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Jul 19, 2007 02:20 PM

Roadtrip to Seattle (thru Oregon) from So. Cal

We are embarking on a roadtrip to Seattle from Southern California the second week of August. Google Maps say that we'll be on the 5 Fwy most of the way before ending in Seattle.

We would love to go picking blueberries and/or blackberries and would appreciate any suggestions of farms/U-Pick along the route through both Oregon and Washington.

Also, any suggestions as to what to eat along the way? Some terrific country kitchen for breakfast perhaps?

We'll be Seattle for four full days. What must we not miss? All suggestions from cheap eats to fine dinning to snacks and sweets are welcome. We love it all and can't wait to sample what the great Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Much obliged.

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  1. Are you sticking with I5 because time is short, or because of sights? There are a lot of sights along the coast, though it will take longer. US 97 along the east side of the Cascades is also interesting. Even better, cross back and forth between the three, following rivers like the Rogue and Umpqua in Oregon, and passing by mountains like Hood, St Helens and Rainier.

    Anyways, it you stick with I5, threads about Ashland, Medford, Eugene, and Portland will give you lots of ideas. If driving US 97, Cousins in The Dalles looks like a good country kitchen (see the Stevenson thread).

    In August, roadside blackberries are an option. In the NW the large Himalaya blackberries grow like a weed, taking over any neglected patch of ground. In the lowlands, wild huckleberries are starting to ripen now, and will be gone by August. But at higher elevations they should be in season.


    2 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      Thanks, paulj for the suggestions! We are not in a rush on this trip, so definitely will traverse to see the sights as suggested. Wow, free roadside blackberries. Certainly will keep an eye out for those.

      1. re: schuylar

        When I first moved here from the midwest, I was amazed that blackberries were considered a weed, but now after owning a house and having to pull our the vines constantly, I can believe it.

        If you're really up for a drive and want to get huckleberries, consider going to a national forest to harvest them. Here's a page from the Gifford Pichot forest in Washington (Mt St. Helen's area):

    2. Research Sauvie Island. It's not far off from the main drag, just NE of Portland. Lots of farms, several with U-pick.

      Also, there's a berry farm at the Aurora exit, I believe, that advertises, about halfway between Salem and Portland.

      If you were to take 99E from Salem to Canby, there are LOTS of farms as well.

      There are also great roads to and from the coast all the way up the Willamette Valley that have plenty of farms, but 99E doesn't slow you down much and doesn't take you far off I-5. Neither does going to Sauvie Island.


      1. You won't find much fruit east of the Cascades.
        here's our Rogue Valley market:
        there were currants today. nice.
        check back in the 1st or 2nd week of August right before you go and I'll post a current list of u pick places.
        (most don't have websites
        ) We're finishing up blueberries and cherries and heading towards apricots right now.
        If you can drive like
        Hell up the Central Valley, you'll reach the Mountains just north of Redding. Consider staying in Mt. Shasta or Dunsmuir for your first night.
        Sengthong's awaits.

        Sengthong's Trading Co
        5855 Dunsmuir Ave, Dunsmuir, CA 96025

        1 Reply
        1. re: bbqboy

          True, the east side of the Oregon Cascades is mostly pine forest in the south, and high desert further north (see threads on Klamath Falls and Bend). However once you reach the Columbia River, and further north in the Yakima area of Washington, you hit orchard country - apples, cherries etc. I don't know if there are many UPick opportunities in these areas.


        2. A good first timer trip north would be:
          I5 north to Calusa (but this misses Napa)
          20 west to 101
          101 and 1 N through Redwood country to Crescent City
          199 to Grants Pass (Summer Jo's)
          62 through Medford (Rogue Creamery) and up the Rogue River to Crater Lake
          138 or 58 back across the Cascades (with a waterfall guide in hand)
          backroads up the Willamette Valley (farms and wine country)
          20 or 22 to the coast
          101 north to the Columbia River at Astoria
          (unless something in Portland catches your attention, Voodoo Donuts?)
          101 in Washington to 12, then east to Olympia
          3 through Shelton (Xinhs Clam & Oyster House) to Bremerton
          ferry to Seattle

          5 Replies
          1. re: paulj

            Now that's exactly the type of suggestion we love. Complete and thorough for the novice. Don't mind missing Napa at all as we've done that many times. Our focus is really after S.F./Bay Area

            Assuming we can drive on with our car on the ferry to Seattle?

            1. re: schuylar

              I would head down beyond Rogue Creamery to the rest of the RV, then head up to CL the back way on Dead Indian. I'll explain when time gets closer. Paul means US 199, by the way. Very worthwhile. Taylor's Sausage is in Cave Junction too. 2nd the Summer Jo's rec,
              + plenty of Mex in GP.


              1. re: schuylar

                Yes, nearly all Washington ferries are drive on.

                Here's nice overview of the routes

                1. re: schuylar

                  If you're doing this redwood country route, and you want an old-time country breakfast, then don't miss the Samoa Cookhouse, just outside Eureka. It's a former lumber mill cookhouse that serves basic American grub, in quantities that would fuel a hungry logger for a day's work in the woods. They do three meals a day, not just breakfast, each an array of old-fashioned American comfort foods in huge portions. The food is quite good but not spectacular, but you really go for the total experience. Kids especially love it.


                  If you do come up I-5 through Redding, and you're there around dinnertime, try Jack's Bar & Grill. It's a true dive (as it has been for almost 70 years), but they serve the best steaks I've ever had, period.


                2. re: paulj

                  Ooooh, Xinhs in Shelton. It's been a few years but was worth a side trip then.

                  And if you opt for the Astoria route, search for the Astoria recs. The restaurants there are much better than one would expect for that out of the way area.

                3. I also live in SoCal now (but grew up on the Olympica Peninsula) and did that very drive just last week. There are two things commonly found in Seattle that I cannot get in San Diego or even L.A.: great Thai food and Seattle-style teriyaki. Ask the locals for suggestions, but in my experience, I can pick a teriyaki or Thai place at random and it is always better than what I get at home (with a couple Thai exceptions in OC or L.A.). On the other hand, don't bother with any Vietnamese in Seattle. Ours is much better.
                  If you enjoy perusing grocery stores, I recommend Central Market (in Shoreline) and the PCC markets. I picked up some great chocolate bars at both places last time.
                  Trophy cupcakes in Ballard are awesome, if you're into desserts. I will be dreaming about the mini chai cupcake for months to come.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: maestra

                    Maestra I kind of have the oppisite experience than you. I find Southern California to have the overall best thai food in any city I have found (Thai Nakorn, Renu Nakorn, many of the places in thai town) and find seattle's thai scene to be lacking. On the other hand I find the best vietnamese in seattle to be comprable if not better than the best vietnamese in Little saigon. Places like Tamarind Tree, Green Leaf, Lemon Grass, and Pho Bac are just as good as Pho Thanh, Quan Hy, Quan Hop, Banh Mi & Che Cali and Brodards in Little Saigon. While little saigon has more quality places I think the top notch places in Seattle are as good as I have had outside of vietnam.

                    1. re: dagrassroots

                      I can see your point about top-notch places. I just find that in Seattle, I will have a good to excellent experience if I walk cold into any Thai restaurant. Likewise Vietnamese in SoCal. If I want Thai in SoCal or Vietnamese in Seattle, I have to do my research. Could be I've just been both lucky and unlucky. Thanks for naming specifically your favs in both areas. There are a few I'll still have to check out.

                    2. re: maestra

                      No Trophy Cupcakes in Ballard unless you pick them up in Wallingford and transport them there.