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  1. #1

    Default First roadtrip ever from (Vancouver, Canada) Seattle to LA in 24 days

    Hi Everybody!

    I am writing this to get some tips and tricks for my first ever road trip! Wuhuu! It's a life-long dream coming true to which I am VERY excited!
    My friend and I are from Copenhagen, Denmark, and are visiting USA, also for the first time, for our road trip this this summer 2013. We will fly to Vancouver, Canada, from where we will take a bus to Seattle, rent a car and drive to LA (from where we will fly back to Copenhagen). We have about 24 days in total. We are interested in a bit of nature, fun sights, beautiful sights, city-life, food and a glimpse into American culture.

    So far we are planning on 1-2 days in Vancouver and from there go to Seattle - here we are thinking about going to the The Olympic National Forest/Park and also to Snoqualmie and North Bend (I am a Twin Peaks fan). How many days should we need for this? And what should we check out in Seattle?

    After Seattle we want to drive to Portland - but what can you recommend to do here and in the near surroundings? We are going for the PCH/H-101/H1 to San Francisco - but what to see and look for on the way?

    From San Francisco it's on to San Jose, Santa Cruz, Big Sur and the other cities and sights along the Californian Cost- which can you recommend? We would actually also love to visit Yosemite National Park and perhaps Las Vegas for just 1 day. And then to LA, where we will stay for perhaps 3 days. In your experience, can we make all that happen?

    If you have any tips on cheap accommodation, nice places to eat or markets to visit, please don't hesitate to write - the more information we get, the better.

    Thanks in advance!

    Signe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Seattle and Washington State.

    Hi Signe, Welcome to The Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by CPH/USA2013 View Post
    And what should we check out in Seattle?
    While in Seattle, be sure to check out Pike Street Market. It is a gem, especially the fish market. You will realise why I say this, when you see what goes on there. (I am still trying to work out how they catch those slippery fish.)

    Another intriquing and interesting attraction is the Library on 4th St. (I think). This unique library is built on the plan of a parking garage, and spirals up. When I was there they had tours which explained why it was built that way, and the benefits it presented both to patrons and the staff. An interesting building indeed!

    On your way down to Portland, make sure you check out both Mt Rainier and Mt St. Helens, the volcano which erupted in 1980. And then of course, there is the Columbia River Gorge.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CPH/USA2013 View Post
    Hi Everybody!

    So far we are planning on 1-2 days in Vancouver and from there go to Seattle - here we are thinking about going to the The Olympic National Forest/Park and also to Snoqualmie and North Bend (I am a Twin Peaks fan). How many days should we need for this? And what should we check out in Seattle?
    Olympic National Park is huge. You might want to allot an entire day for it, because of the need to drive around it. You mention being a Twin Peaks fan -- if you happen to be a Twilight series fan, don't miss Forks and the area which happens to be on the west side of Olympic.

    From San Francisco it's on to San Jose, Santa Cruz, Big Sur and the other cities and sights along the Californian Cost- which can you recommend? We would actually also love to visit Yosemite National Park and perhaps Las Vegas for just 1 day. And then to LA, where we will stay for perhaps 3 days. In your experience, can we make all that happen?
    Yosemite is at a few hours drive east of the San Francisco Bay area. It's worth allotting a day to. Then it's another 6+ hours from Yosemite to Las Vegas. It depends on what you want to do in Las Vegas, how much time you want to allot there. Los Angeles -- some folks would rather ignore it, but with 5 major theme parks (Disneyland, CA Adventure, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain), Hollywood, the beaches, water parks and the like, you will have to choose carefully for your three days.

    If you have any tips on cheap accommodation, nice places to eat or markets to visit, please don't hesitate to write - the more information we get, the better.
    Cheap accommodation -- use the form on this page to check out some of the hotels/motels available. Also, stop at state visitors/tourist bureaus and pick up some booklets for cheap lodgings. (Warning: in touristy areas in the summer, these coupons are often not accepted on weekends, or they cost more and may already be booked. We ran into that a lot this past summer.)

    As for nice places to eat -- since restaurants have this tendency to close, change management, or new ones opening, the best way to find one is to ask locally. When you're pulling into a new town for the evening, ask at the motel. We ask them for recommendations of someplace popular with the locals.


    Donna

  4. #4

    Default

    Dear Donna,

    thank you for your detailed answers. My friend is actually a Twilight-fan, so we would definitely need to check out Forks.

    Las Vegas was intended as an experience and because we could celebrate my birthday there, so it would be for one day/night and then hit the road again. But perhaps its a long way to go for just one day?

