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Fun2travel

Newby help with route Phoenix-Carson, WA

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We are looking for the best route from Phoenix, AZ to Carson, WA ( just east of Portland)

First time traveler in mountains. I'm looking at the west mountain directory, just not sure what might be the better mountain passes to travel ( or to avoid). We are a dually Dodge 3500 pulling a 39' fifth wheel.

Suggestions appreciated!

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Our favorite would be Hwy 93 toward Wickenburg, AZ to Kingman and continue on 93 through Nevada to I-84 at Twin Falls, ID = 1300 miles

 

Second choice: I-17 north to Flagstaff then 89 to Panguitch, UT to Hwy 20 west to I-15 north to I-94 = 1400 miles

 

Last would be I-5 California

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When are you driving this - - season really determines when you can realistically do something besides the interstates.

 

Barb

 

And/or the 10 day weather forecast.

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When are you driving this - - season really determines when you can realistically do something besides the interstates.

 

Barb

It would the end of April to first of May

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Usually by that time, heading up through Nevada isn't a problem. End of March/first of April can have you in snow from a fast moving storm going through. Lots of different ways to go, including north into Nevada, then picking up 395 and winding through northern California until you end up in Redding, north to Weed on I-5, then up US 97 to the Columbia Gorge. How many days are you giving yourself for the trip. Takes us about 6-8 weeks to move from Mesa to the Seattle area in the spring and same time back down in the fall.

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No need to wander into Kalifornia. Take 95 North into Oregon. At Burns Junction take 78 to 20, then 20 to 97. 97 to Biggs, Or. There you can decide if you want to drive on North side of Columbia River or South side. If you go South side on I-84 you'll probably want to cross the river around The Dalles or Hood River. I've traveled this route 4 out of last 5 years and never hit bad weather. I traveled in February, March and April.

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Fun2travel,

You have been given several good suggestions.

 

If you can give a little more info about how you want to travel we can supply more detail.

 

Do you want to (need to) get from Phoenix to Carson, WA in say 4-6 days or do you prefer to take 2-6 weeks to get there?

 

If a slow trip:

-- will you dry camp and/or boondock, or must have hookups?

-- Do you want a scenic trip or just avoid mountain passes?'

-- Do you have any experience with driving an RV in the mountains?

-- What kind of RV do you have?

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Fun2travel,

You have been given several good suggestions.

 

If you can give a little more info about how you want to travel we can supply more detail.

 

Do you want to (need to) get from Phoenix to Carson, WA in say 4-6 days or do you prefer to take 2-6 weeks to get there?

 

If a slow trip:

-- will you dry camp and/or boondock, or must have hookups?

-- Do you want a scenic trip or just avoid mountain passes?'

-- Do you have any experience with driving an RV in the mountains?

-- What kind of RV do you have?

We will have a couple weeks. Very little exp with RV in mountains (5th wheel). We have drove through TN near Chattanooga so far.

Prefer hookups, we aren't setup for boondocking yet.......

Just prefer to avoid the worst of mountain passes for now until we build up more experience.

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If you avoid mountains you won't enjoy them. :) How will you get experience? If you will be driving mountainous areas in the future I would suggest you purchase the 'Mountain Directory for Truckers and RVers' if you haven't done so already. It comes for both eastern and western states. It gives a written commentary of what's ahead...very helpful. Our take is that eastern 'hills' are more difficult because of the tight curves. You can't get momentum. Western typically have long straight expanses to get you going...not all, but many do. You'll soon get the hang of it and you'll have to do some if you want to explore the western states. Gear down at the top before starting a descent, not when you gather speed. Do you have an exhaust brake? Enjoy your trip. You'll do fine.

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If you really want to minimize mountains, you would need to go across on I-10 until you merge onto US Highway 101 and take that north Oregon (there is a special trick on how to get through San Francisco), then when you get up to Reedsport, take Highway 138 over to I-5 then north to Portland. That will still have some mountains, but that would be the minimum. It isn't a bad way to spend some time, though to us it would be 6 weeks to get up to Portland area.

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We will have a couple weeks. Very little exp with RV in mountains (5th wheel). We have drove through TN near Chattanooga so far.

Prefer hookups, we aren't setup for boondocking yet.......

Just prefer to avoid the worst of mountain passes for now until we build up more experience.

Quote: "Just prefer to avoid the worst of mountain passes for now until we build up more experience."

 

Excellent idea to avoid the worst of the mountain passes until you get some experience.

 

About boondocking:

-- Your 5th wheel is self contained, it has a battery to power the lights, run the water pump, keep the fridge running on propane (the fridge controls operate off of 12V while the fridge cools using propane), etc.

