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  1. Default First timer road trip - LA + everywhere - help!

    Hey all

    I'm coming from Scotland for a fortnight and pickup an RV on the 2nd from LA.

    Here's what i have so far and i'd love to pick your brains if i'm going on the right lines.

    Also i'm a little baffled over RV camping. There seem to lots of different types of campsites - state parks etc Are some more expensive than others? Will the first two weeks of oct be so busy that we need to book now for everywhere? I appreciate Yosemite we will need to stay outside of the NP.
    And excuse my ignorance but can you park 'off the beaten track'/ is this legal?

    Lastly does the $80 annual pass include entries to all NPs and SPs?

    2 LA - to Santa Barbara/ Pismo
    3 heading north, Big Sur and point lobos
    4 to San fran
    5 San fran - with Alcatraz trip
    6 to Lake Tahoe
    7 Late Tahoe to Bodie Ghost town mono lakes ( maybe stay at mono lakes )
    8 Yosemite - Tioga pass
    9 Kings canyon and giant forest - Death Valley
    10 Zion NP
    11 Byrce Canyon
    12 Monument valley
    13 via lake powell horse show bend to Grand Canyon
    14 pm drive to vegas
    15 legas to Joshua np
    16 drive back to la to drop off RV

    Thanks heaps

    Nat

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default What time of year is this happening?

    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum, sounds like a great trip.
    Also i'm a little baffled over RV camping. There seem to lots of different types of campsites - state parks etc Are some more expensive than others? Will the first two weeks of oct be so busy that we need to book now for everywhere? I appreciate Yosemite we will need to stay outside of the NP. And excuse my ignorance but can you park 'off the beaten track'/ is this legal?
    OK, we have some excellent resources about RV rentals and camping. Here's the first place you should start -- an overview of the kinds of RV camping places. You will want to get a copy of a RV campground book -- Woodalls or Trailer Life -- they give the rates and amenity information for most parks. But you can expect to pay as little as "free" for dispersed camping in national forests to $250 per night at the fanciest RV parks. Most RV parks are in the $35 to $55 rate per night. Depending on the size of your RV -- there are parking spots for RV's in Yosemite.
    Lastly does the $80 annual pass include entries to all NPs & SPs?
    The Annual Pass is for admission to national parks only -- it does not include camping fees nor does cover state parks or other kinds of parks. More information here.
    2 LA - to Santa Barbara/ Pismo
    3 heading north, Big Sur and point lobos
    4 to San fran
    5 San fran - with Alcatraz trip
    6 to Lake Tahoe
    7 Late Tahoe to Bodie Ghost town mono lakes ( maybe stay at mono lakes )
    8 Yosemite - Tioga pass
    9 Kings canyon and giant forest - Death Valley
    10 Zion NP
    11 Byrce Canyon
    12 Monument valley
    13 via lake powell horse show bend to Grand Canyon
    14 pm drive to vegas
    15 legas to Joshua np
    16 drive back to la to drop off RV
    This is a lot of ground to cover in 15 days. If you cut the destinations by 50% you'll have more fun. Take a look at this RV trip from San Francisco. Southwest Dave is a marathon-style RV'er when he comes here -- but even so, his trip shows the absolute most you can expect to do in a two week period.

    And finally some tips of what to look for when you pick up your RV rental!

    Happy Planning!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-18-2010 at 11:15 AM. Reason: This is the 3rd time we've had to move this thread, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE DUPLICATE POSTS!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Too busy

    I have to agree, and some of your day's are not realistic in a car, never mind an RV, SORRY!

    Bodie ghost town won't be an option in an RV, the road in is partly unpaved and would be in breach your rental agreement. Personally, I would drop Tahoe purely because it's 2 day's you haven't really got to spare. To go from Mono lake to Yosemite, Kings canyon, Sequoia and Death valley in 2 day's just isn't going to happen, the roads are mountainous and winding and in an RV your average mph is going to be low ! They are your choices to make but without Tahoe, Sequoia and Kings canyon you could have a nice trip, otherwise you will be just "passing through" most of the time.

    If this an option I would tweak things a bit, heading from SF to Yosemite, over Tioga and through Death valley where you naturally go through Vegas on route to Zion. Stop in Vegas at this point and then from Grand canyon head towards LA.

    Keep in mind that if you are flying into LA on the 2nd you will not be legally allowed to pick up your RV until next day and you wouldn't be in any fit condition to drive through the urban sprawl of LA after a long haul flight and your body clocks not adjusted to the time difference.

    Have a look around and when you have new questions just ask, but as has been mentioned keep all your questions in this one thread, thanks.

  4. Default

    hey guys

    Thanks for picking up on my wee questions.
    Sorry for extra posting but for me it was a summer trip, so thought my post had disappeared :O(

    I've been re-assessing everything and agree with you Dave about regrettably dropping kings canyon and sequoia. I think hitting Las Vegas earlier is good too. Thanks for letting me know about Bodie too ( good call ).

