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  1. #1

    Default Round Trip Seattle - Missoula - Yellowstone - Calgary - Vancouver

    This may be a little early in the year, my ancient camper van has been waiting for me on Puget Sound for 18 months and will require service and some tires before setting off, so I plan to arrive in the USA, (from UK), about April 1 and set off en route before April 15, to complete the journey in one month. All advice very welcome, what to see, best way to see it.

    A Canadian man I met 18 months ago suggested the Canada element was best done East to West, the views being better that way.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    South of England.
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    11,517

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    Hi Tourist, welcome back !

    With a month on the road you have many options to contemplate and with a loop that could be driven in 4 days, plenty of time to enjoy some of them ! I would be tempted to first head south from Seattle to Mt St Helens and Portland and head east along the Columbia river Gorge, maybe head further south to TwinFalls and Craters of the Moon and then into Yellowstone via the Grand Tetons and then visit Missoula on the way north if it's a 'must' which would tie in with a visit to Glacier NP before crossing into Canada. From Calgary you could head all the way up the Icefields parkway to Jasper before heading back towards Vancouver. It will all add some miles but would still be comfortable so that's a few ideas if you want to wander a bit more but there are many other options.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    5,435

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    Sounds like it could be a wonderful trip. Dave has made some good suggestions. I would like to add, however, that it could still be a bit....chilly....especially in the northern regions like Canada. Make sure that the heater in your "ancient camper van" is checked and serviced. It could mean the difference between a successful trip and one that is too cold to enjoy. In June years ago, we were running our rig furnace and electric heater when we were in British Columbia, and it was going gangbusters in JULY in the Icefields area at night.


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    7,158

    Default No gaurantee roads will be passible.

    Whereas Dave has some great suggestions, all of which would be feasible if it were a little later in the year. In a month from half way through April to half way through May, there is no guarantee that roads will be open in the areas you wish to travel. For one thing, the road through Glacier NP will not be open. To cross over into Canada, you would need to cross the border either east or west of Glacier NP. Some years ago at the end of May, many of the roads in Yellowstone were still closed. Similar with roads further north. There's no way of knowing until much closer to departure time.

    Lifey

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Hi Tourist, welcome back !

    Seattle to Mt St Helens and Portland
    head east along the Columbia river Gorge, maybe head further south to TwinFalls and Craters of the Moon
    Yellowstone via the Grand Tetons and then visit Missoula on the way north if it's a 'must' which would tie in with a visit to Glacier NP
    From Calgary you could head all the way up the Icefields parkway to Jasper before heading back towards Vancouver.
    Thanks Dave, I will follow up all of that, actually I need to visit Missoula early in the trip, Lifey would know why. I've "done" Mt.St. Helens and expected to leave Whidbey Island via Port Townsend and the 101 to avoid Seattle; but I see I can do this anyway by taking Highway 2 to Spokane then down to Missoula. So far as is realistic I'd like to stay off Interstates. Having downsized from 31 feet + tow car to 19 feet I want to enjoy the pleasures of the back roads but still get along.

    From Missoula I had thought of heading south on 93 going to Stanley and the drive through the Sawtooths, (I read somewhere Hemingways favourite), down to Sun Valley before heading back north. I guess that would take me near Craters of the Moon, which I have never heard of and need to look up. However Lifeys warnings of snow and ice will play a part in planning that.
    Last edited by Tourist; 02-07-2020 at 05:42 AM.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Sounds like it could be a wonderful trip. Dave has made some good suggestions. I would like to add, however, that it could still be a bit....chilly....especially in the northern regions like Canada. Make sure that the heater in your "ancient camper van" is checked and serviced. It could mean the difference between a successful trip and one that is too cold to enjoy. In June years ago, we were running our rig furnace and electric heater when we were in British Columbia, and it was going gangbusters in JULY in the Icefields area at night.
    Donna
    Thanks Donna, a service is a good idea! I need new tires and an engine service but had not thought of the heater and you're right! I don't have a genny so if it gets too tiresome I'll be on camp sites for the hook up, (if open), or migrate to hotels if not! I'm hoping daylight temperatures won't be too bad, and to use an ancient English word that some alicity will be present, (Alicity - warmth from a winter sun).

    BTW the "ancient camper van" is a 1988 Dodge Xplorer 228. always garaged, less than 60k on the clock, so far so good!

  7. #7

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    Thanks Lifey, I do have an element of concern regarding the weather as I am by nature someone who avoids the cold. But with Charley marooned up in WA, and knowing that the whole purpose of this travel thing in the first place was to do the trans Canada highway I better get it done!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default Yup! That's another issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist View Post
    I'll be on camp sites for the hook up, (if open),
    Yup, that is going to be another issue, especially in Canada. I recall driving to Alaska once . From memory, it was late April, early May, and I joined some other folk (tent) camping by the side of the road - highway 37. I have a really good sleeping bag. You might like to do your homework. Many hotels/motels do not open early. Not having used them, I'm not exactly sure when, but I recall accommodation early in the season was scarce as hens teeth.

    Lifey

    p.s. Would you like me to send you a couple of notes, and you can take mine in too. I will not be over there till June.

  9. #9

    Default

    This weather talk is getting me down, also looking at night time record lows everywhere I plan to be. My problem, 1st world problem, is that I have the free use of a place in Southern Spain for all of June for 5 years, I want to be in UK for all July and August, so I could start all this on about September 7th, which would be sensible, perhaps more sensible, but I've got itchy feet. Perhaps I'll come and do some coast hugging Vancouver, Victoria, Astoria, with a quickie to Missoula and back, possibly by air. Do the servicing and set the old girl up for a late summer trip as per this plan. Lots to think about, so grateful for the input.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    7,158

    Default If the roads are open.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist View Post
    I guess that would take me near Craters of the Moon, which I have never heard of and need to look up. However Lifeys warnings of snow and ice will play a part in planning that.
    Since you are coming from Seattle, you would go first to Stanley and then Missoula. The best way to do this is to take State highway 75 from Twin Falls - which by the way should be running a banker at that time - through Ketchum and Sun Valley - a popular ski area - onto Stanley. Continue on 75 to Challis, then pick up 93 north to Missoula.

    Craters of the moon is a detour to the east off this, but on 75 south of Sun Valley there are places where the lava fields come right uip to the road. I have never been to Craters of the Moon, but have stood in amazement by the side of highway 75 looking at these lava fields, which I think at that point are on private property.

    Do not head to Stanley from Boise. Those mountain roads are narrow and not maintained. They're bad enough in summer!

    All of this of course is dependent on the weather and the road conditions.

    Lifey

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