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Old 06-17-2011, 02:14 AM   #1
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Road trip from Seattle to DLR - what to stop and see?

We are planning to drive to DLR from Seattle in October. We are not looking to necessarily make it to DLR quickly, but rather to have a bit of a family road trip. We definitely want to see the big trees (redwood or sequoia?). What else should we take the time to see along the way?
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:38 AM   #2
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We make the drive from Az to WA to visit family and have stopped many times along the way. One thing that we enjoyed was the Jelly Belly Factory in/near Sacramento. They have the tours and a shop there. You can also purchase "BellyFlops" which are the Jelly Belly's that didn't make the quality control because of shape, kinda fun! They also have a Tasting Bar so you can taste as many Jelly Belly's as you want...for FREE!
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by specialks View Post
We are planning to drive to DLR from Seattle in October. We are not looking to necessarily make it to DLR quickly, but rather to have a bit of a family road trip. We definitely want to see the big trees (redwood or sequoia?). What else should we take the time to see along the way?
If you are going to be taking I-5, you could stop at the Oregon vortex. I don't remember what town it's in off the top of my head, but I know it's in southern Oregon. We were planning a similar trip, from the other side of the puget sound, but DS decided that he would really like to take the train back. So we are flying down and taking a train home.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:12 AM   #4
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I have not been everywhere but I have been to a lot of places and IMO Yosemite National Park is the most beautiful place I have ever visited. If you go of course see Yosemite Valley but if you have time also see the Yosemite high country all the way up and beyond Tuolomne meadows. Yosemite is near Sequoia where you appear to also plan to go.

Take one route in California thru Yosemite and Sequioa - and maybe Lake Tahoe to the north, and go back along the coast and Big Sur, Monterey, and San Francisco. Think about stopping at Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Maybe stop in wine country in Napa Valley.

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Old 06-17-2011, 12:58 PM   #5
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If your plans have you on the Northern California coast, make sure to stop in Monterey. They have the Monterey Bay Aquarium but the area is just so beautiful.
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:43 PM   #6
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A few ideas..

The Oregon Vortex mentioned above is near Gold Hill in Southern Oregon. It is off of I-5. Also, if you go that route and ended up staying overnight in Southern Oregon, the Hellgate Jetboat excursions in Grants Pass is a can't miss... (but that would be if you are making your way down/up in a leisurely fashion, I suppose...

If you are going down the Oregon Coast at all (Hwy 101), stop in at the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, and then further down, the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport is awesome! Then along 101 in NoCal you will run into the redwoods, and there is a place called Trees of Mystery that was pretty interesting!

Also, I agree with the above poster about the Jelly Belly factory...Very Cool~!

Hope this helps ~ feel free to PM me if you need any more info..

Sarah
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:04 PM   #7
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Another vote for the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

Mainly just for the great ice cream. (:
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:04 PM   #8
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I dont know if you have ever watched "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" (called "Triple D" by followers) on the Food Network, but this show travels all over the country looking for great little spots that serve good - sometimes great- food. Whenever we go travelling, we check if there are any on our route or at our destination. None that I have visited have been expensive- but not all are family friendly ( inside a bar or serving a very limited menu that would not appeal to most young kids). There are several in Portland OR, I can personally endorse the Byways Cafe, Pine State Biscuits and Bunk Sandwiches. I have yet to try Pok Pok, but I see the owner/chef there was recently given the James Beard award for the best chef in the Northwest. There are alot of Triple D spots in California as well. Ther is one called Duartes that sounds so good, we might just have to make a special trip. So I would check out the web site once you have a route in mind. It keeps you out of the fast food chains and can be lots of fun.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HydroGuy View Post
I have not been everywhere but I have been to a lot of places and IMO Yosemite National Park is the most beautiful place I have ever visited.
I agree, Yosemite should not be missed.
Book a night at the Ahwahnee, then stay at the Grand Californian
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:03 PM   #10
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It seems to me that you have a choice to either do the mountain route, taking in Tahoe, Yosemite, and perhaps Sequoia. Or the coastal route, doing the Oregon & California coasts, including Big Sur. Tough, tough choice. Though you could choose one on the way down and the other on the way back.

As much as I love Yosemite, I'd probably choose the coast for a road trip. Do US101 all the way down the Oregon coast, and continue down the California coast past Mendocino, all the way to San Francisco. In northern California, you'd hit all the major redwood forests. Redwood National Park is supposed to be great (never been), but I personally think that Humboldt Redwoods State Park is fantastic! It might be fun to hit both, and tell us which you think is better.

At Riverdale, I'd break off onto Highway 1, to hit Fort Bragg and Mendocino. Mendocino is a wonderful coastal town that may remind you of New England. They grow great wine in the area; nearly as good as Napa. I'd then continue down Highway 1, stopping at Point Arena, and for sure at Point Reyes National Seashore. Probably elsewhere along the way, too.

This route will then take you to San Francisco; another one of my favorite towns. But it's an urban experience, so you can decide how much time you want to spend there.

Next stop, Monterey; my home town, so I'm biased, but a wonderful place to spend at least a couple days. See the Aquarium; 17 Mile Drive; Asilomar; Cannery Row; Point Lobos; I could go on

After Monterey, definitely take Highway 1 south down the Big Sur coast. Stop at Big Sur, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and Pfeiffer Beach. Have lunch at Nepenthe's. In any case, enjoy one of the most breathtaking drives in the country!

When you get down to San Simeon, you could tour Hearst Castle. The opulence is amazing! But if you want to go, book a tour in advance -- they sell out.

After that, you could stop in Santa Barbara a couple of days; also a delightful place. From there, you're only a couple hours away from Disneyland.

