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Old 05-28-2019, 08:44 AM   #1
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West Coast inland cruising access? Trip planning.

How far inland can one go with a boat from the west coast area? My plan is to do the Great Loop from SC around to St. Louis. Pull the boat out and trailer to the closest place to put in to cruise the PNW, inside passage, and AK. I'll also need safe storage for my truck and trailer while I'm away. That could dictate location as well.
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:12 AM   #2
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If you don't mind doing an open ocean run of a couple of hundred miles you can drop in in the Snake River at Lewiston, Idaho. From there you go down the Snake to the Columbia then into the Pacific at Astoria, Oregon for the run north to the Straits of Juan de Fuca. If the ocean run isn't your thing then you can continue another 8 hours by trailer and drop in in Puget Sound. If you are planning to use the boat in your picture, then I would suggest trailering to Puget Sound. Olympia would probably be the cheapest place to store the truck and trailer.
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Old 05-28-2019, 10:56 AM   #3
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Ditto TD's comments...If you really want an adventure, trailer your boat west to the Columbia river in eastern Washington state, launch, and run downstream to the ocean. Crusty, ASD or GFC can elaborate for you, having local knowledge from their last year's trip. They may also know the best location to store your truck and trailer.
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Old 05-28-2019, 11:34 AM   #4
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The possibilities are endless. I've trailer boated much of the WA, BC and AK waters and have not scratched the surface and never will. Richard Cook, a TF regular, is TF's pro for AK. GFC one of several smart on the Columbia. The upper reaches of the Snake are jet boat country.

What trailer boat you'll need and how equipped is highly variable dependent upon if you choose to stay inland or hit the salt chuck. Weather goes from near desert to cool and rainy. We are toying with idea of selling present boat and having a suitable craft for high speed runs out of Petersburg AK.

Boats, destinations and routes are nearly infinite. Outboards on a heavy duty Al craft is our favorite trailer type vessel. My brother just took delivery of a 28' Al Kingfisher made in Gibsons BC. His last fishing boat was a diesel inboard with out drive. Times change.

Enjoy the journey Ben, you'll have a fabulous time no matter what variants you choose.
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Old 05-28-2019, 12:31 PM   #5
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Ben, we live right on the Columbia just a few miles upstream from where the Snake dumps into it. I've boated the whole stretch from Lewiston down to the Tri Cities (confluence of the Snake and Columbia) and down to Portland several times. Haven't done the stretch between Portland and the mouth of the Columbia yet.


ASD and Crusty Chief would be the ones to ask about that.


When your trip gets closer, if you need specifics about how to make the trip, fire a PM to me and I'll get right back to you.


Welcome to the wonderful world of boating in God's Country!
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Old 05-28-2019, 12:54 PM   #6
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Hi Ben,
Hope you have a couple of years to make this trip, so much to see and do. If your interested in doing the Columbia/Snake that trip alone could take several weeks if not a couple of months like we did last year. If you drop the boat in Lewiston and cruise the river down, its about a 5-6 hour commute back by car to retrieve your vehicle from Portland, an extra driver would help as one way trip by rental car might not be possible. Several marina’s on Hayden Island.
If you plan on cruising the San Juan Islands and lower BC, Might want to consider either Bellingham of even Oak Harbor as both could store your Vehicle safely and probably cheaper than the Seattle area.
For the upper part of BC and SE Alaska, maybe Murray can help with that as he lives in Kitimat, not a bad place to use as a base camp.
Cheers, and hope your trip is a great adventure.
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Old 05-28-2019, 01:02 PM   #7
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If you plan on cruising the San Juan Islands and lower BC, Might want to consider either Bellingham of even Oak Harbor as both could store your Vehicle safely and probably cheaper than the Seattle area.

Do you want to do a one-way trip or round trip? With your boat, I would even look at the Shelton, WA area to put your boat in and store your vehicle. It is about as far South in the Salish Sea as you can get and is a small town so storage costs would like be less than Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Bellingham etc...


