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Jul 10, 2018
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Morning All from the Sunny UK!

First post, be gentle, but a little advice please...

I'm hiring an RV in late September for 10 days from Los Angeles to SFO. I've been to this area before, but my travel companions haven't and obviously want to do as much as possible.

Can anyone suggest a route (or a website with information) that would include roughly the following (not in geographic or particular order):-

LAX
Coastal Road 101 North (including a stop in Carmel)
Sequoia National Park
Yosemite
Marin County
Carmel
SFO

The problem is we are doing a one way rental, but up the coast and over to parks seems a difficult route to plan. You can't easily cut across from the coast, it would appear?

We just don't want to be driving for 10 days!

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance

Phil

 

Lou Schneider

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Welcome to The RV Forum!

Unfortunately, I can simplify your decision.  CA 1 (the coastal route) is closed through September 30 due to landslide removal.  They had a massive slippage two years ago north of Cambria (Hearst Castle) and they're still digging through it.

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/display.php?page=sr1

That leaves going from LAX up the Central Valley to Sequoia National Park and Yosemite, then heading over to Monterey Bay and Carmel via Route 152.  If you really want to see Big Sur and the coast, you can drive south from Carmel, then double back the same way out.

Google Maps is a good routing tool.  Just click on Directions, enter your destination(s) and it will show you the way.
 

SeilerBird

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St Cloud Florida USA
First off I must explain that California is over three times larger than just England (163,000 sq miles to 50,00 sq miles). You have picked out some of the most exciting and beautiful spots in the state of California. There is no easy route between all the places. California has two giant mountain ranges running north and south, the coastal range and the Sierra Nevadas. Both make east west driving in the state challenging. I think to hit all those places you will need ten days of driving. If you plan on visiting Yosemite your options are limited since you cannot get an RV site anywhere near the park right now for September. Yosemite reservations have to be five month (exactly) in advance. You would be able to drive through it and stop for a while. I would suggest cutting out the eastern parks and leave them for another trip. Start at LAX and spend the ten days driving up the coast to SF. Then come back again in a few years and visit Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Tahoe.
 
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Lou Schneider said:
Welcome to The RV Forum!

Unfortunately, I can simplify your decision.  CA 1 (the coastal route) is closed through September 30 due to landslide removal.  They had a massive slippage two years ago north of Cambria (Hearst Castle) and they're still digging through it.

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/display.php?page=sr1

That leaves going from LAX up the Central Valley to Sequoia National Park and Yosemite, then heading over to Monterey Bay and Carmel via Route 152.  If you really want to see Big Sur and the coast, you can drive south from Carmel, then double back the same way out.

Google Maps is a good routing tool.  Just click on Directions, enter your destination(s) and it will show you the way.

Thanks Lou

We actually hire 24SEP to 06OCT, so shd be OK up the coast if done first. But you'd recommend Central Valley first? Guess we could do a bit of the coast to Pismo Beach then head due EAST to the Central Valley area.....
 
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SeilerBird said:
First off I must explain that California is over three times larger than just England (163,000 sq miles to 50,00 sq miles). You have picked out some of the most exciting and beautiful spots in the state of California. There is no easy route between all the places. California has two giant mountain ranges running north and south, the coastal range and the Sierra Nevadas. Both make east west driving in the state challenging. I think to hit all those places you will need ten days of driving. If you plan on visiting Yosemite your options are limited since you cannot get an RV site anywhere near the park right now for September. Yosemite reservations have to be five month (exactly) in advance. You would be able to drive through it and stop for a while. I would suggest cutting out the eastern parks and leave them for another trip. Start at LAX and spend the ten days driving up the coast to SF. Then come back again in a few years and visit Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Tahoe.

Thanks - I agree - as you may have spotted, I replied to Lou about doing a small section of the coast before heading East....Or perhaps do the coast and then touch on Yosemite and loop back to SFO...
 

Lou Schneider

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The problem is the section of coast you want to see - the Big Sur area - is blocked until at least September 30.  That puts a kink in going there first.

Have you considered beginning and ending your RV rental in San Francisco?  Due to LA's infamous traffic, it can take the better part of a day just to negotiate your way from LAX to the RV rental place, then out of the LA basin.

