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Oregon/Washington Suggestions

Our 35th wedding anniversary is in September. Our trip to Europe has been cancelled. Before the decision to cancel was made I decided a Plan B was in order, so I booked a week of camping in our RV near Monterey, CA. It's not too far from where we live. After Europe was cancelled I found fantastic airfare to Maui on Southwest Airlines. Knowing it could be easily cancelled I bought the tickets. So there's Plan C. Sadly it doesn't look likely that we will be able to go to Hawaii without a quarantine, but it's not impossible so that is still in play. I will wait until it's much closer before making a lodging reservation. We want a condo for easier social distancing. I've now come up with a Plan D. We have friends and family in Oregon and Washington that we would like to visit. Why not combine that with some alone time to celebrate our anniversary? Can anyone recommend somewhere on the I-5 corridor in Oregon that would be worth stopping at on our way to Washington? Our fallback will be Ashland, but it would be nice to get a bit further north. Friends live just outside of Portland and we would spend time there at the end of the trip. Another option to start the trip would be to go up Hwy 101 and spend our anniversary night at the Benbow Inn. Staying there has been on my bucket list for many years. We don't need to spend more time in that area, as we have been there a lot. Where to stay after that is the question. We would like to go to the Olympic Peninsula, but would have to stop somewhere between those two places. In Washington we have friends in Port Orchard and family in Buckley, about an hour southeast of Seattle. We would like to go to Vancouver, but who knows if we can cross the border. Are there any other suggestions of nice places to go north of Seattle? I was thinking about San Juan Island, but am open to suggestions. Thanks for any advice you have.

Posted by
2788 posts

I see in last nights national news that the US/Canadian border will remain closed for the foreseeable future given Washington's large numbers of virus cases and the very few in British Columbia. The Clipper Ships that take passengers from Seattle thru the San Juan Islands has ceased operation until next year. Check out Crater Lake in southern Oregon. Sick rates are high in both Oregon and Washington but not nearly as high as California.

Posted by
110 posts

We were in the San Juan's (Lopez Island) last week. You should know that restaurants there are currently takeout only and hours are limited. Markets are open regular hours and seem to be fully stocked. State parks are open using every other campsite. Masks are required everywhere. Saturday farmers market was open but spread out for distancing. Seemed pretty quiet but Lopez island always seems quieter than San Juan or Orcas Islands. Local merchants said tourism was still way down.

You should take a look at VRBO for cottages and condo costs and availability. You can make ferry reservations online but not really necessary except maybe on weekends. Ferries are running winter schedule that does not include the Canada stop.

Posted by
3511 posts

The Olympic Peninsula is full of tourists right now and our low numbers are starting to climb. While waiting for the ferry, I saw vehicles from Utah, Texas, Florida, Alaska, California and Maine.

I understand wanting to travel, but I think we have reached our capacity of people coming to visit while we remain in phase two.

I am sorry to say this, but maybe save the Olympic Peninsula for another time.

Posted by
774 posts

The main issue I see is lodging. Most of the "tourist" places are closed. I'm sure there's stuff open along I5 but where I can't say. If you're driving north from the SF Bay area (a trip I've made too many times to count) I'd usually stop around Medford depending on the road and weather. I had family around Roseburg so if it was good I could push through to there. From Eugene north you're in the Willamette River Valley and it's fairly rural but builds up the closer you get to Salem and then Portland. The only Vancouver you're going to be able to visit is in WA; the Canadian border is closed.

If you have friends in Port Orchard you should ask them to help you. It's nice out there, and if they can hook you up with a place in Port Townsend that's even better.

The San Juans have put out a notice asking people to stay away. You might look into a place around Cresent Lake or Forks/LaPush or maybe Lake Quinnault. My neighbors drove out to Ocean Shores last weekend and said it was pretty quiet.

If you want something special I can recommend the Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls.

Posted by
8285 posts

This trip would be over 2 months from now. I wouldn't book anything that isn't easy to cancel and we would be traveling by car, so totally flexible. It is impossible to know what things will be like in 2 months, so flexibility is key. I appreciate hearing from all of you.

