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  1. Default West Coast RV Holiday - Help!

    Before I start may I apologise for the length of this question itís just that this is a big holiday for me and my husband and we want to get it as right as we can. Also we would like to congratulate you on a superb website.

    Hi everybody, my husband and I are from England and have a holiday booked for September. We are renting a 28-30ft C class RV and hoping to travel up and down the west coast for 2 weeks. We will be flying into Vegas on the 1st of September and staying with family overnight, the following day we pick up our RV and head off over the horizon. Only problem is that at the moment we are not sure which way to go? We have a list of things we would like to see some of which I have listed below, itís just that we are not quite sure what is feasible. We are not too bothered by big cities as we will be spending a third week in Vegas and so hope to do the more scenic areas the first two weeks, also I imagine driving a 30ft RV in or around a big city is asking for trouble. We have read a number of threads about this type of trip but with so many ideas and so much information we are still undecided about our route and timescale. The short list seems to be either Vegas through Salt Lake City to the Olympic Peninsular in possibly 2-3 days, then spend the rest of the two weeks seeing the sights on the way back down through Washington, Oregon & California. The other Idea if going as far as The Olympic Peninsular is a bit too much, would be to go up and back through California into Oregon but on different routes?
    Below is a list of places in no particular order we have read about and would like to see if possible?

    Olympic national Park, Hurricane ridge, Hoh rain forest etc.
    Cannon Beach
    Tillamook Air Park
    Mt Saint Helens
    Crater Lake
    Yosemite National Park (overnight say if possible)
    Redwoods national Park
    Columbia River
    Death Valley (on the way back to Vegas)
    Mt Shasta
    PCH 101
    Oh and a Bigfoot if possible!!

    A couple of other questions I have regarding the trip are:

    1) Do we have to book to stay in a national Park ie Yosemite? I ask this because some people say on a road trip not to book anywhere and see where you end up, while others say itís better to have the security of knowing where you will be staying?

    2.)This is our first Motor Home / RV holiday, and whilst we are seasoned campers (in a large tent), we would appreciate any advice / hints / tips that anyone can provide us. Things that we just might not think about, like suggesting we use disposal plates etc to save on washing up, maybe not environmentally friendly, but it would save on water usage.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help us, and we are looking forward to doing a trip report when we get back.

    Elaine & Peter

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default The kind of dilemma we all want!

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaineuk
    Hi everybody, my husband and I are from England and have a holiday booked for September.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum and thanks for the kudos!
    2.)This is our first Motor Home / RV holiday, and whilst we are seasoned campers (in a large tent), we would appreciate any advice / hints / tips that anyone can provide us.
    We published an article that you should, print and take with you when you pick-up your RV rental.
    Only problem is that at the moment we are not sure which way to go?
    That's the kind of problem we would all like to have. And solving it can be as much as an adventure as you feel comfortable with!
    also I imagine driving a 30ft RV in or around a big city is asking for trouble.
    Not really, city busses are about 45 feet long and trucks are even bigger. I actually love driving big vehicles down tiny streets, but our RV experts, Alice and Jaimie, think I am a little crazy so here is their recommendations for RVing in bigger cities.
    The short list seems to be either Vegas through Salt Lake City to the Olympic Peninsular in possibly 2-3 days,
    The route through Salt Lake is OK, but I would suggest driving north on US-93 and run up to Baker and check out the Great Basin National Park -- the Lehman Cave tour is really great! I have a friend that owns a RV park in Baker, it is pretty rustic... but I would stay there -- Whispering Elms. Zip back over to Ely and grab a steak at the Jail House Inn across from the Hotel Nevada and, if you have time, take a ride on the Silver Ghost railroad then I would proceed on north up US-93. Once you hit I-84, follow that over to Portland up to the Olympic Penisula -- Look for Moderator Judy's posts about this place!

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default Bigfoot Museum

    Believe it or not, there is a Bigfoot Museum. It's in
    Felton, CA.

    Here's an article about the Bigfoot Museum and the Mystery Spot.

    Felton in up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, east of Santa Cruz.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaineuk
    [ ... ] The short list seems to be either Vegas through Salt Lake City to the Olympic Peninsular in possibly 2-3 days, then spend the rest of the two weeks seeing the sights on the way back down through Washington, Oregon & California. The other Idea if going as far as The Olympic Peninsular is a bit too much, would be to go up and back through California into Oregon but on different routes?
    Below is a list of places in no particular order we have read about and would like to see if possible?

