Travelling in the NW, questions

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by hamder, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. Hi TB'ers

    Have a vacation rapidly coming up in the NW, flying into Seattle from Europe.
    Plans are to make long stops on the coast of Washington, and in San fransisco + possibly
    a short trip to Vancouver (our vacation is for 3 weeks).

    Some questions though :

    When driving state to state will it be easy to find reasonably priced,
    available lodging close to the highway or should I book in advance ?

    Any recommendations/must see's in Nothern California / Oregon / Washington ?
    (Nature/Historic/Culture/Amusement, something for 7 yr daughter, we have some
    plans but are as usual a bit overwhelmed by the books + sometimes
    the personal recomendations are just better)

    7/4 in San Fransisco cool/not cool, also considering child ?

    And of course, BassNW is a must in Seattle, any other must see bass/music stores ?

  2. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    In Portland, be sure to try the beer at any one of a number of outstanding microbreweries. What Seattle is to coffee, Portland is to beer (most microbreweries per capita, started microbrew "revolution"). :D

    Also, if you're into books, you can't go through Portland without going into Powell's "city of books" on Burnside. I tend to spend a lot of cash there. ;)

    For music stores, Apple music Row is pretty good, and I played some cool ABGs (including a Tacoma Thunderchief, which I was able to compare side-by-side with a Martin and a Michael Kelly) at Portland Music Company.

    As far as the child is concerned, can't stop through Portland without going by OMSI. Sounds like she's the perfect age for the cool science stuff they have there. It's a first class hands-on museum; definitely worth dropping by. The zoo in Portland is pretty good (it's no San Diego zoo, but it's not too crowded, usually).

    Portland is a great town, but due to family/medical reasons, I don't get to go out and play nearly as much as I'd like. :(

    I seem to remember in San Francisco that they had a similar thing (a LONG time ago) called the "exploratorium." I don't know if it's still around. July 4 in SF should be OK, just stay out of the Castro/Tenderloin and Haight-Ashbury districts with your kid unless you want her to have a real EYE-OPENING experience. :D :D :D I remember driving through the Tenderloin and saw a sign: "Father's Day: Memories of Dad, BIG BONDAGE SALE" Need I say more? :eek:
  3. when in seattle, give the experience music project a go. Its pricey, but if you want to see a bunch of hendrix memorabilia, there's no better. Bass nw is cool, but probably not as big as you'd think. Both Portland and seattle (and SF, too, to a degree) are pretty close to being like european cities (small ones) with nice downtown shopping districts and such. Unfortunately, in this age if mega-conglomerates, each area has pretty much the same stuff (gap, nike town, etc.).
    If you dont want to book hotel rooms ahead of time, find a place you like, but call them instead of walking in. You'll probably get a better rate that way.

    Enjoy your trip!
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    On the Washington coast, be sure to check out the Hoh rainforest and maybe my favorite beach anywhere, Ruby Beach. The Oregon coast is really spectacular too though, especially the southern part from Florence down to the California border. Actually, the entire coast from Victoria to San Francisco and beyond is fabulous.

    If you decide to do Mt St Helens or Portland, the Columbia River Gorge, where I live, is well worth a visit. Check out my ISP's site for some recreational and lodging ideas: .

    If you are into beer, as Bartman said, you'll be in the right place, but the wineries can be great as well. There are some cool fossil beds out this way, and also the historic Oregon Trail. If your kid is a thrill seeking type, consider white water rafting. The Bonneville Dam visitor center is actually pretty cool for a kid too.

    Feel free to PM me for more specific info on central Oregon and Washington, and have fun!
  5. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Good call Charlie! If you get up that way, take the walk down to the "hole in the wall". It is a huge hole in the rocks you can walk through when the tide is out. It's just a short walk north from Ruby Beach.

  6. tvm


    Feb 22, 2005
    Thanks all, good stuff.

    Bartman, does the zoo have a lot of North American species ?
    (I can see an Elefant in Copenhagen, what i want to see is a Grizzly :smug: )

    scourge, agree that everyplace getting more and more similar, both good and bad I guess,
    at least I can get good euro strength coffee overthere now.
    Regarding lodging and booking, my prime concern is that if we don't book for some
    periods (have done some bookings already) will it be a problem to find a place with
    available rooms, or are there ample capacity ?

    Passinwind, good link, checking the map just now for the gorge...

  7. The 101 loop around the Olympic Penn is just amazing.
    Take a ferry from Port Angelos to Seattle.
    Stop for Thia at Mekong in Olympia.
    Go to Bass NW and Pike's Place Market in Seattle.

  8. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    My favorite west coast haunts:

    Elliot Bay Bookstore...Great place to loose yourself for hours.
    BassNW....what can I say.
    While in Seattle, you can take a ferry to Victoria, British Columbia, which is very beautiful. The trip through the Gulf Islands is really nice. As mentioned previously, and touring in the Gulf Islands is a treat. You could just hang in the Seattle area and take in plenty.

