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Old 07-06-2019, 09:59 AM   #1
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Canadian Snow-Birds worried about snow

This January were going to become Canadian Snow-Birds and head south for the winter. I know its still a ways away but I like to plan ahead. Well be going down the I-5 from the border and the question I have for those in the know is this. Is it worth the time and extra miles to switch over to hwy 101 at Astoria and head down the coast from there? Or would it be better to stay on the I-5 and wait till we hit northern California and then take the 101 from Crescent City down the California coast. My concern is that being winter there may not be as much open in the way of campgrounds or stops of interest on the Oregon coast that time of year. But we like the idea of going along the Oregon coast because there is less chance of snow.

If it were a later in the year we would definitely go the Oregon coast. The I-5 is fast but the coast is more interesting.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:47 AM   #2
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Snowbirds

We have done this trip the past two years; the first time south on I-5 to Grants Pass, then west to take 101 to San Francisco. It was my first drive south in the winter and I wanted to avoid the Siskiyou Pass.
Last January we stayed on I-5 to Sacramento and took 99 to Bakersfield before heading west to the coast.
We are new to this adventure, and enjoyed both trips, but Highway 101 is far more scenic and not so busy. Just don't be in a hurry, there is lots to see.

To partially answer your question, we never ran into a place that was closed for the season in California, and in fact found the parks we stopped at were not busy. We were not on the Oregon coast very long, but everything we looked at was open.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:52 AM   #3
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I hope to leave Portland, OR on January 21, 2020 heading to Quartzsite. I'm working on mapping multiple routes. There's no way to accurately predict weather this far in advance. It will be difficult enough planning 3-5 days in advance! I'd really rather not take the coast route, Hwy 101, to California. But, it's also on 'maybe need to' map.
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Old 07-06-2019, 11:33 AM   #4
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Picked up or 5.0 TA on May 9th. Took 101 all the way. State campgrounds in Oregon are awesome. Most have full hookups and almost all have power and water. Great facilities and free hot showers, all for $32. Near Astoria Fort Stevens is the largest public campground west of the Mississippi. Hiking and biking trails, Historic Ft. Stevens, a lake, a ship wreck on the beach, and the Columbia river. In Coos Bay, Sunset Bay St. Park is beautiful and near a botanical garden. Just north of Brookings is Harris beach St. Park another beautiful beach campground. I vote for the coast, it is beautiful. Takes longer but it's worth it. Oh and don't forget to stop for fish and chips along the way. As far as weather I can't help there. Whatever route you choose have a great trip.
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Old 07-06-2019, 11:44 AM   #5
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A word of likely unneeded caution: There is a road from Galice (just north of Grant's Pass) that goes over the mountains and eventually to Gold Beach on the coast. It's a partly gravel very winding sometimes one lane road until you reach Agness, used mostly by folks shuttling vehicles while rafting the Rogue River. You do NOT want to tow a trailer on this road. This is also the road where the family was caught (someone had neglected to lock the gate that prohibits travel in the winter) and the dad died of exposure.
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I hope to leave Portland, OR on January 21, 2020 heading to Quartzsite.


I agree. The weather at the time will be the deciding factor. While we've done the coast route when we wanted to for the scenery etc. we've never had to sit out weather or not be able to do Siskiyou. Partly luck I know. At that time of year all we want to do is get South as fast as possible.

So I'd say take the route that you want but be flexible.

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Old 07-06-2019, 12:42 PM   #7
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I agree. The weather at the time will be the deciding factor. While we've done the coast route when we wanted to for the scenery etc. we've never had to sit out weather or not be able to do Siskiyou. Partly luck I know. At that time of year all we want to do is get South as fast as possible.

So I'd say take the route that you want but be flexible.

Ron
My first choice is to take I-84 east from Portland to Twin Falls, ID then straight south to The Q. It's probably a route better suited for the end of March, than the end of January... but it's on the list.
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Old 07-06-2019, 01:00 PM   #8
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After living in Siskiyou County for 19 years, I would not let the weather be the determining factor. The Siskiyou Pass is rarely closed but when is, it would be for less than a day. However, I would not like to cross if the roads are slick. I would layover (and have) instead of chaining up. That said, the coastal route would be far more scenic, very windy and very slow. In the Winter when traveling from Yreka to Medford, I always knew that the return trip could be delayed because of weather.
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Old 07-06-2019, 01:10 PM   #9
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We picked up our E21 on January 14, 2019 and heaed south down I-5. First night stop was Mount Vernon, WA, 2nd night Eugene, OR then after checking the weather in Siskiyou Summit, over the pass to Oroville CA for our 3rd night stop. Siskiyou Summit was bare and dry and we were celebrating our good fortune only to run into the mother of all rainstorms beginning around Yreka. We had planned to stop further north on I-5 in Red Bluff or Redding but given the combination of bad weather and refugees from the Paradise fire, we found every RV park was fully booked. Hence, we had to continue driving on to Oroville where we finally found a vacancy. We have crossed Siskiyou summit 6 or 7 times in the Winter. Only once we had to layover in Klamath Falls for a couple of days until I-5 was cleared of snow and ice.
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Old 07-06-2019, 01:43 PM   #10
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Crossing the Siskiyou's in winter is usually not a problem. Weather and road conditions are posted on the internet from both ODOT (Oregon) and CALTRANS (California) and current information is updated very frequently..

Sometimes, very infrequently, tire chains or approved winter tires are required. If your vehicle is not equipped with chains or approved tires, you cant cross. I would not want to put chains on a fiberglass trailer. I've gone over the pass many times and never had a situation that needed chain, but I'm in the habit of carrying chains just in case.

In winter, I suggest you make sure you have adequate fuel to get you from Medford Or. to Redding Ca. as some of the smaller towns in between these two places especially Yreka Ca. run out or have long lines and have run out of fuel when bad weather is forecasted. Both Medford and Yreka tend to sell out of tire chains in bad weather.

Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. The 7 Feathers Casino I 5 exit 99 has free overnight parking and a first class resort $$$ campground.
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