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Old 10-10-2016, 02:08 PM   #1
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West Coast US Summer trip.

Hello everyone. Next summer we are traveling from Florida to California. So far it looks like we will be stopping in these places and in this order. This year I am planning on doing things a little different and we are actually going to make reservations. We need help with suggested campgrounds and length of stay. We don't need full hookups because we don't plan on staying anywhere more than 5 days. Electric and water would be a plus, but if not somewhere I can run the genny for a few hours.

San Diego
Sequoia National Park
Death Valley National Park
San Francisco
Redwood National Park
Portland
Olympic National Park
Mount Rainier
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Old 10-10-2016, 03:08 PM   #2
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Sounds like a great trip. If your going to Rainier, You need to add Mt St. Helens. Well worth the extra night. There is a Visiter center about 4 miles off I-5 with RV Parks near the exit. A great day trip is to go to the visitor center (Johnson?) nearer the Mountain. We stay at Brook Hollow RV Park in Kelso, WA which is about 12 miles south of the St Helens offramp.
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Old 10-10-2016, 03:49 PM   #3
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Do your homework on Death Valley. I'm pretty sure that's a winter destination, not summer. I could be wrong.

We camp and ride in the nearby deserts during the winter, but we stop our trips no later than Memorial Day because of the heat. It only gets worse the closer you get to Death Valley.
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Old 10-11-2016, 12:33 PM   #4
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Do your homework on Death Valley. I'm pretty sure that's a winter destination, not summer. I could be wrong.

We camp and ride in the nearby deserts during the winter, but we stop our trips no later than Memorial Day because of the heat. It only gets worse the closer you get to Death Valley.
Unfortunately we live in Florida and can only take these trips in the summer. My kids are in school. We try to see as much as possible when we do these trips and I would hate to miss Death Valley.
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Old 11-01-2016, 04:13 PM   #5
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Im sitting here trying to get this trip in order and Death Valley is a little out of the way. I'm wondering if going from San Diego, LA, Sequoia and then Yosemite would be better. Leaving Death Valley out completely. What do you think?
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Old 11-01-2016, 05:37 PM   #6
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We stayed at KOA in Port Angles. Three days to see the rain forest and surrounding areas. Hope for clear weather to see Hurricane Ridge. Contact the Olympic forest and down load their information. We also enjoyed Port Townsend. Suggest Fort Worden campground. Make reservations early for this site right on the strait.
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Old 11-02-2016, 01:27 PM   #7
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Im sitting here trying to get this trip in order and Death Valley is a little out of the way. I'm wondering if going from San Diego, LA, Sequoia and then Yosemite would be better. Leaving Death Valley out completely. What do you think?
We camp out near Death Valley during the winter and ride dirt bikes out there. Our riding season is November though May. I wouldn't go to Death Valley in the summer. Not only is it out of the way, but the heat is miserable and even dangerous.

When you plan your north/south route in California, you have to kind of pick a lane and stick with it. There's the coastal route (Hwy 1 and Hwy 101), the central valley route (I-5 and hwy 99), and the Owens Valley (395). You can traverse a little between 101 and I-5, since the elevation change isn't too drastic. But there are only a few ways to cross over the Sierras to get from the central valley to the Owens Valley.

To get to Death Valley, you have to go way east, out of the Owens Valley across the Panamints to the other side. It isn't on the way to anything though.

The Sierra range is long and gradual with foothills on the west side. Then on the eastern side it's very steep and blunt. It's a very different experience between the two sides of the range.

If you want to visit the Sequoias from L.A., you would go up the central valley through the foothills in the western Sierras. From there you'd go north up towards Sacramento and then turn east to get up to Yosemite. If the Sequoias weren't on your list, you could go from L.A. to Death Valley (sweat your brains out) and then back north-west back to the Owens Valley to enter Yosemite from the east. You can't easily hit all of those dots without a lot of backtracking though.

Instead of Death Valley, I would recommend something cool and fun. Look for a rafting trip on the Tuolumne or American rivers. You can take a 1- or 2-day overnight trip. We've done both of those rivers and the trips are incredible. There are plenty of rafting companies to choose from on both of those rivers. The earlier in the summer you go, the higher the rivers will be.