-- There is no reason to avoid dry camping in a BLM CG or any other CG that doesn't have elect hookups. You are more than good to go with operating off your battery for one or two nights.

 

My number one suggestion for a 2 week (or better yet a 3 week) drive from Phoenix to Carson, WA would be to follow US-395 up the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada range in California. It is a beautiful drive and there should be snow on the mountains. Over all this a fabulously scenic drive.

 

There are some areas of 7%-8% grades along this route, but nothing really steep or with really sharp turns going down a steep hill.

 

From Phoenix take US-93 to I-40, I-40 west to Barstow, CA, SR-58 to US-395. Follow US-395 all the way to the tiny town of Valley Falls, Oregon, where you will pick up SR-31 going to US-97 near La Pine, OR which will take you to US-197 to the Columbia River near Carson. We followed the I-40 & US-395 part of this route the first week in April this year.

 

I do have to give a word of caution, In late April--1st of May it is possible that you could have a winter storm come through and have snow and ice conditions to stop your travel for 2-3 days. Be sure you have internet access, preferably via Jetpack or cell phone so you can know what the weather forecast is. Weather forecasts are very accurate for about 72 hours (3 days) so with very, very few exceptions you will have warnings of winter (or spring in your case) storms.

 

As long as you don't have to travel, and are warned in advance of the approaching weather you can stay in lower elevation, in an place with hookups and most likely have cold rain while the higher elevations have snow. You just wait until the passes clear and then move on. By the way, if you think this might work for you, your first decision place would be in Barstow. Check the 10 day forecast. If bad weather is forecast, just head west to I-5 and progress north. If the weather looks good, head on up US-395.

 

The above is the way we travel. It is not for everyone.

 

As long as you allow a good sized buffer for delays for your need to arrive at any destination you will be fine.

 

To us this is one of the joys of fulltiming, or in our case part timing, for 6-8 months of the year. You can take your time, research your travels, slow down, speed up to eventually get to wherever your destination is.

 

Change of subject. How do you plan on getting to Carson, WA? The bridge at Hood River acrossing the Columbia is extremely narrow. I don't recommend taking your rig that way. Go across the Columbia on US-197 at The Dalles. Do be aware there are some tunnels on SR-14 in the area across from Hood River which are scary. 18 wheeler take them all the time, so they are big enough, but the tunnels are pretty narrow and can be intimidating. If you want to avoid that, follow I-84 to Cascade Locks and cross there and double back to Carson. "Bridge of the Gods" at Cascade Locks is a little narrow, but not nearly as bad as at Hood River.

 

I see you are Escapees members. For the nominal fee of $10 or $15 subscribe to Days End and download the listing. Lots of info about places to boondock and/or dry camp in the areas I have described above.

 

Have fun and enjoy your travels.

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No doubt about it. The route given by Barbaraoak will keep you out of mountains and snow in April. Personally, I would avoid it due to the traffic. There is also the possibility of heavy rainfall on the Oregon coast during this time. If you due choose this route, take highway 38 from Reedsport to I-5.

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If you avoid mountains you won't enjoy them. :) How will you get experience? If you will be driving mountainous areas in the future I would suggest you purchase the 'Mountain Directory for Truckers and RVers' if you haven't done so already. It comes for both eastern and western states. It gives a written commentary of what's ahead...very helpful. Our take is that eastern 'hills' are more difficult because of the tight curves. You can't get momentum. Western typically have long straight expanses to get you going...not all, but many do. You'll soon get the hang of it and you'll have to do some if you want to explore the western states. Gear down at the top before starting a descent, not when you gather speed. Do you have an exhaust brake? Enjoy your trip. You'll do fine.

Not trying to avoid. Just don't want to take on the worst of it to gain experience. Yes we have an exhaust brake :-)

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If you really want to minimize mountains, you would need to go across on I-10 until you merge onto US Highway 101 and take that north Oregon (there is a special trick on how to get through San Francisco), then when you get up to Reedsport, ttake Highway 138 over to I-5 then north to Portland. That will still have some mountains, but that would be the minimum. It isn't a bad way to spend some time, though to us it would be 6 weeks to get up to Portland area.

What's the trick for getting around SF? Please share :-)

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When you get to near San Jose on US 101, take the I-208 north towards SF. At Daly City, take the exit for Highway 1 - 19th Ave. Get in the middle lane. REPEAT, GET IN THE MIDDLE LANE. :D There will be some traffic but just keep heading north on 19th Ave/Highway 1. You will eventually enter the Presido area and then into the tunnel. When you come out, you will be on the on-ramp onto Highway 101, stay in the right lane and across the Golden Gate you will go - - and there is no toll charge going north!. Beautiful drive to enjoy. Make sure to snap some pictures of the colorful row houses as you go up 19th Ave. ;)

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