Help me troubleshoot and enhance my roadtrip / move to Eugene, Oregon. I will soon depart Lawrence, KS for adventures that will eventually leave me in Eugene to begin graduate studies with UO. I'm going to outline the planned itinerary in the hopes that the hive mind can suggest areas to visit at our planned stops, beautiful or interesting routes to take between them, and interesting pit stops to make. Also, warnings of potential trouble spots or situations will be greatly appreciated.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A mated pair of chemical engineers and myself. We all love the outdoors, interesting technology, interesting architecture/engineering (especially anything energy efficient, otherwise green, or enormous), anything that will increase our nerdlore, and any delicious food of almost any variety. We're all in very good shape, although my 270 lb ass will not be running up any mountains.
A 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit, so no unimproved roads.
Leave Kansas and pick up two friends at Denver International, thus officially beginning the road trip. Drive to Great Sand Dunes National Park and set up camp. We're thinking about stopping at Garden of the Gods on the way down. I'm kinda torn between driving down on 29 so that we can see Garden of the Gods and driving out on 70 and then down on 24/285 to get some awesome mountain highway action in.
A hurried attempt at acclimation for days 3 to 4. Play around on the Dunes and see other interesting things in the area. So far, besides the Dunes, I know of Zapata falls, although I cannot remember the exact location.
Get up very early, drive to the Mt. Blanca/Ellingwood trailhead, and pack in to Lake Como. Set up camp and enjoy the lake, trees, and canyon walls. I should mention that I've done the Blanca/Ellingwood combo before and that we are all experienced hikers. I'm not enthusiastic about doing this two days after getting to altitude, but this is the portion of the trip I'm most sure of. One question; on my previous trip, we were in Jeeps and easily made it to the beginning of the serious incline before we got out and started hiking. Are there spots on the sandy, car-navigable part of the road where I will be able to pull over and park without going into the bushes and rocks? 14ers.com seems to indicate so, but I want to be sure that I'm not going to have to park within sight of the highway.
Summit Blanca and Ellingwood, head back to the vehicle, and drive off into the midday sun. Head out to Black Canyon of the Gunnison and make camp. For the drive to Gunnison, we're currently set for doing 285 to 114 to 50, but 149 looks really fun and twisty.
See what we can in Gunnison during the early morning, drive to Arches National Park, see what we can in a few hours, and drive to Great Basin National Park to camp for the night. This is a very rushed portion of the trip, but we want to have several days in SanFran later on and are constrained by plane tickets.
Drive from Great Basin to Grass Valley, CA, where we will apparently be hanging out at some awesome bathing holes near some awesome waterfalls.
Drive from Grass Valley to San Francisco and crash with friends. We will be staying at an apartment in what my friend calls the McBaker Heights neighborhood, although I'm not sure whether that name is colloquial. The intersection of Baker and Golden Gate gives you a general area. My understanding is that the area requires some sort of special neighborhood permit and has no off-street parking, so I need to figure out a safe arrangement for parking my car. Non-exorbitant garage parking would probably be fine. We'll reach SF on a Saturday afternoon, so I'm hoping to avoid doomtraffic.
Days 8 – 9:
San Francisco! Oh, what shall we see?!? Our friends in the city have plans already, but suggestions would be great. Bonus points for godlike sushi and any other kind of interesting ethnic food.
Drive up the coast to Redwood National Park. We're not sure about the route yet, although we would love some awesome coastal highway action. We also aren't sure of what portion of the massive park to camp in.
Drive to Crater Lake, check it out, drive to Eugene and crash at the co-op I'll be living in. Any suggestions for awesome places to eat dinner or night scenes to check out?
Get the other two to Portland for a 10 am flight.