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  1. #1

    Default Comments on our trip please =- LA, National parks, LV, RT 395, SF, Pacific HWY etc

    firstly GREAT forum! a lot of my ideas on our trip are from here (esp incorporating Route 395)

    We are a family of 4 - (2 kids aged 4 and 6) and we're coming to the US in late march 2010 and hiring an Apollo Sunrise Eclipse 25 ft RV. We land at LAX and basically sleep the night then pick up our RV and get on the road. here is our trip plan.

    day 1 Thursday, 25 March 2010 1640hrs arrive at LAX, overnight LA
    day 2 Friday, 26 March 2010 pick up campervan. Joshua Tree Nat Park.
    day 3 Saturday, 27 March 2010 JT to sedona
    day 4 Sunday, 28 March 2010 sedona to Grand Canyon in afternoon, stay at Mather Campground
    day 5 Monday, 29 March 2010 GC
    day 6 Tuesday, 30 March 2010 could stop on way to Bryce or go whole way depending on timing
    day 7 Wednesday, 31 March 2010 bryce canyon
    day 8 Thursday, 1 April 2010 zion
    day 9 Friday, 2 April 2010 zion
    day 10 Saturday, 3 April 2010 LV - thinking of staying at Mandalay Bay hotel (not in RV)
    day 11 Sunday, 4 April 2010 LV
    day 12 Monday, 5 April 2010 Route 395 - across death valley & sequoia NP - what's sherman pass road like for an RV? are we better just heading up to ski area?
    day 13 Tuesday, 6 April 2010 mammoth lakes (can we ski at this time of year??)
    day 14 Wednesday, 7 April 2010 lake tahoe
    day 15 Thursday, 8 April 2010 sacremento (seeing the basketball)
    day 16 Friday, 9 April 2010 san fran (been before couple of times so really just want to catch up with some friends there and take kids on cable car)
    day 17 Saturday, 10 April 2010 san fran
    day 18 Sunday, 11 April 2010 Yosemite (already booked camp site so these dates can't be moved)
    day 19 Monday, 12 April 2010 Yosemite
    day 20 Tuesday, 13 April 2010 Yosemite
    day 21 Wednesday, 14 April 2010 Yosemite
    day 22 Thursday, 15 April 2010 coast -santa cruz KOA for fun night for kids 1 or 2 nights
    day 23 Friday, 16 April 2010 coast road (HWY 1)
    day 24 Saturday, 17 April 2010 coast (HWY 1) - want to stay at Big Sur campground and cabins. anywhere else?
    day 25 Sunday, 18 April 2010 coast -??
    day 26 Monday, 19 April 2010 coast - santa barbara
    day 27 Tuesday, 20 April 2010 drive to LA, return campervan mid day, go to Disney hotel
    day 28 Wednesday, 21 April 2010 disneyland - already booked at Disney hotel
    day 29 Thursday, 22 April 2010 disneyland already booked at Disney hotel
    day 30 Friday, 23 April 2010 disneyland in daytime.- fly out to Australia at 11pm

    So any comments??

    I'm wondering if we should spend less time at Zion and Bryce and more on Route 395. Becuase we've got little kids we don't want too many massive long drives. We would love to see Sequoia National Park as well but not sure if the Sherman Pass road from Route 395 is too tricky for a big campervan (well big by australian standards!) or should we head down from yosemite and then cut across to coast?

    Reason for no time in LA is that i had 2 months in LA about 15 years ago and then been back for a couple of days 6 years ago so not that keen on hanging around in LA. also we're tyring to stay out of big cities too much - expensive, not that fun with kids, hard with the RV etc

    would love to hear your comments please.
    thanks Fiona

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Good job !

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    A great road trip you have planned !

    If you want to see Sequoia you will be better off visiting after you have been to Yosemite and head North towards Mammoth lakes from Death valley. It's too much to do in the same day and you would have to go right around the Southern route through Bakersfield at this time of year and then double all the way back.

    I would certainly recommend spending at least one night in Bryce [Rubys Inn campground is nice and well situated and the kids will enjoy western style "Bryce old town"] and 2 nights at Zion in the Watchman campground near the entrance to the park.

    If you are still unsure whether to stay in a Hotel or not in Vegas, check out the "Oasis RV resort" as a possibility if you stay in your camper.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    A few things you need to be aware of.

