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Old 02-11-2013, 04:25 PM   #1
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Question Central and Southern California Trip

We have an epic trip planned for this July and August, from Cochrane, Alberta, across Washington and Oregon, with the first major stop in Monterey Bay, CA, then Disneyland, San Diego, across to the Grand Canyon, and then circling back home, staying at KOAs all of the way. We will be travelling with our 3 and 5 year olds, so we have planned and will try to limit driving days to 6 or less hours.

I am concerned about pulling our fifth wheel in the San Francisco/San Jose area as there appears to be a myriad of options to get to Monterey Bay - here are my questions, which will be the first of many to those of you who either reside, or have pulled in this area:

1. Although my wife and I would like to spend some time in San Francisco, we doubt that the boys would really enjoy it, but I'd still like them to see the Golden Gate Bridge - and it would be kind of cool to pull over it - we will be travelling southbound on the I-5 - from just north of Sacramento, is it worth it to take the I-80 westbound to CA 37, and then the CA 1/101 southbound through San Rafael and Sausolito so that we can pull over the Golden Gate?

2. If we follow that route, is it a nightmare pulling through western San Francisco on the CA 1/101 to head south toward Monterey Bay - I also note that there appears to be a tunnel just south of the Golden Gate?

3. If we follow that route, should a person get back on I-280 southbound, or stick on the CA 101 route southbound to just south of Gilroy, or should a person head west and go down the coast on the CA 1 Cabrillo Highway?

OR

4. Are all of the above routes a nightmare and should a person stay east of all of the above, stay on the I-80, to the I-680 to CA 101 to south of Gilroy and then take a secondary road across to Monterey Bay?

I don't want to pull across the bridge if it is going to be a nightmare "clearing" San Francisco proper, or if it is going to add hours to the trip. We could just pop back up north in our truck using Watsonville as our base.

Any opinions/words of wisdom/horror stories/feedback will be much appreciated.

Thanks all,

Mark
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:09 PM   #2
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Sorry I can't help ya Mark but it sounds like a wonderful trip!
Good luck have fun and take lots of pics to share!


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Old 02-11-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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We keep our Solera (24 foot MH) in Half Moon Bay CA and regularly travel north across the Golden Gate. My preferred route through San Fran from the Golden Gate Bridge is to take 1 (Veterans Blvd, Park Presidio Blvd) to Clement Street (or Geary Blvd or Anza St or Fulton St) and cut across town to the Great Highway. Note that the end of Clement - Seal Rock Drive - is quite steep. Take the Great Highway south - it becomes Skyline Blvd. Skyline crosses Hwy 1 - take it north to Hwy 280 if you want the fastest route; south (all the way to Monterey) if you want the scenic route. If you choose 280, eventually (near San Jose) take 17 south to Hwy 1 south (in Santa Cruz). Avoid the commute hours and you will have no problem. Very scenic!
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:04 PM   #4
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i strongly suggest you stay at the Petaluma KOA and drive to the GG bridge without the trailer.
personally, i would avoid pulling a 5th wheel thru the city.
it would be way easier to take a day trip from the KOA and then head back.
then take the 37 back to the 80 east, to the 680 south to San Jose and the 101 south to Monterey.

there's no comparing driving a 24' MH thru SF, to the combo you'll be driving.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:20 PM   #5
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Your trip sounds wonderful. I agree stay in Petaluma at the KOA and day trip to the Golden Gate and San Francisco, Traffic in the city can be a nightmare. Heck at the right times traffic on hwy 101 south of Healdsberg can be a nightmare, (morning and evening comute times).
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:46 PM   #6
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I defer to the fifth wheel experts.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:23 AM   #7
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I live 15 miles away from S.F. and I avoid driving my 26ft TT through the city at all costs. Per other posts you're better off doing a day trip. Also check Olema RV Resort not far from the GG Bridge.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:39 AM   #8
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Smile Thank you

Thank you all for the helpful information - I think that seals the deal!

As discretion is the better part of valor, and our combined rig is over 60 feet long, I'm going to swing way wide to the east, stay on the Interstate until we are close to Monterey Bay and as that will be our base, we can day-trip up and tour around for a day to the Golden Gate.

Thanks all!

Mark
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:29 PM   #9
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This is great info. Any opinions on taking a 32' class C and parking it near the wharf? There is a place that charges $45, which is ok for me. What RV park would you recommend to stay the night?
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:44 AM   #10
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Smile Summer Vacation is Coming Soon!

Well, we're now thirty-two days out from departure for southern California, not that I'm counting : )! Twenty-six nights on the road!

Across Washington and Oregon and down into California from Cochrane, Alberta, and first big stop is five nights in the Monterey Bay area (Watsonville KOA) and am making a day trip up to San Francisco so don't have to pull through metro San Francisco area to go over the Golden Gate...

Then down to Los Angeles and a few nights at the Anaheim Resort RV Park for a Disney adventure, then down to San Diego Metro KOA for all-things San Diego for a week.

Finally, over to the Williams/Circle Pines KOA for a Grand Canyon adventure for four days, and then make our way home up through the Utah Canyonlands and Montana!

Going to be an epic trip and a lot of fun for us and our 3 and 6 year old boys!

Safe travels everyone - summer has arrived!
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