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Goal15 01-24-2015 10:17 PM

Best time of year for California, Pac NW trip?
 
Very early stages planning of trip to Pacific NW going up through California. Anyone have thoughts on best time of the year to do this?

D

ROBERTSUNRUS 01-24-2015 10:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Goal15 (Post 1572443)
Very early stages planning of trip to Pacific NW going up through California. Anyone have thoughts on best time of the year to do this?

D


:) Hi, being from Southern California, you can travel there anytime of year that you want to. As for Oregon, show up after March 31st when they have to, by law, remove those noisy spiked tires. :rolleyes:

WaLee 01-24-2015 10:51 PM

Fall for sure. Best weather of the year in the PNW. Fall color and the kids are back in school. I'd say right after Labor Day. Before October in Indian summer. It's our favorite time of year here.


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TinShack 01-24-2015 11:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Goal15 (Post 1572443)
Very early stages planning of trip to Pacific NW going up through California. Anyone have thoughts on best time of the year to do this?

D

Conditions vary from North to South, but generally speaking, For coastal California, October is best weather-wise in my opinion...wind is generally calm and fog is less prevalent. Springtime is beautiful but can be windy and cool. Summer can be foggy. Because of the coastal influence, weather conditions vary widely from West to East.

If you are thinking about going to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, Yosemite, Giant Sequoias, etc, I would say late spring/early summer, after the snow melt, while lake water levels are high and creeks are flowing...best time for fishing too. Fall is nice too.

Crowds throughout California, especially during the summer, so plan ahead.

Climber 01-25-2015 12:19 AM

As far as the PNW is concerned, come on up any time of year. We were just at the Oregon Coast last weekend and it was 59F and sunny. Of course in the winter you can run into monster storms with 30' seas, torrential rains and 80 mph winds, and that's a very dramatic experience you won't soon forget. It can be a lot of fun if you're prepared with wet-loving gear. As they say around here, it builds character. :)

The Willamette Valley and Central Oregon are beautiful in Spring, Summer and Fall. In Winter you want to mind the Cascade passes which get heavy snowfall, and the Siskyous north of Mt Shasta which can really get walloped. But deep cold is generally not long lasting.

The Eastern Oregon high desert is wonderful from late Spring to early Fall.

All in all, we hit the road year round in Oregon and Washington, but mindful of cold snaps Dec-Feb.

Bluto 01-25-2015 04:48 AM

Subscribed to this thread for future use. Good info!

Goal15 01-25-2015 07:28 AM

Thanks for all the great thoughts. I knew it would be a productive thread!
Dana


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Goal15 01-25-2015 07:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Climber (Post 1572466)
As far as the PNW is concerned, come on up any time of year. We were just at the Oregon Coast last weekend and it was 59F and sunny. Of course in the winter you can run into monster storms with 30' seas, torrential rains and 80 mph winds, and that's a very dramatic experience you won't soon forget. It can be a lot of fun if you're prepared with wet-loving gear. As they say around here, it builds character. :)

The Willamette Valley and Central Oregon are beautiful in Spring, Summer and Fall. In Winter you want to mind the Cascade passes which get heavy snowfall, and the Siskyous north of Mt Shasta which can really get walloped. But deep cold is generally not long lasting.

The Eastern Oregon high desert is wonderful from late Spring to early Fall.

All in all, we hit the road year round in Oregon and Washington, but mindful of cold snaps Dec-Feb.


Thanks Climber. Monster storms sounds like fun, loved Nor'easters when I was growing up in New England! Now where did I put my slickah?

Dana


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gpt 01-25-2015 10:26 AM

we live in Sequim, WA. hands down, late September or early October. the coastal zones tend to be very foggy during August so you won''t see very much. don't count on less RV traffic after labor day as all retirees think everyone else will be someplace else, not so any longer.

also be aware that climate change has impacted the west coast in very real ways from way hotter during the summer months to monsoon rains up this way during the winter months. mountain snows are virtually non-existent at the present time so this summer could be a nail bitter with regard to water.

we will be headed down into CA this coming month as avoiding the summer temps is important to my enjoying the scenery. the Willamette valley of OR will be quite hot during the summer so again, stay on the coast. along that line of thought, the OR coast is much more scenic than anything you will find along the WA coast. that said, if time permits, visit the Hoh rain forest, primitive camp sites are up that road, for a real look at what a temperate rain forest looks like. the road out to cape flattery, furthest point W in the lower 48, is very twisty with lots of blind corners so think before you consider doing this. the Makah have a very nice new campground set up if you decide to do this, right on the beach. almost all WA state campgrounds are worth checking out as well.

