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Eclipse USA

  • Needs a location

  • On Mon 21st August 2017, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the USA. I'm planning a road trip to the Northwestern US (Washington, Oregon and northern California) to view this rare and amazing natural spectacle, and see a whole bunch of other stuff on the way!
    Exact dates etc to be confirmed. So far, my tentative itinerary is as follows (check these places out on Google images):

    •  Fly to Seattle. Arrive, maybe potter about the city for a day or so while we recover from jet lag!

    • Whale watching in Puget sound. Particularly for orcas, but also other mammals (other whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, elehpant seals, sealions, river otters) and bald eagles

    • Mount Rainier national park. Perfect time of year for wildflowers against the backdrop of the mountain

    • Olympic national park, particularly for the Hoh rainforest and the Hall of Mosses. Maybe stop off at Rialto beach and Hole in the Wall (sea arch) on the way

    • Drive the Oregon coastline. Loads of great beaches with rocky crags, lighthouses, dunes, seastacks and arches, plus the odd shipwreck. Great for picturesque sunsets :) Here's an amazing video to give you some idea (we won't be doing the first bit and it won't be winter, but hey):

    • Possible inland detour for the eclipse. The coastal weather can be bad, but over the mountains the rainfall drops off drastically, providing some of the best weather conditions anywhere along the eclipse trail

    • Smith rock and Crater Lake, depending on how things work out (they are inland, along a road parallel to the coast, so difficult to do both)

    • Giant redwood trees of California

    • Lassen volcanic national park - hot pots, lava tubes, odd painted hillocks, lakes

    • Yosemite national park - Half-Dome mountain, Yosemite falls, tufa formations at Mono Lake, views from Glacier Point. Lake Tahoe not far away. This might be a good spot for some night sky photography too - would love to get some nice pics of the milky way from somewhere really dark.

    • San Francisco. Maybe a day or so here before we fly home.

    I had originally tacked on Death Valley and the Grand canyon area, but that's too much and it's exactly the wrong time of year for heading off into the desert! They'll just have to wait for another trip...

    Some of the flights go via Iceland, so it might even be possible to add on a couple of days there.

    Just so you know.....there will be some walking/scrambling, but not too much as 5-6 miles is about my limit. The days might be packed but I'll try and slow down my usual "cram in as much as possible" approach, especially as I'd like to do some timelapses, which take ages. Total driving distance approaches 2k miles with all the wiggling about, significantly more if we head inland for the eclipse then back to the coast.

    I'm thinking 2-3 weeks, but there's no reason people can't arrive/leave on different dates, as long we we can meet up reasonably easily.

    Cost won't be cheap though. Looks like flights alone will be around £1k (significantly more than Australia, yet less than half the distance, hmmm). Haven't yet decided whether motorhomes or cars+accommodation would be best - apparently they can work out at a similar price. We probably need to budget for ~£2k each.

    I'll leave the PayPal bit for now as it's a long way off and a lot could happen before then!

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  • Jason G.

    I lived in Seattle
    Other places to visit
    Discovery Park
    The sound garden (the water side one is best. ) specially on a Sunday morning!
    If you would like any other recommendations I would be glad to give you loads and loads more! It's my home from home.

    1 · June 15

    • Jason G.

      The sound garden is from where the band sound garden got its name from, video opportunity the natural sounds created there are haunting and spectacular even on a lite breeze! Plus a stunning back drop. If I had my way I'd be first on your list to join. It would be great to see all my old mates!
      I also toured with a Jazz band on and off. Traveling down the west coast! I had such an incredible time out there. Crescent city is a must and Humboldt and the redwood drive..

      1 · June 16

    • Esther

      Sounds amazing! Would be great to have loads of time to see a place, there's never enough to see all that's on offer.

      June 16

  • Jason G.

    Oh one other quicky

    June 15

    • Esther

      That's just weird, the town needed a makeover so they gave it a Bavarian theme?! Wonder if they have German-style Xmas markets!

      June 15

  • Melanie C.

    This sounds great, if I wasn't just starting a new job at the beginning of July I would have been totally up for it!! Although I still intend to work to live and not live to work...I think a month there and then three weeks off would be pushing my luck somewhat!! 😊

    June 7

    • Esther

      I just thought you were really good at forward planning :)

      1 · June 8

    • Melanie C.

      Yes that's it Esther, no error made here, just great at planning :D

      1 · June 8

  • Helen

    Sounds an absolutely fantastic idea Ester. Am I right in thinking that we simply deposit £2k to £3k into your bank account for you to then take care of everything, e.g. driving, navigation, motel booking, vehicle hire & detailed itinerary planning leaving us just with the task of showing-up at LHR on the specified date and time then kicking-back as the adventure unfolds?

    January 4

    • Esther

      Hi Helen. I won't be doing absolutely everything - given enough time I tend to do a *lot* of organisation (not one for doing things on impulse!), so am expecting to arrange most things, but a bit of help might be needed given the time and distance involved. There are bound to be pre-holiday decisions that everyone will need to discuss, and we should definitely have more than one driver. Once there we'll all muck in, eg if we are self-catering at any point we'll do that together.

      1 · January 5

  • Alan F.

    That's a brilliant idea, I was only thinking today "isn't there an eclipse due this year"?. I'd be up for part of it (the bit including the eclipse of course :-) ), but probably not 3 weeks. There's loads of stuff round San Francisco (Point Bonita Lighthouse; the SF88 Nike Nuclear missile base are near each other and worth visiting). There are Redwoods at Big Basin near SF. On an astronomy theme, I can also recommend visiting the Lick observatory. I'll keep watching this meetup...

    P.S. Of course for maximum "packing in", you might as well visit Vancouver once you've got to Seattle :-)

    January 4

    • Esther

      Thanks for the tips Alan. The lighthouse looks fab, not so sure about nukes!

      January 5

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    Hi, I'm Esther. I have recently caught the travel bug and would like to improve my shots (mostly... more

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  • Jason G.

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