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Old 02-16-2013, 12:57 PM   #1
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Flat routes and side trips-eastward bound

Greetings. I'll be driving Sheila the Classic MoHo from NoCA to Asheville NC taking the flattest routes, short excursions for potential boondocking, and bits of Route 66. Leaving from Petaluma I'll likely take 12 to 99, then 58 to connect with I-40. Minus the excursions I'll discover along the way, I'll take I-40 to 78 around the Memphis area, to pick up I-20 across to I-26 in South Carolina up to Asheville. And minus Tehachapi , I think the only 'major' climb and it's not really major, is before Flagstaff on 40.
I'll be exploring the forums for additional info but if anyone want to chime in on route suggestions, experiences you'd like to share, recipes or thoughts for the day, they'll all be welcomed with gratitude.
And I would love it if my profile pic of Sheila would show up--86 KB, shows up on my 'home' profile but not here....studying with glasses on.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:10 PM   #2
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Suggest you consider taking I-5, instead of Hwy-99. It's straight, flat and boring; but 99 is not as smooth a ride (as of the holidays, 2012).

Hwy-58 intersects I-5 at Buttonwillow a few miles west of Bakersfield; and you can take this all the way to Barstow (and I-40). Also, there's cheap gas at the Costco in Bakersfield (if you are a member), a block west of where Hwy-58 merges onto Hwy-99 southbound. A few miles south of this junction, Hwy-58 splits off of Hwy-99 and continues east towards Tehachapi and Barstow. Hwy-58 is all good paved roads with wide shoulders. And, there are only a few grades, mainly approaching and leaving Tehachapi, with none notably long or steep.

There are really nice California state and regional campgrounds at the Los Banos Exit (a few miles west of I-5 at San Luis Reservoir) and in Tehachapi (Brite Lake County Park, a few miles southwest of town). Both of these have fresh water and dump stations.

There are some nice National Park, National Forest and Arizona state campgrounds and boondocking sites in Flagstaff. However, these are several miles off the highway and some of the campgrounds are closed in the winter months. Along the Arizona/New Mexico stretch of I-40, KOA's and similar campgrounds are usually more convenient, unless you have time to wander and explore.

However, a notable exception is Blue Water State Park, which is about 15 miles west of Gallop, NM, at exit 63, near Prewitt. This campground is a couple of miles off the road, but it's a real gem and most people drive right past it. Also, if you get there after they close the gates at dusk, you can park overnight just outside the entrance, for free.

For more details and Google Earth coordinates on the campgrounds above, please send me a PM.

I-40 is relatively flat (with no mountain grades) from Barstow to Oklahoma City, but I have gone no farther east on this highway. I'm sure others will provide more info, eastbound.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:34 PM   #3
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Great info Phoenix, thank you. I took 99 up on the eastward bound version of this trip from NC a couple years ago and yes I agree, it's not a smooth ride by any stretch but I found it interesting enough, and feel I'll be bored to sleep taking I-5. I was really interested to discover if there might be good road from 58 down to Joshua Tree without getting anywhere near LA and also glad to hear your 'interpretation' of Tehachapi as 'not notably long or steep'. I remember it from coming down westward bound, thought it might be a bit of a strain on the old girl going back up...
I'll check into the campgrounds you mentioned; I love the western states and will enjoy a little down time before I make my way through the rest of the trip. I DO know 40 east of OK and it's all fine by me, except between Nashville and NC. I drove it in the RV a couple times, and many times in the car and swore I'd never drive it again even in a car. But life and the highway system has provided us with choices and another choice I will make!
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:37 PM   #4
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I have an old photo kicking around, and resized it to something that may fit as an avatar. You can copy it and use it until you get a better photo to work:
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:49 PM   #5
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If on I-40 I would stay with it all the way to Asheville, I-20 thru South Carolina is the long way around. I know that between Nashville and Knoxville you have to cross the Cumberland Plateau which has a "mountain advisory," but I dont believe it is a difficult climb. Tom Sawyer RV Park in West Memphis AR sits on the Mississippi. If you get a water front site you can watch the tugs on the river.
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:03 PM   #6
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Unless you want to see something specific along US-78, I-20, or I-26, I would stay on I-40 to Asheville.

You will be forced onto Birmingham surface streets as the limited access portion of US-78 does not connect to I-20 (as of last April).

I-26 is IMO a dangerous road due to the topography, the volume of traffic, the high speeds, the frequent turns, and the limited view of the road ahead due to the topography and turns.

It is more dangerous than the 20-mile narrowed stretch of I-40 west of Asheville, which isn't a difficult drive in a motorhome as the speed limit is 50mph through that section and obeyed fairly well.

