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A heads up to those travelers who will be here in the area in the next week (or more, in case Bertha takes longer than planned) traffic is worse than usual right now. Viaduct closure is putting more stress on our traffic than usual, plus for those who may be flying into SEA / then heading up north to Vancouver - I-5 from Everett to Marysville has had horrific traffic back ups.

 

It took me 3 1/2 hours to get from Seattle to mill creek round trip, which is at least double the travel time I usually have. That isn't even Everett yet, but it was a nightmare today.

 

I would allow at least double the usual time for travel if you are planning trip times.

 

Also - there may be impact from Trump's planned visit to Lyndon tomorrow http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article76196552.html

 

traffic snarl north of Everett: http://komonews.com/station/snoco-squeeze-frustrates-i-5-commuters-its-driving-me-insane

Edited by CanWeGoYet?

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Good advice. The Alaskan Way Viaduct has re-opened 4 days early. So that helps. But the I-5 northbound construction ( just south of Marysville) is continuing until early June. There have been 12 mile backups from this. Cruisers heading north from Seattle to Vancouver along I-5 should plan more time because of this.

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Thanks! We're arriving on Wednesday for our May 15 th Ruby Princess cruise. We were thinking of going to Vancouver one day, but if the traffic us that bad, we'll plan something else.

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Thanks! We're arriving on Wednesday for our May 15 th Ruby Princess cruise. We were thinking of going to Vancouver one day, but if the traffic us that bad, we'll plan something else.
If you leave early in the day, the I-5 backup in Marysville shouldn't be too bad. It gets worse in the afternoon. Vancouver is a beautiful city and well worth a visit. It is about a 3 hour drive from Seattle though, even if traffic is good and the border wait isn't too long.

EDIT: This is a good page to check and see how the traffic is in the construction zone. The trouble spot is between US 2 and Hwy 528. You could check it before you leave and see how it is.

http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/cameras/marysville.aspx

Edited by Jasperdo

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I really discourage Vancouver day trips because it's an average of seven hours in the car, some of it spent sitting at the border. Vancouver is an amazing city with a lot to see and do, as is Seattle, and I feel like you'd be better off either to plan an overnight or save Vancouver for another trip.

 

This comes from someone who willingly drives from Seattle to the burbs of Vancouver for Chinese food - but also has express privileges at the border and loves to drive.

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Would this be a good, scenic route to get from Seattle to North Vancouver and avoid the traffic backups?

We'd be driving Sunday May 15, later in the day.

If your only reason for taking that route is to avoid the construction on I-5 then no, this is not a good choice. It will take you much longer than dealing with the construction traffic in Marysville. If you're just looking for a scenic alternative then yes, it's a nice way to go. You do have to take a Washington State Ferry to get to Whidbey Island. So you need to factor in the extra time and cost for that. But Whidbey Island is a nice scenic island. I can see it from my house. If you want to do a little sightseeing, Fort Casey State Park is quite nice. We like to go there and watch the cruise ships heading up to Alaska from there.

 

Highway 9 north of SR 20 is another nice rural drive. We go that way when we want to go out for a nice drive. The Sumas border crossing can get backed up on Sunday afternoon, when you said you would be going.

 

As far as the traffic on I-5. On a Sunday afternoon northbound, it should be clear sailing at freeway speeds all the way from Seattle to the border, EXCEPT for the ongoing road construction just south of Marysville. The local news has been reporting 12 to 15 mile backups there. (You can check the WDOT link I have in another post to see how it is before you leave.) The other choke point would be at the Peace Arch border, which can get quite long on a Sunday afternoon. Hope this helps.

 

EDIT: I just noticed your starting point is Sea-Tac. On Sunday afternoon you can expect slow going along I-5 until you get to downtown Seattle. After that, it should open up, except for the construction at Marysville.

Edited by Jasperdo

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Definitely would avoid. It won't be necessary given that the traffic-clogging project will be over by mid June.

 

My advice would be, if you're bound and determined to do this, is to be on the road early and use I-5. When you get to Bellingham, check the CBP website for border wait times and pick either Pacific Highway or Peace Arch - take Peace Arch if it's less than ten minutes slower than Pacific Highway.

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There are Electronic traveler information signs installed along I-5 north of Bellingham to provide drivers with current border wait times as they approach the border. This information allows travelers to make route adjustments if necessary.

