Looking for ideas: Midwest to Vancouver to Anaheim

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by DCLInauguralXmas, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. DCLInauguralXmas

    DCLInauguralXmas Mouseketeer

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    We are taking ten days to travel from midwest to Vancouver, 5 days down the west coast, and 7 days the southern route to the midwest. We will be traveling with 2 adults, 2 college age, and 2 teenagers and we will be traveling in a 31 foot motorhome. We plan to visit Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Mt. St Helen, Yosemite, Monterey Bay Aquarium, & the Grand Canyon for sure. We are looking for family activities and sites to see along the way.
     
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  3. jdb in AZ

    jdb in AZ <font color=green>It could end up curdled<br><font

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    Sounds like an epic journey that needs a trip report for all the memories and to give the rest of us ideas.

    I would include the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer's State Park,http://www.travelsd.com/Attractions...terStatePark&gclid=CO7w177tragCFQ075QodkwXyHA

    The Mammoth excavation site http://www.mammothsite.com/


    Glacier National Park, Jackson Hole, Solvang, Hearst's Castle, Vega$ (even if it's just to see the lights at night) Zion's National Park, Bryce Canyon, the four corners monument (not a must-see, but if you're in the area it's fun to put yourself in four states at the same time), Rocky Mtn National Park

    Edited to add: If your travels take you up to Alberta, Canada, the Royal Tyrrell dinosaur museum is fascinating -- even my kids (then teenagers) enjoyed it.
     
  4. GrandBob

    GrandBob <font color=blue>Grand events should not go unnoti

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    So, 22 days total? What a great trip! :thumbsup2 Want to take me along? :hippie: :laughing:

    Of course, you must take the coastal route, US 101, down the Washington and Oregon coast. Such great scenery! And then, once you get into Northern California, switch to Highway 1 down the Mendocino coast, past Fort Bragg and Mendocino. BTW, in NorCal, I think that Humboldt Redwoods State Park is even better than Redwoods National Park.

    Yosemite will take you out of the way of your coastal route. But it's a detour well worth it. If you haven't made reservations there yet for your RV, do it now! This page indicates that they take reservations 4-5 months in advance, and they book up within minutes. When are you going?

    Anyway, once done with Yosemite, you'll likely want to head back to the coast to Monterey. After spending copious amounts of time here (Aquarium, Point Lobos, 17 Mile Drive, Carmel, Cannery Row, etc, etc), you'll then want to head down the Big Sur coast on Highway 1. Stop for lunch at Nepenthe's -- expensive, but wonderful views. Do some hiking in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, or Molera State Park. While there, ask for directions to Pfeiffer Beach, one of the prettiest beaches I've ever seen. Then head down the coast, stop at San Simeon, and tour the Hearst Castle. You'll want to get reservations for that tour as soon as you know your dates.

    Have a wonderful time!

    -Bob
     
  5. DCLInauguralXmas

    DCLInauguralXmas Mouseketeer

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    Awesome, suggestions. I cannot wait until we depart for our excellent adventure!!! We are actually going to be gone 31 days +/- a few, we are going to squeeze in a 7 night disney cruise to alaska and a few days at Disneyland, while we are at it.

    The hardest part about trips like this is not knowing how much time you will spend in each are -- thereby making it hard to make reservations ahead of time.

    I cannot wait to plot these new suggestions into our route, if you think of any other "must dos" please pass them along. :)

    Will 101 and 1 be too congested or narrow for motorhome travel during late june?
     
  6. GrandBob

    GrandBob <font color=blue>Grand events should not go unnoti

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    101 will be just fine. It's a wide modern highway.

    Highway 1 down the Big Sur coast will be a little hairier. It's twisty, and much of it is on top of a cliff with steep dropoffs. Still, I see motor homes on this route all the time. It just depends on how nervous you might get. :scared1: But for a good driver, no problem.

    Are you talking about this June? I'm not sure you'll get any camping spot within Yosemite at this late date, but you should start looking ASAP.

    -Bob
     
  7. DCLInauguralXmas

    DCLInauguralXmas Mouseketeer

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    anyone with suggestions for the coasts of washington & oregon? :confused3
     
  8. ahutton

    ahutton WDW Bride Dec 6, 1996

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    In Oregon - Canon Beach is a great stop for shopping and walking around. DH is from Tillamook, so stop at the cheese factory, sample some cheese, have some ice cream and enjoy the town.

