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Old 06-11-2019, 01:28 PM   #1
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2500 mile California Tour - Lessons learned

We just got back from a trip that took us from SoCal to Visalia for 3 days (Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks) then to Redding then to Klamath, CA for 4 days, then to Petaluma, Visalia for 2 days and then home - 12 days in all.

Routing was I-210 to I-5 to Ca 99 to I-5 to Ca 299 to US 101 to Ca 12 to I-5 to Ca 99 to I-5 to I-210.

2500 total miles including unhitched sightseeing. Towing MPG ranged from a low of 6.8 to a high of 11.2. The Anderson WDH hitch performed superbly - absolutely no sway with our 34' 8800 lb TT. Now we think it superior to the Husky Centerline in performance.

Lesson 1 - California roads are in horrible shape. I do not know where Jerry's tax money is going but it is not showing up in road repairs.

Lesson 2 - If you need to do laundry while on the road and would prefer not to waste your evenings in a laundromat - investigate one of these things: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Washing machine weighs only 25 lbs and fits beside the bed for travel and in the shower for use. Highly recommended.

Lesson 3 - We need additional 12 volt power in the truck's cab. We have a 3-way plugged into the single cig lighter socket but probably need two more. We have the Furrion camera monitor going, the TST monitor going and the 3rd socket for phone charging. However, we need to add a GPS and a dash cam for a total of 5 sockets.

Lesson 4 - We've got to get a dash mount GPS system. Too many places totally lacking cell service.

Lesson 5 - We need some sort of console thingie to fit on the transmission hump between the front seat and the dash. Suggestions welcome

Observations: Campers are an incredibly helpful bunch. Ca is truly beautiful in spots. Gel seat pads really work. A GoPro type camera mounted like a dash cam would be quite nice - so much awesome stuff occurs where there is no room to pull over. I would pay for a service that vetted "RV Friendly" claims by gas stations.
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:14 AM   #2
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Great info. Thank you for taking the time to share. We are on a break from the road, from Eastern WA, heading out again Friday to Yosemite, onto Sequoia and ultimately Grand Canyon and a few Utah parks before heading back home. Our limited time so far on CA roads has been a mixed bag. We came across from I5 to Santa Rosa area (highway 20 and 29) and couldn't believe that any bigger rigs were even allowed on the twists and turns of this route full of 12-20 mph corners. Learned our lesson to map out the rest of our trip by roads that I prefer to drive, not simply by trusting the old interweb's most efficient suggestions.

Again, great post. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CurtPutnam View Post
Lesson 3 - We need additional 12 volt power in the truck's cab. We have a 3-way plugged into the single cig lighter socket but probably need two more. We have the Furrion camera monitor going, the TST monitor going and the 3rd socket for phone charging. However, we need to add a GPS and a dash cam for a total of 5 sockets.

Lesson 5 - We need some sort of console thingie to fit on the transmission hump between the front seat and the dash. Suggestions welcome
Hi Curt, great post and thanx for sharing. We used to live in Lemoore and Camarillo and spent a lot of time in Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and the central coast.

Regarding Lesson 3: Kinda hard to believe you only have one 12v plug for a 2018 model. I got 4 and a USB port on my 2012. Anyway, try looking at one of these to free up a socket or two. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/insigni...iABEgIpw_D_BwE

Lesson 5: After market ones seem to suck and don't quite fit right. If you know someone who does woodwork, see if you can get one custom made to fit. Just a thought.

Glad you had a great trip.

Safe and happy travels.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by CurtPutnam View Post
We just got back from a trip that took us from SoCal to Visalia for 3 days (Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks) then to Redding then to Klamath, CA for 4 days, then to Petaluma, Visalia for 2 days and then home - 12 days in all.

Routing was I-210 to I-5 to Ca 99 to I-5 to Ca 299 to US 101 to Ca 12 to I-5 to Ca 99 to I-5 to I-210.

2500 total miles including unhitched sightseeing. Towing MPG ranged from a low of 6.8 to a high of 11.2. The Anderson WDH hitch performed superbly - absolutely no sway with our 34' 8800 lb TT. Now we think it superior to the Husky Centerline in performance.

Lesson 1 - California roads are in horrible shape. I do not know where Jerry's tax money is going but it is not showing up in road repairs.

Lesson 2 - If you need to do laundry while on the road and would prefer not to waste your evenings in a laundromat - investigate one of these things: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Washing machine weighs only 25 lbs and fits beside the bed for travel and in the shower for use. Highly recommended.

Lesson 3 - We need additional 12 volt power in the truck's cab. We have a 3-way plugged into the single cig lighter socket but probably need two more. We have the Furrion camera monitor going, the TST monitor going and the 3rd socket for phone charging. However, we need to add a GPS and a dash cam for a total of 5 sockets.

