Further updates (04/27). Since it appears that Spring is finally here in the PNW (we all know it could be pouring rain and dreary next week, but we have some hope now and I finally swapped to my summer tires), it’s time to select a date and route for our next cruise. Note that all posts in this series will be tagged “PNW Oppo Cruise Spring 2018” and “Oppo Meet” for easier following.

Mount Rainier from a turnout around Paradise.

This time our plans will likely take us further from Seattle than the last one, hence the new regional name. It may still be close to the metro, but could potentially be somewhere up to a couple hundred miles north/west/south if enough people want to do it. Note that the ones in Canada would require suitable international travel documents if you’re coming from the US. Obviously, the opposite is true for Canadians, but in my experience almost every Canadian has international travel documents.

Something we’re guaranteed to see: Moss

So, where do you want to go?

Some ideas (and their results thus far):

  1. Round Mountain Loop. Starting somewhere around Sedro-Woolley, WA or Arlington, WA, we’ll do a loop through Rockport, Darrington, and Oso. I’m curious about this one because I’ve never had a reason to go up to this area of the state. Currently the most popular route.
  2. North Cascades Highway. Starting around Rockport or Marblemount, we’d take SR20 to at least Winthrop. This should be a very scenic drive. Could be a two-day trip with a stop in Chelan and Leavenworth. May not be open until sometime in June or July.
  3. Whidbey Island/Fort Casey. Starting around Mt Vernon, WA or Mukilteo, WA, we’d do a loop through Whidbey Island & Deception Pass with stops along the way. I highly recommend a Discover Pass for this one as there are a number of state parks we might want to visit and I guarantee we’ll want to stop at Deception Pass. Dr. Zoidberg recommended this last time. Currently tired for second most popular route, with concerns raised about traffic and police activity by NKato. 
  4. Camano Island Loop. Starting around Stanwood, WA, we’d follow roads around the edge of the island and stop at the parks. I believe this is the shortest of the routes on this list. Removed due to low score/lack of interest.
  5. Leavenworth. Starting somewhere in the lowlands along/near Highway 2. Super scenic drive on a fast and curvy road with plenty of options for food once we arrive. The downside is that if the weather is nice there will be terrible traffic, particularly heading back down Highway 2. AestheticsInMotion recommended this last time. Currently tired for second most popular route, but also a very common route for many regional car groups. Tends to have police activity over weekends during the driving season.
  6. Mount Rainier. NP entry will be required. This area is spectacularly scenic with very fun driving roads (some of which will be packed with tourists if it’s sunny). Currently the third most popular route, with CarsofFortLangley unable to attend due to distance from the lower mainland (Canada).
  7. Chinook Scenic Byway. SR410 from Enumclaw to Naches. NP entry is not required on this route, yes it is still ridiculously scenic and a great driving road. Will not open until at least 05/25 (this could also affect #6).
  8. Hurricane Ridge. Drive up to Hurricane Ridge on a very twisty mountain road. NP entry will be required. The road usually opens for the season sometime in May. Can be done in a single day, but not practically for most of the group.
  9. Mount St Helens. Meet in Castle Rock, WA, then drive up the very scenic SR504 to the visitor center, followed by a return trip. I believe the visitor center has an entrance fee or you can use an interagency pass. Currently the fourth most popular route, with CarsofFortLangley unable to attend due to distance from the lower mainland (Canada).
  10. Bainbridge Island. Lived there for years, so I’m very familiar with all the local roads. Everyone coming from the west or south would want to meet to the west, everyone east would want to meet in Seattle before catching a ferry, and everyone north would have options. Could be very busy in places if it’s a nice weekend. Nobody has mentioned specific interest.
  11. Whistler (Canada). Starting around West Vancouver, BC, drive the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler. Likely to be a two-day trip for most of us. No interest plus CarsofFortLangley reported high police activity.
  12. Sunshine Coast (Canada). Also starting around West Vancouver, BC, catch a ferry to the Sunshine Coast and drive the Sunshine Coast Highway to Earl’s Cove (or possibly beyond). I spent a summer on the Sunshine Coast, so I am pretty familiar with the roads here. Likely to be a two-day trip for most of us. A number of people cannot do Canada or multi-day trips.

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When do you want to do it?

Here are potential weekends/holidays (bold italics on holidays): 05/05, 05/06, 05/12, 05/13, 05/19, 05/20, 05/26, 05/27, 05/28, 06/02, 06/03, 06/09, 06/10, 06/16, 06/17

Selected Weekend: 05/19-05/20

If you’d be interested in going on a cruise with us, please respond with:

  • Which of the cruises you’d be interested in and any changes you would make, or feel free to recommend one not on this list.
  • Dates that would work best for you.
Come to the green side, we have volcanoes.

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Here is my spreadsheet, let me know if the information I have for you is inaccurate: