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Old 05-22-2019, 07:00 AM   #1
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California coast - Route 1

We will be traveling north to south on California Route 1 and understand that some of this route is not advisable in a 34 foot class A with a tow car. Does anyone have experience with this? Are there specific parts that we should be fine on, or parts that we should avoid? We are almost moderately experienced drivers and prefer to avoid higher risk areas. Thanks in advance for sharing your experience.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:00 AM   #2
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We live in San Luis Obispo, at the southern end of the famed Big Sur section of 1 (recently named the most romantic road trip in the US by the Travel Channel). We have driven a 31' gasser without a toad up and down this road a few times.

When are you planning to do this trip? I certainly don't advise it in the rainy winter months. Among other things, the road is prone to long term closures due to weather induced landslides.

Heading N to S, you will be on the ocean side of the road, which can have more spectacular views, but be more white knuckling than the northbound "inside" of the highway, especially for the passenger.

While I don't think it would be a problem in just the 34' coach, adding a towed vehicle would certainly not make it any easier. It is very windy (whine-dy, not winn-dy), lots of hills, and prone to fog this time of year. You will need to use turnouts a lot to let other traffic pass, and once you commit to the road at Carmel or so, the only chicken-out route option to turn inland before Cambria is Nacimiento-Ferguson Road at Kirk Creek campground in the LPNF near Lucia. That route is no better. Otherwise, you'd need to just go all the way, or turn around.

You don't say when you are going to do this. I don't know the state of the highway right now, after these late season rains we have just had. QuickMap doesn't show any closures or construction at this time.

Also, there is no cell service on most of this stretch of 1, so no ability to use Waze or call for help.

Since you describe yourselves as " We are almost moderately experienced drivers and prefer to avoid higher risk areas." I would suggest 4 options.

1) Don't do it.

2) Leave the coach in Monterey and drive the toad to check out a lot of it first.

3) Unhitch and have a second driver lead or follow in the toad. Buy a pair of FRS walky talkies to stay in touch (no cell service)

4) If you are committed to the trip and don't want to unhitch, do it another time, northbound.

If you bypass this stretch on 101, you could still drive your combination up to Hearst Castle from Morro Bay, or leave the coach in a campground and drive the toad.

OTOH, big tour buses do it.

Please let us know what your thoughts are.

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Old 05-22-2019, 08:07 AM   #3
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We just drove it last week with a 34' 5th wheel trailer with absolutely no problems. Hwy 1 is in good condition and they have done and continue to do improvements. It is worth the drive. Just take your time.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:52 AM   #4
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Have they added sufficient turnouts to allow bigger slower traffic the opportunity to let traffic backed up behind them around every few miles? I havenít driven it since the big shutdown. So I donít know. People love to take that drive, itís unfortunate when an RV or other large slow vehicle causes an extended traffic backup. Iíd take the toad and just really enjoy the drive and the views, and let the other drivers behind me do the same.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:20 AM   #5
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You didn't say if you were thinking of driving the northern portion, north of San Francisco. That stretch, especially north of Ft. Bragg, is more difficult than through Big Sur, and I would not recommend it given what you mentioned in the OP. The road is certainly doable with your rig and even your acknowledged lack of experience, but I doubt you would enjoy it and no one behind you would either. It is a beautiful road but for a first-timer, especially, I would opt to use just the toad to really enjoy the drive.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:02 PM   #6
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You didn't say where you're getting onto Hwy 1 or what time of year.

If you feel uncomfortable, take 101 all the way down & stay at a few places just off Hwy 1. Then take your car and tour Hwy 1 both directions. You'll be able to see the whole coast that way. You can get pretty close to Hwy 1 to park the RV. There are many roads leading to it with RV parks.

This is also a good way to tour the Oregon coast along Hwy 101 if that's on your schedule. Stay at 3 places - north around Astoria, middle around Florence and the southern part (Cape Blanco State Park is awesome). Then you'd be able to explore the whole coast with your car.

101 in any of these areas will not give you any problems. Hwy 1 could.
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