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): http://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/oregon-stories/the-oregon-coast-a-winter-odyssey/
• 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!