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Old 01-20-2011, 09:27 AM   #1
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Need advice from you long distance travelers!!

OK, here's the thing: I co-own a company that provides creative material to radio stations all across the country & this summer my biz partner and I are planning a summer tour of our stations along the West Coast. I live in Southern California, but we have station affiliates as far North as Vancouver. I've got a 40' TH w/a 10' enclosed garage, which will serve as my mobile office (still have to work while on the road ), as well as where I'll stow my motorcycle, which will serve as a means of transportation when warranted. When I'm not using it, it will remain in the office/garage tied down.

I know (or at least think I know...kind of) what an undertaking this is (financially & otherwise), which is why I'm trying to plan it out now. I've got a tentative itinerary mapped out, which basically only consists of what day I plan to be in what city. I'm not married to all of the destinations, as long as it's within a few miles either way.

It's a business trip all the way, but that doesn't mean that I can't also experience some beautiful scenery along the way!!

As it stands right now, this is a pretty ambitious plan since I do have a family at home & can't stay gone all summer. My wife has to work & my kids are all too young to make the trip with me, so it's just going to be me - which I assume will be kind of cool at first, but get pretty lonely quick.

This is where your expertise and experience comes in. I've never done anything that remotely resembles a tour of this magnitude & can use all the advice I can get. Without you, there will be many things I will fail to consider and plan for - which may make for a miserable experience. Campgrounds, travel advice, tips, tricks and equipment recommendations are what will make this adventure one to remember.

Although I know it's brutal, I've planned 20 - 21 days for this trip. If it turns out to be too much, I guess I'll have to cut a few cities out more North but I'd had to miss the chance to see Vancouver.

This has always been a dream of mine to do, but I know it's going to take a LOT of planning to do successfully.

Here are the cities I have planned to hit (in order):

On the way up:

Glendora, CA to Modesto, CA
Modesto, CA to San Fran, CA
San Fran, CA to Medford, OR
Medford, OR to St. Helens, OR
St. Helens to Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA to Vancouver, BC

On the way back home:

Vancouver, BC to Olympia, WA
Olympia, WA to Coos Bay, OR
Coos Bay, OR to Eureka, CA
Eureka, CA to Pacifica, CA
Pacifica, CA to Big Sur, CA
Big Sur, CA to Gaviota, CA
Gaviota, CA to Glendora, CA

Any and all advice is welcomed and truly appreciated!! I'll owe you one!

Thanks,
Tim
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:59 AM   #2
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Plan your days driving, I don't like to do much over 500 miles per day. You can use printed maps and a scale or things like mapquest online. Know what kind of mileage your MH gets and figure fuel for the trip plus 10-15% extra just in case, maybe more due to fluctuating fuel prices.

Get a copy of the trailerlife campground guide. This will have all campgrounds listed and rated in the areas you will be going. If there is no CG within a reasonable distance of your business contact, then you will have to revert to things like Wal-mart for one night stays. Woodalls and FMCA also have campground guides.

Ensure that the maintenance on your rig is current and that it is capable of the trip. Nothing will eat time, money and your nerves like break downs and/or blown tires.

Pack your groceries, eating out will get expensive and you will also get tired of it. Sometimes you just want a quick sandwich. I've done a two week trip like this for business, and yes you will get a little lonely and miss your family. Call home daily and talk to the kids if they are old enough along with the wife and it'll help alot. Keeping busy will also alleviate the lonesomeness.

Plan a little time, say a few hours here and there on different days to see some of the scenery or tour the area a little on your bike. This will help with the boredom and monotiny of working. All work and no play as the saying goes. Your taking a long trip so why waste an opportunity to see some of the sites as long as it doesn't keep you away from the family any longer than if you didn't. I found early mornings and late evenings were good for this. I got to see a few things and it helped with the lonelyness of being away from my family while not interfereing with the work at hand or extending my time away any longer than need be.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:05 AM   #3
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Hi Tim...

Sounds like you've got quite an adventure planned. It should be a lot of fun. We full time and travel the country and have seen a number of folks with toy haulers using the garage for an office.

In looking at your intenirary, the first thing that strikes me is the size of your rig vs a couple of the places you want to go. San Francisco can be more than a challenge in a big rig but if you're thinking about the SF RV park on the coast in Pacifica you'll probably be ok. Big Sur could be another matter. It looks like you would like to stay close to the coast but make sure you understand that PCH up north is nothing like it is down south.

Other than that I would only suggest that taking US 101 instead of I5 can make for some better scenery if you can afford a little extra drive time. Also, if you do find yourself on I5 in southern Oregon and need a place to stop over, Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville is tops.

Best of luck and let us know how it goes.

Rick
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:20 PM   #4
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Sounds like a fun trip, but very ambicious for 1 person in a 40', but that is my deal. You will love Coos Bay and the entire OR coast for that matter. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:55 PM   #5
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First off, thank you so much for all the sage words of wisdom - I really appreciate it!! Please know that none of it will go to waste!

RickO - some great advice, thank you! I was planning on Pacifica because of how big my 5'er is. I'd skip SanFran altogether if I didn't have a radio station there. I also appreciate your words regarding PCH up that way. I haven't been up that way since I was a kid & don't remember the highway at all. I haven't gotten to the point where I've actually called any of these CG's yet, but I'll be sure to double check before I book.


I'm taking I5 on the way up because I have stations in Modesto and kind of have the "way up" planned as the bulk of my business end of the trip, but you'll notice that I'm avoiding it altogether on the way back down!

The places have already changed, as I doubt I'm going to have enough time to see Vancouver this time around. It just adds too many days and I really can't be gone that long. It kills me, since that's one place I've always wanted to go. Oh well, there's always next summer!

