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Old 01-23-2012, 07:55 PM   #1
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West Coast trip?

Planning on starting south of San Francisco in June and following the coast to Seattle. Are US 1 and 101 OK for 40' MH plus Toad going south to north? Is it worth it? We have plenty of time and would probably dip into Canada before heading back to Alabama. Any advice or suggestions appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:04 PM   #2
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101 is okay. Avoid 1 between Willits and Fort Bragg. When in Wa. 101 loops around the Olympic Peninsula. Both side are worth seeing, the ocean and Hood canal. Take Ferry out of Port Townsend and Hwy 20 up Whidbey Island and then Hwy 2 across Cascades. Then if you want to go into Canada you can head north on 97 or continue on the Cascade loop of Hwy 20 or head east on US 2.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:01 PM   #3
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Planning on starting south of San Francisco in June and following the coast to Seattle. Are US 1 and 101 OK for 40' MH plus Toad going south to north? Is it worth it? We have plenty of time and would probably dip into Canada before heading back to Alabama. Any advice or suggestions appreciated. Thanks!
Logging trucks operate on the road north of Ft. Bragg almost daily, often making many trips. They are typically longer than a motorhome. Most bicyclists on this popular Canada to Mexico route go from north to south to favor the prevailing winds. If you go south to north just be careful as there are a few tight corners but nothing a motorhome cannot tackle. The scenery is spectacular. If you are a white knuckle driver take US 101 north of San Francisco and use the toad to hop over to the coast. In many ways the coast north of San Francisco and south of Leggett is the most spectacular.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:14 AM   #4
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You will get a lot of good info on this forum re your trip. I would suggest when you travel north on 101 in Humboldt County that you allow some time to see the Giant Redwoods along and adjacent to the Avenue of the Giants. Believe me, this area is NOT a drive by. Suggest you take a couple/three days and see/hike the beauty within this area along the Avenue and environs that is rivaled by very few other scenic areas in this part of the country. Just to see Giant Tree in the Rockafeller State Park (the tree is 350+ ft high, 12 ft in diameter and almost 70ft in circumference) is an incredible experience. The beauty and serenity of this place is amazing. And there are many, many other neat things to see and do in the area. Re RV sites, the best and FRIENDLIEST in the area is Ancient Redwoods RV park in Redvale, CA, right on the Avenue. It is big rig friendly, and the owners are absolutely super. And don't forget to see Ferndale, CA....really neat place. And a wonderful place to have dinner at the end of the day. Have a safe trip!!
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:50 AM   #5
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Hwy 101 in Oregon has some spectacular scenery along the Pacific Ocean. There are some portions that are slower than others but you will not have any issues with your size. Plan on taking your time. Your co-pilot might be happier with your chosen South to North trip...the drops to the ocean are breathtaking.
Lots of state parks but you might need reservations depending when you make the trip. You might consider a Thousand Trails Zone Pass since they cover California, Oregon & Washington very well. Look at the cost vs benefits to see if it works for you. (Note: We are TT members and are a bit prejudiced )
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:56 PM   #6
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I agree, US 101 is good but CA 1 is not for a 40 foot RV. State parks in Oregon are good places to stay while on that leg of the trip.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaverickBBD View Post
101 is okay. Avoid 1 between Willits and Fort Bragg. When in Wa. 101 loops around the Olympic Peninsula. Both side are worth seeing, the ocean and Hood canal. Take Ferry out of Port Townsend and Hwy 20 up Whidbey Island and then Hwy 2 across Cascades. Then if you want to go into Canada you can head north on 97 or continue on the Cascade loop of Hwy 20 or head east on US 2.
Just a note it is still Highway 20 across the Cascades. Nice city RV Park at Sedro-Woolley right on the Skagit River.

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Old 01-24-2012, 05:30 PM   #8
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Hey Wannabe,

Depending on when you make the trip will change whether you should make reservations, at popular places, or not. In the PNW, we are BIG on going to our State and Federal parks. But (and I know I am biased) we have some of the most beautiful parks, per square mile, in the US. You should make reservations, early, for the popular parks, such as Cape Lookout, Ft. Stevens, Cape Disappointment and definately Salt Creek Recreation Area.

If you can, you should consider, crossing over from the coast and visit Crater Lake. Back on the Oregon coast, visit Newport. Lot's to see there to include the Newport Aquarium (http://www.newportaquarium.com/). There are plenty of RV parks there to include one on the water at the Marina (http://www.portofnewport.com/rv-parks/index.php).

Going up the coast, really recommend Cape Lookout State Park. I love it there! Below is a link with information/photos to include links to state site and also a map- of the campground- that I added information about the various sites. This campground is right on the beach. There are really nice bathrooms and showers (free) http://www.inua.us/CampingLocations_CapeLookout.htm

From there, is Tillamook. If you have a chance, stop by the Cheese Factory.

Going north you will come to Fort Stevens. The biggest state campground in the US. Doesn't feel that way though as the sites, in most loops, are spread out pretty well. Miles of paved bike paths and beach access. You can use this campground as a base while checking out Astoria. The city just celebrated its bicentennial last year and is one of the oldest towns in the Pacific Northwest. A lot to see there.

Going across the Astoria Bridge you come to Cape Disappointment (http://funbeach.com/local-attractions/cape-disappointment-state-park/) which is on the south end of the Long Beach peninsula.

