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  1. Default Advice/reassurance needed!!! California First Timer - Circular Road Trip

    Hi All

    I’m visiting the US in late October/early November and am planning my first road trip and looking for some advice to see if what I’ve planned makes sense/is too over ambitious/too much driving etc.

    Some basckground: We’re looking to hire a 19ft RV and we’re basically outdoorsy people i.e we’d rather a few extra days in a National park and get a hike in, rather than an extra day in a city. The plan is (i've pasted a google maps link at the bottom of intended route):


    Sunday 26th Oct: Las Vegas
    Monday 27th : Las Vegas
    Tues 28th : Pick up RV (we may only be able to pick it up at 11am) ,depart Las Vegas to Furnace Creek, Death Valley via Pahrump -> 190 visiting Zabrinkie Point, Dantes View, Artists Drive.
    Weds 29th :Depart Furnace Creek 7am to Yosemite Valley hopefully via Tioga Pass (8hrs drive)
    Thurs 30th : Staying in Yosemite Valley (North Pines)
    Friday 31th Oct : Staying in Yosemite Valley (North Pines)
    Sat 1st Nov : Staying in Yosemite Valley (could also be a buffer day)
    Sun 2nd : Depart 7am Yosemite Valley to Morrow Bay (9 hrs drive ?)
    Monday 3rd : Depart Morrow Bay to Los Angeles (5hrs drive)
    Tuesday 4th : LA
    Weds 5th : LA
    Thurs 6th : LA
    Friday 7th Nov : Depart LA to Las Vegas

    I’ve also got a few newbie RV questions (sorry if they sound stupid):


    1. The RV park (North Pines) we’re staying in in Yosemite Valley does not have a hook up. Is this likely to be a problem? I don’t plan on making significant use of the furnace. I assume the battery charges during driving.
    2. Assuming Tioga pass is open are there any concerns driving a rented 19ft RV along it? If its closed it’s a loooong drive to Yosemite. Would an overnight stay at say Fresno/Midpines be recommended?
    3. What happens if it snows while I’m in Yosemite and im in a rented RV (re tyre chains)
    4. Is it normally OK to just turn up at an RV park in Morrow Bay / LA (or anywhere for that matter other than Yosemite), or do you have to reserve in advance?
    5. Is it ok to arrive at an RV site latish eg 8pm in the evening OK or are they strict about check-in times?


    Any advice/ thoughts gratefully received.

    Cheers


    Google maps route:
    https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?saddr...=1,2,5&t=m&z=7

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Nice trip.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Your trip looks well thought out but would benefit from a few tweaks. As Furnace creek is quite close to Vegas and with the risk of Tioga Pass not being open, I would look at staying in Lone Pine or Bishop if the pass is open, or around Lake Isabella if it isn't. I would also suggest you stop overnight in the Monterey area after Yosemite and then Cambria or Morro Bay with one less day in LA to give yourself time to enjoy the scenic coast drive.

    Your RV should be equipped with a generator for power in Yosemite. Make sure you have plenty of fuel before driving into the park.

    Tioga pass is fine to drive in an RV.

    If tyre chains were required it is by law so you will have to keep an eye on the forecast.

    You don't have to reserve in advance, it's a case of what you are comfortable with.

    If you arrive late and the office is closed there is usually a notice on the door giving you instructions as what to do. If I am booked in advance and going to arrive late I call during the day to let them know.

