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  1. Default Yates family 9 week road trip up the west coast - what must we NOT miss

    Hi - the Yates family (mum, dad, 2 kids) from the UK, have hired a motorhome for 9 weeks in July and August - yippee. We are flying into San Francisco, then driving down to LA, out to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, up through the NP's to Yosemite, back to San Francisco and up the coast to Vancouver Island, over to Vancouver, down to Seattle and home. What do we absolutely have to do and can't possibly miss!!!! Obviously I have read the links and there's loads of fab advice and places to see, but I don't want to miss any of those things which you just don't read about - hence asking you all!!!
    Also - any advice on the need to pre book RV sites, keen to go with the flow really and not pre book, but I understand it is a busy time of year - so any advice appreciated.
    Lastly, someone has told me that you can park up overnight in Walmart car parks - does anyone know if this is true - wouldn't want to start an unpopular trend there!!!!
    Thanks for reading, and if any of you are on the road in July and August - maybe we'll catch up somewhere!! Mum Yates

  2. #2

    Default Welcome!

    Hello Mum Yates, welcome to Roadtrip America!

    There really is sooo much you cannot miss in the west and, with 9 weeks to spare, you'll have a good crack at seeing it all! Of course you couldn't do that in 9 months, so tell us what sort of thing is of most interest to your family. Are you into hiking, fishing, golf, just chilling out, sightseeing, etc?

    You can find some details of parking at Walmart here

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Nine Weeks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yates Family View Post
    Hi - the Yates family (mum, dad, 2 kids) from the UK, have hired a motorhome for 9 weeks in July and August - yippee
    Yep, that does sound like a great adventure! Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    We are flying into San Francisco, then driving down to LA, out to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, up through the NP's to Yosemite, back to San Francisco and up the coast to Vancouver Island, over to Vancouver, down to Seattle and home.
    Wow! What a route! Here are some articles that you ought read and think about:

    Print this one out and take it with you when you pick up your RV rental
    A list of some of the best recent threads for the San Francisco et al sections
    Northern California to Seattle
    LA to Seattle
    Oregon and places in between
    Portland and Seattle -- Favorites from Judy
    A great overview about visiting LA
    Some favorite coastal stops
    Also - any advice on the need to pre book RV sites, keen to go with the flow really and not pre book, but I understand it is a busy time of year - so any advice appreciated.
    Some thoughts about the types of RV camping locations.Also, I just posted a list of some nice campgrounds (not all of them are on your route, but still an interesting list)

    Lastly, someone has told me that you can park up overnight in Walmart car parks - does anyone know if this is true - wouldn't want to start an unpopular trend there!!!!
    This is called "blacktop boondocking" and here is an excellent article about how to do it.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-26-2007 at 01:13 PM. Reason: added a new link

  4. Default Wow speedy responses - this site is fab

    Hi - thanks Craig and Mark - we're most interested in wildlife, the immense scenery and some touristy stuff too - well you have to be really, but also happy to get off the beaten track a bit if there is good stuff to see and do - that's the beauty of 9 weeks. We want to do the beach thing and entertain the kids as much as possible, but they love the outdoors, but we also want to stay a while in some places to catch up with people and just enjoy being in the US and of course the famous west coast, so points to spend longer in and those to skip would be great too.

    We sort of thought we ought to have a destination in mind for each 2 or 3 week marker, so we can organise ourselves a bit, and not rush too much at the beginning and have loads of time at the end or go slowly at the beginning and end up stressing at the end, so any hints on that would be great.
    Thnaks for all the threads too - I'll need to have a good read with a map to hand.
    Really can't wait and hopefully we'll have a laptop, so we can keep looking at this site as we go along too.
    Thanks again.
    Mum Yates

  5. Default

    Hello from BC, Canada!

    ~tips on going to Vancouver Island...

    You will have to deal with a ferry, and there are different routes that you can take. You can go from Vancouver to Victoria, up the Island to Comox, and then over to Powell River, another ferry to the Sunshine Coast, and one more to Vancouver. This is called the Circle Pass. Or you can just go between Victoria and Vancouver. see http://www.bcferries.com for rates, routes, reservations (recommended during holiday weekends).