If you can't change your international flight, there are numerous inexpensive flights from LAX to SFO.  Just check Expedia or any other website.

San Francisco is closer to the places you want to visit, reducing your driving time.  And by making your RV rental "local" instead of one way you may save enough to pay for the extra airfare.
 
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Thanks Lou and SeilerBird - your advice is very welcome. I'm glad we found out about CA1 rather than when we arrived. Time to discuss with the group....

Phil
 

Larry N.

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I'd also note that when they say it'll be closed until Sept 30, that means "at least until Sept 30," as indicated by Lou in his second post, so that's not a guaranteed opening date.
 

ZinLuvR

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Colville, WA
Good luck.  Caltrans may or may not make their dates, usually they miss it and are late.  Also, by that time most of southern cal will probably be on fire again so pay attention to that.  Keep up on what's going on in the Golden state, it changes.  Also, at that time of year Yosemite will be dry, meaning the waterfalls may or may not have any water and the country side will be brown.  Hears Castle is good any time that I have been down that way.  Monterey/Carmel will be nice since it's on the coast.  San Fran has construction going on all over the place and driving in the city is tough, forget about finding parking.  Not sure if you're wanting to sight see in SF.  If so, consider parking outside  the city and taking BART in and then using MUNI to get around.  The cable cars and the retro's that run down around the wharf's are usually on time and good.  The buses are a mess and have no reliable schedule, same with the MUNI subway, terrible.  There are some really nice places in northern cal, wine country, coast and redwoods and much easier to navigate.  I think 10 days is not enough to do everything you want to do, simply cause cal is either on fire, under construction or cleaning up rock slides.  If that's all the time you have just see where things are when the date gets closer.
 

Arch Hoagland

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Clovis California
We just spent a five days in Monterey at the Monterey County Fairgrounds RV Park. We used to live in the area for 30 years and this is the best deal for doing what you want to do.

https://montereycountyfair.com/about-the-rv-park/ 


I suggest you rent a car when you get there so you can head down the coast to Carmel and on to Big Sur if you like. As others mentioned it's closed below Big Sur. You could drive the class C to those places but parking can be interesting.

I've been to all the places you mentioned several times and if your get crimped for time I'd suggest not going to Sequoia. Yosemite is nicer and you'll see Giant Sequoias in Yosemite too.

 

Lou Schneider

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lungesport

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Welcome!
I would like to comment on your trip. Sequoia Park is wonderfull and you can get there from highway 99 in Fresno, then go east. Its a climb to the top but worth it for the giant Redwoods there. Consider a trip into Kings Canyon as it is a lot like Yosemite Valley with far less congestion. That drive is quite a drop in elevation and fairly fast and the Kings River is really moving alongside the roadway near the bottom. The canyon is a U shaped glacial valley with sheer walls and great wildlife.
You will need to get back to 99 and go north into Merced which will get you to be he south entrance to Yosemite and then into the valley. You can exit Yosemite through highway 120 and head toward the Bay Area going west and cross the Central Valley which is the richest ag area in the world. It?s a beautiful drive into and out of Yosemite through the Sierras and back into the Bay Area. This state is a geological wonderland with glacial features, volcanic features, and the unbelievably beautiful sea shore along Big Sur and Carmel.
Highway 1 along the coast is gorgeous but very slow and requires great concentration. It?s worth it but exhausting in a large vehicle.
Enjoy and good luck!
 
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lungesport said:
Welcome!
I would like to comment on your trip. Sequoia Park is wonderfull and you can get there from highway 99 in Fresno, then go east. Its a climb to the top but worth it for the giant Redwoods there. Consider a trip into Kings Canyon as it is a lot like Yosemite Valley with far less congestion. That drive is quite a drop in elevation and fairly fast and the Kings River is really moving alongside the roadway near the bottom. The canyon is a U shaped glacial valley with sheer walls and great wildlife.
You will need to get back to 99 and go north into Merced which will get you to be he south entrance to Yosemite and then into the valley. You can exit Yosemite through highway 120 and head toward the Bay Area going west and cross the Central Valley which is the richest ag area in the world. It?s a beautiful drive into and out of Yosemite through the Sierras and back into the Bay Area. This state is a geological wonderland with glacial features, volcanic features, and the unbelievably beautiful sea shore along Big Sur and Carmel.
Highway 1 along the coast is gorgeous but very slow and requires great concentration. It?s worth it but exhausting in a large vehicle.
Enjoy and good luck!

