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Old 11-06-2015, 07:50 PM   #1
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Southwest US and California coast

Team,

Just finished a very successful business trip and going on an epic road trip with the family. Plan to hit SW US and California coast for a month. Any recommendations along the way?
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:11 PM   #2
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You can easily spend 3 months exploring the SW and California. Obviously Arches, Canyon lands, Mesa Verde, Zion, Canon de Chelly, Grand Canyon, Vegas, Red Rock State Park, LA, San Simeon, Kirk Creek, Big Sur, Redwoods SP, Patrick's Point SP, Prairie Creek SP, Jedediah Smith SP. Try to experience these places, not just stop and take photos. Immersion.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:13 PM   #3
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Ahoy Vycan, great plan and time of year to be on the road.
I spent a couple of months this summer on the coast and had a great time.
Found it to be very booked up in most parks at peak season which had big impact on my trip. Should be much more open this time of year.
I' m back in the Prescott Az. area and happy to share some highlights of this area if you are coming this way.
Just did a day drive over to Verde Valley today, to visit the Montezuma's Castle N P. Very worth while. And near Sedona, also worth a visit.

Cheers Richard

Clift dwellings at Montezuma's castle
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:37 PM   #4
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Are you heading out shortly? Weather may be a factor on your route choices.
Just had a early snow fall around Flagstaff at 7k feet ele. Very little here in chino Valley at 5k '
Here is a link to a thread of my summer trip on the coast, posted on my other favorite site , Pelican parts.
R Ving with 911 in tow - Pelican Parts Technical BBS. It a long one, just scroll thru the text.

My favorite part of Ca is central and northern coastal areas

And a pic from Jerome looking over the Verde Valley. Including my toad/911


After our spring get together in Colo. I realized how much having a toad along can add to a trip.

Cheers Richard
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:44 AM   #5
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Ksherzi, thanks for the list, hitting most of those!

Tevake, awesome feedback. We plan on staying south to avoid the snow, skirt to the north of LA and make our way along the coast to San Fransisco and then back again.
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Old 11-07-2015, 08:32 AM   #6
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Couple of my favorites on the central coast are Morro Bay SP.
Nice park, low key picturesque harbor town. The drive to Big sur on the coast is great. If doing it only one way I prefer driving south as you can get to the view points easier and there are better pull outs on the sea side of the road.

If you can get into the harbor R V spaces in Santa Cruz. Its close to the boardwalk amusement park. Good fun for the kids and a nice flashback in time.
Established about a hundred years ago,me still has lots of original feel about it.

Lots of the coastal parks have pretty small size limits, this somewhat limits the choices for our sized rigs.

If you have time to wander a bit in route there are many state roads offering a nice alternitave to the interstates. If you are going thru Colo. Going to Salida
Then south 17 then 285 is a pretty, relaxing route on the west side of the Sangre De Christo range. I did find in the spring that lots of the parks in Colo were seasonal and may be closed this time of year.

Also route 60 in N M into Az. Is a good one. Check out The Very Large Array, and Pie town on your way to the Mogollon rim . Lots of choices.

Keep us up on your plans. I'm sure many others here will have suggestions for you.
Do plan to stay way north of L A. As the freeway traffic there is not kind to long rigs.

Cheers Richard
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Old 11-07-2015, 10:39 AM   #7
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I particularly enjoyed my time New Mexico. City of Rocks near Deming, White Sands National Monument near Alamogordo, Three Rivers Petroglyph site, Valley of Fire - those last two are BLM sites - then I got up to Taos, but I bet it's kind of cold up in the mountains right now.

Enjoy your travels!
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:06 PM   #8
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in California whether traveling north or south, stay on pacific coast highway (PCH),best scenic route and lots of popular cities on the route. stay away from central & inland highways, believe AAA offers a travel guide on coastal route. also if considering a side trip to las vegas, this time of the year the winds are very high & frequent accidents creating as much as 3 to 4 hour idling.
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Old 11-07-2015, 02:47 PM   #9
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Here are some possibilities, depending on the snow line and how far north you plan to go:
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Old 11-07-2015, 03:24 PM   #10
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Team,

Just finished a very successful business trip and going on an epic road trip with the family. Plan to hit SW US and California coast for a month. Any recommendations along the way?
for Big Sur #1 choice for coast side of HWY1 is Kirk Creek ... out of this world views of the Pacific Ocean, # 2 almost opposite on the other side of HWYI is Plaskett Creek
be care with other campgrounds, some are very very cramped

Santa Cruz,try New Brighton

further north there are very few options, the Coastal Commission and other government agencies have made it near impossible for humans to stay over and enjoy the north coast.
between Santa Cruz & Half Moon Bay there is a nice RV campground called Costanoa and then in HMB there are a few RV options, but never seen them so can't comment or recommend.

have fun .. if you're feeling adventurous you can drive onto the beach at Pismo ! but depends on tides etc. Go to youtube and check out the action, it's wild.
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:12 PM   #11
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I'm interested that many of you have driven Highway 1 with rather big rigs. I've been shy to try with our '99 Land Yacht 31', although have done it many times in a car. Great drive!
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:59 PM   #12
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Cruising the length of the west coast up to the Straights Of Juan De Fuca this summer highway 1 was a highlight of the trip, especially N Ca into the big redwood forest, beautiful rugged coast. Not a route to try to rush along.

