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Old 11-23-2014, 04:49 PM   #1
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WA -> CA round trip during X'mas?? Would it be fine?

Never drove between WA and CA before.

We have 9 days, driving with a 18 month baby in an AS16.

Not sure if it is fun during this season. Still debating whether we should make this trip.

Anyone has suggestions?
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Old 11-23-2014, 04:57 PM   #2
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Where in CA? If you follow I-5 south you shouldn't have much trouble unless you get into snow in Northern CA. I would worry a bit about having 9 days. If you get into weather the best thing is to sit and wait it out. With an 18month old being safe should trump getting back to your job on time.

Long range forecasts are pretty good but after a week, it is any one's guess.
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Old 11-23-2014, 05:07 PM   #3
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It really depends on the weather and where in CA you are going. Snow is a distinct possibility that time of year between WA and CA. Even if it doesn't snow, you can expect rain, and maybe lots of it. If you are trying to go to the warmer areas of Southern CA, camping over Christmastime is a very popular thing to do so campgrounds can be full. If you don't mind that, then certainly go for it!
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Old 11-23-2014, 11:31 PM   #4
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I was thinking to stay near some small town like Napa or Carmel to escape the rainy WA.

If in most cases it rains as well in north CA, then I may have to reconsider our plan...
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Old 11-24-2014, 01:02 PM   #5
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The average rainfall totals for Napa during Dec-Jan-Feb probably aren't that much less than where you are in Washington. It would be warmer and sunnier when not raining though. The caveat to this is we are experiencing an exceptional drought so there has been more sun and less rain than usual.

Generally speaking, in Winter the further South in CA you go, the less rainfall you will see. The Cascade Range in Northern CA and the Sierra Nevada Range in East CA see a lot of snow. The Coastal Ranges get mostly rain due to the Pacific marine influence.

In the Central Coast where I live, the best camping is during the winter months despite the rain in my opinion. There are generally no crowds like summer, except during Thanksgiving and Christmas when a lot of folks have off from school and work.

Long term weather predictions are tough. You could make the trip and the weather could be sunny and warm or cold and rainy. If it were me, I would make the plans and decide at the last minute whether to go based on the 10 day forecast.
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Old 11-24-2014, 01:06 PM   #6
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If a winter storm hits the pass over Siskiyou Summit in N CA (right on the border with OR) will actually close, or at least require chains. Gets a little hairy in there.

How about spending the holiday on the East side - maybe something like Bend, OR?
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Old 11-24-2014, 03:20 PM   #7
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Good advice, as usual. Personally, I wouldn't take a trailer south for a short vacation this time of year. Lots of rain is likely and the Siskiyous can be treacherous. We took a trip with the Argosy to Sonoma/Napa last year in February and hit a lot of rain both ways and in Sonoma. Napa was a little drier, although not by much. Going to Central Washington or Oregon will get you into some pretty cold weather and possibly snow, especially if you go over Detroit pass out of Salem.
This time of year, we either hunker down or fly to Palm Desert.
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Old 11-25-2014, 03:26 AM   #8
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South on I-5 to exit 152, then Hwy 38 to Reedsport, then 101 to CA. Best odds of avoiding ice, but it will be wet. We'll be going that way in Feb. Done that drive more times than I can count, pretty low stress.
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Old 11-25-2014, 10:29 PM   #9
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Thanks for the advice. So have to be stay on 101 till bay area. It is also rainy daily like in the nw coast? That's not good. Hmmm...
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Old 11-26-2014, 01:35 AM   #10
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hey, at least it won't be icy or snowy! not as likely to be wet south of Eureka when the highway turns inland and follows the Eel River.
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shockfly View Post
Never drove between WA and CA before.

<stuff clipped>

Anyone has suggestions?
This is entirely doable. Watch your weather, be willing to sit tight for a couple of days if you get caught, and have alternative routes pre planned. The area from Roseburg to Redding will be your area of most concern, although an arctic storm could make the entire trip dicey. Just be flexible. Personally, I would stay on I-5 if you want to make the best time, using the coast as a bailout or scenic route.
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Old 11-27-2014, 06:42 PM   #12
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WA -> CA round trip during X'mas?? Would it be fine?

If you plan to make the I-5 dash, be sure to check the weather reports for potential ice and snow between Roseburg and Red Bluff-Redding. We usually take the road to Crescent City, rather than HWY 38 to Reedsport. But, it is probably really important to check the weather reports, no matter which way you go. In 2013, (towing our boat) we ran into some ice and snow south of Eureka, on 101, around Willits.

We live in Eugene, OR and generally would only attempt a winter trip south with our 2000 lb. sailboat or just the SUV without a tow, (our AS is in winter storage). We always plan to be able to use the coast route for an "escape"plan, even when traveling "light." Sometimes we go south on I-5 and, then find that we need to take the coast route, home (or, visa-versa). Actually, the coast route is a beautiful way to go south, from just about anywhere north. Dave
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Old 11-30-2014, 04:40 PM   #13
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Doable Trip - Include Yosemite

Shockfly -

I think this trip is very doable, and desirable with one great destination in mind. For several years after getting our 'stream the wife and I would take off to Yosemite NP between Christmas and New Years. And we even took the little one on a couple of trips. These have been our favorite memories. There are several benefits to visiting Yosemite at this time of year:

1) No crowds. Camping is at Lower (?) Pines right next to the Merced River for 20 bucks a night, no reservations and plenty of spaces available. Get there earlier, and you can get your choice of space.
2) Curry Village showers are open, and free. Quite a nice treat after a day of snow play.
3) Great scenery that summer-only folks never get.
4) Skiing, snowshoeing...

On the take care side:

1) No hookups. They have a dump station, but make sure your rig is full of fresh water before you pass it up. Winterize your grey and black tanks with antifreeze, or you may not be dumping tanks (!)
2) No electrical hookups. You can charge off the TV, but better yet to have a generator to keep the batteries topped off. The forced air furnace will drain batteries over night.
3) Fill your propane before you get there. The propane stand in the village closes early during the holidays.
4) Snow in the mountains. Make sure you have chains for your TV as well as the TT. With a rig your size you can probably get in via El Portal all season entrance, but you may still need for the valley. And the NPS is serious about chains. Not a huge worry if you manage it properly - I've towed over the Big Oak Flat entrance during a raging blizzard to make our camp in the valley. Just take it slow with chains and you'll be fine. Make sure you practice installation on your TT and TV before you leave for your trip.

I hope you make the trip.
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Old 12-02-2014, 03:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Never drove between WA and CA before.
Anyone has suggestions?
We have driven the I-5 route north to south and back 40 times. Keep VERY close eye on the weather as once you put your foot in the nasty stuff, there is no way to escape to the coast. We've come thru dry and also got forced west a number of times. The weather from Portland to Ashland can be just as crummy if you hit it wrong: we're talking black ice, here. Send me a PM and I'll give you our escape routes. Best of luck on your decision. M
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