 

WSDOT also maintains a website of crossing times if you have internet access in your car.

 

http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/border/

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I should clarify that it would be a one-way trip from seatac to a north vancouver hotel. Our cruise ship leaves from vancouver the next day (monday). Sorry for the confusion.

 

I was trying to add some scenery to the required drive. I don't mind that the route will take longer, if the drive is scenic. I just want to avoid big traffic back-ups.

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If you leave early in the day, the I-5 backup in Marysville shouldn't be too bad. It gets worse in the afternoon. Vancouver is a beautiful city and well worth a visit. It is about a 3 hour drive from Seattle though, even if traffic is good and the border wait isn't too long.

EDIT: This is a good page to check and see how the traffic is in the construction zone. The trouble spot is between US 2 and Hwy 528. You could check it before you leave and see how it is.

http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/cameras/marysville.aspx

 

Thanks. Is the construction just northbound, or will we hit backups on the way back to Seattle?

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I should clarify that it would be a one-way trip from seatac to a north vancouver hotel. Our cruise ship leaves from vancouver the next day (monday). Sorry for the confusion.

 

I was trying to add some scenery to the required drive. I don't mind that the route will take longer, if the drive is scenic. I just want to avoid big traffic back-ups.

 

That being the case, you want some different scenery and time is not important to you, your plan will work well. I am an old North Van boy and know your hotel very well...just by way of a heads up, there really is not much around it in the way of restaurants but I am guessing that you will have dinner on the road.

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That being the case, you want some different scenery and time is not important to you, your plan will work well. I am an old North Van boy and know your hotel very well...just by way of a heads up, there really is not much around it in the way of restaurants but I am guessing that you will have dinner on the road.

 

Hmm, have you mentioned that before? I was near the dam, where did you live? Not the valley! :eek:

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Thanks. Is the construction just northbound, or will we hit backups on the way back to Seattle?
Just northbound. They've already completed the southbound work on the bridges. And WSDOT just posted this morning that they'll be shifting the lane closures to the northbound lanes that should make things better there too. We'll see.

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When you get to Bellingham, check the CBP website for border wait times and pick either Pacific Highway or Peace Arch - take Peace Arch if it's less than ten minutes slower than Pacific Highway.
Just to add a bit to that. If the wait times are similar, stay on I-5 - Peace Arch. It's definitely a more interesting crossing for tourists.

 

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Hmm, have you mentioned that before? I was near the dam, where did you live? Not the valley! :eek:

 

Ah, you are the guy they got on camera jumping over the fence at the Cap. Suspension bridge....just want you to know that your picture is hung over the center urinal in the men's in the men's room at the bridge....you Highland hood.:D

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If time and money are little object, the most scenic possible option would be to drive from Seattle to Port Angeles (taking I-5, Hwy 16, Hwy 3 and 101), crossing from Port Angeles to Victoria (90 minutes on the MV Coho) and driving up-island to Nanaimo where you could sail Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay. With reserved sailing space it's exorbitantly expensive, but you are unlikely to spend more than ten minutes behind the wheel going less than 10mph.

 

The route you propose can be clogged between Whidbey Island and Burlington - perhaps a 20 minute delay versus the speed limit. Whidbey Island is agrarian and mostly two-lane roads, so it's also possible to get caught behind something slow-moving and be unable to pass.

 

The I-5 route once you get past Burlington is actually pretty scenic. If you want to take a detour for even more scenery, take the 22-mile Chuckanut Drive detour. It's the kind of road you tape luxury car ads on.

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Ah, you are the guy they got on camera jumping over the fence at the Cap. Suspension bridge....just want you to know that your picture is hung over the center urinal in the men's in the men's room at the bridge....you Highland hood.:D

 

Well, since I'm a girl...not sure how I feel about that :o. I see you still avoided the answer. Ashamed of the neighborhood? Hmm, are ya!

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If time and money are little object, the most scenic possible option would be to drive from Seattle to Port Angeles (taking I-5, Hwy 16, Hwy 3 and 101), crossing from Port Angeles to Victoria (90 minutes on the MV Coho) and driving up-island to Nanaimo where you could sail Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay. With reserved sailing space it's exorbitantly expensive, but you are unlikely to spend more than ten minutes behind the wheel going less than 10mph.

