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by Glenn NK on Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:23 pm
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My wife and I are planning on a motor trip in mid-February ( personal vehicle, not motorhome this time); our terminal destination will be the Palm Springs CA area.   We will probably take two weeks or so (about three days driving there and three return).  We want to be flexible and keep our options open - that's why we're not flying - We both enjoy seeing new scenery at eye level where one can stop, look and "smell the roses".

Our route will likely be:  from Victoria BC via ferry to Port Angeles WA, through Tacoma WA, and down I-5 to LA and then I-210/I-10 to Palm Springs.  I drove this route three years ago with a motorhome and two grandchildren that were in a rush to get to Disneyland, so am fairly familiar with what one sees on I-5, but there must be points of interest not too far off I-5.  I recall some really nice topography somewhere in southern Oregon - hilly and winding roads where stopping a 31 ft motorhome wasn't practical.  The Mt. Shasta area in northern CA is also on the route and comes to mind.

I will have some time to do photography, although the main purpose of the trip is an anniversary.  My major interests are landscape and botanical photography, and don't mind doing icons (:wink:).

I would really appreciate suggestions from the photographers that live at/near our planned route as there is nothing as useful as the knowledge of local photographers that know their territory.

And no, I won't ask which lenses to take.:lol:

Glenn
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by bikinchris on Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:10 pm
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I personally don't think Yosemite is too far off of I-5.
 

by E.J. Peiker on Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:30 am
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You will literally be right by Joshua Tree when in Palm Springs.
 

by Glenn NK on Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:32 pm
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Thanks for the replies Chris and E.J.

Although Yosemite likely isn't too far off I-5, the time of year may be a bit of a hindrance; according to the NPS site, some roads are closed, and NPS posts a requirement that vehicles carry tire chains on some roads.

The Joshua Tree NP does sound interesting; I've always been fascinated by the desert (drove through some interesting country in '89 from LA to Phoenix).

Glenn
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by Russ on Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:48 pm
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Glenn,
I'm sure you're aware that there's a lifetime of photo ops between Victoria and LA, even at this time of year. I'll assume that spending time between your start point and most of the 1st day's drive is accessible anytime thus won't make the final list on this trip, ie Hurrican Ridge/Port Angeles, other WA spots. I might offer the following suggestions given your stated preference and without causing you substantial detour off I-5:
  • Japanese Garden, Portland. Check photog policy. http://japanesegarden.com/
  • Oregon Scenic By-ways, an extensive list here http://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/scenic-byways/listing/?posts_per_page=50
  • Oregon Shakespearean Festival, Ashland, OR. It won't have the wonderful ambience of the outdoor (summer)Elizabethan Theatre but its a renowned, world class event. Season may begin just about the time you're going thru. Ashland itself is a nice little town although a bit higher in elevation than Medford, and therefore cooler. The Siskiyou Mtns are scenic but you'd be advised to plan your travel thru there under favorable weather conditions.
  • Mt Shasta and/or Mt Lassen I'd guess are too far off track. I'd opt for a sidetrip up to Crater Lake (limited access once there) before Shasta/Lassen.
  • Personally, I'd just HAVE to make a trip up to Death Valley if I was that close anyways!
 

by Jens Peermann on Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:07 pm
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Taking the I-5 down to Southern California is indeed not very enjoyable and should be done only when the schedule dictates. Particularly since a much nicer route starts right in Port Angeles.

The US-101 will take you around Olympic NP through Aberdeen to Astoria, OR, and from there along the Oregon Coast all the way to Leggett in Northern California. So far already a trip with outstanding scenery, and more to come.

At Leggett turn west onto the California Highway 1 and continue along the Northern California Coast, through San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Monterey, and further along the Central California Coast, then through Santa Barbara and Malibu to Santa Monica from where you can take the I-10 for the remainder to Palm Springs.

The list of attractions and photo ops along this route would be too long to place here. Just get out the map and look it up.

However, if you'd prefer to travel further away from the water I recommend to get to Portland via a route of your choice, take the I-209 (which splits off the I-5 while still in Washington State) and then turn East onto the US-26. You will be traveling past Mount Hood and turn south onto the US 97 in Madras. 

Your next turn will be just south of La Pine, OR, onto the Oregon Highway 31 which joins US-395 at Valley Falls, OR. The 395 will get you all the way to the Victorville area in the Mojave Desert. From there you can take either the I-15/I-10 combination or - if you want to avoid greater Los Angeles area traffic - use CA-18/CA247/CA-62 to get to Palm Springs.

This second route will give you the best of the Eastern Cascades and Eastern Sierra Nevada, including the opportunity to visit the late Galen Rowell's Mountain Light Gallery in Bishop, CA (and also to buy some of the world's best bread at Schat's Bakery a few blocks up the street).

These are two very fine routes, both with many exciting photo ops. I will not recommend one over the other because I'd have to flip a coin if I needed to decide which one to take myself.

Hope this helps.
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by Jens Peermann on Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:13 pm
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Russ wrote:
  • Mt Shasta and/or Mt Lassen I'd guess are too far off track. I'd opt for a sidetrip up to Crater Lake (limited access once there) before Shasta/Lassen.
  • Personally, I'd just HAVE to make a trip up to Death Valley if I was that close anyways!
Crater Lake will have limited access in February and Lassen Park will be almost completely closed, except for cross country skiing.