    Bring water and snacks with you because if you get stuck in a sailing wait there isn't always food at the terminals, and it can be long and boring. The cafeteria only accepts cash, the terminals cash or credit card.

    The Island is fairly large and you could easily spend a week just seeing it.

    Victoria is a nice city with many attractions. We enjoy seeing the Royal BC Museum. Your kids may like the Scratch Patch where they can search for precious stones and pan for gold, as well as Butterfly World out in Sannich. If you like gardens, Butchart Gardens is very nice and has a nightly light display (admission is a bit high though).

    Farther up the Island...Cathedral Grove is a very pretty stand of old growth trees that are popular with tourists. Keep in mind that from Nanaimo north there are two highways...the OLD Island Highway (scenic by the ocean route) or the INLAND Island Highway (faster, newer, not scenic route). I recommend the old Island Highway, as the scenery is beautiful. You won't be able to resist stopping in Qualicum as you pass the gorgeous beach in your car. Really! Rathtrevor Provincial Park just outside of Nanaimo is over-rated, in my opinion. As far as beaches go, Qualicum is far nicer. Miracle Beach Provincial Park is another gem, farther north up between Campbell River and Courtenay. (google bc provincial parks and you'll find more info). These are warm beaches; because the water is between the island and the mainland. In late August you do have the chance of seeing orcas. I recommend reservations for these places as well, because they also fill up.

    If you go to the western side of island, a very curvy and narrow road gets you to Tofino and Ucluelet. Reservations are recommended as these are very popular tourist towns and fill up quickly! Not to miss: Long Beach. Keep in mind though it's not a warm beach but rather a cool one, because from there it's wide open ocean. You can go whale watching.

    Vancouver.....

    Kids will like:
    -Science World
    -Vancouver Aquarium/Stanley Park
    -Festival of Light (Fireworks festival in beginning of August)
    -Granville Island Market
    -HR Macmillian Planetarium
    -Grouse Mountain

    I encourage you to google these names because they all have websites.

    July/August is a good time to see the coast of BC. It can be hot, but it also can be rainy and cool. Bring clothes for both, and some rain gear just in case.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Stand back!

    Hi, You folks are doing it right, and with this crowd to throw advice at you, you better be prepared! Actually, it has already started.

    For wildlife, I'd suggest Northwest Trek near Mount Rainier, Washington. Yes, it is a zoo, of sorts, but it has very natural environments for most of the animals. It is one of the few places to see most of the best known native North American animals.

    How's this for off the beaten track...in Fossil, Oregon, behind the high school, at the far end of the football field, is a hillside where you can look for fossils. No admittance fee, no restrictions. Just dig through pieces of rock and you never know what you'll find. All the fossils are plants, but we found some really beautiful leaf and fern patterns - one in the middle of a rock that split open when I picked it up. While you are in the area, visit the various parts of the John Day parks. We especially like the Painted Hills and the Sheep Rock units, but the Clarno unit near Fossil is interesting, too. Each is geologically unique.

    Mt. St. Helens is an absolute must, but try putting Crater Lake National Park and/or Paulina Lake (with unique volcanic obsidian flow) on the list. The whole area around Bend, Oregon has lots of volcanic sites.

    There is an RV park in Victoria, right on the bay across from downtown that is great. You can take a water taxi over to the city.

    There are so many wonderful landscapes and cities to explore you'll have no trouble filling up your 9 weeks. I'll throw out some more off-the-beaten track ideas as they occur to me.

    Be sure to pick up a Trailer Life or Woodalls campground directory. They are focused on RVs and have all the info you need to find convenient places to camp. In most cases you can call a couple of days ahead for a reservation, but some, like Yosemite, may be too late already.

    Good for you for taking time and limiting your scope. It should be great!

    Craig Sheumaker

    co-author of America's Living History-The Early Years

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