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  1. Default Reno-Napa Valley-Portland-Seattle

    Hi Everyone,

    New to the forum and in a panic as my family now wants to go on a road trip. We are flying into Reno and spending 2 days there and then driving from Reno to Seattle. We initially wanted to go to see the Portland-Seattle area for a possible place to retire (in 10 years)... But now our daughter and son-in-law are going so I have to plan. Some places we want to go is the Northern CA coast and up to Portland. Can anyone provide some advice on things to see etc on this path?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Don't panic!

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums.

    There is nothing to panic about. Routes and sights-to-see are the easy part. Of course, you need to have appropriate time to enjoy the trip and still have time to scout the Portland/Seattle areas for retirement planning.

    I would guesstimate you'd want at least 3-4 days in each city to get a truly good feel for what they have to offer, I hope you're planning enough time for that. And that is the minimum because there are so many suburbs and close-by small cities/towns/rural areas to explore.

    For example, if I was going to move to the general Seattle area and didn't have to worry about commuting to work, I would probably choose to live on Bainbridge Island. It's a short, 30-minute ferry ride into Seattle and the ferry docks right at the downtown waterfront. You can easily take the ferry over as a passenger and then walk to all the wonderful things downtown has to offer like the Public Market, museums, plays, other shopping, etc. and take the ferry back to the island and not have to drive in the horrid Seattle traffic. To me, this ability to live on or near the water, in a beautiful more rural area, at cheaper prices than you'll find in Seattle, and still have easy and quick access to the wonderful things Seattle has to offer is the best of both worlds. And there are some amazing smaller towns on Bainbridge Island with great character, shopping, and amenities as well.

    Anyway, back to your concern about routes and sights. Peter Thody's excellent roadtrip report about his trip from the NorCal Redwoods to Seattle should provide lots of good tips. While this discussion mainly has a lot of tips about the Olympic Peninsula, read on as there are also other tips about routes from LA to Seattle and things to do in Seattle itself. There are more tips here about things to do in Portland and Seattle plus route ideas. And this post has some good links to other discussions that should have helpful information.

    I suggest you review these to help with your planning and continue to come back here with questions. We'll be glad to help you tweak and advise you as needed. The planning is half the fun so, remember, don't panic but enjoy the process. It's also a good idea to get the rest of your family involved in the planning as well so you're all in agreement about the type of trip you're going to be taking.

    If I can help you at all with any questions you might have about moving to Portland or Seattle areas, let me know as I'm fairly familiar with both areas. I live on the coast in Washington.

    Hope this all helps a bit!

  3. Default

    Thanks so much Judy. Unfortuately I'll have only 2 days in Portland and another 2 days in Seattle. The island sounds wonderful. My wife wants to be near the water so I'll take you up on that for sure. Since you know the area, I'm curious as to weather on the island and in Seattle in general.

    Thanks again!

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

    Default Weather? In the Pacific NW?

    Well, we have a saying here: "We don't tan, we rust."

    I think you'll see umbrellas far more in the cities but, in my area where we get far more rain, umbrellas are rare. In fact, I know people in Lake Quinault which is one of the wettest areas in the state who don't even own umbrellas. Why? Well, we tend to wear hooded raincoats. Yes, many of us in this rainy, wet area are umbrella snobs. LOL Don't worry, these heavy rain areas are on the coast...not where you're looking at moving to.

    The rain doesn't generally slow us down from participating in outdoor activities. Seattle is known for being a relatively healthy city because so many people participate in sports and outdoor recreational activities like hiking, skiing, etc. no matter the weather. We all just dress for it.

    And the rain is what gives us our amazing forests and why we're The Evergreen State.

    The weather is a tad different on Bainbridge Island than it is just that short distance across Puget Sound in Seattle. You see, the rain clouds dump on the coast so they can rise to go over the Olympic Mountains and numerous hills on the Olympic Peninsula. So, when they reach the eastern side where Bainbridge Island is, there isn't as much rain because the clouds have dumped a lot of their moisture. This is called being in the "rain shadow". When the clouds travel across Puget Sound, they pick up more moisture. Then the clouds have to rise to go over the Cascade Mountains and, thus, start dumping on Seattle with the rain increasing as the clouds head east into the foothills. Hope that makes sense.

    * Summer - It can really vary when it actually starts. Sometimes it starts in May or June but it's also not unusual for it to be early July before the weather truly gets like summer. Temps will normally be in the 70s. There will be times when it gets more into the 80s and even the low 90s but these "heatwaves" generally only last a few days at a time. Expect infrequent summer showers once in awhile but these showers are very rare from mid-July to early Oct. I would expect the temperatures to be in the upper ranges more often on the island and for those summer showers to be even more infrequent.

