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The Great Northwest Road Trip

August 24, 2009

ustopo11For my next adventure… a road trip up the Northwest coast. 

I don’t have any work right now, fall is usually slow, and seeing as I’m planning to leave LA anyways I decided to plan myself a little trip. I’ve only heard great things of the Northwest. I’ve actually been to both Portland and Seattle, and I have nothing but fond memories of both. And for being such a mountain and forest guy I’m surprised I haven’t already ventured up there. Anyhow, it’ll be a four week+, 4,000ish mile trip, visiting friends, eating good food, camping in spectacular wilderness, and seeing some beautiful drives along the way. I’m excited. Here is my tentative itinerary so far (subject to change of course).  

Day 1- Drive to Big Sur and camp. I’ve never been, but I’ve heard nothing but incredible things about Big Sur, so I’m very pumped. Some say the most beautiful corner of California, so I’m excited to check out that claim.

Day 2- Explore Big Sur. There are a few hikes I plan to check out: McWay Water Water fall, Jade Cove, and the Fire House Road. Unfortunately some classic Big Sur hikes are closed due to fire damage from last year. Oh well, another reason to check out Big Sur in the future…

Day 3- Drive to San Francisco. Wake up early then head to San Fran and meet a friend for the afternoon and explore the Exploratorium, and hang out through the night. 

Day 4- Climb and explore San Francisco. Saturday’s plans are up in the air, but I think I’ll be meeting up with my old climbing partner and getting some routes in at a local gym, then checking out some touristy thing in the Bay Area like botanical gardens, pier, or something fun. That night I’m hoping to see some old college friends who’re in town for the Outside Lands Festival.

Day 5- Outside Lands Festival. So for Sunday I’ll be checking out the Outside Lands Music festival in Golden Gate park with my good college friend and her crew. It’s kind of a mad house insde, but there will be a bunch of great bands and wonderful friends, so I’m very excited. This year I’m hoping to check out Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, Lucinda Williams, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Brett Dennen, and Calexico. 

Day 6- Drive North. Monday morning I’ll be driving North up the 5 until I feel like stopping. Some possible stop-overs include Mt. Shasta, and the waterfalls around the area. My brother recently ventured up there on his own Northwest road trip and spoke volumes about the place, so I might just have to check it out. 

Day 7- Oregon Bound! Continuing on the I-5 I’ll be traveling into Oregon. Soon after I enter Oregon I plan to break off onto route 62 and check out Crater Lake National Park. I probably won’t have enough time to hike, but I’ll explore as much as I can. After that it’s back on the road towards Bend, Oregon.

Day 8- Explore Bend and climb Smith Rocks State Park. Through I met a nice guy named Ryan who is letting me crash at his place. He’s also a great climber, and has offered to show me around Smith Rocks- a classic climbing area in Oregon. I read somewhere they have some 1,500 bolted routes, so it should be epic. I might get my butt handed to me by my new friend, but it’ll be great to explore regardless. 

Day 9>11- Portland. I have a feeling I will want more time in Bend, but I could probably say that about all of the places on my trip. Anyhow, I’ll be heading to Portland the morning of September 3rd. I’ll be heading there going through Mt. Hood area, which I plan to stop by. I actually went to a ski racing camp in Government Camp when I was a little one, so I’m exciting to check it out when I’m 3 feet taller and see how much the town has shrunk. I remember a little coffee shop that had incredible pie and huckleberry milk shakes, I’m hoping it still exists. Then I’ll be crashing in Portland for a few days and scouting out the scene. I’ve heard incredible things about the city, so I’m very excited to check it all out and see what I think. 

Day 12- Seattle. Continuing up North onto the next big Northwest city. Meeting up with a friend, and checking out the Seattle scene. 

Day 13- Bumpershoot. Early morning I’ll be going to watch my friend in a road race, get some lunch, then head back into Seatown to check out the Bumbershoot music festival. It should be fun, bands include: Black Joe Lewis & The Honey Bears, The Devil Makes Three, The Portland Cello Project, Vieux Farka Toure, and Modest Mouse. 

Day 14+15-Vancouver. And going further North I’ll be checking out the great coastal city of Vancouver in British Columbia. I’ll explore the scenes and get my fill of poutine (which I think sounds disgusting, but apparently it’s heavenly) along the way. I know two days is no justification for such an incredible city. But who knows? Maybe I’ll extend my stay…

Day 16- … and onto Jasper. This will be my longest drive on my trip (Google says about 9 hours). Hopefully it’ll be a pretty drive at least. 

Day 17- Icefields Road down to Banff. From Jasper I will be traveling down the Icefields Parkway to Banff in Banff National Park. The Icefields Parkway is supposed to be one of the prettiest drives in the world, so I’m planning to take my time and check out everything worth seeing. It’s a little two-lane highway that traverses across the continental divide on the Canadian Rockies. Should be absolutely breath-taking, and from seeing the pictures I already know it’ll be one of my favorite experiences on my trip. 

Day 18>20- Explore Banff. I plan to give myself a good amount of time in Banff. I’d love to do some camping and really explore the epic wilderness. Very very excited. 

Day 21- Head back to Washington State. I might just try to push my drive, but I’m basically giving myself two days to get to the Northern Cascades National Park. I think I may be stopping at Kelowna, a city in British Columbia right on of Wood Lake. I’m hoping to couch surf, but no responses yet…

Day 22+23- Northern Cascades. Another beautiful piece of nature I plan to give myself some time to explore. I’m still planning my adventures here, but from the looks of it I can’t really go wrong as long as I’m in the park. 

Day 24>26- Back to Seattle. Seeing as I only planned a hot moment on the first visit I’m giving myself more time to explore Seattle the second time around. My friend is being kind enough to offer some tour guiding, showing me some good food, tasty brews, and beautiful sights. I’m very excited. The Yankees are also in town for a series against the Mariners, so I’m planning to check out a game at Safeco as well.

Day 25>26- Olympic National Park. Whether by ferry or road I’ll be heading over to Olympic National Park and explore. There are a ton of things to do, but hiking, hot springs, and the Makah reservation are all definitely on my list. Like the rest of my trip seems like I can’t go wrong.

Day 27>?- Return to Los Angeles via Pacific Coast Highway. On my way back to Los Angeles I’ll be taking the PCH all the way back. I plan to take my time, camp, and just explore. The PCH is a classic America highway running all the way down the West Coast. Driving South I’ll be on the coastal side so I’ll get all of the views. Along the way there will be a ton of attractions/distractions. I have a tentative list, but I’m all for letting the wind decide where I should stop and what I should see. But there is no shortage of adventures on the coast from what I’ve heard. 

Well, that’s it. My trip in a nutshell. Of course knowing me I’ve added a few “flex days” to my schedule. I may stay one or two days longer here or there, I’m just playing it by ear for now. I’ll be updating my blog occasionally when I can, but I plan to do most of my journaling the old fashioned way. But keep checking in, cause I’m sure I will post some updates of my adventures from time to time.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Matty P permalink
    August 29, 2009 8:07 am

    Email me when you get to Seattle. I’d love to meet up.

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