Going north, 101, takes you around the Olympic Peninsula- to include going through Forks (if you are a 'Twilight' fan, you'll recognize it). Forks, for me, was a bit of a disappointment. It is, pretty much, a tourist trap. The town, which they show in the movie as being Forks, is really Vernonia, Oregon. That is a very pretty town but not on your planned route.



As you go around, to the north, of Olympic National Park, you will drive next to Crescent Lake. Definitely use the scenic pull outs to take photos. It is beautiful!! Here is a shot below.





I would recommend staying at Salt Creek Recreation Area. It's about 16 miles west of Port Angeles, right on the Juan De Fuca Strait. At night you can see the lights of Victoria, BC. Deer go through the park in the AM & PM.



The campground has two sections, a paved- tier- parking (where I recommend parking a 40 ft MH) and a primitive section. The paved section has electric/water with dump station above the tier parking. There are also coin-pay showers/bathrooms. There are three or four pull throughs, in the paved section, but I really recommend pulling straight into the top tier of RV parking. The view is spectacular!! You can back into the other two rows but the top row really gets an amazing view. The photo below shows the three tiers.



Looking down on the paved part of campground:



Tidal beach/pools off of the primitive section of campground:



The Salt Creek Rec Area is a good spot to base camp as you see the area. One place to see is Hurricane Ridge, in the Olympic National Park. The drive is incredible (you can take a 40' but better to enjoy in a toad).

Driving up, to the Ridge, has a lot of scenic view stops. 99% of them have education pedestals. Here is one of them:



The shot below is at one of the look-outs, looking down toward Port Angeles, WA



This shot was of Hurricane Ridge and Glacier (far right) from the Visitors Center:



You can take the Ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, BC (Black Ball Ferry Line - Fares & Schedules) It would cost about $200 (one way) to take your 40' motorhome there, but if you do, there are a number of RV parks, on the island.

Going south, out of the Olympic Peninsula, it is easy to get to Seattle. While there, you should take the Seattle Underground Tour (UNDERGROUND TOUR) I really enjoyed it. You should also go to Pike Place Market (Pike Place Market - Home).

From Seattle, you can take a number of highways to go back to Alabama. If you go back down the I-5, stop and see Mt. St. Helen's. The Observatory has an amazing view and they have a movie theater that has a movie of what happened. Stay till the end, there is a surprise (MountStHelens.com Information Resource Center & Visitor Guide ) There are a number of RV parks that you can leave your rig and use your toad to go up the mountain. The drive in is something to be experienced, especially when you get to the blast zone. Pictures do not do justice regarding the force and expanse of the blast in 1980.

Patty's Place @ 19 mile House (Home-Style Burgers Toutle, WA - Patty''s Place @ 19 Mile House) is a good place to eat, either going up the mountain or coming down. They have a covered deck that looks out, high, over the river.

From seeing Mt. St. Helens, heading south on the I-5, you can take I-84 east (from I-205 or I-5 in Portland (205 is easier, that starts in Vancouver, WA and will save you from taking your 40' rig into downtown Portland). I-84 will take you through The Columbia River Gorge (Columbia River Gorge Visitors Association). Lot's to see there to include Multnomah Falls (also shown in Twilight) and others. Lot's of camping areas, both state and private. This will take you to the eastern part of the state where you can go a number of ways back to Alabama.

I hope that some of this helps in your planning process.

Sheila
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:20 PM   #9
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Sheila,
Do you work as a tour guide? Thanks for the great pictures and tips. Now if just 10 more would make similar suggestions, our trip will be planned. Thanks again!
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:19 PM   #10
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The most fun part will be driving through San Francisco on 101.

Study the route through the city on Google maps before starting out and keep an eye out for the upcoming turns on various streets.

Great fun going neck to neck with the city buses up and down the hills.

I think the rest of the trip is very worth while to do. What time of the year are you planning to go?
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:24 PM   #11
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Should be in the SF area at the end of June. I've pretty well decided to skirt SF but make a day or two visit with the Toad.
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:35 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by 1ciderdog View Post
I agree, US 101 is good but CA 1 is not for a 40 foot RV. State parks in Oregon are good places to stay while on that leg of the trip.
Safe Travels
Bob
Didn't CA1 used to be on the 40' or over "prohibited" list? Not sure if it still is though.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:53 AM   #13
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We did the coast drive twice both times south to north. The last time we were in a travel trailer and pickup. The road north of San Francisco was a challenge.

But the first trip in 1989 and in a Sunbird Convertible now that is the way to do 101 and Ca 1. With the top down sightseeing was a blast. We camped at state parks all the way up to Mt. St Helens. This trip was what motivated us to go full timing when we retired.
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:21 AM   #14
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On the North Oregon Coast you will find Battery Russell/Fort Stevens which was one of the defense posts last used in WWII. The large guns were "disappearing guns" which you can see a scale model in action at the museum. Fort Canby, now Cape Disappointment, across the "bridge to nowhere" (recommend checking for high winds before crossing) Visitor Information | Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce - The Spirit of the Columbia you will find an outstanding interpretive center with amazing views actually built on one of the gun batteries. You can explore some of the overgrown WWII buildings. You will also find Fort Columbia just after you come off the end of the bridge. Fort Columbia is the most intact of all the Columbia River defensive posts.
Well worth a few days stay in the area. Lots of history...Lewis & Clark and war defense.
On the Long Beach Pennisula you have access to the Lewis & Clark Trail, ability to drive on a very long beach, tour cranberry bogs, and oyster beds.
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