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  1. Default RV Trip from San Diego to Las Vegas

    Hi all,

    I have seen some other posts on this route, but none have quite answered my questions or have different time lines....so here goes!

    I am coming from Australia in September with my family of 5. We are renting an RV in San Diego (pick up from Santee area). We then have planned 6 days to drive to Las Vegas where we will be leaving the RV and flying out. I have done some research, but would love some advice on specific parts of the trip. We have never been to the USA before and we are very excited, but don't want any unexpected trouble because we didn't do the research!

    Day 1: Pick up RV in Santee 1:00pm. After our hour or two of orientation, thinking of driving toward Julian and staying the night. Is Highway 79 suitable to drive an RV? (it is about 28ft). Looking at staying at KQ Ranch Resort?

    Day 2: Enjoy Julian in the morning and drive to Joshua Tree National Park. What would be the best route for this drive? We are looking at staying at Black Rock Camp Ground for the night. Is there anything along the way that we should stop and see?

    Day 3: Joshua Tree National Park to Grand Canyon. Recommended route for this? We are looking at staying in the Grand Canyon Trailor Village.

    Day 4: Grand Canyon

    Day 5: Grand Canyon to Las Vegas. Recommended route and sites to see? We would love to drive some of route 66. We are staying at the Circus Circus RV park in Las Vegas and would like to get in early enough to catch a show that night.

    Day 6: Return RV and fly out.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,509

    Default From a local!

    Welcome to RTA!

    You're starting in my neck-of-the-woods, so let me answer some of that local stuff first.

    Day 1: Route 79 is very pretty, and Julian is a quaint little town. It's usually a *little* cooler than down on the desert floor, too. One touristy thing to do would be to sample a good Julian Apple Pie -- they're very good. Parking the RV might be rather interesting, in Julian, so I'd recommend that you park off the main road. There's parking there that would be more suitable for an RV than on the street. Be sure to walk up and down the main street. Julian Cafe' is a good place to eat, and so is Rongbranch Restaurant. There are also several wineries in town, most give samples and have very reasonable prices for a bottle.

    Day 2: Leave Julian to the north and take Rt 78 east towards Ocotillo Wells and the Salton Sea. You'll see some old mines dotting the side of mountains next to the road, then drive through some of Anza Borrego State Park. While many RV's travel this road, there is a grade called "Banner Grade" to be aware of. Downshift, don't ride your brakes down. Once down on the desert floor, you'll see Ocotillo Wells dunes. Turn north on CA-86, which will eventually show you what's left of our inland sea when you get to Salton Sea Beach and Desert Shores. Mostly it's pretty abandoned. At Mecca, you'll either turn east again on CA-195, or you can continue north on 86 (by now a 4-lane highway) where you'll meet I-10. If you take CA-195, it will take you right to the south entrance of Joshua Tree. Otherwise, take I-10 east to exit 168.

    Day Three: Get your reservations NOW (if you haven't already) for Grand Canyon Trailer Village. It fills quickly! Bear in mind that it's pretty well a parking lot with hookups. We've stayed there! To get there, if you want a little Rt 66 history, from JTNP, you can take CA-62 to the road that takes you up to Amboy (somebody here will chime in with the name of this road, as I can't remember it). At Amboy, turn east on old Historical 66, which takes you to Essex and then on up to I-40. That will take you east to Williams.

    Day 4: Be sure to see either a sunrise OR a sunset on the Canyon. We don't do "must-do's" very often here, but that's pretty well one of the few!

    Day 5: When you leave the Canyon, you can head west on I-40. At Seligman, there's a lot of Rt 66 memorabilia in that town. You can follow the old routing of US 66 by continuing up to Peach Springs, then back down to I-40 at Kingman.

    I'm not sure that the old section of 66 through Oatman is suitable for RV's, so somebody here will comment, I'm sure. If not, you can take US-93 from Kingman up to Vegas via Boulder City.

    Warning: Circusland RV Park is now owned by KOA, but it is still (from what I understand) another blacktop glorified parking lot. We've stayed there, too, but it was awhile ago.


    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 06-03-2017 at 08:07 PM. Reason: fixed grammar and typos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    Route 79 is very pretty, and Julian is a quaint little town.
    From Santee, you could take CA-67 to Ramona, then CA-78 into Julian.

    Leave Julian to the north and take Rt 78 east
    Actually you would leave Julian to the southeast.

    the road that takes you up to Amboy (somebody here will chime in with the name of this road, as I can't remember it)
    Off CA-62, take Utah Trail north about 2 miles, then turn right on Amboy Road. If you exit Joshua Tree on Park Blvd past the Oasis Visitor Center you will be on Utah Trail, just cross CA-62.

    I'm not sure that the old section of 66 through Oatman is suitable for RV's, so somebody here will comment, I'm sure.
    I don't think I'd take a RV over Sitgreaves Pass.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,697

    Default

    As you only have one night in Vegas I would leave Oatman and head straight to the bright lights after Kingman and get settled in. A stop at the Hoover dam is a possibility but you may have security delays waiting for a walk through inspection of the vehicle.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,509

    Default

    Oops, that's true, southeast out of Julian, not north. My bad. (I was going from the top of my head.)

    If you wanted to avoid the freeway, and you aren't leaving Santee at 3 pm on a weekDAY, you could use CA-67 to Ramona and then CA- 78 from there. If it's a weekday, you'll get in a major traffic jam coming into Ramona after 3:30 pm, where it goes from 4 lanes down to 2 lanes, at Archie Moore Rd., just after Mt Woodson. In Ramona, there are many antiques shops. Continue out of Ramona without making any turns, as 67 becomes 78 and takes you up to Santa Ysabel. There, you could stop at Dudley's Bakery -- the aromas will catch you if the wind is right. It's only open Thursday through Sunday, though. Just after, you'll catch the junction that will take you to Julian.



    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 06-04-2017 at 12:20 PM. Reason: added Archie Moore info

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,219

    Default

    Good point - avoid 67 in weekday rush hour.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default From a local...... at the other end.

    Last year when I was in Oatman, there were quite a few RVs much larger than 28ft, just as there were on the lookout on Sitgreaves Pass. However, whereas I would highly recommend you take the route (from Topok through Oatman to Kingman, you need to be aware that it is a fairly slow route, almost the whole way. Stunning!! but slow. The children (?) would love the burros in Oatman. There's also a great Icecream shop, just as you enter the town coming from Topok. (Maybe the drive was much slower for me because I like to stop at all the signs which have information about the area.)

    You do not say in which State you live, but if you are a member of RACV, NRMA or similar, be sure to bring your membership with you. It will give you access to free maps and tourism information from the AAA anywhere you travel. You could pick up some good detailed maps while in SD, to help you follow and mark your route - rather than letting the gps decide for you. Besides, if the children are old enough, they could follow the maps and see what attractions they are passing by and stopping at. The maps are extremely informative.

    I have also always found that having a flag in the rear window of your vehicle a great help. Let them know you are not a local and perhaps they will forgive you any minor traffic indescretions. (lol)

    Have a great trip, and be sure you all keep a journal of the events, places and experiences. When you get to NPs, such as Joshua and Grand Canyon be sure to book any children into the Jumior Ranger program. It will help them, and you, appreciate the parks a lot more and earn children some free souvenirs.

    Lifey

  8. Default

    Thank you all so much! What great advice! We are all very excited (including the kids who are 13, 10 and 6). Thank you all for the route advice and the things to do along the way. So much to see and so little time!!

    - - - Updated - - -

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