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  1. Default NorCal to Pacific Northwest Questions

    This is my first post and I apologize for not having found this information which no doubt exists already on these boards, but I figured I would ask with the hopes of some quick answers.

    I have two weeks (Aug15-19) and had originally planned to fly into SFO and out of SEA trying to see as much "nature" as possible (hard to do with that much driving and such little time, I know).

    The rough ideas were:
    Mendicino (or alternatively Lassen),
    the Redwood forest,
    Crater Lake,
    the columbia River Gorge,
    Mt. St. Helens (or Mt. Ranier),
    and the Olympic rain forest.

    I have several questions based on this rough outline.

    1. Have the California wildfires affected this possible route? If they have, is it better to fly into Portland, drive south to the redwoods and loops back up, or perhaps eliminate the redwoods altogether?

    2. Considering we would like to do some hiking/tenting, is this at all reasonable to actually SEE anything, or is the itinerary set up such that I will basically be able to drive from place to place and nothing else? If it is too aggressive, what would anyone recommend cutting out?

    3. Are there any suggestions for "must see" either within this itinerary, or that might be missing from this itinerary? In other words, can anyone be specific with suggestions on improving my limited time?

    Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide. I truly appreciate it.

    ~William

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    I'm not sure about the wildfire situation - someone more familiar will no doubt be along in short order to help you out with this issue.

    As far as being able to see nature and get out and do something - with two weeks, you're in decent shape to be able to do some hiking. I would imagine some of that would rely more on where you plan to lodge than anything else.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the quick response. We are planning on doing a mixture of camping (tenting and/or backcountry) and hotel/motel/B&B/Hostel just as needed where we cannot camp (and need showers!). I have been doing a lot of Searching and Judy seems to have a lot of advice. Having lived in Seattle, I agree with her with what I know of that area, so I would be happy to have her chime in on the more Southern portion.

  4. Default Comments.

    There shouldn't be any problem going north from SF through the Redwoods and up from a fire situation -- it it stands now.

    The major road closures were in the higher, more wilderness areas between the coast and the central valley, or down south of SF near Big Sur (where the road is on a narrow cut along the coastal cliffs). If you're going up along the coast north of SF, you probably wouldn't have notice anything (I didn't in late June). But... conditions change. It is possible, but somewhat unlikely, that another fire can take place along the 101 or Coast Highway corridor -- in that case, fire equipment has the right of way as expected, and you may have a slower time getting through.

    My concern would be time on this... and that's going to be dependent upon your tastes and choices I think.

    From SF up through Mendicino can be a full, long day's drive if you drive the entire coast route. I just did the SF through Mendecino, to Eureka route which was a long (11 hours drive) day, even cutting over to the coast from 101 at Sevastapol, and not taking the entire coast route.

    From Mendicino, you can make it easily up to the redwoods in a couple of hours of driving -- but then where do you want to stay? and how much do you want to see? You can spend at least an entire day in the Redwoods, but if you're pushing to Grants Pass that night, you may have an abbreviated set of stops. (I'd recommend at least the Lady Bird Grove, and the 1 mile trail there at a minimum for getting out of the car... and the earlier in the day you can hit it, the better in my opinion..)

    However, from the Crescent City area, you have only a couple of choices. If your time is limited, I'd pass on Crater Lake or the Olympic Rain forest. If you go north along the coast, its a day's drive to Astoria or Portland. The road from Crescent City to Grants Pass is pretty good, but its a couple of hours of mountain driving and then you have to go back through the mountains to get to Crater Lake. From Crater Lake its at least 6 hours or driving or so back to Portland, and another 4-5 to Seattle. If you go from Portland through the rain forest and around to Seattle, its more than a day's drive -- about 1 1/2 I'd guess.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Fires could affect you around Crescent City

    Here is a very good resource for checking on the location of the major wildfires in the USA. It's also very handy for road trippers seeking boondocking locations because it shows the Federal land areas. (The Red dots are active wildfires).

    The Soda Complex is the closest one to your route -- mostly it will be a matter of smoke in your area.

    And if you Google Maps installed, you can "fly" right along your planned route and see how close any of the fires are to your route. Here is the download page for Google Maps with all of the current wildfires loaded for the USA and Canada.