    * Fall - Gosh, sometimes we really don't get a fall. It might be like summer well into October, even into early November, and then the weather can dramatically change to winter virtually overnight. Sometimes October can be our only fall month with cooler weather as the month goes. September virtually never has a day like fall and is often one of our best summer months. If October acts like fall, it will be cooling temperatures with increasing amounts of rain. Over the years, we have gone trick-or-treating when it's rainy/cold/windy and just plain yucky. And we have gone trick-or-treating when we're warm and dry without even having to wear a jacket or a sweater. And various conditions in-between.

    * Winter - November through March. Rain. Lots of rain. Temps generally in the upper 30s to lower 50s. There will be some sunny days but they are fairly rare during this time. Lots of overcast, grey days even if it doesn't rain. It rarely gets really cold. Snow is rare and it's even rarer for it to last long. It's generally a very wet snow which turns to slush and is gone in a day, sometimes the same day. Ice can be more of an issue than snow but even that is fairly rare and usually doesn't last long.

    We do have something we call "black ice". It's usually only in the mornings on particularly cold days and is a very thin sheet of ice that you can't see when driving. It's not a problem if you're aware of the potential and just drive a bit slower, especially going into turns or dips, when the temperature is below freezing. A few hours of traffic on the road usually takes care of it.

    * Spring - Can start in March but, sometimes, it's in April. Temps are a bit warmer, usually mid 40s-lower 60s. Some very warm, sunny days, too, but these often come one at a time, here and there, and you can't count on them this time of year. Of course, we can also have unexpected colder spells, too, that are more like our winter weather. Spring is definitely our most unpredictable season.

    While I think I've represented things fairly accurately, my weather on the coast isn't exactly the same as you'll find in Seattle or on Bainbridge Island. I've given you the general Pacific Northwest weather patterns on the western sides of Washington and Northern Oregon. But, of course, there are regional variations. Because of that, I'd check with sources like The Weather Channel that gives averages for the various months for precipitation and temperatures, and probably get some information from the Chambers of Commerce in those areas.

    I hope I haven't scared you off with my talk of the rain. :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default I need to clarify this statement

    For example, if I was going to move to the general Seattle area and didn't have to worry about commuting to work, I would probably choose to live on Bainbridge Island. It's a short, 30-minute ferry ride into Seattle and the ferry docks right at the downtown waterfront.
    I don't know why I wrote it like that. Really, if you are someone who works in downtown Seattle, living on Bainbridge Island and riding the ferry is one of the best situations. Commuter traffic around Seattle is horrific.

    Have you ever seen the movie Disclosure with Michael Douglas and Demi Moore? The Michael Douglas character lives on Bainbridge Island and commutes to his office each day via ferry to downtown Seattle. Quite a few people do this.

    It's actually a really cool way to handle the commute. Anyway, just wanted to clarify an erroneous and confusing statement.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    While I think I've represented things fairly accurately, my weather on the coast isn't exactly the same as you'll find in Seattle or on Bainbridge Island. I've given you the general Pacific Northwest weather patterns on the western sides of Washington and Northern Oregon. But, of course, there are regional variations.
    Living in the Tacoma area (In the Seattle Metro Area), I'd say you pretty much hit our weather dead on Judy!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Thanks!

    I hesitated because I know my weather is different than around your area, not much but some. So I really appreciate your confirmation!

    I just hope I didn't scare off a potential new PNWer due to mentioning the rain. But I don't want any newcomers to have unrealistic expectations. The thing is the rain, except in the worst of storms, isn't really bad. We've often been amused when we're traveling in other parts of the country where it doesn't rain as much and how people react. People run like it's acid. Of course, that lessens the crowd for us who remain. Always a good thing. :)

    The funniest times this happened occurred in Orlando. Just like most tourists, we invested in the ponchos sold at the various parks for rain showers. So, when it rained, we donned our ponchos. Most others did, too. But then they still ran for cover. I can't tell you how many rides we got onto with virtually no wait during these times. I couldn't figure out their problem was. It was hot so we were wearing sandles and shorts. So what if our feet and legs got wet. When the rain would stop, usually after only about 20-30 minutes, it only took a few minutes in the sun for us to dry. If this is typical, I will always go there during the rainy season. More rides for the buck! :)

  8. #8

    Default

    Oh yeah! I know what you mean! We go to Bakersfield every year (The In-laws live there). We've been there during the few Rain showers there. Everyone runs for cover....except me and my northwest attitude "A little rain never hurt anybody" (Only their rains are heavy and quick!)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Nice to have you around, roadkill!

    I appreciate someone else with the PNW perspective. LOL

  10. Default

    Thanks for the great information. And no you haven't scared us off, :)... You've given us what no one in the past has been able to really put across. Can't wait to visit and see the lush green areas. Maybe if you have time you could tell me what we shouldn't miss while in town?

    Thanks again

    Steve

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