Posted by
1658 posts

hey hey andrea
sorry about all your dilemmas with traveling. i had booked a flight OAK-KOA with southwest, great fare, back in may. was planning to stay a month with my sister and 4 days in honolulu for my niece's graduation from UHManoa with her BA. cancelled everything and money put in "travel funds" with airlines. told my sister i'm not coming to quarantine for 14 days in her house with not much open. i read up on my newspapers and her info, more cases on the islands and now i hear they are changing date to september 1. whichever way you look at it, it's good and bad.
now i wait till it's safe to travel, i'm retired and no restrictions when i go, my sister's door is always open.
it's like here in the bay area, roller coasters or pogo sticks about opening up then closing down the next day. we will survive.
my niece just bought a new home in beaverton in march from san francisco. she is working remotely with California Dept of Health as lead tech for professional billing. was going to look for job up there but this works great and as long as covid is around they told her not to worry plus she gets a paycheck every month. when things calm down i will go visit.
aloha

Posted by
1606 posts

If you plan to go to Buckley, check out the gondola ride at Crystal Mountain. It looks like you’re planning a mid-September date, so you’ll want to make sure it’s still running. There is a restaurant at the top that is supposed to have great food.

Is Eugene too far north on you way up?

Seabrook on the WA coast might be worth looking into.

Posted by
686 posts

We've taken our RV along the Oregon coast twice now along hwy 101. Not as fast as I5 but much more scenic. There are several excellent state parks - Brookings and Newport area our favorite. Astoria is also worth visiting though we stay on a small army base near there. Can give you more details if you're interested.

Posted by
83 posts

Hey Andrea, I live in the Portland metro area. Everything is pretty much open - dining with social distancing and Portland Art Museum just opened this weekend. I think some of the columbia gorge waterfall parks are still closed though. Our covid numbers aren't as bad as Washington or California but wearing a mask everywhere here (including outdoors) is the mandate. I'd say Ashland is a fun stop on I-5. I've also heard Jacksonville is a cute town but I have not personally visited. You can't go wrong with driving up the coast (101) but it is slower going - lots of traffic lights in the smaller beach towns. I'm planning on driving to the Olympic National Park coast and staying in Forks in September myself. The Washington coast is (I think) more spectacular then Oregon because of no development. September is a great time of year here - we usually get a very nice indian summer before the rain arrives in October. Jan

Posted by
8285 posts

We did an RV trip along the Oregon coast south of Newport last summer. We cut over from Sisters in central Oregon. We don't want to take our RV on this trip because it would make visiting with people inconvenient. If we decide to do an RV thing it will be closer to home on the coast.

We would leave home on September 20, though we can be flexible and leave earlier. We are both retired.

When we visit our friends near Portland we drive there in one day, so we could easily reach Eugene.

So much to think about...

Thanks again everyone.

Posted by
8285 posts

Princess Pupule, if any quarantine is required in Hawaii we will not be going.

Posted by
12343 posts

For a hotel close to the I-5 corridor in Oregon, a place we like is the Oregon Garden Resort:

https://www.oregongardenresort.com/

It is a few miles off I-5 but well worth it. The rooms all have outside entrances and private patios. The hotel is adjacent to The Oregon Garden (sort of a botanical garden) and admission to the garden is included in your hotel stay. We always enjoy a walk around there after driving for hours! It should be beautiful in September.
Nearby is Silver Falls State Park which has trails and waterfalls if you want more walking.

We always get the room plus dinner package which is an amazing deal (and the food is good) but I do not know if they are currently offering that. But the restaurant is open for dining, with reservations. If they do offer the package, take it—-a bottle of wine is included!

Posted by
8285 posts

Lola, thanks for the recommendation. The Oregon Garden Resort looks really nice. No RV for this trip. I just got off the phone with my friend near Portland and she is insisting we stay with them on our way to and from Washington. They have a huge house where it's easy to socially distance. He is having some serious medical problems so we want to spend time with them.

