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Old 10-12-2010, 11:22 AM   #1
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Seattle to Palm Desert

We are planning to spend a month or more in Palm Desert this winter.

We just bought a used Canadian made Bigfoot Class C that is deemed an Arctic model, but we are not sure what this means in terms of winterizing. We live on an island where it seldom gets below 32 degrees, so we aren't sure how much winterizing to do.

Whether we do or don't winterize....to get from WA to southern California we have to cross mountains somewhere.....and the question is how to get from the Seattle area to Southern California crossing as few mountains as possible to avoid the freezing weather in them.

We might also like to spend some time on the California coast, but the thought of driving the coast highway with all those twists and turns in the Class C towing a car is a bit scary.

Any suggestions?
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:35 AM   #2
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I don't think you'll have any trouble freezing up just while driving over the mountains but others will probably chime in with their views on the subject.

The California coast is beautiful but you're right to be concerned about the coast highway especially in the southbound direction where the cliffs are on your side of the road. Many experienced drivers would probably drive most of it in a Class C towing but you don't really need to. In most places US 101 parallels the PCH and is a much better road. You can use your toad to explore the coast or, do some homework ahead of time to learn which stretches are better than others.

Oregon state parks are top notch and our favorite is Cape Blanco so you might consider that. If you're using I5 in Oregon, Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville is a great spot too.

We've spent winters in Indio near Palm Desert and you'll have much better weather than you will in Seatle.

Good Luck,

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Old 10-12-2010, 01:12 PM   #3
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Going South in winter

If you have some time, drive I5 until Portland, cut east on I84 until Pendleton and go SOUTH all the way on Highway 395.
If you are in a hurry, stay on I 5 all the way to LA and cut east on I 10.
If it gets on the trip way below 32 F, drain the HOTWATER Tank and fill again in warmer zones. You should not have any problems with freezing the MH.
I would take the coast Highways in Spring on the way back home, if you are snowbirding?

Have a safe trip
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:32 PM   #4
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We routinely travel with temps in the 20's and have overnighted with temps in low to mid teens. We always avoid overnighting in the higher elevations and plan accordingly.
Daytime travel we heat with dash heater only and use the inverter to keep one or two 60 watt lights on in the water bay if necessary. Nightime the furnace keeps the basement warm.
We shut of the water heater before bedtime, have never drained it.
I'm unfamiliar with the CA coast so can only suggest I-5.
I5S to 210E to 30E to 10E.
If you're in there in January you might enjoy a trip to Quartzsite, AZ.
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:37 AM   #5
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I see several threads about Quartzsite, but have no idea what it is....will you explain? Thanx.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:57 AM   #6
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Lets see explain Quartzsite, well IMO Quartzsite is something an RV'er needs to experience at least once, some like it and return year after year, others hate it and avoid it at all costs.

Quartzsite is a place that Snowbirds flock to for numerous reasons, weather, location, low costs, shopping, shows to name few. BLM has set aside huge areas of the land surrounding Quartzsite for (boondocking), also there are number of Private RV Parks in Quartzsite also. In late January and early Feb, there are several Rock and Gem shows, RV Show, and Car Show along with acres of flea markets, vendors, and concessionaires. See this Sports, Vacation & RV Show, the links on this website can give you some idea of what it's like.

If you chose to boondock there are 2 basic options, the first are the "free areas" where you can claim a hunk of desert and set up camp for any 14 days (within a 28 day window) at no charge, this is called "Dispersed Recreational Camping". These area's provide no services, you have to manage your own garabage, water, power and sewage.
The second is Long Term Vistor (LTVA) camping, these areas provide you access to water, dump stations and garbage containers. To gain access to various LTVA areas during the Snowbird season you can pay $40 for a Short Term (14 consecutive days), or $180 for a Long Term permit that is good Sep 15th to Apr 15th. BLM info is here!

As I said in another post, I read that Quartzsite grows from a sleepy town of 3500 people to over 250,000 during the height of Snowbird season. It is also estimated that 1.5 million people pass through "Q" during Snowbird season.

As they say "Try it you might like it", if anything at least drive through the area in mid to late January you will be amazed at what you see.

