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« on: October 16, 2014, 06:11:07 pm »

We will be heading for the west coast soon. Just a bit more time in Bryce Canyon and Zion then off we go. We know some, if not all, of the national parks in California are in winter mode so we may not get to play in them this trip. We are thinking about running up the coast on highway 101 but aren't sure yet where we'll pick it up. Our plan is to winter in Oregon and/or Washington state so we need to get up there eventually.

Any suggestions for this time of year?

(Also we saw a PC heading away from Bryce as we drove in on this past Tuesday - anybody from the forum?)
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2014, 03:05:42 am »

From south to north up the coast:

The West coast reunion has been held for the last several years at the Pismo Coast Village RV Resort.  There are wineries nearby, walks on the beach right next to the park, and a restaurant on site.  There are vehicle repair and service places very nearby as well.  We had our unit washed and waxed by one such service, in our space in the park.

Before we got the RV, we stayed often at Asilomar.  Try the Fishwife seafood restaurant.  Highly recommended.  Don't know if there's an RV park nearby.

We've stayed at the Moss Landing KOA several times, on Monterrey Bay.  There are restaurants in walking distance, and a wonderful tour of Elkhorn Slough by boat.  There's also a docent-led tour of the Slough area on foot.  Many, many species of birds.

For a very quiet interlude, try the Manchester Beach KOA.  Highway one is very scenic, from Jenner up to Manchester Beach.  If you approach from the south, you're on the shore side of the road, which is less scary but not so scenic.  There are walks on the beach.  There's the retired Point Arenas lighthouse south of the park which is a nice tour.  Further south, you can sit in the sun and watch fishing boats travel in and out.

The Porto Bodega RV park is right on Bodega Bay, with boats tying up on the property.  I recommend that you not try to walk along highway one for any distance.  There are lots of curves and NO shoulders.  It's a little too far to walk, but drive down to Bodega Head and see if the whales are passing by.

Bill

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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2014, 09:10:36 pm »

Thanks Bill! I'll be plotting our route and will see what we can work in. Is there any problem running hwy 1 with our 2552 with Subaru on the back... and bikes on the back of that?

Pismo Beach gets extra points just to get our rig washed. Colorado and Utah have a massive amount of dust. It's all different pretty colors, but is still dust.

Holly
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2014, 10:43:25 pm »

Many National Parks parks are still open, or open year round out here, like Pinnacles and Lassen.

Lots of state and local parks with RV sites as well.  Skyline Wilderness Park is ideally located close to downtown Napa and the southern end of Napa Valley.  Quiet place with lots of hiking trails and great views.  Full hookups.

Doran Regional Park in Bodega Bay offers RV sites with no hookups, right on the bay and across the street from an ocean beach.

A number of Army Corps campgrounds sprinkled around some of the lakes (like Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino... And I think Folsom Lake)

If you plan to stop a bit up here in the SF Bay Area / Napa Valley Area, give me a shout and we can chat about all the things accessible from around here.

    - Mike
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2014, 10:48:54 am »

Hi Holly,

We've driven highway one from Jenner to Manchester Beach towing our
FIT with no problems.   e do it twice a year, roughly.

Also, near the Moss Landing KOA is the Monterrey Bay Aquarium.  A not-to-be-missed place.  It's on Steinbeck's storied Cannery Row.

We like the Spud Point Crab Company in Bodega Bay a lot.  Sea food just across the street from the boats!  Buy a whole crab and they'll clean it for you.  And the chowder is wonderful.  We're planning to try Doran Beach son, have scouted it, and it looks great.  Some of the sites look out to the very harbor entrance of the bay.

