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  1. Default MN>Montana>Seattle>Napa>Pacific Coast>Albuquerque>Home

    I’ve been reading old posts and doing my own research here but it is just confusing me even more. So heck, I’m gonna post this up and hopefully someone can help.

    We’re planning MN to Montana to Seattle to Napa to Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara to Albuquerque to Springfiled, MO back to MN. Time set for this is 3 weeks, as of now we are looking at late April to mid-May. These are the major cities we want to hit….along with all the smaller stops we’ll be making along the way.

    Question –

    Montana - I’d like to see Glacier National Park but if we’re there in late April…is most of the park even open? I checked their website and it said some roads will be open while others are closed. If some roads are closed, is it even worth the time to go there? That’s a concern for me. Also, is it still too cold to camp in late April? We are both avid campers so we most likely will camp when we can.

    My husband grew up in Missoula and hasn’t been back since childhood so we’d like to spend some time in Missoula as well. Maybe a day at the most. Does it make more sense to drive to Glacier first and then south to Missoula? From there our next destination is Seattle. Let me know your thoughts.

    We’d like to spend maybe a day or two in Seattle…no major plans of what to do yet so I will have to research that. My husband mentioned something about a ferry around Seattle we can take…I have no idea what he’s talking about. Does anyone know? Or maybe he is talking about a ferry in Oregon?

    From Seattle, we want to drive south thru Oregon...eventually making our way to Napa, CA. We will do the whole wine tasting in Napa then go to SF. From SF we want to take the Pacific Coast Highway all the way down to Santa Barbara…taking our time and stopping along the way, camping, lodging, whatever is available…. I’d like to see Big Sur, Carmel, etc… From Santa Barbara, we will head east and into northern part of AZ, not sure how far Grand Canyon is from there so I will have to research more. Then from there eventually get to Albuquerque, NM. We’ll wrap up our trip with a stop in Springfield, MO and then make our way back home to MN.

    So…for all you experts…does this ‘rough’ trip route look ok for 3 weeks? There’s still much research done as far as lodging, routes, scenic drives, what to do, etc… We’re both pretty active people, we like to camp…he’s a fisherman so he will probably bring along a fishing pole & supplies (I told him he cannot drag the 22 ft boat with us!) :D. I am a photographer so any of those must-see spots…give them to me.

    Question about PCH-

    How many days should I set aside for this? We want to take it slow and enjoy the journey….stopping along the way in some of those cities.


    I will probably have a ton more questions…

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default A "serious" road trip!

    Quote Originally Posted by shopgirl78 View Post
    We’re planning MN to Montana to Seattle to Napa to Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara to Albuquerque to Springfiled, MO back to MN.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Your route could probably be driven in three weeks, but you will need some serious in-the-car-seat-driving time! By the time you add in fishing time, camping time, hiking time, and sightseeing, you will be hard-pressed to see all of those places in three weeks in April (with the prospect of snowy and/or stormy weather conditions in some of the places).
    Montana - I’d like to see Glacier National Park but if we’re there in late April…is most of the park even open?
    All of the park is technically open -- but not open to vehicular traffic. I am positive that the famous Going to the Sun Road will be closed. On the other hand the road that is just to the south of park will be open and the salt lick on that highway will afford you incredible shots of mountain sheep -- the last time I was there was in early May and I saw a couple dozen kids and their parents scampering on the cliff -- for me that was more than worth the drive!
    Also, is it still too cold to camp in late April? We are both avid campers so we most likely will camp when we can.
    If you are prepared for Spring conditions -- you will be fine -- but, yes, it will be very chilly and some of the campgrounds in the park will still be closed.
    My husband grew up in Missoula and hasn’t been back since childhood so we’d like to spend some time in Missoula as well. Maybe a day at the most. Does it make more sense to drive to Glacier first and then south to Missoula? From there our next destination is Seattle. Let me know your thoughts.
    Makes sense.
    We’d like to spend maybe a day or two in Seattle…no major plans of what to do yet so I will have to research that. My husband mentioned something about a ferry around Seattle we can take…I have no idea what he’s talking about. Does anyone know? Or maybe he is talking about a ferry in Oregon?
    There are dozens of ferries around Seattle -- Seattle is located on the Sound. Here are some ideas about visiting Seattle and Portland. Here is an incredible list of threads about this area!
    How many days should I set aside for this? We want to take it slow and enjoy the journey….stopping along the way in some of those cities.
    A week or more?

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-06-2008 at 07:56 PM. Reason: oops-- left out a modifying word in a sentence

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

    Default Oregon south

    You kinda skipped over explaining your plans for Oregon. Are you planning on doing the coast or the interior (down I-5)? The coast drive is gorgeous. I would plan at least 3 days for that so you have time to explore. Four would be even better. However, the interior has the Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Hood, and the wondrous Crater Lake. At least a couple days to explore these areas would also make a good trip. If you have time for this leg, it is possible to do both the interior and the coast.

    Back to Washington/Seattle area....Mark is right. The ferries are in the Seattle area on Puget Sound. I only know of one ferry in Oregon and it's just a teeny one, crossing the Columbia River. You could take a ferry to the San Juan Islands. Or you could simply take a ferry from the east side of Puget Sound (from Seattle or other locations) over to the west side of Puget Sound. From there you could drive the magnificent Olympic Peninsula with stops at the Olympic Rainforest (one of the only temperate rainforests in the world...parts of it look primordial).

  4. Default

    Mark- thank you for replying!

    I will have to look some more into Glacier to see what's open/closed. I do want to see Going to the Sun Road...and I had a feeling it'd be close.

    Thank you for the info regarding Seattle! Much much appreciated. I am not familiar with the area at all so I am going to read up on the threads you posted. Thank you!

    Judy- sorry...I should have clarified. We don't intend to spend a whole lot of time in Oregon...probably just drive thru it on the way to Cali.

    Thanks for the info on the ferries. I am checking this out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default

    When you get to Albuquerque, you could head on up to the Jemez Mountains. It doesn’t take much more than an hour to get from ABQ to Jemez Springs.

    Here are a few websites to give you an idea of what’s there.

    Jemez Ranger District
    Village of Jemez Springs
    Camping/Fishing/Side Trips
    Bandelier National Monument
    Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

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