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Provisional Itinerary for our 23 Day Summer 2015 Road Trip

west sussex uk
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Provisional Itinerary for our 23 Day Summer 2015 Road Trip

Hi All,

Here goes for a long post, hope you don't get bored reading it, and can pass on your comments!

The following trip was originally planned for this year, but circumstances meant it didn't happen, so we are now hoping to try and start planning for Summer 2015.

A little background information.

There are two of us, myself & wife, both about 50. We like the outdoors and are reasonably fit. The trip will be last two weeks of July, and first week of August.

The idea is to fly (from UK) to Seattle, and depart via Denver.

The following is an outline of where we would like to go/see - and any comments as to whether we are doing too much driving on any given day would be appreciated. We'd rather not just pay a fleeting visit to certain places, hence why some stops are down for two/three nights.

I also intend to post this on the Washington, Oregon and Wyoming Forums too, as I guess I might get some help there too.

Any Hotel recommendations also appreciated.

(The days of the week are pretty irrelevant, but help me when planning/counting the days!)

DAY 1 (Friday)

Arrive Seattle Airport around Midday, pick up car, and head for hotel.

Friday pm/Evening in Seattle

DAY 2 (Saturday)

Full Day and Evening in Seattle.

DAY 3 (Sunday)

Early Morning Drive from Seattle Hotel to Anacortes (85 miles / 1.1/2 - 2 hours)

Ferry to either Orcas Island or San Juan Island.

Hopefully arrive mid afternoon.

Spend Sunday night, plus all of Days 4 (Monday) and 5 (Tuesday) in San Juan Islands

So 2.1/2 days in San Juan Islands

DAY 6 (Wednesday)

Early Morning Ferry back to Anacortes and drive via Coupeville - Port Townsend ferry to Port Angeles. Google maps says 2.1/2 hours (86 miles) but that doesn't include the Ferry time from whichever Island we are staying on back to Anacortes.

Hopefully arrive Port Angeles mid afternoon, and spend the evening/night there.

DAY 7 (Thursday)

Leave Port Angeles and head via Lake Crescent to either Rialto Beach or La Push, 68 miles (1.1/2 hours plus a stop at Lake Crescent)

Afternoon/night at La Push.

DAY 8 (Friday)

Leave La Push first thing and head for Lake Quinault

80 miles (1 hour 40 minutes)

Afternoon/Evening /night at Lake Quinault.

DAY 9 (Saturday)

Drive from Lake Quinault to either Cannon Beach / Seaside. Aim to arrive early Saturday afternoon.

144 miles (3 hours)

Stay Saturday night, plus the following day, Day 10, plus Sunday night in Seaside/Cannon Beach.(So 2 nights here)

Day 11 (Monday)

Drive from Seaside to Portland

80 miles (1.1/2 Hours)

Hope to arrive early afternoon.

Stay Portland for 2 nights. Nights 11 and 12 (Monday/Tuesday)

Day 13 (Wednesday)

Short Drive (just over an hour /60 miles) to Hood River (We'd like to do a Raft Trip here) and looking at various websites it looks like they start early?

Day13 and Night 13 in this area.

Day 14 (Thursday)

A long driving day (6 hours plus stops / 400 miles) from Hood River to Mountain Home (This is really somewhere to break up our journey from the Portland area/ Hood River on our way to Yellowstone)

Any better places to break the journey, please shout!

DAY 15 (Friday)

Mountain Home to West Entrance of Yellowstone

Another long drive, 5 hours, plus stops, 350 miles. Want to arrive in Daylight.

Night 15 in Yellowstone

DAY 16 (Saturday) + DAY 17 (Sunday) + Morning of Day 18 (Monday) in Yellowstone

(So three nights, 2.1/2 days in Yellowstone)

Day 18 (Monday)

Leave Yellowstone and head for Grand Tetons

3 hours (130 miles) I guess that depends on where we spend Night 17?

Night 18 (Monday), plus days 19 (Tuesday) and 20 (Wednesday) in Grand Tetons

DAY 21 (Thursday)

The original plan, had been from here to head to Denver, probably staying in Boulder for the night before we fly home. However, the wife has decided(!) that 'as it's only an 8 hour drive to Mount Rushmore" we should go there first!

So, Day 21 now entails a drive of about 8 - 9 hours (500 miles) to Mount Rushmore area.

Day 22 (Friday)

Actually see Mt. Rushmore, before heading off toward Boulder, (or somewhere else like Cheyenne, fairly close to Denver,) from where we fly home on the Sunday evening.

If we broke the Mt.Rushmore - Denver journey at Boulder, then Day 23 (Saturday) would mean another drive of 5 hours or so (4.1/2 hours and 275 miles to Cheyenne)

Day 23 (Saturday)

Flight is late evening from Denver, so only a 1.1/2 hour drive from Cheyenne/Boulder to Denver Airport.

Fly home!

Many thanks for taking the time to read through this, and I look forward to your comments.

Some may say it's too much driving - possibly - but this part of the world isn't somewhere we will get to very often, so we'd like to see as much as possible.

Anyway, thanks again.

Edited: 11:29 am, April 17, 2014
Seattle, Wa
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1. Re: Provisional Itinerary for our 23 Day Summer 2015 Road Trip

I will only comment on the WA/OR/ID part but I think it works just fine. You've obviously done your research. My suggestion would actually be to drive further on your Hood River>Mountain Home day. That's only 6 hours and leaves you in Mountain Home, which is town next to a large military base, with nothing to do the rest of the day. What I would personally do is to drive to Ketchum, ID for the night. It's the town adjacent to the famous Sun Valley ski resort, and it's just a great small western town with decent to great hotels, and very good restaurants. I'd have dinner at the Pioneer Saloon. It's ~8 hours from Hood River to Ketchum. Then the next day drive the 4.5 hours to Yellowstone, stopping, if you like geology/volcanic activity, at Craters of the Moon National Monument. This isn't necessarily a "must see", but it's a very small park with a 7 mile loop drive and various short trails that pass through a volcanic landscape. In general, going to Yellowstone from Mountain Home via Hwy 20 and 26 is more interesting than staying on I-84/I-15, and only a few minutes slower.

