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Old 05-11-2021, 01:35 AM   #1
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Class A RV with Toad, advice on avoiding difficult roads in Colorado, California, OR

Hi Everyone,

I am in the planning/booking stage for our Summer trip, I am a planner and can’t enjoy a long trip unless I iron the major details/stops in any trip, .

Your advice is highly appreciated to avoid some roads that may create unnecessary stress or bad decisions that can be avoided.

I choose this forum since everyone here is a Class A owner and you have the most relevant advice regarding which roads to avoid.

Here is the RV info:
The RV/toad: 2014 Coachmen Mirada (33 Feet long), Dolly with Surge brakes for the car. This is not my first-time towing; the last time was a round trip between IL and FL. I am aware of the surge brakes issues when going downhill for extended time.

Trip route:

1-Chicago to Mesa Verde National Park (I-80 through IL/IOWA/Nebraska/CO) then I76 to Denver

I have 2 options to get to Mesa Verde:

A-Less mountains but longer route (From Denver take I-70 and stay at grand junction, then take 191 (Moab) then 491 to Mesa Verde.

B-Mountains (Denver, hwy 285 then hwy160) 110 miles shorter route, but based on my google search hwy285 had a lot of accidents and may not be class A friendly route (Gas RV no engine brake)

Which route you prefer, by the way, booked at Westview RV resort at Mesa Verde, it seems to have really good reviews

2-Mesa Verde National Park – Goose neck state park
No issues here

3-Goose Neck state park to Grand Canyon (Coconino Rim Road), I was told if it rains, it is not a good decision, I am going there during the month of June though

4-Grand Canyon to Sequoia National Park
Mainly I-40 , then hwy179 then hwy30 (the only advice that I found is to fill gas in Kingman to lessen the pain of CA gas prices) any other advice is appreciated. Also, how you feel about “Three Rivers Hideaway Campground near Sequoia National Park.

5-Sequoia National Park to Yosemite national Park.

Here I did the following:

-Booked the national park entrance tickets, yes there are entrance tickets required this year.
-Booked Yosemite Pines Campground.
-And planning to avoid Hwy 49. I Plan to take Hwy 99 through Fresno, Merced, J59 , Hwy 108, then Hwy 120.

The campground sent me the following directions
“ Hwy-99 toward Merced. Take Hwy-59 north to Snelling. In Snelling make a left hand turn at Hwy-J59. Continue on Hwy-J59 until it comes to a end. Turn right and you will be on Hwy-108. Continue approximately 4 miles and make a right hand turn on Hwy-120. Stay on Hwy-120 through the town of Groveland. Continue 1/2 mile East of Groveland on Hwy-120 and then turn right onto Old Hwy-120. Follow Old Hwy-120 for 1 mile. You will see Yosemite Pines RV Park and Campground on the left.”

6-Yosemite – San Francisco (H. Dana Bowers Northbound Rest Area) – Oregon coast (Bastendorff County Park Coos County Campground and then Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park campground)

Here I have 2 options:

A) I-5 Highway option: San Francisco to Oregon through I-5, stop for the night after 450 miles at Jordan Creek rest Area, then the following morning use Hwy 42 to connect to Hwy 101, then to Bastendorff campground (3 nights) and Carl Washburne Campground (3 nights) using Hwy 101

B) Hwy 101 Scenic option: San Francisco to Oregon through Hwy 101, stop for the night after 300 miles, then continue the following day for another 200 miles to Bastendorff campground and then 70 miles to Washburne.

I appreciate your advice here, I hear a lot of people saying don’t take a big rig on Hwy 101, at the same time it is shorter than I-5 and does not have mountain passes like I-5 (Google search), what do you think?

7-Way back home (I-84 then I-80) I am planning to hit some stops like

Maryhill Stonehenge Memorial.

Shoshone Falls (Twin fall city)

Flight Park State Recreation Area or Antelope Island Campground (Salt Lake City)

I apologize for the long read and I appreciate any input from you.
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:48 AM   #2
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Buy a Trucker’s Atlas for the western US. You can find one at any good sized truck stop. It provides detailed information about roads; weight, length, and height restrictions; and grades.
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:36 AM   #3
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San Fran to Oregon I would use 101 and take the scenic route. Lots to see on this route and 101 is not bad once you get further up into Northern CA.
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Old 05-11-2021, 08:43 AM   #4
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It sounds like you have a great trip all planned out!

