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Old 4 Jun 16, 01:33 PM  
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anji
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Road Trip - Seattle to San Francisco!

I’ve never done any sort of trip report before – this trip has been so much fun to plan over the past year (not that all the others haven’t too!) that I thought I’d have a crack at it. Thanks must go to Geoffa for his wonderful reports from the area in the past – these have helped immensely and provided lots of inspiration.

It’s me and DH Will on the trip. I’m the obsessive DIY planner and lover of all things nature related and he basically goes along with everything provided there’s some music thrown in along the way! We’ve both become attracted to the area through being avid Grimm fans and will visit some of the locations in Portland too.

I booked the flights with BA into Seattle flying on 7 June and home from San Francisco on 23 June when they were released and then started booking places to stay on free cancellation for most of them. Priority was Crater Lake Lodge which can fill up a year in advance.

We’ve opted not to do huge amounts of driving in one day – longest is 250 miles – as I’ve scoured the maps and found loads of things to visit and places to stop and admire the views along the way, so don’t want to be rushed and stressed. All the hotels/motels are based on location, free parking, free wifi and price. We don’t spend ages in the room so only use them as a base. I’ve chopped and changed a few and am really happy with what we have now.

We’re flying into Seattle for 4 nights but not picking up the car until we leave as it’s not needed there. I’ve got us a City Pass which looks great value for the usual suspect attractions – Space Needle x 2 visits, Chihuly Gardens, EMP Museum, Aquarium and Harbour Cruise. I’ve also booked both the Free Walking Tours and the Spooked in Seattle tour. We’re also going to do the Underground Tour, Columbia Tower and possibly the ferry to Bainbridge Island.

On picking up the car from Alamo we’ll head to Portland for 2 nights, staying in the Hotel Rose. Part of the Pineapple small chain, they give you pineapple cupcakes in the afternoons! The Rose Festival is on while we are there – which I didn’t know at the time of booking so it’s worked out well. There’s a City Fair really close to the Hotel which I’m excited about. I’ve always wanted to go to a County Fair so this is close enough! We’ve also seen it on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. We also have tickets to the concert/festival that night too, this includes Fair admission and pleases Will! There is also Dragon Boat Racing and Fleet Week on the river too. I think we have to be prepared for a bit of night noise!

We’ll visit the Grimm locations, Pittock Mansion, Voodoo Donuts, the Rose Garden and the Cable Car and see what time we have left as the Rose Festival will eat into the time we had – cause for a return I think!

Next is the 65 miles to Hood River along the Columbia River Gorge, taking our time to stop off and see the sights along the way – of which there are many. We’re staying at the Vagabond Lodge in a river view room. This was once on Hotel Impossible and has made a great turnaround and now has rave reviews. It’s next to the Columbia Gorge Hotel, where we’ll be going for a drink in the Valentino Lounge – thanks for the tip Geoff. We’ll use the next day to explore locally including the Fruit Loop.

Crater Lake is next. Very excited to be staying in the Lodge with a lake view but disappointed today to find that all the snow has finally melted as I was looking forward to that. We’re booked into the Lodge dining room that night too.

Next stop is a surprise for Will. We’re staying in an old railway carriage near Dunsmuir called a caboose at Railroad Park Resort. It has a cupola you can climb up into and sit with a drink! Ours has a claw foot bath too. He’s going to be really excited to see this as he was into trains as a kid in a big way. We’ve also got a reservation in the Dining Car for dinner.

Williams and the Traveller’s Inn is the stopover before heading down the Napa Valley. There’s not a great deal to do in this town apart from eat and drink but it’s in a convenient location and the hotel is cheap with brilliant reviews!

Up over the mountain and down into the Napa Valley we will go, stopping at the Old Faithful Geyser and a couple of wineries – not necessarily to do tastings because of the driving but to just look around. We’re staying right in the centre of Napa near the river for the night at 3 Palms Napa Valley.

Finally it’s on to San Francisco for the final 4 nights of our trip. We’ve been there before six years ago with our children and headed south to LA and beyond. We’ll stop at Sausilito on the way before driving over the Golden Gate Bridge – which Will has always fancied doing! We’re staying in Lombard Street at the Buena Vista Motor Inn. It’s a basic place but has free parking and is a short walk to Fisherman’s Wharf with transport really close by.

We’ll take the next day to drive down the coast as far as Halfmoon Bay (or maybe Santa Cruz) as we missed this on our previous visit due to a ‘communication breakdown’! Also want to drive up to Twin Peaks.

Next day we are returning the car to Alamo in Bush Street. We’ve lots planned – Disney Family Museum ( currently there’s also a special exhibit of the art of Pinocchio – which is great as I’ve always thought it amazing), seeing a band at The Independent for Will, seeing Beach Blanket Babylon for me (thanks Geoff!) and I’ve booked a walking tour of the Haight Ashbury district which Will is going to love. Not doing Alcatraz again. I’d like to see Golden Gate Park too.

All my studying of the route has only reinforced what a stunningly beautiful place this part of the world is. Can't wait to get stuck into it and really hope to see lots of wildlife. Such a lot of planning that it’s odd to think we’re now actually DOING IT !

Index here - http://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=966569

Edited at 11:36 PM.
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Old 4 Jun 16, 01:50 PM  
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chrisxal
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Sounds amazing, we have done several road trips and Seattle to San Fran is on my list to do. We stayed in William over night when we did Route 66 and I loved Williams such a beautiful little American town. Looking forward to reading your reports.
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Old 4 Jun 16, 02:42 PM  
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fa$$a
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We absolutely adore road trips in the US and I have not been north of San Fran, you've highlighted some interesting sounding places so I'm off to Google lol. Have an amazing time and safe travels. Truly can not wait to read your report X

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Old 4 Jun 16, 05:40 PM  
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Melbatb
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We loved Seattle! Pike Market is great for lunch!

Have a lovely trip!
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Old 5 Jun 16, 12:33 PM  
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SarahJayne
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This sounds absolutely amazing!

Have a wonderful time - can't wait to read the full report when you get back!
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Old 5 Jun 16, 12:57 PM  
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Pookie3101
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Sounds fantastic. Can't wait to read trip report.
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Old 18 Jun 16, 12:38 AM  
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Twentyyears
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This sounds fabulous and we are avid Grimm fans too!
I await your views with interest; this is the alternative second part of a trip we may do, to a post DCL Alaska cruise we hope for in 2018, if we cannot afford Hawaii!
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Old 1 Feb 17, 08:39 PM  
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KarenG
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Hi Anji

Thanks very much for pointing me here, off to have a good read now
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