Cheers Richard
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Old 11-07-2015, 07:19 PM   #13
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Kartchner Caverns in southern AZ.
City of Rocks SP, Oliver Lee SP, Valley of Fires Park, all in southern NM.
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Old 11-07-2015, 09:21 PM   #14
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If you are going through Morro Bay you should check out Mantano de Oro state park. We just spent a few days there. It's a great park. No hookups but it's right on the ocean. I agree with nickclifford that Kirk Creek is a don't miss on the Central Coast.
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:12 AM   #15
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Team,

Thanks for the enlightened responses. Without your feedback I would have had no idea where to go, as this is my first road trip to California.

It sounds like I should just enjoy the ride on the west coast for my month long trip, and forget everything else... :-D

Based on your feedback this is my general plan. Any thoughts on absolute musts to include?

1. Four Corners
2. Grand Canyon, AZ
3. Hoover Dam, NV
4. Mojave Air and Space port, CA
5. Pacific Coast Highway drive, CA (Moro Bay, Kirk Creek, Santa Cruz)
6. Big Sur, CA
7. Montery Bay Aquarium, CA
8. Golden Gate Bridge, CA
9. Alcatraz, CA
10. Redwood National State Parks, CA
11. Yosemite, CA (may cancel due to Wx)
12. Phoenix, AZ
13. Sierra Vista, AZ
14. Petrified Forest, AZ (may cancel due to time)
15. Roswell, NM
16. Carlsbad, NM

I envision spending a week on the California coast and utilizing the other stops as way points to get to and from there on a nice leisurely stroll. Then on the back side of the trip I will stop in TX to visit some family. If you live in these areas keep an eye out for Diesel Donna!
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:48 AM   #16
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Towing and camping in SF is pretty tough. There's a nice RV Park in Marin County (Marin RV Park) just north of SF across the Golden Gate in a good neighborhood. I think the park is close to the Larkspur ferry that can take you into SF or possibly even to Alcatraz. Another fun thing to do is walk across the Golden Gate. Awesome on a clear day.
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Old 11-09-2015, 10:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vycan View Post
Team,

Thanks for the enlightened responses. Without your feedback I would have had no idea where to go, as this is my first road trip to California.

It sounds like I should just enjoy the ride on the west coast for my month long trip, and forget everything else... :-D

Based on your feedback this is my general plan. Any thoughts on absolute musts to include?

1. Four Corners
2. Grand Canyon, AZ
3. Hoover Dam, NV
4. Mojave Air and Space port, CA
5. Pacific Coast Highway drive, CA (Moro Bay, Kirk Creek, Santa Cruz)
6. Big Sur, CA
7. Montery Bay Aquarium, CA
8. Golden Gate Bridge, CA
9. Alcatraz, CA
10. Redwood National State Parks, CA
11. Yosemite, CA (may cancel due to Wx)
12. Phoenix, AZ
13. Sierra Vista, AZ
14. Petrified Forest, AZ (may cancel due to time)
15. Roswell, NM
16. Carlsbad, NM

I envision spending a week on the California coast and utilizing the other stops as way points to get to and from there on a nice leisurely stroll. Then on the back side of the trip I will stop in TX to visit some family. If you live in these areas keep an eye out for Diesel Donna!

another killer place on the Big Sur Coast is TreeBones Resort, don't believe you can camp up there but it's worth asking. It's a Yurt campground, "glamping" in Yurts.... pool, Sushi Bar, killer views etc etc ... If you camp at Kirk Creek the drive is not too far.
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Old 11-13-2015, 12:05 PM   #18
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How about lunch on fresh bread and fish at SF Fisherman's Warf? A vineyard tour? Too bad the seasons over or I'd suggest an A-league game north of Oakland. Best baseball I've ever seen.
If in LA: Gormans Chinese Theater-stars hands & feet in sidewalk, walk of stars, Rodeo and Mulholland drives, the HOLLYWOOD sign and bowl. If into cars: Peterson Automotive Museum. *Visit these during daylight hours!
Heading south of LA on PCH1: Ruby's on the pier for lunch. Seal beach. Coronado Island to see the historic hotel. Or Balboa Island-This has similar Canals to Venice beach area. You'll recognize it from several movies.
Then if in San Diego, not sure if the swallows will be there but the Mission San Juan Capistrano is interesting as is the San Diego Wild Life Park.
In fact, churches in and around the coast road have some of the best views and history in the state.
From the south head to Palm Springs or inland north to drive through Bakersfield - worlds biggest thermometer. After a quick stop at In&Out for a great burger head to Vegas, Redrock Canyon, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, then north to Kanab-Westerns were filmed in area, Moab, Arches....on second thought, your gonna need more than a month. I miss living in Vegas. These were all in a weekend drive. Not so from Wisconsin! Can't wait to retire! Have fun & don't try to "SEE" too much.
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Old 11-13-2015, 08:53 PM   #19
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One thing to add...in Big Sur be sure to stop at Nepenthe for a burger and margarita. Sunset if possible- the view and dining experience is hard to beat!
They would probably let you overnight in their lower parking lot if you had one to many.
Let me know when you are in San Francisco, and perhaps I could take my 94 Classic Diesel out and meet you for an overnight in Bodega Bay.

Sebastian
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:43 PM   #20
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Hike your own hike

That's one of the philosophies of hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Go at your own pace and do what interests you. Your hike will be different from mine.

I think your plans are a little too ambitious. I have taken a dozen trips to the Four Corners area, and still have lots of places that I missed.

My advice ….Don't miss Utah. Monument Valley, Canyonlands, Bryce. The drive to those places is spectacular. Keep the stays in the city short. Leave time to explore. Be versatile with your plans. Research BLM lands, and learn about free camping and boondock a little
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