Lesson 4 - We've got to get a dash mount GPS system. Too many places totally lacking cell service.

Lesson 5 - We need some sort of console thingie to fit on the transmission hump between the front seat and the dash. Suggestions welcome

Observations: Campers are an incredibly helpful bunch. Ca is truly beautiful in spots. Gel seat pads really work. A GoPro type camera mounted like a dash cam would be quite nice - so much awesome stuff occurs where there is no room to pull over. I would pay for a service that vetted "RV Friendly" claims by gas stations.
Lesson #3 solutions- have you tried one of the charging bricks? You can plug devices directly into it and then recharge it overnight. It’s portable and has worked well for us. Plus it doesn’t pull power from the TV. My wife discovered these and it has worked great!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012NIQG5E...i-a=B012NIQG5E

Lesson 4 solution- paper maps
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:34 PM   #5
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Hi Curt, great post and thanx for sharing. We used to live in Lemoore and Camarillo and spent a lot of time in Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and the central coast.

Regarding Lesson 3: Kinda hard to believe you only have one 12v plug for a 2018 model. I got 4 and a USB port on my 2012. Anyway, try looking at one of these to free up a socket or two. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/insigni...iABEgIpw_D_BwE

Lesson 5: After market ones seem to suck and don't quite fit right. If you know someone who does woodwork, see if you can get one custom made to fit. Just a thought.

Glad you had a great trip.

Safe and happy travels.
Thank you for the kind words and most especially for the power brick idea. For some reason (old, I guess) I never thought of using a brick for continuous power or recharging on the fly. Now, what's even worse, I fancy myself as a woodworker and never thought of making one. Maybe it is the 40+ projects I already have lined up. Anyway, a power brick or two is clearly in our future.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:48 PM   #6
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Lesson #3 solutions- have you tried one of the charging bricks? You can plug devices directly into it and then recharge it overnight. Itís portable and has worked well for us. Plus it doesnít pull power from the TV. My wife discovered these and it has worked great!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012NIQG5E...i-a=B012NIQG5E

Lesson 4 solution- paper maps
The issue with paper maps is the frequency of update and then trying to find a current one in the midst of ancient inventory. Another issue is that they really do not help with trying to find "big rig" friendly gasoline stations. Depending on the map, their resolution may not be sufficient for sudden route changes occasioned by accidents, fires or floods.

Now, for the real point. I agree with your bourbon selection although I am also fond of rye. As to San Diego beers, I remember being fond of Yellowtail Ale and am fond of Arrogant Bastard Ale when I can get it up here (about 100 miles N of San Diego)
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:51 PM   #7
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Download maps to Google maps offline. Never an issue with no cell coverage then.
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:07 PM   #8
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Download maps to Google maps offline. Never an issue with no cell coverage then.
Tried that up in Klamath - no cell service Didn't think of it before that. It would seem that prior planning is the key, at least for the major legs not subject to whim of the moment changes.
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:58 PM   #9
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I had the same problem with lack of outlets.

I need power for my Backup/Observation Camera, TPMS, Satellite Radio "cradle", Smartphone, and whatever my Son wanted to plug in when he came with me.

I got one of these:



https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I plug it into the port that is shut down when the ignition is off so I don't forget to shut anything off when I park. $17 at amazon.

I have a center console that extends all the way to the dash so I just stuck it to the side with double backed tape. Can't recall if it came with or I used some from my "tool box". I now have plenty of 12v power outlets, a voltmeter, separate on/off switch, and four USB charging ports.

Top two will charge phones at fastest rate the phone allows and end two provide plenty of power for my Backup Camera and TPMS. If you need more USB outlets just add a plug in module type to one of the power outlets. I have one that even charges at the new charge rate for top end phones.

As for CA Roads and your question "where is the money going?"

I think it's going into a research lab that's trying to create a working brain for CA's Governor.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:00 PM   #10
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Tried that up in Klamath - no cell service Didn't think of it before that. It would seem that prior planning is the key, at least for the major legs not subject to whim of the moment changes.
Yep. Fortunately, there are places with wifi you can latch onto. Definitely calls for planning.


When I bring my phone to Europe, I don't use it as a phone. Only for navigation and emails with wifi. I download all my areas I will be traveling to into the phone.


So your 2018 truck doesn't have Nav?
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:02 PM   #11
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So your 2018 truck doesn't have Nav?
It is a basic work truck and Nav has to come through an On-Star subscription. It is currently used only for towing and odd trips to the BORG so a sub does not make sense ATM.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:51 PM   #12
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I had the same problem with lack of outlets.

I need power for my Backup/Observation Camera, TPMS, Satellite Radio "cradle", Smartphone, and whatever my Son wanted to plug in when he came with me.

