"A bit of background: I'm from the UK and I've found a great air fare late next May flying from London to Vancouver, then home from San Francisco 2 weeks later. Before you ask, unfortunately 2 weeks is the longest that my employer will allow me to take off during the summer months. Why this routing? I've always wanted to go to Vancouver (I'm a pilot, and so trying out the sea planes really appeals to me), and having visited San Francisco before I think it'd be a great place to finish up. I would absolutely love to hitch a sea plane to somewhere remote and stay a couple of nights, is it possible to take a scheduled service to anywhere like this or would we have to pay for our own (presumably very expensive!) charter flight?
Our current plan was to spend about 5 days in Vancouver, take a Greyhound to Seattle and spend 2 days there, then spend 5 days driving a hire car from Seattle to Portland and then to San Francisco (mainly along the coastal route after Portland). I've heard that this part of the coast in Northern California is absolutely stunning, and much quieter/more genuine than the more famous route between San Francisco and LA. Would people tend to agree with this sentiment, or is the southern section (the main 'PCH') just as nice if not better? We're mainly hoping to see some natural wonders, some nice views, and some 'genuine' America away from the main tourist crowds.
The one thing concerning me is that every website I look at it warns of the potential fog during this time of year. Is it really that bad, should I really let it change my plans? I mean, I don't mind waking up to some fog and having to wait for it to clear (and being British I'm more than used to rainy days!), but I'd be disappointed if we spent a whole day driving and didn't see anything because of fog/rain. I'm guessing that if we cross over inland then the weather would become much more pleasant?
I'm just thinking if northern California is almost guaranteed to be miserable then would we potentially be better off taking a flight from Seattle down to San Francisco and then doing the more traditional route by road to LA in some better weather? We could then fly from LA back to SF ready for our flight home to London. Also, should we cut out Seattle/Portland from the trip altogether - are either or both of those cities worth seeing after Vancouver or should we just head straight south considering our limited time?
As you can see this trip is still in the early planning stages yet, but I'm receiving lots of mixed reviews and so could really do with some more ideas and clarification on some of my points.
I know that these PCH road trip ideas have been done to death on these forums and I apologise if I'm repeating the same things that have been asked before. Unfortunately I couldn't find any previous posts quite along the same vein as the trip that I'm looking at!
Thank you in advance for any help/advice that you may have."
And then to answer a couple of questions that I had in that forum, so as to make my intentions clearer:
"To answer a couple of questions, yes we are a young couple in our mid-Twenties looking for the drive of a lifetime! We enjoy warm weather and beaches (our summer holiday this year was around Thailand/Vietnam and Borneo) but we equally love dramatic scenery, log fires, hiking, adventurous kind of places. It would be nice to see some warm weather, but not absolutely essential. Am I right in thinking that once we reach as far south as Califorrnia, if we drive inland, then the temperatures are likely to creep up even if it's a bit gloomy on the coastline?
And of course I didn't mean whether Seattle/Portland are 'worth' seeing because a quick glance suggests that they are very popular cities - just in the context of this trip I'm wondering whether our time would be better spent on the road than in those cities, even if they are nice places. If one had to pick either of those two cities to spend a day in, which one would you go for?"