And then, on the way back, you can do the mountain route to Yosemite. If it were me, I'd probably take US395 up the Owens Valley, with dramatic views of the high Sierra Crest. At Mono Lake, stop to see the tufa displays. Then go east on CA120 into the Yosemite high country, ending up in Yosemite Valley. On the way, make sure to stop at Olmstead Point, which has breathtaking views down Tenaya Canyon to Yosemite Valley.

Anyway, that's just me.

-Bob
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:11 PM   #11
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I agree with the coast route - hard to beat the spectacular beauty of the coast -and it differs so much as you go south. Oregon's is rocky, the cliffs in Big Sur area are incredible - and you get to stop in San Franciso, one of the world's great cities. I recommend Muir Woods for a taste of the redwoods, just north of SF. If you love golf do the 17 mile drive in Monterey and stop at the 19the hold at Pebble Beach for lunch!

On the way south if you want to do wine tasting you could try Paso Robles - Napa valley is better for cabs but would take you at least 90 min out of your way each direction.
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:18 PM   #12
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These are amazing ideas! Thanks everyone. I really like the idea of taking the coastal route one way and the mountain route the other way. Thanks HydroGuy & GrandBob. My husband is crazy for hamburgers and loves one shot hole in the walls so I love the Triple D idea! Thanks raftislander.
GrandBob - that is a great list and will really help me pinpoint some must sees!
I should also mention that we have been to Tillamook before (and you're all right, it's yummy) .
After reading all this and seeing how many WA people there are on these boards; it has convinced me that I'll have to do a TR covering our trek down, during, and back!

Thanks again! Keep the ideas coming!
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandBob View Post
It seems to me that you have a choice to either do the mountain route, taking in Tahoe, Yosemite, and perhaps Sequoia. Or the coastal route, doing the Oregon & California coasts, including Big Sur. Tough, tough choice. Though you could choose one on the way down and the other on the way back.

As much as I love Yosemite, I'd probably choose the coast for a road trip. Do US101 all the way down the Oregon coast, and continue down the California coast past Mendocino, all the way to San Francisco. In northern California, you'd hit all the major redwood forests. Redwood National Park is supposed to be great (never been), but I personally think that Humboldt Redwoods State Park is fantastic! It might be fun to hit both, and tell us which you think is better.

At Riverdale, I'd break off onto Highway 1, to hit Fort Bragg and Mendocino. Mendocino is a wonderful coastal town that may remind you of New England. They grow great wine in the area; nearly as good as Napa. I'd then continue down Highway 1, stopping at Point Arena, and for sure at Point Reyes National Seashore. Probably elsewhere along the way, too.

This route will then take you to San Francisco; another one of my favorite towns. But it's an urban experience, so you can decide how much time you want to spend there.

Next stop, Monterey; my home town, so I'm biased, but a wonderful place to spend at least a couple days. See the Aquarium; 17 Mile Drive; Asilomar; Cannery Row; Point Lobos; I could go on

After Monterey, definitely take Highway 1 south down the Big Sur coast. Stop at Big Sur, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and Pfeiffer Beach. Have lunch at Nepenthe's. In any case, enjoy one of the most breathtaking drives in the country!

When you get down to San Simeon, you could tour Hearst Castle. The opulence is amazing! But if you want to go, book a tour in advance -- they sell out.

After that, you could stop in Santa Barbara a couple of days; also a delightful place. From there, you're only a couple hours away from Disneyland.

And then, on the way back, you can do the mountain route to Yosemite. If it were me, I'd probably take US395 up the Owens Valley, with dramatic views of the high Sierra Crest. At Mono Lake, stop to see the tufa displays. Then go east on CA120 into the Yosemite high country, ending up in Yosemite Valley. On the way, make sure to stop at Olmstead Point, which has breathtaking views down Tenaya Canyon to Yosemite Valley.

Anyway, that's just me.

-Bob
Great detail Bob.

Jack
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:42 AM   #14
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Last summer we drove from Spokane to San Fran and had a great time. We took our time going down and made tracks coming back. We stopped at Wildlife Safari in Winston OR. It's a drive thru safari park which we really loved. Just off I5. We drove i5 down so I can't comment on Oregon coast stops but it sounds like you know OR. We stayed in Cresent Beach CA one night and then drove down highway 101 through the redwoods. We absolutely LOVED the redwoods. Definitely plan time to explore. We found the largest tree and drove all over and saw quite a bit even in a few hours. You must do a drive through tree. I can't wait to go back! I would advise you to not turn at Riverdale to highway 1. It may not look like much on the map, but the roads to and from that coastal area are super windy and VERY slow going (10 mph hairpin corners that my husband will never forget). My four year olds stomach had had it. that stretch of ocean is ok but a time eater. If you drive the OR coast skip this area. I wished we would have stayed on hwy 101 and spent time in the Russian river valley (healdsburg, Windsor, etc) as it's a new wine area. We drove through at night and boy did we miss out. I would also miss that northern coast and take the time to drive to Sonoma. That whole Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Petaluma loop was wonderful!!! Maybe it's cause I'm from the Yakima valley and love grape vineyards and wine, but it was wonderful!! Totally worth the time! Sonoma has a park in the middle of town and you can walk around the park and there are all kinds of restaurants and shops. There is also a fun train amusement park if you have little kids.
We did go to the jelly belly factory. It's in Fairfield CA. It was a really cool factory and my little boy would love to go back. It was pretty busy and there's not really anything else around there but if you are going past it on I80 you must stop.
Enjoy your trip! We wished we could have kept driving south to see hwy 1 past San Fran. Can't wait to hear about your trip! We were at DL in March and can't wait to go back.

Amy
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:23 PM   #15
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If you have any one in your car that is squeamish about driving along side of cliffs that drop to the ocean, then I would take the coast route north and the Sequoia/Yosemite route south.
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