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Yosemite to Junction City, OR


NINK

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Hello. Seeking travel advice. We will have three weeks to travel from Yosemite to Junction City, OR (need to arrive by May 18 or 19). Since I have to work, we'd like to make 3-4 hops, driving about 120 miles per day, 800 miles total.

 

After leaving Yosemite, we plan to stop at the Air Museum in Merced/Atwater. We'd like to spend the weekends of May 2 & 3 and 9 & 10 in scenic destinations. This is our first visit to CA, so we're thinking we'd like to be a little north of Sacramento on May 2 & 3, and somewhere around Redding on May 9 & 10, just to make the hops manageable . We plan to spend the weekend of May 16 & 17 near Crater Lake, Oregon.

 

We have a 41' motor home and tow a Saturn Vue. Any suggestions for places to stay or things to see in those areas?

 

Thanks.

 

Bob

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We stayed on the east side of Yosemite in Lee Vining. We then headed north on 395 to Carson City/Reno/Tahoe. From there we took 395/36/44/89 through Susanville to Hat Creek from which we explored Lassen Volcanic National Park. Our next stop was Mt Shasta. Then we went to Medford/Crater Lake. Looking down into the crater at that blue water of Crater Lake was one of the most breathtaking sights we ever had. We took the tour at Harry and David in Medford. From there we went down to the Redwoods and up the Oregon Coast before finally arriving in Junction City. Those places are all in our blog.

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We left Coarsegold last January (27 miles west of the South Yosemite entrance) and took 99 to Sacramento, the I-5 north. Stayed at the casino near Corning and then the SKP park in Sutherlin, OR.

 

I should tell you that there is an excellent railroad museum in Sacramento.

 

We generally stay at rest areas between Sacramento and Redding (where we have family) but this year we stayed at the Casino in Corning, CA. (There is a rest stop just north of Corning which is a good stop, too.) On Wednesday nights there is senior night at the buffet and you get a good deal on dinner if you're a geezer. :P They gave both of us $20 in gambling money when we joined their "winner's club" and we managed to parley that into enough money to pay for dinner. The Casino told us on the phone that we cannot park overnight in the parking lot but it was us and about 50,000 big trucks and RVs and no one told anyone to leave. They have an RV park there for about $27 which we thought was a bit spendy for an overnight at a casino. Truckers are asked to turn their engines off in the parking area and, as far as we could tell, everyone did.

 

The area around Redding, CA is quite nice what with Whiskeytown Lake and the Shasta Reservoir (what's left of it). North of Redding you'll have lots of mountain scenery with Mt. Shasta prominent just east of you as you approach Weed, CA. If it's too warm for you in Redding just continue north; it gets higher fast. But lots of camping in the Redding area and many interesting places to see.

 

Plenty of RV parks and camping along the way. Castle Crags State Park near Castella, CA is on your way and worth a stop. You ca camp at the State Park but their web site says they take reservations so that might mean no "drop ins". Day's End has a couple of spots in the Castella area to park for free and there are other RV parks, too.

The route to Crater Lake NP is US97 which you'll take at Weed, CA but if, for some reason, you choose to just continue (and see Crater Lake another time) on I-5 it's a lot of climbing (and descending); and not just once but over and over.

 

If you choose to continue on I-5 there is another casino at Canyonville, OR with a free no-hookups RV park behind the casino. The name is Seven Feathers and they're pretty nice to RVers with a shuttle bus and everything. We did not stay there but we did park and check out the casino. The shuttle bus driver took us over to check out the RV park. Nothing fancy but I didn't see any big trucks.

 

Ashland, OR is just over the Siskiyou Pass and nestled in rolling foothills. Rivers, lakes, mountains to the west and south. You'll be doing a lot of up and down til just before you get to Eugene and then it's pretty flat on I-5. Farmland with the Cascade Mountains (and a few volcanoes to the east and the Coast Range to the west). You are only about 70 miles (or less) from the Pacific Ocean here.

 

The SKP Park in Sutherlin, OR is a nice place to spend a few days at reasonable cost (check the Escapees web page and look for co-op parks). There are good directions in the SKP camping directory.

 

Redwoods to the west all along I-5 in this area but the roads to get to them are pretty scary for a big rig til you get to Grants Pass and then 195 takes you SW towards them. If that is not too far out of your way, they'd be worth looking at.

 

The best way to Crater Lake would be to leave I-5 at Weed, CA and head NE on US97. This is a much tamer route in terms of climbing. You do climb but once you're on top there is much less of it. Volcanoes to your left on US97. Nights can be cold even in May as you are quite high in elevation. Just north of Klamath Falls you'll cut west on Hwy 62 toward Crater Lake National Park which is often snowed in still in May (Mazama campground usually doesn't open 'til June!) but this year, a very light snow year (as you'd know from Yosemite) could be very different. Be sure to check with the park.

 

I have not taken Rim Drive (which circles Crater Lake) in quite a few years but there would be a good chance that it is closed in May. Even if it's open it might not be the best route for a big rig. But if you decide to take it, it will lead you north and then east and back to US 97.

 

Head back to 97 when you're done with Crater Lake and go north to Bend. There are lava fields to look at and Bend, itself, is quite the fishing and skiing destination. Highway 20 leaves Bend and takes you to Corvallis, OR where you can turn south on I-5 towards your destination. (The map shows a cutoff from Sweet Home, OR SW'ly on OR 228 which intersects I-5 just north of Junction City but I've never taken this route so I have no idea what its like.

 

Have fun. :)

 

WDR

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Hmmm, I don't know what happened, but I thought I had replied to these messages a couple of days ago.

 

Thanks, BooneDocks (nice blog) and wa_desert_rat for the responses. Good information. We'll be staying at the SKP park in Coarsegold while we visit Yosemite. Our next stop will be the Air Museum in Atwater. Our route that will take us through Susanville and we do plan to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park, as well as the Lava Beds National Monument. We'd like to stop at Crater Lake, but we'll have to check out the weather and our schedule once we get closer.

 

Thanks again. I do hope this message posts.

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wa_desert_rat, we took the tour yesterday (Friday). Just so happened that it was the guy right next door to where we're parked that gave us the tour, and he was excellent. We were quite impressed with the park, and even more so when we learned that the park is maintained mostly by volunteers. We've taken our dog for a walk on the "Mexico" trail.

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