We are planning a trip in our 30 foot airstream leaving from Los Angeles and traveling north on Pacific Coast Highway up to Oregon. Has anybody experience with this and with all the curves we wanted to be sure we could manage while towing the 30 foot. Any thoughts appreciated, thank you.
I just drove Cal 1 a couple of weeks ago from LA to Monterrey on my way back from Quartzsite, AZ. It is very scenic but challenging, even with a 19' trailer on the Big Sur. You will have to concentrate on the road so much you will miss the scenery. But it can be done. Several road and bridge construction sites.
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SLO to monterey is not that bad, just leave yourself plenty of time and don't let the people behind rush you. Use the turnouts and don't worry about the views. There are a bunch of spots to pull off to enjoy and have lunch or take photos.
We have traveled #1 in a car, but not towing our AS. Just a few miles north of San Simeon, I believe I remember a notice that trailers were not permitted on that part of the Big Sur coastline. That part of #1 is really gnarly and hard to drive as mentioned above. You'll be watching the road much more than you will be enjoining the view. Be sure to check on the "no trailers" demarcation...I believe I am correct on that one. Zigi...
You can always camp south of that area and then take side trips on the Big Sur...don't forget your camera!!!
We pulled our 28' AS down the Oregon coast and much of the California Coast to San Simeon, including the Big Sur section, without incident. No trailer restrictions were in place as of December. Beautiful, fun drive. Stay at Kirk Creek Campground at Big Sur if you can, it's awesome.
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We've had out 27'--our first RV of any kind--for a year now and one of our first trips was Monterey south on Hwy 1 to Hwy 46 (Paso Robles) with a couple days stop over at Kirk Creek (nearby alternative is Plaskett Creek Campground). Frankly, it was a bit scary at times, but very doable. Traveling south we were on the outside side, many times looking down, WAY down. As many in this thread have advised, take it slow, and enjoy the view--not while you're driving--from the turnouts. Traveling northbound, you'll be on the inland side; it's a bit less scary.
BTW, I'd recommend contacting CalTrans before you start out, just to make sure the road is open; they have lots of washouts that can close the highway for varying periods.
I'd plan a two day trip from SLO to Monterey, spending a night at Kirk Creek Campground, about 25 mi south of Big Sur. If you get there on a week day by late morning, you should be able to get a site. No amenities except spectacular sunsets over the vastness of the Pacific. Whale and dolphin sightings are added benefits.
At the end of your second day, there's a nice campground inside Monterey, Veteran's Memorial Park. Don't pay attention to the 21' length limit. We've taken our 27' there several times and have seen camped RV's over 40'. Unhitch your AS and drop down to Fisherman's Wharf--about 1 1/2 miles away--and enjoy a good seafood dinner.
Next morning, if you want to save some time, take Hwy 156 east to Hwy 101. Then follow 101 north to 880 and skirt around the congestion of the Bay Area, pick up 580 to the Richmond Bridge--bring lots of $, with all your axles, the toll across the bridge is steep--picking up 101 again in San Rafael. This is the route we travel when going to the north coast. Alternatively, you could stay on the coast route traveling through Santa Cruz on up to Half Moon Bay. There's a nice KOA, at Costanoa, in Pescadero. We stayed there this past weekend. Then in Half Moon Bay pick up Hwy 92 and take it east all the way to 880, then north to the Richmond Bridge, etc.
As an FYI, I would not recommend trying to pick up the coast highway immediately north of SF near Muir Woods. It's a very narrow, twisty, congested road, that is more suited to Mini Coopers than Airstreams in tow. Besides, Bodega Bay is, how should I say it ... ugly. You won't be missing anything by following the directions below.
A easy place to pick up the coast route north of San Francisco, is to take Hwy 116 west from Hwy 101 just north of Santa Rosa to Jenner on the coast and travel north on Hwy 1 from there. About 10 mi inland on 116 from Jenner is Casini Ranch, a really nice private campground with full hookups where a northern CA-based group of AS reprobates--now including me--meet each April to drink margaritas and mutually assure ourselves we're all not as nuts as others think we are. Hwy 116 along the Russian River is an easy tow and quite scenic; my personal opinion is that the pretty part of the northern coast route starts at Jenner anyway. There's a very nice private campground with full hookups--Pomo RV Resort(?) about 15 mi north of Mendocino, close enough to be a base for exploring that part of the coast. Above Fort Bragg, you're on your own.
Enjoy your trip. It's spectacular scenery, worthy of a good camera.
__________________ As far as I know, this is the oldest I've ever been.
I have traveled HWY 1 end to end in 'sections' for 60 years. Mostly during the 70s and 80s with my young family in cars, vans and sometmes towing small campers. Just drop dead scenery everywhere, Oregon border to So. Cal. Wonderfull places to camp for a few days and explore which is really the way to do it. It's NOT a hurry up trip. A couple of years ago my wife and I met up with HWY 1 near Monterey, stayed a few days in Carmel (parked in daughter's in laws driveway ) then leisurely towed the Airstream to Kirk Creek campground near Big Sur. Left the trailer there and took day trips visiting Big Sur sights and down past Hearst Castle which we had visited years ago. My first experience was just before I was old enough to drive in 1952. Dad, mom, my younger brother and I had just left LA after the long Rte 66 journey from Michigan. Our (their) plan was to end up in the SF bay Area and a new home. The only 'home' that we had then was a 1950, 26' Pan American travel trailer. Mom convinced dad that she wanted to see the Pacfic Ocean by traveling north on HWY 1. No one had cautioned us then (no Airforums then for sure) to the 'adventure' that we were embark upon. Not that we hadn't had several 'moments' on Rte 66. So with the still performing '48 Nash Ambassador towing our 5000# trailer (dry) with all we could carry in it we began this final leg of our trip to SF. It was as bit of a trip as one could be. Long lines of cars behind us until dad found turnouts long enough for our rig, FOG obscured much of the views that mom wanted to see. Dad never saw anything except what was in front of the hood ornament (remember those) and the headlights lined up behind. My brother and I weren't helping by arguing in the back seat. The only stress that we didn't have was the clift drop off wasn't on our side of the road as we were heading north. Don't let this story discourage you as this was 60 years ago and the road has been updated muchly....even though parts of it today slides into the ocean. Would I travel it in 2012..you BETCHA, but not in 1, 2 or even 3 days. More for north of SF. Find places to stop and stay to take day trips. HWY 1 is to be taken like a fine steak.....slowly so's to savor each bite/sight.
In closing this drive needs to be taken with the knowlege that is not a way betweens points A and B. Plan your stops and enjoy each one. Only you know your ability to tow your 'Long, Long Trailer' .I know had my parents known what the highway was like before venturing on it they would have. I truly had enjoyed it. The 15 day 1952 journey on Rte 66 had it's own breathless moments. No interstate US 40 then to escape onto.
Neil and Lynn Holman