View Full Version : Cruising from San Francisco to Vancouver in a RV
06-29-2006, 09:15 AM
we - two adults, two kids - leave the boat at home in Europe and explore coast and mountains in July - August by RV this year. Can anybody recommend sights, places related to wooden boats, sea food, camping grounds etc. along the way where You had a good time and that aren't marked in every guide book?
06-29-2006, 11:01 AM
Don't know about the 'not in every guidebook' part, as there are some excellent books that cover your planned route.
(edited to add) You will have two serious issues to contend with: heat and poison oak. Stay flexible on your route, so if the inland temps hit 110 degrees F, you can ooze over to the coast. Buy a plant book with colour plates and get a positive ID on poison oak in all its forms and sizes. Not life-threatening unless you burn it and breath the smoke or cook food over it, but when touched it produces a VERY nasty rash that lasts for weeks. Some of the coastal parks in Northern CA have poison oak plants the size of small trees -- in other places it grows along the trails, even up the trunks of other trees.
Depending on your tolerance for small mountain roads (and the size of the RV), the Lost Coast area of Northern CA is very nice. Shelter Cove may or may not be worth a visit, but the stretch of coastline between it and Ferndale/Eureka to the north is quite senic.
Check out the Mattole road loop between Hwy 101 at Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Ferndale. In the same area along Hwy 101 is the "Avenue of the Giants" -- a tourist must-see.
Eureka is one of the few decent ports on the north CA coastline, so poking around there might be rewarding boat-wise.
Further north (just above Trinidad) is the Lagoons State Park-- both Big and Stone Lagoons are great, and you can camp at the former.
I lived in Eugene Oregon for several years and this was one of my favorite spots to camp down in Southwest Oregon off Hwy 101:
06-29-2006, 11:56 AM
You might visit Vladimir's Czech Restaurant in Inverness. Opinions vary on the food, but it's always interesting.
This is a "must see"
This is a "must see"
I agree, and if you can, take the boat out to Wizard's Island in the crater... some of the most beautiful water you'll ever lay eyes on.. I'd love to put my boat in there.
06-29-2006, 05:49 PM
The California coast line on US 1 and 101 north of San Francisco is wonderful. I biked it in May from Yachats, Oregon to San Francisco. Absolutely no one on the road at that time but July will be a different story. The redwoods, as pointed out, are a must see. When you get into Oregon, one of my favorite wild spots is Cape Arago just south of Coos Bay. The sand dunes are something to see too. As you get further north it gets more wooded. Washington has some great shoreline around Gray's Harbor, you might want to head inland and take the Vashon Island ferry from Tacoma and island hop, then head north to Bellingham and Vancouver. Can't help you too much about boats, though Seattle has the Center for Wooden Boats and Port Townsend is a great place for them too. Camas, WA, just east of the other Vancouver has Legendary Yachts.
06-30-2006, 08:55 AM
Seattle Center for Wooden Boats festival July 1 - 4 and the Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival August 24 - 27. Victoria Classic Boat (Van. Island) show late Aug early Sept. and Port Townsend Wooden Boat Sept 8- 10.
While in Vancouver, you are always welcome to visit our shop and talk wooden kayaks and small boats. http://www.orcaboats.ca
06-30-2006, 10:09 AM
I live on Whidbey Island, which is about 100 miles south of British Columbia. If you want to miss the Seattle traffic, which is really bad, consider coming north on Highway US101 all the way from The San Francisco area. You will pass through some of the most beautiful parts of California, Oregon, and Washington. At the end of US101 is Port Angeles. About 30 miles before you get there is the turn off for Port Townsend. This is the wooden boat capital of the West Coast, and a charming town. This is a must-see of a wooden boat guy. It is only about 15 miles from the turn off. You can then take a ferry boat to Victoria, and another to Vancouver. You could also take the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island (beautiful drive because you are alway view waters of the Puget Sound), then go north on Highway 20 over the bridge at Deception Pass, which take you to I-5 north to the US/Canadian border. It's slow but a great tour of the West Coast.
