7 week Dream Trip Around the Country Coming Up!!!

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camper1b

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Hi,
? ?We have been planning for and drreaming about and talking about a trip around the country for years.? I have been saving up vacation time and it's almost here!? I have set up a BLOG to document the trip as I go.? (Assuming I'm not too exhausted and can find a WiFi hotspot.? Anyway, here isn the itinerary for your enjoyment.? I know it's aggressive, (it's all the time I have) and we should skip LA (but it's the ONLY place my 8 yr old daughter has been talking about) and it's going to be hot in the desert (summer's the only time we can take the kids ojn a trip like this).

  • Drive 2100 miles to Mesa Verde, CO (4 days)
  • Mesa Verde (1 day)
  • Zion, Bryce, Norht Rim Grand Canyon (1 day each)
  • Phoenix (1 day - vist brother)
  • LA (3 days)(Can't get out of this one - daughter really wants to see LA)
  • SF (3 days)
  • Oregon Coast (2 days)
  • Mt St Helens (1 day)
  • Glacier NP (3 days)
  • Yellowstone (4 days)
  • Grand Tetons (2 days)
  • Custer State Park/Mt Rushmore/Wind Cave National Park (4 days)
  • Badlands (1 day)

The other days are travel days.

We have been all over the east coast from Maine to Florida but we have never had the camper west of Ohio!  See ya!
 

DonJordan

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Rich,

Yes, I'd say your itinerary is really "aggressive".  I hope that you are able to do everything on your list.  Keep us all posted as you go along  ;D.
 

Carl L

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Anyway, here isn the itinerary for your enjoyment.  I know it's aggressive, (it's all the time I have) and we should skip LA (but it's the ONLY place my 8 yr old daughter has been talking about) and it's going to be hot in the desert (summer's the only time we can take the kids ojn a trip like this).

No lie it is agressive!  Need any advice on CGs, especially in LA or SF?
 

camper1b

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Yep.? We'll be tired at the end.? But that's OK.? We'll sleep when we get home.? ?:)? Because we always have limited time for trips, due to kids school schedules and my work, we are used to driving long distances in one day.? ('course - never this far!)? If it becomes too much, we'll stay over somewhere longer and knock something off the trip.? At this point, though, there is nothing I can bring myself to knock off.? I'll try and keep my website updated as we go.

We are staying at Orangeland RV Park in LA and San Francisco RV Park in Pacifica.

We'lve got the whole trip loaded linto the GPS until Glacier, so we're ready!!
 

Bob Buchanan

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camper1b said:
We are staying at Orangeland RV Park in LA and San Francisco RV Park in Pacifica.

The Pacifica park sits right on the ocean. It's on one of those cliffs that is slowly falling into the Pacific :(, so you may want to call ahead to see if your site is still there. :) The commute from the park into The City will get into the AM and PM commute so you will want to try to avoid that. The park down at the old Candlestick park (home of the 49'ers - now the 3Com park) is a much easier commute - tho no commute into SF is easy. However, it's not the greatest of areas to stay in so I think your Pacifica choice is a good one.

There is much see and do in The City -- so am glad to see that you are giving it 3 days. Be sure to try to get north of the Golden Gate and into Sausalito, Tiburon, and up to the Wine country if possible.

LA "does" get a bad name (with help from us NCal folk :)), but I'm sure you will be happy that you include it on your trip. There are some wonderful things to do and places to go there. As you move north, the Reagan Library in Semi Valley is a great stop. There are three ways to get from LA to SF - up the coast, up 101, or up I5. With your schedule, 101 would probably be your best route, tho the coastal route is awesome (Hearst Castle, Big Sur, the Monterey peninsula, Cannery Row, Pebble Beach, and so on and son).

Yes, do keep us informed and as you can tell, there are RV'ers here that know all the spots on your itinerary, so let us know of any questions you might have.
 

Smoky

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WTG on the 7 week trip!? It will be the experience of a lifetime.? I did the same thing in 2003 and my planned 8 week trip turned into a ten week trip and was the main factor that encouraged me to go full time this year.

