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Thread: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

  1. #31
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    I have seen full sized motorhome scrap both ends at once on one of the more northern Hwy 1 curves! One of the more interesting bicycle rides I have done was from Jenner north to Salt Point. The traffic was bad enough, but the wind was howling from the north. As a side wind, I had to lean me and bike way over to the left to counter the wind -- but had to careful not to fall over if a car passed and blocked the wind. Not a relaxing ride, but it was a long time ago.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  2. #32

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    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Hi Drew,

    as I mentioned earlier, this is still in the planning phase. If it's super crowded, we'll go elsewhere, and nothing is finalized yet.

    I don't own a motor home, but was planning on renting a camper van, something on the smaller side and more or less like a big SUV or van.

    I don't know the area, why/where/who would be throwing shoes and katsup bottles at me?!? Sounds like a strange tradition.

    Looking at the map, it seemed to me we could drive up PCH and find a place on the way for the first night, then somewhere around SF for the second, before heading over to Mammoth/June Lakes area and spend most of our time on 395 coming back down towards LA. If it were me I'd just drive up and down 395, but my son has been asking to see SF since he moved here to CA last year. So I figure if we do a loop, at least we can swing by the city and have a look. If it turns out to be too much of a hassle, we'll just go up the 395 and spend more time exploring around there, and save SF for another time.

    Right now the plan is to take 7 days, but that might change. 3 days up, 4 days back.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    That private campground is ordinary stuffed wall to wall with tents and RV's - not a good situation in this virus climate. It's very popular with abalone divers; but I think the abalone season was cancelled this year. Salt Point itself is the uncrowded alternative to Pt Lobos further south. But it can indeed be salty with a lot of surf spray depending on wind conditions. But if you take a trip to the east side of the Sierra instead and do stop in Mammoth, make sure you drive all the way to the top of the pass to the overlook. Mammoth itself is rather developed, as is June Lake - both are ski resorts. Trying to do Big Sur then SF then over a high pass to 395 is doable, but in a motorhome?
    Hope you don't mind having ketchup bottles and shoes thrown at you. Even though traffic is way way down compared to normal, there's almost no place to park a motorhome in SF, and they're darn slow on either winding sections of Hwy 1 or mountain passes. As usual, I'll just give my predictable advice to spend quality time with fewer areas rather than attempting a bunch of crowded "must see" places, when there are a great many equally impressive places without the herds.

  3. #33

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    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6x6TLL View Post
    I don't own a motor home, but was planning on renting a camper van, something on the smaller side and more or less like a big SUV or van.
    I'd seriously look into renting a Rialta. Small RV with all the amenities of a medium to large sized RV. No duals on the back axle so normal tolls. Based on a VW Eurovan modified by Winnebago. Ours got 20 mpg. Going through narrow city streets or even a drive thru no problem. You don't even need a backup camera to back it into a parking space. https://www.poptopheaven.com/ a good place to start.

  4. #34
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    All of that in a single week? How are you going to find quality photography time? I'd pick one or the other; but that's me. I live on SF Bay, and the City of SF itself is not very open at the moment. I go to Marin County and Pt Reyes frequently, but there's no place to camp there this year due to health restrictions. And I often talk to my sister in the Monterey area, and things can get tense around there about too many out-of-towners; there simply isn't the public wiggle room that one finds in the Sierras or adjacent desert. If you want to get to the classic older upper stands of bristlecones at the end of the road, that is a slower drive than you might think, and you'd have to devote an entire day to it. Well worth it, however. From Bishop you can go either that direction or directly uphill to beautiful Sabrina Lake etc (the South Lk road is being worked on, so not an ideal fork to take this year). As 395 rises, you have Rock Creek and easy walking into Little Lakes Valley, though it's popular and parking can become problematic. Convict Lake is a photogenic option just ten minutes off 395 shortly before Mammoth, with giant cliffs in the background. Past Mammoth you have Mono Lk (nice morning and evening, hot mid-day), and above the road to Tioga Pass, worth driving up, even if you don't cross over Tioga Pass into Yosemite Park itself. Virginia Lakes slightly further north are nice, and you can stairstep hike uphill to more lovely lakes if you have enough time. There is quite a bit of slightly off-road camping opportunity around Virginia Lakes if you look carefully, on decent enough side roads to get an RV onto. ... Never mind the ketchup bottle and boot comment; but I have seen that kind of thing happen when slow-moving vehicles finally pulled over on mtn roads, including one especially messy if humorous incident when over forty cars were stuck behind a slow car for seemingly an endless amount of time. But as a kid we'd drive an overloaded hay truck just 2 mph up an especially steep one-lane mountain pass with no turnouts at all, back to the pack station corral. I was a skinny little teenager; but three of the cowboys themselves were almost 300 lbs apiece, so not exactly the types anyone in their right mind would throw a bottle at.

