Following our first fully equipped road trip in the fall of 1992, and encouraged by our enjoyment of it, we planned a greater and longer trip. In the fall of 1993 my companions and I went on a road trip to see the West Coast of the US and then return home eastward along the Columbia river gorge through Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas. This was a much longer trip than had been done before and took about 4 weeks. It did, however, by its success, set the standard both in duration (about one month) and distance (12,000 to 18,000 km) for many subsequent road trips. Here is a list of the places we visited:

  • San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma
  • Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Redwoods National Park
  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • Columbia River Gorge
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Grand Tetons National Park
  • Devil's Tower National Monument
  • Badlands National Park
  • Madison County and Pella Iowa


Trip Maps

In preparing for our trips we use DeLorme's AAA Map'n'Go. If you travel like we do -- go buy it! It is worth its weight in gold. You can use it to plan your travel complete with hotels, campsites, attractions etc. etc. [See]. All of the maps shown to illustrate our travel were produced with this product. Here is a map showing the overview of our trip:



A big interest in all of our travel is the geology of the regions through which we travel. A very good set of books is the "Roadside Geology Series". This series covers each state and provides highway by highway geology lessons! A general theme in our travels on the west coast was the Cascade Range. A particularly useful reference on these volcanic mountains is "Fire Mountains of the West" by Stephen L. Harris.

San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma

To begin our trip, we entered our 'power travel' mode and blasted across the states in 3.5 days. Our first day, from Toronto takes us to Moline, Illinois thence through Iowa and Nebraska to North Platte, thence across Wyoming and Utah to Salt Lake City, and then the long haul across Nevada to California where our last stop before San Fran was at Auburn. We did stop to see a few things on the way, but only briefly -- our main objective was road miles. Once at San Francisco we stayed for a week as the Interop Conference was coincident with our trip and it could be charged as a business expense!



After getting our fill of San Fran, we proceeded into the holiday portion of our trip with a start of the Napa and particularly the Sonoma Wine Country. Our focus, of course, was to stock up the back of the truck with sufficient wine to last until we got to Portland and the Willamette Valley! We drifted through the lower part of the valley(s) on the first day, then stopped at a camp site on the Russian River. The next day we continued through the northern regions of Sonoma for the first part of the day and then, fully stocked with wine we headed north to the Humboldt Redwoods.



This photograph shows the vineyards just east of the Robert Mondavi Vineyard (Napa). In the distance are the hills separating Napa from Sonoma valleys.