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GLACIER, SEATTLE, OREGON & CAL' COAST SEP/OCT


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Would really value your feedback/comments if you've been in these areas during our intended timeframes as well any tips or advice where to stay mustn't miss, don't waste your time/money etc. We are thinking it would be better to go after most head back to school/work from summer vacations, but we don't want to have a bad experience due to weather or too busy still, hence end Aug start thru to Sept & Oct. This schedule isn't cast in stone and if it takes us longer or less in some places we are fine with that. We just made the decision this evening, as RV is calling us to get in and go, so pulling a rough plan off top of head at this very moment in time.

 

Aug 29/30 - Waterton National Park

Aug 31st to Sept 4th - Glacier Nat'l Park East then West side

Sept 5th-7th - Around Whitefish, Kalispell, Flathead area Montana

Sept 8th - 10th - Idaho Panhandle Springy Point/Coeur D'Alene

Sept 11th - Seattle Washington area for 3 or 4 days, then explore heading down the Oregon Coast.

 

We obviously need to plan much more in detail as we always do, but would hope to hit the North California Coast by end 3rd week September, ambling down as well if possible as far as Santa Barbara, spending a few days in San Francisco area and numerous other towns enroute as well the Redwoods.

 

Yosemite is one NP that we'd really love to touch on and have never done before. Just concerned if we'd be thought crazy to try it say beginning of October? If that is the case we could forego Montana & Idaho and just head for Washington and down to get there a week or two earlier. Comments on their weather refers to May to September (summer) being in the upper 70's to 90's and then Winter but nothing about Fall or Oct to be exact.

 

Whilst we've done the coast/Shasta Lake before many years ago at hyper vacation speed and loved it, we want to experience it a little slower and embrace it moreso. Of course we are limited on days in the USA and want to spend some of our winter down south as well, so the trade off is 6 to 7 weeks max.

 

As RVers, we love most anything about the water - fishing, kayaking, rafting, shore surfing, shelling, and generally sitting back for an hour here or there enjoying a sunset, people watching, exploring harbours etc. We also aren't afraid to do lots of walking, just not enjoying steep long climbs to be disappointed at the end result (LOL).

 

Thanks for sharing your experiences/observations about any and all areas we are likely to touch re must see must do's, don't miss etc as well weather for the time of year planned.

 

FTW.

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Interesting plans. Kind of the reverse of what we have been doing since Dec 2013. Another thread you might find useful is about our pending plans: http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=119023&p=788974.

 

We spent Christmas to April in Redding then over to Arcata and worked our way up to Lincoln City, Or arriving mid may 2014. Spent the summer in Lincoln City then in Sept worked our way to Astoria for a bit (very interesting place) like a miniature San Francisco. From there, we traveled up 101 around the west side of the Olympic mountains to Forks, WA and the HOH Rain forest and finally to Sequim, WA on the olympic peninsula. We spent October 2014 to June 2015 in Sequim and are now in Chimacum, WA at the Evergreen Escapees COHO park about 20 miles east of Sequim where it has been delightful.

 

We are from North Carolina and wanted to spend a year or more working our way around the pacific NW so planned to spend winters on the sourthern Oregon coast in their "banana belt" but found that the Sequim area has very acceptable weather, too. This past winter there were only a few days around freezing and couple of days of some snow and the rest was mid to upper 40s to 60s and mostly no rain. Sequim only gets 17" of rain a year because its in the rain shadow of the Olympic range. Forks, just 90 miles west of Sequim gets up to 170" per year, just for a comparison.

 

We just did nto want waste money and time snowbirding to Arizona and southern California and have been very happy with our choice so far.

 

Here is my blog summary of this trip up to Astoria for reference.

 

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If you want to visit the Olympic Peninsula & Olympic NP, I'd plan to go via the Tacoma Narrows bridge rather than the ferry but if you do the ferry be very aware of the tides since there are times that you will have problems getting the RV on & off due to the steepness and approach angle of the ramps. We have done it by car but not the motorhome.