Bill

Bill
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2014, 02:36:37 pm »

Wow, Bill....I might be talked into taking my rig (and toad) north on Hwy 1 from Jenner to Manchester.....might.  I would never take that route south though.  I'm sure vertigo would set in and I'd take us crashing over the edge of the cliff!  We've done it in our SUV a number of times and it wasn't the most pleasant driving experience, but the scenery cannot be beat.  I would advise anyone that takes that route to stop by Fort Ross and also the Timber Cove Inn (gotta see the quirky totem, and the trails along the cliffs are amazing....they also have a great bar and food). One thing to mention, though...we've had to stop on the road and wait about 15 mins until a herd of cows decided to cross the road and graze along the cliff.

Very envious of the vertigo-free drivers out there!

   - Mike
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2014, 06:37:42 pm »

Hi John and Holly,

We love the Oregon coast and think you will enjoy traveling there on Hwy 101.  We make our Oregon RV trips during the summer and early fall months, so we cant comment on the weather except to say it will be cool and wet.

You might consider starting your West Coast trip in warmer/dryer climate just south of San Diego.  The Chula Vista RV Resort would be great place to begin (http://www.chulavistarv.com).  We camped there in January with the Phoenix Cruiser RV West group and found it very nice and convenient for visiting all of the San Diego attractions.  You can get your PC washed in the park, too!

Were central California kids, so we cant give many suggestions on what path to follow when coming north from there.  You might get advice from others on stops to make along that path.  We would bypass the Los Angeles area and pick up Hwy 101 just north of LA as Hwy 1 is too slow and crowded for us.

Hwy 101 will take you through interesting areas like Ventura and Santa Barbara. 

We would spend a day or two in Buellton at the Flying Flags RV Resort.  Its close to the famous Pea Soup Andersens restaurant and the Danish Village of Solvang.  The RV West group is planning an outing there in early May.

Pismo Coast Village in Pismo Beach is one of our favorite RV Parks.  A long sandy beach is located just outside of the park and there are many good restaurants within walking distance.

Hwy 1 and Hwy 101 join together just a little north of Pismo Beach, so if you havent been on Hwy 1 already this is a good place to start.  This will take you past Hearst Castle at San Simeona worthwhile stop.  Continuing north on Hwy 1 will take you along the famous Big Sur coastline up to the Monterey Peninsula area where we live (except for the winter months when we take the PC south to the Palm Springs area).  During heavy rains, Hwy 1 is sometimes blocked by mudslides, so check first, even though we are in drought conditions and could use the rain.

A nice RV park close to Monterey is the Marina Dunes RV Park.  From there its easy to visit Carmel, Pebble Beach, Monterey, our home town of Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz and Salinas (the birthplace of John Steinbeck and the location of the John Steinbeck Museum).  The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must do thing. 

After that, there are so many options that well sign off for now.  Let us know if you think we might be able to help.

Happy traveling,
Bruce and Sharon
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2014, 09:05:19 am »

Wow! Great info everyone. Thank you to all. We actually have signal for a few days so some frantic mapping will be going on and we'll be checking out all your suggestions. I've wanted to see the Monterey Bay Aquarium for many years so that is a definite stop and while we weren't sure where we wanted to go, we knew before we looking that we want to dodge LA.

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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2014, 09:35:17 am »

There is a very nice state park (named after someone) campground on Sir Francis Drake Blvd, 1/2 hour-1 hour north of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, a nice base camp to see the northern coastal area there.  Hopefully someone here knows the name of that state park.
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2014, 10:46:45 am »

That would be Samuel P. Taylor State Park, between Pt Reyes and San Rafael and it is indeed very nice.  Unfortunately with the CA drought there are some changes/restrictions there...

At Samuel P. Taylor State Park, in order to meet the park's basic water needs, and comply with water conservation, the park has taken the following actions:
 As of 1/20/14, and until further notice, the park dump station will be out of service.  RV's/trailers will not be able to fill their water tanks at the park.
 Beginning the week of 7/20/14 the restroom building next to site 58 will be closed and some water spigots in Orchard Hill Loop will be turned off.  Additionally, all park showers will be closed.  Chemical toilets will be available until this restroom reopens.  These service reductions will remain in effect until futher notice.

