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  1. #1

    Default Tahoe, Napa/Sonoma/Mendo, Willammette, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Yellowstone, San Diego!


    I just signed up for this forum, looking forward to using it a lot in the coming months. I happenstanced on what appears to be the perfect set of coincedences for an epic road trip and have 3 months to improve it with your help!

    So I'm just looking for some general advice. My biggest question is if anyone's used the couch surfing project, and what their thoughts on it are. I've been doing quite a bit of backpacking recently, and I'd like to count on camping more, except I'm worried it's going to be too cold.

    Also, I'm a little concerned with the life expectancy of our 93 Toyota Camry wagon. I've been trying to find a good travel planning site to add up all the mileage I'm going to be doing and see what a mechanic has to say about it, but I've been really disappointed with all of them. Every trip-planner seems to be trying to sell hotel accommodation's and theme-parks rather than guide me to the hot-springs, wineries, campgrounds, and hiking that I'm really looking for. I want a good tool that will plot my route on a map, tell me how many miles I'm realistically doing and how long the expected drive time is between each leg, and let me save the whole trip so I can tweak it repeatedly over the next 3 months, and share it with all of you. Any thoughts? Here's the best one I've found.

    That being said, any other general advice would be lovely, especially if you're familiar with the areas, I'd love to know where to go. I *hate* tourist traps, and in my experience, using guidebooks it's hard to tell which areas are tourist garbage, which aren't and which are tourist traps but totally worth it.

    So that being said, here's some background and the general itinerary.

    I've been ski-bumming and saving money in Lake Tahoe for several years now, (it's almost impossible to leave this place once you get comfortable). But with the addition of a girlfriend who's being forced back into school for financial reasons I'm stoked to be leaving, moving to San Diego, and trading the snowboard in for some board shorts and surf boards.

    Here's where the road trip comes in! We have a room lined up in SD with no commitment date! I have several thousand dollars to spend, tons of family and friends to visit in Canada and Oregon, (where I have never really been) and my lease runs out on Halloween.

    Now, add to that a love of wine and the outdoors and a pretty solid basis of knowledge of the viticultural areas of the pacific northwest with a strong desire to visit, and a will to spend 4-6 weeks (random, approximate number) driving around the Pacific Northwest.

    Here's the basic plan. Somewhere around the end of October we're going to start in Tahoe City, Drive to her parents ranch in Mendocino and leave all of our non-essentials and my car parked there.

    Probably spend a couple days tasting around the greater wine areas of Napa/Sonoma/Carneros/Mendocino before driving up the 1 to areas I've never been before.

    I want to spend some amount of time backpacking around the lost coast, but I definitely need to research this more, with only one car I can't shuttle anything and I don't know how wet/worthwhile it's going to be this time of year.

    Then it's up to Oregon and Washington, I want to taste as much wine as possible in the Willamette and random other wine areas, visit Eugene, Seattle, Portland, and then cross into Canada and check out Vancouver.

    I'm half Canadian and have family everywhere up there so I imagine I'll have some local guides, plenty to do, and some free places to stay from Vancouver, Calgary, and Saskatoon.

    From there I want to make my way South, and get into Yellowstone for a bit.

    From here, I'm kind of open to suggestion. Eventually we have to make it back to Mendocino, pick up our things, and drive down to San Diego, (with a couple day pit-stop in the Santa Barbara / Central Coast area to visit friends and family and explore some more wine areas.) We hope to be Ending up in San Diego around the beginning of December sometime.

    Wow, monster post, hope someone spends the time to read this whole thing!
    Anyway, thanks for the advice in advance, look forward to talking to you lots in the future!

    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-27-2007 at 01:03 PM. Reason: Preferred link format

  2. Default Sounds like a fun trip...

    Hello Dieriding and welcome to the Roadtrip America forum!

    Hmm.. lots of things you put in your post.

    Maybe, I should start by saying how I plan a roadtrip. Everyone has a different style and some different tools. I sketch out a route, put in some rough places to stop or visit, and then calculate the distances between places using one of the internet map engines (Yahoo, MSN, Mapquest, Google, etc.). Then I do some research about what might also be fun to do -- Googling, wandering the web, guidebooks, advice from here, etc. That all goes into a spreadsheet or word document -- just to have something to paste it in. And slowly an itenerey gets put together. I'll even just look at the placemarks on Google Earth just to see what else folks are exciting about going or coming. Sometimes I've found stuff from the AAA TripTik (use the search function here for a reference for the on-line version), or just from reading through someone else's blog.

    But I don't hang up on having every mile or every hour planned -- you got to have time and flexibility to go do something neat if you just find it.
    So I'm just looking for some general advice. My biggest question is if anyone's used the couch surfing project, and what their thoughts on it are. I've been doing quite a bit of backpacking recently, and I'd like to count on camping more, except I'm worried it's going to be too cold.

    I'm guessing you'd be putting in 5-6,000 miles on your trip. Unless you get gonzo, almost all of the miles should be on reasonable quality paved roads, and it sounds like you might not be getting into the depths of winter driving.

    Now. a couple of comments. I think you might be dissapointed with Napa Valley. It's gotten pretty touristy, and while its not the "ride the tourmobile" type of tour stuff, its still pretty much set up for tourist type visitors. For Wine countries, I think you'll the Williamette Valley, the Richland WA area, and the Paso Robles CA area with a lot more family owned wineries and a lot more personal style in the wineries.

    November can be pretty dicy for weather. You can luck out and get some really nice weather, but its also possible you can have wet, windy weather on the coast, and wet, thick snows in the coastal range. My guess is you'll need to be prepared for both, and just go with the flow as the weather happens.

    The Shasta Trinity mountains in NW California is a very nice area to hike in, as would be the coastal areas in the Redwoods. I'm not that familiar with the Oregon mountains, but I've heard they are nice -- both the coastal and inland mountains. Watch the weather though....

    I've not heard anything good or bad about couch surfing, but if you've got family and friends, I'd pick them over couch surfing, and focus on campgrounds, hostels, and inexpensive hotels otherwise.

    Other than that. sounds like a fun trip. Vancouver is a great town, with lots of stuff to do around it. You ought to definitely check out the Olympic National Park on the way, and if you get a chance, get out to some of the San Juans or Salt Spring Islands in the Sound, as well as Vancouver. If you're in Vancouver, you might take a short trip up through Whistler, just to say you were there before the Olympics show up, and then mosey your way over to Calgary. Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff would be a great detour, but again -- winter weather wise, something to consider. There are year around campgrounds there, but if you're tent camping it could be pretty cold....

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