If you do come through Augusta on I-20, feel free to contact us.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:16 PM   #7
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I guess "long" and "steep" are subject to interpretation. I remember both Tehachapi and Cajon both being both long and steep. 20 minutes with my foot floored on the gas pedal is what I would consider a tad stiff, grade-wise.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:04 AM   #8
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Perhaps, my estimations were a little understated. My wife and I routinely travel in the Rockies, so anything under 6-7% grade and a couple of miles long doesn't seem too bad to me.

The east and west approaches to Tehachapi both have a couple of grades where heavily loaded semi's get bogged down for a couple of miles. It seems like nearly all RVs do OK on these stretches, unless they get caught behind some slow semi's and can't pass due to traffic. Hwy-58 through Tehachapi is not nearly as long or steep as Cajon Pass between Victorville and San Bernardino, and I don't think an RV in good running condition would have any difficulty with these grades.

If you want to bypass LA and drop down to Joshua Tree National Park and I-10, you can take Hwy-58 east to Kramer Junction (about 5 miles east of Boron), then turn south on Hwy-395 to Adelanto.

In Adelanto, turn east on Air Expressway (a.k.a., Air Base Road), which runs between the old southern entrance to George Air Force Base (now the Southern California International Airport) and a prison. On the east side of the airport, turn right (southwest) onto National Trails Highway (a.k.a., Historic Route 66), which runs along the northern outskirts of Victorville and on east through Apple Valley.

At the junction of I-15, this surface street turns into D-Street/Hwy-18. In town, near the train station, on the south side, you'll find the California Route 66 Museum, which contains a lot of interesting information about the old Route 66, George AFB, Roy Rogers and Victorville. A couple of years ago, they had an old teardrop trailer on display; not sure what's there now.

Celebrating the Historic Mother Road… California Route 66 Museum, Victorville, CA

Continue east on Hwy-18 through Apple Valley (home of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and former location of the Roy Rogers Museum and Trigger) to Lucerne Valley. Then, where Hwy-18 cuts off to the southeast, do NOT turn. Continue due east on this road, which turns into Hwy-247.

Continue east and south on Hwy-247 (it wanders quite a bit) to Yucca Valley. At the junction of Hwy-62, turn east and continue on the 29 Palms Highway (Hwy-62) about 4 miles to Park Boulevard.

Turn right (south) onto Park Boulevard, which goes through a residential area for a few blocks (watch for the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center on the right/west side of the street); and continue south on Park Boulevard, which eventually ends up at the north entrance to Joshua Tree National Park.

Camping - Joshua Tree National Park

Note: Don't forget your National Parks Annual Pass or Senior Pass (if applicable), which allows free admission to the park. Also, the Senior Pass gets a half-off discount on camping in Joshua Tree National Park and other National Park, National Forest, BLM, Army Corps of Engineers and other National campgrounds.

National Parks and Public Lands Pass Series - Joshua Tree National Park

There are several campgrounds in Joshua Tree, but the ones in the north end of the park fill up fast in the early afternoon. If you get there near dusk, take the first camp site you find; because it won't be there if you go back. If all of these sites are taken, there are plenty more near the southern end of the park at the Cottonwood Campground, but it's about 20+ miles of winding roads (in the dark) at 35 mph. There's another visitor center, fresh water and a dump station at Cottonwood, and I-10 is only a few more miles further south. The junction with I-10 is about 5 miles west of Chiriaco Summit and the General Patton Memorial Museum.

General Patton Memorial Museum

If you continue east on I-10 through Phoenix and Tucson, you'll go near Kartchner Caverns near Benson, AZ. Then, in Las Cruces, you can decide whether to head east towards Carlsbad Caverns National Park or back north to I-40. There are lots of interesting sites and campgrounds on the roads north through New Mexico, including:

* White Sands National Monument
* Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope antennas west of Socorro, featured in the movies 2010, Contact, Terminator Salvation, and Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon
* Trinity Site (atomic bomb test site, open for viewing the first Saturday in April and October)
* New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo
* Balloon Museum and Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (in October)
* Valley of Fires State Park near Carrizozo (interesting boardwalk over volcanic flows, with great BLM campground, eligible for Senior Pass discount). Clean showers, fresh water and dump station.

Lots to see and do in Arizona, too. Check this site for other posts on Arizona and New Mexico attractions.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f462...ml#post1186552

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ml#post1171654
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:20 AM   #9
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That's great Phoenix; I thought if there was a good route down to Joshua Tree, it would make a nicer jog through that area. I love Joshua Tree and the Hot springs, and would likely head north to 40 on the Sedona side. I made quite a few stops and jogs on Rt. 66 westward bound, but as I was on 58, didn't catch the Victorville portion. This seems like a fine optionThank you! I'll explore some of the other information you mentioned now...

Ike T: I'll take your suggestions into consideration, thanks. My experience on the section of 40 has not been good most anytime I've traveled it. I've not traveled 78 or the section of road that connects with I-20 but thought it was a good choice to explore.

and Bk Yd, I'd LOVe to watch the tugs, that might take me into West Memphis.

Printing!...
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