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Author Topic: Help planning West Coast trip  (Read 270 times)

JerryofWV

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Help planning West Coast trip
« on: September 14, 2017, 11:34:23 AM »
I would like help planning a trip from WV to California. I'm planning on leaving the first of July, 2018.
I will be travelling in a 36 foot motor home with toad.
My destination will be the Pacific Coast Highway. From there head back home on a different route.
I would like suggestions for routes, campgrounds and "must see" places. I'm planning on taking 2-3 months for the trip.
Thanks for any suggestions.

Tom

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2017, 12:18:40 PM »
Jerry, in addition to responses you receive, you may find some useful information in our forum Library. Click the Library button in the menu above, and scroll down to Places to see and things to do; There are several articles there that might help.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Kevin Means

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2017, 12:23:44 PM »
Hi Jerry. The Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) merges with the 101, and is quite long. A long section near Big Sur has been closed due to a rock slide, and won't be reopened for some time. How much of it were you planning to drive? I drove our previous motorhome (a 32 foot Class A) south on the 101 through San Francisco several years ago (not towing) and it was not fun. I'd not even consider it in a larger motorhome while towing.

The 101 north of San Francisco to Oregon is a beautiful drive. It's down to one lane in several places (total - for both directions) due road damage from this year's rains, but they've installed traffic lights to control the traffic flow. The longest we had to wait at one of the lights was about 20 minutes. We just drove that route in our 43 foot Class A while towing without any problems.

One more tip... top off your fuel tank before you enter California. You'll get better fuel and you'll save a lot of money.

Kev
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
RVI Brake 2, Minder TM-66 TPMS, 970 watts of solar
(Can't wait to spend more time RVing)
Lakeside, California

SeilerBird

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2017, 12:24:16 PM »
I would suggest taking I-80 in July all the way to San Francisco and then you could go either direction on PCH. Then I would suggest taking I-10 for the return trip a few months later.
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H5-Phil

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2017, 12:29:28 PM »
In July/Aug it is HOT in California, 90/100/110 degrees.  The closer to the coast, the cooler it gets.  The higher in the mountains you get, the cooler it gets.  Also, last year sections of Hwy 1 were destroyed by the higher than normal rainfall and are still being repaired.  Be sure to check ahead on this spectacularly beautiful drive. 
There will be many others sharing info with you...  Enjoy your trip.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 12:43:25 PM by H5-Phil »
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2017, 12:43:52 PM »
Work is nearing completion on the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge at the north end of Big Sur, but the latest word is the massive Mud Creek Slide will keep the southern end closed until at least late next summer, longer if they get another bad winter.

If Mud Creek is still closed, you'll have to go into Big Sur from the north and double back the same way when you leave.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/09/11/highway-1-to-reopen-summer-2018-at-massive-big-sur-slide-with-40-million-price-tag/

North of San Francisco on, the advice to take US 101 instead of the Coast Highway is spot on.  CA 1 north of San Francisco is a narrow, twisting road with numerous sharp switchbacks, basically the same as when roadbuilders carved it out of the cliffs in the 1930s.  Leave the RV in a campground at either end and make day trips in the toad if you want to explore it.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 12:51:24 PM by Lou Schneider »

ArdraF

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2017, 06:05:45 PM »
I second all of the above.  Use 101.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Tom and Margi

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2017, 06:38:57 PM »
X2  :)) :)) :))   101 north through Ukiah to Eureka takes you through the Alexander Valley wine region.

AStravelers

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2017, 08:36:15 PM »
I would like help planning a trip from WV to California. I'm planning on leaving the first of July, 2018.
I will be travelling in a 36 foot motor home with toad.
My destination will be the Pacific Coast Highway. From there head back home on a different route.
I would like suggestions for routes, campgrounds and "must see" places. I'm planning on taking 2-3 months for the trip.
Thanks for any suggestions.
You have asked a vague and broad question without giving any specifics on what your interests are.  Just on the face of it seems like you are going to spend a couple of months on the PCH in California.  Is that accurate?

In return you have received some good, but very general replies about driving the highway. 

Questions:
--  How much experience do you have traveling in your RV?  Do you need RV parks? Do you boondock or dry camp? Do you prefer cities and museums or do you prefer national forests, national parks, etc, etc.

The Pacific coast from CA up through Washington has lots to see and do.  Not only right along the coast, but there is also the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain range with a number of national parks national forests as well as state parks. 

Over the next 3-4 months, I would suggest you browse the internet for info on the national parks, state parks, cities, and anything which is of interest to you. 

Questions about specific places or things to do or see always receive much better and informative replies than "tell me every thing I need to do and see".

Sorry about being so blunt.   
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2017, 08:49:23 PM »
For RV parks to stay at:  http://www.rvparkreviews.com/ is an excellent source to research places to stay. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

JerryofWV

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2017, 08:55:02 PM »
Thanks for the replies.

In response from questions from AStravelers.
How much experience do you have traveling in your RV? 12 years
Do you need RV parks? Yes we prefer to stay in RV Parks and do not boondock unless we have to.
Do you prefer cities and museums or do you prefer national forests, national parks, etc, etc. Our "to see list" includes the Grand Canyon, Mt Rushmore and other big tourist places. We are not much into museums.

We just want to drive a short distance on the Pacific Coast Highway before we start heading back East. We want to do the entire trip in about 3 months.

LarsMac

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2017, 10:58:00 AM »
I'll leave the PCH discussion to people with more recent experience than mine, (other than to say that I really enjoyed the route from San Francisco through Monterrey, and south to San Luis Obispo, many years ago) but,...

I would suggest taking I-70, rather than I-80 if you plan to stay on Interstate Highway. Neither of those paths are optimal for "Seeing the Country" but I-70, in my humble opinion, is a better drive.
When you get to Salina, UT, you can cut up to I-80 to cross Nevada and get to San Francisco area, or follow US-50.

There are several more possible routes, as well. I-64 to St Louis, and US-50 if you're not in a hurry is a nice run through the west, and across the Rockies.
(You could actually follow US-50 all the way across.)
Or I-44/I-40 across the old US-66 route is an decent route with access to a lot of interesting side-trip in New Mexico and Arizona.
 
US-36 from Indianapolis through Hannibal and St Joseph, Mo is a nice drive. But in the summer, it can get dreadfully hot across Kansas, so shifting down to I-70 or up to I-80 is a better idea.

Just a few ideas



 
2000 Itasca Sundancer 430V
2007 Saturn Vue

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AStravelers

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2017, 11:08:12 AM »
Thanks for the replies.

In response from questions from AStravelers.
How much experience do you have traveling in your RV? 12 years
Do you need RV parks? Yes we prefer to stay in RV Parks and do not boondock unless we have to.
Do you prefer cities and museums or do you prefer national forests, national parks, etc, etc. Our "to see list" includes the Grand Canyon, Mt Rushmore and other big tourist places. We are not much into museums.

We just want to drive a short distance on the Pacific Coast Highway before we start heading back East. We want to do the entire trip in about 3 months.
For visiting national parks, I strongly recommend that you practice dry camping.  Staying in the campgrounds inside of the national parks is so much more enjoyable than staying outside the park and commuting into the park.  Staying inside the park make makes it easy to attend the ranger programs in the evening.  Also joining the ranger lead walks or hikes inside the park is much easier.  Staying inside the park allows you to experience more of the outdoor experience.   

Every national park has extensive info on the national park website.  Be sure to download the park newspaper such as the Grand Canyon newspaper:  https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/news/upload/trip-planner-grca.pdf

Usually you can find the above referenced newspapers by going to any of the NP website, hovering your mouse over "Learning about the park", hovering on "news" and clicking on "newspaper"

For a Pacific coast experience, follow US-101 from the redwoods in northern CA up to the Olympic NP in Washington.  Allow a good 3 weeks for this section.  4 weeks would be better.  However that may require more than 3 months for your trip. 

A possible route would be to go to Yellowstone, Glacier NP's  Head over to Washington on US-2 to US-97 on the Columbia river, then up to SR-20 which takes you through some great country though the North Cascades NP.  Then over to Seattle and Olympic NP.  From there follow US-101 along the WA & OR coast to as far down into CA as you want.  Then Yosemite NP.  Sequoia and Kings Grand Canyon NP's are not to far south.  Then head over to  Zion & Bryce NP's, down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon then the South Rim.  If you still have time go up to Moab, UT for the Canyonlands and Arches NP.  Zion, Grand Canyon and around Moab is better in September than July.  July is pretty warm (hot).  Not so much at the Grand Canyon Rim, but the SW USA is hot in July August. 

To stay in the campgrounds inside the NP's make your reservations now if you can. The CG's fill up early.  Some NP CG reservations only open 6 months or so before your arrival date.  Yosemite for example opens on a certain date for reservations for a month, 5-6 months in the future and all reservations are snapped up in the first 5-30 minutes. 

Personally the above trip is more like a 6 month trip for us and in reality, two different years each with a 4-6 months of travel.  There is so much more to see than just what I listed.   
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

SeilerBird

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Re: Help planning West Coast trip
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2017, 11:29:23 AM »
I disagree with the people who tell you to take 101 north of Frisco. I prefer PCH 1. It is way more beautiful. Yes it does take longer to drive because of the curves, but there is less traffic and more to see. Point Reyes National Seashore is the only National Seashore west of Texas and a stunning beach. It is right across the beach from Bodega Bay where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds. And you are on vacation so who cares if 101 is faster.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 11:31:01 AM by SeilerBird »
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Life list of birds:
https://goo.gl/photos/xuP9zPD2KP2swN1g8
Grand Canyon photos:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7

 

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