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Old 05-14-2012, 04:24 PM   #1
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Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

Hey Folks,

I am planning a big trip next summer and am looking for some tips on places to camp and other sites to see along the way. The route we have planned is generally as follows (from Calgary, AB):
- Yellowstone
- Salt Lake City
- Las Vegas
- Grand Canyon
- Hoover Dam
- Pheonix
- Los Angeles
- Disneyland
- San Francisco
- Sacramento
- Portland
- Seattle
- Calgary

Some questions I need to resolve are:
- What about Mount Rushmore, is it worth detouring to see it? WOuld basically requrie driving from Yellowstoke to Denver nearly.
- Is it worth driving up the coast or should I stick to the I5 when heading north? Remember, I'll be pulling a 10,000# trailer.
- Are there any other national parks I should make a significant effort to see along the way?
- What areas/highways should I avoid like the plague?

Any and all suggestions welcome!

Cheers, JC
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:31 PM   #2
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

When you are in northern CA be sure to take time to see the redwoods and Sequoia's national parks.
If you take highway 101 just be patient.....lots of traffic, lots of little towns with lower speed limits....but still it's the most beautiful way to travel north. The Oregon coast is breathtaking.
You have to make up your own mind about Mt. Rushmore. It's a once in a lifetime thing to go see it....we've been twice though and enjoyed it each time. Take the time if you go to see the museum and displays there....lots of information.
There is an rv park on the Klamath river right at the northern edge of the redwoods....very nice place to stay and right on the river!

http://www.klamathriverrv.com

Is there email address...worth a weeks stay there! If you do stay there, go up the main road a little further (without the rv), and at the first bend, at the base of a steep hill, park and walk to the ocean beach.....you will have the beach and the ocean to yourself.
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:50 PM   #3
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and some of my favorite places to go are Napa for wine tasting, I enjoy Fisherman's wharf in SF, but don't like driving into the city. Also, standing while riding the cable cars is another one of my favorite novlety activities to do in SF. It's so cliche, but I love it! Muir Woods is also a nice place to visit, no camping but nice hikes. Depending on what time of the year you're in SF area, there's the Gilroy Garlic festival. If you like garlic, you must go. It's always the last weekend in July. Monterey Bay is also another favorite. It's about 2 hours south of SF. We always stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row when we're in the area. (Monterey Bay Aquarium is on Cannery Row.) We go to Yosemite twice a year if we can get reservations. That's another must see place. It's 3-1/2 hours east of the SF Bay Area if you take HWY 120 in, an extra 30-40 minutes if you take HWY 140 into the park. A lot of people want to drive HWY 1, which is beautiful, but can be a "hairy" drive. It can get very narrow and windy. Our FW is 36-1/2' and we decided we'll try to avoid HWY 1 whenever possible. Unfortunately, one of our favorite campgrounds, Gualala River Redwood Park, is right off of HWY 1. Last time we went our spare tire carrier was bent and was literally parallel to the street. At some point the tire hit the road and bent it. We had to pull over and pound it out to make it flush again. Easy enough fix. In addition, the stress involved in passing another long trailer on a curve is way too much for me to bear. Glad I wasn't driving! Anyway, can't remember how long your trailer is, but if you're at least as long as us you might want to avoid most of HWY 1 or drive it for short periods. Mendocino and Ft. Bragg are safe areas to drive. I think HWY 20 goes into Ft. Bragg. Some nice locales noth of us are Redwood National Park, Lake Shasta and Mt. Lassen. Lake Tahoe is very nice, but they don't allow dogs on the beach, anywhere. Hope that gives you a place to start for the area. If you would like recommendations on campgrounds just post a thread or PM me.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:26 AM   #4
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

Don't forget Havassu in AZ home of the London Bridge
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:55 PM   #5
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by aapcon131
Don't forget Havassu in AZ home of the London Bridge
I know Havasu is supposed to be a "zoo" during spring break, how is it in the summer?
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:28 AM   #6
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

Thanks guys for the tips! I'll definitely try to hit up the Sequoia and Redwood parks. Not sure how much into the cities themselves we will go with the RV but I guess it isn't that bad as long as I avoid the major downtown areas and stick to freeways.

My trailer is a 31 footer, 35 with the hitch. And a bumper pull. So why 101 might be out of the question. But I also have heavy truck and am not a nervous driver or tower, so we'll see...

Definitely want to see Lake Tahoe, even I can only drive through it.