    It could be real cold in Yosemite, especially overnight, but it's a wonderful time to visit. Make sure you pack layered clothing. If it's just you, or 2 of you travelling then the RV will most likely work out more expensive than a car and motels, but as a 'Lifestyle' choice it can be great fun. If you are taking drive times from Google then add 20% to them as they are not realistic in the real world. However when you drive such roads as Tioga Pass and the PCH you will want to allow plenty of time to get out of the vehicle and explore and take in the views.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    I have slightly different opinions about some of your RV questions than Dave does, so I'll offer my 2c worth:

    The RV park (North Pines) weíre staying in in Yosemite Valley does not have a hook up. Is this likely to be a problem? I donít plan on making significant use of the furnace. I assume the battery charges during driving.
    Assuming Tioga pass is open are there any concerns driving a rented 19ft RV along it? If its closed itís a loooong drive to Yosemite. Would an overnight stay at say Fresno/Midpines be recommended?
    What happens if it snows while Iím in Yosemite and im in a rented RV (re tyre chains)
    Is it normally OK to just turn up at an RV park in Morrow Bay / LA (or anywhere for that matter other than Yosemite), or do you have to reserve in advance?
    Is it ok to arrive at an RV site latish eg 8pm in the evening OK or are they strict about check-in times?
    1) For hookups, Dave is probably correct that you will have a generator. You may want to fill up with water so that you will have drinking water UNLESS it's going to be below 32F for more than 3 hours. Then an RV is a whole different problem. (If only going to be below freezing for an hour or so, let the faucet in the kitchen and bathroom sinks drip a little bit.) There should be a dump station somewhere in the park that you can use, or just outside of it.

    2) Totally concur with Dave on this answer.

    3) We were in a TENT in Yosemite one April. It was pretty cold. What we did NOT know, until a ranger came up to warn us, was that a blizzard was about to set in. The ranger let us know that we might either be prepared to hunker down for a number of days, or pack up quickly and get out of there. We chose to pack up and were on the road in 40 minutes -- a record for us.

    4) Here's where I'm going to disagree -- Morrow Bay and LA RV parks can be very popular at any time of the year. So if it were me, I'd get a reservation! This is particularly true with state park campsites and RV sites.

    5) Dave was right on here. As the daughter of a former campground owner, we were quite used to leaving "Site instructions" on the door of the check-in building for late arrivals. My dad used to leave the site numbers on the door for those folks. Sometimes we would even get a midnight phone call from a late arrival, asking where to park. Just be nice and be sure to check in (and pay) in the morning. It was also aggravating to know that someone had checked in around midnight and departed without paying for the site before we opened in the morning!


    Donna

  4. Default

    Dont be in a hurry to get from Yosemite to Morrow Bay. Take time to stop at MANY of the pull-offs on the PCH. The views are unbelievable! Also, you can go Whale Watching in Monterey, and visit their aquarium. Personally, I enjoyed the PCH way more than I enjoyed Yosemite, especially because there were no waterfalls when I went. To each his own.

    Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground, located about 30 miles south of Monterey, is a convenient place to spend the night, but it has no hookups. There are a couple private campgrounds nearby that do have hookups.

    You might want to inform the motorhome rental agency that you are heading into winter weather so that they can winterize the unit. Otherwise, ask for their advice on what to do when you hit freezing temperatures. You don't want to have to pay for burst water lines.

    A word about the water system. DON'T DRINK THE WATER IN A RENTAL RV! Don't do it! You have no idea where or how the tanks were filled. I've seen renters use the clean white water hose to rinse out the filthy dump hose! They stick it right inside! Then, they fill the water tanks with that contaminated hose. What were they thinking? Our motorhome had a warning about this posted near the kitchen sink. You must buy bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing your teeth, washing vegetables, etc.

    Your heater runs on propane but will also use an electric fan. So, you will need an AC hookup at night for running the furnace for prolonged periods. You really don't want to run the generator throughout the night (and will probably be prohibited from doing so), and the fan will drain the batteries in a couple of hours. Keep this in mind if you plan on camping in a State Park without electrical hookup. Warnings to this effect were posted next to the thermostat control of the unit I recently rented.

    You mention an 11am pickup. Are you sure? Mornings are usually set aside for drop-offs and afternoons for pick-ups. Be aware that there may be several families in line ahead of you and that it could take hours before you leave the lot. Been there, done that.

    Enjoy your trip. Sounds like you are going to have a wonderful time.

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