If you need to save a few days you might consider shortening Yellowstone.? I found it to be a HUGE disappointment.? Wildlife not what it used to be and heavily commercialized.? Grand Tetons and Grand Canyon MUCH more interesting.? Also for a fun evening , catch Jackson Hole Wyoming on your way to or from Yellowstone.? it is between the Tetons and Grand Canyon routes.? Glad you chose the NORTH rim of the canyon, it is awesome!? Try to catch the ranger talks at the main lodge on the North rim every morning and afternoon.? I sat in on the one they do on condors and it was incredible.
 

camper1b

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Bob Buchanan said:
The Pacifica park sits right on the ocean. It's on one of those cliffs that is slowly falling into the Pacific :(, so you may want to call ahead to see if your site is still there. :) The commute from the park into The City will get into the AM and PM commute so you will want to try to avoid that. The park down at the old Candlestick park (home of the 49'ers - now the 3Com park) is a much easier commute - tho no commute into SF is easy. However, it's not the greatest of areas to stay in so I think your Pacifica choice is a good one.

Thanks for the info.? We had heard the stories about Candlestick RV.

If we were to leave the camper about 10am each day and not start back until after dinner in the city, do you think we'd be OK, trafficwise?

It was either Pacifica or we had heard some good things about the KOA in Petaluma.

Bob Buchanan said:
There is much see and do in The City -- so am glad to see that you are giving it 3 days. Be sure to try to get north of the Golden Gate and into Sausalito, Tiburon, and up to the Wine country if possible.
Although most of the places we are going I have been to when a buddy and I did this trip in 1974, SF is one place where we have been fairly recently and we love it!? My wife has already mentioned something about a place downtown to get chocolate!!? ;)

We will take 101 north of the city to Eureka.? Will we see enough of the wine country on that road or do we need to go more inland?

Bob Buchanan said:
LA "does" get a bad name (with help from us NCal folk :)), but I'm sure you will be happy that you include it on your trip. There are some wonderful things to do and places to go there. As you move north, the Reagan Library in Semi Valley is a great stop. There are three ways to get from LA to SF - up the coast, up 101, or up I5. With your schedule, 101 would probably be your best route, tho the coastal route is awesome (Hearst Castle, Big Sur, the Monterey peninsula, Cannery Row, Pebble Beach, and so on and son).
Wife really wants to see Disneyland on the 4th of July.? I am desperately trying to talk her out of it.? I'm not getting much support in this debate from the kids! :)

I figured we would just take I-5 from LA to SF.? Wouldn't that be the fastest?? We'll do the whole Oregon coast so, in the interest of time, I'm skipping the spectacular Route 1 between LA and SF.

Bob Buchanan said:
Yes, do keep us informed and as you can tell, there are RV'ers here that know all the spots on your itinerary, so let us know of any questions you might have.

Will do.? Thanks for the tips.
 

Tom

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Pat

Another option for the San Francisco area would be to stay at the Petaluma KOA you mentioned, and either drive into the city from the north, or take a ferry from nearby Vallejo to Fisherman's Wharf. The ferries run frquently and, once in the city, you can get a day pass for the cable cars and the Muni buses.

BTW Girahdeli Square (sp?), probably where your wife wants to get the chocolate, is at one end of Fisherman's Wharf, and a stone's throw from the cable car terminal.

Staying in Petaluma gives you the option of touring the wine country.

Just a thought.

I'm allergic to Mickey Mouse, so good luck there on the 4th  ;D
 

Bob Buchanan

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Pat:

>> If we were to leave the camper about 10am each day and not start back until after dinner in the city, do you think we'd be OK, traffic wise?
====
Yes, unless there is an accident. I lived in the Bay Area (SF and San Mateo) for about 10 years. The only commute that one does not have to deal with a Bridge or ferry is the Peninsula south of The City - which includes Pacifica. Also, notice on your SF map that as you drive north on 280, if it is bad, you can move over to "1". That's 19th street and goes north through Golden Gate park all the way to the Golden Gate bridge. So you can either take that route to the Wharf -- or take a right on Geary north of the park to Van Ness.

Petaluma is almost 40 miles north of the city and a ways even from the ferry. I would image that if you leave Pacifica at 10AM, your commute time would be much shorter, time wise, than Petaluma. And you have your vehicle to get around in. BTW, my forum picture here was taken in Pacifica. You won't find a background like that in Petaluma. However, the other thing that should be mentioned is the Fog. If the fog is going to come in, Pacifica gets it first and keeps it longer. :(

>> My wife has already mentioned something about a place downtown to get chocolate!!
====
Yes -- you do not want to tour The City without stopping a Ghirardelli Square.

http://www.ghirardellisq.com/

>> We will take 101 north of the city to Eureka.? Will we see enough of the wine country on that road or do we need to go more inland?
====
Let's see, from 101 you will take 12, I think, over to Sonoma, Napa. I never go there alone because I need someone else to do the return drive. ;)

>> Wife really wants to see Disneyland on the 4th of July.? I am desperately trying to talk her out of it.? I'm not getting much support in this debate from the kids!
====
Probably one of the most crowded days of the year. However, that's LA. The kids WILL enjoy tho.

