Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    obrok Guest

    Default Seattle to SanFran in 19 days

    Hi there!

    we're coming from Europe to our late honeymoon trip to West/South West of the US.

    We arrive at Seattle on May 12 and depart from SanFran on June 1 - what gives us 19 days.
    Will rent a car and want to see as much as possible on the way.
    As the schedule is tight, we think of having 1-day stops at the main "must sees".

    The current plan is as follows - I'll highly appreciate any comments (have not much experience with traveling across the US):

    1. Seattle
    2. Olympic NP
    3. Crater Lake NP
    (would love to see at least a little piece of Mt.Rainer and/or Mount Helen on the way to Crater Lake).
    4. Drive to Salt Lake City
    5. Zion
    6. Bryce
    7. Canyonlands (+ a short drive through Capitol Reef)
    8. Arches
    9. Drive through Natural Bridges and Monument Valley to Lake Powell
    10. Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon (in the evening drive to Grand Canyon, South Rim)
    12. Grand Canyon
    13. Evening/night drive to Las Vegas
    14. Drive through Death Valley with short stops and Sequoia and Kings Canyon
    15. Yosemite
    16. Drive south to Highway 1 (through Fresno) and arrive at SanFran
    17-19. San Fran.

    I think 2 days should do in SanFran, what gives 1 day "reserve".

    Is the plan DOABLE?

    My biggest concern is the long drive from Crater Lake to Salt Lake City.
    Mapquest shows it should be 10 hours - which is not a problem for me, but is it really possible to make it in 10-11 hours?

    Does it make any sense to stop for 1-2 hours at Mt.Rainer?

    Do you see any chance that we could visit Joshua Tree on the way from Las Vegas? I believe not :(

    Oh, and I don't want to make any hotel/motel reservations (except for Grand Canyon and the first night at Seattle), as we want it to be a real road trip :) As it would be the middle May (no tourism season) do you think we would have problems finding inexpensive accommodation?

    Thank you in advance for any comments.
    I'm looking forward to coming back to states (have seen part of East Coast only - and loved it!).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,589

    Default Potential Pitfalls and Problems

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you might be biting off a bit too much here. At the very least, you will want that one extra day (if not more) just to give you some flexability if you discover you are doing too much.
    My biggest concern is the long drive from Crater Lake to Salt Lake City.
    Mapquest shows it should be 10 hours - which is not a problem for me, but is it really possible to make it in 10-11 hours?
    When I plugged that leg into mapquest, I got a number that was a little over 12 hours. And in all honestly, if you can make the trip in under 13 or 14 hours I would be surprised.

    You'll also be coming off a 500 mile drive from Olympic to Crater Lake the day before. I'm not sure when you'd be able to see the lake after your 9-10 hour drive the day before, and I don't think you'll have any energy left when you arrive at Zion - which is another 4-5 hours from Salt Lake City.
    Does it make any sense to stop for 1-2 hours at Mt.Rainer?
    Like I mentioned, you're already looking at a full day driving to Crater Lake, I don't see how you have time for the detour, much less have time to stop and visit for a few hours.
    13. Evening/night drive to Las Vegas
    14. Drive through Death Valley with short stops and Sequoia and Kings Canyon
    First, you're only planning on spending a night in Vegas, after driving all the way from the grand canyon? There's so much to see there, that really seems like a waste.

    Second, Death Valley and Sequoia just aren't feasable to do in the same day. Check out this thread for more on the topic. Adding Joshua Tree would require an whole extra day on top of that.

    16. Drive south to Highway 1 (through Fresno) and arrive at SanFran
    I'm not exactly sure what you are planning here, but if you think you can drive all the way down to Paso Robles, back up through Big Sur, and onto SF in one day, I think you are trying to do way too much.

    Is the plan DOABLE?
    Well, define doable. Can you drive point to point to all of these places in 19 days, well sure. But I think you are underestimating the vastness of the american west, and I think you would be pretty exhausted at the end of this trip. You also will have very little time to enjoy the "honneymooning" aspect of your trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default Doable? Yes Fun? I doubt it

    I agree that you're biting off way too much. Unless you just want a whistle-stop where you'll stop for a minute, take a picture, and then drive on, you'll need to make some choices or stay longer.

