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Old 01-25-2013, 07:31 PM   #15
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I've heard the the Malibu RV park is nice but the staff seem to lack in the service dept. You can check the reviews on trip advisor and Yelp!. You might also consider coming down 101 and staying at El Capitan or Ocean Mesa in Santa Barbara for a night or two to add a little diversity.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:41 PM   #16
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If you had more time built into your trip, Monterey makes for a great layover between SF and LA.
Several route options between Pacifica and Monterey.
You can boon dock here in Monterey (they'll accept your 24' footer);
City of Monterey | Veteran's Memorial Park
You may want to stay for a day for the aquarium and cannery row.
The drive south of Monterey on highway 1 to 101 in San Luis Obispo is a challenge but well worth it. Traffic is light during the week even in March.
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:38 PM   #17
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I am from Northern California and now live in West Hills just 15 min from Malibu. I have driven all the freeways down to the smallest logging roads. I can honestly say all routs have their pros and cons. It all boils down to what you want to see and how much time you have. I 5 although boring is your fastest route to LA. Once you hit the 405 south from I 5 it all depends on the time of day. LA drivers can be extremely aggressive and rude so be prepared. From the 405 San Diego it is only about 30-40 miles to Malibu from the 101. I would probably take Las Virgenes rd that will dead end into PCH (highway 1). The 101 south from San Francisco is beautiful but can be slow and full of detours and road work. Once you get to Paso Robles it can get a bit windy and hilly beware of the CHP in this area. I have gotten held up many times between Santa Barbara and Ventura. But if you have the time to spare there is a lot More to see than the 5.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:39 AM   #18
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I second Coastalview's recommendation. The Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row are must-see's, if you can work them into your schedule. Monterey Bay, Pacific Groves, Pebble Beach and that whole area are beautiful and well worth the stop. Lots to see and do, with great restaurants and sea food!

The San Francisco RV Resort is relatively expensive, and it's basically a parking lot. However, from Pacifica, it is only about 20-30 minutes to Golden Gate Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio, Chinatown and downtown San Francisco. It is also very clean, secure and close to the other cities in the Bay Area. If you are only staying there a couple of nights, the convenience and security are worth the expense. In addition, Pacifica has an easily accessible, black sand beach that usually has very few visitors, and is great for a relaxing walk along the surf (watch out for the undertow). And, the town itself is an often overlooked, quaint little seaside village with interesting shops and good restaurants.

By the way, don't even think about taking your trailer into San Francisco (proper). It's OK, if you are headed THROUGH the City; but I wouldn't advise parking on the street with your rig, especially in downtown areas and Chinatown. (Have you ever tried to parallel park with your trailer?) Besides heavy traffic congestion, narrow streets, and dodging trains, street cars and electric buses, it will be almost impossible to find a parking space for your TV and trailer. And, if you can even find parking for both, it will be expensive. Also, refueling with your trailer in tow will be difficult, as access is tight in most area gas stations. In addition, fuel prices are outrageous in the City. So, fill up before going into town. Note: Parking exceptions include Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, Crissy Field and other areas where short-term RV parking is available.

The PCH (Pacific Coast Highway 1) is a beautiful drive. However, it is very long and winding. Also, once you get south of Monterey Bay, there aren't any cutoffs over to the 101; so you are pretty much committed to continuing on Highway 1 to LA. The southbound side has the best ocean views, but the driver will probably be too occupied driving to see much. If your passenger is afraid of heights (like mine is), this scenic drive may be the road from H3LL. My wife said this all day experience was similar to the ride up Pike's Peak; i.e., no guard rails in most areas, and a long way down. Also, she said that at least on Pike's Peak, she didn't have to worry about drowning after we went over the side. For this reason, you might want to drive northbound from LA to SF. However, you'll be on the inside lane; and your passengers won't have the best view of the ocean.

Just a suggestion, but when you leave the Bay Area, you might want to take the PCH south to Monterey, which will give you a couple of hours of driving along the coast. Then, stop to see the Aquarium and Cannery Row (and probably stay overnight). And then, cut over to the 101. If you take the PCH south, you'll lose an entire day driving on winding roads through little towns, where the speed limit will be 35-45 most of the time -- and that's if the fog doesn't roll in. If you encounter fog, you'll be driving 15-25 mph (which will take forever to get to Malibu); and you won't be able to see anything but about 2-3 car lengths of the road ahead. Again, not the most entertaining drive for passengers; so check the weather and road conditions (for road closures and restrictions) before you head south of Monterey on the PCH. Please don't misunderstand, this is a beautiful drive; but it sounds like you may not have time to really enjoy it.

Lots of great alternate routes and campgrounds on the trip legs from Albuquerque to San Francisco, and from Malibu eastbound. Let us know which routes you have planned, and we can provide details on campgrounds along the way.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:52 AM   #19
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Parking a tow vehicle in SF, even without the trailer, can be tricky. It might be easier to drive to Daly City and use BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), Muni buses and cable cars to get around. With the internet, it's pretty easy to map out routes in advance. And in March, the cable cars won't be jammed to bursting with tourists and can actually be used to get from one place to another. Union Square to Ghirardelli Square is a favorite route of mine with good views and the option of stopping at the Cable Car Museum along the way.

