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Northern CA to Northern WA: Camping and Suggestions
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chimivee
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:09 pm    Post subject: Northern CA to Northern WA: Camping and Suggestions Reply with quote

My girlfriend and I are leaving this weekend in my Syncro for a 9-10 day trip from So Cal to Olympic National Park, Washington. Since we've recently spent time in Central CA, we'll drive straight through until about Northern CA or so.

From there, our plans are open, with the only tentative goal being spending a few days in Olympic. We'll probably stay on the 5 for the bulk of the driving to and from, as there probably isn't time to hit the 101.

So, in, around, and along the way, we are looking for some recommendations on good places to camp (pay campgrounds or dispersed), scenic drives, back country roads (Syncro!), hiking, biking, breakfast, whatever. Would even consider venturing into the Cascades. I have Delorme maps and GPS nav.

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Last edited by chimivee on Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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nelinor
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out Prewitt Camp in Big Sur. It on the top of the ridge line, ocean views. Awesome sunsets as the fog rolls in below you into the canyons.

Take HWY 1 to Ferguson-nacimiento road (about 1 mile south of Limekiln SP) for 7 miles. After 7 miles, the road turns to dirt and there's a bunch of signs. Take the lower dirt road on the right side for 10 miles until you reach the campsites. Amazing vistas.

I also enjoy Fern Canyon up in Humbolt county. Great campgrounds right on the beach.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice campground at Floras Lake in Or if you happen to be around during your way up or down. Small lake separated from the ocean by a sand bar.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just moved back to the PNW but I grew up in the Olympics and spent alot of time backpacking and climbing in the area. Here is a site that I used to use ALL the time; good reviews and most importantly road info for the USFS and BLM roads. http://hikerbob.com/

The NP is inside the NF so as you drive to the park you'll see tons of logging roads heading to anywhere. Check out the site to see what's open and what people recommend for this year.

Personal favorites for me are 3rd beach just south of La Push. It's an easy hike into the beach and I've never seen it crowded after labor day. Nice WA beach camping.
I hear you can pop your top on the beach south of La Push but I have yet to try it or seen any one doing it... It's a beautiful view though.

SolDuc is touristy but if you like hotsprings the resort is nice, and there are some "hidden" springs back in the woods but you need good directions from a local to find them- they are off trail and it's hard navigating in those woods.

I also like visiting cape Flattery; with a good set of binoculars you can see the light ship out there. Nice day hiking and beach exploring. Dungeness spit is nice for exploring tide pools as well.

The drive past lake Crescent is fun and has a great lodge for lunch- may not be open later in the season.

If you want the best view in ONP in my opinion drive to obstruction point and hike to Grand Pass and if your really in shape continue to Wolf Pass. Your hiking up the side of Mt Deception and into the heart of the olympic highlands. I used to take off from there for an off trail North to south traverse of the park, ending up at staircase or marmot pass.

Staircase is over rated... However you should try some hikes around the Ho River area to experience the rainforest. It's green and dark but worth the fresh air and experience.

The eastern part of the park is great for backpacking and mountaineering but I don't remember much memorable camping or drives from that area.
I'd recommend catching the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island, then from Clinton to Mukelteo. Might as well enjoy the WA ferry system too. it's $9 for a van; don't let them scam you into saying your a motor home! unless the syncro is over height... While your in Port Townsend, check out Fort Worden, I doubt you'll be able to find camping (popular) but the bunkers and armory are worth exploring. On Whidbey fort Casey is the same for exploring.

Thoes are the big ones that I would recommend seeing; there are TONS of back country roads that I'm sure have jems along them, I just haven't explored them in my Westy yet!

Enjoy your trip!! The indian summer seems to be fading here so bring your rain coats- but the clouds make for AMAZING sunsets in the mountains Very Happy
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread has some good info on the Olympic Peninsula:

Beach Camping in Washington State?
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=424230

Some tips from me:
- The campground at Sol Duc hot springs is nice.
- Salt Creek just west of Port Angeles, has nice camping.
- Hwy 101 on the west side of the peninsula runs for only a few miles next to the ocean. Apart from that, it's a boring drive through lots of clearcuts. I prefer the east side on Hood Canal.
- The Hoh rain forest area is a must, even for a day hike.
- Lake Quinalt on the Pacific side has pretty nice camping.
- The NPS campground I saw farther north right on the beach was really awful - a big dirt parking lot with everyone piled on top of each other. Beautiful beach though, and a nice place to stop for a day hike.
- If you're into seafood, stop at the Hama Hama oyster farm on hood canal, or the larger Taylor shellfish store in Sheldon.
Seal Rock campground (USFS) is about 10 miles south of Quilcene. At low tide you can pick all the oysters you can dream of right off the rocks.
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carterzest
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

climberjohn wrote:
This thread has some good info on the Olympic Peninsula:

Beach Camping in Washington State?
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=424230

Some tips from me:
- The campground at Sol Duc hot springs is nice.
- Salt Creek just west of Port Angeles, has nice camping.
- Hwy 101 on the west side of the peninsula runs for only a few miles next to the ocean. Apart from that, it's a boring drive through lots of clearcuts. I prefer the east side on Hood Canal.
- The Hoh rain forest area is a must, even for a day hike.
- Lake Quinalt on the Pacific side has pretty nice camping.
- The NPS campground I saw farther north right on the beach was really awful - a big dirt parking lot with everyone piled on top of each other. Beautiful beach though, and a nice place to stop for a day hike.
- If you're into seafood, stop at the Hama Hama oyster farm on hood canal, or the larger Taylor shellfish store in Sheldon.
Seal Rock campground (USFS) is about 10 miles south of Quilcene. At low tide you can pick all the oysters you can dream of right off the rocks.
What John said James Wink , with a, show up in PDX and we will have a spontaneous PDX Westravaganza in your honor.
Southern Oregon, depending on where you want to stop, has many opportunities. In Eugene you can take a right off I-5 and there is camping on a lake out near Veneta. Close enough to the freeway and a nice stop. Taking a left from Eugene, you head up into the mountains and the Mackenzie River area( I think that is what its called), there are unlimited Forest service roads that are Syncro heaven. I will try to find time to dig for the exact spot we stayed last year as it is written down on one of many maps in my van, and, the maps have been moved around quite a bit since changing vans. In the Ashland Area, head up to Howard Prairie Reservoir. I also have a couple stealth spots up there that are right on a gravel pit/lake.....cliff diving ; )
LMK if you need some Lat/Long info and I will do some digging for you.

Jeffrey

You have a place to stay if you need it, and, I would love to show you my new 86 Syncro Westy. Would be great to meet you again.
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VanWilder
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

carterzest wrote:
climberjohn wrote:
This thread has some good info on the Olympic Peninsula:

Beach Camping in Washington State?
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=424230

Some tips from me:
- The campground at Sol Duc hot springs is nice.
- Salt Creek just west of Port Angeles, has nice camping.
- Hwy 101 on the west side of the peninsula runs for only a few miles next to the ocean. Apart from that, it's a boring drive through lots of clearcuts. I prefer the east side on Hood Canal.
- The Hoh rain forest area is a must, even for a day hike.
- Lake Quinalt on the Pacific side has pretty nice camping.
- The NPS campground I saw farther north right on the beach was really awful - a big dirt parking lot with everyone piled on top of each other. Beautiful beach though, and a nice place to stop for a day hike.
- If you're into seafood, stop at the Hama Hama oyster farm on hood canal, or the larger Taylor shellfish store in Sheldon.
Seal Rock campground (USFS) is about 10 miles south of Quilcene. At low tide you can pick all the oysters you can dream of right off the rocks.
What John said James Wink , with a, show up in PDX and we will have a spontaneous PDX Westravaganza in your honor.
Southern Oregon, depending on where you want to stop, has many opportunities. In Eugene you can take a right off I-5 and there is camping on a lake out near Veneta. Close enough to the freeway and a nice stop. Taking a left from Eugene, you head up into the mountains and the Mackenzie River area( I think that is what its called), there are unlimited Forest service roads that are Syncro heaven. I will try to find time to dig for the exact spot we stayed last year as it is written down on one of many maps in my van, and, the maps have been moved around quite a bit since changing vans. In the Ashland Area, head up to Howard Prairie Reservoir. I also have a couple stealth spots up there that are right on a gravel pit/lake.....cliff diving ; )
LMK if you need some Lat/Long info and I will do some digging for you.

Jeffrey

You have a place to stay if you need it, and, I would love to show you my new 86 Syncro Westy. Would be great to meet you again.


Here! Here! and to mention Mushroom season is upon us. Reports are coming in strong all ready. Laughing
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chimivee
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys! I've only skimmed the posts so far, but it looks like some really good info that I will certainly use. When I get some free minutes, I'll spend more time checking out / googling all the suggestions. Thanks again and any continued input is welcome.
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chimivee
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

carterzest wrote:

You have a place to stay if you need it, and, I would love to show you my new 86 Syncro Westy. Would be great to meet you again.


