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Old 04-18-2021, 04:14 PM   #1
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California I-5 through Tejon Pass

We are heading out to CA to the San Jose area in a 2006 40' Holiday Rambler DP with a 400 Cummins towing a toad. I am considering taking I-5 north from the LA area. That would take us through the Tejon Pass north of Santa Clarita. I have heard that is a difficult stretch because of the grades. Is anyone familiar with this stretch of I-5 and have any insight as to whether I should try to find an alternate route that is not as strenuous on my coach? Thank you.
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Old 04-18-2021, 04:55 PM   #2
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I have driven this route many times. You should not have any problems. Might be a little slow up the steepest grades but there is a dedicated truck lane to use. I assume you have an exhaust or engine brake. It will very useful coming off the hill into the valley.
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Old 04-18-2021, 04:59 PM   #3
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About 50% of the time that we go on a trip, our route is over the Tejon Pass, more commonly known as the Grapevine. We've been traversing it for 50 years. Your coach will do fine. My 2005 Diplomat towing a Chevrolet, Silverado, could crest it a 55+. Mine was chipped to 450HP, so it ran a little better. In my 48K rig with the 450 ISL, we're down to about 40mph over the grade. The first stretch out of Santa Clarita is the steep part. It's four lanes, but the trucks will sometimes take up lanes 2, 3, 4, (which they're not suppose to do), sometimes blocking and slowing you down.

Get a little bit of a running start before the climb and drop your coach into 5th at the base of the grade. You should be able to hold 45mph - 55mph. You'll crest the first and most steep part, then it will be a bunch of moderate up and down grades for about 15 miles, until you reach Gorman. There is a Rest Stop, just past Gorman and the crest of the grade. You can pull in there if needed. After that you start down hill, which is about 3-4 miles. Start the downhill at 50 -55 mph with your engine/exhaust brake on. You may need to stab the brakes a couple of times on the way down if you only have the exhaust brake. It's 4 lanes, I stay in the #3 lane and the trucks are pretty good about staying in the truck lane.

Once you hit level ground, you have about a mile to decide if you're taking I-5 North or Hwy 99 North. For I-5, stay in the right lanes.
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Old 04-18-2021, 05:21 PM   #4
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I go over it about once a year with my 8.1 gas engine pulling a 4,000 toad. If I can do it you can do it even better.
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Old 04-18-2021, 05:36 PM   #5
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I don’t like the Grapevine so I avoid it. Since you are going to San Jose I would suggest you consider taking Hwy 126 just north of Santa Clarita and go west to Hwy 101 and head north to San Jose. It is a much nicer drive as a good part of it is along the coast.

There is a convenient diesel fuel stop in Santa Paula/Fillmore on the 126, it is a Union 76 on Hallock Drive.
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Old 04-18-2021, 06:40 PM   #6
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Agree, if going to San Jose then 101 is a better route. Less traffic, no big passes and it will take you right into south San Jose.
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:41 PM   #7
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The Cuesta Pass, north of San Luis Obispo, isn't as long as the Grapevine, but is much steeper.
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
The Cuesta Pass, north of San Luis Obispo, isn't as long as the Grapevine, but is much steeper.
I agree, that's a climb for sure.
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:59 PM   #9
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It is relatively short and about a 7% grade. Much preferred over the Grapevine.
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Old 04-18-2021, 08:58 PM   #10
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I used to live in Castaic at the base of the South end of the Grapevine. Most of my trips were to Make Havasu and started up the Grapevine. Had a 33ft, 275 hp V10 towing a CRV. Never had a problem, a diesel won't even feel it.

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