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Road trip around Oregon mid March

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Road trip around Oregon mid March

Planning a 5-6 day roadtrip around Oregon in mid-March 2014 and need some suggestions/recommendations on what route to take. I love driving and don't mind spending hours in my car. :) (I once drove 1,100 miles around NM in 4 days and managed to see and do tons of things without feeling rushed). On day 1 I was thinking about starting in Portland and then heading up to Ecola State park and Cannon beach. Then keep driving down the coast, stopping here and there at state parks. Was thinking first night in either North Bend/Coos bay/Bandon. Day 2 drive to Redwood National and State park to spend a few hours and then onto Klamath Falls and Crater lake NP. Night 2 around there somewhere. Day 3 Crater Lake and Bend. Night 3 in Bend. Day 4 drive to John Day Fossil beds and then onto the Dalles/Columbia River hw back to Portland. Night 4 in a motel on I84 or in Portland. Day 5 explore Portland and then off to Seattle for leadership conference. Is my preliminary itinerary doable? Should I go the other way-eg start on the Columbia river highway and go clockwise? Any great off the beaten path things to see on this route. I am a seasoned traveller and do my research, but since I've never been in Oregon I'm very open to recommendations. :) Thank you. :)

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Port Angeles, WA
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1. Re: Road trip around Oregon mid March

What do you mean by the John Day Fossil Beds?

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2. Re: Road trip around Oregon mid March

That's a national monument in Oregon. http://www.nps.gov/joda/index.htm

Troutdale, Oregon
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3. Re: Road trip around Oregon mid March

Hi, LadyDi71

Of course it is.

March is a bit cold and you may encounter snow at some elevations. Be sure to bring layers of clothes for all weather events.

In the Columbia River Gorge you will encounter waterfalls that are a tad different than New Yorks. Watch the weather and if no winter snows are going on, take the Historic Columbia River Highway You will see the Crown Point Vista House. It shows a beautiful panoramic view of the river below.

I would suggest you start with the Gorge. Then next to Hood River (the City,) take Oregon 35 up the mountain to Timberline Lodge. I generally suggest lodging in Hood River. I don't know your budget but take a look at the bed and breakfasts they have. My husband and I love that option.

Do you like rural driving or city driving? Beer, wine or even home made root beer? Do you like places to eat other than a regular restaurant? We have food carts, even *pods* of food carts with pretty amazing food.

What is your budget and preferences for lodging?

The coast here is phenomenal. Lots love the tide pools but it would be very cold to be in the water. Your idea of just driving is good. We have several light houses along the way.

Now I have just touched on your vacation. The rest will be along to fill in.

Best,

MrsO

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4. Re: Road trip around Oregon mid March

Couple suggestions:

- You'd much prefer Bandon over Coos Bay or North Bend.

- Klamath Falls doesn't make sense until after Crater Lake, and on your way to Bend. It's not the most direct route, but because there'll be lots of snow up at Crater Lake, the road around the lake and the park's north entrance will be closed. Spend the night before Crater Lake around Grants Pass, Medford, or perhaps a place like the Prospect Hotel. http://www.prospecthotel.com/ If the weather's lousy, with low overcast skies, there's a good chance you wouldn't see the surface of the lake, so check the park's live webcams before heading up. And by the way, don't expect to see waterfalls at Klamath Falls.

- Unless you're interested in the McMenamins' Edgefield - http://www.mcmenamins.com/54-edgefield-home - best to continue on into Portland for night 4. McMenamins lodgings are uniquely Oregon, and might give you some sense of place. But being in Portland would give you a better one.

Is your itinerary doable? Assuming you've mapped and are comfortable with drive times, sure. Is it advisable? If you disagree with the person who, after visiting Central Park, going to the Top of the Rock, walking around Times Square, and eating at Katz's Deli, says they've seen New York City, I'd probably say no.

Edited: 12 January 2014, 21:21
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Oregon Coast
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5. Re: Road trip around Oregon mid March

>> I love driving and don't mind spending hours in my car. :) <<

It's great to know your travel style right off! Makes it a bit easier for us :-)

Starting at the beginning... Spring Break is March 22-30 for Oregon so as long as you are in Cannon Beach before then, that should be fine and less busy. Are you planning to book your lodging ahead?

Depending upon what time you start out in Portland, you'll have to see how the hours go by. Camp 18 is worth a stop even if you don't eat there! You might want to visit Astoria, too. I can give you directions for a very scenic route to Astoria, then you could go south from there.

Bandon is much more scenic than Coos Bay or North Bend.

There are a lot of things to see and do in and around Redwood NP. Do take Newton Drury scenic drive, and/or Howland Hill Road if it's not too muddy. I'll post some links to ideas in the next post.

