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Touring in the US



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 5th, 2006, 08:33 AM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
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Default Touring in the US

I am quite surprised that I cannot get a 2 or 3-day tour from San
Francisco to Seattle. But I can't. I've tried everything.

Is there something wrong with this sort of trip that doesn't attract
tourists? Is the journey too long? Is the scenery that awful?

My husband and I are looking to travel from San Francisco to Seattle
and hopefully see interesting scenes etc. en route. Not to be it
seems. There is a train that travels overnight but from all the
reports I have read this train is often very late, delayed, has no
really good eating facilities on board unless you have a sleeping car,
and so on. Not for us then.

What do you American travel people suggest? Should we simply fly
from S.F. to Seattle? We had planned going by rail in comfort from
San Francisco to Seattle by train within a civilized timeframe. We
seem to be able to do this in Europe without any problems.

Is there a bit problem with Amtrack? Is there likewise a big problem
with tour operators in the PNW? Are we being picky?

We are from New Zealand where there are anything from 3-day to 21-day
tours available for any type of tour.

I am sorry I don't understand all of this. Can someone explain
please?

Daisy

Carthage demands an explanation for this insolence!
  #2  
Old March 5th, 2006, 11:09 AM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
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Default Touring in the US

Daisy wrote:
I am quite surprised that I cannot get a 2 or 3-day tour from San
Francisco to Seattle.


Many thousands do unorganized "tours" every year. The call for organized
tours is, I guess, so small that they don't exist.

Is there something wrong with this sort of trip that doesn't attract
tourists? Is the journey too long? Is the scenery that awful?


One way, direct, it's about 850 miles. Touring would add several hundred
additional miles one way. The scenery seacosat, forest, mountains is
spectacular.

My husband and I are looking to travel from San Francisco to Seattle
and hopefully see interesting scenes etc. en route. Not to be it
seems. There is a train that travels overnight


Trains in the USA are for freight, not people. If you think air travel
is bad, it's heavenly when compared to rail. There was a time when we
had many famous and first-class passenger trains running around the
country. With the advent of air travel and hard-won wages by trade
unions that allowed workers to buy cars for the garages those wages and
New Deal policies made possible, train use diminished. When the profits
disappeared, so did service and, often, maintenance.

What do you American travel people suggest?


I'd love to have an excuse to go up that way. You pay for the rented
vehicle, fuel, food, lodging, admissions, etc., and I'll take you on an
unforgettable trip up through the Cascades to Seattle and back along The
Coast through Portland and Eureka. But I wouldn't dare try it in fewer
than eight, perhaps nine, days as there's so much to see and do en route.

Is there likewise a big problem with tour operators in the PNW? Are
we being picky?


You're being Kiwis. You're hoping that we have the kinds of services you
have. It's regrettable that we don't.

I am sorry I don't understand all of this. Can someone explain
please?


I've tried. I might be wrong. Others will correct me.

Carthage demands an explanation for this insolence!


Attempted!

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  #3  
Old March 5th, 2006, 03:31 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
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Default Touring in the US

In article ,
Daisy wrote:

I am quite surprised that I cannot get a 2 or 3-day tour from San
Francisco to Seattle. But I can't. I've tried everything.

Is there something wrong with this sort of trip that doesn't attract
tourists? Is the journey too long? Is the scenery that awful?

My husband and I are looking to travel from San Francisco to Seattle
and hopefully see interesting scenes etc. en route. Not to be it
seems. There is a train that travels overnight but from all the
reports I have read this train is often very late, delayed, has no
really good eating facilities on board unless you have a sleeping car,
and so on. Not for us then.

What do you American travel people suggest? Should we simply fly
from S.F. to Seattle? We had planned going by rail in comfort from
San Francisco to Seattle by train within a civilized timeframe. We
seem to be able to do this in Europe without any problems.

Is there a bit problem with Amtrack? Is there likewise a big problem
with tour operators in the PNW? Are we being picky?


