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  1. Default Portland up and around Olympic Nat'l Forest to Crescent City, CA back to Portland

    I am planning a trip with my 96 yr old mom sometime at end of April beginning of May for 2 wks. We are flying into Portland, and goals are as follows: Mt. St. Helen, Mt. Rainier over to Olympia Nat'l Forest/Quinault Rain Forest and then down the Oregon coast to Crescent City, CA back up to Portland via Silver Lakes Nat'l Park, Mt. Hood, The Dalles. I'm thinking this may be my last road trip with my mom and want to make the best of it. Because Mom can't do much walking I'll be pushing her in wheelchair so some of these stops will be just driving through/around (i.e., Mt. St. Helen). I'm hoping there are several sites that I can get her to or that aren't far from a 'pull out' or are wheelchair accessible Main reason was to see the whales but the more I look and plan, the more we want to see. We've never been on west coast. Figure DePoe Bay for the whales (if I don't see them anywhere else).
    Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish. Can you let me know if this is feasible (or should I plan on taking more time off).
    Arrive in Portland # 1:30 pm. Hoping to get to Mt. St. Helen that day and then head right up to Mt. Rainier with a stay over; drive to Seattle to catch ferry to go over to Olympic Nat'l Forest (Quinault Rain Forest) 1-2 day stay over; then spend 2-3 days going down Oregon coast; 1 day Crescent City and then up to Silver Lake Nat'l Park, Mt. Hood, The Dalles, back to Portland.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,494

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    2 weeks is quite feasible to do all that. However, I would advise you to spend the first night in Portland. By the time you get off the plane, claim your luggage, and get your rental car, it will be too late to do anything meaningful and I'd bet your mom (and you!) will be tired and a bit jetlagged. Just go to a hotel near the airport, get checked in, get a nice dinner, and relax for the evening. Start your drive in the morning.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,528

    Default Not as Easy as You Might Think

    People have a tendency to underestimate how stressful and tiring flying can be, especially for the elderly. It's not just sitting and relaxing on the plane. There's the hassle of changing your daily schedule, typically getting up early in the morning to be at the airport in time to stand in line(s), get checked in, pass through security, wait in a holding area, eat terrible food, breath low-pressure air with little oxygen, wait for baggage, wait for a rental car, drive that unfamiliar car in an unfamiliar neighborhood, etc., etc., etc. The one saving grace of flying into Portland for a trip that starts out headed for Mount St. Helen's is that PDX is on the north side of the city, so that once you've done all the above and exit the airport you can hop right onto I-205 and immediately get out of town without fighting too much traffic. But your mom is going to be pretty tired by that point, as are you if you have to push her everywhere she goes. It would be much to your benefit to just settle in and relax as soon as possible. Indeed the suburbs of Portland, just over the state line would be ideal. Then the next morning you'll be leaving town and not having to fight rush hour traffic. Look Orchards, Walnut Grove or Salmon Creek for some place to alight on that first night. After that there's not much on your way to Mount St. Helens.

    If you don't already own one, you can usually rent a folding wheelchair either through your local pharmacy or medical supply store. Since you are planning on being on 'rough' ground, do NOT get what is known as a Companion Chair. These are smaller, less costly, and fold more compactly for storage on an airplane, but they come with four small wheels, have to be pushed (the occupant cannot self-propel them), and are suitable only for prepared surfaces (floors and sidewalks). Even wheelchair-accessible walkways in most national parks will give them serious problems. Once you know the approximate dimensions of the folded wheelchair you'll be using, contact your airline to make sure whether it will fit in the storage closet in the cabin. If not, you'll have to check it as baggage, use the airport cart and airline wheelchair service to board and deplane, and wait at baggage claim for your chair to be delivered. More stress.

