Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Family Road Trip -- Seattle to San Diego ?

Hi Jamie ,

I recently bought your Pacific Highway 1 book and it's inspired me & my family to make the trip from London UK . We are regular visitors to Florida & the east coast but have never gone west . Originally we planned to fly into San Francisco & drive to LA & San Diego . But talking to other people & reading your book I really fancy Seattle/Portland as well . We've set aside 3 weeks next summer for the trip . Is this enough time ? I fully understand this will incorporate a lot of driving but having driven from Charleston SC to Key West before I think I'm ready ? .

I would like to start in Seattle and finish with a few days on the beach in San Diego . Any advice you could give me with must do , must sees & must stops etc would be greatly appreciated . My children are 11 & 12 so I think/hope they are old enough for a road trip ? My son & i are mad keen sports fans so a bit of west coast baseball advice wouldn't go a miss .

My ruff first draft for our trip :
Eugene (crater lake)
San Francisco
Santa cruz
San luis obispo
San Diego
Well like I say this is just a starting point and open to change
Im really excited about planning this trip as the west coast looks amazing . u probably know Florida is a little flat and way too many bugs on the windscreen :-) .....
Hope to hear from u soon


Dear Tim --

Many thanks for your message, and sincere apologies for my sluggishness in replying. You said you were thinking of a trip next summer, so I hope I am not too late to help.

Basically, I think you are on to a winner -- the PCH drive is amazing, all the way from Seattle to San Diego (though you might want to time your travels so you drive across LA sometime between midnight and 5am, to avoid the traffic!)

The West Coast landscape has infinitely more variety than Florida, for sure -- and as far as spectator sports Seattle, Portland, and all the other cities have a lot to offer -- there's lots of baseball for sure (major league in big cities, plus "minor league" in smaller cities, up and down the coast). Plus there's a game we call soccer. (The US professional season runs March to November, almost opposite to the "proper" game you call football. You may even be able to catch David Beckham at the LA Galaxy.. There are "MLS" teams in Seattle and Portland and San Jose, south of SF, -- the Seattle team has the best fans, I hear.)

Crater Lake (see picture above!) is a great detour, and I'd recommend another "must see": Yosemite National Park, east of San Francisco. The Columbia Gorge / Mt Hood area east of Portland is lovely and green, and to my eye the coastline of Oregon is the most fun stretch of Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco. Also, the ancient redwood trees along the "Avenue of the Giants" in Humboldt County are definitely unforgettable; they are also easy to reach, just a few minutes off the freeway.

From Monterey (great aquarium!), I highly recommend the trip down to Big Sur, ending up maybe with a tour of Hearst Castle, a megalomaniac monument that's actually pretty interesting (even for jaded pre-teens!)

Finally, the San Diego area has some great animal-related attractions: the world-class SD Zoo, plus the much more "natural" Wild Animal Park, and the original Sea World (which you may have seen in FL).

Three weeks sounds like a perfect length of time for this trip -- you'll have enough to get out and enjoy these places without feeling in a rush.

It all sounds great -- feel free to write again, once your plans start firming up.

Hope you're still aiming to make the trip -- Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA



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