Your only option if you want to see the coast between Seatle and San
Francisco is to rent a car and drive it. You may be able to find a
guided bus tour. If driving and flying don't appeal to you, try
contacting some travel agents, but with a guided tour, you'll probably
have to adjust your itinerary to meet the tour's schedule.
  #4  
Old March 5th, 2006, 03:54 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
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Posts: n/a
Default Touring in the US

Daisy wrote:

I am quite surprised that I cannot get a 2 or 3-day tour from San
Francisco to Seattle. But I can't. I've tried everything.
Is there something wrong with this sort of trip that doesn't attract
tourists? Is the journey too long? Is the scenery that awful?


The best part of the area between the SF Bay area and Seattle is along
the Pacific Coast. This is difficult terrain and there are many areas
where there is only limited auto road access. Most American tourists
do this area by auto, and the scenery is fabulous.

My husband and I are looking to travel from San Francisco to Seattle
and hopefully see interesting scenes etc. en route. Not to be it
seems. There is a train that travels overnight but from all the
reports I have read this train is often very late, delayed, has no
really good eating facilities on board unless you have a sleeping car,
and so on. Not for us then.


The US developed highways to link off-the-beaten-track areas, not rail
lines. Rail service, and public transportation in general, in the US
is quite bad -- compared to, say, Europe.

What do you American travel people suggest? Should we simply fly
from S.F. to Seattle? We had planned going by rail in comfort from
San Francisco to Seattle by train within a civilized timeframe. We
seem to be able to do this in Europe without any problems.


Most foreign tourists rent vehicles to tour this area. Seasonal
considerations are highly advised, however. During most of the year
(except for the summer months) weather and road conditions can be
quite bad along the coast. And during the summer months it is crowded.

Is there a bit problem with Amtrack? Is there likewise a big problem
with tour operators in the PNW? Are we being picky?


Private vehicles are the preferred mode of travel here, sorry.

We are from New Zealand where there are anything from 3-day to 21-day
tours available for any type of tour.


We will be touring New Zealand in a few months in a rented car. Just
as there are no rail lines or roads along the southwest coast of the
South Island (Fiordland NP area south of Milford Sound), there are no
such links in many places on the US Pacific Coast.

Same reason.


Caveat

  #5  
Old March 5th, 2006, 04:33 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
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Default Touring in the US


"Daisy" wrote in message
...
I am quite surprised that I cannot get a 2 or 3-day tour from San
Francisco to Seattle. But I can't. I've tried everything.

Is there something wrong with this sort of trip that doesn't attract
tourists? Is the journey too long? Is the scenery that awful?

My husband and I are looking to travel from San Francisco to Seattle
and hopefully see interesting scenes etc. en route. Not to be it
seems. There is a train that travels overnight but from all the
reports I have read this train is often very late, delayed, has no
really good eating facilities on board unless you have a sleeping car,
and so on. Not for us then.

What do you American travel people suggest? Should we simply fly
from S.F. to Seattle? We had planned going by rail in comfort from
San Francisco to Seattle by train within a civilized timeframe. We
seem to be able to do this in Europe without any problems.

Is there a bit problem with Amtrack? Is there likewise a big problem
with tour operators in the PNW? Are we being picky?

We are from New Zealand where there are anything from 3-day to 21-day
tours available for any type of tour.

I am sorry I don't understand all of this. Can someone explain
please?

Daisy

Carthage demands an explanation for this insolence!


If you do a Google search on the terms

"San Francisco to Seattle" tour

you will find bus tours that take you from San Francisco to
Seattle. I haven't posted the links because I'll probably be
accused of working for the companies--which isn't the case.
I also don't know how reputable they are.

Your problem, I think, was looking for a 2 or 3 day tour. Given
the distance between San Franciso and Seattle, the tours tend to
be 8 or 9 days long. The general itinerary is San Francisco, wine
country, redwoods, Oregon coast, Portland city tour, then on to
Seattle.


