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Safer route to San Fran from Mesa, Arizona


AutoteacherSonny

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We have made it thus far staying in Apache Junction Az today. Looking for a safe passage way to San Fran., We have not enjoyed the steep mountains so far and don't want to spend another day crawling up a grade behind a big rig and then burning our brakes on the descent if possible. We made the mistake of getting on NM 15 near Gila NM, but that is another story.

We would hope to leave here on I 10 to Quartzite Az and the North on Ca 95 to Needles. Then CA 62 to 395? The I 40 to Barstow? Then take 395 north? or continue to Bakersfield? Or Ca 99? or I 5 to San Fran? or ? I do not want to be any where near the LA traffic.

 

Thanks for all the info. We are still interested in finding a state park near San Fran and we will rent a car to visit places of interest.

The Lost Dutchman SP is awesome.

 

When I grow up I want to travel in a RV.

 

Seeya,

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The route Bobi and Dick suggested is a good one. Only a few grades to negotiate. Right out of Needles you go up for a good distance but it is not too steep. Next would be the Tehachapi's just out of Mojave. This is not very long or steep. Going down into Bakersfield you do have some long downgrades. But just slow down and no problems. Last little mountain area would be from I-5 over to Gilroy if you take that route. Not too steep and not too long. It does get down to only a two lane road near Gilroy.

 

Depending on where in the Bay area you want to go you could just take I-5 north to the connecting freeway into the Bay area and avoid the Gilroy mountain route. Good luck and enjoy. Dennis

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It is pretty difficult to get from where you are to SF without traveling over some mountains, but nothing really that difficult. If you take CA99 it will have heavy traffic all of the way with lots of trucks. I'd got to I-5 for ease of driving. You will probably need reservations to be sure that you get campsite in one of the state parks near the city.

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Actually when you get to Needles, get on I 40 to Barstow, take 58 from Barstow to Mohave and over Tehachapi to Bakersfield, then 99 to 152 to Gilroy and finally up 101 to San Fran. Driven it many times when our son was racing.

We used to take this route from Tucson to I-5 to head up to OR and avoid the LA area. The shortest route through Reno can be really iffy in bad weather. You won't have any trouble with it.

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There is a PPA park in Boron, west of Barstow, that is a good overnight stop and sets you up for an easy up and over at Tehachapi into Bakersfield. Just make sure to check out wind in the morning before any of the passes. While I-5 is rough in spots and pretty boring, US 99 is FULL of in and out traffic up the whole valley to Sacramento. Where in the bay area are you going?

 

Barb

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Samuel P. Taylor is a state park on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge not too far from Sausalito along Hwy 1. I don't know what size RV you have. It would be close for visiting Muir Woods National Monument with awesome redwoods and Point Reyes National Seashore. It would also be an easy drive into the city itself via the Golden Gate Bridge. You could also do a day trip to Sonoma or Napa winery areas. Coming from the south via I-5 take 580 to 680 to Vallejo then 37 to Novato is good for RVs. Then south a short distance on 101 to Mill Valley then get on Hwy 1. This would take you away from the Oakland congestion but would be longer.

 

There are many routes that are closer but you'll be getting into a lot of traffic. Let us know what size RV you have. Once you're north of the Golden Gate it's easy to get to places and the city. Even if you rent a car I'd highly recommend taking a small bus tour of the city. You'll be able to relax, get good information on the sites and see the highlights.

 

This is the one we've used. There were approx. a dozen passengers so it's not a big bus - a good way to go. We had ample time to get out and visit the places. Our daughter, who lives in San Fran, went with us and she was impressed by the tour.

 

https://www.sanfranshuttletours.com/

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Be aware that Samuel P. Taylor's campground has small, closely spaced sites and the campground is next to the main road. The campground is dry camping, no electricity or hookups and because of the drought they've minimized their water use, closed the dump station and will not let you fill your tank inside the park. Yet they still charge $35 a night.

 

You'll be 25 miles away from US 101, including 15 miles of city streets. Expect it to take 30-45 minutes or longer just to get to US 101 in San Rafael.

 

There are no car rental places that will pick up or deliver there.

