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OSCARPOWER

California, Oregon, Washington Late Summer Trip

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Hello!

We are in the preliminary stage of planning our late summer (July, August, Sept) trip to the West.  From FL going to California, Oregon, WA, Idaho, etc.  We have a 28' RV with tow.  My son, his wife and daughter will drive with us, but sleep in tents.

Mainly interested in:  (1) your opinion on how many days are recommended to see Joshua, Sequoia, Kings, Yosemite...(any others worthwile?) It will be a "driving around/sightseeing" trip, since my husband does not do hiking. Have CA fires affected them?

(2) What (not too expensive) campgrounds are recommended.  I noticed most National do not have showers. We are members or several c/g groups such as Passport A.

(3) Besides the parks, we plan to go to Napa wineries, PCH and San Francisco....

(4) On  Oregon and Washington, same questions of where to go, days needed and routes.  

We are retired, have no time limits (Thank you Lord!! )  but do have limits on budget.... 

Thank you for your help!

 

Jocelynn and Oscar (Quico) Power

Gainesville, FL

28' Coachmen/Concord with tow

no pets

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Oscar.  Your asking questions that can be better answered by the Chamber of Tourism for each State, they all have .com for internet and 800# for phone.  So do the State and National Parks...just like FL.  Been there many times, Gainesville included.

Carl

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Last summer we did a trip like that but only took 78 days, I could have stretched it out another 60 as there is so much to see.   Just depends on how many wineries you visit in Napa. Lodi has a bunch of wineries in the area also. A lot depends on your interest. You didn't mention the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam or any of the wonderful National parks in Utah. 

Get a National Parks Senior Pass.

Bill 

 

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Jocelynn

Last year we left Texas on May 14th and returned back home September 13th.  We did what you are planning on doing but we have it made. Being retired military we get to stay at military bases.  We have traveled in the past from San Diego to Whidbey Is., WA but this time we started out in Oceanside.  Having a 40' mh we stayed on Hwy-101 and used the TOAD for sight-seeing along Hwy-1.  The Westerners just call them "The 101,' and "The 1."

Calif. has the higher fuel and campground rates. Just think location, location, location for CA.  As you progress further North those rates will go down some.  Having PA, SKP, and other discount programs help but other than PA and SKP they only offer 10% at other parks. 

We have found in our travels that we never stay enough in one spot to see everything so we make trips back to the areas we want to explore. One example would be The Lost Coast in California, South of Eureka.  Wonderful scenic drive but definitely not with a motor home.  Staying a week or more will be cheaper in two aspects.  First, the number of nights you stay for a week is cheaper per night than regular nightly rates.  Second, by staying longer in one spot means you will not be buying fuel as often.  Consider going from point A, to B, to C to D in a weeks time. Each day you travel you will have to fuel up so lets say that you fuel up at half a tank and it cost you $150 to fuel.  That time 4 is $600 in 4 to 6 days.  Think of staying a week at each stop and you spend $600 in a month instead of a week. 

We don't plan our trip but do consider which route we are going to take and typically on the West Coast it is The 101.   If you go into San Diego you will not pick up The 101 until going through LA using The 5.  If we were going to start in Southern CA we would again travel to the Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad area and stay for a while, then using the "Coaster" (wonderful and inexpensive travel system) we would take it and make stops along the way to San Diego.  San Diego is a great place to visit. Old Town San Diego is a must, along with Seaport Village, the SD Zoo, and you can take the trains to the surrounding areas.

Heading to SFran pick a campground that meets your needs as all the ones around SFran are pricey then use the BART for transportation.  For a nominal fee you use the BART to ride into SF and the pass to ride the SF BART system to get around the city.

Have to go - honey doo's waiting.  Some things never change in a man's life.

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We love this part of the country and have spent many happy days exploring the places you mention and more.  We are avid hikers and I'll try to factor in your limitation on hiking  If any transport (personal mobility device) is available, it will greatly enhance the trip.  There is plenty of scenery any way you go.  A caution, the desert area you mention, Joshua Tree, is likely to be quite hot when you are planning your travels.  The mountains should be delightful.  We loved Joshua Tree National Monument but the oasis and old gold mines are on the hiking tour.  For scenery there are several nice drives into the park with short walks through cactus fields and scenic overlooks.  For driving only, you can probably travel most of the roads in the park in a day or two.  At Sequoia National Park you can drive among the giant trees and appreciate many of them from roads and parking areas near trailheads.  Several days of touring there should also be sufficient for that stop.  Note:  When we do these parks we also plan some rest days so may stay for four or five days in the campground and be out in the park on two or three days.King's Canyon is adjacent to Yosemite and is a one day drive into and out of the park. 