>> I figured we would just take I-5 from LA to SF.? Wouldn't that be the fastest?
====
Well - there will be a trade off according to where you are in LA when you decide to begin your trek north. I-5 does not go to SF -- it goes to Sacramento. You will probably want to do 152 off of I-5 over the Pacheco Pass down to Gilroy on 101. You could then pick up 280 in San Jose all the way to Daly City where you would pick up "1" over to Pacifica.

I travel down to Pismo Beach a lot and take I101 all the way from my brother's place in San Jose. It's freeway or divided highway all the way and I have never found it backed up. There is a monster grade just north of San Luis Obispo, but it is wide freeway all the way up. From Pismo down to LA is all free way through Santa Barbara and Ventura. Also, I-5 is ugly and 101 is beautiful. :)
 

camper1b

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This has been grerat information!? Thanks a lot!? I'm glad Joel Myers led me to this forum.? We WILL take 101 instead of I-5.? Thanks again.
 

Carl L

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It was either Pacifica or we had heard some good things about the KOA in Petaluma.

Well here are some more good things about the Petaluma KOA (aka San Francisco North).  It is a  great park for kids -- huge playground, farm animals, pool, woods, etc..  It is a short haul from SF across the Golden Gate -- no more than 30 min. outside of rush hours.  It is also a short haul from Sonoma and the wine country.

Need any advice on LA?
 

camper1b

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Carl Lundquist said:
.....
Need any advice on LA?
As a matter of fact, I probably could use some advise for LA.? My daughter wants to shop on Rodeo Drive.? (Yeah, I know!? Pray for me!)? Other than that, the list of things we think we'd like to do is....
  • Tour to see some stars' homes
  • Groumman's (sp? but you get the idea) Chinese Theatre
  • A tour of a movie studio
  • Venice or some other "Typical LA" beach
  • Some place to watch fireworks (We'll be there over the 4th of July
  • Wife and kids want to do Disneyland on the 4th for the firsworks but I am trying to discourage that

As you can see we are pretty much taking the tourist route for LA.? If you have any suggestions on the above, (like which tour, which studio, etc) that would be great.? If there are other "LA-type" touristy things a family might like, let me know.? Thanks a lot.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Hello Carl:

Carl Lundquist said:
Well here are some more good things about the Petaluma KOA (aka San Francisco North).? ?It is a? great park for kids -- huge playground, farm animals, pool, woods, etc..? ?It is a short haul from SF across the Golden Gate -- no more than 30 min. outside of rush hours.? It is also a short haul from Sonoma and the wine country.

It's just under 40 miles from Petaluma to the toll plaza on the GG Bridge. So to get there in 30 minutes, one would have to be driving 80mph. And I've seen the GG backed up to Seattle outside of rush hours. :) By contrast, it's under 14 miles from the Pacifica park to Fisherman's wharf -- and no Bridges. BTW, if I recall, the toll on the GG was $5.00 a few months back when I did dinner at Scoma's in Sausalito.

OTOH, you are correct about the amenities of the KOA. The Pacifica park is a parking lot with lines - and not too many amenities. However, being on a bluff overlooking the ocean and watching whales and dolphins (that is happening now) would get my vote every time. The major downside of Pacifica is the probability of fog in the summer months.

Of course, I would not stay in any KOA unless absolutely unavoidable - so there is a strong bias there. :mad:
 

Bob Buchanan

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Hello Rich:

>> Venice or some other "Typical LA" beach . . .
====
If you do go I-101 to SF, your last view of the ocean prior to moving inland will be Pismo Beach. It's NOT a typical LA beach as such, but might be a nice overniter on your trip north. I stay at the State Park RV park there ($12.00/nite). There are no hookups, but great campsites and you are just over the sand dunes from the beach. And I love the pier and clam chowder there . . .

