Road Trip to say Bye Bye to Michigan
December 4, 2007 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Need help planning a 2-3 week road trip in spring for a new place to live. We're starting out in Michigan. 2 spots we know we want to hit are Colorado and Oregon (Portland area).

Girlfriend needs water. I need high altitude.

We're going to take my van and sleep in that most of the time to save on what we'd end up paying at hotels.

We prefer a liberal atmosphere. Arts and whatnot nearby. Not big on being in the middle of a big city but like having one near by.

What I'm asking for..
Hotspots, Travel Tips, What to avoid, What not to miss, Locations of interest, Cities that you love, Where would you move? etc..

Thanks in advance!
posted by mrflibble to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Lake Tahoe.

The second deepest lake in the country at 1645 feet.

High altitude at 6300 feet.

Closest major town is Reno, 45 minutes away depending on which part of the lake you end up in and San Francisco is about 3.5 hours drive.
posted by HeyAllie at 11:39 AM on December 4, 2007

Some friends of mine and I went on a giant 8000 mile road trip through the American west a few years ago. We hit all the major cities and national parks. Of all of those, I'd say I liked Seattle the best, but the weather was nice while we were there, so who's to say.

If you're going to Portland, you might as well check out Seattle and Vancouver as well. Make you sure you bring a passport, though, if you want to go to Canada. Seattle and Vancouver both have nice botanical gardens that are free or cheap.

I would suggest hitting up some national parks on your way. In Oregon there are the sand dunes, of course. The Redwoods are not too far out of the way. Sequoia might be a little too far, depending on your route. Yosemite is also in that area.

It will probably be busy, but since you're going in the spring, you might give some though to Yellowstone, too.

Travel-tip-wise, make sure your van is still in good winter condition and pack a set of chains. Colorado especially still gets a lot of snow during the spring. Plan on getting your oil changed at some point during the trip, as it's about 2,500 miles each way. Bear in mind that sleeping in a vehicle can get very cold as the outside air circulates underneath as well as above. Include some extra layers to go below as well as above you.

If your route takes you through Salt Lake City, consider some of the suggestions in this thread for things to do and places to eat.
posted by jedicus at 11:44 AM on December 4, 2007

Tahoe++. Probably the best water rec area until you hit the coast. It's liberal (but of the limousine variety).
posted by dzot at 12:40 PM on December 4, 2007

I live in Michigan, I have lived in Lake Tahoe too. My folks live in Oregon on the coast, Gearhart.

Lake Tahoe is full of honky-tonks, but it is an interesting place to visit. Portland is very cool, the coast is wonderful. It is very similar to Michigan in a lot of ways. The trees out there are much, much taller, but not so much change in the trees in fall.

You can drive across the top of the country to get there too, from Michigan. You go across the UP and then straight through Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc. That route takes you through Glacier National Park, which is wonderful. Although that area is conservative, up by Montana and Idaho in many areas. It is worth seeing.
posted by chocolatetiara at 12:55 PM on December 4, 2007

Hot springs! They're like free baths in picturesque settings! Depending how you get to Portland, Umpqua and McCredie may be very convenient. This guy has a good breakdown. Olympic's amazing, too, if you get up to Washington.

Also, in Portland, I strongly recommend Powell's City of Books and the New Old Lompoc Brewery.
posted by moonlet at 5:32 PM on December 4, 2007

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