    Toke Point...You read it right. Great name for a place. Used to be a restaurant at the end of the road that served up a great chowder. I have a picture of myself standing at the Tokeland Mall, a run down boarded up building back in the early 80's.

    Cannon Beach/Seaside in Oregon...definitely one of my favorite places in the world. Big pounding surf. Major chill out spot.

    Vancouver, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It continues to share first and second place with Geneva as the best cities to live in. Beautiful scenery, clean, safe.

    Have a great trip. I highly recommend taking the coastal highway from the top of Oregon southbound. Breathtaking.

    Now I'm pining for Pacific Northwest.
  9. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I'd usually say Yosemite is a must, but the time of year you're coming it’ll resemble an anthill. Masses of people.

    I'd spend some time in the Vancouver area. Go up Grouse Mountain for lunch or dinner. Take a ferry from North Van over to Nanaimo and drive up to Cathedral Grove. A quick drive up to Whistler would be good, too. BC is gorgeous!
  10. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    The ferry goes from Horseshoe Bay on the west end of West Vancouver, to Nanaimo.

    If you go that route, and I highly recommend it, make sure you drop into Troll's restaurant for some clam chowder.
  11. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Yeah, we stay just south of there at Manzanita a few times a year.

    It might be worth considering that most of Oregon (and plenty of Washington and California) is desert, and that presents some other neat opportunities. The area around Bend is some of the most beautiful I've seen anywhere, in a very different way from all the humid green places you all are mentioning. I'm lucky enough to live right in the transition zone, so I get to enjoy both all the time. :cool:
  12. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Vancouver is definitely worth checking out in considerable detail. Gastown, and don't forget Victoria Island, and some of the other offshore spots too. In Seattle, you probably want to check out some music. Go to the downtown Hyatt, and talk to the bartenders on the top floor, they'll tell you what's going on. :)
  13. slick519


    Aug 11, 2001
    Salem, Or
    good time to come in the summer. The winters, falls, and sometimes springs in oregon arent too exciting, but i cannot imagine better summers. Everything is mid to low 80s most of the time, and everything is so GREEN! There are trees, EVERYWHERE in the wilammette valley, and for me, it is just breathtaking whenever i step outside my home. You can stop in at salem to see one of the more impressive state capitols. It is made completely of white marble, as all of the previous oregon state capitols had a nasty habit of being burned down by angy townspeople.

    hmmm.... what else to do in oregon.... i really enjoy hiking, and the pac NW has some of the best hiking trails/mountain biking trails around. I would also like to second the white water rafting idea. Our rivers are goregeous-- an awesome way to spend the day.

    well, i hope that you enjoy your visit. Oh, and motels are pretty much near most city of any size off any main freeway. I would go to somewhere like expedia or to scope out and purchase some good rates ahead of time.

  14. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    Regarding San Francisco....

    If you like jazz, definitely try to catch a show at Yoshi's (next door in Oakland). Hard to find a better intimate venue anywhere.

    If you like rock/pop try to catch a show at the Fillmore or the Warfield Theatre. Two incredible world class venues filled with music history. The Greek Theatre in Berkeley is also a great outdoor venue for rock. Of course, SF is packed with other places, but these are the best for international level acts IMO.

    For beer, both international and NW micros, go to Toronado (Haight/Fillmore)
    For tequila, go to Tommy's.

    MUST go to Amoeba Records in upper Haight. Phenomenal.

    Rent a couple bikes at Fisherman's Wharf and bike over the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito. Take the bikes on the ferry across the bay and back to Fisherman's WHarf.

    There are endless things to do in the bay area, but those immediately come to mind.
  15. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Even better - take the ferry from Port Angeles to Vancouver Island! Singlehandedly THE most beautiful place I've ever been.

    When in Seattle, I agree the EMP is a fun stop.

    The PacNW is just an awesome area overall, I saw everything from Seattle on out to a good-sized radius therefrom, including the Olympic rainforest and the above.... awesome.

    Never did make it down to Portland though, which I wanted to do.

    Cheers, and have lots of COFFEE.
  16. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    The Columbia Gorge is worth driving through, if nothing else. I'd definitely reccomend driving out to Mt. Hood from Hood River. You come over a hill, and suddenly, Mt. Hood looms over you, and you're driving through some seriously beautiful countryside.

    ...I lived there for a total of 5 years, you'd think I'd be able to reccomend some stuff.

    And yeah, I'll third Seaside, Oregon. I have no idea what it is about that place but it rocks.

    Also, in Seattle, the Seattle Aquarium is pretty cool, and just across the street from the Pike Street Market.
  17. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    And when you get up to Timberline Lodge, you can pull out your axe and say "Here's JOHNNY!", and no one will think you're weird or anything. ;)
  18. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    But we will roll our eyes and mutter "Tourists."
  19. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun