Death:Plans as Rock:Scissors; Pacific Northwest help needed
Replies: 24 - Last Post: Aug 16, 2013 10:10 PM Last Post By: willysnoutredux
Jul 26, 2013 4:52 PM
Death:Plans as Rock:Scissors; Pacific Northwest help neededI didn't expect to come back to the forum this way. Leaving on a 3-week trip to Russia next week, except we aren't. Had Gogol's Dead Souls in my carry-on, instead I must carry on despite a dead soul.
So, after we (family of 4, parents early 50s, kids 15 & 11) get through the first days of mourning in Seattle, what should we do in the general vicinity for a fortnight? Vancouver's certainly within range, as is Portland. Been to the latter, though.
I know I should help you help me by telling you our interests are. We like nature but are packed for Moscow and St. Petersburg and I've promised Ms. TFC no camping or beyond-sneakers hiking. Renting vehicle for sure. One-way rental possible. Presume it's too late to get any good accommodation in Yellowstone and that's probably a bit too far. Glacier? Combination of Vancouver with something more pastoral? Olympic peninsula? Oregon coast? Point of Departure to Goodbye Creek? I usually ask better-formed questions but the universe hasn't given me time for that. Help, please.
Jul 26, 2013 5:25 PM
Jul 26, 2013 5:56 PM
2Alaska is a very good option however, you have 3 weeks out of Seattle, it's kind of a no brainier, of course you have time to hit Yellowstone and Glacier, if you've never been they are incredible places, just go. There are a lot of lodging options just out of the parks, it would be a nice easy trip of a lifetime. You will find places to stay even at this time of year, might even find some good bargains.
Jul 26, 2013 6:15 PM
3Thanks, and Alaska was my instinct, but won't work. To clarify (figuring this out as we go) we have 3 weeks that INCLUDES mourning and effects disposition time in Seattle, which I was thinking would be 1 week but am now informed will be more like 2. So one additional week to roam. Leaning towards Vancouver BC, looking for orientation and advice there, realize this is the US branch, but I think I built up some karma on this one and am hoping to redeem it (and I posted there too).
Jul 26, 2013 6:26 PM
4The best laid schemes of mice and men....
I would spend the better part of the week in touring the Olympics, with a day or two at Rainier. Or maybe spend some time (a couple, few days) in the Columbia Gorge area.
A detour to Victoria could also be worthwhile.
For what it's worth, I actually prefer Vancouver to Seattle, city-wise.
And the Okanagan area. Look into that.
Jul 26, 2013 10:39 PM
5Canadian Rockies. Vancouver/Sea to Sky corridor. Vancouver Island/Whistler (skip Sunshine Coast, IMHO). Rainier and North Cascades or Olympics.
If we knew more about what you want to do, recommendations would be easier. For example, mountain biking? Sea kayaking? Whale watching? Shakespeare festivals? Fine dining? Fishing? FLgihtseeing? Wildlife viewing?
Nothing hereabouts with much historical importance or architectural grandeur along the lines of St. Petersburg or Moscow. There are Russian and former Soviet enclaves all over the Pacific Northwest, but they're often not safe for family viewing.
Sorry about your loss. By all indications, Russia will still be there next year or the year after. Your opportunity to do something solid and familial with this mourning period will not.
Hope that's helpful.
Jul 27, 2013 4:40 AM
6I'm in favour of the BC option. At a minimum: Vancouver-Tofino-Victoria.
Depending on how much time you want to spend in each place you can add destinations. The "fullest" route would be:
Seattle-Osoyoos/Oliver/Penticton-Whistler-Vancouver-Sunshine Coast (Gibsons)-Hornby Island-Tofino-Victoria-Galiano Island-Olympic Peninsula-Seattle
Jul 27, 2013 4:42 AM
Jul 27, 2013 5:52 AM
8Thanks all for the sympathies. Currently leaning to just renting an airbnb unit in Vanc. BC for a week IF that's all we have, which we won't know until we have some time in Seattle. Adding Tofino-Victoria if time permits may well be the best plan.
I should note that we bought a one-way rather than RT ticket out (bereavement fares have gotten more complicated and less valuable, and that turned out to be the best value/most flexible). So we can fly back from anywhere. The big problem here, of course, is that it's way late to make reservations in popular destinations in peak season.
Jul 27, 2013 10:27 PM
9You could do the generally round trip combination of ferry and driving from Seattle through the San Juan islands, to Port Townsend, up the Olympic peninsula to Port Angeles, car ferry to Victoria, through lower Vancouver Island, ferry to Vancouber, back to Seattle.
Lots of fun to take the little car ferries from small island to small island. Each has it's own flavor. There are nice campsites, if that is a possibility, and small hotels and vrbo places.
I know you can take US rental cars into Canada and back.
At least take the ferries to Port Townsend and the Olympic peninsula, maybe even the Olympic peninsula Pacific coast which is wonderful for the soul.
Jul 28, 2013 12:11 AM
10I live in Seattle and have extensive travel experience in the U.S. in general and the Northwest in particular. (Just got back six hours ago from a two-week, 2,700-mile trip through Oregon, Idaho, western Montana, and Washington, with a daytrip to eastern British Columbia. This is probably the, oh, I don't know, 50th road trip in the region? 80th?)