  5. #35

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    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    These campers are what the stylish are using here. https://mercedessprinterrvrentals.co...ter-campervan/
    Last edited by Thad Gerheim; 21-Jul-2020 at 06:49.

  6. #36
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Not only are the "stylish" using them, but now the majority of contractors and servicemen, and most delivery services, including Amazon. There are massive distribution warehouses along the Bay here with hundreds of Sprinters at a time being loaded. I have a friend that converted one into a mobile ski lodge, replete with sleeping for four, full kitchen with instant hot water, shower and bathroom, and even a film loading and development closet that folds up into something else when not in use, plus a shooting platform on the roof. I'm too unstylish for something like that, and prefer a basic beat-up 4WD truck with shell.

  7. #37

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    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Probably won't do all of that in a single week. Looks like it will be up the 395 and back down the 395, there are enough places to see and things to do. Was still considering a detour to see the Sequoias, but even that seems a bit too far. I do want to be able to spend time and get a good feeling for the places we'll visit, and hopefully get some good images too.

    Are bugs an issue along the 395 between LA and Bishop? Mosquitoes, chiggers, etc? I notice that none of the vans I've looked at have any sort of screen or cloth to leave the windows down but keep bugs out.

    I suppose a tent would have that, so we could always sleep in a tent to keep the bugs away. Need to head to REI today anyway to pick up a few things.

  8. #38

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    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Sounds like an excellent plan!

    Perhaps mentioned, but take a look at the Alabama Hills outside Lone Pine. Good camping, much to photograph.

    https://www.campendium.com/alabama-h...ecreation-area

  9. #39

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    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Quote Originally Posted by 6x6TLL View Post
    Probably won't do all of that in a single week. Looks like it will be up the 395 and back down the 395, there are enough places to see and things to do. Was still considering a detour to see the Sequoias, but even that seems a bit too far. I do want to be able to spend time and get a good feeling for the places we'll visit, and hopefully get some good images too.

    Are bugs an issue along the 395 between LA and Bishop? Mosquitoes, chiggers, etc? I notice that none of the vans I've looked at have any sort of screen or cloth to leave the windows down but keep bugs out.

    I suppose a tent would have that, so we could always sleep in a tent to keep the bugs away. Need to head to REI today anyway to pick up a few things.
    It's drying up pretty quickly on the Western slope however the Eastern side had a brush with the monsoons this week, so I can't say for certain as the skeeter situation depends a lot on standing water, but generally the later in the summer the less skeeters you'll encounter. I'd still bring 100% Deet, Avon Skin So Soft or garlic tablets just in case.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  10. #40
    Les
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    Re: Camping suggestions on the west coast or western states?

    Let me add to this frey. Been camping the last couple of months and some places were open, while other spots were
    promised to be open....most were on 24/7 reservations made several moths prior. The camp outside of Bristlecone Forest was to open in a week or two....instead slapping some sort of orange fence across the road (as no entry) they kept the gate open and there was this tiny lettering piece of paper on the board threatening anyone who camped with a $5000 fine. There was that. If I were you, I'd look into BLM campgrounds for the area that you wish to be in. For instance, I stayed (no reservation) at Horton Creek, which also allowed me to use my natl pk senior pass....and the actual cost was $4.00/night....so not shabby to be this close to Bristlecone.

    You might want to check Montana de Oro (as John indicated) on Centrl Coast. If you veer off to Great Basin Nat PK, you could camp at no cost at BLM site called Sacramento Pass (a crest) between the park and Ely, NV.....that is what I was forced to do, since all the sites were either reserved or taken....ha, same story just about every morning. The other campgrounds in that park were still closed. Yellowstone & Tetons, at least when I was there, all the campgrounds were closed and the few that were open nearby, were usually booked up fast.

    Overall, try making reservation for a particular place....and good luck. Otherwise you may have to wing it or have some sort of plan B. Without saying, people have this pent up energy to get out of the 4-walls thing (virus), also there is a Summer out there and people are vacationing and many are unable to go elsewhere (outside the country).....so there is no wonder that RV's, trailers and tents are being used in record numbers. I've read an article on RV rentals some months ago and even then the use (rental or new) were 6-fold.

    I'd add, that you may want to try Jalama Bch (Santa Barbara County PK), but most likely you may need reservations.

    Les

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