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  1. Default Carlsbad, CA, to Spokane, WA

    Hi everyone! I'm so glad I found you here!

    We are taking a young summer visitor home to Spokane, WA, from the Los Angeles area this summer, and have decided to turn it into a road trip. (Actually I'm tacking on a trip to Legoland in Carlsbad, CA, so for all intents and purposes that's our starting point.) Because my time limit is firm, a more experienced car tripper advised me to "go like hell" to get there, then do our sightseeing on the way back. Problem is we don't want our littlest guest to miss out on too much.

    So for 2 adults and 3 kids (11,7,and the 6-year-old Spokanian) here's my plan so far. Obviously we'll have to take I-5 to make the best time.
    Day 1 - Carlsbad to Sacramento.
    Day 2 - Check out Placerville and Coloma, take the opportunity to show my 11-year-old the places she studied in history last year. Continue on to Eugene, OR (the next third in terms of miles.) Would it be possible to make it to Portland even?
    Day 3 - Eugene to Portland, pick up friends, check out Columbia Gorge and Multnomah Falls. Continue to Spokane.
    Day 4 - Stay
    Day 5 - Leave Spokane to ?. Want to see the Redwood forest, maybe Trees of Mystery Day 5 or 6...is that possible?
    Day 6 - ? to San Francisco
    Day 7 - Stay.
    Day 8 - San Fran to L.A.
    Day 9 - Rest!

    Input please!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Columbia

    Quote Originally Posted by nenemac
    We are taking a young summer visitor home to Spokane, WA, from the Los Angeles area this summer, and have decided to turn it into a road trip. (Actually I'm tacking on a trip to Legoland in Carlsbad, CA, so for all intents and purposes that's our starting point.) Because my time limit is firm, a more experienced car tripper advised me to "go like hell" to get there, then do our sightseeing on the way back. Problem is we don't want our littlest guest to miss out on too much.
    I agree, you can still see some cool stuff on the way north. I actually think you can make Columbia instead of Sacramento for the first leg.
    Would it be possible to make it to Portland even?
    That would be pushing it a bit. Since that would nearly 700 miles, but Salem is a real possibility for the second night.

    Mark

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

    Default

    It looks like a nice trip and is very do-able. However, I would skip going into San Francisco and just stay somewhere along I-5. You live close enough to it to get there another time, right? This would leave you more time for the Trees of Mystery and the Redwoods.

    I think your little friend, and your own kids, would love The Oregon Vortex, just off of I-5. There's a map and info here: http://www.oregonvortex.com/

  4. Default re: Carlsbad to WA

    Thank you both for the input. I did make some minor adjustments to our itinerary. The drive up will stay the same, but I decided to come down the coast on the way home and skip the day in SF. Thanks to 4th grade California history, the places we really must see are "Hangtown" and the Mission San Rafael. And of course we'll still jump out and ride a cable car.

    My parents love Columbia, so I'm already trying to convince them to join us for a trip next year. :o)

  5. Default We're Home!

    Yes we have returned, no worse for wear and with a few new pearls of wisdom.

    I had made all my lodging reservations before we left, which was probably the best decision I made. I'm no good at seat-of-your-pants travel anyway, but worrying about where we're going to sleep day to day is more than I can handle. For most of our over-nights we took advantage of KOA "kamping kabins." More expensive than a tent site but less than a motel room, and we still got the camping experience with a few more conveniences.

    I had planned about 6-8 hours of driving, plus 1 sight-seeing stop, per day. Too much! If I had actually looked at the numbers ahead of time...the time we'd leave the campgrounds, the time spent at the side attractions, plus travel time...I would clearly have seen that my 6-8 hour ETA's were underestimated. Poor planning on my part, lesson learned. The one day we didn't make any stops (other than food, gas and restrooms) was the only day we arrived at a campground before 9pm, and indeed turned into the best night of the trip. Too bad it was the last one!