    In early April, the Sierra passes will not likely be open yet - you will have to go north or south to get across. You can't count on anything being passable between CA-58 and US-50. 178 (Walker Pass) is maintained year-round and may be an option, it's very scenic and pretty slow going. 88 (Carson Pass) is also maintained, but the best way to get to it (89 - Monitor Pass) will still be closed. Sherman Pass is not a very good option with a RV at any time, but it will most likely still be closed in April anyway. 4, 108, and 120 (Ebbetts, Sonora, Tioga) are definite no-goes. It's also possible that tire chains may be required in Sequoia and Yosemite, but in April it's not terribly likely. Bottom line - you won't be able to "criss cross" the Sierras, you will have to go up one side and down the other.

    Entering Zion from the east in a RV can be a hassle - you have to make a reservation and pay a $15 toll to be escorted through the tunnel.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Easy enough.

    Originally posted by glc] Entering Zion from the east in a RV can be a hassle - you have to make a reservation and pay a $15 toll to be escorted through the tunnel.
    It really isn't much hassle, especially out of peak season. You won't need to make a reservation for an escort as you are travelling on or after April 1. Pay your entrance fee to the park plus the $15 fee to go through the tunnel at the kiosk entrance where you will be instructed as to what to do. It's no big deal but as you approach the tunnel pull into the lay-by area and wait untill the Rangers have arranged to stop on coming traffic, you will then be signalled to drive down the middle of the road while in the tunnel. I doubt it will delay you any more than 10 mins and less if quiet.

  5. #5


    hi - thanks for your replies. i knew that the cross-sierra roads wont be open at that time of year but didnt realise that Sherman pass is one of them. (or that it's not good for RVs). thanks for info on route. We are planning on going up east side and then doen west side. so i think we'll just go from death valley to lone pine and then up to mammoth. we'll go to Sequoia from yosemite. we've got 4 days in yosemite and then 5 days for the coast back to LA so i'm sure that we can fit the trip down to Kings canyon and sequoia in that time. i think we're there so we may as well fit it in. the photos i've seen and everything i've read about it sounds beautiful.

    thanks for the info on the Zion entrance and where to stay,. i'd read about the escort through the tunnel and we don't mind the wait. i think the kids will love going through the tunnel and i've heard that that entrance is very beautiful.

    the main reason we're staying in the hotel at Las Vegas is for the luxury at a cheap price. well relatively cheap. eg 2 nights at Mandalay Bay is $270US which is very cheap for a hotel like that. i just want to swim in the pools!! i assume it'll be warm enough for swimming at the beginning of April???

    we're so looking forward to this trip. the internet sure helps planning from abroad.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Yeah, Sherman pass, while a beautiful drive, is the least traveled/most primative route across the Sierras. Even if it was the summer trip, even doing the drive from Death Valley to Sequoia on this route would be a very long day on the road.

    BTW, you should know that a good chunk of Kings Canyon will still be closed during your trip too. Sequoia will be open, and its still worth the trip, just something you should know for your planning.

    My last trip to Vegas was in early March and temps were in the mid-upper 80s, so pools were certainly an option. More likely than not, you'll be fine in that regard.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You are going to have to go a lot farther north than Mammoth to get across the Sierras - almost all the way to Lake Tahoe. As I said, 89 over Monitor Pass may still be closed for the winter, so you would have to go to Gardnerville to NV-756 to get to 88, or up the Kingsbury Grade (NV-207) into South Lake Tahoe to get to US-50. Weather permitting, 88 over Carson Pass is much lighter traveled than US-50 and it's a very scenic drive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The itinerary

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    You are going to have to go a lot farther north than Mammoth to get across the Sierras - almost all the way to Lake Tahoe.
    Day 14, Lake Tahoe ;-)

  9. #9


    hi GLC. we are going to South Lake Tahoe - see my itinerary day 14. then across to sacramento and then San fran. i just mention Mammoth as we want to take the kids skiing or at least to play in the snow and think it'll be good to spend a night/morning there on the way to Lake Tahoe. thanks for info on carson pass.
    Hi Michael. my aunt is just back from a very similar trip and warned us about closures in Kings canyon but i think there's a little bit of the road we can go on to get an idea of the canyon. i have the Lonely Planet book on Yosemite, Sequioa and Kings Canyon so that's given me a lot of info.
    thanks for the information on our road trip. great to get confirmation from seasoned rvers that we're not missing out on anything too major or trying to do anything too difficult.

    so do i need snow chains on the RV? is that even possible? i hadnt realised the actual road would be snowy in spring.
    cheers Fiona
    Last edited by figav; 02-09-2010 at 04:24 AM. Reason: added question

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You might need chains, it's all dependent on where you go and what the weather conditions are. Yes, it's possible to put chains on a RV, but I don't know if the rental company will rent them, if they will even allow them. I'd just try to stay flexible if a spring storm decides to blow through and modify your route accordingly.

    California current road conditions and chain restrictions

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