 

Olympic NP has a lot to see and some very unique things to experience. Our favorites are the Lake Ozette area and the Hoh Rain Forest but there are many other things worth your time. I'd suggest following US101 down the WA coast and the OR coast and plan lots of time as there is much to see there.

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I think your timeframe is perfect. The Going to the Sun Rd. in Glacier will still be open so that's a plus. Here's some information on the road and lots of good information on the park itself.

 

http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/gttsrfaq.htm

 

For Yosemite, you might consider staying at the Escapees park in Coarsegold and doing a day trip. If you didn't want to go any further south than San Francisco you could then take Hwy 50 to 395 on the eastern Sierras and come down 395 to Bakersfield, California area. It's a gorgeous drive in fall with the aspen. It's a very good highway and plenty of RV parks along the way. Taking 395 you could also do Yosemite as a day trip by staying in Lee Vining.

 

Have a great trip!

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Budd thanks for sharing your itinerary that's very kind. 2Gypsies, it was wonderful to read that proposed time of year for Yosemite will work out well, and really appreciate those tips on routes etc and the Sierras. I am far from a "hot" sun worshipper and prefer very cool nights for sleeping, but equally didn't want to find ourselves in "bad" weather on our first experience of Yosemite (and Glacier but that shouldn't be an issue). Equally we aren't ones for crowds and fighting for a space or being tied to a tight schedule - if we arrive somewhere and feel we've done it all a day or two sooner than anticipated it's nice to move on and utilize those extra days somewhere else or vice-versa. So thank you, good to know.

 

Thanks Kirk, we definitely won't be taking the ferry but will be sure to check out the Olympic Peninsula and NP. It feels so good to know that timing is good all around = thank you so much, now to the more finite planning over the next couple of weeks, to ensure we make the absolute best use of our time. RV is rearing on her rear wheels saying "Let's get outta here" (LOL). She'll just have to be a little patient for a few more weeks.

 

Appreciate your experiences. Like I mentioned, we've done the coasts at crazy speed many years ago during school vacations and heavy working limitations = rogue river mailboat ride, sand dune buggies, Tillamook Cheese factory Yummy, sealion cave (felt that was the worst waste of money at the time, especially when we got to see them by side of the road 101 and elephant seals there also), and an hour or two at quaint little villages here and there whilst heading down the coasts. We always said we wanted to come back and do it at a much more relaxed and slower pace and now we are just us two with more time to enjoy, it seems this might work well. Monterey and Carmel we only had a couple of hours to visit in the past so be nice to enjoy them moreso, soaking in the ambience and we've never done Santa Barbara and some other places we'd like to have a look see.

We can't wait to start our FT travels (daughter announced she completes Uni in about 16mths now if all goes to plan so we're getting there), but her daddy will be 60 by then, and through construction his whole life I'm noticing he's already slowed down a lot (heck, aren't we all with aches and pains!), hence why the past few years we've done more and more extended trips and most recently even moreso whilst offloading our commitments slowly but surely. I've read of way too many folks that keep putting it all off until .......... and that day just doesn't arrive for them. We're doing what we can where we can until FT becomes our reality. We measure most exciting things in how many more sleeps, in this instance we're measuring going FT by only two more Christmas' ;)

Thanks again to you all for sharing and Happy Travels always.

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The Seal Rocks Cove RV park was a great stop for us. It was nothing fancy but the cove is really interesting. It's a large tidal pool area that is very accessible from the RV park across the highway. We could easily have stayed longer had we not had unmovable airline tickets and summer reservations in Lincoln City, OR. Yeah, we also figured that the caves weren't anything we wanted to throw money at.