    One of the coolest places on the Oregon Coast is Cape Meares. Check out the lighthouse and the tree!
    http://www.capemeareslighthouse.org/html/octopus_tree.html

    For the best lunch and afternoon stop along the coast, I recommend Pelican Pub. They are an award winning brew pub and have a location that is my own piece of heaven on Earth. Good food, great view and a fantastic place to stroll in the sand.

    101 in that area is very navigable by RV, but can get a little busy. Best to plan any left turns at lights as the breaks in traffic get fewer and further between as the tourism heats up.
     
  9. skiingfast

    skiingfast <font color=teal>Has had no bacon<br><font color=b

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    Swimming Hole in Firehole River Canyon, Yellowstone. Rafting on the Galletin River near the eastern edge of Yellowstone. Rafting in the Snake river south of Jackson Hole.

    Waterslides and thermal water pools in Thermopolis, Wy.
     
  10. GrandBob

    GrandBob <font color=blue>Grand events should not go unnoti

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    Yep, I hear you. On one hand, you're travelling in summer, so if you don't have reservations, you may end up not getting into places you want to see. On the other hand, I love leaving myself open to unexpected experiences. Some places you never expected may grab you, and you'll want to spend extra time. Other places that you thought were "must see", you'll just say "meh" and leave early. Different strokes. Most of my best travel experiences were totally unexpected.

    "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." - Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

    But however you plan it, you're going to have a great time. I'm envious of your trip. ;)

    -Bob
     
  11. DCLInauguralXmas

    DCLInauguralXmas Mouseketeer

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    skiingfast - we were thinking about going rafting by yellowstone, so it is good to know that the ones on the east side are good. What was the name of the company that you used?which areas of yellowstone are the must dos?

    ahutton - we will definately check out the lighthouses and canon beach. Thanks!

    grandbob- in the midwest alot of walmarts allow you to stay in their parking lots with self contained motorhomes, is there anywhere on the west coast like that? in case we find ourselves in a pickle it is always nice to know we have a plan b
    :)
     
  12. GrandBob

    GrandBob <font color=blue>Grand events should not go unnoti

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    I had also heard that WalMart allows RVers to do that; and the comment wasn't limited to the midwest or east. I would guess that you can do that here in the west, too. But I'm not an RVer, so I have no direct experience.

    Have fun!

    -Bob
     
  13. aurorae

    aurorae DIS Veteran

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    Olympic National Park in Washington has two sections, one is the mountains and the other is the coast.

    The visitor center at the Hoh rain forest is a must do, there are short day hike trails that start at the visitor center.

    The whole section of the coast is spectacular, then as you get farther south toward Ocean Shores it turns into a sandy beach instead of rocks.

    Down south, the Long Beach penninsula, and the State Park at the mouth of the Columbia (there's a great state park on the Washington Side of the Columbia and a great one on the Oregon Side of the Columbia). Stuff to do, day hikes, and lots of Lewis & Clark history to see, especially the museum on the Washington side and the reconstructed fort in Oregon.
     
  14. DCLInauguralXmas

    DCLInauguralXmas Mouseketeer

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    you all have been great thanks for all the tips. I am so excited
    I don't know if I can wait until
    June!!!!

    Any suggestions for Yellowstone to Vancouver???
     
  15. skiingfast

    skiingfast <font color=teal>Has had no bacon<br><font color=b

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    For Rafting on the Gallatin river I've never used a company. I have many friends with rafts. So it's been very casual for me to go over the years.

    There are two types of rafting Scenic, and Whitewater.

    Scenic you will drift along enjoying the scenery maybe see wildlife, maybe get splashed. You can do this on the Gallatin River between West Yellowstone, Mt and Bozeman, Mt. Most companies are based in Big Sky, Montana and when you get out are shuttled back to you vehicle. You can also do this from Gardiner, Mt to Miner, Mt.

