2 weeks west coast with 14 guys...!
Replies: 26 - Last Post: Jan 5, 2013 5:13 PM Last Post By: SuperSportsFan
Nov 28, 2012 5:37 AM
2 weeks west coast with 14 guys...!Hi all,
Planning to to Seattle - LA next year Sep/Oct. 14 guys, all around 30.
- Want to visit a few places on the way that are good for (i) adventure (trekking, kayak, caves, biking) (ii) surfing/beach (iii) party towns (could be 'just' SF but also a cool festival).
- We'd want to rent a few big vans and self drive and would probably pre book accommodation as it's a large group.
- We'd prefer to avid tourist traps and rather do as much off the beaten track as possible. Don't want to drive every day, so we'd love to stick to 4 or 5 places as a base.
- Trip just needs to be epic...
Where (not) to go?
Nov 28, 2012 7:37 AM
1So, you are renting vans for fourteen guys travelling one-way from Seattle to Los Angeles. And, you have two weeks for the trip. You want to travel "off the beaten track." You don't mention budget, so I assume money isn't a problem. You don't mention accomodations, so I assume camping isn't an option (since there are fourteen people). You've picked the absolutely best time of year for your trip (Sept/Oct).
OK, based on those assumptions.
You could take the coastal route from Seattle around the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park then down the coast to Los Angeles - an excellent trip. But here's the route I'd take for such a trip:
Arrive Seattle and do a day or so of Seattle stuff (Pike Place Market, Seattle Center, etc) maybe a day trip to Mt. Rainier National Park. Then, head north on I-5 to highway 20 at Mt. Vernon and drive over the north cascades moutnains through North Cascades National Park, one of the most scenic drives in North America in my opinion. You will arrive on the eastside of the mountains in the touristy western town of Winthrop, but don't like the touristy look fool you - there's great kayaking, hiking, and some entertaining bars with live music in Winthrop (go to the Old Red Schoolhouse micro brewery owned by friends of mine - excellent micro-brew - tell'em Bob sent you).
From Winthrop drive south on highway 97 to the Tri-Cities which itself isn't worth a stop, but continuing on to the Columbia River is magnificent. You will pass from arid, flat sagelands with magnificent basalt cliffs to the fern-lined, waterfall-filled, forested Columbia River Gorge National Scenic are as you approach Portland.
Go into Portland if you like - it's cool, but come back out up the Columbia River Gorge and exit at The Dalles on highway 197. Plan to reach the tiny town of Maupin on 197 no later than mid-morning because you can rent rafts to shoot the class 4 rapids on the Deschutes River just out of town (guided trips available too). this only takes a few hours. If you survive that, head on south into Bend which makes an excellent overnight stopping place (check out the high desert museum - it's worth it).
From Bend south to Crater Lake National Park. Visit that and then continue south on 97 to Klamath Falls. Depending on time at that point, either bee-line back to I-5 to drive into Los Angeles, or if you have time, head over to highway 395 from Redding to drive along the flanks of the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains and on into Los Angeles. This is another of the most scenic drives in the U.S.
Nov 28, 2012 7:50 AM
2If you can be in SF the first weekend in October, you can go to Hardly Strictly, one of the largest & best music festivals around. The price is right--free. It was endowed by a local gazillionaire. A news story about last year's festival.
Finding a place in SF that will accommodate all of you and your collection of vans could be interesting, but SF would be a good, if expensive, base for a lot of exploring non-urban areas as day visits.
Nov 28, 2012 10:58 AM
3Assuming you guys are experienced surfers- there's Ocean Beach in San Francisco ( riptides though)
you can check out Maverick's at Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz has great surf (great party town too with
UC Santa Cruz here) Santa Barbara makes for another good base for Rincon's waves at Carpenteria (also
UC Santa Barbara). In LA you'll find Hermosa Beach. Huntington Beach farther south in Orange County.
Trestles at San Clemente. State Parks nearby in most of these places for camping.
Nov 28, 2012 4:18 PM
Nov 28, 2012 8:15 PM
5If possible start in Seattle, as September is reasonably warm and usually rainfree still. Then make your way south.
Surfing in somewhat warmer waters is best in southern California, such as Huntington beach as noted above. Anywhere north of southern California usually requires wetsuits.
Nov 28, 2012 10:07 PM
Nov 29, 2012 5:16 AM
7wow, thanks for these tips!
bob, the seattle & portland area has enough to offer so it seems. guess all the way to LA is a bit too punchy, so ending in SF with Hardly Strictly could be great. If we really want to include surfing we should make it to southern Cali.
budget wise: excl international flights we are looking at roughly 3000 USD each, but that needs to cover everything, so all meals/drinks/activities/cars etc. seems feasible, guess we can make it as expensive or cheap as we want to? camping is ok, but only for a few nights. do campsites rent our tents/sleeping bags etc? don;t want to bring it with us.
and where should we rent these vans, any particular companies you know are good value?
@willysnoutredux, sorry to disappoint you, no troll. however, I do see now how you can get to roughly 30,000 posts on TT.
Nov 29, 2012 5:45 AM
Nov 29, 2012 5:51 AM
Nov 29, 2012 5:52 AM
Budget seems adequate. Van rental you should check at the various car-rental agencies as they run deals at different times - no one is consistently the best one. I don't know of any campgrounds that rent camping gear - if you don't want to bring your own gear, you'll have to buy inexpensive gear here (at WalMart, Big-5 Sports, or any of the large discount stores). Also, check group rates at discount hotel chains like Motel 6, Best Western or Holiday Inn Express.
A point for clarification: Seems as you've dropped Los Angeles (and southern California) out of your trip. So, where are you flying in to and out of?
Nov 29, 2012 5:58 AM
Nov 29, 2012 6:14 AM
12Look into these for SF: Marinamotel.com SFmotelcapri.com They have complimentary parking
which saves about $40 per day. Parking's like it is in Amsterdam- very difficult. Once you're there, just
take public transit. Cheers!
Nov 29, 2012 6:57 AM
With that many people, you can often get a discount or get one room free. You might be able to negotiate free parking at a place tht normally charges.
You should do the same thing with anything else that needs booking--planes fares, for example. See this from KLM. Airlines will often have a special line for group checkin. They might tag your bags together so they all come out at once.
A warning about Hardly Strictly--lodging can book up around then. Last year, there were several large events on the same weekend, and traffic was a mess. It could happen again this year.
This motel (where I have often stayed) and its sister properties have free parking, although they might not be able to handle a very large van, as parking is underground. Cow Hollow Motor Inn. The neighborhood might suit you: "the apartment buildings, shops and restaurants seem to be bursting at their seams with beautiful, young and fit 20- and 30-somethings. The singles scene is hopping on Friday and Saturday nights, with lots of fresh-faced postgrads with cocktails in one hand and cell phones in the other. "
Nov 29, 2012 7:56 AM
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