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  1. Default RVing from Chicago to LA to San Francisco in MARCH

    Hello there Dear road Trip Experts!
    This will be only our second RV trip, so I really would like to hear your helpful thoughts please. We're RVing from Chicago to LA to San Francisco and we aren’t blessed with a lot of days. :)
    We’re flying in from Toronto early morning March 8 and flying back from San Francisco 3pm March 18.

    I’m going to start backwards - we will be returning the RV in SF on Mar 15 or 16 (most probably 16th) and will have 2 or 3 days there.

    So, if we want to make to SanFran 15-16th, we need to be in LA 12-13th and 14th is to be spend going from LA to SF. So here I’m getting to the point that we need to find the way for a pleasant travel :) from Chicago to LA within 8-12th . And I do realize 4 days it’s not a lot. Here is where I would like to get your advises on how to put this plan into reality :)

    Lets say we will get our RV on 8TH by 2pm and start our journey out of Chicago, I wish we would be able to reach the Jefferson Arch when it is still light, but I don’t think so. If we can’t then I need to look for RV park and probably in Springfield…. What you think?

    Rest of the days I’m not sure how to plan…

    We don’t necessary need to go through Las Vegas because we’ve been there, but also, if there is a benefit to go off the Road 66 and get to LV, it will be fun too.
    We’ been to GC and Zion.
    We would like to go on Road 66, we’ been to Kingman and Seligman, we loved it and can go again. I’m not sure if the Arches park in Utah is doable… and so on and so on.

    I also very much welcome your knowledge of LA – SF stretch, please let me know the details that you think is good to know.

    As well as how we possibly can join together such different things as RV and LA lol. I read somewhere there is a Malibu RV park…?

    Can you please add your 10 cents :)? Possibly incl familiar to you RV stations, cute food places, etc

    Thank you very much in advance,
    Olia

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default we have a problem

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I certainly understand having a time limitation, but bluntly, I simply don't think you have enough time to do what you're talking about.

    It's a solid 4 days of driving to get from Chicago to LA, and if you're not even picking up the RV until the afternoon, then it sounds like you only have 3.5 days.

    Now, while in a speed run, you could make the trip in that time, but it doesn't leave any time at all for any sightseeing or detours, including trips off the freeway and onto what's left of Route 66 or stops at national parks. An RV also generally is not a great choice for a speed run, because you do need to keep things at a lower speed.

    It's also worth mentioning that in March, you're going to have far fewer hours of daylight than a summer trip, many campgrounds/RV parks will still be closed for the season, and you've still got the very real chance of running into a Winter storm at some point along the way.

    Rather than trying to cram in so many miles that you don't end up seeing anything, I'd pretty strongly recommend you cut back your plans. Doing a loop out of San Francisco would likely be much cheaper and a more enjoyable trip, but if you really want to go one-way, then I'd look at starting much farther west, perhaps Denver. If you are locked in to a Chicago-San Francisco trip, then I think that looking at a much more direct route, going through Colorado, Utah, and Northern Nevada and skipping Los Angeles is going to make for a far more pleasant trip than what you are currently proposing.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-14-2013 at 01:59 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    304

    Default

    I question whether you can be successful in managing the RV.
    March is COLD. Water tanks and water systems in RVs can easily freeze and be damaged if not treated carefully. (I'm not really sure what's required)

    Something to ask the RV source about....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Have to agree.

    You could get into LA at lunchtime [ish] on the 12th with stops in Springfield IL, Oklahoma, Albuquerque and Needles CA, but it would be a brutal pace in an RV with no time for anything but basic stops. With the fuel you are going to burn and with little time to explore I think a car would be a better choice, or as Michael suggested, re-think your plans, but I can see no advantage in having an RV for this trip as it is at the moment.

