My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Seattle in late July. We'll be out there for 8 days. We plan to chill in Seattle for the first 2, then rent a car and hit the road. First stop is Mt. Rainier. Looking at the map, I'm intrigued by the possibility of taking 167 South to 410 East, which eventually turns into National Forest Development Rd (according to Google maps) and makes a loop of the mountain from the north. Just wondering if anyone has taken this route, if so what it's like--is it suitable for a cheap rental car and is it terribly slow? Does it make more sense to head down I-5 and cut over on 12. Seems like the more "efficient" way but probably also more boring. Any thoughts?
After visiting Rainier, we're headed down to Vancouver, WA to stay with relatives and check out Portland for a day. Next question is...heading back up from Portland, I'd like to take Hwy 4 along the Columbia to 101 and then up along 101 onto the Olympic Pen maybe as far as Forks. Thoughts on this route? Cool places to stop? Secluded beaches? Time estimates? Finally, we plan to spend about three days in all on the Olympic Pen, probably staying around Port Angeles. I'd be interested on folks' thoughts about what to do/what not to miss in that area.
Any feedback would be appreciated.