Here's a webpage I did when I spent a week there last December.

www.rvspacemanager.com/pismo.htm
 

Carl L

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camper1b said:
As a matter of fact, I probably could use some advise for LA.? My daughter wants to shop on Rodeo Drive.? (Yeah, I know!? Pray for me!)? Other than that, the list of things we think we'd like to do is....
  • Tour to see some stars' homes
  • Groumman's (sp? but you get the idea) Chinese Theatre
  • A tour of a movie studio
  • Venice or some other "Typical LA" beach
  • Some place to watch fireworks (We'll be there over the 4th of July
  • Wife and kids want to do Disneyland on the 4th for the firsworks but I am trying to discourage that

As you can see we are pretty much taking the tourist route for LA.? If you have any suggestions on the above, (like which tour, which studio, etc) that would be great.? If there are other "LA-type" touristy things a family might like, let me know.? Thanks a lot.

A tour to see some stars homes?? ?Best way is to do a Grey Line tour.? ?Actually the stars tend to live in areas like the Malibu Colony, Bel Air, and up in the Santa Barbara area.? ? Any here is a web site that should be of some assistance.? ?Just click on? http://www.seeing-stars.com/index.shtml

Grauman's Chinese is at Hollywood and Highland Blvds. right next to the Kodak Theater.?

Tour of a movie studio?? Well Paramont and Sony offer tours -- but it is liable to be a bit boring, a bunch of big industrial buildings and alleys.? ?Universal does a 'tour' in a sense, sort of studio tour as a theme park.? ?That may be your best bet if you have kids.? ?Most studios including the TV studios do not want kids under 12 on the tour.

Beach?? ?Venice is your best bet.? Best way to see it is to go to the end of Washington Blvd and park in the beach lot.? Next best is to go to the end of Venice Blvd, it is a bit more hectic there.? Venice is fun.? It has Muscle Beach, chainsaw jugglers, all sorts of schlocky vendors, sweeties in bikinis on inline skates.? It is also a well protected beach in terms of lifeguards and riptides.? If you want to swim. I will warn you tho that the North Pacific is a cold ocean.? On a good day it is 70?.? ?


Fireworks?? ?Try this on for size http://www.rosebowlstadium.com/rosebowl_4th.htm.? ? Because they are in the same end of town, you might consider combining it with a Universal City visit.?

Another possible is the Hollywood Bowl show.? OK fire works and lots of tunes.? ?Get your tickets NOW.? Go see at http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/calendar/calendar.cfm?mode=text&month=7&year=2005

If you want the museum scene, we have a couple that would appeal to kids.? ?On the west side there is the Getty http://www.getty.edu/? .? ?Cheap, you only pay for parking.? The view is spectacular and the exhibits include a kid's gallery as I remember.? ? Another, unique to LA is the Autry Western Heritage Museum in Griffith Park.? It is not a Gene Autry museum, he gets a statute in the courtyard and little else.? ?What it is is a museum of Western history, immigrations, peoples, art and memorabilia.? It even documents the West as portrayed in movies.? ? Check them out at http://www.autry-museum.org/
 

Tom

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Bob Buchanan said:
BTW, if I recall, the toll on the GG was $5.00 a few months back when I did dinner at Scoma's in Sausalito.

Right on with the Golden Gate toll Bob, southbound only of course. We had dinner at Scoma's last night with our overseas house guests. Very nice restaurant, excellent service and food. Might be a bit pricey for a family if on a budget.

Enjoyed reading your page on Pismo. I've been promising myself a visit for years, but have never got around to it.
 

Tom

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Rich

Carl's suggestion of a Grey Line bus tour is the best way to tour the homes of the stars. It's been quite a few years since we took visitors on that tour, but I wouldn't waste my time and money to do it again. Hollywood Studios has a good tour with entertainment for the family.

While visiting Mickey Mouse, don't forget the California Adventure park next door, although much smaller than Dsineyland. You can buy multi-park/multi-day passes.

Expect the theme parks to be way too congested over the 4th. Extremely long lines in hot sun for the rides, although you can save the lines by booking rides (when you get to the park). Only downside is the limitation on booking, but it beats standing in lines for an hour at a time. Just visit the less-frequented attractions while waiting for your time on the next ride.
 

camper1b

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I want to thank you guys for responding.? What great information!? I'm printing this thread out to take with us.? Thanks a a bunch!? I will try and keep my trip website updated as this trip unfolds.? You're invited to "come along".? It's at...http://herewego2005.blogspot.com.? Later.
 

Tom

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Rich

Why not post updates of your trip here for everyone to see? Maybe even ttach an occasional photo or two. That way, everyone shares and gets to ask questions.
 
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