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Old 05-27-2018, 04:36 PM   #1
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Toronto to Los Angeles and Back, Advice needed.

Ok, so the top of my bucket list, number 1, drive to LA, and back.

So we're doing this, me and my 2 teen boys, my wife has to work and isn't to keen on such a long trip. The plan is to leave June 27 right after exams and be back by July 14. In LA, I'll be driveway camping at my buddies, he's right at 5 and the 605 in Downey. I have tickets for the LA Galaxy vs DC United MLS soccer game July 4. Can't wait.

So I think this is the worst time to go, it's going to be hot, and everything is going to be booked. We're planning on heading across 80 to San Fransisco then down to LA. I had hoped to camp at Big Sur, but the park is full. From LA, we'll head up into Vegas, yeah I was just there, but can't get enough, across 70 to Denver, then bump up to 80 and home.

We don't have any spots booked yet, I'm not to sure what to expect. I only really committed to this in the last week so am only starting to plan. If you have any advise about planning, site availability, apps, what to see or where to stop, let's hear it. I have been looking at the KOA and RVParky app and have the Delorme California Colorado and Utah atlas's as well as a US atlas. Can I expect to easily find sites to camp as I cross the US, or will I end up at Walmart.

I have a 2017 4Runner and a 2007 Escape 17B, I use a Scan Gauge to monitor tranny temps, and have am setting up a WDH to smooth out the ride. Tows really nice.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-27-2018, 04:50 PM   #2
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Ok, so the top of my bucket list, number 1, drive to LA, and back.

So we're doing this, me and my 2 teen boys, my wife has to work and isn't to keen on such a long trip. The plan is to leave June 27 right after exams and be back by July 14. In LA, I'll be driveway camping at my buddies, he's right at 5 and the 605 in Downey. I have tickets for the LA Galaxy vs DC United MLS soccer game July 4. Can't wait.

So I think this is the worst time to go, it's going to be hot, and everything is going to be booked. We're planning on heading across 80 to San Fransisco then down to LA. I had hoped to camp at Big Sur, but the park is full. From LA, we'll head up into Vegas, yeah I was just there, but can't get enough, across 70 to Denver, then bump up to 80 and home.

We don't have any spots booked yet, I'm not to sure what to expect. I only really committed to this in the last week so am only starting to plan. If you have any advise about planning, site availability, apps, what to see or where to stop, let's hear it. I have been looking at the KOA and RVParky app and have the Delorme California Colorado and Utah atlas's as well as a US atlas. Can I expect to easily find sites to camp as I cross the US, or will I end up at Walmart.

I have a 2017 4Runner and a 2007 Escape 17B, I use a Scan Gauge to monitor tranny temps, and have am setting up a WDH to smooth out the ride. Tows really nice.

Thanks in advance.
I like the Allstays app. I would also try to stop at the Welcome Center on the Interstate as you enter each state and get their camping guide for that state. The camping guides are pretty good.
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Old 05-27-2018, 06:09 PM   #3
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That is averaging 300 miles a day for the approximate 5,000 miles in 17 days. I'd suggest you get the boys some experience with towing so that the 3 of you can take turns and drive a couple of long days going and coming so that you can take a breather in LA. Good luck.
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Old 05-27-2018, 06:10 PM   #4
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We've cris-crossed N.A. many times. Never made a reservation in our life. There's always somewhere to stay. Too bad about Big Sur but not unexpected. You can always make a day stop of it and move on.

With two teenage boys there are probably worse places to have to stop than Walmart et al. That means civilization, as we know it, and malls etc. nearby. Some teenagers might like that better than being in the boonies.

Once you get past the idea of a suitable stop has to be a KOA and one has to have reservations a huge number of possibilities open up. Look at sites such as Free Camping, not to just find places that are free but also because it often includes things like county parks that are more likely not to need reservations.

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Old 05-27-2018, 07:03 PM   #5
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I agree with Ron. You can always find a place to camp, and no, it doesn't have to be a Walmart parking lot. Of course getting into some of the National Park campgrounds without a reservation way way in advance is mission impossible, but the rest will be fine. As for the 300 miles a day, it's a bit of a fast pace for us, but doable. We prefer to keep it under 200 miles unless we are in a hurry.
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Old 05-28-2018, 12:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug2000 View Post
........... We're planning on heading across 80 to San Fransisco then down to LA. I had hoped to camp at Big Sur, but the park is full. From LA,.................

From the San Francisco or Sacramento areas, you'll be using either I-5 or US-101 to get to Los Angeles; Part of CA-1 is closed down the coast from between south of Big Sur SP to San Simeon, until September at least.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:55 AM   #7
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Within California it is generally legal to park overnight along the highways as long as you’re off the road and there aren’t signs prohibiting such. Thinking of Highway 1 here in particular, along the coast. There are tons of scenic spots you can just pull off on with great views. We’ve done this many times between the Big Sur area up to the Oregon border. Free is good.
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Old 05-28-2018, 10:19 AM   #8
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Three thoughts:
1. Get the Allstays app for $10 or so. See if you can get the teens acclimated to it.
2. Make sure your three trailer tires are in excellent shape and not aged out. You’ll be doing a lot of high speed driving in warm to very hot weather. Blow-outs can be very expensive.
3. Your return trip will be the week of July 4, which is one of the busiest vacationing weekends of the year. Consider making reservations that week through Sunday as you’re driving to see where you think you’ll get to each night. The heat can be stifling until you get back North or get some elevation.
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Old 05-28-2018, 10:42 AM   #9
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Get yourself a weather radio and leave it on, you will be driving through tornado alley going and coming....
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Old 05-28-2018, 08:08 PM   #10
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No single resource is totally comprehensive, so I have used a combo of Allstays and freecampsites.net for several years. But this spring I've warmed up to Ultimate Campgrounds as a replacement to Allstays because (in a search I'm now doing for an area in west Michigan) it has many campsite listings I haven't seen anywhere else.

I-80? Try to go through Chicago at night, the traffic is horrible!! Maybe you could spend your first night at Indiana Dunes or at the LaPorte County (Indiana) Fairgrounds, then depart the CG at 5 a.m. to beat the commuters. That would be about 800 km for your first day.

Second day, if that's an acceptable driving distance, maybe you'll make it to around Omaha, Nebraska. If not, I see plenty of small municipal CGs and county parks, plus a couple of state parks, not far off I-80 all the way through Iowa. So just decide how many miles you prefer to drive per day, figure in stops for any sights, attractions or detours you wish to make, and use the online and app resources to gather a small list of "possibles" near the expected finish point for each day. As you get close you could start calling places to verify that they have room, or simply drive in and see; if one happens to have filled, try the next "possible" down the line. (I don't have any scenic or interesting sights to recommend along I-80, but maybe others do.)
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