 

If you're just going to use it as a base for sightseeing, I'd bite the bullet and stay closer in at a place like Marin RV Park. It's basically a gravel parking lot but if you're out sightseeing you won't be there that much. Enterprise is just over the hill and they'll pick up and deliver to the park. It's also adjacent to good public transit into San Francisco including the Golden Gate Ferry across the inlet.

 

Napa's Skyline Wilderness Park or the Napa Valley Expo RV Park would be good bases to tour the Wine Country. Don't miss the town of Sonoma with California's first state capital, General Vallejo's home, Korbel Champagne Cellars and the northernmost Spanish mission.

 

A tip for driving I-5 up the Valley, at least as far as the San Francisco cutoff. Traffic runs fast and heavy. Cars and trucks tend to bunch up in packs, with everyone fighting to get to the stretch of clear road ahead of the leaders. If you get caught in the middle of a pack, just take the next exit, wait a minute or two for the pack to pass, then pull back out onto a mostly vacant highway.

 

My favorite way to drive up the valley is to take Highway 43 from Bakersfield to Selma, then continue north on 99. Highway 43 is a good, lightly used two lane road that parallels the Southern Pacific rail line. From Bakersfield, take Hwy 99 north about 8 miles to 7th Standard Rd, then go west to Santa Fe Ave. and take that north to join Hwy 43 in Shafter. You'll cross over the railroad tracks and Santa Fe Ave. on an overpass, turn right at the traffic light (Galpin St.) to get to Santa Fe Ave.

 

You'll have to make a jog to the right at Hwy 46 in Wasco, the highway continues north on the other side of the railroad tracks. If you miss the turn you'll wind up in an industrial park and will have to backtrack to get back on the highway.

 

19 miles north of Wasco is Col. Allensworth State Park with a 15 site campground. Allensworth was a farming community founded by freed slaves after the Civil War, it later failed due to water problems. The state now owns the land and has built a visitor center and restored several of the town buildings.

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We have made it thus far staying in Apache Junction Az today. Looking for a safe passage way to San Fran., We have not enjoyed the steep mountains so far and don't want to spend another day crawling up a grade behind a big rig and then burning our brakes on the descent if possible. We made the mistake of getting on NM 15 near Gila NM, but that is another story.

Since you're now in the western states I'd highly suggest that you order online the 'Mountain Directory for Truckers and RVers'. It totally describes many of the western secondary roads that you may find unnerving. Amazon has it but it's very expensive there for some reason. Order online directly from the publisher. It's around $25 and would ease your mind on the western highways. However, to really see the west you're going to have to drive some of these highways.

 

I can see your problem with Hwy 15 if you took it from Silver City, New Mexico to Gila Cliff Dwellings. The Mountain Directory states "trailers over 20' unsafe". "The road is extremely narrow with many very sharp turns and little or no shoulder in places. Grades of 4-10%, etc. You should have never been on that road with your RV. I can see how you would now be hesitant on mountain highways but they are not all like that and you would enjoy the ones suitable for RVs. Good luck in your travels!

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Since you're now in the western states I'd highly suggest that you order online the 'Mountain Directory for Truckers and RVers'. It totally describes many of the western secondary roads that you may find unnerving. Amazon has it but it's very expensive there for some reason. Order online directly from the publisher. It's around $25 and would ease your mind on the western highways. However, to really see the west you're going to have to drive some of these highways.

You can also go to the Mountain Directory website (http://www.mountaindirectory.com) and order the app for either androids or iPhones/iPads ($16.99 for the Western directory, $14.99 for the Eastern Directory, or $24.99 for the combination). They also have an eBook available for Windows computers ($17, $15, or $25).

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I live in Oakland now! If you are looking to spend time in San Jose/Berkeley, and don't want to move between there, There is Trailer Villa in San Leandro which seems decent (haven't stayed, but its close to where we live now so I've checked it out before for fun). However, don't try to travel between the hours of 6AM-10AM and 3PM-7PM in the Bay unless you're willing to sit in traffic. For this reason, I'd suggest finding a park in the South Bay to visit your niece (there are plenty that are very nice) and then relocating up to the East Bay or North Bay to see your son in Berkeley.

 

The one time we did camp in the Bay Area before we moved here, we stayed at the County Park in Pleasanton. The Bart station is close by (you can use Uber/Lyft etc to go between) which will take you to Berkeley and SF. You could also take Cal Train to San Jose, I believe.

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