 

Some of the best Pacific coastline is in Oregon. I am sure Washington's is at least as spectacular but getting to it or even being able to see the ocean is pretty hard. Most of 101 is nowhere near the ocean except for a stretch near Hoaquim. The rest is just a lot of curvy and hilly forest driving. Beautiful, yes, but not beachy.

 

Staying in Lincoln city at the Premier RV Resort was pretty great. super park with indoor pool and hot tub and a block from the ocean. Nearest WalMart is in Newport and that drive is spectacular!. Made the 22 mile trip pretty insignificant.

 

We did find as you may remember from your previous drives, that from Crescent city north is where the coastline really gets better and better.. Also, farther south on CA 1 after it separates from US 101, while very dramatic, is really not at all comfortable in any large RV due to the constant sharp cutbacks on that very narrow road with little or no shoulders. It was super in a Jeep or car, though.

 

Have fun, though.

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Man, I wanta tag along! Sounds like a great trip. I stay at St. Marys KOA on the East side of Glacier NP. It's quiet and big rig friendly, the other RV park is on a large hill, unlevel comes to mind, and IMO is not big rig friendly. The Blackfeet tribe run small school bus's for their tour, pick you up at the CG office, we liked it much better than the park red bus's which have no heat.

On the Oregon coast, near Yahats, is Sea Perch RV Resort ,

yes it looks exactly as the picture, but make reservations early as it stays full most of the time..

The Coast drive, is outstanding.

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Wonderful Ray and Budd, all's being taken in thanks for the tips. As for remembering Budd, to be honest I don't and I do need to go back through old journal entries regarding that trip (I do write ups on costs, places albeit it short notes of every time out in the RV) - vaguely recall, but could be wrong as it was a few years back and at high speed, but seem to think Seaside was where we started on the coast because of an aquarium or something, and then decided we could have foregone there, and started lower down for that particular time = like i said memory has faded a bit and I might have got that a little wrong (LOL).

 

We've truly had some of the most enjoyable trips and memorable events of our lives when RVing around our great continent, aren't we so blessed to enjoy such variety without ever having to become cattle class on planes and boats if we chose not to :) :) :)

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One of our first trips was along the Oregon Coast. We waited until late August to start. We were worried about the weather but it turned out to be almost perfect. We had many days of "shirt-sleeve" weather. And most all schools had started so no big crowds anywhere. But we did notice that many of the parks start shutting down sections of parks after the "busy" season. Fortunately we still could find spots to stay.

 

Yosemite should be good anytime of the year. We have visited summer, spring, fall and winter. It was all good! About the only things that might be a problem would be any of the "high country" areas. They may close those roads and trails. And if you are an SKP member then I'd for certain use Park Sierra as a base of operations. It is an outstanding park and close enough to YNP for day trips. Of course you might even be lucky enough to get a spot right in the park since it is sort of "off season". But YNP really doesn't have an off season. Lot's of folks out of the Bay area make annual treks to the park. Good luck and enjoy, Dennis.

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From a personal view point, your itinerary is still at a "crazy speed"! :mellow:

 

Going from the Glacier NP area to Yosemite in 4-5 weeks with all the planned places to visit in route, is to us, a "vacation mode" of travel rather than a full time mode.

 

Just going down the 350 miles of US-101 along the coast of Oregon, from Astoria to Brookings, is easily the whole month of September for us.

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Dennis - thanks for that, it's encouraging to hear you say the weather was almost perfect for the time of year we are looking at hitting the coast and that Yosemite is great almost any time of the year. Thanks for sharing based on personal experience.

 

Al - a very valid point and I don't disagree that it's possible we might end up wanting to spend longer in some areas than others heading south on the coast. If that is the case and we have to, we'll just get comfortably as far as we do and then save the rest for another visit :) I'm cognizant that hubby can't drive as long as he used to a few years back as well, so that's going to force us as well to start smelling the roses and make the music last longer :D

 

As for Waterton & Glacier), can you believe we've hit Flathead lake numerous times, Whitefish, Kalispell but never ever touched those two and they are within 2 to 3 hours of our home base. So again, we could easily postpone them for another dedicated trip, and just head to Washington and south from there - albeit I'm afraid that another decade and a half may slip by without doing them! Think we need to get a taste at minimum this late summer/early Fall.

