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Old 05-06-2016, 01:36 PM   #1
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Houston to California

Hi folks,
We will be starting our first long trip later this month, from Houston to Santa Rosa, California and back. Santa Rosa is family visit.
Purchased our RV late last year, been doing short 3 to 5 day trips within Texas over winter and spring, but now getting our feet wet on a 2+ month trip. Been working on reservations/routing, and thought I might get any opinions from more seasoned folks.
My wife and I both want to drive somewhere between 100-200 miles per day, get where we're going by early afternoon, with not too many days of daily driving before we lay over for a day or more. But we know its also a long trip and we wanted to keep the total time to about 2 months. And also see some sights along the way. Also want to spend most nights in a secure park where we can put out slides, have power and water available, etc, so will be spending most nights in state parks or public/private campgrounds.
So far, the plan is to head west on I-10, will be stopping in La Grange for a 4-day Tiffin club rally, then Fredericksburg, Ft Stockton, head to Carlsbad and Roswell, Alamogordo (wife was stationed there ages ago), check out Quartzsite area, then on over to Sequoia NP and Yosemite NP for several days each, after several overnight stays on the way. Then up to Santa Rosa for a two week stay (homebase at a KOA), visiting family and checking out Napa Valley area and other nearby attractions. We will be towing a car to get around in.
After Santa Rosa, make it over to Lake Tahoe for a couple days, head down the east side of the Sierras, and do most of our traveling back on I-40. Will stop and take the train ride to Grand Canyon south rim, visit Petrified Forest NP, Meteor Crater, and make our way back into Texas via Amarillo, then all Texas state parks until back in Houston. several day stop in Fort Worth to visit kids/grandkids.
We expect to make many more "long" trips over the next few years, getting further up into the Northwest, trips to the upper and lower East coast, Great Lakes area, New England area. I think in terms of doing a big loop on each trip so we're seeing new places on the trip back as well. Is that what others do? We're definitely not wanting to full time, enjoy our homelife too much, but goal is to eventually see all the states, so hoping this first trip format goes well. Appreciate any feedback. Thanks.
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Old 05-06-2016, 03:02 PM   #2
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Here we are in Santa Rosa. The Petaluma KOA is a nice place to stay. A bit expensive, but nice. SR has the Charles Shultz museum. Not far to the coast either. Muir Woods, go early. Armstrong Grove Redwoods on the Russian River. Wine, wine and more Wine. We have some of the best micro breweries around, Russian River, (SR) Bear Republic in Healdsburg. Lake Sonoma is full! A trip to SF is not that far. I like your plan.
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Old 05-06-2016, 03:39 PM   #3
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Lol . . . Petaluma KOA is actually where we will be staying! Yes, a bit pricy, but looks like a very nice place (online), so a good spot to come back to after a long day. Thanks! Yes, looking forward to lots of brewery tours etc in the area, redwoods, coast, etc. Oregon & Washington will need to wait for a later trip.

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Here we are in Santa Rosa. The Petaluma KOA is a nice place to stay. A bit expensive, but nice. SR has the Charles Shultz museum. Not far to the coast either. Muir Woods, go early. Armstrong Grove Redwoods on the Russian River. Wine, wine and more Wine. We have some of the best micro breweries around, Russian River, (SR) Bear Republic in Healdsburg. Lake Sonoma is full! A trip to SF is not that far. I like your plan.
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:13 PM   #4
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Jim,

That is a wonderful trip that you have planned. We have been to most of the places you are planning to see.

A couple of thoughts: The trip from Tahoe to I-40 isn't very direct. And what you are missing is the Pacific Coast. You may want to consider heading West on I-10 (if you really want to see Quartzite, stop for a few minutes and continue on!) take I-210 then 134 to 101. You can stay on 101 along the coast. You can stop at Reagan Library if you desire, maybe stay at Rincon Parkway (a dry-camping designated RV parking area on Hi-way 1 south of Santa Barbara. Right on the ocean and really cool!. North to Pismo Beach, Monterey (don't take Hi-way 1), and up to your destination. Returning you could do Yosemite and Sequoia, then catch I-40 at Barstow. Just some food for thought. We love the ocean and take that route whenever we can.