06-30-2006, 11:09 AM
I like to take to the coast route as soon as I cross the Golden Gate Bridge, meandering up past Tomalles Bay, Bolinas Bay and other interesting harbors that are up the coast. In Red Wood country is a nice stop, the Ben Bow Inn. It has an RV park and the nearly hundred year old inn is modeled after an old English Inn. Good food! Northern California bosts the historic towns of Ferndale and Eureka with their Victorian homes. A few miles north of Eureka in the town of Samoa is the Samoa Cook House. The cook house is a family style resturant that is where the loggers ate in the old days. Kind of a hoot for an all you can eat meal! The entire coast beyond is spectacular, especally the coast of Washington above the Columbia.
Lots of inlets and fishing areas. If you make it to Port Townsend, give me a call. I'm in the phone book.
06-30-2006, 11:38 AM
I second the Highway 20 suggestion, but would add that, should you have the time, you take it all the way out to Winthrop and the Methow Valley. This will be something of a diversion from a coastal route, taking you perhaps 250 miles inland across some of the most beautiful scenery in the region. If you have three days (minimum; one out, one there, one back) it could be the single stretch of road you most remember on the trip.
If you decide to do this, and it would take some route planning, try to book an evening at the Sunset Lodge just out of Winthrop. The kids will adore you as the swimming and sports facilities are excellent, and the restaurant there will be it's own reward. You'd be out of the RV for a night, but will anyone complain? The drive out and back works because the road is so amazingly scenic that seeing it from both directions is like taking two different roads.
Though this isn't a marine focused excursion, it will be one of the roads/vistas of a lifetime. And, the Sunset Lodge is worth a visit for dinner even if you don't stay there and elect to camp in the RV, which would also be easy to do and equally scenic. Did I say "Don't Overlook This Idea" enough?
Whats the name of that bridge you have to cross to get to the Oak Bay ferry to Port Townsend?
Now there is a "must cross" bridge.
Then there's the waterfall up the Columbia gorge just east of Vancouver Wa. (tallest in N.America?)
And the Cascade rout from Dry Falls Wa to Seattle.
Hey I could be an American (west coast) tourist promoter; not bad for a dumb Canuck eh?
Ya get the feeling you could spend the rest of your life driving around up here?
But he's saving the best till last cause he's coming to Vancouver (I assume) BC
06-30-2006, 12:36 PM
That would be Multnomah Falls. It is a very popular destination (hey, it even has a wireless hot spot now!) so be prepared for congestion. The Columbia Gorge out to Hood River is quite nice, very pretty hikes, and the old gorge highway is nice. Heck! go over the Tacoma narrows bridge, site of a famous bridge collapse due to winds causing perfect frequency oscillations in the suspension. I believe you are thinking of the Hood Canal bridge, Gert. Deception Pass is also spectacular....
06-30-2006, 12:39 PM
I think the bridge you are speaking of is the Deception Pass Bridge (Links Fidalgo and Whidbey).
The whole Columbia Gorge all the way to Mount Hood is well worth driving.
See what I mean, Cascade Highway (Route 20) again; keeps getting mentioned....just gotta keep on that road heading east, which many people miss. Can't do better in this area.
Edited to add: Dave, I'm with you but in my view, neither the Tacoma Narrows nor Hood Canal bridges can really beat Deception Pass, both the former being better to boat under than drive over. Opposite is the case for Deception Pass which can be a terror to boat under but fabulous to drive over!:D Deception Pass didn't get it's name for nuthin!
If you cross Deception Pass Bridge, stop and get out and walk the bridge, EVERYBODY does; well worth it
06-30-2006, 02:33 PM
You are really generous. I'll print it out and check with my maps and books.
Bye for now,
07-07-2006, 04:25 PM
The picture shows the Ifrit crew in home waters on the Baltic coast on way to the RV rental station:
I've found all the places you mentioned and think it really sounds great. Thanks to your warnings we'll survive the poison oak and make it to Port Townsend and beyond to the Cascade Loop. Humbug Bay sounds our thing - I had difficulty to find it on the map.
Thanks again to all of you. One more question, what is your experience: do we have to book rest places in National Parks in advance from here (tedious as this calls for meticoulous planning, what I hate) or can we just turn up?
07-07-2006, 05:11 PM
Most national parks are pretty busy in the summer. I'd look into reservations if you really want to stay over in one. Otherwise there's usually something else realitivly near by. So if the the park is full, you can just keep on trucking!
07-07-2006, 08:19 PM
Cascade Loop;) Good choice! I feel almost honored by this, but it's more a reflection on your good judgement:D
If you are staying in or around Winthrop or Twisp you can probably find a place without too much trouble; certainly easier in Twisp than Winthrop as Winthrop is the actual destination town. Less problems during the week than the weekends.