Anyway, maybe I'm too tired but I'm having a tough time figuring out the basics of your plans. Exactly how much time do you have? Can you be a bit less literary and a bit more boring and direct? The Pacific NW is a very large region (WA, OR, and Idaho together are roughly the size of France), with a greater diversity of travel opportunities than even most residents are aware of.
If you could rein in your figurative nature for me, and give some more precision regarding your interests and your budget, I'd be happy to help you. Also: Your post mentions "mourning," but I can't tell if you're being literal about that. If someone has died, please accept sincere condolences.
Jul 29, 2013 6:35 PM
Yes. Sister. Thanks.
We have just under 3 weeks on the west coast,. Mourning aside which will happen everywhere, at least one will be spent tidying up affairs. Maybe two. That's still all the answer I can give. (That and pointing out that we should all remember none of us knows exactly how much time we have.)
Jul 29, 2013 7:32 PM
12Thanks, that helps. Again, I'm genuinely sorry for your loss. I've been there.
Let me make some general statements, and then I'll wait for your reply. I would like to be truly useful, rather than merely impressionistic.
1. Yellowstone is a far piece of driving. There are a variety of opinions about it, and mine is that Yellowstone isn't worth the drive, considering the spectacular nature of what's available much closer. Most of the people I know who've spent a lot of time in the intermountain West would agree with that, but I'm sure some wouldn't.
2. At a gross level of simplification, the Northwest is broadly divided between the coastline west of the Cascades; the Cascades themselves; and the broad areas east of the Cascades. The eastern areas, which comprise the large majority of the Northwest's land area, further divide between the vast, relatively unknown and unpopulated and therefore unspoiled (yet spectacularly beautiful and readily reachable) high deserts, especially in Oregon; the alpine mountains of central Idaho; and the somewhat more pastoral mountains and lakes of northern Idaho and NE Washington, which recall Switzerland in a cowboy hat.
3. You could do it all in three weeks, but not two. If you did try to do it all, you'll wind up driving a lot. (I just logged 2,700 miles in 16 days, "doing it all" on the eastern side of the Cascades.) Maybe your mourning "style" calls for you to find one or two quiet and contemplative places, in which case I'm probably going to suggest that you stay on the coast.
Or maybe you'd like to do a big or moderate tour to put your mind in a different place. (After my losses, I did some of each.) If "a tour to get your mind off of it" is where you're at right now, then I'm going to suggest that you head eastward and let your rolling wheels soothe the pain.
Either way, and both are just fine with me, some guidance from you on your preferred pace of travel, and on the sub-regions that I mentioned, would help me help you. I can say this much for sure: It's all fantastic and spectacular. All of it. The Pacific NW is one of the most beautiful corners of America the beautiful, and I'd love to help you out.
So please let me know what might work for you, and I will help. I would also like to have some feel for your budget, in dollars per day. On the recent trip, we spent between $75 and $230 per person per day, double occupancy, at guest ranches in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, and $150 or so a day per person at hotels and restaurants in Oregon and Idaho.
Is this your first time in the Pacific NW, or have you been here before?
Finally, a bit more about the subregions. Since you don't camp out, the high desert is more about car touring. The landscapes are awesome beyond words, but you'll basically see them through car windows, with the occasional stop to get out and say "oh wow." Far SE Oregon is the most tilted this way. (And so is Yellowstone, by the way.) Thus, as much as I love it, Eastern Oregon is the highest risk. You'll either love it or hate it. Either way, you'll see a lot of stars, far SE Oregon having the darkest nighttime sky in the Lower 48.
Guest ranches offer horseback riding and (in Idaho and NE Washington) hiking, river rafting, and skeet shooting. I was with an 11-year-old on a hike up into the mountains, and he was having the time of his life. But I could imagine a 15-year-old doing the eye roll thing. (I wouldn't have at that age, but a lot of kids seem to need more "things to do.") There are also rodeos out there this time of year, if it appeals to you. The coast and the Cascades are a combination of hiking and car touring. It'll be hot out east (in the '90s during the day), but there's no humidity so it's bearable, and it cools off quite nicely at night. The coast will be much more temperate. And of course there is the ocean, nature's way of soothing.
Talk to me a little more, and I'll be ready to get real specific.
Native American Prayer
I give you this one thought to keep
I am with you still, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awake in the morning's hush
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not think of me as gone
I am with you still, in each new dawn
I say take the long car trip, but that's just me. Everyone does it their own way.
Jul 29, 2013 9:44 PM
Aug 2, 2013 10:56 PM
14Looks like we'll be able to leave Seattle mid-day on Tues. 8/6 and flying back east out of Seattle mid-day on Fri. 8/16. Family's looking for walks, scenic drives, good food, mixture of natural, provincial, and urban, no rugged hikes. No need to get unusual on this short notice -- The classic, I suppose, would be Seattle to Olympic Peninsula to Victoria BC to a more remote part of Vancouver Island t(Pacific Marine Circle Route?) o the city of Vancouver BC then back to Seattle for the last night and the flight out,* dividing our 9 non-Seattle nights roughly evenly between the Olympic Peninsula, Vancouver Island, and Vancouver? Google Maps has that at 14 hours driving to cover the route, side drives not included. Is that a sensible plan, and does WSR or anyone else have either fleshing-out or contrary suggestions?
- All else equal we'd be happy to fly back from Canada instead, but preliminary flight searches indicate better and less expensive flights out of SEA, plus we'd avoid a one-way auto rental fee.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$179.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$264.28 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$189.18 per night