In March, the road going through Crater Lake NP will be closed due to snow. Here is the daylight hours webcam for the park, scroll down:

http://www.craterlakelodges.com/webcam/

Also, before you drive up even to Diamond Lake (Hwy 62 to 230) , check the Oregon Dept of Transportation website for road conditions:

www.tripcheck.com

It would be good to also check the CL website... nps.gov/crla/…current-conditions.htm

Bend area has a lot of things to do and see, but some may be closed in March, such as the lava tube.

John Day Fossil Beds NM is great! Go to the Sheep Rock and Painted Hills units. Check opening times/days for the Paleontology Center at Sheep Rock - it is well worth seeing:

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g51924-d21…

(Ignore the first political rant "reveiw" I have reported it just now)

Definitely drive the historic highway. If it's clear you will have fantastic views.

Be prepared for rain. The coast gets about twice as much rain as inland.

Your direction...... you'll be traveling solo so I might reverse it. We usually suggest going southbound along the coast, but that is so the passenger can get the best views! I drive up and down the coast a lot by myself and have a better view going north bound. Many of the day use state parks near bigger towns have turn lanes, and there won't be much traffic at all along much of the coast in March, so you won't have trouble puling over to stop at view points.

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Oregon Coast
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6. Re: Road trip around Oregon mid March

Redwood NP sights and attractions:

shannontech.com/ParkVision/…Redwood.html

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60944-c139445/Cresce…

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g32564-Activitie…

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g32830-Activitie…

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g33188-Activitie…

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g32363-c144314/Eureka…

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g2193168-Activit…

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g32641-d64…

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g32378-Activitie…

Port Angeles, WA
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7. Re: Road trip around Oregon mid March

The reason I asked about your idea of the John Day Fossil Beds was to find out if you knew that they are 3 widely separated sites, not a single destination. All three sites, which I have visited, are remarkable, but they are very remote, and it would take a full day to see all three because of the distances involved. Painted Hills is not a fossil site at all; it's volcanic. Sheep Rock has fossil replicas placed along the trail, and the scenery is striking due to the blue coloring of the rock, but you are unlikely to see a real fossil there. The third and most remote site, Clarno, is the only site where you can see real fossils buried in the rocks along the trail, but it is totally in the middle of nowhere, and there are no facilities there. If you go to Clarno, be careful. There are many rattlesnakes, and they hang out right next to the trail.

Even given your preference for driving, I don't think you can fit in all three sites. You will probably have to choose 1 or 2.

Eugene, Oregon
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8. Re: Road trip around Oregon mid March

nps.gov/joda/photosmultimedia/Thomas-Condon-…

I am guessing this is the most likely desired destination. It should also be pointed out that much of the national monument territory is off limits except for researchers and permit holders. If LadiDi is thinking of digging for fossils, the only place that can be done is in the back of the high school in the town of Fossil.

I know this gets confusing. Sorry about that.

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Fossil
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9. Re: Road trip around Oregon mid March

Dear fellow 'Tripadvisors'; MrsO_5, half-Brit, oregonpoppa,MrsO_5,thrumylens

Thank you so much for your feedback and recommendations! Much appreciated! I do realize that Oregon is a big state and that there is no chance one can see it all in 5-6 days, but my goal is to get a feel for it as I usually go back to places I enjoy. I liked the Big Apple analogy by thrumylens. :) I live in NYC, but see new stuff everyday.

I am very excited to see the John Day Fossil beds NM and know it's spread out over a large area. I wasn't planning to do all 3 in one go. I am still looking into that part of my trip. I won't be digging for fossils though. :)

As for weather, I don't mind rain; as I say no bad weather, just bad clothing. :) I'll book lodging in advance when I have most of my route finalized. I didn't realize that Crater Lake would have so much snow at the end of March, so I appreciate the feedback and links to webcams/lodging/routes.

I will take half-Brits advice and do my road trip clock wise. :) As for water falls...have seen the great ones in the world (Angel falls, Iguazu, Plitvice, Niagara, the Grand canyons falls of Yellowstone and even Ithaca!), so not looking for that, other than along the Columbia River highway. I am really hoping to be able to see Crater Lake NP as I kind of have the NPs of Usa on my bucket list. (12 down 46 to go).

I mostly enjoy country road/backroad driving since we don't get to do that here in peace very often. :) What is the cost of gas in OR? Here it's around 4-4.40USD/gallon.

Again, thank you kindly for all of your valuable feedback. It makes planning this trip so much easier. :) /Diana

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Troutdale, Oregon
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10. Re: Road trip around Oregon mid March

Our current prices are well under $4. a gallon.

Lucky you to have seen the Worlds best in waterfalls. I would love that. Multnomah Falls are listed as the US *second* tallest year round running waterfall and is drive by easy. One in Rainier is touted the tallest but was glacial fed and the glacier receded. So it dries up in summer now and is a day hike to see.

The Vista House might get your attention if weather cooperates. It is high up on Larch Mountai and it gives you a great panorama view of most of the Gorge. This part of the gorge is a National area.

MrsO

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Rainier
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