Parkerrs, thank you for the tip on the maps - I'll get those for sure. 10-4 on packing groceries too! I've learned that I get sick of trying to locate a place to eat in a strange town night after night anyway. And, you're right on about trying to see the sights. My bike is actually a dual sport, so who knows - maybe there's a trail or two in my future. Hmmm, more logistical planning may be called for here. As for WalMart parking lot, that may actually be preferrable during travel days, as I wouldn't have to unhook and check out, just leave. That could save me a lot of time, hassle and MONEY!!

phxmtngirl, it is a bit ambitious - but I won't be totally alone. My biz partner is meeting up with me in Red Bluff (most likely) and we'll convoy from there. He's got a 40'er that houses a small music studio, so he needs to come! Besides, driving is all part of the adventure to me
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:12 PM   #6
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Here are the new working locations:

The way up:
Glendora to Modesto
Modesto to Red Bluff
Red Bluff to Grants Pass
Grants Pass to Portland
Portland to Seattle

The way back:
Seattle to Astoria, OR
Astoria, OR to Reedsport (on recommendation from a forum member!)
Reedsport for 3 days
Reedsport to Crescent City
Crescent City for 2 days
Crescent City to Leggett
Leggett for 3 days
Leggett to Pacifica
Pacifica to Big Sur (or someplace near there)
Big Sur (or someplace near there) for 2 days
Big Sur to Buellton (Flying Flags)
Buellton to HOME!!

I've booked the bulk of my stopovers in the Redwoods, if that works out. I know my TH is big, which is kinda why I've started planning this now. I figure I'll still be planning until I actually leave in July!!
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:27 PM   #7
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Welcome to the Great Pacific Northwest! You will really enjoy your trip.

You might consider that Astoria to Reedsport is a very looong haul for 1 day. There are some outstanding state & county parks along that drive for you to check out. The traffic along the coast can be slow so plan to bring your patience

You could always do a 1 day trip to Vancouver, BC on your bike from Seattle. Especially if you camp someplace North of Seattle. Seattle traffic is also crazy

Check out these:
State of Oregon: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department: State Parks
Washington State Parks Home Page

Marilyn
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:08 PM   #8
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That is a GREAT idea! Marilyn! Thank you for the links too.

3 hours on a dirtbike might be a little long, but most likely well worth it! Believe me, there will be a trip report when it's all said & done!
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:19 PM   #9
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Based on 50,000 miles of RV travel to all the lower 48 states and having been to the places you are going to several times I would suggest you cut the trip off at Seattle or even St Helens.
There will be delays enroute due to road construction, accidents, mechanical problems, etc. Going south on 101 and highway 1 will be slow for 2 reasons. A lot of traffic (you'll see more toy haulers than you thought exsisted in Florence) and very twisty roads. They are excellent motorcycle and Miata (I'm in a Miata club) roads but they are not great for RV's. I'd be surprised if you could average any more than 30 mph overall going south. Going cross country running 65 I don't average more than 50mph due to stops, delays, roadwork, etc
In Monterey and Big Sur there will be a problem getting campground reservations. If you are going over the 4th of July you will have problems with reservations anywhere you go. Everybody travels in the summer because the kids are out of school. And they all come to California.
The good thing is you may be able to park at the radio stations you are going to. Also Walmart is a good back up.
Have fun and keep us posted.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:20 PM   #10
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If you are going to Astoria, you might want to check out or stay at Fort Stevens. If you want to stay there, I recommend you book now as summer is the busy season and it's hard to find spots on the fly.

Here is information on it: Oregon State Parks and Recreation: Rates
Fort Stevens State Park

Sheila
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:44 PM   #11
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THIS is the kind of advice I was looking for, thank you!!

Man, It seems like maybe going down PCH might be a bad idea. May have to reconsider. Going 30 mph for 200 miles would most likely do me in. I'm deliberatley avoiding the 4th on the road, but it would be the weekend following (leaving the 10th)

I plan on booking all reservations within the next month or so, which I HOPE will work for me.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:54 PM   #12
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You guys have me thinking that I may want to do this earlier than June to avoid the summer vacation rush. How's April or May? Would this work? Would I have a tougher time booking these CG's on shorter notice?
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:56 PM   #13
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As soon as school is out the coast gets busy. The weather might also be a bit wet/gray in the late Spring but you never can tell. If I had a choice, I would go in the Fall.
I would do the return I-5S to Longview; US30W to Astoria & try to stay at Fort Stevens State Park. Explore the area & do a short day to Sand Lake (if you do dune riding). Next day to Florence or Reedsport. The worst traffic wil be Sand Lake to Reedsport but if you make it mid-week it shouldn't be too bad. There is much to do along the coast & lots of state parks to stay at so I would recommend taking your time and add 1-2 days to this part of your trip. You will not be able to ride your bike on any Oregon beach. You can dune ride at Sand Lake & Florence.
Siuslaw National Forest - OHV - Sand Lake Recreation Area
Siuslaw National Forest - OHV - Oregon Dunes NRA
Make your reservations ASAP!

Marilyn
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Old 01-22-2011, 05:49 AM   #14
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When you make the reservations ask them what their policy is about what happens if you get delayed a day or so....engine problem, wreck,heart attack,etc
Usually they will allow you to come in at at later day. However if they are booked up, too bad for you and you lose your deposit. The time you have to notify them prior to cancelling varies widely. I've 24 hours to three days to two weeks.

I think if you went earlier, as you mentioned, it would work out better. Doing away with the PCH would help also, do that at another time with the family.
This is a business trip.
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