Mountain driving here in Colorado is different than driving in the eastern mountains. All of our paved roads will accommodate a class A towing with no problem, if you are careful. My favorite route to Mesa Verde is actually the Million Dollar Highway south from Grand Junction to Ouray through Silverton to Durango then to Mesa Verde. That way, you drive and see the most spectacular mountains. The route you are suggesting through Moab is pretty flat and also goes through some spectacular scenery in Utah (Arches, Canyonlands, etc) if you have a day or two to stop and use your toad. Otherwise it is a busy, two-lane highway.

I-70 Denver to Grand Junction is all interstate with three mountain passes, all are just long hauls usually with quite a bit of traffic. Scenery is OK, but not spectacular. 285 to 160 is a more pleasant drive, but 2-lanes the whole way. Again three major passes, but a chance to see moose, elk and other wildlife. You may have to pull over at the many places to let zoomers pass.

If the journey is the most important, take the scenic route. If the destination is more important, take the interstate.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:02 AM   #5
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San Fran to Oregon I would use 101 and take the scenic route. Lots to see on this route and 101 is not bad once you get further up into Northern CA.

I agree with this. But, taking Hwy 101 will make 200-300 miles a day difficult. It can be done, but this road is so scenic that it makes it hard to keep driving like a 'bat out of hell'. If it were me, I would make a three day trip up the coast. Once you are in the Redwoods and north into Oregon along the coast, it is hard to just drive, drive, drive to get to a destination without stopping to enjoy why you are on vacation...


The last time we did the trip along Hwy 101, we stopped at the Russian River, Crescent City, and Bandon. Those stops were still a long haul between SF and Florence in our 32 ft Fleetwood at the time. This is a beautiful road and a lot to see and plenty of safe pull off areas for your rig.
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:44 AM   #6
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Route to Yosemite Pines

Follow the directions the campground gave you.
Just before you get into Groveland, there is a steep grade that you will go up. There are two ways up this grade. A car route and a truck route. Follow the signage and you will be fine.
At the top you will meander along through the town of Groveland.
The access to the campground has two turn offs from the highway. The one they gave you is the first one. The next turn off is closer to the campground but either will work.
If you prefer not to drive into Yosemite, there is a shuttle that picks up directly in front of the campground. Parking in Yosemite can be troublesome. Use the shuttle buses once inside Yosemite.
Coming out of Groveland, you get to go down that steep grade you came up.
Take it slow. Plenty of turnouts to use. You will be fine.
There are several ways to get to hwy 101. Expect lots of traffic in the San Francisco area. The further north you go, traffic will lessen but gets bad again in the Santa Rosa area. North of that is where the ride gets nice and scenic.
Have a great trip.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkhadra View Post
Hi Everyone,

I am in the planning/booking stage for our Summer trip, I am a planner and can’t enjoy a long trip unless I iron the major details/stops in any trip, .

Your advice is highly appreciated to avoid some roads that may create unnecessary stress or bad decisions that can be avoided.

I choose this forum since everyone here is a Class A owner and you have the most relevant advice regarding which roads to avoid.

Here is the RV info:
The RV/toad: 2014 Coachmen Mirada (33 Feet long), Dolly with Surge brakes for the car. This is not my first-time towing; the last time was a round trip between IL and FL. I am aware of the surge brakes issues when going downhill for extended time.

Trip route:

1-Chicago to Mesa Verde National Park (I-80 through IL/IOWA/Nebraska/CO) then I76 to Denver

I have 2 options to get to Mesa Verde:

A-Less mountains but longer route (From Denver take I-70 and stay at grand junction, then take 191 (Moab) then 491 to Mesa Verde.

B-Mountains (Denver, hwy 285 then hwy160) 110 miles shorter route, but based on my google search hwy285 had a lot of accidents and may not be class A friendly route (Gas RV no engine brake)

Which route you prefer, by the way, booked at Westview RV resort at Mesa Verde, it seems to have really good reviews

Option C - If you are driving all this way it should be FUN and Beautiful - Getting down to RT 36 then on to The Springs RT 24 to Buena Vista then down to RT 160 to Durango and Cortez Just so much more to see and enjoy - the next couple summer RT 50 will be Closed or I would have included it and just more of Colorado - https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=f2c05...=2&form=S00027

2-Mesa Verde National Park – Goose neck state park - Just be sure not to miss Monument Valley
No issues here



I apologize for the long read and I appreciate any input from you.
Just what I'd look into as a way to make the Trip as good as the destination.

