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Old 07-30-2019, 10:10 AM   #1
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Bay Area to Lee Vining - least treacherous route to tow?

Hello! Weíre planning a trip from where we live in San Ramon to the eastern Sierras in a couple of weeks. Itís summer so all of the passes should be open, however we want to take the least difficult road towing our AS 25 ó meaning least sharp inclines and least switchbacks. Any suggestions as to which route is best? Thanks!
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:35 AM   #2
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I have no advice for you, but am interested in the responses to your question.
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:18 AM   #3
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I just came thru Yosemite to Lee Vining a month or so ago, and 120 thru the park was easy and beautiful.

I was not towing, of course, but generally look for roads that are not frightening and this one fit the bill.

The road down the eastern side was only open twice a day when I came thru, but that may have changed.

Maggie
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by lovespirit View Post
Hello! Weíre planning a trip from where we live in San Ramon to the eastern Sierras in a couple of weeks. Itís summer so all of the passes should be open, however we want to take the least difficult road towing our AS 25 ó meaning least sharp inclines and least switchbacks. Any suggestions as to which route is best? Thanks!


I have done the 120 and I-80 routes multiple times. I-80+us395 is the lowest stress and safest and easiest in the equipment, in my opinion.
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Old 07-30-2019, 12:05 PM   #5
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Least is I80 to 395 and South.

Most busy may be US50 over to 395 and South. We came home on 50 last fall and spent about an hour getting through Placerville.

Most beautiful is likely 120 through Yosemite, but that's not what you requested. It's tight in some places, a bit of a grade in others. We are going to do it some day, but just getting through the approaches to Yosemite is a traffic nightmare.

We don't mind climbing I80 near as much as we hate coming home that way. It's not the downgrade, the road just seems rougher and it's quite likely we do not like the higher speed truck traffic.

Our next trip will be down the West side of the Sierras, around the bottom to Death Valley and up 395. How we'll cross back over to return home is the open question. Maybe North of Reno out of Susanville and over to Red Bluff. Or maybe we'll roll back down I80. We went up I80 a while back. Got caught in a hail storm. We were able to move through and get moving again with only a short wait for the storm to pass. The West bound lanes did not do so well. They got hung up for quite a while.

Have a safe trip. Pat
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:56 PM   #6
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Least is I80 to 395 and South.

Most busy may be US50 over to 395 and South. We came home on 50 last fall and spent about an hour getting through Placerville.

Most beautiful is likely 120 through Yosemite, but that's not what you requested. It's tight in some places, a bit of a grade in others. We are going to do it some day, but just getting through the approaches to Yosemite is a traffic nightmare.

We don't mind climbing I80 near as much as we hate coming home that way. It's not the downgrade, the road just seems rougher and it's quite likely we do not like the higher speed truck traffic.

Our next trip will be down the West side of the Sierras, around the bottom to Death Valley and up 395. How we'll cross back over to return home is the open question. Maybe North of Reno out of Susanville and over to Red Bluff. Or maybe we'll roll back down I80. We went up I80 a while back. Got caught in a hail storm. We were able to move through and get moving again with only a short wait for the storm to pass. The West bound lanes did not do so well. They got hung up for quite a while.

Have a safe trip. Pat
Thanks so much! Do you go past Sacramento the Reno way or cut across the Placerville way and down to Lee Vining?
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Old 07-30-2019, 03:59 PM   #7
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Thanks so much! Do you go past Sacramento the Reno way or cut across the Placerville way and down to Lee Vining?
Sacramento to Reno and down 395 is the route that works best for us. Yes, there is traffic, but they move along reasonably. If you want go go slow, you can tag onto a truck that is struggling with the climb. When he goes too slow, you can pass and move on at your own rate with him blocking for you.

Placerville is 50. Traffic issues in Tahoe have folks wanting to close off the highway. Placerville was a horrible tie-up the last time we came through. We have been through Placerville when the traffic was light. It can be a nice trip to go that route. The problem with towing 50 is that some vehicles travel way below the speed limit in tight two lane sections and then speed up in the straight sections so you can't pass without exceeding the speed limit.

