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Old 01-25-2015, 11:03 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Oregon/Washington Trip

One of our bucket list trips would be to travel from our home in Wisconsin to the Great Northwest. A couple of things on the must see list are Glacier NP and the Oregon coastline. Behind that, we are looking for ideas or suggestions on what not to miss.

Being retired we are able to spend some time at this. Thinking maybe six weeks or so? Could do more if needed. That would allow us to travel at a nice pace and still be able to spend some time at 3 or 4 major stops/areas.

We don't like RV parks and instead prefer state or national parks and also boondocking. We are thinking maybe late May would be a good time to leave?

Sure appreciate any input or suggestions from those who have made a similar trip.

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Old 01-25-2015, 12:04 PM   #2
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One thing to keep in mind about Glacier is that Going to the Sun Road, in the park, has an opening date of June 19, 2015 and last year it was July 3 before the whole road was opened. It depends on the weather and snow conditions.

It's a highlight of the park so it would be worthwhile to be able to go on it. Here's a link to the national park site:

Going-to-the-Sun Road FAQs - Glacier National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

You might want to consider the Oregon coast first and pick up Glacier on your return. All of the coastal state parks are very nice and there are even a few national forest campgrounds near the coast. You can't go wrong with any of them.

Have fun planning!

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Old 01-25-2015, 12:50 PM   #3
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Once you're west of the Cascades, and with a retiree's scheduling flexibility, please consider coming into NW Washington. We've lived in the area for most of the last 50 years, after we emigrated from the UK.

We are retired now and live in the small seaside town of Anacortes. We think we're in one of the nicest areas of the country. The San Juan Islands are our backyard - Anacortes is actually on the only island in the chain that you can drive to. Mount Baker recreation area is only 60 miles or so away and we have easy access to Victoria and Vancouver BC, also. The State Ferry system's terminal for the San Juan Islands and Victoria services are a half mile or so from our home.

There are lots of State Parks and city parks with RV camping facilities in the area, many of them with either water views or beach access.

Send me a private message if you'r like more info.

Frank Damp -Anacortes, WA,(DW- Eileen)
ex-pat Brits (1968) and ex-RVers.
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Old 01-25-2015, 01:02 PM   #4
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We drove the Washington and Oregon coast in 2009 on our way back from Alaska to TN. Some highlights

The glass museum in Tacoma was worth the visit.

When we were camped along the northern coast we took the ferry to Vancouver Island and visited the Butchart Gardens. We and did it in a day, took the early AM ferry and then got tickets for the tour with bus ride.

The coast line drive is memorable. We stopped at numerous small towns all the way down into California. Stopped several times in some of the Red Wood Forest areas.

We ended up in Napa Valley for winery tours. Got lost on some back roads and found one of the oldest wineries in CA.
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Old 01-25-2015, 01:25 PM   #5
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Have made the Midwest to Pacific coast many times over the last 30 years and still havn't seen everything. I-90, I 94 and I 80 from WI are the most direct routes and each offers a wide variety of attractions. Probably want to vary the route going and coming back to see different things. In May there will still be some snow in the Rockies but most roads will be open. Need to make reservations early in the National Parks and Oregon State Parks as the Fed and State parks fill up quickly. We like the Black Hills area and Coeu-d- alene areas (very scenic) and one way from the coast try to come back through the Columbia River Gorge. We like Ainsworth Oregon State Park (full hookups near scenic falls and no reservation Park if you get there on a weekday miday you can generally get a site. Oregon Coast State parks are great and most have some non reserve and afew are no reserve. Like Harris Beach South, Beverly Beach mid (res only hard to get in) and Fort Stevens North near Lewis and Clark Visit site. Many other nice state parks along the coast, best to go Noth to South along 101 so easy to access view tun outs. Just to many things to list. Sure you will need the whole six weeks and want to come back.
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:21 PM   #6
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I assume you have been to Yellowstone, that would be a must do for us, even for the umpteenth visit.

