big Sur;
    Big Sur-San Francisco (with a stop in Santa Cruz in the middle, Mystery Spot looks awesome)
    Just curious -- how are you getting from Las Vegas to Sequoia NP? It is possible, but that is a long, long day. All of the passes will be closed in April and so you will need to plan on at least a 488 mile trip. (Or about nine hours in the saddle) If you sight-see along the way, and maybe even go via Death Valley -- the trip will be at least 12 hours long.

    Fresno to Big Sur: You need to look at that map again.... Fresno is way north of the Big Sur coastline. In order to drive along the coast, you will need to back-track 100 miles to San Luis Obispo and then head north again. This day will be about 6-7 hours
    We were already doing 3 nights in the San Francisco/Sacramento area to see a friend, now I think we'll just spend all the nights in SF, and just drive to Sacramento if they can't drive to us. Easier!
    OK, but Sacramento and San Francisco are not that close to each other. They are about 90 miles apart ~ a couple of hours of travel.

    Mark

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