You could run from there North to AK and back, or fly back from AK to Seattle, take public transport South to the Shelton area and then drive up to retrieve your boat.
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:49 PM   #8
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Ben, here's another idea....launch your boat at Lewiston and have your ever faithful driver GFC take your truck and trailer down to the Tri Cities. You cruise down to the Tri Cities and spend a few days replenishing and restocking, then head out to Portland. Have your manservant GFC drive your truck/trailer down to Portland and meet you at the predetermined time and place whereupon you take GFC and his wife to the train station in Vancouver and buy them each a one way ticket back to Pasco, their stomping grounds.


We did this for a friend a couple of years ago. Easy Peasy getting the truck and trailer down to Portland and an easy ride across the bridge to Vancouver to drop us off at the train station.
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:20 PM   #9
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Thank you all. Lots of good info. The boat in my picture is the smaller version of the boat I wanted to build for years. I'm picking and choosing plans to start building this fall, no later than spring 2020. It will be a boat 27 to 30 feet either full displacement or semi-displacement. I'll be solo aboard unless the right person(s) come along and join me. I do plan to spend about 1.5 years on the Great Loop before moving to the PNW. After watching videos and seeing pics around the various boaty forums, I think I may spend two years in the areas between PNW US and AK. I hear the CA coast through there is just devine in springtime. The trip will be round trip unless someone makes me an offer I can't refuse for my boat. Then you people out there may have to put up with me for a while since I'll move up to a larger, not easliy trailered, boat. I like solitude so may only see me sporadically at the dock.

@TDunn and Kenn E, I've seen videos of the Snake River upstream. Not sure I have the nerves or digestive control for that area even in a purpose-built jet boat. Columbia River was what I was thinking of when I made this post. I wasn't so sure about it's condition for larger boats and coastal access. I could see spending some time in there. I've been watching videos of some of the areas along the Columbia River.

@sunchaser, Thanks. I believe one, if so inclined, could spend an entire lifetime exploring the waters between OR, BC, and AK and never see a fraction of what is there. As much as I like going fast, I think it's time to slow down, smell the flowers, and watch some wildlife that doesn't over do it at the bar.

@GFC, Thank you. I'll shoot that PM your way when the time comes. I may just take off a little while from the loop, fly out, and rent a go-fast boat for a week or two.

@Crusty Chief, Thanks. You mention a point that I have yet to touch on. I've thought about this since I made this post. As I learn my boat, it's capabilities, and my capabilities, I'll make plans for the truck and trailer. The idea is to drop the boat at the start of my journey, more than likely the Columbia river. Then move the truck and trailer to an area close to where I think I will pull out for the winter. I do plan to have heat aboard but I don't think I can winter over in a boat small enough to trailer. I would hitch a ride back to the boat after dropping off the truck and trailer at a storage facility or possibly a marina. I don't know if marinas around the PNW do the long term vehicle and trailer parking like some places around the east coast.

@dhays, round trip. You do have a good point there. The big cities are notoriously expensive when it comes to any kind of parking or storage. I will keep your idea in mind. I could always put the boat on the hard for the winter and wrap her up instead of hauling her out on the trailer.


Thanks again, everyone. You all have given me things to think about and things to daydream about when I can't make progress toward getting on the water again.
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:22 PM   #10
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Ben, here's another idea....launch your boat at Lewiston and have your ever faithful driver GFC take your truck and trailer down to the Tri Cities. You cruise down to the Tri Cities and spend a few days replenishing and restocking, then head out to Portland. Have your manservant GFC drive your truck/trailer down to Portland and meet you at the predetermined time and place whereupon you take GFC and his wife to the train station in Vancouver and buy them each a one way ticket back to Pasco, their stomping grounds.


We did this for a friend a couple of years ago. Easy Peasy getting the truck and trailer down to Portland and an easy ride across the bridge to Vancouver to drop us off at the train station.

You posted while I was making my other post. That is an idea. Have to see how things work out.
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