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Old 07-11-2013, 07:38 PM   #1
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NEW RVR's ASKING RE: HOW IS CA-101 FROM PORTLAND to LA?

We are new to this and are leaving Phoenix, up to Bryce/Zion, across to Portland, down to SF and on to LA before coming back to PHX. I can't stand CA 5 from SF to LA so I am thinking of using the 101 all the way from Portland to LA. Is that an OK way to go for a newbie pulling a 26' Travel Trailer? I know 101 from Portland to SF is really supposed to be nice in spots. But is there much to see on 101 once you are South of SF?, or is it as boring as CA5, just a lot slower?

Any other route suggestions anyone would like to make about our whole overall trip would certainly be welcome. Like I said this is the first time pulling a TT (although we did 3,000+ miles on a little Toyota Dolphin pickup RV some 30 years ago throughout CA).

THANK YOU!
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:03 PM   #2
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:34 PM   #3
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Not OK. Not even a little OK for RVs in general. Steep hills, sharp turns where you'll have to take both lanes to get around. Just not a good idea.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:16 PM   #4
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101 from SF to LA is Freeway all the way. Lots of RV's on it.
Jim must be thinking of Hwy 1 along the coast. That I wouldn't take my own 30 foot class A on it if you paid me and I've lived here all my life.

I have driven 101 from San Jose to Santa Barbara 3 to 4 times each year for over 40 years so I know it well.

But in SF as you go thru it is a different story ....
101 is the Golden gate bridge and then you get dumped into down town SF and even though its called 101 as it goes thru the city its city streets until you pick up the freeway on the south side of town. It will be about 3 miles of large city street driving until you can get up onto the freeway.
From SF down to San Jose there will be lots of traffic and more as you go thru San Jose but as i said it is all multi-lane freeway.
From San Jose and beyond to Morgan Hill there will be a lot of local traffic but many lanes. Afterwards it gets nice but a little congested going thru Salinas but not bad. Still Freeway. After that its real nice, Open country for 200 miles or more.
I suggest a stop off in Paso Robles, lots of good resturants around the town square.
Traffic will be congested again as you go by Santa Barbara, everyone uses the freeway as a local road around there. Try to avoid it at evening rush hour.
After that its wide open multi-lane all the way into LA. Then its a whole new ball game. Personally I avoid LA like the plauge.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:23 PM   #5
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101 is what I take when we go to Santa Barbara, great road. I take 101 north fron sf and great road. Some just 2 lanes when going thru redwoods but what a view!
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:23 PM   #6
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We have made this trip. It's slow going, because you go thru all the small towns. But very beautiful, especially along the Oregon coast. Pretty narrow in some spots but most is easy going We have a 38ft M/H and we had no problems.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:42 AM   #7
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To get to 101 from Portland is a quite a way. If you want to start on 101 in Astoria, take highway 30 westwards. Highway 6 will take you over the mountains to 101 at Lincoln City.

All three routes are fairly comfortable in an RV. Hwy 30 gets a bit twisty near Astoria, 6 is slow going in a few spots and 99/18 is no problem except for being a bit slow coming through the mountains the last 20 miles or so. We've done all three in our 32-footer.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:15 PM   #8
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For what it's worth: Hwy 101 is good but Hwy 1 is to me a big NO, NO. I've traveled Hwy 1 with my RV and it has just to many tight curves - that stress not needed.
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:14 PM   #9
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All the nervous nellies come out again. Avoid SFO if you can, but even if you go there, as long as you don't make a route mistake and end up in the hilly part of the city it's just a big city hassle like most big city hassles. As stated earlier, 101 is a freeway in many places, but in others very nice. 1 is the more scenic route from south of the bay area. I've driven in with a 28' TT and my class A. It is hard for the driver to enjoy the scenery, but what's new there?

Google earth is your friend. Spend a couple hours doing Road Recce and then have a good time.

The biggest issue I've found with many California backroads is the lack of shoulder - have to really pay attention and not drop off and cur the inside of a trailer tire. But 1 is nicely developed compared to say, CA 49 thru gold country, or many of the sierra access roads.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:22 PM   #10
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Hwy 101 is a piece of cake, Hwy 1 is slower, way more beautiful but I don't think it's that big of deal to drive. The speed limits are according to the conditions and everywhere you drive you have stay in your own lane so how hard is that ? Plenty of places to pull over and let traffic pass so you can enjoy the drive. You steer you RV and the road doesn't move is what I'm saying. The California coast is worth seeing !
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TdogKing View Post
Hwy 101 is a piece of cake, Hwy 1 is slower, way more beautiful but I don't think it's that big of deal to drive. The speed limits are according to the conditions and everywhere you drive you have stay in your own lane so how hard is that ? Plenty of places to pull over and let traffic pass so you can enjoy the drive. You steer you RV and the road doesn't move is what I'm saying. The California coast is worth seeing !
X2 Dont know why everyone is so concerned about Hwy1. Take your time and enjoy. Plenty of places to pull off and let traffic by if need be.
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:52 PM   #12
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I also hate I-5 and use Hwy 101. You'll do fine. Here's is how I detour around SF:

Hwy 101 South to Petaluma to
Hwy 116 East to
Lakeville Hwy South to
Hwy 37 East (near Marine World) to
I-80 South (near Vallejo) to
I-780 South (near Benicia) East to
I-680 South (San Jose) to
Hwy 101 South
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:14 PM   #13
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Like the others said hwy 101 is fine all the way. The only spot I would avoid is San Francisco....detour round if you can and enjoy the rest.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:11 AM   #14
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After I posted I was thinking that I should have suggested a detour around SF ..... But BobGed said it all .. just what I would suggest.
In fact the 680 leg south of Benica will bring you about a mile from my house as the bird flies. Honk as you go by.

AS for taking Hwy 1 the part i was really reffering to is from Point Lobos down to Big Sur. I drove it once in a 35 foot 10 wheeler and it was not fun. Do able but a pain in the A**.
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