    I also learned that if you're traveling US-395 in Washington between Kennewick and Ritzville, STOP at whichever you hit first. There's about 80 miles of nothing between the two...not fun if you're hungry, low on gas, or need a restroom.

    Taking the 101 home was a stroke of genius. It was gorgeous, way more interesting than I-5. The Oregon coastline was breathtaking. Unfortunately I made the un-brilliant decision to head over to PCH around Santa Cruz, CA. While the scenery was nice, it wasn't worth the cost in time, IMO. We ended up going back to the 101 somewhere around Santa Barbara.

    Overall it went very well. Now, what to do for winter...? ;o)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default We tried to tell you that

    Quote Originally Posted by nenemac
    Yes we have returned, no worse for wear and with a few new pearls of wisdom. I had planned about 6-8 hours of driving, plus 1 sight-seeing stop, per day. Too much! If I had actually looked at the numbers ahead of time...the time we'd leave the campgrounds, the time spent at the side attractions, plus travel time...I would clearly have seen that my 6-8 hour ETA's were underestimated.
    This is a good example of the #1 least understood aspect of roadtripping -- EVERYTHING takes more time than you expect -- and that is the beauty of it. There is an element of the unexpected in every single road trip.

    Thanks for the field report.

    On PCH did you stop and watch the seal lions? Their antics always justify the extra time it takes to drive the coast for me.

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default

    Nice to hear you had a nice trip! The KOA Kabins are pretty convenient, aren't they? We've been using them for about 10 years now, and occasionally we get the Kottage which has it's own bathroom, living room, and kitchenette, while still offering the camping experience outside.

    It's good that you picked up some wisdom, too. Apparently, that never ends, which is a good thing.

    If you had to choose, what was the best thing you saw on your trip?

  8. #8
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default

    I'm sad you didn't find any services along US 395 in Washington... because I'm looking at my map and there are a least one good sized town along the route (one thats somewhat larger than Ritzville). You should have had services at least in Connell... could have been that they were a mile or two off the freeway.

    I wish I had remembered along time ago that that area would have been in your route, I would have recommended a great radio station. 102.1 FM KPQ "The Quake". One of the largest broadcasting footprints in Washington State for an FM radio station. They broadcast from Wenatchee (the tower is on Mission Ridge, which is also a nice ski resort), and the signal carries as far east as the spokane county line, with great signal in Yakima, Connel, Ritzville, Washtucna, Moses Lake, etc.

    They even have listeners as far south as Pendelton, Oregon, as far north as Pentiction, BC, and even Orcas Island to the west. They play rock from the last 5 decades and provide needed travelers advisories for the region, when and if they come up.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cascadia4-brad m
    I'm sad you didn't find any services along US 395 in Washington... because I'm looking at my map and there are a least one good sized town along the route (one thats somewhat larger than Ritzville). You should have had services at least in Connell... could have been that they were a mile or two off the freeway.
    We saw the town, and there was supposed to be a restaurant but we couldn't find it. Our friends in Spokane said they weren't aware of anything, either. *shrug* That was a tough stretch, I'm glad I only had to do it once.

    Quote Originally Posted by TimboTA
    If you had to choose, what was the best thing you saw on your trip?
    Definetly Devil's Churn SP in Oregon. We stumbled upon it by accident...which is always how you find the best stuff, isn't it? I think it's too new to have an official link, but this one's good. I loved the bays in Washington, too. Ooo, ooo! And the KOA in Crescent City. My son called it "Crazy Tree Land."

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    On PCH did you stop and watch the seal lions? Their antics always justify the extra time it takes to drive the coast for me.
    We didn't. :o( Since we're Californians we weren't too worried about missing anything here, we figure it's just more reason to hit the road again. I think somewhere I read something about 20-hour road trips? ;o)
    Last edited by nenemac; 08-08-2005 at 02:45 PM. Reason: spacing

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default

    Devil's Churn looks like it might be a long lost cousin of Thunder Hole in Acadia NP in Maine!! If I ever get out to Oregon, I'll have to check that out...thank you!

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