JMHO,
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:11 PM   #8
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Buy a Trucker’s Atlas for the western US. You can find one at any good sized truck stop. It provides detailed information about roads; weight, length, and height restrictions; and grades.
I have the Garmin RV GPS, but will definitely look into this Atlas
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:13 PM   #9
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San Fran to Oregon I would use 101 and take the scenic route. Lots to see on this route and 101 is not bad once you get further up into Northern CA.
Thank you, this is good to know! 101 seems to be a lot of beautiful coast line driving.
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ClassAboater View Post
I agree with this. But, taking Hwy 101 will make 200-300 miles a day difficult. It can be done, but this road is so scenic that it makes it hard to keep driving like a 'bat out of hell'. If it were me, I would make a three day trip up the coast. Once you are in the Redwoods and north into Oregon along the coast, it is hard to just drive, drive, drive to get to a destination without stopping to enjoy why you are on vacation...


The last time we did the trip along Hwy 101, we stopped at the Russian River, Crescent City, and Bandon. Those stops were still a long haul between SF and Florence in our 32 ft Fleetwood at the time. This is a beautiful road and a lot to see and plenty of safe pull off areas for your rig.
Thanks, do you have any recommendations in where to spend the night in Crescent City ?
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:26 PM   #11
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Follow the directions the campground gave you.
Just before you get into Groveland, there is a steep grade that you will go up. There are two ways up this grade. A car route and a truck route. Follow the signage and you will be fine.
At the top you will meander along through the town of Groveland.
The access to the campground has two turn offs from the highway. The one they gave you is the first one. The next turn off is closer to the campground but either will work.
If you prefer not to drive into Yosemite, there is a shuttle that picks up directly in front of the campground. Parking in Yosemite can be troublesome. Use the shuttle buses once inside Yosemite.
Coming out of Groveland, you get to go down that steep grade you came up.
Take it slow. Plenty of turnouts to use. You will be fine.
There are several ways to get to hwy 101. Expect lots of traffic in the San Francisco area. The further north you go, traffic will lessen but gets bad again in the Santa Rosa area. North of that is where the ride gets nice and scenic.
Have a great trip.

Thank you Fyrflie, I appreciate the feedback and the wishes!!!
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Old 05-11-2021, 04:55 PM   #12
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Just what I'd look into as a way to make the Trip as good as the destination.

JMHO,
Hi Busskipper,

Thank you so much for the map, I really appreciate taking the time to send it to me!!

RT 36 looks as a good option to me, it is flat and many small towns with Walmarts on the way to stop at when needed. This route makes Gardens of the Gods a viable stop on the way to the canyons. I am not sure if there are other major attractions on that route. I will not nor want to see everything in one trip, but it will be a bummer to skip big destinations.

For monument valley, my understanding that it is still closed this season, I was thinking about valley of the gods but not sure if I am going to do that. I was also thinking about Arch national park, but I was told that the weather will hot for any hiking in the park.
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Old 05-11-2021, 05:05 PM   #13
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It sounds like you have a great trip all planned out!

Mountain driving here in Colorado is different than driving in the eastern mountains. All of our paved roads will accommodate a class A towing with no problem, if you are careful. My favorite route to Mesa Verde is actually the Million Dollar Highway south from Grand Junction to Ouray through Silverton to Durango then to Mesa Verde. That way, you drive and see the most spectacular mountains. The route you are suggesting through Moab is pretty flat and also goes through some spectacular scenery in Utah (Arches, Canyonlands, etc) if you have a day or two to stop and use your toad. Otherwise it is a busy, two-lane highway.

I-70 Denver to Grand Junction is all interstate with three mountain passes, all are just long hauls usually with quite a bit of traffic. Scenery is OK, but not spectacular. 285 to 160 is a more pleasant drive, but 2-lanes the whole way. Again three major passes, but a chance to see moose, elk and other wildlife. You may have to pull over at the many places to let zoomers pass.

If the journey is the most important, take the scenic route. If the destination is more important, take the interstate.

Hi Gormleys,

The journey is as important as the destination, my first campground is at Westview RV resort, so I can control the departure date to give myself more time to get to my first destination. If I take RT 36 as Fyrflie suggest, I may spend a day in Colorado Springs and then continue to Mesa Verde.
Also the shorter route (100 miles shorter) will give me more time to enjoy the drive.
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Old 05-11-2021, 05:35 PM   #14
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One time we were headed to Tahoe up the 101 and somehow I must have followed the sign to San Fran and wound up going through down town with 40ft of coach and 30+ foot of boat 3 of us. Don't make that mistake those roads downtown are not wide
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