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  1. Default West Coast Road Trip - LA to Vancouver

    Sooo... We are a small group of 25y/o Australians are planning on doing an West Coast Road Trip from LA to Vancouver in June/July 2010. We are thinking of hiring a camper van & allowing about month or so to do it...

    Basically this is what we are thinking...what we want to see & do but we arent quite sure of how to achieve it!!

    Fly into LA >
    Drive to Vegas.. few nights in a hotel...grand canyon ect..then back to LA >
    Stop, Camp & experience the Coastal cities between LA & San Fran (suggestions? I've heard San Luis Osbipo is nice?) >
    Wine Regions/tours any suggestions? >
    San Fran... >
    Somewhere in between San Fran & Portland?? suggestions? >
    Portland >
    Seattle >
    Forks (yessss sad but true! we are major twilight fans) >
    Best route from Forks & Vancouver... suggestions? >

    Are camp sites easily accessible throughout the West coast? and how much does it usually cost to stay the night/use showers ect?

    If all goes to plan we will travel through Canada on our working holiday Visa. We would really appreciate any of your tips!! We cant wait!

    Oh its also going to be my honeymoon... romance in a camper van! haha... maybe we will ditch the friends throughout the wine regions???
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 11-02-2009 at 01:38 AM. Reason: Corrected title.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    Default

    If you are referring to something like a VW Westfalia when you say "camper van", there are very few companies here that rent these - most RV rentals are large truck chassis-based vehicles. Here is one site to look at. This one is based in San Francisco, the vans are over $100 a day, and must be returned to the place of rental. The site does have links to other companies that rent these vehicles, and some of them do have some limited "one way" options.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    6,936

    Default Campervans

    Check out Adventures on Wheels. Though I have not used them, I did once make enquiries to lease a vehicle. From those who have used them, I not heard of any major complaints.

    Be aware, if you do not have a US issued license, you cannot take up the 'buy' option. But the lease option seemed a good alternative when I checked, in 2004. Also note that you will probably not be allowed to rent a vehicle in the US and drop it off in Canada.

    Lifey in Melbourne

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Camping.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You will find Lot's of info throughout the forums and road trip planning pages by typing key words into the search engine and along with a map this will help you decide on what places appeal to you.
    First off, is there a reason for flying into LA and heading to Vegas before going back to LA again ? If not, it would make more sense to go to the GC from LA then to Vegas and then to the coast, or fly into Vegas, go to Grand canyon then LA.

    Campsites are plentiful but for places like the Grand canyon you would be advised to book in advance. Camping in National parks without hook ups [most with shower blocks] normally cost $18-$20 and you could pay up to $45 and more for full hook ups in resort style parks.

    If you are looking to do a one way trip you will probably be looking at an RV from one of the big company's such as Cruise America or El Monte. Be very careful when looking for the "To good to be true rental"

    Once you have had a look around and new questions arise, just ask.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 11-02-2009 at 03:54 PM. Reason: Added link.

  5. Default

    Thanks guys...

    The campervans we're after are something like these... Lost Campers Have u heard of them? We just want something that you can sleep in fairly cheap! Think we may be able to rent them for about $50-80/day in peak season...

    I know we probably couldnt drive it all the way to Vancouver, but I think i read about a train to Vancouver from Seattle?? Is this a long trip or is it worth just getting a flight?

    Thanks for your advice on GC LA and Las Vegas.. I clearly have no idea!

    Any advice on places from San Fran to Portland would be good? is it worth doing the coastal road or going inland???

    Chat soon... thanks again!!!
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 11-03-2009 at 06:40 AM. Reason: Preferred link format

  6. #6

    Default

    Two excellent links to companies which I had never come across before and which, if they are genuine, would be excellent for my own trip next year. I look forward to the feedback from others on these options!

    In response to the OP I doubt very much if you will have any issues finding accomodation - I have never failed to find a place to sleep in the lower 48 - but you might need to book ahead if you want to avoid the hassle of having to call ahead each day or risk trolling round two or three campgrounds before settling on one which is less than you would like. I have never stayed there myself but the campground on Cannon Beach in Oregon is supposed to be amazing.

    I am a little unsure how your planned itinerary works? Are you basically planning a circular route from LA up to Seattle and back? Or something a little more complicated? How are you getting up to Canada and are you planning to return afterwards? Taking a vehicle across the border can be a big hassle or even impossible if the terms of the rental company refuse permission.

    How long are you in north America for exactly?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default

    That legitamises my calling the Dodge my camper... it is exactly the same set up as I had for my 23 week roadtrip this year. And I saw many others who had an SUV or a small van with seats removed and a mattress in their place. My mattress was made up of three thermarests and I had my own sleeping bag and pillow. And very comfortable it was too!

    Thanks for posting that link, though I doubt that they would allow a long term rent, which is what I will be looking for in 2011. If you do use them, let us know how it went.

    Lifey

  8. #8

    Default

    For some reason I missed the final part of your last post... I think I clicked on your link and then didn't read the rest when I came back to reply!

    There is indeed a rail connection (and indeed a bus connection) between the two cities but I chose not to use it when heading from Vancouver to Seattle last year and flew down instead. The reason was simply the question of entering the US and needing to enroll on the Visa Waiver Program. No-one could tell me if it were possible on board the train and, rather than risk it, I chose to fly. WHich was a shame as the view from the window was said to be fantastic. Seeing you are heading north and the entry requirements into Canada (especially if you have arrange a visa) are FAR more sensible I would definiately suggest looking into costs of the train... and all things being equal I would definitely go for it if it were me.

    With regard to taking the coastal route it really depends on the amount of time you have available. The coastal route north of San Fran is nowhere near as spectacular as it is through Big Sur but I would suggest a mixture of interstate and coast road depending on the amount of time you have available. Stops between San Fran and Seattle might include Lassen Volcanic NP, Crater Lake, Mt St Helens, the Redwoods and Multnomah Falls to name a few. I personally thing north of San Fran you are better served using your time to visit these places than slowly driving the coast road.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default Cosy !

    I have linked to both the above rental companies in the past and they seem genuine but I have not used either.

    Two main points at the moment are, 1] Lost campers only do limited one way drop offs to LA [not sure about the other co] so getting the train or anything else from Seattle to Canada for an extended stay becomes a problem unless you want to pay for a rental that is in a long term parking lot and return it afterwards.
    Secondly, How small is your group ? It looks fine for a couple but that could feel small with a group, especially on your honeymoon ! I guess packing tents could work but it's still going to be a squeeze.

    Have you considered doing a loop tour, starting and finishing in LA or SF to drop the camper back and then flying to Canada ? Places like Yosemite, Death valley, Grand canyon, Monument valley, Joshua tree NP and Big Sur [PCH] could be included along with the city's of LA, SF, Vegas and possibly San Diego to name a few.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Default

    Those vans look great for just the 2 of you, but a whole group? I dunno. I see they have a 5 passenger package, but they don't quote the rates for those on the site, and I have a hard time seeing how you could have the extra seats in there and still have room for a bed.

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