    We do fly in on the first October so that’s more important than I realized regarding the collection of the RV.

    I still am keen on Tahoe, although the information I have seen on RV camps say they are only open until September. Do you know if there are any options for the first wee of October then?

    In general, at this time of year will booking ahead of time for RV campsites be necessary? For Yosemite we’ll look to stay outside the park for sure. Any clarification on parking overnight in these states would be beneficial too.

    Here’s my revision:

    2 LA - to Santa Barbara/ Pismo
    3 heading north, Big Sur and point lobos
    4 to San fran
    5 San fran - with Alcatraz trip
    6 to Lake Tahoe
    7 Late Tahoe to north entrance Yosemite and Yosemite valley
    8 Yosemite - Tioga pass - mono lakes
    9 Death valley – las vegas (evening)
    10 Las vegas
    11 Zion NP
    12 Bryce canyon
    13 Monument valley
    14 via lake powell horse shoe bend to Grand Canyon
    15 Grand canyon to Joshua np
    16 drive back to la to drop off RV

    Hopefully this looks more do-able,

    Thanks

    Nat

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Some RV parks.

    Your revised itinerary looks more comfortable to achieve.

    I have no personal recommendations for Lake Tahoe but this link might help and it looks as though camp Richardson is open through October. I fear you will be to late for Yosemite, which is a shame as the "Pines" campgrounds are right in the heart of the valley, but there are surrounding campgrounds such as Yosemite Pines about 30/40 mins away. Do a search and you will find many more options to choose from. While in Yosemite you can get to see some "big tree's" in Mariposa grove near to the Southern kiosk. Take a drive up to Glacier point for breath taking views.

    It's a tough call regarding bookings, we were there in late Oct and part booked and left a couple open to change. Some were quite full and we were lucky to get in, others not to bad. I preferred to know where I would be spending the night as I didn't want to waste valuable time driving around looking for somewhere to stay, especially in a 30 ft RV in a country where "just around the corner" can equate to 15 or 20 miles and more !

    San Fran hasn't a huge choice of campgrounds and one of the popular one's with a shuttle service downtown is called "Candlesticks RV park", and although I haven't stayed there it is more of a parking lot by the sounds of things. In Death valley you have choices at Panamint springs, Stovepipe wells and Furnace creek. Las Vegas has the Oasis resort with pools, bar gym etc which we enjoyed, or "Circus Circus" on the Strip has a "parking lot" style RV park. Near to Zion is the Zion river resort but the "Watchman campground" just inside the park is in a great location where you can hop on the free shuttle bus into the Canyon. Ruby's Inn is great for Bryce canyon and close to the stores and restaurants etc. After visiting Monument valley you could head to the Cameron trading post for an evening meal and overnight stop to leave you a short run to the East entrance of the Grand canyon South rim. I would try and get into the "Mather campground" at Grand canyon which is in a wooded setting and a short walk from the village area and canyon rim.

    To clarify, you can't just pull up at the roadside and sleep for the night, you have to be in a designated campsite, a truck stop or a rest area that has granted permission for sleeping in [rare.] Some super stores allow parking in there Lot, such as Walmart, but only at the managers discretion and you won't be able to set up camp, just sleep. This and truck stops are OK if you are meandering around the Country with lot's of time but on a tight schedule it really doesn't fit.

  6. Default

    Wow Dave, someone as well as you must be looking out for me....i've just got a reservation for the upper pines for the 7th.... woo hoo!!
    Since i last posted i've been digesting some past posts, there's some great information locked in this site. Then i started looking at rv parks on the outside of the YNP and one of the sites had a link to the actual park bookings. I had a chance look and bingo! Now i'm super exicited and it's half past one in the morning! My boyfriend wasn't as excited as i had to wake him up to ask him how long the RV was ( such a girl right!!)

    I take on board what you are saying about pre-booking and i think that's going to be my Sunday plan. We can't be too spontaneous along the route as we haven't got lots of room to give. So why not sort out the end points for some/ most daysand take away that extra pressure from the trip itself?!

    You are so helpful for adding in more site tips too that'll give me something to go on tomorrow.

    Good night and i'll hopefully have more good news tomorrow from a rookie rv-er

    Nat :O)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default That is great !

    Wow Dave, someone as well as you must be looking out for me....i've just got a reservation for the upper pines for the 7th.... woo hoo!!
    Brilliant ! Did you grab the under 24ft site ? It looked to be the only one in the park !

    For comprehensive info on the National parks, including camping click on the State by State map, and then the park you are visiting. Example' UT, Zion and then look around the pages, you will also find the "Watchman" campground in Zion doing this, and repeat AZ, Grand canyon etc.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 09-19-2010 at 01:45 AM. Reason: Added link.

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