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Need help with OR portion of road trip...

Marcellus, New York
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Need help with OR portion of road trip...

We will be doing a driving loop of the west starting and ending in Idaho, and I am hoping for some help with the Oregon (and a bit into Washington and California) portion of our road trip. We are a family of 4, two adults and two kids ages 9 and 11, and will be traveling next July. We like wilderness, parks, easy hikes, pretty views, and are not so much into cities, museums, etc.(we have those in NY, but we don't have your gorgeous vistas!).

And when I mention camping as part of the proposed itinerary, please note that it's of the New-York variety, as my Idaho-native hubby would say, meaning sleeping in a tent, but with hot shower and flush toilets available on-site if at all possible (ie: car camping, nothing backcountry or too rustic).

Thus far the proposed itinerary looks like this for the first week or so:

1. Depart Boise and visit the Painted Hills (and possibly another of the John Day Fossil Beds if there is time), camping overnight somewhere (possibly Prineville Reservoir State Park).

2. Make our way to the Columbia River Gorge, visiting (at a minimum) Multnomah Falls and Horsetail Falls. From there we would make our way up toward Mt. St. Helens, staying somewhere in WA (possibly camping near Mt. St. Helens).

3. Visit Mt. St. Helens, drive back to OR coast, possibly camping in a state park (Fort Stevens, somewhere south of there? Suggestions welcome!)

4. Drive down OR coast, another state park camping night, possibly (again, suggestions welcome - Cape Blanco was one idea, if sites are available).

5. Not sure if we need another day in OR, but thought to make our way to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in CA.

6. Back into OR via highways for a visit to, and a stay at, Crater Lake.

7. South into CA via I-5 to visit Yosemite.

I have posted on the road trip forum for overall planning help, but what I really need assistance with at this point is whether we are allowing anywhere near enough time to visit Oregon itself! I realize we are skipping Portland (we might get there for an afternoon/evening, but that's about it) and that is acceptable if it means we'll have more time in parks and such - sadly, no one else in the family seems interested in visiting Portland at this point, despite my trying to lure them in. They would prefer to camp and see the coast and such. Ah, trying to please everyone is such fun!

Any help with timing, campsite suggestions, things to be sure and do, or common pitfalls to avoid would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for any ideas you can offer.

Vestal, New York
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for Auburn, Finger Lakes
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1. Re: Need help with OR portion of road trip...

If you are visiting the Painted Hills (well worth it), you may also want to consider visiting Sheep Rock. If you are taking US-26 from Boise, you will pass the turnoff (US-19) on the way to the Painted Hills. It is only a short distance after you turn off.

Longview, Washington
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for Mount Rainier National Park
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2. Re: Need help with OR portion of road trip...

#2 -< Possibly camping near Mt. St. Helens > Check Seaquest State Park--It is about 5 or 6 miles from I-5 on the road to Mt. St. Helens. It is just across the road from the Mount St Helens Visitor Center at Silver Lake. Very nice campground--big trees large campsites, also have yurt rentals.

Be sure to make campground reservations early for Prineville Reservior, Seaquest, along the Oregon Coast, and especially Yosemite. July and August are high season in Oregon and Washington and these are all very popular campgrounds. Yosemite will be EXTREMELY crowded.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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3. Re: Need help with OR portion of road trip...

Hi again, GracieCNY :-)

>> hot shower and flush toilets available on-site if at all possible <<

With a few exceptions, all Oregon state park campgrounds have hot showers and flush toilets. There may be a small charge for the showers such as 25¢ per "x" number of minutes, but it's usually quite reasonable.

Fort Stevens is a *huge* campground - largest in the state (maybe several states!) - it's like a small city, LOL. There is also a KOA right near there which is also giant sized.

Cape Blanco is a nice campground with a pretty location but be sure to get any grocery supplies in Bandon at Ray's as there is nothing else along the way!

Beaverton, Oregon
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for Cannon Beach
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4. Re: Need help with OR portion of road trip...

And when I mention camping as part of the proposed itinerary, please note that it's of the New-York variety, as my Idaho-native hubby would say, meaning sleeping in a tent, but with hot shower and flush toilets available on-site if at all possible (ie: car camping, nothing backcountry or too rustic).>>>

have you considered a motel 6 -with black and white tv and no remote but with showers and flush toilets

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5. Re: Need help with OR portion of road trip...

Looks great! Keep in mind that July is high tourist season here on the Oregon Coast. Make your reservations for Fort Stevens early, this is a very popular campground. You will be minutes away from Astoria, Gearhart, Seaside and Cannon Beach. Have fun with your planning! :)

Marcellus, New York
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6. Re: Need help with OR portion of road trip...

[quote]have you considered a motel 6 -with black and white tv and no remote but with showers and flush toilets[/quote]

Thank you for the suggestion, but we had considered and discarded that idea. For one thing, it's hard to find places like that right on the coast, which is where we'd like to be, and for another...anything in our price range and available for one night is likely to be pretty scary!

The better alternative seemed to be camping. ~shrug~ For about $30-$40 we can have a fantastic location and still have a hot shower as a wake-up in the morning.

Thank you for the suggestions and warnings about places to stay. I've already reserved all those sites that I can (many were right at the 9-month mark and I was able to snag them) and I have reminders jotted down for the ones I'm still holding on because their reservation windows aren't open yet.

The one thing we struck out on was Crater Lake Lodge. No availability the day I had planned on, and now we are in the "do we juggle things, go with alternate lodging, or ditch it?" mode. Ugh. And Yosemite - but that's a story for a different message board!

Right now we have Fort Stevens, then I am thinking a night at Cape Perpetua, then one at Cape Blanco, followed by Jed Smith. Any advice about whether that is sufficient time to enjoy the coast or if we could cut a day out? If so, which location would you ditch entirely and hope to someday get back that way? Or would you suggest other places instead?

Thank you for the detailed assistance - it is very much appreciated.

P.S. Regarding Yosemite being crowded, we have no choice on timing. It's then or nothing. Hopefully the crowds are somewhat manageable. I'm getting nervous!

Edited: 5:23 pm, October 19, 2013
Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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7. Re: Need help with OR portion of road trip...

Motel 6's of course have color TVs. Some have flat screen TVs ;-)

There are two on the coast - Lincoln City which is newish (maybe 12-15 years old) quite modern multi storey with ocean views from some rooms, and Gold Beach which was built sometime in the 1960s!

However, all along the coast there are smaller "mom and pop" motels which are clean and very reasonably priced.

I know you are camping, but perhaps other readers will benefit from the above information :-)

Cape Perpetua is tucked inland away from the ocean. You won't see it or probably even hear it from the campground.

I think your Oregon coast segment timing is about right :-)

Marcellus, New York
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8. Re: Need help with OR portion of road trip...

Thanks for the info on the lodging! I think at this point we're set for Oregon, except for Crater Lake Lodge. That was pretty high on my want list (and the $ for that was one of the reasons for camping...economize here, splurge there mentality!), so I'll check back closer to the trip and see if anything opens up. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

9. Re: Need help with OR portion of road trip...

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