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Old 01-30-2013, 09:31 PM   #1
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New Member - trip advice?

Hello, we are new to the Airstream Forum. We bought our 2010 23` International brand new a couple of years before i retired from the railroad, now its time to have some fun. We have used it some with a couple of trips to Humbug Mountain on the Oregon coast. This year we plan to go to the Grand Canyon in May, and my question is what is a good route to take form the Portland area.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:43 PM   #2
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Any route that avoids Southern California freeways. (See an earlier post regarding freeway surfaces in Southern California.

BYW Welcome to the Forums.

Randy Bowman
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:03 PM   #3
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We made the trip a couple of years ago and drove down through Salt Lake City. It was a terrible drive with freeway construction for many many miles. It was nice to see the money going into construction and there were lots of people working but the drive was not real fun.

We are heading back this fall and will head farther east and see Mt. Rushmore and then drive south through the bad lands. On the way home it will be through Death Valley and Yosemite.

I agree that it would be wise to avoid the freeways of Southern California. Have a great time. I am sure you will. Welcome to retirement, it is a nice place.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:05 PM   #4
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Mike -
I've driven a number of routes from here to visit my mother outside Phoenix, 5-6 times with the trailer. Weather permitting, and I think you'd be fine in May, my favorite route is Highway 26 east out of Portland to Highway 395 south near John Day. 395 is very scenic and hugs the eastern slope of the Sierras all the way down to SoCal near Barstow. There are three passes over 8000' on this road which are obstacles if there is snow. From there Interstate 40 east (not pretty but it gets you there) to Williams, AZ. From Williams, Highway 64 north takes you to the south rim of the canyon.
This is definitely not the "fast route" but it is exceptionally scenic. If you go this way, give yourself time to enjoy the ride. There are many worthwhile side trips.
I-5 is my least favorite choice to go south.
Mark
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:15 PM   #5
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Ok, since I am about to buy an Airstream and I live in Southern California so I have no choice but to use them... what is the issue with the surfaces of southern california freeways?
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:35 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. I had thought about running south along the coast to the mid or LA part of the state and turn east toward Las Vegas but the thought of heavy traffic spooks me a bit. I`ll give Highway 395 a look. Are there many parks along this route for overnight stays?
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:00 AM   #7
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I've twice driven from Astoria to LA on Highway 1/101 with my trailer. It's a wonderful trip. But then there is LA to contend with. An Airstream friend of mine in LA described freeways there as "driving the back roads of Bangladesh." (No offense intended). Traffic density is unsettling, but the road surface conditions are abysmal and the trailer gets hammered. If you can deal with the minuses, the trip down the coast is stunning. I doubt there is a more scenic stretch of highway in the US. (I'm biased and I'm sure many would disagree.)
There are plenty of camping opportunities on the 395 route. Research your route online to find potential stopping places on the way.
Mark
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:19 AM   #8
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trip advice

Thanks for the input on a route south. I`m checking the possibilities online. Looks like a lot of stopping points on 395. As much as we like the idea of running down the coast, 395 looks good, too.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:35 AM   #9
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Grand Canyon trip

Hi Mark, We`ve decided to take Hwy 101 south to Hwy 20 I believe it is that comes out at Williams, Ca. From there we plan to go to Yosemite. From there we are heading to the Grand Canyon. I`m wondering how much time will it take if we run south to Bakersfield to Hwy 58 and then head east to the Grand Canyon.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:52 PM   #10
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Oregon to GC

Hi Mike,

Mike here (I also live in So Cal). If time is important you could do Interstate 5 south to 99 south and at Bakersfield take 58 east through Tehachapi which will hook you up at Interstate 40 at Barstow.

Hwy 58 does see alot of truck traffic but you will completely bypass the L/A basin and in May the desert east of Mojave can still be quite nice. You will also see very little elevation change taking this route. Keep your speed at 60 and the CHP shouldn't bother you.

I live in Orange County and when I come and go on a trip I try hard not go through Los Angeles (freeways are jammed and the roadways are awful) and I do it during off hours such as late at night or early morning and a week end day works best.

If you plan on staying at the rim make your reservations early and I also understand there are some nice RV parks in and around Williams.

Welcome to the forums,
Jack Dog
in So Cal
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:47 PM   #11
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It takes me 13 hours, including breakfast and lunch, to drive from Sacramento to Flagstaff. That's going about 65 to 75 (not towing). Be careful about speeding much above 60 mph on Route 99 or you stand a high chance of getting a speeding ticket from the CHP. That road is well patrolled and they use radar. Speed limit in California while towing is 55 mph everywhere.

I've made this trip dozens of times, family and a small hunting cabin in Arizona. Between Bakersfield and Kingman its pretty empty (I avoid Barstow because its a hassle to exit and enter, and Needles is too hot). I'll fuel up just east of Bakersfield on Route 58 at the 58/184 interchange. Its open and wide, good spot for trailers. About 275 miles later, just over the border in Arizona about 10 miles past Needles there's a couple of truck stops. Good place to refuel for cheap gas. In between mostly high desert and scrub. There are a couple of Caltrans rest areas along the way where you can stretch your legs, but virtually no services.

On getting camping reservations in Yosemite, its super competitive. Check their camping website for details but I think they open reservations for an entire month about 4 months in advance, at 6:00 or 7:00 am. All sites for the month will be booked within 30 seconds after they open. You need to log onto about 3 sites concurrently on your web browser all the way to the "Click Here to Reserve this Site" button a few minutes in advance of the top of the hour. At precisely top of the hour click the button for all sites. Hopefully one or more of those will go through.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:58 PM   #12
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We went down that way through Salt Lake last Fall. Long, long drive. If I were going to do it again I might take a longer look at the I-5 395 option. Do try and stop at Zion NP. It as our favorite.
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:01 PM   #13
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Mike, from Portland you could even try I-84 to Ontario, OR then south on HY 95 to I-80 eastbound to HY 93 south, then 93 south. From there it depends whether you are headed to the North or South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Alternatively just take I-84 east to Twin Falls, ID and then 93 south. Nevada has some long lonely stretches of highway, but they should be fine in May. Very little traffic! The North Rim can still get pretty cool at night at that time of year.

Have a wonderful trip!
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Old 02-08-2013, 03:19 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replys. This gives me a good idea on my route and running time. I love this forum. We are pretty excited about the trip. We have reservations at Yosemite at the Dimond O campground. It is outside of the loop, but it was the best I could do. We also have reservations at the Grand Canyon. I was worried that I hadn`t given myself enough running time but I think I`m OK. We are going to stop at Zion along the way northbound. Thanks again.
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