    White Water varies. It depends on the class of water. To put it simply Class III has some rapids, Class IV lots of prolongued rapids. This is what you can find on the Gallatin River. You will need to paddle, get very wet, and hold on, you may fall out, you will remember this. This is adventurous. Probably what your family is looking for. Cost vary a lot but $45 to $60 per person is pretty typical as is a $10-$15 tip for the guide.


    For Yellowstone, I'd be happy to post an itinerary. Do you know where you would come from and where you would go to? I would either enter from the Grand Tetons to the South, Cody, Wy from the East, or if you need to stick to freeways Gardiner, Mt from the North. How many mountain passes do you want to drive over?
     
  16. rbbs

    rbbs Mouseketeer

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    Make sure to drive the Oregon Coast, Hit San Francisco and take a day trip to wine country and/or gold country if possible. I think you need 2-3 days in SF area minimum. I would also include stops at Santa Cruz, Big Sur (don't miss Pfeiffer State Beach:worship:) take your time down the coast and make lots of Seal watching stops as you go. Stop in at one of the many Santas along the way.....Santa Barbara for us this year......then take the plunge into LA.....The drive to LA could very well be the highlight of your trip as your photographs will remind you......just an amazing coast to drive!
     
  17. DCLInauguralXmas

    DCLInauguralXmas Mouseketeer

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    Thank you all very much for all of the great input! I am making reservations today!
     
  18. skiingfast

    skiingfast <font color=teal>Has had no bacon<br><font color=b

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    For Traveling from the East Entrance to the West Entrance, Cody, WY to West Yellowstone, MT, it's a little backwards than what I would suggest. Just because you will visit one of the pinnacle sites firt, rather than last, and it's nice to finish with dessert.

    From Cody to Fishing Bridge Junction is about 80 miles and you will only be going about 40mph so it's going to take a couple hours. You will follow the Shoshone (SHOW SHOWn(EE)) river out of Cody and into National Forest. In the forest you wind along the river, but evenutually the river heads north and you climb west toward Sylvan Pass in some high mountains.

    As you top Sylvan Pass you will be able to see into Yellowstone which is mostly a vast plateau. Decending down you might want to pull over twice. First because it looks like a good picture spot, again because it looks like a better picture spot. With a good eye, out across Yellowstone you can see the Grand Tetons pointing upward. Also to the west is the pink Lake Hotel on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. At Fishing Bridge you can see Cut Throat Trout in the river, it's a spawning area now closed to fishing. Make a right at the junction toward Canyon Village.

    Here you follow the Yellowstone River. A few good picnic spots along here. On the left will be the Mud Volcano thermal area, the first mandatory stop. Although there are no geysers here I consider this the best thermal area. It's very unique, dynamic and rememberable. It has a short loop to walk and takes about 30 minutes (I skip looking at the couple features across the street). As you follow the Yellowstone River north you cross Hayden Valley and approache the Canyon of the Yellowstone. You really won't see the canyon from the main road.

    Make a right off the main road toward Artist Point. But go into the parking at the first left to Uncle Tom's trail. Uncle Tom's trail will take about an hour. It drops into the canyon. Descends semi steeply on switch backs and then has hundreds of stairs. This is the only way to really get down into the canyon. You might opt to continue to Arist Point, if you do this I'd skip the one way road, after visiting Canyon Village.

    After this go back to the main road and north to Canyon Village. On the right the Brink of the Upper Falls is a must see, with about 5 minutes of walking it takes you very close to the brink of the Upper Falls. You can watch the large Yellowstone river get channeled into a rushing, blue slot through the rocks and then turn to white as it drops into the canyon. After continue to Canyon Village.

    At the four way stop make a right to Canyon Vilage, just to the right. Entering here on the right is a very good museum in the Visitor Center. Strait is a store and grill, and ice cream in the Hamiltons. On the left is Canyon Lodge which has cafeteria style food.

    After visiting Canyon Village exit going right onto a one way road. To the left is Inspiration Point(optional) but it is quick(hop in and out, no walking) gives a specatular view of the Canyon. Back on the one way road there is one other great stop. The Brink of the Upper Falls. While the Lower Falls Brink trail has a walk of about 20 minutes, it let's you view the taller waterfall that goes to the bottom of the canyon. The one way road will take you back onto the main road where you go right to get to the four way stop at Canyon Junction.