 

Gdogntimber - Have a wonderful time, sounds like we might be hitting it all at just the ideal time weather and lack of crowds wise :) :) :)

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Sounds like a fabulous trip, but I see no mention of the forest fires in Washington, Idaho & Montana.

at Glacier the road to the sun is closed due to fire, plus major parts of the park also due to the fire.

 

We are planning a MH trip across 90 to Portland/Vancouver, Seattle and on into Canada next summer.

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You can stay on top of the roads situation in Glacier NP: http://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm .

 

From what I have been able to determine, the Going to the SUN road is not RV friendly from Avalanch Creek to Sun Point (The whole center of the route).. See: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/going-to-the-sun-road-restrictions.htm

 

Also, this year it is closing sept 20th for road maintenance. http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/gttsrfaq.htm

 

As for making the best of your time you might want to consider just focusing on one area this time and get to spend more quality time with the area. The best and most accessible coastline is from Astoria down to Crescent City with the more dramatic parts of it from Newport northwards.

 

If you want Crater Lake then also do Lassen NP as well but mind the dates because it closes early and opens late in the season. For more info ck: http://www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/hours.htm

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

 

 

We did find as you may remember from your previous drives, that from Crescent city north is where the coastline really gets better and better.. Also, farther south on CA 1 after it separates from US 101, while very dramatic, is really not at all comfortable in any large RV due to the constant sharp cutbacks on that very narrow road with little or no shoulders. It was super in a Jeep or car, though.

 

 

***********************************************************************

 

Oregon Coast - check out Winchester Bay at Salmon Harbor on the web, just South of Florence.

 

************************************************************************

 

California - Highway 1 between Monterey and Cambria. (As above) *NOT* advisable with a trailer or MH.

 

Not only is it "tight" one lane each direction - no matter what you're driving, there can be long delays,

as summer is the time for road repair..

 

Once you are "committed" - virtually impossible to trun around - view points and/or turn-outs are non-existant.

Also, the driver (with white knuckles) won't see much (except the road) as *FULL* concentration is required!

 

Having done that section of Hwy 1 on two different occasions many years apart *with RV* - it rates as a "never again"!.

YES - I knew better the 2nd time, but got past the point of no return!

 

IMO - visit Big Sur or Hearst Castle from 101 either via North or South ends of hwy 1.

If the entire length is a "must see" - drive it with you toad or tow vehicle *Southbound* (you're on the "ocean side"),

and use 101 to return.

 

Enjoy your vacation.

 

.

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Thanks Pappy, appreciate all tips on what to see and do from everyone. We are getting so excited to go as it'll soon be here now we are already in August, and I've just completed 2 contracts earlier than I thought I might :) .

 

For sure we have decided we will use my overall plan as an outline but if we only make it half way over the time period (maybe not get as far down into Cal or Yosemite) we will be gone, then so be it rather than go faster, not truly enjoying it and miss things we really want to stop and see.

We've never done Waterton, Glacier or Seattle or Portland and some other places so we are really looking forward to exploring them as first sightings and taking the time to take it all in plus the Olympic Peninsula/NP. We'll head as far south as it feels comfortable - semi retirement to do these extended travels is wonderful and can't wait for FT in a little over a year now.

Thanks for all suggestions on do, see, don't miss that might not always be the most obvious to a tourist to an area.

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If you're planning on Seattle and also the Olympic Peninsula, a good way to see the main 'tourist' things as an easy day trip is to stay at the Escapees RV park on the Olympic Peninsula in Chimacum. It's a short drive to the ferry which will take you quickly into Seattle, debarking on the waterfront by the aquarium. Do the aquarium, another short walk to the Market and catch the monorail that whisks you to the Space Needle. It makes for a pleasant day just to scratch the surface of Seattle. The traffic is horrendous as is parking.