 

The route you propose can be clogged between Whidbey Island and Burlington - perhaps a 20 minute delay versus the speed limit. Whidbey Island is agrarian and mostly two-lane roads, so it's also possible to get caught behind something slow-moving and be unable to pass.

 

The I-5 route once you get past Burlington is actually pretty scenic. If you want to take a detour for even more scenery, take the 22-mile Chuckanut Drive detour. It's the kind of road you tape luxury car ads on.

The Port Angeles route is a bit exotic to get to Vancouver on that day.

 

How about this? We land at SeaTac at noon, get rental car, eat something, do an underground walking tour, maybe stop at the skyview observatory if clear skies, then follow this route and maybe stop in Bellingham for dinner.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/SeaTac,+WA/Clinton,+WA/Oak+Harbor,+WA/Bayview+State+Park,+Bayview+Edison+Road,+Mount+Vernon,+WA/Edison,+WA/1621+12th+St,+Bellingham,+WA+98225/Holiday+Inn+%26+Suites+North+Vancouver,+700+Old+Lillooet+Road,+North+Vancouver,+BC+V7J+2H5,+Canada/@48.3788722,-122.6469295,8z/data=!4m23!4m22!1m2!1m1!1s0x54905b6cc75964d3:0x7822b21dad52b646!1m2!1m1!1s0x548ffd9b2a319ee3:0x5f62d9e9b8a1db7a!1m2!1m1!1s0x548561e29d4c99e7:0x8aa906315eff0b1f!1m2!1m1!1s0x548571ada937643b:0x2b8af26a6a6a2b2c!1m2!1m1!1s0x5485747afb060095:0xe3678c6d3f77e89d!1m2!1m1!1s0x5485a221726ad597:0x99b5f0c4d8368cc5!1m2!1m1!1s0x548670881a11e30d:0xe6dd9bc246938d4e!3e0!5m1!1e1

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Well, since I'm a girl...not sure how I feel about that :o. I see you still avoided the answer. Ashamed of the neighborhood? Hmm, are ya!

 

Now I know why the men linger in front of that urinal.:D The answer you want....a top of Lonsdale lad.

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How about this? We land at SeaTac at noon, get rental car, eat something, do an underground walking tour, maybe stop at the skyview observatory if clear skies, then follow this route and maybe stop in Bellingham for dinner.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/SeaTac,+WA/Clinton,+WA/Oak+Harbor,+WA/Bayview+State+Park,+Bayview+Edison+Road,+Mount+Vernon,+WA/Edison,+WA/1621+12th+St,+Bellingham,+WA+98225/Holiday+Inn+%26+Suites+North+Vancouver,+700+Old+Lillooet+Road,+North+Vancouver,+BC+V7J+2H5,+Canada/@48.3788722,-122.6469295,8z/data=!4m23!4m22!1m2!1m1!1s0x54905b6cc75964d3:0x7822b21dad52b646!1m2!1m1!1s0x548ffd9b2a319ee3:0x5f62d9e9b8a1db7a!1m2!1m1!1s0x548561e29d4c99e7:0x8aa906315eff0b1f!1m2!1m1!1s0x548571ada937643b:0x2b8af26a6a6a2b2c!1m2!1m1!1s0x5485747afb060095:0xe3678c6d3f77e89d!1m2!1m1!1s0x5485a221726ad597:0x99b5f0c4d8368cc5!1m2!1m1!1s0x548670881a11e30d:0xe6dd9bc246938d4e!3e0!5m1!1e1

That's an excellent scenic route that includes both Whidbey Island and Chuckanut Drive. Although I think you might be packing too much into the day if you don't land until noon and want to do the Seattle Underground Tour and the Space Needle before you even start the drive. It's doable, but I personally think it's a bit much considering you won't even get started until around 1 PM. Don't forget that you have to take a ferry over to Whidbey Island, which will add time to your drive. And you'll probably want to do some sightseeing on Whidbey. Fort Casey, Coupeville and Deception Pass are all worth some time.

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That's an excellent scenic route that includes both Whidbey Island and Chuckanut Drive. Although I think you might be packing too much into the day if you don't land until noon and want to do the Seattle Underground Tour and the Space Needle before you even start the drive. It's doable, but I personally think it's a bit much considering you won't even get started until around 1 PM. Don't forget that you have to take a ferry over to Whidbey Island, which will add time to your drive. And you'll probably want to do some sightseeing on Whidbey. Fort Casey, Coupeville and Deception Pass are all worth some time.