Leave time for a few short hikes at Glacier. Just a 90 min round trip out of the Logan Pass Visitor Center put us 15 feet away from a mom and baby mtn goat as they paralleled the path for 15 minutes.

Some lesser known treasures in no particular order:

If you like caves & stalagmites/tites, check out Lewis and Clark Caverns. A real gem not far off of I-90 and relatively unknown.

WA Hwy 20 (North Cascades) is a beautiful drive with a couple of campgrounds along the way and some short overnight boondocking opportunities in rest areas. Skagit County runs Howard Miller Steelhead Park on the bank of the Skagit River. Gorgeous location / park like.

You prefer not to use campgrounds, but 1000 Trails (maybe shared with KOA?) has a beautiful shoreline location in La Conner, WA. Not at all highly developed. You'll be a little late for the tulip fields.

Deception Pass Bridge links Anacortes & Whidbey islands

Jet boat trip up the Snake River from Lewiston.

Paradise and Sunrise on the shoulders of Mt. Rainier.

Palouse Falls

Crater Lake, OR

High Desert Museum near Bend, OR

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum in The Dalles, OR (east end of Coumbia Gorge, which as mentioned above, is can't-miss)

The Boeing wide-body assembly plant in Everett, WA "Future of Flight"

Museum of Flight, Seattle

Mt St Helens visitor centers, southern WA

Thor's Well, OR coast

If you are a car guy: LeMay Museum, Tacoma, WA

If you are a plane guy: Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, closer to I5 than OR coast
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:48 PM   #7
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'We ended up in Napa Valley for winery tours. Got lost on some back roads and found one of the oldest wineries in CA.'
I like that part of rv'ing best. Take the road less traveled although DW tends to get nervous.
We really enjoy the PNW, so much to see and do. Everything from coastal rainforest to temperate valleys and high desert. Grand Coulee dam south west of Spokane is quite impressive. Continue on to Wenatchee, there is a beautiful cg near there at Beebe bridge. Leavenworth is a fascinating town built on a Bavarian theme complete with the mountains. I could go on and on.
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:03 PM   #8
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Lake FDR in NE WA is a large rec area with many NP and private campgrounds. Grand Coulee Dam, 2 Free Ferries across the lake.

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service)
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:12 PM   #9
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Lots of great suggestions so far - Thank you!
We could spend the whole summer and not see it all, that's for sure.
Good suggestion to do Glacier on the return trip to get a bit later in the season and hope all roads are open. Yellowstone might be good to add in if it fits. Is mid May too early there?
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:45 PM   #10
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Mid-May is not too early for Yellowstone. You may still find some snow on trails but unless there's a heavy snowfall, the roads and geyser areas will be open. It's a good time because all the new baby critters will be out and about and the crowds aren't anything like mid-June through August. Here's the Yellowstone camping information. Some are reservable and some are not. Having the Nat'l Park Senior Pass will get you 1/2 price on a basic site. Fishing Bridge has full hookups. The others are dry camping.

Campgrounds - Yellowstone National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Each national park has a detailed web site like this so check them out if planning to visit.

...and... while you're at Yellowstone you can't bypass Grand Teton Nat'l Park which is right next door and completely different in looks - like a miniature Alps.

Sounds like you should plan the whole summer and into fall for your trip! - especially if you're not planning the long trip again.
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Old 01-26-2015, 01:54 AM   #11
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:24 AM   #12
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I agree 100%....don't miss Yellowstone.
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Old 01-26-2015, 05:49 AM   #13
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As mentioned Thor's well. Actually its at Cape Perpetual on the coast north of Florence. Time your visit for most of a day hitting high tide for the best water displays and low for great tidal pools. Do drive up to the top of the Cape for an amazing view and allow time to just stand on the dck of the VC to watch for wales.
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Old 02-15-2015, 05:59 AM   #14
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planning a trip on route 2 through Washington this year are there any places for overnight parking?

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