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Old 08-25-2014, 08:17 PM   #1
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West Coast HWY Trip

Hello Folks,

Never been to California and thinking of tackling a trip starting in Late March near San Diego and up the west coast to the north end of California. We are thinking about using the Pacific Coast Hwy to the maximum extent possible. That brings up a few questions as we think about that plan that perhaps you folks can tell us if we are crazy or just asking for more adventure than fun. LOL

1. Is this kind of route feasible for the most part in a 43' MH & toad? By that I mean are there any serious restrictions because of our size, major lacking in camping places, road conditions and such.

2. With the thought that we want to see as much of the coast as we can, where would it be best we jump over to I-5, I-405, the 101 or any other alternate route?

3. Any other general thoughts and suggestions including recommended places to stay for a week or so at a time are welcome.

BTW...our plan after reaching the north end of CA is to work our way back to Salt Lake City and decide what is next from there.
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:40 PM   #2
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Hwy 1 on the coast is not recommended for your 43' except in few instances. Stay pretty much on 101 and take your toad to check out Hwy 1 areas. There's a highway document to search for geared to where length restrictions are put in place for big rigs. Have a good trip!
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:56 AM   #3
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I live in So Cal and I wouldn't do it. Lots of traffic and That is one big RV. Palm Springs, Death Valley, East Sierras, Pismo Beach area, and a few others. Do your homework on this one first.
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Old 08-26-2014, 02:10 AM   #4
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Great advice re your coach and the coast. There are sections that you DO NOT want to go near with that length. Suggest you do a forum search on the subject.....lots of valuable experience and advice here. BTW, if you want to spend time in the Bay Area, avoid the City with the rig....take the toad. Again, a forum search will provide great info.

If you get to Humboldt County (you will be on 101), plan to spend some time enjoying Giant Redwood Country, especially The Avenue of the Giants. It is an amazingly beautiful area and not a drive-by if time AND weather allows. There is an excellent big-rig freindly RV park in Redcrest, CA (Ancient Redwoods RV Park). It is a great, centrally-located place from which to see the sights. If you have some time there, suggest you see Giant Tree in the Rockefeller Forest and the adjacent area....it will blow you away.

Many other things to do and see there. You might want to have breakfast at the Samoa Cookhouse near Eureka, CA. That's a treat! Also, suggest you take time to look around quaint Ferndale, CA. and have dinner at the Ivanhoe Hotel. Outstanding cuisine and service....be sure to make reservations.

One last thought. Although the West, especially California, is in severe drought, that does not mean you can't run into very heavy rain in late March-early April, especially in the mountainous areas of Northern California. (Actually, most of us out here are praying for it.....all Winter long!) And at the higher elevations along I-5 near and above Shasta, you could easily get snow that time of the year. And it can close the roads over a wide area. I-101 in Humboldt County runs through what the locals would call a rain forest during the Winter and early Spring. Be careful. Perhaps you might want to consider delaying your trip a month or so.

Have a safe trip!!
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Old 08-26-2014, 01:08 PM   #5
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As you depart San Diego you will go up I5 and be along the coast for awhile. You can go on the Coastal road but it goes through local towns and is stop and go - nice, but stop and go.

Try to go through Los Angeles on a Sunday if possible as traffic can be horrible. I usually go around the city to the east as the road is better and the traffic at least bearable. It is around here that you can take Highway 101 and be near the coast.

The drive north of LA is nice and parts of it are along the coast and the Ventura to Santa Barbara is very nice and pleasant. I would plan a stop in the Buellton area as you are now hitting wine country, a little Danish community and lots to do. Just north is the San Luis Obispo area and Pismo Beach, both worth stops.

North of SLO you will pass through Paso Robles, again another great stop for wine lovers as the area is loaded with vineyards and wineries. This wine trip will coninue up the Salinas Valley and some great ag fields. As suggested, go around San Francisco as it is not big rig friendly. There are CGs north and south so that you can take the toad.

From there I would stay on 101 and simply use the toad to visit the coast as others have suggested.

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Old 08-26-2014, 01:19 PM   #6
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We visit CA at least three times a year to see grand children and friends from San Diego to Petaluma. I agree with the others. Stay on Hwy 101 as much as possible.

Here's a site showing highway restrictions for coaches your length that you might find helpful: 45' Bus & Motorhome Map
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Old 08-26-2014, 01:24 PM   #7
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California does have some highway restrictions on motorhomes over 40 feet long. It looks like 101 is OK - 45' Bus & Motorhome Map but you might want to take a look at the maps. North of San Simeon (Hearst Castle) the coast highway CA 1 is restricted. Do visit the Hearst Castle if you get a chance. http://hearstcastle.org/ It is worth a couple of days. The state camp ground south of the Hearst Castle does have space for big rigs but it is dry camping.
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:41 AM   #8
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Thanks for the advice and warnings to all!

1ciderdog, it was funny that I was reading your post this morning at our favorite breakfast place with some friends talking about next year's plans and one said we must visit the Hearst Castle before I mentioned your post. OK...on the itinerary it must go.

Lots of homework ahead of us.
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:49 AM   #9
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If you are a member of the Elks, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Atascadero, have excellent RV parking. In fact thru out CA Elks have some good parking and less $$ for the locations .
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 4x4 View Post
I live in So Cal and I wouldn't do it. Lots of traffic and That is one big RV. Palm Springs, Death Valley, East Sierras, Pismo Beach area, and a few others. Do your homework on this one first.
Maybe something got lost in the translation. I think you are saying don't do the PCH and that has been echoed by others. Are you suggesting "Palm Springs, Death Valley, East Sierras, Pismo Beach area" as places to consider for our trip? Certainly sounds like they could be neat
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:58 AM   #11
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PCH was STUNNING when we went, but we were in a rental sports car...
it was dangerous enough trying to take in all the sites when I FIT on my side of the road, would not try the windy road with that long and wide

but well worth it - offshore boulders the size of office buildings are quite impressive !
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:27 PM   #12
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Pismo Beach is on the coast and easily accessible off the 101, those other spots are far to the east in the desert.

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Old 08-27-2014, 04:06 PM   #13
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As others have said, you don't really want to do PCH in your motorhome. Base yourself in San Luis Obispo/Pismo Beach and then drive the car up to Hearst Castle, then take the whole setup to Monterey via the 101 and highway 61(?) and then drive the car down through Pebble Beach, to Big Sur and the bridges. Then, unless you want to go into San Francisco itself, I would skirt most of the Bay Area by going back out the 61 to the 101, then to the 880, to the 580 and across the San Rafael bridge and back to the 101... and take the 101 the rest of the way. But don't stop at the border -- the Oregon coast (which the 101 tracks) is just stunning and well worth the time to go as far as Tillamook, then go inland.

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Old 08-27-2014, 04:16 PM   #14
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Steve has given you the perfect solution for your route. I have done that route and it is fine for any sized rig. An alternative would be to go to the coast from Paso Robles and you can see Cambria and the Hearst Castle with your toad.

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