Can't believe it's been over a year since I checked in. Life briefly took over the past 12 months as I switched jobs and also bought a home, so 2010 was my first year in a while without a single roadtrip excursion. I guess it was bound to happen. Even with a now-tight budget, I earmarked some funds to take a decent roadtrip for 2011.
Anyway, my folks and I have decided to concentrate on the Northwestern part of the U.S., as well as a jaunt up to BC, Canada, although we're still debating whether to go to Vancouver or Victoria, depending on what's there to see and how it will affect our timeline (leaning towards Victoria). Our route will take us up through eastern california via Hwy 395, up and over to Spokane, WA where we stay with some relatives, then head west over the Cascades and up into Canada for a day or so, then head back down the coastline, largely using Hwy 1 in Oregon to view the awesome coastline.
I've got 2 weeks plus the dove-tailing weekends to give us a 16-day window. I'm trying to keep the pace somewhat moderate, although in doing that I've made no room for cushion days with what I'm trying to squeeze in (and nobody in this forum should be surprised at that, haha). I know I may shorten or cut things out somewhere, and that's where all the advisor help would come in. Since we're starting this roadtrip before the Summer Solstice begins, I'm technically calling this a Spring 2011 trip. :)
Here's the line-up leaving Saturday, June 11th from the LA/OC area:
Day 1: Hwy 395 to June Lake, CA
Day 2: Visit Carson City, NV (capitol building!) to north Lake Tahoe
Day 3: Loop around Lake Tahoe
Day 4: Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA
Day 5: Lava Beds National Monument, CA
Day 6: Crater Lake National Park, CA (pass Mount Hood)
Day 7: Drive to Spokane, WA
Day 8: Visit Spokane, WA
Day 9: North Cascades National Park, WA
Day 10: Travel to either Victoria or Vancouver, BC (leaning to Victoria, but still debating this)
Day 11: Visit Victoria/Vancouver, BC
Day 12: Olympic National Park, WA
Day 13: Mt. Rainer National Park/Mt. St. Helens National Monument (both in one day? possible?)
Day 14: Travel to Crescent City, CA (via Hwy 1 through Oregon)
Day 15: National Redwood Park, CA
Day 16: Pinnacles National Monument, CA
High priority things are visiting relatives in Spokane and seeing the "Victorian Gardens" in Canada, so I've had to dedicate one full day for each of those. I looked at the ferry schedules for Victoria (with vehicle) and it seems to be somewhat complicated. It looks like Anacortes, WA is the only place you can ferry your vehicle over to Victoria, if that's the route we decide to take, which makes for some interesting decisions on our timing.
I also have one full day for Lake Tahoe, although this roadtrip is mainly a sight-seeing mission so if there's not much more than views of the lake, I may just make that destination an overnighter and pick up an extra day. I would also consider passing minor things such as National Monuments if there's not much play there.
I'm also concerned about accessibility to some of the high-elevation National Parks. I planned this in mid-June on purpose to minimize any winter road closures, but with the record snowfall we had the past few months, I'm worried that the NPs of Lassen and Crater Lake will still be closed, and that would cause a huge detour if they were.
Thoughts, advice, accusations of my being absolutely crazy (again)? Good to be back.