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Zenguitarguy

Looking for info about California fires impacting travel, and 80w rest stops

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We have been planning a trip end of September from Longmont Co to Arcata Ca. We have a rented. 30 ft RV for 2 weeks and will be driving cross country.
Our route is 80w through Salt lake and Sacramento to the 5N to 20w to 101 N then back the same way.1 week later.

We are concerned as the rental is not cheap and we are seeing a lot of fires on what appears to be our route.

Has anyone heard anything about the wildfires impacting that route?

As a side note: aside from Walmarts along the way can anyone recommend specific safe rest stops and sleep places?

Thanks. 

(I am a newbie RV driver and we are driving across country to visit our older son and don't know a lot about this kind of travel. Many of my other basic questions were answered by kind people here, so we really appreciate the good advice and help!

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6 hours ago, Zenguitarguy said:

Our route is 80w through Salt lake and Sacramento to the 5N to 20w to 101 N then back the same way.1 week later.

For someone with little RV experience and limited time to travel, that is the route that I would suggest. If you do some digging on older threads, amarie1 began a thread with similar questions and then has since made the trip to pretty nearly that same area, but from Chicago and like you was taking I-80 and then US101 in northern CA. The last that she posted she had arrived there and had no problems. 

On the fire issues in that area, there have been a few road closures from the fires, but I don't know of any that impact the route you will travel. After you get on US101, there is a fire at present to the west of Healdsburg or to the northwest of Santa Rosa. There is a map that is updated frequently bu Cal-Fire so keep an eye on it and plan your trip. 

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It’s too early to say what roads will be open or closed due to fires at the end of the month. I’ve seen I-5 closed at 6pm (just AFTER I passed the last exit before the fire) but open at 3am the next morning when I went to work.

They try to keep the interstates open as much as possible, so plan on sticking to them. 

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Yes, I-80 was open all the way when I came here in mid-August, when the fires were just starting. I've been in Oakland since then and haven't heard of it closing at all. 

On that route, my favorite RV stop was Welcome Station RV Park just west of Wells, Nevada. Two retired Full-timers opened their own little RV park (only about 20 spots I believe) and are sweet as heck. Closed from Nov-March because they take off for other climes.

Their little patch of green in the desert is welcome ... and they have a creek and little waterfalls that you can sit by and chill out. Small laundry room and showers too. The morning I left one of the owners was going around with a basket of blueberry muffins she had just baked, offering them to anyone who wanted one. 

The solo female traveller in the spot next to me is a resident and said she was one of the founding members of Escapees. Her name was Gail, very helpful. 

Also they're a Passport America spot so the fee is 1/2 off their already reasonable $35/night charge, if you're a member.

https://www.wsrvpark.com/

AM

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Thank you all for the great information! We are keeping an eye on things. Weather is so weird. It was 101 here on Monday in Colorado and this morning it is 29 and snowing! At this point we are going and will keep an eye out on the fire status but so far the route and interstate status seem ok. hopefully it will stay that way and California will get some rain and help with the fires.

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1 hour ago, Zenguitarguy said:

Thank you all for the great information! We are keeping an eye on things. Weather is so weird. It was 101 here on Monday in Colorado and this morning it is 29 and snowing! At this point we are going and will keep an eye out on the fire status but so far the route and interstate status seem ok. hopefully it will stay that way and California will get some rain and help with the fires.

 

Unfortunately, fire season in California is just beginning!!...☹️

Check the CHP website prior to traveling in areas (roads) that might be impacted where you plan to travel - https://www.chp.ca.gov/traffic

There's also a CalTrans site - just enter the hwy number/s - https://roads.dot.ca.gov

Phone number for CalTrans info = 1-800-427-7623

.

Edited by Pappy Yokum
Added links

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1 hour ago, Zenguitarguy said:

It was 101 here on Monday in Colorado and this morning it is 29 and snowing!

Been hearing a lot about that. We have 3 nephews in the Loveland area and still have friends in Cheyenne, where we lived for 18 years. We had hoped to spend part of our summer in that area but covid stopped us. 

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On 9/9/2020 at 10:00 AM, Pappy Yokum said:

 

Unfortunately, fire season in California is just beginning!!...☹️

Check the CHP website prior to traveling in areas (roads) that might be impacted where you plan to travel - https://www.chp.ca.gov/traffic

There's also a CalTrans site - just enter the hwy number/s - https://roads.dot.ca.gov

Phone number for CalTrans info = 1-800-427-7623

.

For the OP:

Be sure to check.... OFTEN !!

Situation can change by the hour.

Just heard from friends still living in (what remains of) Paradise, CA.

Evacuated again.  Now at same motel they stayed in two years ago.

.

 

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On 9/10/2020 at 11:04 AM, TXiceman said:

Best solution is to not go anywhere near the fire areas.  Stay safe and find other places to visit.

Ken

 

X-2 

Even  -LONG-  way from fire areas - CA air quality is really, really  bad! 

Worse than smog levels in 1950's L.A. when school kids weren't permitted to go outside at recess.

☹️

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Air quality is in the hazardous numbers for many in California, Oregon & Washington.  Our daughter is in Sausalito at San Francisco and has asthma and spent 7 hr. in the ER last night.  She had a CT scan and her bronchial tube and bronchi were so swollen they thought she had a pulmonary embolism.  She's on oral steroids now.  She hasn't left the house since the fires started and still they affected her.

That's a horrible area to be right now.

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13 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

Air quality is in the hazardous numbers for many in California, Oregon & Washington.  Our daughter is in Sausalito at San Francisco and has asthma and spent 7 hr. in the ER last night.  She had a CT scan and her bronchial tube and bronchi were so swollen they thought she had a pulmonary embolism.  She's on oral steroids now.  She hasn't left the house since the fires started and still they affected her.

