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Help me plan our Great American Vacation

 
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 12:39 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
(Is the "fiancee" part new? Congratulations, if so!)

Here's more info on Ohio state parks -- Deer Creek was a specific recommendation and there was one other one I can't remember, I'll ask the guy again. (Waterfalls were involved.) I have no personal experience with any of them though (which is a damn shame and something I hope to rectify soon).

http://www.stateparks.com/oh.html
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 12:40 pm
@sozobe,
I remembered the waterfall one:

http://www.thehockinghills.org/

(Gotta go.)
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 12:43 pm
@ossobuco,
Here's a link but google has a lot more. Just read one about whale watching, yadayada.
http://www.nps.gov/pore/

I stayed at a somewhat tacky but fine motel (it was that or a 400. a night place) when I went to a wedding in Inverness (on Tomales Bay), and wanted to be right near the wedding.
Here's a Marin county map - on which I'm seeing other routes besides going all the way up to Petaluma, which is about an hour north of SF. http://www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/IS/Main/CountyMap.jpg
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 12:52 pm
@ossobuco,
Wiki, with a more useful explanation and map --

http://wikitravel.org/en/Point_Reyes_National_Seashore
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 01:48 pm
@ossobuco,
So much good stuff here. I can see I'm going to need a longer vacation.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2008 01:50 pm
@FreeDuck,
The southern Ontario contingent should be able to find a way to hook up with you on the stretch between Columbus and Boston ... Niagara Falls mebbe?
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 11:22 am
Since you are going to be driving right by it enroute northward to Vancouver, you might consider stopping for an overnight and half day visit to Mount St. Helens.

Here's some info for you, including rental places.
http://www.parks.wa.gov/mountsthelens.asp

And more info on the mountain park itself

http://www.mount-st-helens.com/

There's another alternative to consider besides hotels and campsites for those areas where you plan to spend several days. Think about an occasional weekend rental place you can use as a home base in a region and then make several day trips to various sites in the region before packing up and moving onward toward the next one.
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 11:36 am
@FreeDuck,
To help you with time guestimates, in the 80's my mom and I and a friend of hers took a 10 day vaction and drove from Berkeley through Nevada and Idaho stayed at Yellowstone for 5 days then drove northward across the border and westward to BC and toured Victoria and Vancouver before heading southward down Hwy 1 stopping off at Mt. St. Helens and a bunch of other places on the way south before returning to the Bay Area. It was very fast paced and we didn't have a lot of time to spend in any one place even in Yellowstone because there is just so much to see there. We stayed at a hotel in Nevada and the Grand Tetons before heading into the park where we rented a cabin in Yellowstone for several days before heading out and then stayed at a hotel in Canada midway on the route westward and then one in Victoria before heading south to one in Washington and then drove straight home from there in one very long day.

As for the west coast itself, to give you an estimate of strictly driving times and distances with no stopping except for bathroom and meal breaks, my experience has been from the San Diego area to Los Angeles is about 3-4 hours, from Los Angeles to the SF Bay Area is another 7 hours and from the Bay Area to the Oregon border is another 8 hours.

Driving vacations can be a bit expensive but if you can afford it do it. Gas prices are not going to get cheaper so the sooner you do it the less expensive it will be in the long run. The memories you'll create for your kids will stay with them their whole lives and there's nothing better to reinforce what they learn in school then to see some of the places for themselves.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 12:42 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butryflynet, great idea with the few day rental, probably via Craigslist..

On the hours from SF to the Oregon border, I only know highway 101 very well, and not highway I-5.

In good traffic right out of SF (varies with time of day, biggest clog is going by the city of Santa Rosa), it used to take me 4 1/2 hours max, including gas, shortish food stop (say, in Healdsburg to get a sandwich-to-go at the Oakville Grocery - don't get me going on that wonderful place) to get to the coastal cities around Arcata, which is about 75 miles from the Oregon border. So, let's say six to seven if two stops, to the Oregon border. More time, of course, if you're coming out of SF at rush hour. (I didn't do the miles of old redwood forest at high speed even though traffic was always light, too much beauty to rush.) But then FD won't be doing 101. I-5 may be twistier longer, don't know.
(reminds me, I have a thread called "Driving 101". I'll be back with a link, as it isn't so much about 101, although it is about it, as it is about the sensibility of driving.)

But that reminds me, FD, bring an I Pod or CDs, whatever, as radio reception can go blanko for a long time in forest areas, or at least did a couple of years ago.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 12:43 pm
@ossobuco,
I-5 is WAY faster to get to Oregon, Hwy 101 is WAY more scenic.

I wouldn't recommend the 101 if it is too rainy or dark - I drove from Crescent City back here to Berkeley on the 101 on a stormy evening and it was one of the longest and scariest nights of my life.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 12:55 pm
You guys are so damned helpful.

Cyclop, love the picture of the tree and your fiancee! That is definitely going to get added to the itinerary. The route isn't set in stone at all. I just used google maps to get a rough outline of the places we'd like to see. The roads can change -- in fact I didn't even look at which roads it was selecting. My current quest is to find something worth stopping before between Mississippi and New Mexico. (Sorry to anyone I might have just offended.)

ehBeth, that's a great idea. We were talking about Canada -- hubby really wants to go to Vancouver and we have a friend in Montreal. I've never been to Niagara Falls but would like to.

I'm really afraid that I'll have to scale it back a bit unless I extend the time -- which I'd like to do and may do. Maybe I'll add on some unpaid leave.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 12:58 pm
@Butrflynet,
Great idea about Mt. St. Helens. I need to add a stop in that leg too.

And yeah, we know it won't be cheap, but we're hoping that if we mostly camp at state parks and eat off the grill we can swing it. I have probably been overly ambitious as it is -- I like to linger at one or two things better than scurrying all over to see everything. But this is probably going to be the only time we'll do this. See, I should've been a teacher, then I'd have the whole summer off.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 01:01 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

I remembered the waterfall one:

http://www.thehockinghills.org/

(Gotta go.)


That looks lovely.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Aug, 2008 01:12 pm
@ossobuco,
I found the Driving 101 link.. (and several hundred or thousand travel and culture links to tag) -
http://able2know.org/topic/28171-1

0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  3  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 11:45 am
The hardest part of this whole thing is that I want to go do it NOW! I have an incredible urge to just take off and go to these places now.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 12:10 pm
@FreeDuck,
August is a nice time in the northwest, well, SF to Van, in my opinion. Mark Twain mentioned, though, that the coldest day was August in San Francisco, some quote about that. It can get a tad chill there in fog conditions, sweater time.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 12:15 pm
@FreeDuck,
Understood!

It makes me want to do something more adventurous just around here, too. There's great stuff within 45 minutes or so, want to go exploring.
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 12:19 pm
@sozobe,
Same here. I started looking for state parks nearby with camping and found some nice looking ones within a couple of hours. The weather is going to be nice for it soon, too.

Osso, don't tempt me. The kids just got into school so the timing of my whims is incredibly bad.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 03:33 pm
@sozobe,
Here's an idea. Next summer as part of the Duck Family's vacation why don't the Duck and Soz families both plan a weekend campout somewhere nearby then you can both explore the area together while meeting each other.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 10:19 pm
@FreeDuck,
Duh, I forget school starts in august now. It was always september for me.
0 Replies
 
 

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