The coast is usually clear of fog in March. Fog is more of a summer thing, in my experience. Going southbound, your passenger will definitely have something to talk about.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:30 AM   #20
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Planning my Summer 2013

I plan a trip to Calif. This should help.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:08 PM   #21
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If you are in SF long enough, you might want to look at the City Pass:

Official San Francisco CityPASS® | 5 San Francisco Attractions for $69

Also, see a comparison with muni tickets:

http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mfares/passports.htm

The museums are great, even if you aren't an enthusiast. And, the City Pass will pay for itself, if you plan on visiting most of the events. However, it mostly depends on how much time you will stay in the Bay Area.

If you haven't ridden trolley cars, trains and buses, they are adventures in themselves; and the locals are friendly and helpful. When we visit relatives in the City, we park our vehicle at their house and use the trains and buses the whole time we are there. Public transportation is excellent and economical in the City. Plus, parking is limited, frustrating and expensive (especially if you come from Arizona and Colorado where parking is plentiful and free).
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:37 PM   #22
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Airslide...How is that Novato Park? I am looking at it for s future trip. Your thoughts?
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:03 PM   #23
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Airslide...How is that Novato Park? I am looking at it for s future trip. Your thoughts?

Other than being 5 minutes from my house its not that exciting. They have a little store, great deli, nice facilities and kept very clean. The downside is that they pack a few too many rvs in a tight spot and if they put you against the north side fence line it can be a bit tricky to back in. The location is pretty good but I would rather stay at the Petaluma KOA as its very nice with a wooded feel and all the same amenities and more and only 20 minutes north up 101.

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Old 01-31-2013, 10:18 PM   #24
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I finally saw this thread; here's that video webspinner was talking about.

I was heading home early since the road was being closed for 12 hours due to bridge work.

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Old 02-01-2013, 01:18 AM   #25
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OK, imagine that same drive on the opposite side of the road (southbound) in the dark, in fog, going 15 mph. That's what happened to us when the fog rolled in an hour before dusk, and we had to drive for another four hours in fog after getting a late start leaving Monterey Bay earlier that day. Without reservations along this stretch, there was no where to stop overnight until we got closer to LA.

By the way, fast bike! Details?
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:38 AM   #26
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OK, imagine that same drive on the opposite side of the road (southbound) in the dark, in fog, going 15 mph. That's what happened to us when the fog rolled in an hour before dusk, and we had to drive for another four hours in fog after getting a late start leaving Monterey Bay earlier that day. Without reservations along this stretch, there was no where to stop overnight until we got closer to LA.

By the way, fast bike! Details?
I've done 1 from Monterey to Kirk Creek or so in the fog on the bike... not that much fun 'cause it was hard to keep the visor clear enough to see. Fog generally isn't an issue until the interior starts to get warm - April/May, but it can happen any time.
Highway 1 is really made for bikes, but you don't want to miss any turns - there's often no guard rail between you and the Pacific.

The bike looks faster in that video than it is - a 1985 Honda 700 cc Nighthawk - my commuter. Shaft drive, rattlecan paint job. Plates are "Ratbyk" . New, 0 - 60 in 3.6 seconds, 12.3 second quarter. Less than that now , but a lot faster than our truck pulling the Airstream.

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Old 02-01-2013, 09:43 AM   #27
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California Dreaming Part 2

In advance, I’d like to thank you all again. Your advice is appreciated and has helped us decide to add a couple of days to the California leg of our trip. In addition, we’re adding 5 days to the trip out from Kansas for the New Mexico and Arizona leg. My current thinking for California is the following:
A. Staying one day at Salton Sea or Joshua National Park.
B. Driving to the Santa Barbara area for an overnight via 101. Would you recommend Ocean Mesa RV Park or something cheaper or better?
C. Driving to San Francisco RV Resort in Pacifica and spending four days seeing the San Francisco area (daughter and boyfriend joining us from LA). We will explore Highway 1 without the trailer in tow.
D. Driving to Monterey area for an overnight Via 101. Marina Dunes RV or something better?
E. Driving to Malibu RV Park via 101 and spending 3 days visiting daughter and boyfriend before she goes back to school.
So once again, is this reasonable? Do you have any ideas/suggestions about Santa Barbara and Monterey areas? Is there a better midpoint than Santa Barbara and Monterey? Any thoughts on Salton Sea vs Joshua Tree? Am I crazy routing though LA to Santa Barbara?
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:29 PM   #28
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Around Monterey, my two favorite spots are Elkhorn Slough (rhymes with "through" not with "rough") and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Marina Dunes is almost exactly between those two. I can't comment on Marina Dunes yet. We'll be staying there for the first time March 25-28, with other Airstreamers.

Elkhorn Slough is a nature preserve, probably best seen by kayak, but there are tour boats that keep within the 5 mph speed limit so as not to disturb the wildlife. Sea otters, pelicans, harbor seals, cormorants and sea lions are common. Herons and egrets are there too. Kayaks can be rented at Moss Landing, where Elkhorn Slough meets the Pacific.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a world class aquarium, dedicated to state of the art displays, education and research. If you go there before you go to Elkhorn Slough, you'll have a better idea of what you're seeing at the Slough. There's a nice, casual restaurant at the north side of the Moss Landing bridge over the slough. Near the Monterey Bay Aquarium is Cannery Row, once a bustling fishing cannery area made famous by John Steinbeck and now full of places to meet the needs of visitors - shops, restaurants, art galleries, etc.
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