  5. Default Oh boy...

    Hi Midwest Michael,

    Thank you very much for the time you took to write and for your valuable advise. I don't want to use word 'unfortunatly", but everything has been booked and so we just have to get the best of it :). I called the rv pick up and they said that there is a Good chance we can pick it up by 10 am, hurray, we got another 4 hrs...
    Right now we mostly need the exact places, stops, eats, rv parks and so on, so I'm working on it. if something will cross your mind, please drop another line. Once again, thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I certainly understand having a time limitation, but bluntly, I simply don't think you have enough time to do what you're talking about.

    It's a solid 4 days of driving to get from Chicago to LA, and if you're not even picking up the RV until the afternoon, then it sounds like you only have 3.5 days.

    Now, while in a speed run, you could make the trip in that time, but it doesn't leave any time at all for any sightseeing or detours, including trips off the freeway and onto what's left of Route 66 or stops at national parks. An RV also generally is not a great choice for a speed run, because you do need to keep things at a lower speed.

    It's also worth mentioning that in March, you're going to have far fewer hours of daylight than a summer trip, many campgrounds/RV parks will still be closed for the season, and you've still got the very real chance of running into a Winter storm at some point along the way.

    Rather than trying to cram in so many miles that you don't end up seeing anything, I'd pretty strongly recommend you cut back your plans. Doing a loop out of San Francisco would likely be much cheaper and a more enjoyable trip, but if you really want to go one-way, then I'd look at starting much farther west, perhaps Denver. If you are locked in to a Chicago-San Francisco trip, then I think that looking at a much more direct route, going through Colorado, Utah, and Northern Nevada and skipping Los Angeles is going to make for a far more pleasant trip than what you are currently proposing.

  6. Default A good question ...

    Hello noFanofCB,

    Well, we traveled in March 2011 NV, AR, UT, and we had no freezing problems... so hopefully this time will be the same. But, please kindly let me know what we have to watch for. (we know the basic rving rules). I was mostly hoping that there are another fellow rvers who have done that journey and know timing, rv parks and the "must sees" (yes, for us it would be very quick must sees :)
    Thank you for your time!


    Quote Originally Posted by noFanofCB View Post
    I question whether you can be successful in managing the RV.
    March is COLD. Water tanks and water systems in RVs can easily freeze and be damaged if not treated carefully. (I'm not really sure what's required)

    Something to ask the RV source about....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    If you have already booked everything, then Id strongly recommed, again, that you change your route and cut out SoCal. Otherwise, the only sites and stops you'll have time to worry about will be finding rv parks in the cities dave listed.

    It should be noted that no matter where you end up going, you'll be traveling through colder climates than arizona and nevada.

  8. Default I have to agree too..

    Hello Southwest Dave,

    I appreciate your valuable time that you put into responding to my post, thank you very much for that.
    Ok, it might all sounds as a blab right now, but hopefully it will get "a shape".
    So I'm studying maps...[ YES, I looked at them at glance before and spotted a few blogs saying "it's ok!" and the plane tickets were a rush to buy and so on and so on...]

    I'm thinking if we leave CHI at around 11AM, on that same day 1 we will make to St Louis and will see Lincoln' tomb (and possibly his house) in Springfields, IL, also Jefferson Expansion and the Court House and stay at St Louis RV park for the night.
    day 2. breakfast somewhere? (or frying eggs inside), seeing Meremec Caverns, reaching Springfields MO and lunch there (where?) Please tell me if we possibly can reach Oklahoma city or abouts that the same day. [Park for the night, where?]
    day 3. Oklahoma to Albuquerque, NM. This one looks like just whole day of driving', any suggestions on food and a VERY QUICK must-sees on the way are very much appreciated. [hey, ROAD 66 -is- the journey, not the destination :) ]
    To park for the night (where?)
    day 4. Must take the trump in Albuquerque and head out to Needlees. Another loooong one.
    day 5. MAR 12 (!) Needlees to LA, by lunch time maybe. OK! - Lunch to eat? maybe NOT. Maybe hangry, but happy off to Getty Center in LA and I guess finally to Dockweiler Beach RV park under the LAX (!). And no, we won't be disturbed by the planes, we will be DEAD Tired lol.