    - Mike
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2014, 10:49:08 am »

That would be Samuel P. Taylor State Park, between Pt Reyes and San Rafael and it is indeed very nice.  Unfortunately with the CA drought there are some changes/restrictions there...

At Samuel P. Taylor State Park, in order to meet the park's basic water needs, and comply with water conservation, the park has taken the following actions:
 As of 1/20/14, and until further notice, the park dump station will be out of service.  RV's/trailers will not be able to fill their water tanks at the park.
 Beginning the week of 7/20/14 the restroom building next to site 58 will be closed and some water spigots in Orchard Hill Loop will be turned off.  Additionally, all park showers will be closed.  Chemical toilets will be available until this restroom reopens.  These service reductions will remain in effect until futher notice.

    - Mike

Bingo, that is the name of the park.  But how does one deal with those restrictions?  That would leave us in a real bind.
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2014, 11:54:55 am »

Ron:

Hard to deal with those restrictions!  Not sure if there are similar restrictions at all other state parks here.

Holly/John:

I'd be awfully remiss if I didn't put in a plug for our favorite place: Lake Tahoe...one of the highest and deepest alpine lakes in the world.  It's readily accessible on the north end via I-80, and on the south end via Hwy 50.  Weather permitting, of course.  It's about 2-1/2 to 3 hrs from the Napa area, so a day trip or overnight from the Bay Area is easy and a gorgeous drive. They do have a number of RV parks on both the CA and NV sides of the lake, as well as campgrounds (Fallen Leaf, Nevada Beach, Tahoe Valley, Campground By The Lake, Sugar Pine Pt State Park, etc). From the lake there are many easy day trips to Virginia City, Carson City, Reno.

The north side is more rustic, the south side more touristy (major casinos, Heavenly Valley Ski Area, shopping). The Heavenly Valley tram to the top runs most of the year with some spectacular views.

Just so much to do and see any time of year in that area.....fishing, horseback riding, sleigh rides, hiking, paddle wheel cruises to Emerald Bay, kayaking, etc.   Oh, and the best Bloody Mary anywhere?  It's at Cabo Wabo inside Harvey's Resort.

    - Mike
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2014, 02:08:50 pm »

our favorite place: Lake Tahoe...one of the highest and deepest alpine lakes in the world.  It's readily accessible on the north end via I-80, and on the south end via Hwy 50.  Weather permitting, of course.  It's about 2-1/2 to 3 hrs from the Napa area, so a day trip or overnight from the Bay Area is easy and a gorgeous drive.
Is I-80 fixed up between Tahoe & Napa yet?  Back in 2007 we drove to Napa Valley from Lake Tahoe down that very steep grade and the highway was so badly busted up in the slow lane.  I resorted to the fast lane to save our rig from getting shaken to pieces.  That cost us $300 in a speeding ticket trying to keep up with traffic in the fast lane.  We have not crossed the border into California since that trip.  I am close to getting over that welcome.  Maybe we'll spend our vacation money in California soon.
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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2014, 03:17:49 pm »

Feb 2009 drove north thru Big Sur and recall numerous turnouts on coast side suitable for and signage indicating OK for boondocking.  Beautiful drive even pulling toad behind 37 footer.
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« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2014, 09:23:11 pm »

Those state park restrictions sound a whole lot like boondocking. While we don't mind boondocking and prefer to do it a woodland or parkland environment, we would object to paying for facilities that are not available. Are they still charging full fees to camp there?

Ron, I'm surprised at your answer. We have spent a week to ten days with no outside water or facilities. We don't behave like we are on full hookups, of course, but we do just fine. We are extremely frugal with water, carry extra jugs for drinking, use disposable plates etc. to avoid needing to wash dishes, take lots of sponge baths (or find a nice lake to swim in) and do just fine. We are on full hookups now and it feels like luxury. I hope we don't get spoiled.

 I thought you guys spent a good bit of time in BLM sites which are usually full boondocking.
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