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Old 09-29-2020, 11:30 PM   #1
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Mammoth Lakes to San Jose in 19ft flying cloud

Hi,

Since we had to cancel our trip to the Grand Canyon north rim due to closure in October, we will be driving up highway 395 doing some boondocking with a final stop at Mammoth Lakes over night before heading back to San Jose.

Can anybody suggest the best way to get back to San Jose with an Airstream. I'm guessing we can drive all the up to 80 on 395 but wondering if 89 might work or be too steep or twisting for pulling our 19 footer.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-29-2020, 11:55 PM   #2
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Its been a while since I've been through there. But I did make it with an Olds minivan and a 16' pop-up. Twisting and turning is pretty much how I remember it.

My Allstays app has the following notations:
7-10% westbound down grade for 7 miles with the 4/89 junction at the bottom. 20 mph truck speed limit. Highway 4 after the junction not recommended over 25' total length, 10-12% grades.
89 has additional 3-8% grades between highways 50 and 88.

The other back door is Nevada 207 from Minden to Stateline. Twisty turns on the way up, thee mile descent into Tahoe at 9 % grades and 20 MPH curves.
395 to 80 might be your best bet.
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:35 AM   #3
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Just be mindful of potential snow as well. Usually passes close in the sierras which leave you the choice of going 80 or looping south and north through Bakersfield.
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:51 AM   #4
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Snow should not be encountered in the next 10 days. Bear in mind Hwy 50 is closed until 10/02. You didn't say what your tow vehicle is, but a 19 footer shouldn't cause problems on any of the passes, just take it slow on the downhill grades.
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Old 09-30-2020, 09:14 AM   #5
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go 89 and you'll go thru Hope Valley . stop at Sorensen's Resort for lunch on the deck. continue on to Caples Lake , then Silver Lake . from Silver Lake a nice 90 minute drive to Jackson where you could get lunch if you missed Sorensens. Jackson is an old mining town and picturesque. then drive an hour thru CA foothills to Stockton CA, and you can figure out which way from there.
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Old 09-30-2020, 09:17 AM   #6
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I went to Carson City then took Hwy 50 over the mountains. I think it is an easier tow than some of the smaller passes. I did it pulling my 25 footer
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Old 09-30-2020, 09:26 AM   #7
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Strongly recommend you DO NOT take Hwy 89. It literally ascends several thousand feet up a steep incline with 180 degree switchbacks all the way up. Our family lives in the Sierra Foothills and I drive on/off road all the time fishing and camping in the upper Sierras. Our Dodge Ram 2500 will chirp a tire on certain Hwy 89 turns if gravel or rocks are on it...even without a trailer.

Further to the south, Highway 108 is do-able but still has lots of tight curves and steep climbs/declines. Your speed will be 15 to 35. Watch out for logging trucks!

Highway 88 is a much better highway and very safe (this time of year). Take 395 North from Mammoth Lakes and hang a left using GPS to cut over before Gardnerville. You'll go through Jackson, Clements, and Lockeford and will spit out on Hwy 99 just North of the crosstown freeway in Stockton.
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Old 09-30-2020, 09:31 AM   #8
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Be prepared to use your brake controller manually as you go steep downhills.
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Old 09-30-2020, 09:40 AM   #9
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I would suggest not to go over 108 with a trailer or an RV. I believe there is a sign on along the road recommending no trailers. The easiest is either 80 or 58, Tehachapi Pass. 88 is not too bad. 120 is OK but you need to get a permit.
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Old 09-30-2020, 10:38 AM   #10
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Thanks!

Thank you all for the input. Our TV is a v6 Grand Cherokee Summit with brake controller and blueOx. So will head the advise and not take 89.. 88 sounds like the winner.. assuming weather is dry in mid Oct.
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Old 09-30-2020, 12:49 PM   #11
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Here is a 2019 thread...
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f42...ke-198254.html Learned a lot about Kingsbury

No shortage of opinions here. IMO Take #3 subjectd to the 10/2 closed date for Hwy 50.