 

I hadn't thought of stopping on Whidbey island, just driving. More decisions.

 

Not the space needle, that would definitely take too long. I've read about the lines. Our cruise ends in Seattle and we'll stay a few more days. That's when a space needle visit, and things close to it, would have to happen.

 

The sky view observatory is close to the underground walking tour places. It'd be hard to not stop on a clear day when close.

 

I'll add this to the other information collected for the trip.

Once we arrive and get something to eat, then we'll decide how much to do on Sunday and the best route to Vancouver. It's not fun doing interesting things when people are tired from travel.

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The Port Angeles route is a bit exotic to get to Vancouver on that day.

 

How about this? We land at SeaTac at noon, get rental car, eat something, do an underground walking tour, maybe stop at the skyview observatory if clear skies, then follow this route and maybe stop in Bellingham for dinner.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/SeaTac,+WA/Clinton,+WA/Oak+Harbor,+WA/Bayview+State+Park,+Bayview+Edison+Road,+Mount+Vernon,+WA/Edison,+WA/1621+12th+St,+Bellingham,+WA+98225/Holiday+Inn+%26+Suites+North+Vancouver,+700+Old+Lillooet+Road,+North+Vancouver,+BC+V7J+2H5,+Canada/@48.3788722,-122.6469295,8z/data=!4m23!4m22!1m2!1m1!1s0x54905b6cc75964d3:0x7822b21dad52b646!1m2!1m1!1s0x548ffd9b2a319ee3:0x5f62d9e9b8a1db7a!1m2!1m1!1s0x548561e29d4c99e7:0x8aa906315eff0b1f!1m2!1m1!1s0x548571ada937643b:0x2b8af26a6a6a2b2c!1m2!1m1!1s0x5485747afb060095:0xe3678c6d3f77e89d!1m2!1m1!1s0x5485a221726ad597:0x99b5f0c4d8368cc5!1m2!1m1!1s0x548670881a11e30d:0xe6dd9bc246938d4e!3e0!5m1!1e1

I've taken the liberty to modify your route - https://goo.gl/maps/rqQFJuWSeu62 - with a couple of recommended changes.

 

First, take SR 526 from I-5 to the Mukilteo ferry dock. This is the "Boeing Freeway," and in addition to being quicker than SR 525 (Google doesn't get it) SR 526 will take you past the Boeing Everett factory, home of the big jets and the biggest building in the world.

 

Once you're on Whidbey, stop at the very cute waterfront town of Langley before heading north up the island.

 

Then visit Deception Pass State Park, which is located on both sides of the amazing channel between Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands (at tide change the water comes rushing through at a scary pace.) I'd stop there instead of Bayview State Park (on your map) which is pleasant but not in the same league.

 

If you want dinner in Bellingham's historic Fairhaven district (which is where Chuckanut Drive drops you) fine; but see a note on timing below.

 

Timing: I would not recommend doing any sightseeing in Seattle on your way north. You could find yourselves with a 30+ minute wait for the ferry in Mukilteo and/or a wait at the border, not to mention possible traffic delays transiting Vancouver en route to North Vancouver.

 

We'd be driving Sunday May 15, later in the day.
Downtown Seattle, particularly around Pioneer Square and the Columbia Tower (view points) is going to be very crowded this Sunday, as the (first place! Who knew?!) Mariners are playing a day game against arch rivals the LA Angels that afternoon, with our ace pitcher on the mound. They're talking a max crowd, so parking anywhere downtown is going to be nearly impossible to find. You just want to give town a wide berth.

 

Jump in the car and make a bee line to Mukilteo for the ferry. Right at the ferry dock is a branch of Ivar's, a local seafood restaurant with a takeaway counter. If the lineup for the ferry isn't terrible (and on Sunday afternoon the bulk of Whidbey traffic will be coming the other way) grab some fish and chips and sit on the beach next to the Mukilteo lighthouse - http://gardyloo.us/20140531_3Ha.jpg - before getting on the boat.

 

If you want a meal before getting into North Vancouver, consider Fairhaven, or wait until you cross the border and (if you're not fish and chipped already) swing into "downtown" White Rock for reasonably authentic English style F&C at one of the waterfront cafes there, like Moby Dick - http://www.mobydickrestaurant.com/ . (This would mean using the Peace Arch rather than the Truck/"Pacific Highway" crossing.)

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