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Old 08-19-2012, 12:09 PM   #1
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Best route: SF to Santa Barbra

Hi. Leaving fromNapa to Santa Barbra via Monterey/Carmel. Hwy 101 OK for 45 foot coach w/ towed car? Heard Hwy 1 to be avoided with a big rig. Any suggestions, comments? Thanks.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:26 PM   #2
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Look at 280, to 85, to 101. Commute hours in the San Jose to Salinas are nasty. Might also consider the Richmond Bridge (Southbound is no toll) onto 880 to 101. The whole Bay Area is a real PITA.

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Old 08-19-2012, 12:39 PM   #3
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You should have no problems on Hwy 101. There's a short but steep section coming down Cuesta Grade between Atascadero and San Luis Obispo (7%), but take your time, gear down, engine brake on, and you'll have no problems. Highway 1 could be a bit tight, although amazingly scenic. I'd take 101 instead.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:51 PM   #4
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You heard right about Highway 1. That is unless you like hairpin turns with steep cliffs and drop offs of hundreds of feet, oh and you would need to be a National Champion at the Truck Rodeo. We're CA residents of 30+ years have traveled from Los Angeles to SF Bay area many times. You have basically 2 routes available: I-5 or SR 101. I suggest you stay away from I-5 as the road, while straight has many sections that are in serious need of repair. SR 101 is more scenic and will take you directly into Santa Barbara. Remember the state is broke and fuel prices are higher than other states. Try to fill up before entering the state and only purchase enough fuel to get you back out. It is a beautiful place to visit. Along the 101 route you might want to stop in Solvang (Scandinavian / Dutch shopping area) & there are many wineries in the SB area where you can spend a week touring and drinking. Sorry I cannot recommend any places to stay in your coach. We got ours and left the state. The LA area is thin on campgrounds also. There is a 1000 Trails in Soledad Canyon. If you get to the LA area and happen to need any service, Benchmark RV in Sun Valley is an awesome place. Other questions you may pm me.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:53 PM   #5
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Do yourself a favor-
DO NOT, I REPEAT-DO NOT- TAKE HWY 1 DOWN THE COAST!
I did it once 40 years ago and will never do it again.
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:18 PM   #6
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Since you are asking, I would venture that the southbound coast road (side with the DROP-OFF) is not for you. The 2 other routes (101 or 5) will most probably be comfortable for your coach/toad.

I would avoid the City (101 over the Goldengate) for traffic concerns too, but it is a beautiful drive...If you go for it, the 280 to 85 then back to 101 will speed things up once you are South of the City.

Napa is already East so the easiest way is 12, 80 to 880. Then you pick-up 101 South of San Jose...as was said above, avoiding the commute periods along the East Bay will make the drive much more enjoyable.

Good luck!
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Old 08-19-2012, 05:06 PM   #7
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Agree with the 101 input. Will add that if you are not in a rush, stop at Wine Country RV, Paso Robles, for a day or two too. Good wines in the region (Justins, Tobin Jams, Eberle, Lohr, Wild Horse, etc., etc.). You can also take day drives over for lunch in Morrow Bay, hit Hearst Castle, and then run about 20 mins Nortn on 1, to the (forget the name here) nice cliffside resturant and hotel, think it's called Ragged Point or Ragged Cliff. Good view, good food. Stop on the way back, and if the season is right, some lazy sea lions have quite a spot.

That would break up your run from Napa to Santa Barbara, and give you a chance to spend some more coin along the way!

Travel safe, have fun, and watch your CCC limits with all those cases of wine!
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Old 08-19-2012, 05:20 PM   #8
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Head straight down the 101. Beautiful easy drive. The "1" between Carmel and Morro Bay is hairy, and heading south you will be on the ocean cliff side of the road, often without a shoulder, making it double hairy. Stick with the 101. Stop at the Giant Artichoke in the Gilroy area for some deep fried Artichokes. Lots of wine tasting all along the way. Flying Flags RV Resort in Buelton is a wonderful basecamp for the Santa Barbara area.
Happy Trails.
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Old 08-19-2012, 05:48 PM   #9
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May want to stop and see the Spanish Mission in Lompoc, Not a lot of people know of it
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:44 PM   #10
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Forgot to mention another thing about the route through the city of San Francisco...there really is no highway once you are about a mile south of the end of the Goldengate Bridge.

If you follow the Hwy101 signs - you will drive East along Lombard (not the wiggly section), turn South on Van Ness (through the center of the "downtown" highrise buildings until you get on Octavia (AKA Central Freeway) to Southbound I-80...It's all called 101, but ya' know San Francisco was there before the automobile.

If you follow the Hwy1 signs - you will go South on Veterans Blvd, which turns into Park Presido, which turns West on Shoreline Hwy via Crossover Drive (through Goldengate Park) then back South all the way to I-280...it's all called 1, but ya' know...

Like I said, it's very scenic...there is traffic most anytime of the day...so you gotta ask yourself "how do I like city driving?"

Best of luck and enjoy!
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Old 08-20-2012, 05:30 AM   #11
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If your coach is 45' long you are prohibited from using SR1. CA has many routes where vehicles over 40' are prohibited. Buy a truckers atlas at any truck stop or go to the Caltrans website for detailed info.

Even if legal,southbound on US 1 between Big Sur and San Simeon is not for the faint of heart. Miles and miles of shear cliffs hundreds of feet straight down into the ocean. Especially harrowing for any passengers in right front seat.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:13 AM   #12
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X2 on:

*Take 101 instead of 5
* Avoid hwy 1 if you value your marital status
* Flying Flags resort and Solvang. Among our favorite spots.
* Wine Country RV in Paso Robles.

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Old 08-20-2012, 06:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickO View Post
X2 on:

*Take 101 instead of 5
* Avoid hwy 1 if you value your marital status
* Flying Flags resort and Solvang. Among our favorite spots.
* Wine Country RV in Paso Robles.

Rick

X3 plus:

"NAPA is for auto parts Paso Robles is for wine" just ask them.
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarab0088 View Post
I would avoid the City (101 over the Goldengate) for traffic concerns too, but it is a beautiful drive...If you go for it, the 280 to 85 then back to 101 will speed things up once you are South of the City..
If you are going to cross the 101/Golden Gate for the scenery, be sure to check the weather. Nothing more annoying than fighting the traffic through the city after crossing the bridge in heavy fog where you can't see anything anyway.

If you've already seen the Golden Gate, I second/third/fourth/fifth the 12->80->880->101 routing. Much, much quicker.

Steve
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