CA Pacific Coast Highway

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

fivekatz

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Posts
5
I know there are prevailing thoughts from never would drive this highway in a MH to it is a must do. We are set and committed to a West Coast Road Trip this summer on sections of Highway 1. I am looking for some driving tips and do's and don'ts for the legs of the highway we are committed to.

We will be traveling from Napa Valley and cutting across traveling a section of Hwy 1 in Mendocino County until it ends in Leggett.

We will then go up 101 to Redwood Country and up to Crater Lake in Washington (oops I meant Oregon)  :D. After that we will use I-5 to make the haul all the way down to Marina and then will travel the Coast Highway until it ends before Pismo Beach. We will have stays in Big Sur, Morro Bay, Pismo and Buellton on this Central Coast leg of our holiday.

The rig will be a 32' Fleetwood Southwind. Advise and suggestions on how to best enjoy this journey. I know it is ambitious for a first timer, so the advise of the more veteran members is appreciated.

Marc

edited for typo
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
Others can give you details on the PCH but as I recall, there are some low tunnels north of the Golden Gate that a motor home just won't fit through.

Also, Crater Lake NP is in Oregon, no need to drive all the way to Washington :)
 

fivekatz

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Posts
5
Thanks for the heads up on the typo.

We are avoiding that section of PCH in Marin County like the plague. I drove that when I went to college up there and I did not find the drive worth it in a compact car!
 

Chet18013

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 5, 2005
Posts
1,850
Location
Full time in RV. Home is where we are parked
I drove up that section of US1 last year in our 40' Beaver. We had no problems, except the toad hitch did a light scrape on the pavement on one of the real sharp hairpin turns going north from Ft Bragg. We enjoyed the coast and saw some great places on top of the ocean bluffs, just north of Ft Bragg where there were 4-5 motorhomes boondocking. Would love to go back there and sit there and watch the sunset.

Chet18013
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
If you are bothered by vertigo at all, do the PCH northbound.  Southbound you are on ocean side of a narrow heavily switchbacked road.  If you are not so bothered, the southbound trip puts you on the side of the view turnouts and avoids having to crosss the oncoming lane at blind turns.

If you want to avoid the mess between Gualula and Bodega Bay,  divert over to Ft. Bragg from US 101.  That will put you in reach of Ft. Ross and Mendicino.  There is a very good RV CG at Poma, just south of Ft. Bragg.  Read the write up of the Ft. Bragg road in Mountain Directory to see if you want to do it.
 

fivekatz

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Posts
5
Thanks Carl. I take it you have driven the stretch of CA 20 from 101 to the coast? How is that drive? Scenic? Easy or challenging?
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
No, I came in thru the CA-1  road from Leggett.  I was doing CA-1 southbound.  This was, as it turned out, really dumb.  Like I said read the write up for CA-20 in Mountain Directory.  Both roads are restricted from rigs over 30 from kingpin to rear axle.  Nevertheless semis do use the routes to get to Bragg and the coast.

CA-128 thru Booneville may also a possible.  MD has no write up on that route, which may be good news.

Maybe someone else has done the 20 and 128 routes.
 

Ken & Sheila

Site Team
Joined
Mar 5, 2005
Posts
3,815
Location
S Dakota
In over 120,000 miles of large motorhome driving all across the USA, CA 1 from Union Landing (north of Fort Bragg) to Leggett is the only section of road I have driven that I will never drive again. Sharing a road with loggin trucks that has numerous hairpin turns where I and they must cross the center line to make the turn is not a fun trip. Maybe I jsut drove this road on a heavy logging day, but as I remember traffic other than the logging trucks was light because it was a holiday. I assumed that on most days the traffic would be heavier, including more logging trucks and other semis.

Route 20 from Willits to Fort Bragg also has many hairpin turns, but many of them have a pull out just before the turn where you can let traffic go by and wait out opposing traffic. I don't remember this road as being nearly as bad a CA1 north to Leggett

ken
 

Chet18013

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 5, 2005
Posts
1,850
Location
Full time in RV. Home is where we are parked
Hi Ken,

Almost all of the logging activity in that area has ceased and the only operating saw mill we saw is the one in Leggett.  All the other mills along the way were closed and in the process of being demolished. When we drove that roue last year, we only encountered one logging truck and that one was 1/2 mile before Leggett.  The road surface was excellant, however it doen't have hardly more than 100 yards of streight road in the whole 21 miles.

Chet18013
 

fivekatz

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Posts
5
I have ordered the Mountain Directory so thanks for the tip Carl. With the journey to Crater Lake and the other destinations we have in mind this will be handy.

Has anybody traveled CA 128 from US 101 to the coast? Looks pretty scenic on Google Earth and not as constantly filled with switch backs. It adds some time to this leg of the trip but if it is a more pleasant and scenic route we figure that is what the trip should be all about.

Thanks in advance and thanks to those who have already provided information.

Marc
 

Ken & Sheila

Site Team
Joined
Mar 5, 2005
Posts
3,815
Location
S Dakota
Chet,

If there were no trucks and traffic was light it would not be too bad. But there was no place (pull oovers) as I rememeber to allow traffic to pass.

ken
 

wally12

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 28, 2006
Posts
93
avoid G-18 and the Nacimiento road from HWY 101 to HWY 1..very steep and all switch backs, one and a half lanes wide...NO FUN
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
wally12 said:
avoid G-18 and the Nacimiento road from HWY 101 to HWY 1..very steep and all switch backs, one and a half lanes wide...NO FUN

Actually the Nacimiento Road from 101 to at least the crest of the Sta. Lucias is one of the most romantically scenic trips in California.  You go thru Ft. Hunter Liggett which is an Army manuever ground -- the landscape is pure primative California.  Misssion San Antonio de Padua, currently being run by the Franciscans is in the middle and open for touring.  Not open for turning is the white castle like Hearst Hacienda.  It is part of the Army facilities but at one time was a Hearst luxury hideaway.  When Mrs. Hearst visited the Castle on the coast, Marion Davies, Hearst's mistress was stowed away at the Hacienda.

However, don't run an RV over the Road.  The downgrade from the crest to CA-1 is pure vertigo with grades in the 8% + range.  Use your toad or tow vehicle.
 

explorenorcal

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Posts
7
fivekatz said:
Thanks Carl. I take it you have driven the stretch of CA 20 from 101 to the coast? How is that drive? Scenic? Easy or challenging?

HWY 20 is narrow and has lots of curves. Not much in the scenery department, some redwoods, and oak hills. Hard on the breaks (especially west bound to the coast).

HWY 128 is a better route for bigger riggs... It follows the Navarro River to the coast.

HWY 1 from Fort Bragg to Leggett is a very narrow road that makes many turns. On the northern end of HWY 1, past westport, If you have low clearance, you will bottom out going northbound. The road has many scrape marks from past travelers.

HWY 101 is not very scenic through this stretch, but it is a lot less stressful.

If you want to see the northern HWY 1 stretch of highway, staying south of westport would be advised, i'd suggest backtracking to HWY 128, if your rv is longer than say 30'... That last leg of HWY 1 to leggett is not fun.


 
Top Bottom