    Now it may be possible if you got a jump on the day to go strait, north through this intersection, up to Dunraven Pass. Parking there you can take a difficult hike up Mount Washburn. It will take about 3 hours. From the top you can see a large portion of the park. Often on this hike you will encounter some of the more rare Yellowstone Wildlife.

    If time does not permit a long hike go West at the 4 way stop toward Norris Junction. At Norris is another 4 way stop where you will want to make a left toward Madison Junction. In the Gibbon River Canyon are some small thermal features and the cascading Gibbon Falls, I would just view these from the car as you drive by. You will descend down to a slow speed zone at Madison Junction. Later from this Junction you will exit the park to West Yellowstone, about 25 minute from the Juntion to your hotel. But to continue touring Yellowstone go strait.

    On the right just after you start to climb a hill from the river is a one way road, Firehole Canyon Drive. For an adventurous family I would stop either now or later if time permits (you will back track this entrie section to get back to Madison Junction), but if it's not early afternoon do it now. Along the Firehole Canyon Drive are two points of interest. Firehole Falls, might warrant a stop, and the must stop, Firehole Swimming Hole.

    The Firehole River is fed by many geyser basins. So it's warmed up, to what I would call unheated swimming pool temperature. Better than the crisp streams that flow off the rest of the Rocky Mountains. As you descend the stairs down to the river to the right is a calm swimming area. On the left are the rapids which you can jump into and float through a narrow gap, the water fizzes. Strait are some cliffs, while it says no jumping, I've fallen into select pools, hundreds of times, from those cliffs. ;)

    Continuing on south you come back to the main road, make a right to keep going south, toward Old Faithful. Stop at Midway Geyser Basin. This takes about 30 minutes to walk through but has some of the best pools to look at. Then back in the car go right toward Old Faithful.

    Off ramp to Old Faithful. So normally I suggest staying on the Old Faithful access road all the way and park in front of the OF Lodge for the closest and best parking. But with a camper I would take the first left. It's a little risky but see if you can park in front of the Old Faithfull Inn, or behind the Hamilton Store, parking can get full around here.

    In Old Faithful see the Visitor Center and the OF Inn, both will have an estimate of the next eruption of Old Faithful. If you have little time look around the buidling, then go out to the boarwalk. If you are lucky in the visitor center look at the eruptions predictions for geysers nearby. Some specatacular geysers like Castle and Beehive are about 10 minutes down the old road(the paved trail between old faithful and the buildings) so if your timing is right, they are scheduled to erupt, or you have a lot of time to wait on Old Faithful you can wander down there and then loop back on the board walk through geyser hill in the Upper Geyser Basin.

    Ideally you are here around early evening and can eat in the camper or at the Grill in the Hamiltons Store, the Cafeteria in the Old Faithful Lodge, the Restaurant(reservations) in the Inn, or the restaurant in the Snow Lodge at the back of the parking lot.

    On your way back to Madison Junction, depending on time there are two great things to do around dusk. Walk the Lower Geyser Basin or take the one way Firehole Lake Drive. You can get great sunset photos.


    A couple notes. You really have to get a great start on the day. In the parks there is nothing going on after dark. You can't see the sites.

    You can have a few things slow you down. Animals near the road can cause traffic jams that can delay you 15 to 45 minutes. Construction can stop traffic for 15 or 45 minutes.

    Gas is really expensive around Yellowstone. Airport Prices. Even West Yellowstone will have higher than normal prices. So it's good to top off in Cody, Wy so you don't need to fill until back near the freeway.
     
  19. hambirg

    hambirg <font color=blue>Has tooted quietly in church<font

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    Coure d'Alene is worth a stop. And depending on if you have the time, I would suggest cutting off I-90 at Spokane and taking Hwy 2 through Coulee City (to see the dam) and then through Wenatchee to Leavenworth (a cool little Alpine village type tourist town). You will miss going through Seattle going that way (which in some ways could be a blessing) but you could hit it again on your way south. Once you hit I-5 La Conner is nice. Taking the ferry from Anacortes to the San Juan Islands is a really nice experience, time permitting. Chuckanut drive and Larrabee State Park is gorgeous as is deception Pass. Good luck and have fun. . .so many things to see and do. :thumbsup2
     

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