Sunday, July 18, 2004

Westward ho!

One of my projects for the weekend has been planning my upcoming trip to California/Oregon/Washington.  I made my plane reservation to get to San Francisco for the wedding several weeks ago.  But my plans were very vague. So I've been trying to hammer down the details -- I've been camped out at Fido all afternoon with my travel books and computer.

When I went to Mexico City, I was able to find a family owned guesthouse in the heart of the metropolis for about $30/night. Alas, I'm quickly realizing that traveling to the high-rent district that is the Pacific Northwest is an entirely different story. In the U.S., guesthouses of the sort I've encountered in Italy or Mexico have been pushed out of the market by the the ubiquitous chain motels that spring up like mushrooms around Interstate exits.  So if you're looking to stay "in town" in a place with a bit of character, you end up perusing the "Bed and Breakfast" market -- complete with antique furniture in the room, breakfast served on crystal, and a hefty price tag.  Definitely overkill. But I'm really not thrilled about spending every night in a generic motel room out by the Interstate -- I want to be where I can walk around and sightsee, and where I'm likely to meet other people in the process. So that makes things a bit more complicated.   

Plus, the stuff I'm interested in seeing in Oregon and Washington is less centralized than Mexico City -- I'm considering trying to see Mount Hood, Crater Lake, the falls on the Columbia River, etc. This means that to do this with any sort of speed, I'm going to need to have a car. And the cost of the car rental is probably going to dwarf the cost of my plane tickets to California.   

The end result is that the trip is going to be a lot more expensive than I initially thought. Still, though, I'm looking forward to it. Now the big challenge is simply figuring out how to cram everything into 11 days.   

Right now all I know for sure is that I'm arriving in Oakland on Friday night, and leaving from Seattle the following Tuesday afternoon. Everything between that is up in the air.

 In addition to sightseeing around the Bay area and the actual wedding on Sunday, here's a rough list of things I may want to hit on this trip: 

  • Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge (I've been under it before on a boat, but think it would be cool to drive across as well.)  Go to Muir Woods and possibly a few other things in that area. Then figure out some sort of scenic route from there north to Oregon.
  • In Oregon, I'd like to see some of the coast, Crater Lake, Portland itself, the Columbia River gorge, possibly Mount Hood, and other things if there's time.
  • In Washington, I want to get to Seattle itself (including the givens: Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, etc.), as well as perhaps Olympic National Park and maybe a daytrip over the Washington Cascades to the farmland beyond.

I have no idea how exactly I'm going to accomplish all this, however.  If y'all know anything about this area and have suggestions, I'd love to hear them.  

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