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Old 10-17-2015, 07:46 AM   #1
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Vancouver, BC to Palm Springs, CA Winter Route

We are travelling to PS in February from Vancouver, BC. What is the best route in terms of easiest passes? Should we put snow tires on our 2015 Flying Cloud 23FB? Our tow vehicle is a 2014 VW Touareg.

I assume we should winterise the water systems for the trip, as it may be very cold in the passes - made colder by our travelling speed.

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Old 10-17-2015, 09:23 AM   #2
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You can always go down the coast. Follow I-5 until you get to Corvallis then head west. Go south into the wine country and make your way back to I-5.

We drove down last year without our trailer and spent a lot of time researching and thinking about what it would take to bring the AS. We quickly decided against it. There were few affordable trailer parks in the greater Palm Springs area. The traffic in and around the LA basin was rather heavy by our standards and the gas prices were steeper than the surrounding states.

If, on the other hand, we were planning a big trip and Palm Springs was just a starting point, that would be a different thing. I would allow a lot of time t make the trip. We took 3 days with just the car and could have done it in 2. If I had the trailer I would budget at least 4 days on the road and maybe even 5 if I spent a lot of time on 101.

Good luck. We loved Palm Springs in February and are planning on returning again this year. It is a very nice break from a cold and cloudy month in Spokane.

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Old 10-17-2015, 10:21 AM   #3
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If you aren't in a hurry, I'd take the Pacific Coast Highway and take advantage of Oregon and North California fantastic State parks. I did the route by bicycle several years ago during the months of February and March and loved it. It was a fairly mild and relatively dry winter that year so the roads were in good shape and the parks weren't completely empty.
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Old 10-17-2015, 05:14 PM   #4
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Vancouver, BC to Palm Springs, CA Winter Route

It will probably be a pleasant trip, if you stick to a coastal route. On the other hand, keep two words in mind-- El Niņo.
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Old 10-18-2015, 08:28 AM   #5
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I don't think you need to winterize anything, so long as you just plan on driving through the passes during the day and not staying up there overnight. Particularly if you take a predominantly coastal route, as has been recommended. The Central Valley of California can experience freezing temperatures during the day in February, but not much below freezing or for very long.
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Old 10-18-2015, 10:36 AM   #6
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Wind chill

Wind chill only affects living things! Wind does NOT lower temperature! Water freezes at 32 degrees, wind or no wind. It may feel colder and drain your body temperature but the Airstream will not notice!
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Old 10-18-2015, 11:47 AM   #7
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While the coastal route is far more scenic, I avoid driving through the L.A. area at all costs. I prefer taking Hwy 99 to Bakersfield and then Hwy 58 over the Tehachapi's. That way, you avoid the crazy trucks going over the Grapevine (I-5) into L.A. As far as steepness, it's a toss up, but Hwy 58 is a short pass and you drop into the high desert, where it's clear sailing to Palm Springs. Don't forget to take a side trip to Joshua Tree NP. The passes are so short, freezing temps are not a problem, unless you get stuck in a rare snow storm.
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Old 10-18-2015, 12:06 PM   #8
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The weather is the thing, isn't it. As someone already pointed out, this year is supposed to be the Mother of all El Ninos. If forecasts are accurate, that could mean torrential downpours and flooding for SoCal. Meanwhile, the PNW is supposed to be drier than normal. What will happen? Who knows? I'd keep an eye on the weather, take 101 down to San Fransisco, (I5 is in terrible shape from San Fran to Oregon) and have a bail out plan in case of more 100 year storms.
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Old 10-18-2015, 02:29 PM   #9
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It's all about weather.

Earlier this week, I5 through the Grapevine between Bakersfield and LA was completely mudslide flooded for several miles and they're still working on removing swamped vehicles even as they're clearing mud with no prediction as to when it will open.

The 58 from Bakersfield East is a very good alternative BUT you will hit some altitude (4000 ft, I think) and there will be a lot at 2500 where precipitation can easily turn to snow.

So plan on patience, and try to time your run south between storms--especially in the long awaited El Niņo winter to come.
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Old 10-18-2015, 03:20 PM   #10
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We did that very trip last year at the end of December and yes weather was a concern for us so decided to stay on I 5 all the way into California then as others have pointed out headed off to Bakersfield to avoid Los Angeles. Just before heading over the mountain pass there is a great stop in Oregon, Seven Feathers RV Park exit 99, where you can then watch the weather and pick your day to cross the high pass into northern California. Once there you will be pretty good but may get freezing over night. Run your furnace and use your on board water and hook up water to fill that tank only then store the hose or you will have fun coiling a frozen hose in the morning (ask me how I know this...hahaha).

This year we are heading off the beginning of December but as I live in the Okanagan we are going to go down highway 97 to Weed California then follow that same route through Bakersfield.

Happy travels!
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Old 10-18-2015, 03:37 PM   #11
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You really only have the Siskiyou summit as a significant pass. I'd just watch the weather, pick a good window, then take I-5.

That said, I-5 south of Sacramento is really in rough shape, and not so great all the way to Oregon.

We go to Death Valley every year, but try to go via Susanville, CA and Reno, taking US 95 south. Less traffic, better roads. But... We wait for a weather window.
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Old 10-18-2015, 04:46 PM   #12
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I agree, Seven Feathers @ Canyonville, OR, is a good place stop for the night and do a weather check. If the Siskiyous are clear, then I-5 to Bakersfield shouldn't be a problem as far as snow is concerned. If there's snow on the Siskiyous you can cut over to 101 at Grants Pass and go down the Coast a ways. Have a great trip!

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Old 10-18-2015, 05:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bganso View Post
Don't forget to take a side trip to Joshua Tree NP. The passes are so short, freezing temps are not a problem, unless you get
Greetings from Joshua Tree! Definitely do not miss our beautiful nation park! BTW, we did get snow here this year. In February. But it was only about 3" and was gone in a day. JT is a great place to live and a great place too visit.
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Old 10-18-2015, 09:06 PM   #14
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I don't know the particulars about chains for your 23 FC but you definitely must have chains in your possession for your tv to cross the passes. They do check.

We've driven the various routes (Seattle - So Cal/Jodhua Tree/Palm Springs) many times without our 23FB and look forward to a trip down I-5 and 101 in January or February 2016. El Nino is worth paying attention to this year.

LA and Orange County are a pain, but if you pick a lane and stay there you will do fine.

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