Monday, August 6

Road Trip!

We’ve got one heck of a road trip planned this month.  On Saturday Garry and I fly out for a three-week itinerary that takes us from Los Angeles to Seattle, via Yosemite National Park, Napa Valley and Crater Lake National Park.  Our vacation has been in planning since February.  Qantas was promoting a two-for-one sale on business class fare at time.  It didn’t take long to decide this was the perfect opportunity to undertake one of two road trips we’d often fantasized about.

Our first choice was a cross-country jaunt from Mount Rushmore in South Dakota to Seattle via Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park.  However, a little research revealed that this option was likely to cost several thousand more than a West Coast alternative.  It was also going to be a challenge to fit everything into a three-week period.

Our West Coast road trip begins with us collecting a car at LAX, then heading north to Malibu and on o Santa Barbara for a late leisurely lunch by the beach.  Our first night in the USA will be spent in Solvang.  This town was founded by Nordic immigrants resulting in a surprisingly European urban landscape.  From there we make our way to San Simeon.  It was made famous by Randolph Hearst who built a massive castle in foothills behind the town. Our final day on coastal Route One will take us north to Monterey Bay, the popular seaside playground of Bay Area residents. 

We’ll then head inland to spent three nights at Yosemite National Park, before moving on to spend two nights at a quaint B&B in the heart of Napa Valley.  With our first week under the belt we’ll then return to the coast, making our way as far north as Gold Beach in southern Oregon.  Our coastal route will take us through towering Redwood Forests, past beaches increasingly littered by flotsam from last year’s Japanese tsunami and over broad rivers sweeping down from the Cascade Mountains.

Our journey then turns inland again.  We stop for a night in Oregon vineyard cottage before making camp at Crater Lake National Park for two nights.  From here will head north again through the Cascade Mountains to Portland, before heading back to the coast for a night in Astoria.  This town sits at the mouth of the Columbia River, the largest river on the US West Coast.  We’ll finally reach Seattle on August 28 where we’ll spend 2.5 days soaking up the sights and sounds of the city that’s home for corporations as diverse as Starbucks, Boeing and Microsoft.

I've worked hard to ensure that each day's destination requires no more than three hours of driving, roughly 250 kms.  With a timely two day break in one location every 5-6 days on the road.  Our route has also been designed to ensure there's at least one memorable tourist highlight to experience every day.

Stay tuned for regular updates and plenty of fabulous photos!  Did I mention Garry’s applied for a points upgrade?  With a little luck we may find ourselves flying First Class across the Pacific.  Hooray!

UPDATE: 
Click here to read the first post from our vacation.  Then click on the newer post link to follow our journey north.

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