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Old 12-01-2011, 11:19 AM   #15
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I'd wait until at least June if you want to be sure everything is open. If fact, it is worth checking - things opened late last spring - CA 120 was still closed when we where there on June 4th. Of course it will be more crowded after school lets out, and winter at both locations is spectacular. If you are planning to stay in the National Parks (No Hookups with the exception of Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone), you either need reservations or have to arrive very early in the day to get a non-reserved site.

As to the Grand Canyon, I prefer the North side - it opens later, but is less crowded. Last time I was there we stayed in Jacobs Lake National Forest Campground but if you can get a site the campground in the park is beautiful.

Have a great trip!

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Old 12-01-2011, 11:38 AM   #16
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Best time is relative to what you want to experience. For me, it is shoulder season to avoid crowds.... Late Aug into Sep-Oct.

BTW CG options for the largest rigs in the Yosemite general area are sparse to say the least.

Scenic Route above has the Yosemite recommendations (esp Kings Canyon).

Lee Vining Mono Vista is about only choice that side of Yosemite. Tight for 45ft and towing - only a few sites there that can handle (watch the trees there they can be low if you are tall). It is a great location to stage the eastern side of park and Mono Lake from.

If you do Tioga Pass (especially eastbound) with RV make sure you are extremely familiar with you rig's mountain capabilities. I am a habitual mega mountain runner and that is still the only pass that I have to manually force first gear engine braking and still nearly smoke the service brakes. At 5-10mph or so it'll take some time. I'm a 45er and towing. Yosemite NP roads do have some length/height restrictions on the west side of the park.

On other side (western) of park is the Yosemite Lakes CG in Groveland - they do rent to non Thousand Trails members if space available and that lets you do the other (west) side of the park more conveniently. Big rig friendly...

Add Mammoth Lakes as a stopover if you hike/bicycle/fish. Mammoth Lakes RV CG.

Run through Death Valley as well (esp if in Sep/Oct). It'll still be hot, but no crowds and an interesting experience. Play a round of golf there. Most likely will not need any reservations. Furnace Creek CG.

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Old 12-03-2011, 10:23 AM   #17
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"shoulder season" is a term I'm not familiar with. SOB is another one.
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:43 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by johnnyringo View Post
"shoulder season" is a term I'm not familiar with. SOB is another one.
"Shoulder season" typically is the month before and the month after "peak season" for a given place. These months generally have all/most services still in operation and can have substantially reduced crowds/prices. It is a reasonably common "tourist/resort area" term. Ask at the local info center what their peak season is and pick the months on either side.

SOB - I can't see where this is referenced in this thread, but typically on these RV forums either means "south of the border" OR "some other brand" as in a brand of RV that is not the one you have.
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:00 PM   #19
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If you visit Yosemite in 2nd half of June you get there before the large crowds, Tioga Pass (access from the east) is usually open (but check on it) and you get the benefit of seeing the waterfalls in all their spectacular beauty because of the snow-melt runoff.

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Old 12-07-2011, 06:02 PM   #20
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We went to both April/May of 2010. Check our blog it has all the details. Stay in the parks it is worth it. Even if you don't have power or water. Yosemite CAN accommodate big rigs you just need to choose carefully and quickly when online. We had 3 people booking when we wanted our site and then gave up the ones we didn't want. They do sell out in 15 minutes.

The Grand Canyon park is nothing special but you are just feet from everything and you don't have to find a parking spot (which can be hard at times) since you can take the buses everywhere. We only slept in our RV at both so it was well worth it to be inside the parks. We were on the go the entire time.

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