Ketchum is a bit of a detour but not much. It only adds 1 hr 15 minutes total drive time to your Hood River-Yellowstone drive. If you don't like this idea, I'd still say try to push on past Mountain Home, I really would not want to spend any time there.

The one thing that I do think is a bummer about the WA part of your itinerary is that you are skipping Mt Rainier. It's the prettiest mountain landscape you'd see on your trip. It can be done as a day trip from Seattle, if you wanted. If you find yourself tinkering with your itinerary, and end up having an extra day, I would definitely visit Rainier. But you've obviously thought about what you want to see and what your priorities are.

Edited: 12:22 pm, April 17, 2014
Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Provisional Itinerary for our 23 Day Summer 2015 Road Trip

While a 6 hr drive is a huge deal in the UK, that's just a comfortable road tripping day in North America. The long haul days are when you get up over the 10 hr mark. :) Less traffic and longer stretches between cities makes it easier to do those long haul days that you might expect. If you plan to drive about 3 hrs between breakfast and lunch, take a nice break, then put in another 4 hours between lunch and dinner, you can have a really nice day and still get a good 7 hours of driving under your belt.

Its also a nice balance of hard driving days and then more than one night to rest and enjoy the place that you are in. The itineraries that try to combine long driving days with sightseeing expectations on the same day are just naive, and you seem to realize that you have to choose between driving and sightseeing.

I agree that you have missed out one or two iconic spots, but you can't do everything, so some difficult choices are necessary. You have chosen a nice pace and some wonderful destinations. To try to fit in Mt. Rainier or Mt. St. Helens would require you to start rushing or cut some other key site, so its difficult to say what you should do or not do there.

Well done.

Mukilteo, Washington
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3. Re: Provisional Itinerary for our 23 Day Summer 2015 Road Trip

Pretty good trip - a couple of long drive days, but overall pretty good.

some minor comments:

-Stay in Cannon Beach instead of Seaside. Seaside is a kitchy tourist trap.

-Whitewater rafting out of Hood River; There are short whitewater day trips down the White Salmon River above the town of the same name (White Salmon) across the bridge from Hood River and down the Wind River near Stevenson, Washington, but they go through narrow canyons in fairly substantial water (Class IV). The best rafting overall is on the Deschutes River about an hour or so drive from Hood River (drive to The Dalles, & take hwy 197 south to tiny Maupin). In Maupin there are many outfitters for raft trips on the Deschutes which pours through Class III and IV rapids at Maupin with tours lasting from a couple hours to multi-day expeditions down the river. You can even rent your own raft and do your own trip.

-Rialto Beach is near La Push. La Push is in the Quileute Indian Reservation while Rialto is within Olympic National Park - the beach is much nicer at Rialto. At Rialto walk up the beach a mile or so to the rock formation called Hole-In-The-Wall (you'll see why). At first glance it appears that this rock blocks any further progress northwards, but there is an obvious, marked, short but steep trail over the Hole-In-The-Wall taking you to the coastline on the other side and it is well worth doing as there is a massive rock shelf on the other side full of tide pools with sea creatures like brightly colored anemones and starfish. While out on the rock shelf mind the tide as incoming tides can trap you out on the rock shelf if not careful. Tide tables are available at National Park offices in Port Angeles, sports shops and most grocery stores in the area.

-If you find you need to break up the trip from Hood River to Mt Home, consider stopping at Pendleton or La Grande. Pendleton has an interesting "underground" city to tour and is the site of the Pendleton Roundup, the Northwest's largest rodeo. La Grande is in some very nice country between the Blue Mountains and the Wallowa Mountains (the Wallowas are another great place to see, but you don't have time).

Wisconsin
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4. Re: Provisional Itinerary for our 23 Day Summer 2015 Road Trip

Just a thought but I wonder if you need a car for your first two days in Seattle. I've only been there twice but I do remember the traffic as being very heavy. We had no issues seeing all of the sights of interest to us in Seattle using public transportation.

Renton, WA
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5. Re: Provisional Itinerary for our 23 Day Summer 2015 Road Trip

Picking up on RCTravelHounds: Don't pick up the rental car at the airport...renting from a downtown outlet is far cheaper, and if you take a cab or light rail (luggage permitting) from the airport into town you will not need a car until you are ready to leave. Parking is a hassle downtown...avoid it if you can. It would be great if you could pick up the rental Sunday morning...work it out with the rental agency.

west sussex uk
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6. Re: Provisional Itinerary for our 23 Day Summer 2015 Road Trip

Excellent. Thank you all for your comments.

We will see if picking up the car in downtown Seattle is possible. At least it means I can have a drink on the flight over!

Regarding the white water, we would like the Class IV if possible, if not then at least Class III. Will probably have to be a day trip, as not enough time for an overnight stay.

I will investigate the local outfitters.

Thanks for your comments on Rialto and seaside.

Lots more questions to follow.

Thanks again.

Oregon
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7. Re: Provisional Itinerary for our 23 Day Summer 2015 Road Trip

Cannon Beach costs more than Seaside

8. Re: Provisional Itinerary for our 23 Day Summer 2015 Road Trip

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