Tuesday, October 11, 2011

West Coast Grand Circle -- from Norway, next summer!

Dear Jamie, thanks for a great site!

We are a Norwegian family of four (parents + grown up kids (18 + 21)), planning an American road trip for the summer of -12.
Your site is very informative, the only problem is that after having read it all, I really would want to make every one of the trips. But since out time is limited to ca. 1 month - I guess we'll have to choose one.

These are some of our interests:

Were would you have gone if you were us?

All the best!


Dear Sigrun --

Many thanks for your nice note, and sincere apologies for being so slow to respond to you. I have been busy working on an all-new edition of Road Trip USA, which will be available next year, so I hope you will forgive me.

I'm glad to hear you like the sound of my Road Trips, and I am sure you would enjoy any or all of them. But if you only have time for a month's visit, I think the place to go is the West Coast -- California, Oregon and Washington. Maybe with a brief detour to Arizona and Utah, and even Wyoming, if you enjoy spectacular "Mother Nature" as well as your other interests -- art, music, food, books, etc etc .

The Pacific Coast Highway trip I describe is a very good focus -- with ample time allowed for enjoying cities like Seattle and San Francisco.

And since it usually is less expensive to start and finish your trip in the same city / same airport, I'll suggest you plan a big loop, taking in all these great places, listed north to south:

San Juan Islands west of Seattle, and Port Townsend and the Olympic National Park
Mt Rainier and Mt St Helens and the entire Cascades Range (massive volcanoes, with great hiking + fishing)
Portland, Mount Hood, Columbia Gorge and the Oregon Coast
Northern California redwoods, Humboldt Redwoods -- towns of Arcata and Mendocino
Wine Country (town of Sonoma)
San Francisco -- and the amusement park at Santa Cruz
Big Sur coastline, between Monterey and Hearst Castle
Santa Barbara + Southern California -- wonderful art museums in Los Angeles, like the Getty, the Huntington, the Norton Simon
plus Disneyland (and maybe a day-trip to Catalina Island, off the LA coast?)

then east, across the deserts, to the Grand Canyon (maybe via Route 66!?), Monument Valley, Zion National Park (see postcard image above!) and the Four Corners region (including Mesa Verde cliff palaces and amazing ancient cultures, from long before Columbus (or even Leif Ericksson....) "discovered" America.

Santa Fe and Taos New Mexico

Arches and Canyonlands Utah

Yellowstone National Park (?)

Yosemite National Park (back in California)

Crater Lake National Park

and back to Seattle.

Such a loop can start or finish anywhere -- this just seemed easiest to describe. There is a lot of everything you are looking for, and the "Wild West" USA is really distinctive and special -- there's no place like it, anywhere else.

Hope this helps inspire a great trip, and thanks again for checking out Road Trip USA. Let me know how your plans shape up!

With best wishes,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


Hey there Jamie --

Wow, thanks for the reply -- that's a great plan. We'll definitely let you know how it all turns out!

-- S


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