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Old 04-16-2014, 05:32 PM   #1
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PNW Summer 2014 trip, CG/boondock advice needed

OK, putting together the Summer trip. We're probably going to break 7000 miles on this one. I've finally got 3 weeks + this summer so hoping to eventually get from Tennessee to Seattle/Portland.

Here's the basics and I would love some tips. I'm very familiar with everything as far West/Northwest as far as SLC or so up to and including Glacier, but have never been any further West (driving/camping).

Days 1-4: TN to Moab via Denver.

Day 5-6: Hoping to do some of White Rim, but not camp on the trail. We'll probably camp at Deadhorse Point or Horsethief. I would love some pointers on doing some milder (I know, relative term) offroading in the area, such as, which end of White Rim should I start for a day trip with some great sites? One better than the other? White Rim is my first thought but I'm not thinking of camping on the trail, and it's too late to get a spot anyway. We know it will be hot during the day in mid-June but going anyway.

Days 7-8: On up to SLC, probably camp in Big Cottonwood Canyon on our way West towards Salt Flats, then to Reno. Would love some input on this stretch as well.

Days 9-10: Reno to San Francisco and sightsee in San Fran. I'm not excited about parking my van anywhere in that city. Can it be done safely? I at least want to spend a day in the city, hanging out downtown and at the Wharf. My family has never been, then we will start up the coast. I would love some pointers on San Fran. Is there any decent camping just north or Sausalito along Hwy 1?

Days 11-12: This is where we will slow down a little and take in the PNW coast. Headed up Hwy 1 to Redwoods NP. Best camping there? Please PM me any boondock sites you might like to share.

Days 13-14: Head inland to Crater Lake area via 199 unless I get another suggestion. I've been here before but still would love input. After this we'll head back towards the coast via 138/38 to Reedsport.

Days 15-16: On up the coast to Tillamook. Need input here. I'm reading threads on all of this stuff including Xcnick's recent trip but need to get organized.

Days 17-18: Visiting family in Portland (Clackamas). Hope to head up to Mt. Hood and rest a day or two at their place.

Days 19-20: Headed up to Mt. Ranier area. Need input here. I'm almost out of time at this point and more interested in wilderness than Seattle, so I was thinking Mt. Ranier area is pretty good.

Days 21-22: Quick pass through Glacier NP. Been before, just hoping to nab a site there for a night or two.

Days 23-25: Head for home, 30 hours of driving but don't want to leave the party til I have to.

Thanks for any input or advice on the PNW section of this journey.

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Old 04-16-2014, 06:02 PM   #2
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Re: PNW Summer 2014 trip, CG/boondock advice needed

San Francisco: Yeah, you can park safely in the city. Depending on where you want to go there are paid lots, or you can come park in front of my house on the street next to my SMB and take a cab. I'm in SF, but not near the action. I might even buy you a beer.

Just north of the city there are plenty of nice developed campsites (Point Reyes National Seashore, CA State Parks) - no real boondocking for a couple hours that I'm aware of.
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:34 PM   #3
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Re: PNW Summer 2014 trip, CG/boondock advice needed

Here's my 2 cents...

Days 7-8
Unless SLC and the salt flats are on your must-see list, I would take 70 and 50 west from Moab/GreenRiver to Reno.
I can give you some sights to see if you take that route

Days 9-10
SF can be intimidating but it's not to bad. I don't know the city well, but we always stay in Cow Hollow just north of Lombard. As for camping - the closest we've found is

Samuel P. Taylor SP
8888 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Lagunitas, CA 94938

Nice enough park in the Redwoods but cursed with being too close to an urban area. You'll need reservations in the summer. Check the state park website for more possibilities.

I hope some local bay area SMBers can help out more. ( I see one already did as I was composing this..)

Days 11-12
If you really want to slow down, you can put the SMB to good use here. At the N end of Hwy 1 where it turns inland to join 101, turn N on the Usal road that will take you up thru Whitethorn and Shelter Cove, Honeydew, Petrolia to Ferndale and 101 at Fortuna / Eureka. If you stick with 101, there are some great state parks in the redwoods along the Eel River.

A little secret about the Redwoods - The state parks have the best groves and facilities. The national park (north of Eureka) came in the '60 and took a bunch of cut over timber lands. They have some nice trees, but also acres of moonscape.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:03 PM   #4
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PNW Summer 2014 trip, CG/boondock advice needed

SF: You could camp just east of the city in one of the East Bay Regional Parks:

If you don't want to take the SMB into the city, you can park it at one of the BART stations and take BART downtown. Dublin or Orinda would be good choices where the SMB should be fairly safe for the day.