That's a horrible area to be right now.

We are deciding to probably not go, the problem we are facing is that we will lose our deposit, which is a lot, and possibly the entire rental fee. The insurance company only covers us if there is a specific road closure during the travel dates or if I am too sick to travel, NOT if there is a potential issue. I am here in Colorado and having asthma issues now from our fires and cannot imagine what california is like. My wife wants to cancel but i am not sure how to do it without losing a lot of money. Thank you for all of the advice and feedback.

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3 minutes ago, Zenguitarguy said:

We are deciding to probably not go, the problem we are facing is that we will lose our deposit, which is a lot, and possibly the entire rental fee. The insurance company only covers us if there is a specific road closure during the travel dates or if I am too sick to travel, NOT if there is a potential issue. I am here in Colorado and having asthma issues now from our fires and cannot imagine what california is like. My wife wants to cancel but i am not sure how to do it without losing a lot of money. Thank you for all of the advice and feedback.

Sounds to me like you are too sick to travel there which should get your money back. I'd try for it, at least.

Linda

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I agree that it sounds like you are already sick and unable to go.

When are you planning on getting to California? If it’s still 2 weeks out conditions might be better/ok. Some of the older fires are getting close to containment, hopefully the other ones raging now will be at that same point and no new ones will start. It might be possible to go without a problem if they don’t buy into your current illness issues.

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I am not certain that asthma will constitute a "sickness" that the insurance will recognize? It is just odd and a bit stressful because of course we want to go visit our son and not waste a lot fo money, and at the same time it looks so bad. Are people travelling in RV's in california now or is it all just shut down? It does not seem like there are a lot of places to stop or camp?

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27 minutes ago, Zenguitarguy said:

It is just odd and a bit stressful because of course we want to go visit our son and not waste a lot fo money, and at the same time it looks so bad.

Why not see if you can postpone the trip for several months? Maybe go out for Thanksgiving when things should be better?

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34 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

Why not see if you can postpone the trip for several months? Maybe go out for Thanksgiving when things should be better?

I booked through Outdoorsy witha  private owner and their cancellation policy does not really cover this kind of thing. I am planning to speak with the owner but my sense is that it is like AirBnB and he loses a lot of money if I cancel and I will have to see if he is willing to credit towards a re-schedule. It is not his fault these wildfires are happening and I am certain it is effecting many people who had travel plans. I feel bad for all the people being hurt by the fires. our holiday seems like a small thing in comparison

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4 hours ago, Zenguitarguy said:

I am not certain that asthma will constitute a "sickness" that the insurance will recognize? It is just odd and a bit stressful because of course we want to go visit our son and not waste a lot fo money, and at the same time it looks so bad. Are people travelling in RV's in california now or is it all just shut down? It does not seem like there are a lot of places to stop or camp?

I know quite a few people in California, at least one person used his RV as a bug-out home when he was evacuated.  I know a couple of others who are staying at private campgrounds in various places.  Others who have their RVs packed, hitched/loaded and ready to go at a moment’s notice.  Still others who have canceled planned trips, including one couple who was at Shaver Lake and decided to leave a day early - missing being cut off by a day.

Commercial campgrounds outside of the fire areas are still open.  Not all of the California state parks are closed, only those around the fires.  All national forests are completely closed - you can’t be on National Forest land at all. So while the number of places you can overnight/camp has been cut down significantly, there are still places to spend the night.

I am still more or less planning on going to a commercial park in the eastern Sierras area the first of October.  At the moment I’m still planning on it, though there’s something that might change my plans (not having to do with the fires at all).  I’m hoping/expecting that there won’t be any new fires and that the incredible firefighters will be able to get a good handle on the current fires by the end of the month (about 3 weeks away).  If there’s a new fire on the east side of the Sierras I would probably cancel and try to find somewhere else relatively close to SoCal to stay for the month.

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19 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

Air quality is in the hazardous numbers for many in California, Oregon & Washington.  Our daughter is in Sausalito at San Francisco and has asthma and spent 7 hr. in the ER last night.  She had a CT scan and her bronchial tube and bronchi were so swollen they thought she had a pulmonary embolism.  She's on oral steroids now.  She hasn't left the house since the fires started and still they affected her.

That's a horrible area to be right now.

I am so sorry to hear that about your daughter and hope she is feeling better. Thanks for letting me know.  

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32 minutes ago, Zenguitarguy said:

I am so sorry to hear that about your daughter and hope she is feeling better. Thanks for letting me know.  

Thank you. She is better today.  The oral steroids and steroid inhaler has helped along with the air quality a little better but still bad.  Coincidently, she once lived in your home town, Longmont. :)

I'm curious.... how is the air by your son in Arcata?  What are his feelings of you coming for a visit?

I hope you will give the RV rental a try to get out of it.  Tell him of your asthma and the air quality from the fires.  He may support your wish of cancellation or changing the date to later.  Good luck in whatever you do!

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We just came back from out there. The smoke two weeks ago caused us to change some plans while we were out there. We've been checking the places we visited since we got home and the air quality is about 10 times worse. We stayed along the Oregon coast (Newport, then Gold Beach) and then at Lake Tahoe. I wouldn't go to those areas at this time. 

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We were evacuated from the North Fork, CA area due to the Creek Fire on the 5th, moved the fifth wheel to the FIL's property near Coarsegold.  Haven't seen the sun in a week due to the smoke, except as an orange ball.  Heading out Friday, going east, and hopefully get far enough to get out of the smoke.  I would not recommend anyone to come to California or even Oregon or Washington until these fires are out.  The smoke is very bad, and getting worse.

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