hello! my friend and i are planning a road trip from san francisco (where we live) to portland, seattle and then vancouver. we have a few questions, and any help would be greatly appreciated! :)
the drive from san fran to portland is about 12 hours; we are debating between stopping somewhere for the night about 7-8 hours into the drive or just powering through to portland. if we do stop, we'd like it to be somewhere of interest and not just a side-of-the-road motel. are there any hidden gems along the way? we'll presumably be driving on I-5. we're not really into hiking/camping out; our best idea so far is ashland...what is there to do/see in ashland other than the shakespeare festival? any other ideas?
secondly, being unemployed recent college grads, we are looking to stay in hostels in all three cities. any recommendations on good ones, or places that are close to city centers and/or points of interest?
thirdly, how mountainous/steep are the roads? i drive a 2001 nissan sentra, which does not take to inclines very well. should i be worried?
finally, instead of just doing the return drive straight from vancouver to san francisco, are there any alternative routes that we should look into taking? my first thought is to go from vancouver to spokane, to coeur d'alene to boise, to lake tahoe, and back to san francisco.
thank you in advance for any help/advice! we really appreciate it!!!