lungesport - Thanks for this....so you think up the coast a little, then head east over to Fresno, see giant Redwoods, go north to Kings Canyon, then thru Yosemite and loop back to Bay Area and south to Carmel. Doable in 10 days? Any more road numbers would be greatly appreciated  ;)
 

Stinkielee

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Cambria, CA
Highway 1 is being re-opened on July 20, much sooner than the September predictions that everyone is telling you about.  Here is a link to the article:  https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/community/cambrian/article214288004.html

I know because I live here!
 

lungesport

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Hey Phillip
Once you get to Fresno its east to Sequoia and from there you can make the drop into Kings canyon. I could spend my 10 days there as it is a little Yosemite ?almost?. Then you will climb out and up to Sequoia and back west again to Fresno. From there its north to Merced and east again to Yosemite and into the valley. So far a lot of driving with great scenery but little time for flower smelling. It?s all do able and I think it depends on if your just looking to see some landscape or experience it. Heck I could spend a week in the desert without moving at all.
Hope it all works out
Happy trails
 

ZinLuvR

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Heard that the main road into Yosemite is closed due to fire.  The park is open.  Should be fine in a few days I would think.
 
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Thanks to all for advice - think I've sort of sorted a route now!
Not sure if the attachment will work, but if it does, the route is about 1340 miles, with going from Fairfax down to Carmel and then back to SFO at the end (just in case people are confused!)

Also a mad sister of mine wants to see a dam! She has suggested Monticello Dam which I've built into the route - any better? (other than the obvious Hoover, which is too far away)

Cheers  :)
 

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dkreuzen

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The road from Napa (CA128) to the dam at Lake Berryessa is long, narrow and windy. I suggest you go to it from the Winders side from I-505. You will be passing withing about 6 miles of the dam at Lake Folsom off US50 just east of Sacramento so that may be a better choice.
 

SeilerBird

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Hi Phil - I have many thoughts about your route but first let me tell you my qualifications. I have been RVing most of my life and for 10 years was a full timer. I have been to all of the national parks. I lived in three of the places you will be visiting. 30 years in Ventura, 7 in Santa Cruz and 3 in the Tahoe area. Personally I feel that Yosemite is the most beautiful spot I have ever seen. But I have a question for you first. You are planning on visiting some of the most beautiful spots in the world, Yosemite, Tahoe, Big Sur, Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Why in the world would your sister want to visit a dam? I have been to all the major dams in the state and there is nothing to see at any of them except a big concrete wall holding back a fake lake. You can see the same thing looking at a postcard. The exception is Hoover Dam that has tours and a visitors center.

When you pick up the RV in LA I suggest heading for I-10 and go west to Santa Monica. 10 turns into Highway 1, the coast route. Stay on it until you get just past Oxnard where it turns into 101. Stay on 101 till San Luis Obispo and then turn off onto Highway 1 to get to Pismo. Personally I would prefer Morro Bay over Pismo. Hop on 41 and take it to 198 in Lemoore and take 198 all the way to Sequoia NP and Kings Canyon NP. There is a southern road into Sequoia and you do not want to take that road. To steep and narrow.

Take 198 out to 99 and then hop on 41 to get to Yosemite. You do not want to go east on 120 and exit the eastern end of the park. The road after it leaves Yosemite is very steep and very high (10,000 feet). Go west on 120 and take 49 to 50. 50 will take you to South Lake Tahoe. Here I would recommend a side trip around the lake. It is 75 miles of the most jaw dropping scenery on Earth. Emerald Bay is way beyond description. When you get back to SLT hop on 50 west and at Sacramento get on I-80 to San Francisco (do not call it Frisco or the locals will tar and feather you).

In SF I would take I-80 to I-280 over to Pacifica and hop on Highway 1. Stay on 1 until you wish to return. Your map shows the SF drop located in San Jose. Let me know if you want camping recommendations.
 
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