Good luck with your trip. Pat
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:22 AM   #8
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Mountain Driving Atlas

Spend $20 on the Mountain Driving Atlas for Truckers and youíll never have to ask for route advice again! (Though you may want to, as Airstreamers are some of the most knowledgeable and helpful around!)

Good luck. And get the electronic version. Put it in your tablet and itís a database that doesnít require a WiFi signal to access.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKI View Post
Least is I80 to 395 and South.

Most busy may be US50 over to 395 and South. We came home on 50 last fall and spent about an hour getting through Placerville.

Most beautiful is likely 120 through Yosemite, but that's not what you requested. It's tight in some places, a bit of a grade in others. We are going to do it some day, but just getting through the approaches to Yosemite is a traffic nightmare.

We don't mind climbing I80 near as much as we hate coming home that way. It's not the downgrade, the road just seems rougher and it's quite likely we do not like the higher speed truck traffic.

Our next trip will be down the West side of the Sierras, around the bottom to Death Valley and up 395. How we'll cross back over to return home is the open question. Maybe North of Reno out of Susanville and over to Red Bluff. Or maybe we'll roll back down I80. We went up I80 a while back. Got caught in a hail storm. We were able to move through and get moving again with only a short wait for the storm to pass. The West bound lanes did not do so well. They got hung up for quite a while.

Have a safe trip. Pat
I'm with PKI. Save hwy50 for the off season. Absolutely stunning dropping down into SLT. Note there is a recent thread re SLT and 395 SB.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ml#post2266547

Just a heads up re 120. I grew up In the the sf bay area and know well the
sierras. There is a grade out of Moccasin to Groveland called Priest Grade. Two options. Old pg is shorter, straighter and steeper. The New PG is longer, more gradual with lots of switchbscks. Old pg... 1st gear pedal to the metal in the ol' westy. Gear up = gear down rule applicsble. I've seen many a driver with nothing at the bottom but brake smoke pouring out of the wheel wells. Forgot to note your tt's length but may come into play, assuming you choose Old pg and have the power.

You should be fine on the Tioga pass section. Steep, so just take it easy.

Happy trails.

B
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Old 07-31-2019, 05:18 PM   #10
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Keep in mind that traffic near Tahoe and Reno is worse on weekends; going up that way on Friday afternoon, going away on Sunday afternoon. And, the bigger cities can be nasty during commute hours on the other days. Add to that it sometimes seems like Californians canít drive well in any sort of weather (rain, wind, snow, fog, smoke - technically not weather, but we do have fires) so plan accordingly.

Weíve gone from Napa to Yosemite, Lassen, and Graeagle this year with the Airstream and had no issues...but weíve taken to leaving on Thursdays and returning on Mondays.
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:22 PM   #11
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Another vote for I-80 to Reno then South on 395. It is the least stressful.
I would not tow through Yosemite and out through Tioga Pass (SR 120). Tioga is a steep downhill tow.
Yosemite is an easy day trip from Lee Vining. Towed my AI 30 home from Lee Vining this past Monday.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:49 PM   #12
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I live in Reno and we just took a trip over to Petaluma for a long weekend a few weeks ago. I would stick on I80 to come over the hill. Traffic in Sacramento will be the slowest part of the journey. Traffic in Reno isn't anything in comparison. We complain if we have to slow down to 45 mph. 395 South is a pretty easy drive.

Wave as you pass through Reno!
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:13 AM   #13
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I thought 88 out of Stockton worked well for me. Mostly sweeping turns with manageable grades, plenty of passing lanes to let traffic go by, excellent pavement, especially compared to 80. You skip the Reno and South Lake Tahoe traffic. Truck traffic is a non-issue, much less than 50 or 80. Grades are nothing like that one on 120 in eastern Yosemite. No Priest Grade type switchbacks. This is towing a 30FC with a 3/4 diesel Silverado that does not have exhaust brake. Itís also scenic.
Donít even think of Hwy 4 or 108. Several good fueling options in Jackson, before you head over the hill.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:55 AM   #14
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Thanks for that information. The 88 route is not one we have tried. Sounds like a good option to try.

Edit - Jackson has a very nice RV Park. There is also 49er Village just North in Plymouth. It's a excellent family CG.

Hope to meet you all down the road. Pat
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