Alt is 1936RoadWarrior suggestion...down past Caples lake etc. Plus great Old Vine Zin in the Jackson area : )

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p.s. Don't be fooled by the MO address. grew up in of CoCoCounty ~ SF Bay Area for most of my adult life.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:43 PM   #12
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Which Highway to Take Across the Sierra Nevada in Oct

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trowbridge View Post
Strongly recommend you DO NOT take Hwy 89. It literally ascends several thousand feet up a steep incline with 180 degree switchbacks all the way up. Our family lives in the Sierra Foothills and I drive on/off road all the time fishing and camping in the upper Sierras. Our Dodge Ram 2500 will chirp a tire on certain Hwy 89 turns if gravel or rocks are on it...even without a trailer.

Further to the south, Highway 108 is do-able but still has lots of tight curves and steep climbs/declines. Your speed will be 15 to 35. Watch out for logging trucks!

Highway 88 is a much better highway and very safe (this time of year). Take 395 North from Mammoth Lakes and hang a left using GPS to cut over before Gardnerville. You'll go through Jackson, Clements, and Lockeford and will spit out on Hwy 99 just North of the crosstown freeway in Stockton.
Check www.dot.caltrans.gov before you make your trip.

I-80 is the least risk, but a long way around.

I recommend you take Hwy 120 through Yosemite, it is the most friendly to towing with exception to I-80. DO NOT take Hwy 108 as it is NOT recommended for house trailers, especially if you value your transmission which may overheat. Although there are awesome campsites on the east side of Sonora Pass, there are some crazy grades, including 26% on the westward journey just above Leavitt Meadows. It can be done, but its not worth the trouble.

I've done it a couple of times with the Airstream, and it was a scary slog.

Ebbets Pass on Hwy 4 is also really steep at the top and not recommended for house trailers.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:59 PM   #13
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A week ago I just did Lodi to Carson City on Rte 88 and it was a piece of cake. 25í Globetrotter towed by F250. By far the easiest mountain crossing I have done across the whole US to date. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to thread the needle between smoke, road closures (50), excessive heat, etc.
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Old 09-30-2020, 05:09 PM   #14
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(Editing to add - edit function didn’t work) - caution on some of above advice like going through Yosemite, which as of a few days ago was closed completely due to fire, and even prior to that you needed a hard to get lottery ticket day pass to drive in/across. Things are complicated now and changing daily.)
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Old 09-30-2020, 05:37 PM   #15
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I echo Trowbridge above. North on 395 to the cutoff to 89 at Gardnerville, NV. All the other routes over the Sierra's prior to that have crazy 26% +/- grades. All warn against trucks, RV's, and trailers.

Tip:. Gas up at the Indian reservation casino just prior to the Gardnerville cutoff. Save a buck a gallon. Also, get lunch at the Mountain View BBQ in Walker. Good texas smoked bbq.
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Old 10-04-2020, 11:41 AM   #16
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395 to 58 over Tehachape to Bakersfield. Continue on to Paso Robles, spend a night or two enjoying wine country then 101 home.
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Old 10-04-2020, 04:42 PM   #17
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Take 88 for fabulous fall colors

The aspens will be gorgeous in the Hope Valley area of Highway 88 in mid-October. Iíve towed a fully loaded Basecamp behind an Audi Q7 on that route several times with zero issues. Itís worth a detour to go there this time of year! As a previous poster said, stop at Sorensonís Resort for lunch on their refurbished deck. Their beef stew is off the hook awesome!
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Old 10-05-2020, 02:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarina View Post
(Editing to add - edit function didnít work) - caution on some of above advice like going through Yosemite, which as of a few days ago was closed completely due to fire, and even prior to that you needed a hard to get lottery ticket day pass to drive in/across. Things are complicated now and changing daily.)
Agree. Before you head through the Sierra Nevada mountains, always good idea to check www.caltrans.ca.gov for highway status.
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