    Yeah I guess we would have to pre-book hotels/motels since we're travelling during high-season?

  5. #5

    Default

    Dear Lifey.

    Yes, the Pike Street Market we will definitely check out! Sounds interesting with the Library!

    Thanks for the tips on the way to Portland - that's just what we needed.

    Signe

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Suggestions.

    With the time you have available you will be able to explore the sights and not feel too rushed. Yosemite is absolutely wonderful and worth a visit, you could cross the mountains on Tioga Pass and go through Death Valley to Vegas but that would mean skipping the Big Sur portion of your trip or adding a lot of miles. You could still visit Yosemite from SF and then head back to the coast, perhaps picking it up in Monterey.

    From Portland, if you explored the Columbia River Gorge, you could then head south through Bend and visit the spectacular Crater Lake NP before heading to the coast via Grants Pass. You will then come across Redwood NP, Humboltd Redwood state park where you can check out the Avenue of the Giants. Just north of San Fran you will find Point Reyes, Muir Woods and the Golden Gate Recreation area where you can find some wonderful views of the bridge with SF as the backdrop.

  7. #7

    Default First time Road Tripper needs a little help to sort out route

    Hello Everybody!

    I am going on my first road trip this summer with a dear friend, and by reading in here and searching on routes online, we've come up with a plan - but I would love if you experienced Road Trippers could help out regarding: good/interesting spots/stops on the route (or not?), time well spent there and if it's a manageable drive. Thanks in advance!

    Vancouver: July 10th - 12th (staying with family friends)
    Seattle: July 12th -13th (arriving from Vancouver with bus, staying one day and then:)
    Snoqualmie/North Bend: July 13th (one-day trip)
    Seattle: July 13th - 15th
    Olympic National Park / Forks: July 15th - 16th. 138 miles; 3,5 hours
    Portland: July 16th - 19th. 250 miles; 4,5 hours
    Bend (via Columbia River Gorge): July 19th - 20th. 216 miles; 4 hours
    Grant Pass (via Crater Lake National Park): July 20th - 21st. 193 miles; 4 hours.
    Garberville (just staying for a night, gone through Redwood National Park and Humboldt Redwood – Avenue of the Giants): July 21st - 22nd. 233 miles; 4,5 hours.
    San Francisco: July 22nd - 24th. 204 miles; 4 hours.
    Santa Cruz : July 24th - 25th. 73 miles; 1,5 hours.
    July 25th: ?? any suggestions?
    Solvang (via Carmel and Big Sur): July 26th - 27th (you probably find this stop a bit odd, but it's my birthday on the 27th of July and I'm Danish, so I thought it could be fun to have my birthday brunch here)
    Los Angeles (via Santa Barbara and Malibu): July 27th - 29th. 135 miles; 3 hours. (Since I am driving to LA on my birthday, please tip me for fun/beautiful sights from Solvang - LA)
    Las Vegas: July 29th - 30th. 265 miles; 4 hours.
    Los Angeles: 30. juli - 1st/2nd/3rd of August: Home (bummer....)

    That's it! So if you have any tips on where to drive from Santa Cruz - Solvang - LA, I would love to hear them. And perhaps you have good pointers in how to divide the drive from Portland - Bend - Grant Pass - Redwood National Park/Avenue of the Giants. It's hard for me to tell if I will get tired of driving 4-5 hours a day, everyday for three weeks, since I'm mostly used to drive a max. of 2 hours.

    Thank you!

    Kind regards,

    Signe

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Looks good.

    It looks to me as though your plan is coming together nicely and at a reasonably relaxed pace. It looks as though you have quite a few days off from driving, but even so you can still break the journey up throughout the day with little stops.

    Between Santa Cruz and Solvang you could stop in Monterey [Aquarium, 17 mile drive] San Simeon [Hearst Castle] or one of the seaside towns of Cambria or Cayucos. You might want to consider stopping around Arcata/Eureka before Garberville to give you a little more time to enjoy Redwood NP from Grants Pass, and then visit Humboltd and Avenue of the Giants the next day and then stop in Garberville. Between there and SF you have Muir Woods, Point Reyes and Golden Gate Rec area from where you can get some wonderful views of the Golden Gate bridge and SF skyline.

    Keep in mind that mapping programs are over optimistic with their travel times and do not allow for lunch stops, rest breaks or stopping to get gas, nor is there room to allow for travel congestion and construction. It's not a big problem with your travel days, but you should cater for all eventualities that could add up to 20% longer on your travel times.

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