    1. Seattle
    You can see the highlights of Seattle in one day but you're going to be missing some other great things. What all do you plan on seeing? I would suggest, at the very least: Ye Olde Curiousity Shoppe, The Market, Space Needle, Doc Maynard's and the Bill Speidel Underground Tour, Museum of Flight, and Pioneer Square. It would be pretty hard to do this in one day.

    2. Olympic NP
    To go from Seattle, around the Olympic Peninsula, to Chehalis, WA (which is a great jumping off point to do Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helen's is 300 miles. Due to the type of roads you'll be driving on, you will need at least 6 hours to drive this. This is if you don't even stop to eat. But that driving time doesn't include the time to take the ferry from Seattle over to the peninsula. It's only a 30-minute ferry ride from Seattle to Winslow but you need minimum of 30-45 minutes to board and probably about 15 minutes to debark...for a total of maybe 1.5 hours. So now you're up to 7.5 hours on the road. While the drive itself is beautiful, you're not going to be seeing any of the wonders within the park and you won't see any of the rainforest from the road. The Hall of Mosses, one of the most wondrous sights within the rainforest that is accessible without a long hike, is a good 1-1.5 hours to see. So now you're up to at least 8.5 hours. Ruby Beach is another worthy stop. A quick stop would take at least an hour, minimum. Anyway, you get the picture, I hope. If you just do minimal stops to eat and fuel-up, along with minimal stops at just a couple of the highlights along this route, you'll be on the road for at least 13 hours.

    If you take 2 days for this portion of your trip, it would be enjoyable and you could hit the highlights. With one day, it hardly even qualifies for a whistle-stop tour.

    3. Crater Lake NP
    (would love to see at least a little piece of Mt.Rainer and/or Mount Helen on the way to Crater Lake).

    If you stay in Chehalis and then do both Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, then drive to Crater Lake, you're talking about a drive of almost 600 miles. The miles to Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helen's, and then back to the highway (I-5) are about 240 slow miles. You'll be driving on narrow roads, and you might have heavy tourist traffic. I would figure a minimum of 6 hours just to drive to Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens and back to I-5. That doesn't include any time to get out and enjoy the views in these places.

    Once you get back to I-5, you're still talking another 320 miles to Crater Lake. Only part of this is on I-5 and then you're going back to some windy, narrow roads where your speed will be greatly reduced by the type of road and some potential tourist traffic. I would figure about 7 hours for just this part of the drive.

    So, if try to do all of this in one day, you're probably looking at 13 hours of driving and you haven't done any real sightseeing or exploring yet, or eaten, or fueled-up.

    Even if you skip both mountains and just drive south to Crater Lake, you would be hard-pressed to get there and have any time to enjoy the lake drive and any other explorations you might want to enjoy. I really think you need 2 whole days for this trip.

    4. Drive to Salt Lake City
    760 miles. Like Michael said, this is at minimum a 14-hour drive.

    5. Zion
    310 miles or so. Figure about 6 hours to drive. If you get a very early start in the morning, you should have the afternoon and evening to enjoy this park. This is the first day where you have a reasonable plan that could work. However, if you do the itinerary you have planned for the previous days, without adding extra days, I'm afraid you'll be too zonked to get up early and make a good day of this.

    I'm not going to do step-by-step comments on the rest of your trip. I agree with Michael that you're under-estimating the size of America.

    Mapquest and most other computer programs are fairly accurate on routes and mileage but are notoriously optimistic when it comes to travel times. They basically assume that you're not stopping anywhere and only giving you miles on the road. But, add to that, they don't take into consider driving conditions that impact the amount of time it takes to travel that distance. We usually advise that you figure 57mph for travel in the Western US. That factors in time for very short stops to re-fuel, eating, etc. but no time for stopping and enjoying any of the sights along the way.

    Figure it this way, if you are planning on driving 6 hours and only make 1 stop per hour to enjoy a scenic viewpoint or roadside heritage sight along the way, you've added six 10-minute stops for another hour. Stops really add up. But isn't the point of a roadtrip to enjoy some of these stops? And, of course, some sights are worth much more time than 10 minutes.

