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Old 04-28-2011, 11:00 PM   #1
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Toronto to San Francisco trip planning help

I wanted to ask other Rvers about some trip planning. We are planning to go from Toronto to San Fran and back next May-June for 25 nights. We have a class A (diesel) and will traveling with myself, my husband, my mother and three kids (5 through 14). In our preliminary sketch of a plan we have some 400-500 mile days. Our plan is to drive for 3 long days at the beginning and end of the trip, and then take it a bit easier.

This is our prelim plan. I'd love feedback on it.

Toronto to Amarillo in 4 days
Amarillo to Grand Canyon in 2 days
Stay 2 nights in Grand Canyon area (not much I know)(no travel for 1 day)
Las Vegas for 1 night
Disneyland for 4 days (no travel for 3 days - hotel stay)
San Fran for 2 days (no travel for 1 day - hotel stay)
Yosemite for 3 days (no travel for 2 days)
Yosemite to Zion in 2 days (no travel for 1 day)
Stay in Zion for 2 days (no travel for 1 day)
Stay in Arches for 2 days (no travel for 1 day)
Head home from Arches in 5 days

We've done big road trips before with kids, but only half as far. We made it to Florida from Toronto in 2 nights comfortably, but not in an RV. Is our plan too hectic? We really only have 25 nights to work with. With little kids we can't do long hikes or anything too extensive outdoors. We'd like to keep our road time to about 8 hours max on our longest days.

Both DH and I drive the RV without problems switching.

Thanks!
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:27 AM   #2
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Sounds like a pretty ambitious plan to do all that driving and still have energy for sightseeing, but I understand your time constraints so I'm sure you have taken that into consideration.

I can only offer help for the San Francisco portion. You don't say anything about towing a vehicle, so I'm going to assume you're not. I would recommend staying at the Fair Park RV in Pleasanton One of the best Moderately priced rv parks in california, centrally located in northern California providing access to San Francisco, The Livermore Wine country, State parks, world class golfing, five star shopping, fine dinning, historical sites, Oa It's a nice park but nothing fancy. The best part is it is only about a two or three mile cab ride to a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) BART - Bay Area Rapid Transit station at the Stoneride Mall, where you can get train that will take you directly into the City. It's about a 40 to 45 min ride and you get to go under the bay from Oakland to S.F. You'll detrain near Powell street where you can take a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf. Be sure and visit Pier 39. If you are towing a vehicle I would still recommend taking the BART train. You can park your vehicle at the mall. Safe travels and have a great trip.
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:36 AM   #3
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Sounds a little too busy to me. We've been to all 48 states but at a much slower pace. 400 to 500 miles a day gets old in a hurry.

Be sure you have reservations in California. Especially Disney and San Francisco.

Road work can destroy schedules and you will see road work everyday.

I'm curious where you plan to keep the motorhome in San Francisco.
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:29 AM   #4
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I've done a similar trip last winter but from Montreal. Almost same situation as yours. Me my wife, my mother in law and 3 kids (11, 14, 16). I was the only driver and averaging 600 miles a day. Like someone already said, it got old really fast. At the end of the day, I was so tired, I couldn't even have a few glasses of wine! I was 39 and thought this should be easy... Well it was not. Your situation is better than mine since both of you drive and it's not during the winter. You should be fine!
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:00 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. We won't be traveling every day, but will have about 10 days of just driving about 400-500 miles. We would have 9 days of no driving, and about 6 days of about 200-300 miles. The kids are seasoned car travelers, but wow, that's a lot of driving. Hubby and I having a coffee date to go over it all this morning.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
Sounds a little too busy to me. We've been to all 48 states but at a much slower pace. 400 to 500 miles a day gets old in a hurry.

Be sure you have reservations in California. Especially Disney and San Francisco.

Road work can destroy schedules and you will see road work everyday.

I'm curious where you plan to keep the motorhome in San Francisco.
Re: the motorhome in San Fran: I have no idea. DH's Dad lives there. Maybe somewhere near by to the city where we can travel in.

We will be towing a car. We're considering a used Flex for a not-huge 6-person tow vehicle.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:02 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BobGed View Post
Sounds like a pretty ambitious plan to do all that driving and still have energy for sightseeing, but I understand your time constraints so I'm sure you have taken that into consideration.

I can only offer help for the San Francisco portion. You don't say anything about towing a vehicle, so I'm going to assume you're not. I would recommend staying at the Fair Park RV in Pleasanton One of the best Moderately priced rv parks in california, centrally located in northern California providing access to San Francisco, The Livermore Wine country, State parks, world class golfing, five star shopping, fine dinning, historical sites, Oa It's a nice park but nothing fancy. The best part is it is only about a two or three mile cab ride to a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) BART - Bay Area Rapid Transit station at the Stoneride Mall, where you can get train that will take you directly into the City. It's about a 40 to 45 min ride and you get to go under the bay from Oakland to S.F. You'll detrain near Powell street where you can take a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf. Be sure and visit Pier 39. If you are towing a vehicle I would still recommend taking the BART train. You can park your vehicle at the mall. Safe travels and have a great trip.
Oh thanks for that tip. Sounds like a great plan!
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:32 PM   #8
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I suggest you remove Las Vegas as one of your destinations ... unless you want to introduce your kidlets to PG-14 to R rated experiences on the streets ...