    Thank You! and any ideas are most welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    You could get into LA at lunchtime [ish] on the 12th with stops in Springfield IL, Oklahoma, Albuquerque and Needles CA, but it would be a brutal pace in an RV with no time for anything but basic stops. With the fuel you are going to burn and with little time to explore I think a car would be a better choice, or as Michael suggested, re-think your plans, but I can see no advantage in having an RV for this trip as it is at the moment.

  9. Default

    I'm so sorry, what is 'SoCal'?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Working with what you have.

    what is 'SoCal'?
    SoCal is reference to the LA area [Southern California].

    we had no freezing problems... so hopefully this time will be the same. But, please kindly let me know what we have to watch for. (we know the basic rving rules).
    RV companies can 'Winterize' their RV's by draining off the water to stop the risk of it freezing and causing damage to pipes etc. We usually travel late Fall/early winter in an RV and it can be an issue. Usually you are allowed to carry and use water, but you would be responsible for any cost for damage caused because of it. You would have to check the specific terms and conditions with your rental company. Despite who's responsibility it is, you will just have to use common sense. If the temps are going to drop below freezing overnight and the risk is there, drain the tanks off and refill them in the morning. This is easier if you have an RV site where you are hooked up to the mains as it can be done on site. However, unless the mains water is designed for winter use [lagged/heated] as some are, then disconnect the City supply from your RV overnight anyway. Campground staff will keep you well informed if you ask them for their opinion when in doubt, they deal with it all the time. Some RV'S are actually equipped with an 'Artic pack' that protect the pipes, but again that's something you need to enquire about with your rental company. If you are using hook up sites and you have doubts, the safest thing to do is hook up [providing the pipes are not already frozen !] and shower, fill the kettle, wash up etc and when you are done [or it's time for bed] disconnect it.

    I'm thinking if we leave CHI at around 11AM, on that same day 1 we will make to St Louis and will see Lincoln' tomb (and possibly his house) in Springfields, IL, also Jefferson Expansion and the Court House and stay at St Louis RV park for the night.
    I Have not driven the route, but if I were to from other experiences, I would be allowing at least 5.5 hours from getting out of Chicago and into St Louis. You might also want to stock up the RV with supplies which can take time for the first/main shop.

    day 2. breakfast somewhere? (or frying eggs inside), seeing Meremec Caverns, reaching Springfields MO and lunch there (where?) Please tell me if we possibly can reach Oklahoma city or abouts that the same day. [Park for the night, where?]
    With appropriate stops for filling with gas, taking a break and getting a bite to eat, you are looking at a 9-10 hour day on the road. With a detour to 'the hideout of Jesse James' you are looking at close to a 13 hour day I would expect. When you are heading west against the clock somewhat, I would suggest you look for a place to stay to the west of any major City so that when the main rush of traffic is heading into the City in the morning, you are heading the other way. Unless you want a real early start to this day it would be worth looking for another option to the St Louis RV park as it looks to be located in the heart of things in the east of the City.

    day 3. Oklahoma to Albuquerque, NM. This one looks like just whole day of driving', any suggestions on food and a VERY QUICK must-sees on the way are very much appreciated. [hey, ROAD 66 -is- the journey, not the destination :)
    Yep, it'll be quite a full day on the road ! Amarillo would make a good midway point to stop for lunch. You could easily take advantage of the facilities having an RV offers and cook up some food at nearby 'Caddilac Ranch'. I understand what you mean about "the journey", but keep in mind that you really will be travelling on modern day Interstate.

    Day 4 is yet another long day but doable although I'm not sure what "doing the Trump" is all about in Albu. If you want a '66 experience you could take an original section of it and get off I40 and through Seligman which is full of 'odd ball' diners and memorabilia shops. You could opt to stay in Kingman for the night which would add an hour onto your journey the following day into LA.

    Good luck !

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