View Full Version : Seattle/NW Washington

11-Nov-2017, 11:55
My wife has lost her mind. She bought two tickets to Seattle so we could go visit our youngest son for four days over Thanksgiving. We were out there in July and the weather was perfect. I checked the extended forecast and it shows rain EVERY DAY and temps in the 40s. Cripes, she should have told the kid to meet us in Flagstaff and we'd stay at the Grand Canyon. Anyway, tickets are non-refundable. So where should we head? Would like to get away from the crowded city. We went to Olympic NP and Mt. Rainier NP last summer, but I'm betting anything along the coast will be wet and miserable and most of Rainier will be closed. What about going northeast of Seattle (Redmond?) Wouldn't that dodge most of the traffic? We are from South Dakota so we are used to snow and have the clothing for it. We also have very good rain gear. Four days, where to go? We like rustic lodges. We're the type that likes to hike along wild beaches or to waterfalls, not sit around a bar.

Kent in SD

John Olsen
11-Nov-2017, 12:38
I see you do some train photography. Just east of Seattle there's a railway museum in Snoqualmie. That's just off I-90 and might be convenient for you.

Don't worry so much about the rain. If you drive into any of the mountain areas it's more likely to be snowing and could be very nice. If your son lives on the north side of Seattle, try heading into the mountains on US2 from Everett and avoid crossing the metro area in the Black Friday frenzy.

Good luck!

11-Nov-2017, 13:11
The kid is a programmer for Microsoft and lives in Redmond. That's why I was thinking of heading more in a northerly direction. I briefly considered making it to Victoria, but we've already been there. That would eat up more travel time, too. What about highway 20 and the Skagit Valley? Car will be a Honda Civic. No chains, but very good tires.

Kent in SD

Leszek Vogt
11-Nov-2017, 16:09
My crystal ball is bit foggy on Rte 20 (the forecast will likely be skewed), tho I have seen the road closed. If you do go there, you might see some eagles. Perhaps Rte 542 to Mt Shuksan (into Cascades) would serve you better. Since there is a ski area, the road is being plowed on reg basis and therefore; your access into higher elevations is more likely. Also, what's predicted does not always take place. I've seen supposed wet day, that ended up with 15 min of drizzle. If the weather changes and becomes decent, the coast offers some nice vistas....even the ride there could be interesting. Hmmm Ruby Beach comes to mind.


Keith Fleming
11-Nov-2017, 19:36
NW Washington is can be a difficult region for getting an accurate weather forecast. The reason is the Olympic Mountains, which cast a rain shadow on their eastern side. For example, the lodge at Lake Quinault on the western side of the Olympics has a rain gauge on the side of a building that measures rainfall in [U]feet[U]. I live in Port Townsend on the opposite side of the Olympics, and we average only 18 inches of rain per year, about half that of Seattle. Sequim, to our west, gets even less. In fact, Sequim has an annual Irrigation Festival because farming did not become profitable there until an irrigation system was developed. The rain shadow means less rain, though not necessarily less clouds. It also means weather forecasts may not be accurate for all areas. The rain shadow extends out to the San Juan Islands. So you could check out the Washington State Ferries website and take your car on the ferry from Anacortes out to the San Juan islands. Of course, I recommend doing a computer search on Port Townsend. The Victorian architecture in town is worth photographing, and there also is Fort Worden State Park with its lighthouse and massive concrete gun emplacements from the early 20th century. Lots of good restaurants, interesting shops, and good accommodations. The old officer quarters at Fort Worden are available for renting too. Good luck with your planning, and I hope you have a fun and productive visit to our region.

Jerry Bodine
11-Nov-2017, 23:57
I hope you'll reconsider carrying tire chains. Anytime from now through spring can bring snow and road closures in the mountain passes, and if that happens your trip here can get messed up if you can't get through or can't get back home (e.g., "chains required" type conditions). Wish you lotsa luck. Carry chains and think positive.

12-Nov-2017, 06:28
Wallace Falls State Park in Gold Bar is nice, off Highway 2, can get there from Redmond/Duval, but you have to hike to get there, not easy but moderate+.
Leavenworth WA is always fun and shines during the holidays, but might be better as overnight. Lake Wenatchee is near Leavenworth.
For your seascapes, take the ferry west, lots of options, Poulsbo is fun in summer, but may have holiday festivities, nordic theamed area, or north to Port Townsend
If you want to stay on main roads, Deception Pass might be interesting, this can also be done as a side trip if you choose some of the highway or "route" 20 suggestions.

12-Nov-2017, 06:46
I have visited the North Bend/Snoqualmie Pass area and it is great. My must-see list includes the Cascades, specifically the Mount Baker area. Might be challenging this time of year, and a bit farther than you want to drive in a 4 day visit.