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Old May 3, 2012, 12:44 AM   #1
talkamotta
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Location: Sandy, UT
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Resorts: Sands of Kahana, Longboat Bay, Westgate Vacation Villas, etc
Road trip to Blaine, Wa and Welches, Or; Need suggestions

We are leaving at the end of the month for 2 weeks. This is a road trip from Utah to Washington and Oregon. The first week we will be staying in Raintree's Birch Bay, Blaine Wa. I know one day we will drive down to Seatle and at least one day we will drive up to Vancouver. We have both been to Seatle before but not Vancouver. I heard about the Capilano Suspension Bridge, has anyone been to the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge/Park? What are your favorite drives? What is the best way to get to Victoria?

The next week we will be driving down to Welches, Or which is close to Mt Hood. What is the most scenic drive to get there? What are things we should plan on seeing and should not be missed?

Thanks for any suggestions
LouAnn
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Old May 3, 2012, 01:21 AM   #2
BMWguynw
 
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LouAnn, wave at my house as you drive by.

In my opinion, for the best scenic drive to Victoria that will impress the heck out of you, do this:

Drive south about 40 miles from Blaine on I-5 to Highway 20 Westbound at Burlington, Washington. Drive the dozen or so miles west to Anacortes, Washington. Get on the Washington State Ferry to Sidney, British Columbia. It goes through the San Juan Islands, which has some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. It's like taking a mini ocean cruise, and you may even see orca whales and bald eagles, both of which live around here. Once in Sidney, you can drive to Victoria.

From there, you can catch a Canadian ferry to Vancouver, and cross back over the border to Blaine, which is basically right at the border. It makes a great round trip, but it'll take at least one overnight to do it right.

For the Oregon part of your trip, one site not to be missed in Mt. St. Helens. There is an exit off I-5 at Castle Rock in southern Washington for the highway leading up to the Visitor's Center. It's an hour or so off the freeway, but well worth stopping.

Enjoy your visit! Expect changeable weather, dress in layers, and have a great time.

Dave
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Old May 3, 2012, 01:29 PM   #3
T_R_Oglodyte
 
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The absolute most scenic route to Welches from Blaine, she asked????

Navigate your way to the town of Randle on Highway 12, between Yakima and I-5. From Randle begin heading south on US Forest Service Roads to the Windy Ridge overlook to Mt. St. Helens. As you approach Mt. Helens you are coming directly along the route the explosion took. When you get to Windy Ridge you are looking directly into the crater, not up at it, with the new Spirit Lake below you. You are now taking the road less traveled.

After than continue following USFS toward the town of Trout Lake. Enjoy the vistas of Mt. Adams as you make this trek through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. At Trout Lake pick up WA Hwy 141, which follows the White Salmon River down to the Columbia River. When you reach the Columbia River, cross into Oregon at Hood River, then take Highway 35 up the northeast face of Mt. Hood to Hwy 26, then go back to Welches through Government Camp.

This is more than a one-day drive, but worth it if you can squeeze it in and the weather cooperates. Note that the USFS roads are gravel roads. In summer they are easily passable to ordinary vehicles, but this early in the season you should check before heading out, as repairs from winter storms may not yet be completed.

*******

If that's too much driving or you need to make it in a day, then you might consider exiting I-205 to Hwy 14 in Vancouver, WA, then take Hwy 14 to the Hood River crossing. That cuts out the USFS roads portion of the route I described above.

If you do exit I-5 near Castle Rock to visit the main Visitor Center at Mt. St. Helens, be aware that will probably be close to a 4-hour itinerary from the time you exit I-5 to the time you get back to that exit.
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Old May 3, 2012, 03:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Navigate your way to the town of Randle on Highway 12, between Yakima and I-5.
*******
Steve, you make me want to do a road trip of my own. That route sounds great!


Quote:
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If you do exit I-5 near Castle Rock to visit the main Visitor Center at Mt. St. Helens, be aware that will probably be close to a 4-hour itinerary from the time you exit I-5 to the time you get back to that exit.
I may not have been clear. I meant that the Visitor's Center is about an hour up the highway from the freeway. Add time spent at the Visitor's Center, then an hour or so driving back down the mountain. So four hours is a good time frame.

Dave
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Old May 3, 2012, 03:31 PM   #5
Karen G
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Originally Posted by talkamotta View Post
What are things we should plan on seeing and should not be missed?
When we stayed in Welches we went up to Timberline Lodge and looked around. I think we ate lunch there.

Southeast of Welches is Warm Springs, OR, and there is an interesting museum there.
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Old May 3, 2012, 03:59 PM   #6
T_R_Oglodyte
 
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Steve, you make me want to do a road trip of my own. That route sounds great!

Dave
It's a great route.

Although it's been almost 15 years since I took the Randle route into Mt. St. Helens, it's far more impressive.

As you get close to Mt. St. Helens the road climbs the north face of a ridge where the forest was protected from the blast because the ridge directed the explosion up and over that face. Then as you get near the top of the ridge the forest starts to thin out, and as you top out you find yourself in the middle of the blast zone. You go past the rusted hulk of a car where some people were killed when they were trapped when the mountain blew.

And the view of the crater from Windy Ridge is superb - the best you can get without doing a hike.
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Old May 4, 2012, 07:35 PM   #7
talkamotta
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We are so excited.
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Old May 6, 2012, 12:19 PM   #8
travel maniac
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Originally Posted by talkamotta View Post
The first week we will be staying in Raintree's Birch Bay, Blaine Wa.

I heard about the Capilano Suspension Bridge, has anyone been to the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge/Park?

LouAnn
You'll love the Sandcastle @ Birch Bay - last time we were there 2-3 years ago, we enjoyed the "resort" and the area. The staff was very helpful. Birch Bay state park is small but beautiful and so is the peace arch park.

Lynn canyon is great - it is smaller version of Capillano but with free admission. If you have more time (and money ) Capillano is worth a visit a visit as well. Capillano is obviously more commercialized than Lynn canyon.

I would recommend visiting Granville Island and the Museum of Anthropolgy @ UBC within Vancouver. Stanley park is also a great place to spend some time.

In Victoria, the visitor centre @ the docks used to give a great handout of walking trips within Victoria. If you can't go to the Museum in Vancouver, the one in Victoria is pretty good as well.

Sounds like an exciting trip - have fun, eh!
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