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Old 08-01-2008, 10:18 AM   #11
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Wow, thanks Bitburger and John for taking the time to write up those suggestions. Just reading these posts is making me wish that I had more than 2 weeks for this trip. The only places we will probably make reservations are in Seattle for a night (pet friendly hotel) and Vancouver Island. We are not worried about the dogs and hiking. They are both getting older and will be more than happy to sleep in the van for many hours while we are out hiking. Heat won't be an issue then either, so they'll be set.

As it gets closer I'm sure I will have some more specific questions. Thanks yet again everyone, I truly appreciate the help.
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Old 08-02-2008, 12:31 AM   #12
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Vancouver Island

A few tips for you.

Not sure about "legit" camping spots in Victoria, but what I've done a couple of times in my VW is stealth camp in the vicinity of Beacon Hill Park (southeast of downtown). The best spot is at the south end of Cook St., on the east side of the park (Google Maps is your friend). There's a public washroom at the corner of Cook St. and Dallas Rd. Best part is just across Dallas Rd., which runs along the water, is all off-leash for the pooches.

If you decide you want a hotel in Victoria, and if you like great beer, there are a couple of options - Spinnakers Brewpub & Guesthouses (Canada's oldest brewpub) http://www.spinnakers.com/ and Swans Hotel/Buckerfields Brewery http://www.swanshotel.com/. Both have excellent beers, beautiful rooms, and are close to downtown. Not sure if either is dog-friendly, though. Even if you don't need a room, Spinnakers is definitely worth the trip for the beers and food.

Two days isn't a lot, and you could use it up quickly just wandering around downtown Victoria, but if you want to get out of town for an easy to moderate hike, check out East Sooke Regional Park http://www.crd.bc.ca/parks/eastsooke/index.htm, about 45 minutes west of town. Our dog loves it there.



Now, I've got to carp on you for something. The city is Victoria, capital of BC; the island is VANCOUVER Island. ;o)

In Seattle, a great, reasonable, dog-friendly hotel is the Nexus Hotel http://www.hotelnexusseattle.com/, north of downtown. Close to the University District and Ballard. Also, close to Trophy Cupcakes http://www.trophycupcakes.com/ - c'mon, everyone loves cupcakes! And just down the street from the cupcake place is Bottleworks http://www.bottleworks.com/, a true Mecca for beer-lovers.

As for Oregon, others have given you great advice. I'm headed down there myself next weekend for a couple weeks. Lots of awesome places on the coast. And the area around Bend/Metolius/Camp Sherman should be nice at that time of year. And don't get me started on the beers in Oregon! If I find anything new and noteworthy on my travels through Oregon, I'll update this thread on my return.

Cheers and have a wonderful trip.

Brent
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:59 AM   #13
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Re: Vancouver Island

Quote:
Originally Posted by vwteleman
Now, I've got to carp on you for something. The city is Victoria, capital of BC; the island is VANCOUVER Island. ;o)
Brent, thank you so much for all of the information and the links, it is greatly appreciated. I must've been dreaming about Bottleworks when I typed "Victoria Island", not sure how I managed that .
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:31 PM   #14
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Don't forget to hit the Pendleton Roundup Sept 6-13 (Pendleton, OR). Ok, its pretty far from the coast, but it is a sight to behold. The actual rodeo starts on the 10th, but festivities start on the 6th. I'll be doing what I do best and serving beer the morning of the 13th in the big beer booth under the grandstands at the entrance. Staying in my Sporty in a friend's driveway and, hopefully, things go smoother than last year (my former Westy seemed to spin uncontrollably when I laid down in it).

http://www.pendletonroundup.com/
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Old 08-06-2008, 06:13 PM   #15
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I've found, (after a long life of debauchery), that if you put one foot flat on the floor it will stop those pesky vehicles from spinning. Also, the SMB, being heavier shouldn't spin as fast as the Westy!
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:32 PM   #16
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This is my first post on the Forum - got off my duff and registered so I could reply to your request! We live in Port Townsend, WA, on the northeastern corner or the Olympic Peninsula. On your travel from Victoria, BC to Seattle, you can either go the whole way by ferry or take a ferry to Port Angeles, WA and drive to Seattle. As a map will show, you can go the whole way be road, over the Hood Canal floating bridge, the Tacoma Narrows bridge (toll), and up to Seattle - about 3.5 hours for the drive IF traffic is light. You can also use two different routes that require ferry trips, and the scenery and potential stops are great, but I wouldn't recommend them (even though I live in one of them) if your aim is to get to Seattle quickly. If you want more info, just holler!
In Seattle, and not to downplay other suggestions, we always stay in the:
La Quinta Inn & Suites Seattle Downtown, 2224 8th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121, Phone: (206) 624-6820. Dog friendly, kid friendly, walking distance from Pike Place et al., and has free, on-site parking (a rarity). Not sure if the roof is high enough for a SMB unless you have the pop-up. Just phone and ask - they are great folks. There's a pay lot (roofless) next door. Good Luck!
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:52 AM   #17
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Psomaki - thank you so much for you post and also I'm glad you were inspired to register.

Ironically, we just made reservations at the La Quinta in Seattle this past weekend since it is dog friendly and walking distance to all the areas we think we want to see. I also did call to find out the max height for parking. It is 9', so we will be ok (hopefully) by about 6" since we shouldn't have anything on top of the roof. We will be staying there the night of Saturday, October 4.

We also made our ferry reservations to and from Vancouver Island. We will be going through Port Angeles both ways. Unfortunately, we will only have two days on Vancouver island, but it will be better than none.

These are the only two reservations we are making for this trip. The rest will be more spontaneous since we don't want to be on a rigid schedule. I will post more details about our tentative plans in several days.
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Old 09-22-2008, 12:05 AM   #18
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sdwindansea -

Hope you guys have a great trip. You're coming to a great part of the world. I agree with everything my fellow posters have said. I wish you had more time in a number of places on your list, but I'm sure you do too. You should have a ball none the less. Here's my two cent core dump.


Olympic Peninsula

There's a campground called Deer Park south of Port Angeles that's worth using if you're in the area. It's a dirt and gravel road -- Deer Park Rd runs south from 101 -- into the camp ground. You go from sea level to 5600 feet in 6 or 8 miles. Pretty drive, pretty spot to camp. Its a basic campground. No services and one pit toilet, but when we've been there it's been backpackers and no generators or boom boxes going till all hours like some camp grounds.

My wife loves lavender so we've been out to Sequim (pronounced skwim) a few times in the last couple years. Sequim's in the rain shadow of the Olympics so they get about 15" of rain a year as opposed to the 150" parts of the Olympics Mountains get. The lavender might still be blooming. It is at our house.

On the west side of the peninsula Queets River Rd is supposed to be a nice place. We haven't been, but it's actually the next spot we'll be going. There's supposed to be nice camping as well as a great hiking trail. There's also the the parks largest Doug fir and a huge hemlock.

The Washington coast and down well into Oregon is stunning. The beaches at Long Beach and Ocean Shores are both about 20 miles long and can both be driven. Honestly, I haven't done it in our 10,000 pound van yet. I'm sure it's worth it. Let me know how it goes.


We were just out in Psomaki's neck of the woods this weekend. The little kids wanted to camp at the beach so we went to Fort Flagler state park since it's close. It's a nice camp ground, but very popular. They have spots right at the beach, but they're first come first served.



Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island and Victoria are two different places. Once you get outside of Victoria things change a lot. We haven't explored enough yet, but I know the further north you go the better it gets. Up past the Campbell River there are more (black) bears than people.... That's a good thing.


My wife dragged us all to Butchart Gardens last time we were up that way. Everyone was really amazed at just how beautiful it was. Everyone had a great time, the little kids, the teenagers... and me. You can do High Tea at the Empress Hotel (Something like $50/head, call for reservations), it's a kick. Victoria is a tourist town -- and the province capital -- so expect to spend money if you eat downtown or the waterfront area. None of it is very good.



Seattle

Seattle is a great place for good food but not for fancy food -- unless you can get a reservation at The Herb Farm -- but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I'm sure you'll be going down to Pike's. Breakfast at Lowell's is really worth doing. Great food, great view. I can recomend the Hangtown Scramble if you love oysters. If you feel obliged to eat down on the waterfront go to The Crab Pot. It's one of those cheesy tourist places where they give you a bib and dump buckets of seafood on the table in front of you. We always take family there at least once. Going tide pooling at Alki Beach (West Seattle) during low tide can be fun. The Museum of Flight is a good time. You can see Air Force One and the Concord. Of course, if you do go to Pike's you have to go to the first Starbucks -- sort of the ground zero for the double whip something half-caff mocha macchiato plague that has covered the world. But they do make a decent cup of coffee.


Spending time east of the Cascades would be worth your while as well. Grand Coulee Dam -- and the drive too it -- are pretty damn amazing -- no pun intended, really. That's about five hours from Seattle, though.

Have fun.
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:24 AM   #19
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Velogeo - thank you so much for all the recommendations. I realize this is a trip we will have to repeat some day due to a lack of time on this one.

Unfortunately I looked at Accuweather.com yesterday. I know long term forecasts can be inaccurate and change frequently, so we still have our fingers crossed. However, they were calling for a week straight of rain from this coming Saturday through the following Friday in the Seattle/Victoria area. As the week progresses, if this weather forecast doesn't change, we'll probably be changing our trip destination (Utah, Nevada, Idaho, etc are on the short list). We don't mind some rain and it is expected. But, a week straight of rain camping in the van would be too much if we could avoid it.

I'm guessing we'll make a final decision this Thursday or Friday.
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:29 PM   #20
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I really can't understand not wanting to camp in the rain for two weeks. If I did I probably wouldn't live here. Folks who enjoy camping in the rain are called blue tarp campers around here. Outings are usually proceeded by the phrase, "We're going camping anyway, damn it."

Honestly, I think Puget Sound and the Cascades are more beautiful when it's raining and foggy. Taking one of the ferries out to the peninsula when the clouds seem about 20 feet off the water, then finding some fresh seafood is probably the biggest reason I moved here. Other than, you know, my wife.

If you really want to come this way you can get away from the rain. Like I said, the Sequim area -- Port Angeles and Port Townsend aren't far behind -- doesn't get much rain. The "Sunshine" coast f BC is the same, being in the rain shadow of Vancouver Island.


In the end, though, I'm not sure you could go wrong with Utah, Nevada, or Idaho. It's your vacation. Go have fun.
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