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Old 03-16-2011, 03:23 PM   #1
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California and Route 66

Hi. We live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and are planing an extensive 3+ month trip to tour California and return via Route 66. We tow our 1998 Safari with a Honda Ridgeline. We leave right after Easter and will be heading to New Orleans, then on to San Diego (stoping in Nashville, New Orleans, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson). From there we will head north-west to Las Vegas, then Death Valley, then back around to tour the inside of California (Sequoia, Yosemete, Napa valley, Somona valley, Lake Tahoe finishing in Redwood Forest).

We will then follow the coastline down to Los Angeles. Then it's the return trip via Route 66 (we have the "EZ66 Guide For Travellers" published by the National Historic Route 66 Federation to guide us). We plan on visiting the Grand Canyon when we get to Flagstaff.

I realize this is a tall order to comment on or add input but all comments are welcomed. Nothing is more valuable than advice, do's and dont's, recommendations, etc. from seasoned travellers. We will spending 4-5 days in each of San Diego, San Francisco and LA so camprounds near each of these cities would also be appreciated.
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:41 PM   #2
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Sounds like a great trip - one that has the journey in mind, rather than the destination.

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Old 03-16-2011, 03:44 PM   #3
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Wow, what a trip! Wish I could tag along!

The one small thing I noticed was your plan to spend the night in El Paso. Personally, I think Las Cruces (a smidgen to the north of there) is a lot nicer place to stay.


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Old 03-16-2011, 03:50 PM   #4
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Since you plan to visit both New Orleans and Nashville you might want to consider driving the Natchez Trace Parkway. It starts in Natchez MS and ends near Nashville. Natchez Trace Parkway (U.S. National Park Service)
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:05 PM   #5
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Wow, sounds great!

What are your camping preferences? Full amenity-type RV parks or wooded parks (like state/national) with the possibility of no hookups?

Some of the most beautiful coastline in the nation (IMHO) is on the Norther California/Oregon border, so don't turn around too soon! Patrick's Point State Park in Trinidad, CA (near Eureka) is my favorite state park for camping. There are no hookups, but there is a dump station. Beautiful private spaces, and right on the coast (though you can't see the coast from most of the prettiest sites because there are so many redwoods in between).


SF CAMPING:
I live near San Francisco and am amazed that, for a world-class outdoor recreation area, how few places to camp there are. Camping near the city is pretty impossible unless you're okay with staying in parking-lot-style RV parks. (Even so there's only one nearby and it's really bad— the rest are quite a drive away).
Olema Ranch on Highway 1 in Marin County is your best bet if you want hookups. It's in a beautiful region and is pretty decent with the sites spread out, and there are trees and grass (not parking-lot-like). It's a five-minute drive to Point Reyes Station for groceries or excellent local food. (And you have to make the drive up the road to Tomales Bay Oyster Co or Hog Island Oysters to buy and eat oysters right there at the source). The Highway One drive around Marin can be pretty nail-biting at places. It's totally do-able depending on your comfort level, but the easiest drive is to take 101 to the Sir Francis Drake exit and take Sir Francis Drake out to Point Reyes. It's about an hour drive to San Francisco.

The other best option is also on Sir Francis Drake, but slightly closer in. That's Samuel P Taylor State Park. Small and close to the road, but nicely wooded. No hookups.

There's also Anothny Chabot Regional Park in the Oakland hills. It's a bit shorter of a drive (though the drive into the campground itself is crazy long), has hookups, and is relatively scenic. But you'd get a lot more out of staying near Point Reyes.

Then there's San Francisco RV "Resort" in Pacifica (about 20 minutes south of san francisco). It has an excellent view— right on the ocean cliffside, but it's very much "parking lot" parking, and many of the parkers there are permanent. I'd recommend this one only if you expect to be in and out of the city a lot.
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:09 PM   #6
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Oh also, if you just need to "park" for an overnighter: I see a lot of rvs and truckers parking along the frontage road of the EastShore Freeway (highway 80-E near Berkeley—the Bay Bridge way into SF), and around the Costco in Richmond (off the 80-E Central Avenue exit). I have no idea how acceptable this is, but judging by the number of RVs and truckers I see there, it seems to be OK. This area actually has some amazing views of the city over the bay, so it's not a bad place to park at all.
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:21 AM   #7
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Sounds like you have a wonderful trip planned, John! I didn't think that there was much left of Route 66 these days, but it looks like I was wrong. I look forward to you chronicling your voyage here.

How about starting us off with a bunch of photos of your rig? As you will see, we are, as a group, very hungry for photos, both of the scenery of your tour and your "hardware" (trailer).

As far as travelling goes, and planning where to stay, I cannot recommend enough the book and CD from Woodall's. The book gives extensive information that you could start to read up on now,and more importantly, while you are on the road, the CD allows you to add the parameters you want in its very flexible search engine. I wouldn't leave home without it, to use a hacknied phrase. Be sure to get the version with CD.

Best of luck, and we look forward to your progress! When do you leave?
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Gervais View Post
Hi. ...
We will then follow the coastline down to Los Angeles. ...

I realize this is a tall order to comment on or add input but all comments are welcomed. Nothing is more valuable than advice, do's and dont's, recommendations, etc. from seasoned travellers. We will spending 4-5 days in each of San Diego, San Francisco and LA so camprounds near each of these cities would also be appreciated.
Sounds like a great trip! We just did something similar, visiting some of the same cities. Here's a link to the thread for your perusal. There are lots of pictures, and I hope you can find some of it useful. If you need more information, I'll be glad to help as best I can:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ast-72555.html

As far as campgrounds, the best for us were:

- Malibu Beach RV Park

Malibu Beach RV Park | RV Campground | Malibu | California

It is just outside Los Angeles on the Pacific Coast Highway. The view is spectacular. We intended to stay for a day or two, but ended up staying nearly a week. If you travel the PCH make sure you check for detours or road closings because of those pesky mudslides.



