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Old 06-27-2007, 06:31 PM   #1
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Heading North on I-5 from San Diego

Couple of question for you more experienced So. Cal. types:
I'm heading north on I-5, July 8:

1) Is there a better/good time to drive through LA traffic, , pulling a 28' TT? Early AM, late night, or ???

2)End destination is the KOA at Watsonville. I'm good for about 6-7 hours driving while pulling our TT. So, looks like I'm not going to make the final destination in one day. Can anyone out there recommend a campground some place between Bakersfield and Fresno on I-5. (Yes, I know neither City is on I-5 but needed some points of reference).

Any suggestion/help would be appreciated !
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Old 06-27-2007, 06:45 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishRover2
Couple of question for you more experienced So. Cal. types:
I'm heading north on I-5, July 8:

1) Is there a better/good time to drive through LA traffic, , pulling a 28' TT? Early AM, late night, or ???

2)End destination is the KOA at Watsonville. I'm good for about 6-7 hours driving while pulling our TT. So, looks like I'm not going to make the final destination in one day. Can anyone out there recommend a campground some place between Bakersfield and Fresno on I-5. (Yes, I know neither City is on I-5 but needed some points of reference).

Any suggestion/help would be appreciated !
Irish,

The best time to travel through downtown LA is late morning to early afternoon or middle of the night during the week. On Sunday, you should not have any problems. However, I would suggest taking the 57 to the 210 to I-5. The distance is about 15 miles farther, but the road is much wider.

Regarding the Central Valley, I suggest 99, more interesting scenery and more places to stop. There is nothing on I-5, gas stations are few and far between. I-5 is two lanes each way and much of 99 is three lanes each way and the road is better on 99 than I-5.

Bill
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Old 06-27-2007, 06:59 PM   #3
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If you do stay in Bakersfield, check out Orange Grove RV Park - Bakersfield, CA.

All the sites are separated by orange trees, and you can borrow a fruit picker from the office and have some fresh oranges. (Oranges may not be in season right now - if the oranges motivated you, be sure and ask when you make your reservation or stop in.) A very nice clean place with all hookups and a hose for washing your trailer, if you wish.
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:08 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions!
This will be our first trip to Santa Cruz with the TT, so need all the help we can get. I like the idea of going up the 99, it sounds more user friendly.

Bill, not sure about the directions you're suggesting "57 to the 210 to I-5".
I can head up the I-5 or I-15 from San Diego, where does the 57 come into play?

Irish
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishRover2
Thanks for the suggestions!
This will be our first trip to Santa Cruz with the TT, so need all the help we can get. I like the idea of going up the 99, it sounds more user friendly.

Bill, not sure about the directions you're suggesting "57 to the 210 to I-5".
I can head up the I-5 or I-15 from San Diego, where does the 57 come into play?

Irish
Irish,

The 57 is affectionately called the "Orange Crush" by us locals. It is about 5 miles on I-5 past the 55 at the north end of Santa Ana and about 5 miles before the 91 and Disneyland.

I-15 won't do you much good as it will take you through Riverside and on to Las Vegas.

Happy travels,

Bill
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:31 PM   #6
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Bill,
I could take the I-15 to the 210 to 1-5 but sounds like it would be way out of the way. What do you think?
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by IrishRover2
Bill,
I could take the I-15 to the 210 to 1-5 but sounds like it would be way out of the way. What do you think?
Irish,

You could, but I am not sure that the 210 is complete from I-15 to I-5. Also I think that it would add more miles and not save any time.

Bill
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:53 PM   #8
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Irish;

Both our children went to college in San Diego, so we made that drive a lot, including hauling U-Haul trailers with furniture..

Mid day is good (10 AM to 2PM), and the plan to take 57 Freeway to I-210 West to I-5 north again is worth considering.. We had good luck with it unless there was crash on northbound 57.. Avoid urge for tranquility and listen to one of two news AM radio dstations in LA for traffic alerts every 10 minutes.. (KNXT?) Avoid the 405 Freeway on west side at all costs between 6 AM and 9 PM, as it is horrible and they're still doing construction north of airport...

Good luck...

I think there is RV park near Harris Ranch about 90 minutes south of Los Banos, and restaurant is good one.. There are several marked around major cross highway exits near Fresno, and there's one popular with Airstreamers west of I-5 at Los Banos/Hwy 152 Exit... (San Luis RV Park - not very lovable..)
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:06 PM   #9
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Bill

Since you are leaving on a Sunday, you might want to take the 5 to the 405. Instead of pulling the grapevine, take 101 rather than the 5. The CentralValley heat can be brutal. There are very few midway places to stop. There is a lot more truck traffic. At some point you're going to have to cut back to the west anyway.

While the drivng might be a tad slower, it is mostly pretty scenery on 101. Expect some minor slowing past LAX, in the SF valley and Oxnard and Santa Barbara. There's a pretty good grade north of San Luis Obispo, but not the long hard pull on the grapevine. If you are going into a second day anyway, you might enjoy your trip a lot more.
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:12 PM   #10
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I was going to suggest a similar route.
If I'm heading north on the 5, I generally take the 126 at Magic Mountain over to the 101 at Ventura then north. Sometimes I go the 5/118/23/101.
The grade out of San Luis Obispo is a 5% grade for about 3 miles, not bad at all compared to the grapevine on the 5. The scenery is definately better.
Dave
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:34 PM   #11
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The problem with the 5 through LA is that it seems very narrow and there is a lot of construction south in the Downey area. Expect some really slow traffic even on a weekend.

Generally speaking the mid day advice above is good for a weekday on any SOCAL freeway.

We've found coming back in the afternoon from the north, the 210E to the 15S works best. It is complete to the Cajon Pass,
but not all the way to San Bernardino.

If you are planning on Watsonville for a second night before Santa Cruz, a lot of people seem to like Casa De Fruta. You have some choices in that area. However, you should have no problems getting Santa Cruz pretty early from SLO.
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Old 07-12-2007, 10:48 AM   #12
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Avoid the 405 at all cost. Airport traffic and construction in the area makes it just a horror.
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Old 07-12-2007, 04:52 PM   #13
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I agree with the 57-210 to the 5 suggestions. A much better route.
We've been up the 101 several times. It is a much nicer drive. You could stop just north of Santa Barbara or near San Luis Obispo.
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:40 AM   #14
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Hello,

I lived in the Central Valley for 45 years. I suggest you avoid as much of it as possible. I would nix Hwy 99 ~ the truckers are crazy and it is very hot in the summer, not to mention the cross traffic across the "freeway" in many places. If you are going to Watsonville, I suggest going up the coast unless you are in a real hurry. At least go up 101 as much as you can.

I agree I-5 is awful as well, but if you drive it at night you won't miss anything and it won't be as hot. There is gas, but you have to pay attention. Gas up at the grapevine and then you can go as far as Kettleman City and cut over to Hwy 101 at Paso Robles or so. I would really check out the google maps to see what you might want. Much depends on what you want to see. If you go Hwy 99 you will be much farther East than you want to be... it will add a couple of hours to your journey to come back to the West.

If you get stuck on I-5 you can always "camp" in the parking lot at Harris Ranch Restaurant just out of Coalinga. They have great steaks and shade trees. You can park on the pavement and your wifi will probably work if you park between the restaurant and the hotel (you will see others there...)

Good luck... hope the weather cools for your journey!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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