West Coast USA Trip

Trip 2 with my brother was a longer road trip down the west coast from Vancouver to San Francisco. On the way we spent nights in Seattle, Eugene, Arcata, and the Jughandle Creek Farm/Hostel near Mendocino.

Google measures the drive at 1,651 kilometers. We actually headed over to the winding coastal highway 1 right after Eugene, so in reality it was longer then that. We were driving in a rented Toyota Corolla and measured our actual mileage at between 34 and 38 miles per gallon.

Our first 2 nights we found free lodging care of cool people on CouchSurfing.com. The name pretty much explains it, and the service worked out great for us. The next 2 nights we were in smaller towns and stayed in a motel and hostel/farmhouse. We stumbled onto some crazy adventures in both though. By the end the running joke was that we were taking a hippy-granola tour of the west coast ;-).

In the San Fran Bay area we crashed at a friend's house and later met up with Luxers Hoodie and STM for some food and drinks. I knew them from over the internet, and it was cool to meet in person. I've now met 7 Luxers in 3 different cities. It's a fun perk of running an internet-wide community. I expect photoshopped pictures of us to appear on the Lux Forums shortly...

Posted by dustin on March 29, 2007 with category tags of

It's too bad you didn't hit the coastal highway right after Portland, I remember some mind-blowing beaches in that first little stretch. There was one that I must have visited during low tide, because it was easily the length of a soccer pitch from the water to where the sand stopped, and it was scattered with tree-sized pieces of driftwood. I felt like a midget.

Also, did you actually stop in Eureka? I think it was my favourite small town of all time.

Man, I freakin' love the west coast. I look forward to pictures!
   comment by goodladd (#144) on March 29, 2007

What makes Eureka your fav small town of all time? We stopped in Arcata, which is little college town right next to Eureka. In the one night we were there, we somehow managed to find a little drum-n-bass danceclub, the skankiest bar ever, and then ended up at a house party. So Arcata gets my thumbs-up.
   comment by dustin (#1) on March 29, 2007

Awesome, I'm going to be doing pretty much this trip in June. Starting from Calgary, down to San Fran. I'll definately be coming through Vancouver on the way back up. A comprehensive list of all sites to see on this route would be much appreciated.

Thus far:
Coastal Highway after Portland
"the wine country"
Scuba Diving

What else should I think about doing on this adventure?
   comment by KingCasey on March 29, 2007

I dunno, Eureka just had a really nice atmosphere. Perhaps I was just in a good mood that day. Also there was a great bar/microbrewery there that was hopping even on whatever weeknight it was that I was there.

Also, on 101 just a little north of Eureka/Arcata there's Humboldt Lagoon State Park which was gorgeous, and a nice little holiday town called Trinidad.

Other good places to see:

Redwood National Park, obviously (101 goes through it anyway, but it's worth taking the detour on to the slightly slower Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway).

Mt St Helens itself isn't that exciting, especially because it's rumbling these days and they won't let you get very close to it. But Ape Cave is definitely worth stopping for - it's an old underground lava tube that I blogged about here.

Also in Oregon is a place called Crater Lake, which I didn't make it to because it basically adds a day to the drive that I didn't have, but which I hear is quite spectacular (and its website certainly makes it look that way).

I would heartily recommend against Portland unless you know someone who lives there.

In San Fran, go to Alcatraz and go on the last tour of the evening because that way you'll be there at sunset and it will be awesome. I also went to a great bar called Giordano Bros that served all-in-one sandwiches - like, fries, meat, coleslaw, etc. squeezed between some bread. It was the most delicious sandwich I have ever eaten and Google agrees so I must be right.

I think that covers pretty much everything that I remember liking. Just get on 101 as soon as you can and you will be dazzled every few minutes.
   comment by goodladd (#144) on March 29, 2007


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