It looks like Canada is unlikely, though I guess that could change. One thing this virus has taught me is to always make sure reservations can be cancelled for free. Friends rented a cottage in Port Townsend and loved it. It

Posted by
380 posts

I recommend Mt. Bachelor Village Resort.
https://www.mtbachelorvillage.com/
Either River Ridge or River Wild. Get at least a 2 bedroom condo as then you get a great deck, BBQ grill and hot tub. We stayed at those condos many times, but it has been a few years. It is a peaceful and scenic retreat allowing us to cook if we wanted, or try one of the great restaurants in Bend. There is also great golfing, hiking, river experiences, museums etc.
Bend is a great town, and there are lots of brew pubs, restaurants, trails and activities open ( as of this last weekend). It is Deschutes County which has a much lower rate of Covid then Multnomah ( where Portland is). In fact, your friends from Portland could meet you there. Lots safer health wise, and more things open.

Posted by
7599 posts

Are there any other suggestions of nice places to go north of Seattle?

Places to stay, or places to visit?

Mt Baker is a nice day trip

North Cascades can be a day visit or morph into a stay in the Methow Valley/ Winthrop area. You could then head to Chelan, Leavenworth and back to the Seattle area, making a loop.

Posted by
12343 posts

Port Townsend is great. My mother used to live there and I have spent a LOT of time there with my kids.

For my 70th birthday we had a family celebration at Fort Worden State Park, on the water practically right in town,

They have cottages and officers' quarters which have been nicely furnished in a sort of vintage way. You have to call to book. Take a look at these two ( The Castle and Bliss Cottage) and then switch to 2-bedrooms to see more.

https://fortworden.org/book-your-stay/1-bedroom/

For the family gathering, I rented a four-bedroom officer's house to share with one son and his family, and it served as a central gathering place. Then we scattered the rest of the guests between The Castle, the Stewards House, Watchman's House, Engineer's House, and one of the duplexes. My sister and her husband had the Castle and loved it ( it has a water view). I would have to look at the photos and locations to recall which of the others was nicest.

I would highly recommend this!

Posted by
12343 posts

If you want to see the Hoh rain forest and Olympic beaches, I would recommend also booking a place to stay out there. Maybe Kalaloch ( on the beach) or Lake Crescent Lodge. This area is too far from Port Townsend for a comfortable day trip. We were out there last September ( camping at Hoh) and it was perfect. The area is very popular and it could be crowded on the trails, but people on TripAdvisor can help you make some choices. There is also a log cabinnresort at Lake Cresent but thisnisnfarther frommthe coast.

Whatever you do, forget about staying in Port Angeles or Forks. PA is a hear-working town but people have reported a lot of "anti-mask" sentiment there. Not something I would want to get mixed up in on vacation.

Posted by
5360 posts

Only can say, that yep, similar situation, 40th Anniversary, retiring next week, planned on an extended vacation, maybe even 3 months in Europe...Nope; Said hey!, maybe do the US, been wanting to do Oregon and Washington, Nope; I grew up in Hawaii for four years in the late 60's...like to visit the old haunts...Nope: Maine seems to have a low infection rate, Nope, they do not want us...Thought maybe...Nope, or maybe...Nope. But it really isn't that bad...Nope. We are staying home. Face it, travelling anywhere right now is a selfish act, just stay home.

Posted by
23 posts

Please know that the Covid case numbers are climbing in Jefferson county/port Townsend. Most, if not all restaurants are take out only. The vacation housing at fort warden will very likely not be open. Please reschedule your trip to next year. At that time port Townsend will gladly open their arms and doors to all travelers. Until then, please stay home.

Posted by
31303 posts

I suspect that Vancouver won't be possible, even in September. The border closure has been extended to August 21, and will likely be extended by another month after that. While you could possibly enter Canada by air, you'd have to quarantine for 14 days after arrival. The government is getting more strict in checking up on whether people are actually quarantining. This is what can happen to scofflaws - https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/florida-couple-violates-canada-coronavirus-quarantine-act/67-a280440c-7b31-462b-b46c-6a9aca20134b .

Posted by
382 posts

As much as I do understand, we have had to cancel an international trip as wells others, I do think this is the time to stay home, or close to home. As Carol mentioned, there are so many people coming here this summer and our numbers are rising, which is not good for anyone.

We did a road trip this weekend, backpacking. We went to two state parks for the lakes, and left because they were absolutely mobbed. The camping situation was not good. At both places, they were not doing every other campsite. Every spot was taken, and they were all very close to each other. At a 3rd campground, one loop was closed but the other open with every sight available. We spoke to the host and even she was rolling her eyes at the situation.