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We are staying near Glacier about two miles from the entrance. It is a campground called San-Suz-Ed, we made reservations 6 months in advance to make sure we had a place and in the shade. When we got here they had lost our reservations even though they had already charged 50% of the cost. My wife confirmed these reservations three separate times. Finally the owner came out and said they gave our spot to someone else. She gave us a spot in the sunny area with no shade at all. When I asked the owner how could she have given our spot to someone else she just looked at me and said with a smile "Oh well, it happens". So whatever you do don't book at San-Suz-Ed unless you don't really care if you have a reservation or not!!

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We've been to Glacier twice now, once on the east side and once on the west. Both times we stayed in the KOAs near the park entrances and found them to be excellent, if pricey. We rarely choose KOAs, but the first time I was at the end of a summer traveling with my then 10 & 12 yo sons. We had a campground reservation in the national park, but when they began to rattle off the bear restrictions I looked at the ranger and told her I just couldn't do that again. She recommended the KOA about a mile down the road as being clean, friendly and with good amenities. She was definitely right. I will add that as I recall it was big rig friendly and relatively quiet for a KOA. The KOA in St. Mary was as described in an earlier post. Again, friendly people, clean, even quieter than the KOA to the west and as I recall, also big rig friendly.

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We are staying near Glacier about two miles from the entrance. It is a campground called San-Suz-Ed, we made reservations 6 months in advance to make sure we had a place and in the shade.

 

Our original plans to visit GNP was fall 2013 but the sequester aced us out so our plan is now to visit late next spring. I had theorized that San-Suz-ED was the most logical compromise between location, price and facilities but besides the RVParkReviews this is the only first person experience I have seen in 2 years. back then the park seemed to be for sale. Don't know what has happened since then.

 

I, too, had figured the KOAs because I know what to expect there (mostly) but the price really hammers at me so we are looking seriously at North American RV in CORAM (5 miles) and Rocky Mountain Hi campground in Evergreen (30 miles) as a fall back.

 

Both seem to be easily able to handle our size and NA RV in Coram is PPA friendly, too.

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2Gypsies, thank you sooo much for that recommendation on Chimacum, so far we've been totally disillusioned with what we've found in Bellevue and just North that is within walking distance to public transportation to take us to DT. We don't have a toad so tend to walk and bike a lot and so far in many many years it's served us well with only hiring a car at a destination a couple of times to get out and about a little further afield. I'm sure in due course when we go FT a toad will come into play for convenience but until now we've done OK toadless.

 

We were intending to join Escapees and PPA when we started FTing but feel we might actually do that right now, as I think we will make a little use from the overall program sooner rather than later and being avid boondockers for the most part as first choice the Days end directory will hopefully be of immense benefit to us with current and valid up to date information within.

 

Once again thank you 2Gypsies. For Waterton we are going to spend a night in the Townsite CG maybe 2 depending how we feel, as we will get there early morning the first day, having stayed late the night before in Pincher Creek and then we intend 2 or 3 days at the St Mary's CG in Glacier and then over to Apgar or Fish Creek on the West side to look see. Our main goal is to be able to catch the complimentary shuttles for the Going to the Sun Road from St Mary's and enjoy that for a whole day with picnics in tow!

 

Travelforever, that is appalling the "sucks to be you" type attitude you received from San Suz Ed due to their lack of planning, systems and processes. We won't even be considering such an establishment personally. Budd & NJTroy: As for KOA's in all fairness we personally don't find they give fair value for money (to each their own of course), so have only stayed in less than a handful over many many years when absolutely no other "convenient to us" option it felt, and wouldn't go back to any of those, however St Mary's seems to have the best access for us as we are for this trip so one or two nights we'll just suck it up and pay to stay.

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