- Pichaco Peak State Park

Arizona State Parks: Picacho Peak: Home

A beautiful park in southern Arizona. just off I-10. We wish we had stayed there longer.



- Salton Sea State Recreation Area

Salton Sea SRA

If you get this far south, this was one of the best experiences of our trip. This was another place we intended to stop by for a day, and ended up staying a week. Bombay Beach, Salvation, and Slab City were unforgettable side trips, and are very near the Salton Sea.



Bayou Segnette State Park

Bayou Segnette State Park - Louisiana Office of State Parks

This is just outside the New Orleans city limit. We loved NOLA (it just may be our next big road trip), but preferred to stay out of the city, so this park was perfect for us. $18 per night with electric, water, wifi, and free laundry room.


Safe travels.
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:54 AM   #9
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VEry nice itinerary!! If you plan to drop down into New York and travel I90 west towards Cleveland, check the progress of the road construction. I pulled a utility trailer through there late in July and the lanes were very narrow. It was near the west end of New York and extended into Penn. and Ohio if I remember correctly. Major rebuilding, so I doubt if it is completed.

All I can say is, "I'm envious!"
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:37 PM   #10
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You may want to check details on Highway 1 between San Francisco and LA. I saw on the news this morning that somewhere along that route, part of the road was out due to a rockslide; and they said it might not be opened for a couple of months.

Also, in the past year or so Pacifica has some areas that have been crumbing into the sea. The San Francisco RV Resort in Pacifica is on a cliff overlooking the ocean, so I'd check to see how it is holding up. We have driven though the park, but not stayed there (checking it out for future visits to the Bay Area). And, I wouldn't be surprised if they have experienced some beach erosion, too. The local news has shown cliff-side homes falling into the sea.

That whole area (including Pacifica) is on a fault line. If you go to the Point Reyes National Park north of San Francisco, they have rock formations that can be matched up to the other half down in Monterey Bay. That whole area is moving slightly, a few inches per year.

If you get near El Paso, check out Rockhound State Park in Demming, New Mexico. Also, don't miss Carlsbad Caverns in southeastern NM.

Near Tucson, don't miss the Titan Missile Museum (a deactivate missile silo), the Pima Air Museum, and the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. Also, Karchner Caverns is south and east of there, if you haven't had enough caves by then.
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:54 PM   #11
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Trying to think of things off old 66. Here are a couple:

1. Albuquerque: lots to see and do there, including Old Town, many museums, tram to Sandia.

2. Winslow, AZ. See the train station, one of the old Harvey places, now restored.

3. The big meteor crator near Winslow, AZ (sort of).

4. Acoma pueblo, a bit south of the old road near Acomita, NM / Sky City Casino.

5. Gallup, NM if you're into Native American jewelry. (That's where dealers from NY and Santa Fe do their buying.)

6. Santa Fe (tons to see/do!) is north of Albuquerque by about 60 miles. Not on the most recent version of Rt. 66, but was on 66 prior to the realignment in 1938. (It used to branch off current I40 around Santa Rosa, NM and go to an area between SF and Las Vegas, NM; from there more or less following the Rio Grande through Albuquerque to Los Lunas, where it headed more or less northwest to connect with current I40 at the Laguna pueblo. The stretch from Los Lunas on is still used, now called Highway 6.)

There's tons more in the area. I'm just blanking at the moment.


Lynn
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Old 03-17-2011, 05:46 PM   #12
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What a great trip! Olema is a really nice place and good for seeing a bit of rural northern CA. Chabot Park in Oakland is fine... I'd say, bias your time towards Sonoma county vs Napa county. You might also look at Doran park in Bodega Bay. We took route 66 from Tucumcari to Barstow 2008, without the Airstream, and thought Santa Fe was well worth the side trip, as well as the Harvey House (train station) in Winslow, the dinners were excellent. The part of old 66 in Arizona nearest the CA border, from Mconnico in AZ, through Oatman to Topock would be a real adventure with a trailer.. watch the Long Long Trailer first. Oatman, the town where the burros have the run of the main street. I'd say the way to get to Chabot that is most tow vehicle friendly is to take Joaquin Miller to Skyline to Redwood road going east. Redwood road from the 580 freeway to skyline is quite steep. You might also consider going up 395 from Yosemite to Tahoe, its very very cool and you could go to Bodie, a fascinating ghost town, and to Mono Lake. Then, from Tahoe take interstate 80 west to Napa. The drive down 80 has spectacular mountain scenery, and there are some great little towns along the way, old gold towns like Dutch Flat and Alta. I'm so envious, what a great journey!
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:06 AM   #13
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Sounds like a great trip...one thing comes to mind as I look at your general itinerary and timing...it sounds like you may be hitting some of these areas during the warmer times of year...so please keep an eye on weather reports and try to stay cool. While northern Arizona is usually fine during the summer months for camping (that's where we head), southern Arizona can be punishingly hot. Enjoy your trip and keep us posted as to your travels and whereabouts so we can follow you!
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Old 03-27-2011, 03:09 PM   #14
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Thanks a lot everyone. Your info and suggestions will certainly make this a better trip.
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