If you are planning a stay at the Sun Mountain Lodge (and as you are RVing, maybe isn't in your plan) you must have reservations as room availability there is tough in the extreme. It's not critical to the enjoyment of the Loop that you stay there especially since you'll have your home "on your back" but if you can spend a night there you won't regret it. They may have hook-ups there, I don't recall. It would be worth checking up on in any case.
Along the way on the Cascade Loop, there will be a number of places to pull up and it's a big slice of country (so don't panic if the first place you try is filled) but I'd check first, at least a day or two in advance, just to be comfortable. Parks require advance bookings, I'd think. The trail heads all have parking areas. These are not the first choice, but at least you'll be able to pull over in extremis.
The entire route is spectacular once you are passed the first 20-30 miles out of Sedro Wooly, so it's probably not really important where you light. We go by motorcycle, and that's something easily accomodated, so I can't offer much advice about the RV scene except that as with all these sorts of places, it's always easier during the week rather than weekend, even in peak season.
07-11-2006, 01:54 PM
If you can make sure you do get a drive through the Gorge and stop and go for a walk along a creek to a fall. Easy access for an RV is Tanner Creek. Exit at the Bonniville Dam exit and then turn right to the Tanner Creek parking lot. An RV fits and turns around there ok. Then cross Bridge of the Gods and take Wa HWY 14 back West around sunset. Lovely.
07-11-2006, 02:04 PM
Tanner Creek has been renamed, I forget to what. Eagle Creek has campgrounds and is still one of my favorite hikes although it has become very popular. Since it is National Forest you need to pay $5 to buy a day permit. Not sure how much it is to camp there.
One thing I should mention is that Hurricane Ridge, on the Olympic Peninsula, is a truly wonderful sight on a clear day. The first time I went up there was on the back of my brother's motorcycle on a cloudy and windy day and I couldn't figure out what the fuss was about. Many years later I went up on a perfectly clear day and the 360 panorama of snowy peaks was outstanding. The kid also liked the tame deer walking around. Lots of old growth to hike around in on the lower elevations, right up to the clear cut lines. Probably don't want to take an RV up there though.
07-11-2006, 02:18 PM
Stay off Highway 1 from North of San Francisco thru Mendocino during the summer months.
Traffic is terrible plus they are in the midst of repairing a lot of washouts caused by over 100 inches of rain last winter.
Delays of up to 30 minutes are to be expected in some spots.
Advice: Get in touch with AAA of California, join the AAA, get a TripTik for your proposed route plus with AAA membership you get a bit of a reduction in room rates at motels along the way.
07-11-2006, 02:39 PM
I'd put in a word for Astoria, Oregon, and environs. The Columbia River Maritime Museum is very good, and Astoria has an interesting waterfront. The Clatsop Spit area is an interesting place to see the river bar, and nearby are the remains of the four-master PETER IREDALE. The lighthouses at Cape Disappointment and (especially) North Head are spectacular. Campgrounds in the area, at Fort Stevens on the south side and Fort Canby on the north, are excellent.
07-12-2006, 04:21 PM
Thank you ever so much. I'll take your good ideas with me and will let you know how it went eventually. Tomorrow morning I'll tidy up my desk and in the afternoon I'll start packing.
I am rather exited, it is my first visit to the US, didn't get further west than Iceland so far.
All the best to you as well,
p.s. I have spend an hour a few days ago on it - couldn't get the picture in, sorry.
07-12-2006, 06:39 PM
What Dave said about skipping Hwy 1 from SF to Mendocino -- the latter is WAY overpriced so if you must go there, stay in Ft. Bragg.
Have a great trip! Honk if you drive by Stone Lagoon above Eureka this weekend -- my truck will be by the side of the road, my boat in the water.
07-12-2006, 07:40 PM
Thorne is Ab season over?
We had some lovely steaks that a neighbor of my B-i-L gifted us with.
Geeze, in my previous incarnation, circa 1958 or so, there was a place on Market Street a short walk from Montgomery St where I was still in Brokerage (stocks). There was a fish house whose speciality was AB steak sandwiches....Cris's Seafood???
No, not Tadich Grill this place was tiled floor, walls and cheap seats.
But the Ab, I still have dreams about it.;) ;) ;)
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