    Olympic national Park, Hurricane ridge, Hoh rain forest etc.
    Cannon Beach
    Tillamook Air Park
    Mt Saint Helens
    Crater Lake
    Yosemite National Park (overnight say if possible)
    Redwoods national Park
    Columbia River
    Death Valley (on the way back to Vegas)
    Mt Shasta
    PCH 101
    Oh and a Bigfoot if possible!!
    Judy will probably have some excellent suggestions on what you might see and how you might go. I've done a couple of similar trips to yours (but starting in SoCal) over the last couple of years. Doing this in 2 weeks will have you on the road a fair amount, so you might consider picking some areas you really want to stay a couple of nights at and just unwinding.

    Weather might be a consideration -- early-mid september may be warm in the deserts still, and late september may bring you fog and mist along the coasts. or rain in the high mountains.

    For a real ROM schedule? starting in Las Vegas...

    West from Vegas, across to Bakersfield and to San Louis Obispo area. Stay in Cambra or San Simeon on the California Coast. (longish day, but good roads).

    Visit Hearst castle, and then you have the option of going north along PCH through Big Sur to Monterey, or back to Paso RObles and through the wine country there (one of several wine countries along this route) before going up 101 to Monterey.

    Next day -- up through Santa Cruz through San Jose and over SF Bay at the Golden Gate. Continue up the California coast via 101, turning over to PCH where you might find it interesting. Last time I did this, I went to the old Russian fort along the California coast and then up to the Redwoods area, where we camped the night.

    Hence through the redwoods -- there are some very nice areas, but for at least one (gold beach) I would be concerned about taking a RV down to it, if you are uncomfortable driving it. (I've seen larger RVs there, but its a bumpy dirt road). SPend the night in a campground near Crescent City.

    From there you can continue up the coast, or cut inland to I-5 at Grants Pass, perhaps stopping at Oregon caves. Either continue up the coast along PCH/ Coast 1, or if you've come inland through Eugene to Portland area. (That may save a day or two of driving.). If you're inland, I'd hit the Oregon wineres south of Portland, on the west of I-5.

    If you're on I-6 at Portland, Definitely go back to the coast at Portland and continue north across the bridge at Astoria. You should come into the coast about Tilamook, or if you've continued north along the coast, you'll go right near it.

    Continue up the Washington Coast, through the Olympic National Park, with stops at the Hoh Rain forest, Crescent Lake, and Port Angeles. Hurricane Ridge is reached from near Port Angeles. Depending upon your schedule, you might even duck over to Victoria BC on the ferry from Port Angeles.

    Then continue on around the Olympic Pennisula, and then head south from Seattle/ Tacoma area. You'll go right near Mt St Helens and that's an easy side trip. Consider spending the night in the national forests there, and you might see Big Foot....

    Then I'd head East along the Columbia RIver from Portland, turning south either to go through the Mt Bachelor area, or down 99 through Bend heading for Crater Lake.

    Depending upon your schedule and tastes you can can continue south, tending west to come back to I-5 at Shasta or a bit farther south at Red Bluff/ Redding via Mt Lassen Volcanic Park (one of my favorite detours). From there you can head south roughly through Sacramento, towards Yosemite. Then across the Sierra at Tioga Pass (near Yosemite), and then south on 395 to come into the West side of Death Valley and through it back to Vegas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaineuk
    A couple of other questions I have regarding the trip are:

    1) Do we have to book to stay in a national Park ie Yosemite? I ask this because some people say on a road trip not to book anywhere and see where you end up, while others say itís better to have the security of knowing where you will be staying?

    2.)This is our first Motor Home / RV holiday, and whilst we are seasoned campers (in a large tent), we would appreciate any advice / hints / tips that anyone can provide us. Things that we just might not think about, like suggesting we use disposal plates etc to save on washing up, maybe not environmentally friendly, but it would save on water usage.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help us, and we are looking forward to doing a trip report when we get back.

    Elaine & Peter
    I'd consider getting reservations if its a very busy area -- such as Yosemite. You might consider calling ahead a couple of days and seeing if you can get a reservation. Mid september and later is definitely out of the tourist season, so availability will be easier to find. Other than that, and if you're closer to the end of September, you might just try what's available. Get a good book of campgrounds and don't be afraid to call ahead a few hours before you show.