Thanks, my friend, and I'd love to see your Syncro. But, in case it's not obvious, I've totally procrastinated on planning this trip (and it doesn't help that I'm swamped at work trying to tie up loose ends before I leave). So, at this point, I don't know when we'll be passing through Portland. Hopefully by Friday we'll have a clearer idea... or not. Very Happy
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Californio
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're going to be on I5 up through NorCal, there aren't any really great places to camp right nearby. If you're willing to drive a ways, like 1/2 hour to an hour, that's another story.

Castle Crags SP on Shasta is a disaster unless, like me, you're a fan of 18 wheelers jake braking all night. Anything around Redding, blech, as in Whiskeytown. Shasta Lake itself is pretty horrible. Sorry for being so positive but that's how I see it, having been through there many many times.

McArthur-Burney is a nice place with incredible waterfalls, but some distance from 5. A nice detour is to go around the east side of Shasta (where there is also the incredible Lava Beds Nat. Monument with Indian petroglyphs all over the place.)

Up on Shasta itself there is a nice, smaller campground about 8,000 feet up. Actually a few of them. Visit Panther Meadows if you go. Maybe 1/2 hour out of Mt Shasta city.

A nice stop off point is the Ide Adobe in Red Bluff. No camping but the biggest California oak tree I've ever seen, very beautiful and impressive.

5 in general ain't made for camping, just gettin' there.

After Shasta, take a detour on Highway 3, you'll like it. It rejoins 5 in Yreka.

Eagle Lake is great too, but again, a ways off 5.

OK. Stop.

One more thing, if you break down, visit BusBoys in Redding.
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chimivee
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again, everybody. I'm finally getting a chance to check out all the great suggestions before we leave tomorrow... GREAT stuff!

Since there is so much to do/see in Olympic, I think we're gonna just book it to/from on the 5 fwy to maximize our time there. However, time permitting, we would like to stop and spend a few hours/afternoon in Portland. Can anyone recommend perhaps a place to eat, sightsee, or just poke around for a bit in this fine city?

(Unfortunately, without a set schedule, I have to pass on the kind offers to meet up Sad)
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Low67vdubinnocal
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right before Castle Crags is a federal camp ground called Simms Flat on the banks of the upper Sacramento pretty nice and half the price of the state parks. Does have a train pass through every now and then otherwise very quiet and away from the I5. The train is handy for smashing pennys. Used to be an old CCC. camp and log mill. Great for non bait trout fishing. The lower Castle crags camp ground is much better than the main one and quiet but still over priced. Both are in the Dunsmuir area.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chimivee wrote:
Thanks again, everybody. I'm finally getting a chance to check out all the great suggestions before we leave tomorrow... GREAT stuff!

Since there is so much to do/see in Olympic, I think we're gonna just book it to/from on the 5 fwy to maximize our time there. However, time permitting, we would like to stop and spend a few hours/afternoon in Portland. Can anyone recommend perhaps a place to eat, sightsee, or just poke around for a bit in this fine city?

(Unfortunately, without a set schedule, I have to pass on the kind offers to meet up Sad)


If you really have a just a few hours, I suggest going to straight to the city center.
Off I-5, take 405 north, then the Salmon St exit in about 2 miles.
Park most anywhere, and walk a few blocks east.
from there you can walk to . . .
food carts! (10th and Alder, or ask locals where they are)
Powell's books
Pioneer square, the belly button (aka real center) of town

That will keep you busy for a nice afternoon.

-CJ
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chimivee
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again everyone for the helpful tips - had a great trip to. We managed to hit Portland, Seattle, Olympic NP, and the Oregon Coast. We never ventured far into the backcountry, so not much Syncro-ing. Had a bit of rain, of course, but overall fairly nice weather.

Unfortunately, the van had a hot-starting problem, requiring several push starts... But we met some really nice people in the process including: a Scion club, a Harley guy, a security guard, a girls volleyball team, and a tow truck driver. Very Happy

Here are a few pics:

The boring 5 freeway through central CA:
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Seattle:
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Sequim Bay St. Park:
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Hurricane Ridge:
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Oberservation Point:
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Breakfast!:
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Lake Crescent:
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La Push / Mora Campground:
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James Pond:
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Hoh River:
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Oregon Coast:
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Dinner!:
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A brief detour:
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Spotter who'd rather not be:
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Homeward bound:
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More pics: https://picasaweb.google.com/chimivee/WashingtonOregonSept2011
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campism
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great pictures, but none of the girls volleyball team? Dayum...
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice photos.
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