Houston to British Columbia and Back in 2wks! I ain't skeered!
So here is my brilliant plan -
My girlfriend of 6 years and I want to make 1 great trip to discover the "Great Outdoors" before we reach the responsible age of 30 which is creeping up on us at a depressingly fast pace! We have scheduled this soul searching event for the last 2 weeks of September this year.
This is what we know - we want to go from Houston on Friday and drive to Denver, were we will visit an old friend for a night out in Mile High.
From Denver we want to go to Yellowstone somewhat quickly, but all the will driving on some scenic byways and camp at the most beautiful spot our incredibly tight budget will allow.
From Yellowstone (or somewhere in the vicinity) we will go to Seattle to meet some other old friends and plan a weekend in British Columbia for the 4 of us. This will be the expected climax of our trip, we want to see and do everything! (Neither 1 of us has ever been that far north or in the mountains and can't wait!!!)
From Victoria, Vancouver, or whatever, we will drive on back. Preferably not the same way we went.
Now so far we have some brochures from some of the states but that is about it, and every time we try to get started on planning, I suddenly develop A.D.D.
I guess I would like to ask anyone out there who has visited or lives in any of the before mentioned areas for a little advice on where we should start our research and how to stretch a buck along the way. I'm set on camping but I know my wonderful girlfriend will not find the same enjoyment I would in conversing with nature for 2 straight weeks. And 2 weeks of stress and bickering will sort of defeat the purpose. Not to mention it could be a real possibility that I could end up sitin' tight on the side of the road far, far away from home if things go a rye...
As we are from Houston, we have NO IDEA what "seasons" are, some weather info for that time of the year would be appreciated. And maybe some tips on how to make the most of the early fall in the northern areas would be helpful.
We would also like to hear from anyone who may know of some unique places to stay or camp along the way.
I sure would appreciate any help I could get from someone for whom I've never met before in my life through this wonderful and gracious internet forum!
Thanks in advance and I apologize for the rambling length of this topic of discussion!
Ken - What a great roadtrip! I have made the drive from Florida to Alaska several times and have been all over the lower 48. I can't remember that much off the top of my head but if you ask me about a specific location, I can probably give you some advice. Do you have a route in mind yet? In general, there are gorgeous views in the Tetons and camping there would be a good idea if you are in the Yellowstone area. Glacier National Park in Montana is under-visited and GORGEOUS, if you can work it into your itinerary. The Badlands are something to see, but may be out of your way. Let's see, what else...end of September, you say? It can get chilly in the Pacific Northwest/BC. Layers, layers, layers. Check out Whistler, if you can. 4 days is not much for such a vast, varied area as British Columbia. You should probably just stick to Vancouver and the surrounding islands. You will get plenty of mountains and water.
Email me at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Looks like your plans are still quite vague as to details.
Sounds like you are willing to put in a lot of driving time to see all you can in a short time.
Looks like you want a "budget" type trip.
May I assume there will be two drivers / i.e. long days on the road is ok?
Sounds like your interests are the "great outdoors" more so than city life.
Also assuming you are strictly at 14 days, no more?
** HOW MANY DAYS WILL THE FOLKS IN SEATTLE HAVE TO TRAVEL? I've based it on 3 days to have them away and back to Seattle.
Here's a rough itinerary (to at least get you started on areas to look up) as follows:
The earlier you can start each morning, the more time you'll have.
Day 1 - Houston to Denver (21+ hrs)
(this will take a long day & half of driving so plan to stop enroute)
Day 2 - late afternoon arrival in Denver. Evening/overnight with your friends
Day 3 - See Denver area with your friends
Day 4 - drive to JACKSON Wyoming (11 hrs)
Day 5 - slow scenic drive from Jackson through GRAND TETON NAT'L PARK & on into YELLOWSTONE NAT'L PARK. (perhaps campground at Old Faithful -- check about reservations right away!)
Day 6 - still in Yellowstone - lots to see/drive here. Could take days, but you don't have the time. (Camp 2nd night as far north in Yellowstone as you can get - perhaps Mammoth Springs or Tower-Roosevelt campgrounds)
Day 7 - Drive to Seattle (16+ hr drive! but with 2 drivers you could easily do it in one early start / long day)
Day 8 - Rest & recouperate with your friends! See Seattle.
Day 9 - Seattle to VANCOUVER (2-1/2 hrs)
Day 10 - here's where preferences on how hectic of a trip you want... personally I would go across B.C. to Banff, Alberta (see below)
The other option is to drive Highway #99 to Squamish & Whistler & back to Vancouver & just stay in the Vancouver area seeing the sights if you only have a short time with your friends.
Day 10 - Skip the highway 99 drive & start from Vancouver to KELOWNA, British Columbia (4-1/2 hrs) This takes you to the Okanagan Valley area and quite scenic farmland, vineland, orchards
Day 10 - continue Kelowna to REVELSTOKE / Glacier National Park, British Columbia (3 hrs - but you'll take longer with mountain pass & scenic stops)
Day 11 - continue to COLUMBIA ICEFIELD / ATHABASKA GLACIER with a stop here
(depending on time limit - see below OR...) continue on through YOHO National Park, to BANFF National Park, Alberta. (this is a 5 hr drive, but leave early & it'll take all day with stops to see stuff)
Day 12 - if Seattle friends have to be back & you literally only have 14 days in total --- you'll want to turn around after Columbia Ice Fields (take the ride out onto the glacier!) & NOT go to Banff.
This will still have given you great mountain passes & all kinds of various scenery across the Rockies, etc. The best / fastest way back is to turn around and go back same way you came on the Trans-Canada Highway #1.
Day 12 - If you have 15 or 16 days and do not have to be back to Seattle yet -- see Banff National Park / Lake Louise / some of the shorter hikes, etc.
Day 13 - depending on time -- drive straight back to Seattle (11+ hrs) OR
Banff to GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA (5-1/2 hrs)
Day 14 - Glacier NP, Montana to Seattle (10 hrs)
Day 15 & 16 drive back to Houston
If this is WAY too much or not your interests, reply & we'll see how else we can help you or revise things.
- check www.hostels.com for hostels. Usually under $20 per person per night. Your girlfriend will appreciate "real beds & shower!"
- check each national park for its campgrounds & maps / details at www.nps.gov/parks.html
& Canada's national parks at www.pc.gc.ca
- check www.koacampgrounds.com for good reliable campgrounds outside of the national parks
- check www.discovercamping.ca for campgrounds in British Columbia