Rocinante 01-25-2015 10:47 AM

Summer begins in the PNW about July 4th and runs through September. October is nice, though it begins to cool off. Between Halloween and June, every sunny day is a blessed event. Not saying we don't get any, but they become infrequent. Sometimes we get a few bluebird days (or even a week or two!) in June, but usually at that time of year we're looking at the rest of the country wondering why summer hasn't started here yet.

As others have noted, thus far we're not getting enough snow in the mountains, so the summer may get thirsty and power may become more expensive (we have extensive hydro power in the PNW). Think snow!

Speaking of which, heading up here too early can nail you with snow and/or ice in the mountain passes, so check road conditions before hitching up to climb through them, and be prepared for weather surprises when doing so. You may find it's less intimidating to work your way right up the coast, avoiding that potential excitement...unless of course you run into the teeth of one of our patented "monster storms" - in that case, don't be parking under any trees that might decide to drop big limbs or just plain fall over.

Tom_T 01-25-2015 12:01 PM

As others above have said - mid to late Spring, up thru Fall for best weather on Central & NoCal Coast & Inland + OR/WA.

But unless you have kids - you'll have far less crowds & better shoulder-season pricing in Spring & Fall when the kiddies are still in school.

For your TX to SoCal leg to/from, I'd suggest taking I-10/I-8 into San Diego one way & I-40 (or the US 2-laners along same) so you can see Carlsbad Caverns & other southerly sights on the former route, Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, Petrified Forest, etc. on the latter .....

.... That is, unless you're planning a northerly route thru the Rockies for one leg (e.g.: I-80, I-70, US 40, etc.) for one leg - then plan that one for the warmest part of your trip - i.e.: home if Spring & to if Fall.

Geesh! I feel like I'm back in college 1971-74 working at Texaco again, filling in those trip requests on the 4x5 postcards from the gas stations!! :lol:

...... you remember, when you actually got service at a service station! :huh:

Safe Travels!
Tom
///////

JUSENG 01-25-2015 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Goal15 (Post 1572443)
Very early stages planning of trip to Pacific NW going up through California. Anyone have thoughts on best time of the year to do this?

D

We are doing the same as I am typing this now........ Headed out in mid April with our 1979 31' Landyacht From Farmington, New Mexico up through Utah or Nevad ( not sure which way yet ) and heading northwest to Washington state and down to San Diego down 101 South as much as possible........... any extra info and Experience with Sites, State or National parks would Really Really be helpful......... Not sure when you plan on going but will try to keep a Log but any help on any RV spots especially the secret hidden super cool ones would be appreciated........ Definitely a No Hurry No Worry trip as long as we save enough money to get home.......... ;0))

idroba 01-25-2015 02:03 PM

And just remember that "the Pacific NW" at least in my mind includes ALL of Washington and ALL of Oregon, much of Idaho and even Western Montana. It is not limited to the area from the Cascades west, that is only the coastal parts. We have inland deserts, huge forests, great National Parks, wonderful Forest Service and State Campgrounds.

Best time to travel? Late April through mid October for all the Pacific NW. Coastal areas only.... anytime of year.

Rocinante 01-25-2015 02:23 PM

Ah, great point, idroba - eastern WA and OR won't be as covered in clouds earlier in the year and may be perfect to enjoy before heading west across the cascades. :)

Oh, and as others have noted, expect federal, state, and county campgrounds to be jammed up for reservations, at least on the weekends, from July through September. If you don't have reservations, arrive early to get a spot and be prepared to jump from one campsite to the next each day as folks with reservations come and go.

One more thought - camping in WA state parks is at least as expensive as camping in any fully tricked out private RV park, and sometimes more. The parks are in amazingly good shape overall, but WA has been severely under-funding that system for years, and one way they help make up for that is via increased "user fees" for camping. Check this link for more details if you're planning to enjoy WA state parks on your trip. They're definitely worthwhile, just a bit spendy: Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission | Official Website

idroba 01-25-2015 02:59 PM

I am also making an assumption... Pacific NW may mean only the coastal areas of the NW vs. the Inland NW. But I think of the term Pacific NW as the entire area.

Oh how I love to split hairs. Sorry, just my nature.

And I agree about Washington State Parks. They can be beautiful, but are not cheap at all. Unfortunately many states have, along with Washington, the exact same problem. National Forests and National Parks are still a good value, especially with a senior pass.

gecko 01-25-2015 03:13 PM

What are you looking for? :-)
 
Tom T's is the most comprehensive advice.

We are windsurfers, based in Los Angeles. We start the season by going your way for warmer water and windy conditions, and leave in early March (timing carefully to miss Spring Break!) We check weather very carefully, because in higher elevations along the route, snow can be encountered!

We return to California in April, and the odds have become much better to avoid snow. We stopped in both Santa Fe and Telluride last April, and had to time Telluride very carefully between storms!