Our only travel this summer is backpacking, so no interaction with others at all, and then renting a cabin in the mountains and staying put, so again no interaction. I do not want to be part of the problem, so this is what we are doing.

We even cancelled my dads 80th birthday for next month because it just is not safe. It is only a 5 hour drive to Eugene for us for that, but that would mean stopping at rest areas and needing to get gas, and then of course interacting with the rest of the family. Even with being careful, you don't know if you might be carrying and I just cannot imagine passing this along to anyone else. So the birthday will be via zoom.

I am not trying to be a downer here and I am trying to be kind, but I do think we need to reel it in as far as what travels we are all considering this summer. We do not have a travel ban here, but there is still the "stay home, stay safe". Please do consider staying near home and finding things local to do. We all want to get out, and if we all do our part, we can get out sooner. Ok, off my soapbox;)

Posted by
382 posts

James—please, no. First of all Leavenworth is only at phase 1.5 and their numbers are going up a lot. Also, no Issaquah is still very much in a highly populated area. As a local I am asking you to please stay home.

Posted by
7599 posts

Is Issaquah far out enough to avoid any of the craziness if it comes back?

Which craziness? A covid spike or Anarchy?

No for the former, yes for the latter.

Posted by
68 posts

If you are looking for a "romantic" anniversary stay on your way to Washington, then I recommend one of my favorite places in the whole world: Heceta Head Lighthouse (https://www.hecetalighthouse.com). Take Hwy 126 from Eugene, OR over to the coast and then start up Hwy 101 to Heceta Head. The lighthouse converted the keeper's house to a Bed and Breakfast and it is currently open with adjustments for COVID. From there, you can drive up part of 101 to either Newport (and then head back to I-5 through Corvallis) or up past Lincoln City and then cut over towards Portland via McMinnville. You can add some wine tastings along the way if you want to! Close to Heceta Head is Thors Well (look it up) and Cape Perpetua which is lovely. I find this to be a less crowded area of the Oregon Coast than parts closer to Portland. I have made the drive down to Heceta Head and back in one day easily (from Albany, OR), with time to stop and walk on the beach - so it seems to me like a very doable stopover for your trip.

Posted by
840 posts

Parts of Oregon and Washington are still very much in the CV19 crisis - now. But who knows what the case will be the end of September. It's tough for all of us who have canceled our Europe plans. We are, after all, travelers but in this time of public health crisis I'd ask you to please stay home based on what we know now.

Posted by
8285 posts

Okay, okay...I get it!

First, thank you to all who had good suggestions. I'll keep them in mind for the future.

Even though we are very careful, wear our masks, wash our hands, etc. I understand everyone's concerns. This is a nasty virus and if we all do our part I'm hopeful things can get better sooner rather than later. We will probably still go visit our friends and family, socially distancing at their homes. One friend is having major health issues, not related to Covid, and I'm afraid if we don't go soon it may be too late. For our anniversary we will spend a week at an RV park on the coast. It's a 5 minute walk from a beach that rarely has anyone on it and there are nice drives to do in the area. The RV park is small and it is easy to social distance. If by chance Hawaii is a possibility we will do that instead of camping. If we go to Hawaii we will rent a condo to minimize contact with others.

Take care and wear your mask!

Posted by
5657 posts

RE: If by chance Hawaii is a possibility we will do that instead of camping. If we go to Hawaii we will rent a condo to minimize contact with others.

Keeping in mind that everything COVID-19 is in a state of flux, updated Hawaii travel restrictions will allow for negative COVID-19 test in lieu of the 14-day quarantine. Complication could be the difficulty in obtaining test in the US and in the turn-around of test results.

https://hidot.hawaii.gov/coronavirus/

Beginning Sept. 1, 2020, all trans-Pacific travelers arriving in
Hawaii from out-of-state will have the option to get a valid COVID-19
test prior to their arrival, and show proof of a negative test result,
to avoid the 14-day quarantine. Evidence of a negative test result
must be provided upon arrival in Hawaii. Without this, passengers
arriving from out-of-state will be subject to the 14-day quarantine.
Travelers will be responsible for the cost of the pre-travel test. No
testing will be provided upon arrival at the airport. The Health
Department is in the process of developing this program, but
anticipates requiring an FDA-approved test from a CLIA certified
laboratory. These plans are in development and the process and
requirements are to be determined in the coming weeks. To view
Governor David Ige’s announcement on the subject click here.

https://health.hawaii.gov/travel/

Note: Travelers will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine if they test negative after taking a COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours in advance of travel.