    One thing I find I use an amazing amount of time when camping is a set of inexpensive camp chairs (mine cost $4.99 each at a local sporting goods store). Even with an RV, you might want to sit outside in the evening, have a glass of wine, and relax and watch the sunset. The other thing is some large, heavy duty trash bags. Yeah I know everyone plans on trash bags, but they are the one thing everyone forgets and the big ones ("drum liners") will double as storage bags, ponchos in the rain, and even ground cloths for camping...

  5. Default Long Distances

    Hi There... Don't know abt reservations & all but do have few suggestions... 1) Keep in mind the Western USA is LARGE! Distances will deceive you. Depending on which direction you go, you may not cross an entire state in one day... 2) Being from the NW, can tell you with good certainty, it's two full days from Las Vegas to Olympic Peninsula... Be around 1300-1500 miles I'd guess... Two choices really - Up US95 to US395 and over to US97 at Klamath Falls and then up on the East side of the Cascades, or due west frm Vegas via I-15 to I-5, then straight north (downside to this is you go through LA). Since you're pressed for time, suggest the I-5 route...3) No promises on the weather in Washington that time of year, but likely to be hot... Hope you have a good trip, you're talking abt covering an awful lot of ground, likely pushing 3000-5000 miles up & back (Have driven the Seattle-San Diego-Seattle route many times, ~1300 Miles one way) But good luck, drive safe, and have lots of fun... Grampa425

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Just a few more random thoughts

    I guess I'm the PNW guru here as I live there but Larrison has already given you wonderful suggestions. I would just add that one of the funnest things to do in Washington is to travel the ferries on Puget Sound. If you do the Olympic Peninsula you can either enjoy driving the beautiful loop and staying ion dry land the whole way. Or, if you want to get to the Seattle area, you can take one of several ferries. Of course, with a motorhome this will get a bit pricey but it's beautiful. Check out routes and prices here. If you want to try the ferry but are confused at which route to take, let me know. I would be happy to help you figure it out.

    I think Mt. St. Helens is the biggest must-see in Washington. The damage from the volcano and nature's renewal are quite impressive and it changes each year. If you can only do one thing while in Washington, this is it, imho.

    The Olympic Peninsula is a close second. Other stops that Larrison didn't mention that are worth it here are the Kalaloch/Ruby Beach areas (between Lake Quinault and Forks on the western side of the peninsula), and the Makah Indian Reservation out on the farthest NW corner of the state. They have an amazing museum, the beaches and sights along the way there are beautiful, and the hike to Cape Flattery (fartest NW corner of the United States) is awesome.

    I live on the Olympic Peninsula and I really prefer 3 days to drive to Vegas. I've done it in 2. It's do-able but you're talking long 12 hour driving days with few stops. And this is in a little, sporty car with a turbo. I can't imagine you could make the same time in an RV. Plan for 3 days. There are lots of routes, not just 2. You could also drive to Reno and then head over to meet up with I-5 at Mt. Shasta, CA, by driving through the beautiful Shasta forest. That's just one of many other routes you could choose.

  7. Default

    Hi Judy,

    I am planning a 10 day trip to Vegas at the end of the year as well...in an RV. Can you give me a few more details on the route you mentioned here? I know it's safest to stay on 1-5 but I really wanted to enjoy some scenery and activities along the way.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default I'm confused.

    Which route do you want more specific information about? Let me know, and I'll be glad to help.

    And why is it safer to stay on I-5? Just curious.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Think "trucks and city buses"

    Quote Originally Posted by momthedriver
    I am planning a 10 day trip to Vegas at the end of the year as well...in an RV. Can you give me a few more details on the route you mentioned here? I know it's safest to stay on 1-5 but I really wanted to enjoy some scenery and activities along the way.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! I am not sure I understand that statement about I-5 -- it may help to remember that any place a city bus or delivery truck can go, so can a RV. You might find our expert commetary about the RV lifestyle interesting here.

    Mark

  10. Default

    I thought that when the road conditions are bad, it is best to stay on the roads that are most driven. I am planning this trip in December. I have heard of some passes being closed and what not. I just don't really know what the best routes are in December/January; I'd like to plan some sights in between.

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