I got one of these:



https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I plug it into the port that is shut down when the ignition is off so I don't forget to shut anything off when I park. $17 at amazon.

I have a center console that extends all the way to the dash so I just stuck it to the side with double backed tape. Can't recall if it came with or I used some from my "tool box". I now have plenty of 12v power outlets, a voltmeter, separate on/off switch, and four USB charging ports.

Top two will charge phones at fastest rate the phone allows and end two provide plenty of power for my Backup Camera and TPMS. If you need more USB outlets just add a plug in module type to one of the power outlets. I have one that even charges at the new charge rate for top end phones.

As for CA Roads and your question "where is the money going?"

I think it's going into a research lab that's trying to create a working brain for CA's Governor.


Boy I hope they find something soon. That would be popular in many states. Just sayin'.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:53 PM   #13
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2500 mile California Tour - Lessons learned

RV friendly? I usually check satellite views as part of trip planning.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TitanMike View Post
I had the same problem with lack of outlets.

I need power for my Backup/Observation Camera, TPMS, Satellite Radio "cradle", Smartphone, and whatever my Son wanted to plug in when he came with me.

I got one of these:



https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I plug it into the port that is shut down when the ignition is off so I don't forget to shut anything off when I park. $17 at amazon.

I have a center console that extends all the way to the dash so I just stuck it to the side with double backed tape. Can't recall if it came with or I used some from my "tool box". I now have plenty of 12v power outlets, a voltmeter, separate on/off switch, and four USB charging ports.

Top two will charge phones at fastest rate the phone allows and end two provide plenty of power for my Backup Camera and TPMS. If you need more USB outlets just add a plug in module type to one of the power outlets. I have one that even charges at the new charge rate for top end phones.

As for CA Roads and your question "where is the money going?"

I think it's going into a research lab that's trying to create a working brain for CA's Governor.
Thanks for the pointer that gizmo. Just bought one.
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Old 07-26-2019, 04:02 PM   #15
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Ca 299 to US 101
Now that's a fun road!
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Old 07-30-2019, 08:11 PM   #16
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The issue with paper maps is the frequency of update and then trying to find a current one in the midst of ancient inventory. Another issue is that they really do not help with trying to find "big rig" friendly gasoline stations. Depending on the map, their resolution may not be sufficient for sudden route changes occasioned by accidents, fires or floods.
Personally, I would never go anywhere far away without a paper atlas. Seen these GPS's send people the wrong way too many times. They are great to have, but I like to look at a paper map and kind of plan where I want to go. Get some kind of an idea where I'm going before I get there.

On a funny side note- ever had your wife holding the map and you ask her a question about something or somewhere, and she yells at you and tells you she knows how to read a map, while she is turning it in her lap? Always makes me chuckle.
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Old 07-30-2019, 08:58 PM   #17
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We used to carry a paper atlas in the MH, do not know why we don't now. I'll have to remedy that situation before our next trip.
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:28 PM   #18
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Great post! Some good things to know as we are planning our first RV trip to CA this fall. Haven't carried an atlas with us so far, but something that is now on my packing check list. Still mapping out our route, and looking for suggestions going from Barstow (where I-40 apparently ends) to I-5 west of Bakersfield. Have read good and not-so-good things about CA-58; winds, traffic backups, narrow 2-lane portions. Considering maybe a slight detour on I-15 from Barstow to Victorville, over/up to Lancaster and then west to I-5 just south of Gorman. Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated! New at this forum posting....thinking I should start a new thread?
Thanks!
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Old 08-03-2019, 02:03 PM   #19
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Great post! Some good things to know as we are planning our first RV trip to CA this fall. Haven't carried an atlas with us so far, but something that is now on my packing check list. Still mapping out our route, and looking for suggestions going from Barstow (where I-40 apparently ends) to I-5 west of Bakersfield. Have read good and not-so-good things about CA-58; winds, traffic backups, narrow 2-lane portions. Considering maybe a slight detour on I-15 from Barstow to Victorville, over/up to Lancaster and then west to I-5 just south of Gorman. Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated! New at this forum posting....thinking I should start a new thread?
Thanks!
Yes you should start your own thread.
Your route will be slower but it depends on where you plan to go after you hit I5.

My first advice to anyone coming tocamp in California state and national parks, is to make reservations the minute they become available. And bcause you can camp year-round there, some popular places, like the beach campgrounds, are often booked months in advance during the off-season.
I'm a native Californian and have camped there, for the past 35 years. Competition for public campgrounds is probably the fiercest in the country, especially during prime times of the year, like summer/weekends/holidays.
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:10 PM   #20
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For $750 you can add the factory nav to your truck - plug and play. I used these guys a couple yrs ago to add factory nav to my Ram 1500. It worked great. https://www.gm-navigation.com/gm-nav...t-navigations/
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