  #6  
Old March 5th, 2006, 05:40 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
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Default Touring in the US

On Sun, 05 Mar 2006 21:33:36 +1300, Daisy
wrote:

I am quite surprised that I cannot get a 2 or 3-day tour from San
Francisco to Seattle. But I can't. I've tried everything.

Is there something wrong with this sort of trip that doesn't attract
tourists? Is the journey too long? Is the scenery that awful?


The main problem is that Americans are not very likely to take group
tours, and there aren't enough foreign visitors to keep many tour
businesses going. Sometimes groups rent a coach for a private event,
but otherwise almost all the coach tours that you can find in the US
fall into 4 categories:

1. Long distance tours of a week or more catering to foreign tourists.
2. Tours to casinos, catering to pensioners
3. Tours to shopping outlets, catering also to pensioners
4. One-time tours to see a specific event (autumn leaves, sporting
events, etc.)

I was recently trying to find a one-day to three-day coach tour for a
European friend on the east coast of the US, and like you, I couldn't
find anything.

However, rereading the thread, the train doesn't seem such a bad
option for you. You would probably want a sleeping accommodation in
any case, and if you're on holiday, a 12-hour delay isn't such a
horrible inconvenience unless you schedule is rather inflexible. I
would build in an expectation of a 12-hour delay and if your train
arrives on time, you will have a pleasant surprise.

You might want to fly back to save time.

--
Barbara Vaughan

My email address is my first initial followed by my last name at libero dot it.
  #7  
Old March 5th, 2006, 06:36 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
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Default Touring in the US

I'm doing this route as part of my Big Trip in June from Seattle to San
Diego. I'm from the UK.

I am going the other way - I'm starting in Seattle, driving out to the coast
at Ocean Shores and stopping overnight down the coast, Pacific City, Coos
Bay, Brookings, Eureka, San Francisco. The last "leg" will be a full day's
drive I think, and (fortunately) on a Sunday. I want to allow a reasonable
amount of time during the journey to soak up the scenery etc. and enjoy
myself. After all, I'll probably never go back there again!

I've had to arrange most of the Washington/Oregon coast stops myself, since
these don't seem to be on the normal "beaten track" for travel agents here.

I think 2 - 3 days is a bit ambitious if you're going to have to drive.

Just my opinion, for what it's worth!

Anyway, have fun!

Barb UK


"Lawrence Akutagawa" wrote in message
news

"Daisy" wrote in message
...
I am quite surprised that I cannot get a 2 or 3-day tour from San
Francisco to Seattle. But I can't. I've tried everything.

Is there something wrong with this sort of trip that doesn't attract
tourists? Is the journey too long? Is the scenery that awful?

/snip/

Others have addressed your question quite well. I do like the suggestion
of bartering a personal guide for his/her travel expense-free
accompaniment.
In fact, I'll offer myself with me paying for my own meals. Heck...I'll
even do most, if not all, the driving. :-)

As others have pointed out, there are many scenic areas between SF and
Seattle. A very long day (11 hours or so) of driving will get you from SF
over the 750 or so miles to Portland. Another 4 or so hours will get you
from Portland over the 200 miles or so to Seattle. This will be nonstop
driving using solely the interstate with stops just for refueling, food,

and
rest. And therein lies the reason why you can't find any 2 or 3 day tours
(that stop here and there in nooks and crannies) between SF and Seattle.

But be aware that should you decide on the drive in a rental, the least
expensive rental would be a full week - seven days. And dropping off the
rental in a place different from where you picked it up will incur
additiional charges (someone has to return that car to its origin).

My recommendation would be to research the areas between SF and Seattle to
locate the kind of places you both like. Find these places on a map and
then work out an itinerary.

A couple of points if you do decide on a rental - the California coast

along
hwy 1 is beautiful, but hwy1 is a two laned, narrow curving road that does
not drive fast. While hwy 101 between SF and a bit north of Eureka drives
quickly (I think 4-5 hours non stop), between Eureka and the
Oregon/California border hwy 101 is much like hwy 1 - two laned, narrow,

and
curving. You will not make much time very quickly. And there really is

not
that much to see/visit along this stretch as versus other areas imho.