    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-25-2008 at 12:58 PM. Reason: more resources

  6. #6

    Default

    If you can, definitely take a trip to Lassen. This time of year you can take a hike to the top, and it's really not a hard hike. Unfortunately with the smoke all around, the view form the top will probably be really disappointing. But Lassen Park is the least populated park in the nation so there's hardly any crowded spots, and there's a ton to see.

    If you're looking for a place to stay if you go to Lassen, I'd recommend staying a night here in Redding! The lodging is really cheap if you hunt around, plenty of restaurants, and it's about a 40 minute drive to the park.

  7. Default MODIS is your friend..

    Looks like the current closest fire to this route is the Blue 2 Fire, which is about 15 miles east of the road near Klamath, about 2 ridges away from 101.

    MODIS is cool -- it's a sensor on a polar orbiting satellite, and about twice a day it downlinks "hot spots" where it detects currently burning fires all over the US. The sensor resolution isn't super great -- but enough to see where the fire is, and where its been. This is the map I usually go to since I'm primarily concerned with California.

    I hadn't see the Google earth overlay of the MODIS data, and that's a really cool way to display it.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-25-2008 at 05:03 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Cool resource for fire info!

    I'll have to bookmark that! Thanks.

    The rough ideas were:
    Mendicino (or alternatively Lassen),
    the Redwood forest,
    Crater Lake,
    the columbia River Gorge,
    Mt. St. Helens (or Mt. Ranier),
    and the Olympic rain forest.
    I see no reason why you can't see all of this, including both Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier, in two weeks. This includes plenty of time for some day-hiking. It would be tight to pull this off if you plan to do overnight hikes though.

    1. Have the California wildfires affected this possible route? If they have, is it better to fly into Portland, drive south to the redwoods and loops back up, or perhaps eliminate the redwoods altogether?
    I think this would make a nice trip even without considering the fires. You could drive down the coast, see the Redwoods, and then go to Lassen, Crater Lake, and other interior places of interest on your way back north. Depending on time, you could either scoot back up I-5 or take a swing through parts of Eastern OR on your way to the Columbia River Gorge area. That's probably what I'd do.

    3. Are there any suggestions for "must see" either within this itinerary, or that might be missing from this itinerary? In other words, can anyone be specific with suggestions on improving my limited time?
    You might consider flying into/out of Portland. This way you can do a nice figure-8 taking in all the places you want to visit. Airfare is often cheaper when you purchase roundtrip airfare instead of individual segments. This would also eliminate the need for you to pay a drop-off fee on the vehicle rental.

    From Portland, I'd head out to the Oregon Coast, drive south along the coast to the Redwoods, go east to Lassen, north to Crater Lake, north through E. OR to Columbia River Gorge, then to the Washington coast and the Olympic Peninsula, then Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and back to Portland.

    If you do this route, just some of the specific places I'd spend time at are might be as follows:

    Astoria OR, Fort Clatsop, Depoe Bay OR, Newport OR, Sea Lion Caves, Oregon Dunes NRA, Bandon OR, Gold Beach OR, the various Redwood forests, Eureke CA (because I'm a sucker for the fantastic architecture in that town), Lassen, Lava Beds NM, Crater Lake, the high desert country of Bend/Warm Springs, Mt. Hood, Columbia River Gorge area (including Hood River, Snoqualmie Falls, Beacon Rock, Maryhill, etc.), then up to Mt. St. Helens (visiting the best side at Windy Ridge), Mt. Rainier (visiting both Paradise and Sunrise areas), then across to the Olympic Peninsula, and back down to Portland.

    It's about 2000 miles and can easily be done in 2 weeks. And you could cut a few miles if you want. One place you might do that is in The Gorge. You don't need to double-back as far east before crossing over to Washington, for example.

  9. #9

    Default

    I'm in agreement with Judy. This Itinerary should be easily do-able in a two week period. Especially given the point of Origin is San Fran.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    then up to Mt. St. Helens (visiting the best side at Windy Ridge), Mt. Rainier (visiting both Paradise and Sunrise areas),
    unfortunately, the last 11 miles of road to Windy Ridge are going to be closed all summer to cars. It would be a lot more convenient than the Johnston Ridge if you want to combine St Helens/Rainier.

    http://www.columbian.com/news/localN...ndy-Ridge.cfm/

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