Personally, your itinerary looks like way too much driving and not enough exploring for my tastes. You could easily spend a week just on the CA coast north of SF (Point Reyes, Mendocino, Lost Coast). The Oregon coast could easily absorb a whole week as well. Do you NEED to go tearing off to Crater Lake and then back to the coast? Do you NEED to include Mt Rainier? There is so much to see and do in any one of the areas you mentioned - I could fill a whole post with a week's worth of suggestions in any one of the spots you mention.

Between Reno and SF, if you were not hammer down on I80, you could go over stunning Sonora Pass (daveb's territory) or a bit further south check out Mono Lake and then cross the Sierra through Yosemite. Boondocking galore, great hiking, scenery to die for. Just a suggestion, and this board will have many more I'm sure, if you want to slow down and get to know the territory.
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:02 AM   #5
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Re: PNW Summer 2014 trip, CG/boondock advice needed

Thanks Rally, I'm making notes of lots of things at this point but I hate making reservations at campgrounds 3k from my house. It interferes with our 'take it as it comes' traveling lifestyle. I'll be in touch about the possible parking.

Viejo, many thanks. I will be in touch. Is 50 across Nevada way superior to I-80? Our only reason for going through SLC/Salt Flats is that none of us have ever seen it. I know it's not a huge thrill though. If you don't mind shoot me some specifics on your idea of bypassing it. Your ideas on the CA coast are exactly what I'm looking for, I just have to make sure we can fit it all in.

Dogmobile, thanks very much. I agree that our itinerary is way too full of driving and I'm in the early stages of planning which I've started too late, but here's the thing. We took one trip 20 years ago to Portland, rented a car and did Crater Lake/Mt. Hood, etc. My kids have never seen it and my wife and I really want to show this to them. This isn't our last trip out there, it's just one I won't be able to do very often, given it's 3k from home. This is almost more of a scouting trip than a perfected vacation. I was looking at Mt. Ranier area as an in-between Portland (family) and heading across toward Glacier, without bothering with Seattle. I would love to explore Seattle and points North and West (like Olympic NP area) but there's just no time for it. I'm also trying to strike the balance between a couple of days of really long drives and a couple of days of shorter ones and sightseeing. That's why we're breaking around Moab and then San Fran area, then again in Portland with family, and lastly around Glacier headed back home.

Please keep the ideas flowing here, no info is being overlooked. There are lots of threads on this, I know, and I'm scouring them as I can. Please link 'em if you can.

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Old 04-17-2014, 07:58 AM   #6
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Re: PNW Summer 2014 trip, CG/boondock advice needed

Originally Posted by 86Scotty
Is 50 across Nevada way superior to I-80?
I was struck by the "state-of-mind" that the 50 brought... I will be using that road again.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:12 AM   #7
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Re: PNW Summer 2014 trip, CG/boondock advice needed

theres some phenominal lakes and wonderful scenery in northern idaho in the area i assume youll be passing through. ive got friends that live and have lived in priest river, sandpoint, and coeurdalene areas that im sure could recommend a place to stay for a night if your looking for one.
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:36 AM   #8
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Re: PNW Summer 2014 trip, CG/boondock advice needed

xcnick here. In Tillamook there was suppose to be a campground at the airport. I never saw it, but I mention it because if everything else is booked up this might be one that has space.
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:36 AM   #9
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Re: PNW Summer 2014 trip, CG/boondock advice needed

I-80 across Nevada is a very boring drive although faster than 50. On your Reno to San Francisco leg, stop for an hour at Donner State Park and go through the museum and the walk around to see where the Donner party spent the winter of 1846-47. Rather than heading back to I-80, take the old Lincoln Highway around Donner Lake and up the original route over Donner'll cross the original wagon road close to the top of the grade. You can get back on I-80 after crossing the summit.

When you know when you'll arrive in San Francisco, call and make reservations to visit Alcatraz Island National is a fascinating place, rich in both military history and as a prison.

We've done the Usal Road that Viejo recommends and broke off a lot of low hanging branches that were getting caught on our solar panels. If you could see the ocean the entire way, it would have been worth it for us.
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:43 AM   #10
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Re: PNW Summer 2014 trip, CG/boondock advice needed

Twogone, thanks!

Shenrie, I am and I'll be in touch, thanks!

Xcnick, thanks. Your recent trip post has already been a lot of help. Noted.

Yvrr, thanks, I will put that down as a break during that drive. Hopefully it will fit.

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