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Old 02-16-2015, 08:47 AM   #1
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Francisco , Indiana
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Traveling Northwest

We would like to go to the state of Washington in late March or early April.
We are in Southwest Indiana and was wondering what would be the best route to take.
I know the mountain roads can still be pretty iffy in late spring.
70 West to Denver then to Salt Lake City, then up 84 seems like a likely route but I don't know about elevations on that route.

I know winter storms can crop any where on pretty short notice and we don't look forward to being snowed in during a bad storm some where along the line.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 02-16-2015, 10:52 AM   #2
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right now the entire PNW is high and dry. snow level is well about 9,000' so the major passes are open and running dry or maybe some rain on the pavement. the time frame you are talking about will only see N. Cascades; Chinook pass and Cayuse passes still closed, but maybe not. that gives you plenty of roadways to cross back and forth.

what is it you are interested in seeing on this trip??

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Old 02-16-2015, 03:39 PM   #3
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Take the north route I-90 through Billings, Bozeman, N. Idaho and into Washington State. A lot nicer drive than I-80 through Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah and southern Idaho.
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Old 02-16-2015, 05:01 PM   #4
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I agree with Pappy, I would get to I-90. At Omaha you could go north and take 90 through Rapid City or you could go west on 80 into Cheyenne and then head north into Billings. Once you get to Billings there are three passes. Before you get to Spokane. Just before Butte is a big one but it is relatively straight and in good shape. On the Montana border is the second one, not as high and also decent. 4th of July pass in Idaho is the easiest iof all. By the end of March chances of really bad weather gets slim but there is always a chance you might have to sit something out. It shouldn't be all that bad. In Washington you will have a hill to climb out of the Columbia at Vantage and then Snoqualmie Pass west of Ellensburg but it is a very easy one to get over. There is a lot of traffic on this one so give yourself lots of time.

If you have never been through this country you are in for a treat. Sounds like a great trip.
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Old 02-16-2015, 06:14 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.
Wife wants to see the tulips in bloom, that's the reason for a spring trip.
We also want to see the lighthouses. We saw a lot in the Northeast U.S. and Maritime provinces of Canada. Really enjoy lighthouses and the stories that go with them.
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:44 AM   #6
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sent an email to a friend about the tulips. i'll let you know what he suggests as they live in Bellingham just N or the tulip fields. lots of lighthouses along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. more on that as well in a bit.
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:08 AM   #7
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Planning on a similar trip, but late summer into fall. Provided I can get this d... back problem corrected.

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Old 02-17-2015, 09:28 AM   #8
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I90 is more scenic albeit with more mountain passes ...
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:02 AM   #9
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Post # 4 has my backing for the best route using interstates at any rate.
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:47 AM   #10
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You might think about the Oregon Coast also. Spectacular scenary and great lighthouses. Cape Blanco is my favorite spot on the Oregon Coast and my favorite lighthouse.

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Old 02-17-2015, 12:26 PM   #11
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tulips are at Mt. Vernon. local advice is to try and avoid weekends and on your way N on I5 to take exits before Mt. Vernon proper, perhaps hwy 20 as an example. can't recommend any campgrounds in the area.

from there, you might want to come down Whidbey island and camp at Ft Casey, right next to the ferry terminal. you can make reservations on this ferry to cross to Pt. Townsend. if you are over 50', it will cost quite a bit. this fort is also one of the WWI forts you can walk through.

Pt. Townsend gives you a couple of choices for camping; Ft. Warden and a light house right there or head across the way to Ft. Flagler, looking back on PT. this area is also of interest because of the old WWI forts and gun emplacements.

from there to Sequin and the Dungeness light house. a 5 mi walk on the beach in each direction, try and pick a low tide as walking on the stones is not pleasant. you can climb to the top of this light. don't know the size of your rig but the county park at the spit has several pretty nice sites.

travel W from there and if you don't mind very twisty roadways, head to Hobuck beach, the new campground, on the Makah reservation. you can walk the boardwalk trail to the furthest point W in the continental US and Cape Flattery with that light.

or if you want to drop your trailer before making this drive, leave your trailer at Salt Creek. this will give you the opportunity to also visit the Elwha r. and see for yourself the result of taking out the biggest dam to have ever been removed.

going down the WA coast is not very scenic but the Hoh rain forest is one stop worth making. if you want scenic ocean vistas, Oregon has them in spades.

questions? fire away.

PS none of the 'passes' on I90 are worth sweating about.
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Old 02-18-2015, 02:01 AM   #12
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Lot's of great advice here. This winter here in the NW can hardly be called mild - it's probably called something like "spring" or "summer". If this unusually warm trend keeps up, you'll have no problem with the passes. My dream has always been to see Mt. Rushmore, so of course I'll say if you get a chance to go through Rapid City, take it! I-90 west of Bozeman is amazing and if it's a sunny day you learn why it's called "Big Sky". When you're up seeing the tulips you'll know you need to see La Conner (which is the little village town co-located with the tulip fields), Deception Pass entering the north end of Whidbey Island, and Anacortes and the San Juan Islands are always beautiful to see (you can ditch the vehicles and ride the ferry out to Friday Harbor). Unfortunately, traffic and population seem to be exploding all through the area in recent years, but you'll be fine. Just keep an eye on the weather to see if any cold spells hit the passes, but it looks like it will probably be a favorable travel season for you!
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Old 02-18-2015, 04:55 PM   #13
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I70 has several steep sections. Vail pass is 10,600'. there are stretches more than 5 miles long with 6% grade up and down no matter if you are going E or W. Personally I would only do it in good weather. And be sure your TV is up for it. I see people towing all sorts of RVs and trailers on the 70 just be prepared. 70 is a great hwy and well maintained.
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Old 02-18-2015, 07:03 PM   #14
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I might go with the I90. Prettier drive although takes a little more attention than I84 does. (more windy and slowing speeding up, up and down) I think the Washington WCCBI does a rally for the tulip festival in the northern part of the state. You might want to try and stay ay Crecent lake in the Olympic national park and be sure to spend a night at Kalaloch. Highway 1 will be your friend if you like lighthouses.

John & Lisa
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