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 > Best way to travel the Pacific Coast

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propchef

NORCAL

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Posted: 03/31/22 04:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good advice already, especially MarkTwain above. I'll just add that the later in the year you go north, the more likely it will be that you encounter smoke and/or fires. We've had our worst fires in October. I'm just north of SF.

Even without wildfires, we have a heavy schedule this year of mitigation, including prescribed burns. We're already having those here.

That drive is spectacular. I love spending time on the Sonoma and Mendo coasts.

time2roll

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Posted: 03/31/22 07:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Either is fine if planning to come back in five years and go the opposite direction [emoticon]


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MarkTwain

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Posted: 03/31/22 07:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dedmiston wrote:

I've done the trip multiple times in various pieces, and I also did the whole coast from Victoria, BC all the way to L.A.

It's a gorgeous drive, but there's also a whole lot of nothing in some of those places. It's all beautiful, but it depends on your need for variety and for stops along the way.

Highway 1 through California isn't for everyone. It's narrow through Mendocino (but gorgeous) and 101 is an easier detour. The 101 is gorgeous up there, so it's no real compromise.

Highway 1 between Carmel and San Simeon can be a tough drive and I wouldn't recommend it if you're towing. I think you could easily cover this road on a day trip though. You could camp in Morro Bay (in San Luis Obispo County) and drive up hwy 1 through Big Sur to Carmel, and then turn east at Carmel to the 101 and come back south to 46 at Paso Robles to cut back to PCH below Cambria or keep going south down the Cuesta Grade and back up hwy 1 to Morro Bay.

You could do something similar to see the coast at Mendocino so you don't miss any of the highlights like Ft. Bragg.

In short, there are amazing things to see along the PCH, but I don't recommend towing a trailer down the whole thing.


Good travel information!!! Hwy 46 is great RV road to get back to the centeral coast. Pismo Beach area is great choice.

ktmrfs

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Posted: 03/31/22 07:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

North to south as others have mentioned, chances of being able to use a turnout going north...zilch. Number of great views missed going North, almost all.

AND IMHO the most scenic and least stressful way it to NOT go in a motorhome or trailer, car and hotels. In fact ideal a convertible roadster, next up a nice sedan.....

And drive highway 1 as much as you can,

We've done the drive from oregon coast all the way down to san Diego, not all in one trip, but in several.

And as mentioned, best time is going to be from about mid may till late June. Anymore by mid July your in fire season. No fires great, but when the start they will be anywhere from high haze to immediate evacuation, or smoke so bad your eyes burn, can't see the ocean.

The last 2 years have been bad for fires, hopefully we will have a good year but who knows.

And you could easily spend a month for the trip, there is so much to see so many places to stay, so many hikes to take, so many days to just sit on the beach.


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CA Traveler

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Posted: 03/31/22 09:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

San Francisco transit: It's not horrible mid day PROVIDED you use 19th Ave from 280 to the Golden Gate bridge. It can be heavy local traffic mostly 3 lanes and some 2 lanes. No north bound toll, and south bound there are no toll takers or any way to pay - REALLY. As a tourist I recommend you post pay when they bill you OR after you transit wait several days and pay online. Did I mention that cameras click and they count axles... Locals have a electronic pass for immediate withdrawal from your pre paid account.

NEVER take 101 through SF. Why? The locals that park on the road retract their mirrors - so you've been warned... The Bay Bridge to 101 SOUTH or 280 is OK mid day, the toll west bound area is a mess. No east bound toll.


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Bob


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Posted: 03/31/22 09:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SF is SF and many years ago the citizens stopped Cal Trans from building a freeway through SF. And many years ago the elevated road was destroyed by a earth quake...

rhagfo

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Posted: 04/01/22 06:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tom/Barb wrote:

To do this from New Jersey ---- start from Niagara Falls across Canada Vie Mackinaw Bridge
Then US -2 across the northern states including Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone , Glacier, then Grand Coulee Dam, And the North Cascade Highway.
then start your trip south via US 101 and 1 too include Port Townsend, the Olympic Park and south.

CA Traveler wrote:

Good suggestion above but we were in Port Townsend last summer and it was rather blah for us. Not much coast from there on 101 in WA but the Olympic Penninsula is interesting.

From the N Cascade Highway consider Anacortes, ferry ride to Friday Harbor, Whidbey Island, ferry to Pt Townsend and then either direction on 101. FYI 101 almost completely surrounds the penninsula. Long Beach WA can be interesting.

If you do Seattle be very aware of the homeless folks. Park in lots, never leave anything in the car and never open the truck for something, they are watching.


Some great thoughts here, the hardest part would be deciding which way to go down the Olympic Peninsula. Either out to the coast or down along Hood Canal! Having lived in Washington and Oregon all my life there are some great places to visit.
Once you are on 101 you best have reservations as most coastal state parks are packed in the summer.


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ktmrfs

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Posted: 04/01/22 10:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

campgrounds are in short supply! This week DW and I decided to go to the coast in early May mid week. Checked on almost a dozen of our favorite coast campgrounds, state parks and county parks. There were a FEW that had spots on Tues Wed and Thursday, Only one we could get for longer. And then it was tough to find a spot our trailer would fit in (30ft).

Reservation window on Oregon state parks is 6 months in advance, reservation window opens at 8am.
Even one of our favorite RV parks had NO spots available within the two weeks in May we tried.

Wait till school is out and then see how hard it is to get a site.

But then if we do the pacific coast highway again we'd do it with hotels and a car.

Vintage465

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Posted: 04/03/22 09:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've been up and down both directions. Love them both. Oddly enough for me...The Big Sur Coast line impresses me the least. It is highly regarded though. I like the San Simeon area in CA and just love the whole Oregon Coast. I can never get my fill of Oregon Coast. In my belief, the most important thing that your tow rig is sized correctly to the coach. I've done it twice with under powered rigs(not undersized)and it's pretty nerve racking and frustrating to do the ups/downs and switch backs while trying to get your speed back up. We now tow a 25 foot, 7000 pound coach with a Duramax Diesel and it is a breeze and I'd go up or down the coast as easy as hi-way 40. Effortless, endless slabs and heaps of power and torque is my key to enjoyment.


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rbpru

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Posted: 04/04/22 12:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Last year, we spent 62 day from Indiana to Portland Oregon and back. We traveled a total of 9300 miles, of which we towed 7000 miles.

The reason for the long adventure? We would look at the map, pick our next destination and the figured out how to get there; without using the Interstates.

Through Utah, Wyoming and Oregon we wound through lots of hometown America, featuring a host of odd attractions and history.

If time is not a concern and your sense of adventure calls; off the beaten path travel works very well. Especially if you can camp a day or two, to ferret out the local attractions.


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