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Yoda

West Coast road trip!

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In less than two weeks, me and my girl will be driving from LA to Seattle. Staying there a couple days, then to Portland for a day, then to SF for a couple days. 

It just so happens the Tigers will be in Seattle, so I get to see them. 

Has anyone else ever made this trip? Any advice on what to see/do in these cities? Neither of us are into drinking or partying and would much prefer to spend the day checking out museums and such. 

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Its been over ten years since we were out there.  Gosh, it might be close to fifteen.  But we took a couple of boat trips.  One was a paddleboat on the Columbia River.  Another was a jet boat trip.  I want to say it was on the Rogue River, but I honestly cannot recall for sure.  Started off along the coast in the brackish river mouth and went inland through the valley.

Link to what I think was the jet boat company that we used.

We stayed in Corvalis while we were out there.  There's an enormous beaver carved out of a giant tree somewhere on that campus.  I liked visiting Rogue Brewery and getting some flights fresh from the premises in some hole in the wall bar above the warehouse, but this might not be your bag.  I guess these are the highlights from Oregon that I can recall.

If you go to San Francisco (different trip longer ago), you have to go to Alcatraz for one of the self guided tours.  They give you a set of headphones and an MP3 type thing and you are guided around by a random individual.  Could be an inmate's voice.  Could be someone that worked at the cell.  The trip out into the bay and the view from the island are pretty spectacular.

We stayed in Monterrey for that trip.  That area was pretty nice.  We did some kayaking in the bay, which if you can handle the curiousity and smell of seals for the first hundred yards or so of the venture out, can make for a nice trip through kelp beds where you can see jellyfish of all sorts of colors and sea otters in the not to far distance.  We also took a small hike in the Redwoods (south I believe).

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If you're into food, the San Francisco area has some of the best restaurants in the country/world.  It wont be cheap though.

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Take a walk through Chinatown while in San Francisco.  Make sure you get a gander of the featherless & beakless ducks for sale in the windows.

One thing that my wife and I will always kid each other about is from our trip to San Francisco / Monterrey Bay.  Ghirardelli Chocolates was founded (stateside) in San Francisco and has a big presence in the Fisherman's Wharf area.  We decided we'd buy a bunch and bring it back with us as to share with friends/family because we hadn't ever noticed it being available around us at home.  Except that's basically sold everywhere around us and never realized it.  So now whenever we see it at the store or an advertisement for it, we bring it to the other's attention.

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I've made the trip in both directions. 

Ashland, just as you enter Oregon from California, is an artsy town with a Shakespeare festival. Worth spending an afternoon there (not necessarily worth an overnight, unless you're due for a stop anyways).

https://www.osfashland.org/

Further north, I love the Oregon Coast. Much cooler and windier than not only California beaches but also compared to Washington state or southern BC beaches. Feels like Scotland. Some great rock formations. These are around Bandon. 

bandon.jpg

I much prefer Portland to Seattle. Seattle feels like just another big city (albeit one close to the water and with mountains visible).  Portland does have that quirky vibe. We go there a couple of times a year and just hang out, no real must-see. Good craft beer scene, very bike-friendly city with easy rentals, an expansive Forest Park which is nice to drive, run or walk through.

I don't remember how far off the I-5 is Crater Lake, but its color due to its incredible depth is pretty spectacular.

CraterLake-1.png

Shortly after crossing into Washington state from Oregon, Mount St. Helen's is a short detour. The visitor's center is quite interesting for anyone like me who remembers when it literally burst into the news in 1980. 

In Seattle, Safeco is a 20-minute walk from downtown hotels or something like a $10 cab ride. Better than driving there. Pike Place Market is as touristy as you'd expect but for good reason - it's a neat place to walk around and grab brunch.  There's a Boeing Museum of Flight museum about half an hour south of Seattle, most people who go there are glad they did.

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Out of San Francisco head across the bridge and visit Muir Woods. It's a national park with some of the most impressive redwoods you will ever see. Then there is also AT&T Park downtown, it's worth a walk around even if the Giants are not in town.

We did a last minute weekend in the Portland area about 10 years ago. We enjoyed the numerous waterfalls heading to Mount Hood. We drove back along the coast through a bunch of small seaport villages, we were there in early July and there were lots of roadside fruit stands. I remember eating cherries and throwing the pits out the window while driving along 101.

We also made a stop at the  Tilamook Cheese factory.

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5 minutes ago, CMRivdog said:

Out of San Francisco head across the bridge and visit Muir Woods.

If you do head that way, stop at Vista Point just at the northern part of the Golden Gate.  You get a really nice view of the Bay and the bridge.

One thing that seemed odd to me as we went south out of SF along 101 was that we drove and drove and drove in San Francisco forever and ever, and then all of a sudden we were in San Jose.  To me it seemed like the cities bordered each other.

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10 hours ago, Yoda said:

In less than two weeks, me and my girl will be driving from LA to Seattle. Staying there a couple days, then to Portland for a day, then to SF for a couple days. 

It just so happens the Tigers will be in Seattle, so I get to see them. 

Has anyone else ever made this trip? Any advice on what to see/do in these cities? Neither of us are into drinking or partying and would much prefer to spend the day checking out museums and such. 

I live in the Portland area and have made the trip to San Diego and back.  I have driven from Portland to Seattle and back dozens of times.  Your trip plans are a little short to see the major attractions, like Crater Lake, but If you have time for it, it's the most beautiful lake I have ever seen.

It would take only a little extra time to get off I-5 and make most of the drive along the coast.  That drive is spectacular from Astoria to LA.  The southern Oregon and northern California coasts are especially worthwhile.

As far as the cities are concerned, you can see a little in the time you have allotted, but you can't tell too much about a city in one or two days.  We're in our 70s now, so we haven't gone up to Seattle and partied since the 80s, but we always had a good time.

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I've heard that the Japanese Garden in Portland is pretty great, though I haven't been yet myself in the 9+ months I've lived here. Lots of great food carts for lunch downtown. Good/interesting restaurants all over, too, but as a small-town boy, I'll admit to being easily impressed by any sort of half-decent food. Mirror Lake, on the way to Mount Hood, is a nice, easy hike.

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I've done that trip twice.  PCH between LA and SF is incredible

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On 6/17/2017 at 11:43 AM, pfife said:

I've done that trip twice.  PCH between LA and SF is incredible

It's ends up being a long day, but something you have to do once. Apparently not this summer though.

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WellI'm currently in portland. We stayed the first night at Crater Lake (amazing place) and then went to Seattle. Went to the MoPop museum, wow! And then saw a crappy Tigers game last night and in the morning we head to Eureka, CA on our way to San Francisco for a couple days. 

Thank you all for the great advice on here!

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It's obvious, but the Golden Gate Bridge is really great. 

Fisherman's Wharf

the Stadium where the Giants play is really pretty awesome too.

Haight-Ashbury was just OK when I went there.

 

 

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