A better strategy would be to utilize Interstate 5 until you get into
Oregon, then head west to the coast. Follow the coast until you hit
Astoria, then head back east to Interstate 5. If time allows, make the
partial loop of the Olympic Peninsula. This routing will permit you to
visit/view - should you be so inclined - places like McArthur Burney

Falls,
Mossbrae Falls, Oregon Caves, Mt Shasta, Castle Crags State Park, Crater
Lake, Oregon Sand Dunes, the many lighthouses along the Oregon coast,
Tillamook, the haystacks of Cannon Beach, Silver Falls state park, the
waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge (including Multnomah Falls), a
replica of Stonehenge, Bonneville Dam, Mt. St. Helen, Mt. Hood, the

Olympic
rain forest, the Olympic seashore, and Hurricane Ridge.




  #8  
Old March 5th, 2006, 06:59 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
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Default Touring in the US

"I am quite surprised that I cannot get a 2 or 3-day tour from San
Francisco to Seattle. But I can't. I've tried everything. Is there
something wrong with this sort of trip that doesn't attract tourists?
Is the journey too long? Is the scenery that awful?"

It's far too little time to actually see anything, and far too much
time for someone who just wants to get there quickly. There are much
longer tours...and flights.

"My husband and I are looking to travel from San Francisco to Seattle
and hopefully see interesting scenes etc. en route."

If you have the time, rent a car and see the coastline on your own.
You really don't need a tour - just get a good guidebook and a road
atlas.

Another option is a "Visit USA" or "Visit North America" airpass, which
would let you fly from San Francisco to Portland to Seattle
inexpensively, and you could rent a car in each place and explore the
surrounding areas. You would normally have to buy this airpass along
with your ticket to the US, and from the same airline.

"Is there a bit problem with Amtrack?"

Unfortunately, the US government doesn't make rail travel a priority,
and has neglected our rail network to the point where it is no longer a
viable way to travel in most parts of the US. Outside of the New
York/New England area, Amtrak is mostly unusable - too slow, too many
delays, cancellations, etc.

  #9  
Old March 5th, 2006, 07:37 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
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Default Touring in the US

Daisy wrote:
I am quite surprised that I cannot get a 2 or 3-day tour from San
Francisco to Seattle. But I can't. I've tried everything.


Here is a web site which lists excursions operated by the major US tour
operators:

http://www.affordabletours.com/USA/

There are also Gray Line tours:

http://graylineseattle.com/

You may find something here. Unfortunately most of the tour operators
tend to divide the US into sections, with California being one section
and the Pacific Northwest another. And Amtrak, as others have noted, is
very bad and getting worse.

The scenery between San Francisco and Seattle is quite spectacular, but
is probably best viewed by car. And the most scenic routes will
certainly take longer than 2 or 3 days. Perhaps you could hire a car
and driver?

  #10  
Old March 5th, 2006, 08:11 PM posted to rec.travel.usa-canada
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Default Touring in the US

Lawrence Akutagawa wrote:

A better strategy would be to utilize Interstate 5 until you get into
Oregon, then head west to the coast. Follow the coast until you hit
Astoria, then head back east to Interstate 5. If time allows, make the
partial loop of the Olympic Peninsula. This routing will permit you to
visit/view - should you be so inclined - places like McArthur Burney Falls,
Mossbrae Falls, Oregon Caves, Mt Shasta, Castle Crags State Park, Crater
Lake, Oregon Sand Dunes, the many lighthouses along the Oregon coast,
Tillamook, the haystacks of Cannon Beach, Silver Falls state park, the
waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge (including Multnomah Falls), a
replica of Stonehenge, Bonneville Dam, Mt. St. Helen, Mt. Hood, the Olympic
rain forest, the Olympic seashore, and Hurricane Ridge.

Hmm...this is a good itinerary, but it misses the California wine
country and the redwoods on 101.

I would probably opt for this rather than Interstate 5 through the Mount
Shasta region.



 




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