    Most national parks and monuments make a concerted effort to give ADA compliant access to their most popular sites, as well as short hiking paths that you can probably handle. This will not necessarily be the case for national forests. So be sure to check in at the Visitors Center and/or Ranger Station upon reaching any park for the first time. Also, it's worth checking each of the national lands you plan on visiting to see what they charge in the way of entry fees. They usually charge per car, and if the total for all the places you plan on stopping is greater than $80, then buy and annual parks pass ($80) at the first pace you come to that charges an entry fee.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Thanks for all the information. I agree - starting out for Mt. St. Helen next morning would be best. Thanks also for the areas to check for lodging for the night. Renting wheel chair is definite; may have her bring one from home (I live in Denver, she's in Chgo - her flight stops in Denver so will be together from that point) but I'm going to be checking on line and calling Portland Chamber to see if they can give me some places to call to rent one (I'll be doing all the pushing) and will make sure of large wheels. Some of the parks/national forests do show maps with ADA but some don't. I will be checking with them all.
    Thankfully, we both have the golden age pass for all national parks.

  5. Default

    AZBuck - Just curious - with mom being in wheel chair is there much at Mt. St. Helen or do you think we could bypass and spend extra day at Rainier. I just planned on driving around/through to 'see' it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,011

    Default Not a drive through.

    Johnston Ridge observatory at Mt St Helens has wheelchair access offering good views of the canyon and lots of interactive info inside the centre. However it is not a simple drive through, to get there you have to drive in and out and it's probably about a 90 min drive from I-5 and then you have over an hour back to WA505 to get back on track to Rainier. It's quite a sight when there and the drive is scenic, but it requires a little time and effort

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,528

    Default It Goes Against the Grain, But...

    I seldom advise people not to take in an attraction, especially a natural feature, that they find interesting, but in this case I might suggest that you at least reconsider going to Mount St. Helens. Except for the fact that it erupted within memory, most people would never have heard of this particular volcanic mountain. But that eruption was an event, a point in time that is now several decades in the past. There is very little evidence of it sill to be seen. Now understand that if I were in your shoes I would go, but then I'm a geologist and indeed Mount St. Helens erupted while I was getting my undergraduate degree and we studied it quite a bit. But the fact that it is an active volcano also means that it's not really worth it to the US Department of Agriculture's Forest Service (which runs the monument) to spend a lot of money on permanent infrastructure. There is at least a short ADA accessible path/viewing area at Coldwater Lake Recreation and that as well as a Visitors Center at Johnston Ridge Observatory, but as Dave noted, it's a long drive in to those sites from the main road and a long drive back out (100 miles round trip from I-5), for what will likely be little more than a photo op. If it's something you or your mom have you hearts set on, then it's eminently doable. But if you're just going because it's a place you've heard of, then your time would probably be better spent in the more fully developed Mount Rainier National Park, which also has the advantage of being a 'drive through' that does not require backtracking.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,816

    Default

    Silver Lake Nat'l Park
    Judging by the other things you mention, such as Mt Hood, I believe you mean either Crater Lake National Park, or Silver Falls State Park. Both are in Oregon. There is no Silver Lake National Park. Silver Lake is a resort near June Lake in California, and there is another Silver Lake around Ft Irwin in California.


    Donna

  9. Default

    Thank you so much; I totally agree and was thinking same thing. Another roadtripper suggested the same so I'm gonna go with that. I wasn't thinking about how much time for deplaning, luggage, car, etc.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,051

    Default An alternative to consider.

    Quote Originally Posted by brownmce View Post
    I'm thinking this may be my last road trip with my mom and want to make the best of it. Because Mom can't do much walking I'll be pushing her in wheelchair so some of these stops will be just driving through/around (i.e., Mt. St. Helen). I'm hoping there are several sites that I can get her to or that aren't far from a 'pull out' or are wheelchair accessible Main reason was to see the whales but the more I look and plan, the more we want to see. We've never been on west coast. Figure DePoe Bay for the whales (if I don't see them anywhere else).
    I wonder if renting one of these for the duration of your trip, would be suitable for your mother. These are incredibly stable and manouvrable They cope with ease with most surfaces, other than mud, both indoors and outdoors. Are extremely light to pick up, quick to collapse into the size of most modern prams, and easily carried on aircraft in the cabin - subject to space - or with checked luggage. They travel at walking pace, so it is easy for someone to walk alongside.

    Might be worth checking out.

    Lifey

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