Yosemite has roads with spectacular views in the main valley (one day by car) with waterfalls and spectacular views of Half Dome and other features.  There are roads to the north and south that also enter the park.  The northern one takes you into the mountains, alpine lakes and then into the desert at Mono Lake.  I would plan at least three days there. 

I would recommend the Redwoods area in Northern California.  The state park is spectacular, we stayed at Red Crest Campground, just north of Humbodt Redwoods State Park.  Drive north on 101 from Leggett to Red Crest, there are a number of tourist sites and small groves of Redwoods, drive through trees, tree houses, carvers, etc.  The Pacific Coast of California is spectacular but don't take the motor home unless you have checked with locals.  Hwy 1 twists and turns in some places it can be difficult to get around some of the hairpins, great trip for the toad.  Hwy 101 in Oregon is much more friendly for motor homes and you get many of the great coast views along there.  Interesting towns and scenery, shops and stores along the way.  The Tillamook Cheese Factory is along there, just south of Astoria.  We really love the Astoria area.  The Columbia River Nautical Museum is worthwhile.  The bridge from Astoria over the Columbia provides a wonderful view of the Columbia River.  Traveling upriver on the Columbia to Portland, OR and then on up the Columbia River Valley will take you to a series of scenic waterfalls where the water comes off the north slopes of Mount Hood.  Many are accessible via a short walk from the parking lot.

Mt. St. Helens off I-5 has a visitors center that will give you details of the 1982 eruption of the volcano and some nice views of the mountain.  You might want to make a driving tour of the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park.  The logging museum in Forks is worth a visit.  They have a logging tour that starts from the museum.  It involves some walking, but check on it.  We enjoyed visiting several of the native American tribes in the area near Forks.  There is a nice museum at Makah Bay. 

These are just a few of our high points to get you started.  Regarding wine, there are wineries throughout California.  We have children and grandchildren near Murphys, a small community in the gold hills, east of Lodi, south of Sacramento.  There are half a dozen wineries there, most don't charge for tasting.  There are something like 90 wineries in the Napa Valley, a lifetime of wine tasting and most charge for tasting.  There are also wineries in Oregon along I-5 south of Portland and you'll find wineries in Washington on the Olympic Peninsula in the area around Olympia up toward Port Townsend.  These days you can find wineries almost anywhere and we enjoy stopping at them whenever we are able.  You have a wonderful trip ahead of you, take your time and enjoy.

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Keep in mind that many RV parks do not allow tents.  Be sure that you call and ask the operators if this is allowed.  It will dramatically limit the parks that you can stay at and in some of the parks where both are allowed they are not allowed in areas close to each other.

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BillA.  Good catch, my bad.  I did not see the tent part, just who was going...your right that does make a big difference, even before they get to West Coast and back!  July and August is hard to get a reservation out there! 

Carl

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For traveling in July from FL to CA I would suggest heading North and catching I-40.  Each time we have taken it the temperatures were 10˚ cooler than I-10 or I-20.  The I-10 and 20 are boring to say the least. Flagstaff AZ will be the last "cooler" spot before you get to the Left Coast.  Or travel even further and start your trip in WA.  That way on the way back to Southern CA you will have the advantage of being on the ocean side of the highway and easy pull-offs to take in the views. The Northern route up The 101 would put you on the inside with more difficult areas to get off and view the majestic scenery.  Also, when heading back in September the temperatures going to FL will be much more enjoyable.

Last July and August the temperatures from CA to WA were low to mid 70's during the day and 60's or below during the evening with some days cooler and some warmer but nothing that the AC or heater could not handle.

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Thank you to all of you!  Very good advice. Don't know how to reply individually.... :-(

 I will save these with my notes!  Wish I could start in WA and go south, but unfortunately my son's vacations are mainly in July (and he wants CA), where in Puerto Rico they have holidays on the 4, 17, 25 and 27th, plus the regular 2 wk vacation time at his place of work... nice!

Jocelynn and Quico

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If you and or wife are 62 or older, I recommend getting a Federal senior pass, used to be called Golden age pass if you do not already have one. https://store.usgs.gov/pass/senior_pass_application.pdf 

Benefits are very good. Also you might look into outdoor portable shower equipment for use in those federal parks that don't have showers. This will greatly increase the benefits of those parks, and with a senior pass usually cuts camping to half price, and eliminates park admission for just site seeing, this is recognized for your entire group.

 

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Happy to hear that you enjoy traveling around the mainland as much as I have enjoyed the Islands over the years!  Have some good friends that I see once a year in PR! :) 

Carl

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