Our daughter was a rafting guide on the American river for the past few summers and we would go up to visit her. It was a blast. Way better than Death Valley that time of year.

It's fun to see you mapping out your trip. There is SO MUCH to see.

I don't know how much time you have, but a fun day trip from Yosemite is the ghost town of Bodie. There's a lot to see at Bodie. We did that trip from Yosemite a few years ago.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:08 PM   #8
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Dedmiston thank you for your comments. I've taken Death Valley out. This is a map of where we are going. The debate now is do we take out more spots. So far the most difficult part is being firm on dates so that we can book spots. We find it more liberating to just travel and book as we go. But I've been told that we will have trouble finding spots that far west.
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:46 PM   #9
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When we travel we usually book ahead. We plan on travelling 400 miles a day. We leave around 6 am and are in the campground around 3pm. You can always plan around these times if there are spots you want to see or take extra days at
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Old 11-03-2016, 07:09 PM   #10
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For us the problem isn't the traveling and the time. I just hate to book let's say 4 days somewhere and then want to leave early or stay longer. If I have the next spot booked I'm forced to go.
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:03 AM   #11
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Personally , I have never booked anything on a cross country trip. There is always somewhere to stay. Keeps options open for changes in plans. Most campground have an overflow lot just in case it is full.
I have never had problems and keeps the stresss off.
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Old 11-04-2016, 10:28 AM   #12
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How long is your rig, Bert? If it's not a mega long monster like mine (44.5'), then you'll be flexible enough to fit into different types of spaces.
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Old 11-04-2016, 04:29 PM   #13
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Glad you dropped Death Valley and added Yosemite. Hopefully you also added Lake Tahoe. You do need reservations around Yosemite, either in the park or nearby. There are few RV parks close to SF so again reservations will be needed. Last year we stayed further away at the Alameda County Fairgrounds RV park, even there sites were limited.

Traveling Ca 1 north of SF will be extremely slow travel, two lane road, you will hold up traffic and pull outs are limited. Towing along the Oregon coast will be somewhat better, more small towns and day use state parks. You should also consider Crater Lake NP, we stayed just outside the park at Diamond Lake RV park. Oregon State Parks are probably the best SP system with some great ones along the coast, check out the web site.
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Old 11-07-2016, 01:11 PM   #14
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I too agree with Dave about missing Death Valley in the summer. Beautiful place to see in the winter.
I would disagree with trying to go up the Owens Valley (395) and then try to cross the Sierra's from the east into Yosemite, pulling a trailer. Too much steep and narrow roads.
You might also consider driving up the coast out of L.A. There's some nice camp spots along the 101 at Ventura, both private and public, but some public camping doesn't allow for reservations and that time of year might be difficult.
Also, lots of camping on the I-5 up near Mt Shasta near the top end of the state.
Coming out of San Diego there's a nice campground at Lake Skinner just north of Temecula in wine country.
A nice Reserve America campground just north of Laguna Beach in Orange County, along PCH is Crystal Cove overlooking the Pacific with access to a nice beach cove.
Lots of places here.
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Old 11-07-2016, 01:55 PM   #15
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I would disagree with trying to go up the Owens Valley (395) and then try to cross the Sierra's from the east into Yosemite, pulling a trailer. Too much steep and narrow roads.
You might also consider driving up the coast out of L.A. There's some nice camp spots along the 101 at Ventura, both private and public, but some public camping doesn't allow for reservations and that time of year might be difficult.
I might consider towing the Tioga Pass road from west to east with good brakes, but you are right, it is narrow and curvy on the west side and a long steep downgrade on the east. But from Mono Lake there is the June Lake area just south on 395 and then north on 395 to Lake Tahoe.

Last year we couldn't get into anything public or private around Ventura, either 'no dogs' or no vacancy, but then the Ventura County Fair was in swing. We had to stay at a little, old park in Santa Paula. Similar problems around Moro Bay, but stayed at a new park, Vines RV Resort just north of Paso Robles.
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