Spike
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:28 AM   #7
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Seattle to Palm Desert

I travel to California in the winter at least twice a year and generally do not encounter bad weather. Late 2008, with snow and a week below freezing (claimed to be the worst weather since 1968) was an exception!

If you travel on I-5 the highest elevation (about 4500 ft) is crossing the Siskiyou mountains at the California/Oregon border. Be sure to bookmark the ODOT tripcheck camera at the Siskiyou summit so you can check for snow or freezing temp on your smart phone as you drive. (Notice Oregon DOT cameras display the temperature, Cal DOT cameras do not)

If the ODOT camera shows snow in the Siskiyous I would take hwy 101 down the coast. The Portland (on I-5) to Lincoln city (on 101) route is the lowest elevation. (I believe the sign on that highway says only 750 feet.)

101 takes a lot longer than I-5 but is very unlikely to have snow. During the bad weather in 2008, I saw snow only around Cresent City.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:24 PM   #8
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Much appreciate all the advice. Am a little confused by the Good Sam Club directions to get around Los Angeles to head east towards Palm Springs. It keeps saying take I-5 Truck route, but our son who lives in Los Angeles says there is no such thing he has ever seen. He also warns about a mountainous area there.

Any suggestions? Thank you....now that thanx to the advice we received here we now have a break buddy, we are looking forward to our trip in about 2 weeks....our first long trip ever, towing a car.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:36 PM   #9
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There is a I 5 Truck Route just south of Santa Clarita at the Hwy 14 interchange. It parallels the freeway you can't get lost!
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:42 PM   #10
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Here's how we're going to Quartzsite in mid-January from the Puget Sound area.

Western-WA-2-Quartzsite

The route is designed to avoid as much of California's poor-condition highways as practical and to reduce exposure to potentially bad weather. It is not intended to be the fastest or shortest way.

FWIW
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by begete View Post
Much appreciate all the advice. Am a little confused by the Good Sam Club directions to get around Los Angeles to head east towards Palm Springs. It keeps saying take I-5 Truck route, but our son who lives in Los Angeles says there is no such thing he has ever seen. He also warns about a mountainous area there.

Any suggestions? Thank you....now that thanx to the advice we received here we now have a break buddy, we are looking forward to our trip in about 2 weeks....our first long trip ever, towing a car.
To get into the Coachella Valley (Indio, Palm Springs) with the least amount of hassle we use highway 58 east out of Bakersfield to Barstow then we take highway 247 to Yucca Valley, turn right on highway 62 and drop right into highway I-10. A lot of 2 lane roads but it is a neat route. We have been using it for 15 years. No LA traffic hassles with this route!
First night on the road from the NW we like the Seven Feathers casino in southern Oregon.
Coast route is ok, but very time consuming. Very little sun!
Hope this helps,
beagle
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:20 PM   #12
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Just allow lots of time, take I5 South and watch the weather. If the road conditions look bad lay over in Medford or Ashland till the roads are clear. Once you get South as far as Redding you have it made and can take almost any route you want.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Beagle RC Air View Post
To get into the Coachella Valley (Indio, Palm Springs) with the least amount of hassle we use highway 58 east out of Bakersfield to Barstow then we take highway 247 to Yucca Valley, turn right on highway 62 and drop right into highway I-10. A lot of 2 lane roads but it is a neat route. We have been using it for 15 years. No LA traffic hassles with this route!
First night on the road from the NW we like the Seven Feathers casino in southern Oregon.
Coast route is ok, but very time consuming. Very little sun!
Hope this helps,
beagle
We like that route too and we took it just a week ago. Unfortunately, that was in the middle of those California rain storms and it made travel interesting.

If you're ready for an overnight stay when you hit Bakersfield, we like the Orange Grove RV Park there. I'll also add a big vote for Seven Feathers.

Be Safe...

Rick
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:10 PM   #14
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There are two truck routes on the I5. The first one is on the north side of the grapevine. I5 starts to curve to the right, Trucks and any vehicle towing a trailer must use the bypass. CHPs don't look hard at vehicles towing not using it. They do insist trucks use it tho. The second is where Mrpardee described it. (see post #9)

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