Bryce Canyon is pretty spectacular ... and near Zion ... and in my opinion more spectacular. Capital Reef National Park is one of our favorites ...
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:15 AM   #9
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Thanks for the reply!
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:16 AM   #10
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Having been to all the places on your trip from the east coast of the US, here are some suggestions and recommendations:

1. Why Amarillo? Was there in April 2010 and not a place we wanted to stay too long.
2. Stop in Pertrified Forest and/or Meteor Crater in AZ if you have a chance (both close to the interstate). The kids will love both.
3. I agree with the skip Vegas suggestion. Was there in 2003 when the boys were younger and did they get a quick education!
4. You may want to do Zion after GC instead. The kids will love tubing down the Virgin River which is right next to the Watchman campground.
5. I stayed twice in Pacifica, CA last year when going to visit San Fran. Campground right on the ocean. Can walk to the grocery store and great Fish & Chips.
6. Reservations open about 5 months in advance for Yosemite and sell out in about 10 minutes. When you do visit, here is a place to push your kids outside. Great but tough hike is up Yosemite Falls. It is way better to stay in the park so you're not commuting 2 hours from outside the park each day.
7. Two days from Yosemite to Zion will be long days. In May/June, Tioga Road (east entrance) WILL NOT be open. You will have to go out the South entrance and all the way down to Bakersfield, CA before you can start to cut east and get to Zion.

I would probably do the route in this order:
Toronto to Arches to GC to Zion to Disney to San Fran to Yosemite and then back home.

Good luck with your planning!
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:27 PM   #11
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Lots of good advice here. As a 20 year Bay Area resident, I would only add a couple thoughts. DO NOT even think of going into San Fran in June without a jacket or sweatshirt....and leave the shorts back at the MH. It may be 80 degress at the Pleasanton campground....but only 53 degress in the City, with wind and fog. The vendors down at Pier 39 sell tons of sweatshirts, especially in late afternoon, for a reason.

I love Bart....have ridden it many, many times. It is great for getting from point A to point B. But....it is not good for seeing points C, D, E and F. If you really want to explore San Francisco and see more than the usual tourist places, drive there. And then drive around there. Sure, parking can be a hassle, but that can be overcome. Drive Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the world)....several times; Grant Ave in Chinatown; The Presidio; the Golden Gate Bridge; the Marina (where Steve McQueen had part of his amazing car pursuit in "Bullit"). Problem is that BART doesn't go to any of these places. It really depends what you want to see when you get to the City. And the sights to see there are best done, IMO, via a car or SUV. Have a great trip...sounds like fun!!
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Old 05-08-2011, 02:41 PM   #12
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This is one heck of a trip. I put this in my pc miler Toronto to SF than Yosemite, Disneyland, Moab, grand canyon, amarillo than Toronto and it showed me approximately 6500 miles. At 400 miles a day thats 16 driving days. WOW. If you both drive, than increase daily miles and trip is doable, only one driver makes for a tired driver after a couple of days.

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Old 05-08-2011, 04:38 PM   #13
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Thanks guys! We do both drive equally. We know it will be very much a road trip, and not so much a camping trip We are still tweaking the route.

We have googlemapped it for an approx. and it is about 6000 miles. We wish we could take more time, but we cannot. We have added one day, and are pretty easy-going about missing stuff if crap happens.

We have family in SF. Not sure yet what we want to see, but I guess a general touristy couple of days.

We don't want to expose the kids to inappropriate behavior but wanted to see Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas. It seems that it is kinda on the way and we have never been, nor would we go there as a destination.

This is our very rough and ambitious schedule, all distances approx.

Day 1 to Erie, PA (350km)
Day 2 to Indiana (800km)
Day 3 to Oklahoma (800km)
Day 4 to Amarillo (700km)
Day 5 to Albuquerque (450km)
Day 6 to Grand Canyon (650km)
Day 7 in Grand Canyon
Day 8 to Las Vegas (450km)
Day 9 to Disneyland (400km)
Day 10 in Disneyland
Day 11 in Disneyland
Day 12 in Disneyland
Day 13 to San Fran (650km)
Day 14 in San Fran
Day 15 to Yosemite (400km)
Day 16 in Yosemite
Day 17 in Yosemite
Day 18 to Las Vegas area (650km)
Day 19 to Zion or Bryce (300km)
Day 20 in Zion or Bryce
Day 21 to Arches (575km)
Day 22 in Arches
Day 23 to Colorado (800km)
Day 24 to Iowa (800km)
Day 25 to Michigan (800km)
Day 26 to Toronto (650km)

600km = ~375 miles
800km = 500 miles

I'm going to map out some of your suggestions. We'd like more feedback. Absolutes are: Arches, Zion or Bryce, Disneyland, San Francisco, Grand Canyon. Any other route suggestions to incorporate those?

Thanks so much!
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Old 05-08-2011, 04:39 PM   #14
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Oh and we are traveling end of May - end of June.
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