    Take some time to determine what you really want to see and re-work your trip a bit and then please return so we can give you some more advise. We want you to have a terrific honeymoon.

    Best wishes on your upcoming nuptials!

  4. #4
    obrok Guest

    Default Revised the plan

    Hello again!

    First of all - THANK YOU for your comments. They really made me aware that I was biting off a bit too much.

    I revised the plan and now think of the following trip:

    1. Seattle (leaving in the evening to have a night around Warrenton/Cannon Beach, OR),
    2. Drive "slowly" south along US-101 towards Crater Lake
    3. Arrive at Crater Lake in the morning, sped a few hours there (till 2 p.m.
    4. Drive south towards Yosemite (night aroung Sacramento/Stockton, CA)
    5. Yosemite
    6. Few hours at Sequoia and drive to Las Vegas (arrive late)
    7. Las Vegas - Death Valley - Las Vegas
    8. Zion
    9. Bryce (to 4-5 p.m.)
    10. Drive to Moab
    11.Arches and/or Canyonlands, late drive to Mexican Hat for the night
    12. Drive through Monument Valley (a few stops for pictures) to Lake Powell
    13. Lake Powell + Antelope Valley
    14. Drive to Grand Canyon
    15. Grand Canyon (and evening drive towards San Fran).
    16. Drive along US-1 north to San Fran
    17-19. San Fran.


    I know this is still a tough schedule, but I hope we can make it.
    Not much time for resting, but as I said - we want to see as much as possible.

    What do you think?
    I'm affraid you still don't like it :(

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,589

    Default Uff-Duh!

    I think you are right about your prediction, I still don't like your plan.

    In fact, I think you may have managed to make your trip worse. As far as I can tell, you haven't taken any stops off of your plan and now you are actually going to have to do more driving because you are taking a much less logical route, where you'll have some serious cases of doubling back.

    You've also still some stretches that really aren't feasable. For example, Yosemite to Las Vegas via Sequoia just is not really possible in a day. Nor does it make sense if you are planning to visit Death Valley the next day. Grand Canyon to San Francisco will require a minimum of 2 full days via the coast, and even that would be cutting it close.

    Basically, you're still in a position where you might be able to drive to all the places you have listed, but I'm not sure how you'll be able to SEE any of it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default Skipping the PNW

    When I look at your new route and that most of the places are in California/Utah/Nevada, I'm questioning your flight into Seattle and then driving south, and then leaving from San Francisco. You will likely get cheaper tickets by going round-trip and arriving/leaving from the same airport. If you're going to skip most of the Pacific NW, you might as well fly into San Francisco and save yourself some money. Also, this will take some miles off your trip and make things more do-able.

    I realize this would make you miss the Oregon Coast but you will be driving up the California coast going back to San Francisco so you'll get some beautiful coast driving there. The beaches and scenery are different but should give you enough of your "beach fix" to suffice for this trip.

    I suggest dropping Crater Lake for this trip as well.

    I just think you'll have a more enjoyable trip if you focus on CA and the Southwest on this trip and save the Pacific NW for a trip in the future. Or, alternatively, do the Pacific NW this trip and CA/Southwest another time.

    A good Pacific NW loop in the number of days you have available would be: Seattle - Olympic Peninsula - Oregon Coast - Crater Lake - Bend - Mt. Hood - Columbia River Gorge - Portland - Mt. St. Helens - Mt. Rainier - Eastern WA coulees - Grand Coulee Dam - Methow Valley - North Cascades Highway - Seattle. You might consider that for future reference.

Similar Threads

  1. 18 days.. from Seattle to LA or San Diego or Las Vegas
    By Ricardo in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-09-2007, 02:57 PM
  2. Redwoods to Seattle – ten days on the North West Coast
    By Peter Thody in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-18-2007, 03:17 PM
  3. Pittsburgh to Seattle - 3 days?
    By Movinoutwest in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-10-2006, 10:25 PM
  4. Seattle to Houston in 3.5 days
    By imported_AJ in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-04-2005, 08:37 AM
  5. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-04-2003, 06:53 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • EmailTwitterFacebookMore!

    RoadTrip Reservations
    Fuel Cost Calculator