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  1. Default Biting off more than we can chew?

    My partner and I are planning a long holiday to celebrate him finishing his medical degree, before he starts work. Flying into Vancouver on July 5th, we plan to spend some time in Vancouver & Vancouver Island and then hire a car from Seattle. We will then take a drive down the west coast ending in San Francisco where we fly back to the UK on 30th July. The RTA forum has provided us with some fantastic ideas and suggestions along with loads of hints and tips and we have finally come up with a rough idea of the things we really want to see & do.

    I’d really appreciate some comments/ suggestions on whether we are missing any ‘must see’ sights or if we have added anything that is not so essential. Also whether all this is achievable within the 3 weeks or so we’ll have ‘on the road’. We haven’t yet worked out how much time we will stay in each place so I have just listed the places we are thinking about visiting from north to south (and east).

    Vancouver & Vancouver Island – approx 5 days
    Seattle – Pike Place Market, visit friend and some shopping!
    Lake Quinault
    Mt Rainier
    Mt St Helens
    Depoe Bay
    Bandon Beach
    Crater Lake
    Redwoods NP & Avenue of the Giants
    Burney Falls
    Reno
    Bryce Canyon (is the best way to go along I50 to Ely?)
    Monument Valley
    Grand Canyon
    Las Vegas (1 or 2 nights)
    Death Valley
    Sequoia NP (Is this worth a visit if we have already been to Redwoods NP?)
    Yosemite
    San Francisco
    Evening trip to Saratoga (to see George Thorogood 29/07)
    Back to SF & Home

    We know we will have to stay at various places along the way but I’m concerned that we may be expecting too much of ourselves? Any help/ suggestions you can give will be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default maybe a bit much

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Three weeks sounds like a lot of time, but you really have a very full list of places you've laid out. If you spent 5 days in Canada, you'd basically have the same number of potential stops as days before you fly back. In other words, you'd have one day for each place you've got listed. Of course you might see 2 things in one day, but you've got a couple legs where you'll need a full day just to cover the distance.

    I guess it comes down to what kind of trip are you looking for. If you just want a overview trip where you are stopping to take a quick look at your places of interest, then I think you might be ok. If you are looking to do any real in depth exploration of these places, then I think you'll want to trim back a little. Your trip all the way out to Utah seems like the biggest detour, and while they are great sites out there, you might want to really focus your efforts on the west coast states.

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

    Default Sequoias and Redwoods -- different animals

    Quote Originally Posted by NicolaP View Post
    Sequoia NP (Is this worth a visit if we have already been to Redwoods NP?)
    Like Michael mentions, I think this schedule will feel more like a job -- but it is doable -- the best thing is that you can always build in relaxing days along the way (and cut out some of the sites farther to the east). Here is an informative post about the Sequoias. Redwoods are magnificent, but they are neither as tall nor as large in diameter as the Sequoias.

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Congrats to your partner! That's a great achievement.

    Vancouver & Vancouver Island – approx 5 days
    Sounds good. In Vancouver: Stanley Park, Capilano Suspension Bridge are two highlights. On Vancouver Island - Victoria, tea at the Empress (although this might not be as cool to you as you can do tea in your own country in cool places anytime), Burtchart Gardens, you might enjoy the replica of Anne Hathaway's Cottage (or maybe not, LOL)
    Seattle – Pike Place Market, visit friend and some shopping!Lake Quinault
    If you haven't yet made your ferry reservations, let me recommend that you take the ferry from Vancouver Island to Port Angeles, Washington. This way you can easily drive south down Hwy 101 to Lake Quinault and then circle back to Seattle. You would have several options for getting back to Seattle that are all good. So, in other words, you'd be switching these days around. But you would really need some extra time here or you won't have any time at all in Seattle. I'd suggest an extra night.

    If you take the ferry back to Vancouver, BC, and then drive south to Seattle, then I wouldn't bother with Lake Quinault. Not unless you delete some of your other destinations. I just think it's going to be way too rushed for you. And that would be a shame because the Olympic Rainforest is really worth seeing.
    Mt Rainier
    Mt St Helens
    Depoe Bay
    Bandon Beach
    Crater Lake
    Redwoods NP & Avenue of the Giants
    Burney Falls
    Reno
    Great ideas but you will be doing quite a bit of extra driving criss-crossing from coast to inland.
    I would do all the locations on the coast, including the Redwoods, then go back to I-5 and over to Crater Lake, then down to Reno from there. You will do less backtracking and save some miles.

    Bryce Canyon (is the best way to go along I50 to Ely?)
    Monument Valley
    Grand Canyon
    The order doesn't make sense. I think I would skip Monument Valley and just enjoy Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon before heading to Las Vegas
    Las Vegas (1 or 2 nights)
    Death Valley
    Sequoia NP (Is this worth a visit if we have already been to Redwoods NP?)
    Yosemite
    San Francisco
    Evening trip to Saratoga (to see George Thorogood 29/07)
    Back to SF & Home

    We know we will have to stay at various places along the way but I’m concerned that we may be expecting too much of ourselves? Any help/ suggestions you can give will be very much appreciated
    I agree with the others that you're trying to cram in too much. While the Grand Canyon is definitely worth seeing, I think you'll have far more fun if you slow down, stick to British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California. There's plenty there for a spectacular trip. Believe me, you won't get bored or run out of fun things to see and do.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-26-2008 at 02:27 PM. Reason: removed the extra white spaces

  5. Default A Great Help...one more thing...

    Thanks for all this information, it has been a huge help and I think we may skip some places to give us a little more time to enjoy the trip!

    It is our plan to stay in some hotels and hostels but also to spend as much time camping as possible as we are huge fans of the great outdoors. One question I do have is regarding campsites. We have looked on www.recreation.gov and it seems that the majority of campsites are already fully booked up. My question is, travelling with a car and a small 2 person tent, are we going to struggle to find places to stay? I know in some places you can arrive on the day but what is the likelyhood of getting a place? Are there any top tips we should know? or are there alternatives to the goverment run campsites?

    Once again, I would appreciate any help you can give on this.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default More than National Parks

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The reservation website you pointed too is great for Federal campgrounds (National Parks and Forests, e.g.) but it does not list State Parks. If you search for "statename state parks" for each of the states where you'd like to camp, you should find a web site sponsored by that state that lists dozens (at least) of possibilities. They are less likely to be booked up (although you are going to be traveling at the peak of America's tourist season) and also tend to be quieter and cheaper than the bigger and more popular national parks.

    AZBuck

  7. Default Thanks!

    That's exactly what I was wondering. Once again, thanks for the great tips this forum has provided us with. Our trip begins on Saturday...I'll try and post something about it on our return

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default We look forward to hearing about that

    Best of fortune as you begin your trip.

    Mark

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