Posted by
8285 posts

Edgar, I had read the requirements (subject to change at any time) and it's unlikely I would be able to comply with the 72 hour Covid test. Where does one find a testing facility with that kind of turnaround? Fortunately I have the ability to wait until just before our departure date to see what the current situation is there. I can cancel our tickets any time before the flight leaves and can book a condo a day or two before. Several years ago I had a trip to Charleston planned and had to change things a few days ahead because a hurricane was heading that way. We went to the Big Island instead and I was able to book a condo with 2 days notice. There wasn't an pandemic happening and it was still doable. We won't do anything to put ourselves or others in any danger.

Posted by
11798 posts

I like the series of falls along the Columbia River not far from Portland. According to Google Maps, they're all "temporarily closed". I like the Olympic Penninsula too.

I used to stop in Bend regularly but we would camp there.

I'm sorry people are in such fear of COVID. I watch CDC directly and the ILA activity for last week shows both Washington and Oregon at the lowest possible level (as is virtually the entire country). I realize, however, that's not the news people are hearing.

Posted by
5657 posts

I used to stop in Bend regularly but we would camp there.

Bend would prefer that visitors stay home, or at least stay away from Bend:
https://centraloregondaily.com/bend-to-issue-new-order-discouraging-visitors-requests-hoteliers-back-off-bookings/

7/12/2020

At the peak of the summer tourism season, the City of Bend will once
again ask visitors to stay home and hoteliers to back off bookings in
an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Bend City Council on Wednesday voted to direct City Manager Eric
King to issue a new administrative order strongly discouraging
visitors.

Posted by
8285 posts

As I indicated on 7/16, we will be limiting ourselves to visiting friends and and keeping it separate from our anniversary. We will go up there in mid August. Our two stops in Washington are to small towns. Oregon is to a Portland suburb. We will be primarily at their houses and if we do have to go somewhere we will be wearing masks, etc. I don't blame people for not wanting people from California to come. When we were shut down things stayed under control. Warm weather hit, the stay at home order was lifted, and some people acted like the virus was gone. Poof. Nothing to see here. I blame those people, most who won't wear masks and go into crowded situations, parties, beaches, etc. for our current influx of cases.

Posted by
382 posts

I still think staying home is best.

This last week we had a cabin rented in the mountains outside of Leavenworth. It was less than 2 hours from home, so we did not need to stop for anything on the way there or back. We brought groceries from home and either hung out at the cabin or were at the river with the dogs. Sounds like a perfect trip for Covid times right? Well, let me tell you, you never know what will happen and where you may be put at risk.

Our son and his gf (they are young adults in their mid 20's) left Monday afternoon to come home while we stayed for another night. We got a call about 30 minutes after they left and they were in a horrific car accident. T-bone at 60mph. Thank God, by some miracle, they walked away from it, but the lady who was at fault did not. She went to the hospital (I have no idea of her injuries). Anyway, the accident was so serious that numerous people stopped to help and there were loads of emergency people there too. Everyone was converging on the kids checking to see if they were ok. Our son was immediately concerned about being so close to people and he went and got their masks out of the vehicle. This is something none of us can anticipate, and honestly, the people who came to their aid were amazing, but masks were not on their mind (except for the professionals). I am glad that our son was quick thinking on this, as who knows if anyone was carrying this virus. And the other lady, now she is in a hospital, which is the last place any of us want to be during the pandemic.

I would seriously take this into consideration.

Posted by
382 posts

Edgar--In normal times yes, but not now! The town is only at phase 1.5 and the friends we have there are thinking it will be rolled back. What we saw just driving through town was horrifying. No distancing whatsoever, very few masks, etc. Made my skin crawl and I was very thankful that we were not hanging out in town. We have been there literally hundreds of times, so this was nice to just skirt past the town and do our own quiet thing.