We move north during the summer, mostly in pursuit of wind. We spend June in Northern California, and then move up to Hood River, OR on the WA/OR border. June on the CA coast is best described with the local term "June gloom," but with the massive changes in weather patterns, who knows what's actually going to happen. June 2014 was relatively clear, but July was not--go figure! But generally, if you want to cruise the winding but beautiful coast in California, July-October is great. If you're going inland to sample the many different wine regions, for example, earlier in Spring is better--it gets very hot inland. Yosemite is at altitude. A beautiful place to visit all year round, snow may come late into May, although as you know, it has been very dry here in the past few years. Most places in California get toasty (90-105) inland in the summer with rotating weather patterns, and climbing over the Sierra's in NoCal's heat in the summer and early fall can be quite a load on your tow vehicle.

But EVERYWHERE in California during the summer will be quite crowded. If you can, plan on the spring or fall, and for anything in the summer, make sure that you make reservations well in advance.

If you're returning the same way--from the Northwest back through CA and then out 40 as Tom suggested (10 or 8 early in spring to avoid elevations and snow is good advice), I would expect you're fine through the end of October or at least halfway through.

Of course, coming from Texas, you're no stranger to strong winds. Last April, we spent a not much fun day in 45 gusts from the side approaching Lubbock. Then more of the stuff on the nose in Flagstaff. The rig handles it all beautifully, but it is not relaxing driving, to say the least. Typically, there are strong spring breezes out of the West (headwinds for you, tailwinds for us) through southern NM, AZ and eastern CA. When we can, we look for those northeasterly days when in Texas heading west.

As long as you allow plenty of time to adjust to whatever the weather throws at you, you're going to have a great time!

gpt 01-25-2015 05:01 PM

my daughter and SIL just moved to the PNW from San Diego. if i were heading W, I would adjust my route to completely miss CA from SD to SF. the traffic is some of the worst on the planet and towing, well i refused to take the AS down for visits. if you come into SF from the S and attempt to find the Golden Gate, better have a couple of GPS's going as the signage is pretty slim.

we are heading for Yosemite and Pinnacles this coming month and i have us routed out and around all of that population.

back to the PNW. just W of Sequim is the Elwha river. don't know how closely you follow some of this, but the biggest dam to be removed to date, 210', came totally down this past spring. the 80 miles of river is free flowing for the first time in over 100 years, salmon already up in the head waters. the first overlook is up a gravel/dirt road and is currently open to the public. in addition, the Strait of Juan de Fuca follows the N border of the state for a long ways with interesting opportunities for camping. if this is of any interest, check out 'salt creek campground' operated by Clallam County parks. reservations are advise.

if it's scenic coastal views, Oregon has Washington beat hands down.

as you get closer to figuring out a route, feel free to PM for suggestions.

kscherzi 01-25-2015 06:09 PM

Compared to much of the country, California is camp-able year round. Right now the coast campgrounds all have space, and since we're in a long running drought, the weather is just fine. Maybe a little cool, down in the 40's at night and the 60's in the day. Because its winter the fog is not present. The normal winter pattern is rain for a few days followed by a couple weeks of clear air.

Spring gets windy, and to my mind is actually the coldest time on the coast.

Summer the winds slow, but then the fog rolls in. It's a warm fog. Shorts and a sweatshirt. Normally burns off later in the day.

Fall the fog mostly disappears and the winds stay balmy. Its the nicest time.

Generally speaking, its sunnier, dryer, and a warmer towards the south half of the state. The best, prettiest drive is sticking to Highway 1 up the coast. Particularly starting at around Santa Barbara. In fact, I think some of the most dramatic, picturesque, and remote sections of coastline are just north of Sam Simeon and south of Monterey. Traffic is not a problem until maybe around San Francisco bay area, and then it disappears. There's lots of camping, and a lot of it is first come first serve. I do echo getting reservations at the popular state campgrounds, especially for weekends.

Goal15 01-26-2015 09:19 AM

Thanks so much
 
These responses have been so great and are very helpful. I won't say I'm surprised because after four years or so here on AIR FORUMS, I asked the question fully realizing that I would get some great information, but just the same it's really nice that folks have taken the time to share some great info.

Dana

Diesel75 01-27-2015 08:44 AM

It all depends on what your interests are. My husband & I visited the California & Oregon coast in 2011 & the Sierras (east & west) & the Cascades last year. Our goal last year was to see all national parks & many national monuments along with scenic drives. We camped much of the time in national forest campgrounds using the www.recreation.gov reservation system. My vote for most scenic is last years trip.
Julie Hunter
Wes Jennings
07 Classic 27'
08 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD


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