Also, 100-200 miles is great. But Texas is a LONG state with a lot of nothing. Maybe you could stretch you day out to 300+ miles a couple of days and lesson the boredom?

Enjoy!
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:27 PM   #5
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If you do take the I10 west, you can stop at Rock Hound State park in NM, right outside of Deming, also Picacho Peak state park in AZ is a nice stop too, both are close to the I10
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:06 AM   #6
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Thanks for the comments so far . . . we will be staying at Rock Hound and Picacho Peak state parks overnight, hopefully getting there early enough to do some exploring before heading out the next day. Spending an extra day each in Carlsbad and Roswell, so staying in Brantley Lake and Bottomless Lakes state parks there, had read recommendations of them as well. The various state parks we're staying at really do help cut the cost while allowing slides out and providing water/electric. Not quite ready for a steady stream of Cracker Barrel or Walmart lots yet this trip, but we may get there sometime as well.

For the coast, I had considered 101 earlier, but my wife has a fairly strong fear of heights, does not want to drive on windy roads with any dropoffs, at least until she gets more used to the RV seating height. Do love the ocean, thinking we'll just have to leave 101 for a later trip up and down the whole oregon/california coast. Do plan on getting over to the upper Cali coast by car during our time in Santa Rosa.

Yep, I know Texas is a big state, and western Texas is long and flat, I've driven through it by car before. We will probably drive through more per day on a later trip, but for this first one my wife didn't want to be spending too much time in the seat. She did agree to a couple of Rest stop overnights to see how those go, Texas has made some very nice Rest stops designed for overnighting, and fortunately our RV is roomy enough without putting the slides out to do that for an overnight.
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimHB View Post
Lol . . . Petaluma KOA is actually where we will be staying! Yes, a bit pricy, but looks like a very nice place (online), so a good spot to come back to after a long day. Thanks! Yes, looking forward to lots of brewery tours etc in the area, redwoods, coast, etc. Oregon & Washington will need to wait for a later trip.

We took 3 of our grandkids on an outing there last fall. Lots for kids and still quiet at night. Really liked it.
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Old 05-08-2016, 01:15 PM   #8
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Your covering a lot of ground in both your trip & post. Might I be so bold as to suggest you ask specific questions as the need arises? And . . . 101 in Cal is a freeway virtually all the way. You're thinking of Highway 1 when thinking of a perilous drive. Your idea of short days of driving & staying for a couple of days periodically is exactly what we do. Quartzite is a big deal during the winter. Probably not much there now. Accessing Yosemite & Sequia this time of year . . . Crowded. If you don't have reservations you will likely be parking your RV outside the park(s) and taking the toad. Which is my preference anyway.
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Old 05-08-2016, 08:50 PM   #9
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For the coast, I had considered 101 earlier, but my wife has a fairly strong fear of heights, does not want to drive on windy roads with any dropoffs, at least until she gets more used to the RV seating height. Do love the ocean, thinking we'll just have to leave 101 for a later trip up and down the whole oregon/california coast. Do plan on getting over to the upper Cali coast by car during our time in Santa Rosa.
Definitely reconsider driving 101. There are no drop-offs and from San Francisco north it's driving through the giant redwoods.

I think you're thinking of Hwy 1 - an altogether different highway with drop-offs. However, in many areas of 101 you can park the RV and take a day trip over to Hwy 1 in your vehicle.

Ancient Redwoods RV at Redcrest is a very nice place to stop. It's right in the heart of the big trees and easy access to nice trails among them.
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Old 05-09-2016, 11:06 AM   #10
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101 is a very easy drive and I would recommend it except for that portion that goes through SF.
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