Rushmore might be too far out of the way for this trip - maybe next time.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:51 PM   #7
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

You can definitley do HWY 101, it's HWY 1 along the coast that is questionable.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:19 PM   #8
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by lmsteck
You can definitley do HWY 101, it's HWY 1 along the coast that is questionable.
Ah, right, gotcha!
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:18 PM   #9
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

Yellowstone and Grand Canyon will be BUSY in summer. I would do a circle route around Salt Lake City as that freeway is absolutely insane, especially if you're towing! It does add miles but then you'll see better scenery than a smoggy city. It takes about a couple hours to drive through SL city.

One of my favs in south California is Joshua Tree NP.

Looks like a fun trip you're planning!
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:50 AM   #10
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

JC. You could pull my Trailer behind yours & save me gas money. Free Holiday " Yeh "
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:22 PM   #11
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingDutchmen
JC. You could pull my Trailer behind yours & save me gas money. Free Holiday " Yeh "
Haha, now that would be some kind of rig!! Maybe if I had a 5th wheel... lol!
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:11 AM   #12
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

Oh well. Looks like i will have to keep paying for gas.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:07 PM   #13
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Re: Big Trip Planned for 2013 - Need Advice

We did a similar trip last year, only we left from Ontario. I could give you a stack of Ideas, but I do not wish to bore you. Here are a few of the ones I can think of Quick, dont forget Glacier Pk. if you go to the west Glacier KOA ask for a spot at the rear of the Park near the cabins(spots do not face each other and are large with mountain views) West Yellowsone KOA is pretty good, back in spots are less cramped than drive throughs,Salt lake city was very interesting "the square" was worth the tour the KOA in town is great once you get inside. Las Vegas we stayed at the circus circus KOA its just ok, but you cant get any closer for touring. We stayed at the Malibu RV park facing the Ocean, its worth the 100.+ a night. Drove into LA, see the Warner Bros Tour it was worth it. We stayed at the Ocean front park in San Fran too (Pacifica Ca.) but I hear you cannot get a spot close to the edge anymore(it fell into the Ocean)but nothing like waking up at anytime of night and hearing the waves crashing on shore. PS. Malibu and San Fran were also much cooler temps. I did not see hoover Dam as you cannot have pets or leave them unattended, I had to drop my Daughter and wife off & stay with the dog. You can drop your rig at the casino & drive over to the Dam The Grand canyon Williams AZ was great. Fri Sat entertainment grat BBQ PEACEFULL, check out the gunfight at Williams Rt66 in the PM. Hope this helps... PS spent 2300.00 on Fuel!!!
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:38 PM   #14
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The KOA south lake tahoe is one of the most beautiful ones we have ever stayed at
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:35 AM   #15
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Awesome advice Wingless, thanks!!!
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:19 PM   #16
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I made some of that route a few years ago. There's a nice route that goes from Grand Canyon to Lake Powell to Bryce Canyon to Zion Canyon then you hit the interstate down to Vegas. Bryce is the most beautiful canyon with hundreds of pink spires. Zion is a large canyon that you can drive through. Lake Powell is a part of the Grand Canyon that was damned to make the lake. Basically, you rent small outboard motors and tool around thru the canyons (very cool). We did the Grand,Lake,Bryce and Zion over a period of 3 days.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:22 PM   #17
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You can drive from the North side of Yellowstone on the Chief somebody parkway taking back roads to get to Rushmore. It's a very, very long drive and you'll have to camp overnight if you do like we did and exit Yellowstone in the mid-afternoon. As others said, it's a once in a lifetime visit, but honestly with all you have planned, I'm not sure the driving would be worth it for you.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:31 PM   #18
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Yeah, we are thinking now of doing Rushmore/Yellowstone and then maybe the west coast as part of another trip. We might only have two weeks and not sure we can make the coast in as two-week trip.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:48 AM   #19
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There's so much to see in Yellowstone, I'd maximize my stay there if I were you. I've been there many times (quite literally) and to christen our new trailer, we're heading back there next Spring. May is a good time. The animals still have their babies near the roads, and it's before the tourists come and drive them back into the woods.

They also have great campgrounds.
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:10 AM   #20
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Ok, looks like plans are now being finalized. We have a wedding to attend in Vancouver so the plan is now to do Couer D'Alene, then onto the Oregon coast. We will keep Yellowstone/Rushmore for next summer.

So what I need now is advice on what areas to hit in Oregon/Washington and also what parts of the Oregon coast are the best to hit up. Also thinking of hitting Mt St Helens and maybe mount Washington as well.

Anyway, suggestions on a route from either Calgary or Couer D'Alene, down through Oregon and then back up through Washington and finishing up in Vancouver would be helpful.

We are also likely to hit Whistler and take the Pemberton route back to Calgary so suggestions for a campground through there would be helpful as well.

Thanks again! JC
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