February will be ideal for visiting Death Valley.
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by Glenn NK on Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:48 pm
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More good ideas - thanks again for the responses.

I didn't really clearly mention it, but I'm trying to avoid:  snow, cold, rain.  And am looking forward to warm, sun, dry.  Lived 50 years in SK where winter is well; cold, not to mention the snow.

I would take 101 along the coast but did that just a year ago in September - want to go back of course (posted a few images from there).  September seems to be the best time for it.

Mount Shasta - we went past it on I-5 in 2009 - it looked impressive - a beautiful snow covered conical shape.  Checking with google, a ten mile drive will get one quite close - likely close enough for a shot in the late pm (if the sun is out and shining on it).

Death Vally does sound interesting, particularly this time of year (warm).

Jens:  I see the route you suggested also goes by Mono Lake.

Glenn
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by Jens Peermann on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:50 am
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Glenn NK wrote:

I didn't really clearly mention it, but I'm trying to avoid:  snow, cold, rain.  And am looking forward to warm, sun, dry.  Lived 50 years in SK where winter is well; cold, not to mention the snow.


It's hard to imagine a route between Port Angeles and Palm Springs that guarantees warm, sun, dry in February. Even the 101 along the coast cannot offer that. I've seen blizzard conditions between Newport and Tillamook in Oregon last February. The only route that minimizes the factor "weather" as much as possible is the one you don't want to travel, the I-5; and even that one may offer unpleasant surprises between Eugene, OR, and Redding, CA. 

Still, I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to drive either one of the two routes I suggested - or any of the other ones that are possible - in winter. I have lived on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada for 16 years and don't remember reports about traffic disasters that were not attributable to human stupidity, which is a global all-season phenomenon that doesn't take holidays.

Furthermore, the weather in February is traditionally the most stable of all winter month throughout the Sierra and Cascades, much more springlike than March and April. You would have a better chance to get into a snowstorm in May or June, which happens.

The bottom line is, you are planning a 3,200 kilometer journey from near the subarctic to well into the subtropical climate zone. And the inland route will take from sea level to more than 3,000 meter above it. Snow, cold and rain will be a possibility along that route any time of the year.
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by Jens Peermann on Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:20 am
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Glenn NK wrote:
Jens:  I see the route you suggested also goes by Mono Lake.
Yes, it does. And there is a viewing area at lake level right next to US-395, plus two more, one on the north shore and one on the south shore.

Less than 20 miles north of Mono Lake is the famous ghost town Bodie, and going south on the 395 you will pass June Lake, Mammoth Lakes and Convict Lake. South of Bishop (I already mentioned the gallery and the bread) you will find Mount Whitney - the highest mountain in the US before Alaska joined the Union - and Moebius Arch, both near lone pine.

In Oregon you will be traveling the "Volcanic Legacy Highway" which offers frequent views of volcanos, a string of five in the Bend area alone.
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by Vivek on Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:16 am
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Must do Death Valley NP and Joshua tree NP. IF you are into birds and can stand the stink - check out Salton Sea, about 1 hour further south of Palm Springs.
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by Glenn NK on Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:11 pm
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Vivek wrote:
Must do Death Valley NP and Joshua tree NP. IF you are into birds and can stand the stink - check out Salton Sea, about 1 hour further south of Palm Springs.
"if you can stand the stink".  This is somewhat ironic:

Last March we took our two grand-daughters on a two week cruise to Hawaii.  I caught something nasty, and a while later I realized that I have no sense of smell at all.  I've been to specialists and they can't figure it out- probably a virus.

So the Salton Sea won't bother me at all. :lol::)


Thanks for the idea - from a "google" I understand that the Salton Sea is a sanctuary.


Glenn
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by Jens Peermann on Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:30 am
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Glenn NK from a "google" I understand that the Salton Sea is a sanctuary. wrote:

Glenn
Salton Sea is also below sea level, just like Death Valley. Make sure to carry your passport in that area. There is an immigration checkpoint at the south end of Salton Sea along the CA-111, and Border Patrol is active all over the area.
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by Glenn NK on Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:13 pm
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Jens Peermann wrote:
Glenn NK from a "google" I understand that the Salton Sea is a sanctuary. wrote:

Glenn
Salton Sea is also below sea level, just like Death Valley. Make sure to carry your passport in that area. There is an immigration checkpoint at the south end of Salton Sea along the CA-111, and Border Patrol is active all over the area.

Thanks for the critical information Jens.

:lol::lol::lol:

However, we always carry our passports.

Leaving 10 Feb 2013 at 4:00 pm for Port Angeles WA.

Glenn
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by E.J. Peiker on Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:14 pm
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Anytime you get within 100 miles of the Mexican border anywhere in the US be prepared at any time for a Border Patrol inspection. Also don't be fooled by private militia with a foreigner hater complex pretending to be they are border patrol. This is rare but can happen especially in Arizona. Border Patrol will have white vehicles with a green stripe that says Border Patrol on it. If you are Caucasian or black they will simply ask you "Are you a US Citizen?" A yes answer and they will waive you on. If you have any other skin color, be prepared to show documents. Since you are Canadian, I would simply answer "No, I am a Canadian Citizen on holiday" That will likely be all you need if you are white or black. If you are any other race, they will likely ask for some ID proving you are Canadian (or American for that matter). A Passport is best at that point but a driver's license issued in Canada may be all that is necessary.
 

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