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Old 12-09-2013, 03:15 PM   #1
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Boondocking between LA and SF?

Anyone got any easy off I5 spots for between LA and San Francisco? I was thinking of checking out Pinnacles National Monument and I could just stay in the campground but I'm not getting out of LA until late.

Any suggestions appreciated. I think I can get about halfway once I get out of Santa Ana where Deaver is putting my new springs on
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:22 PM   #2
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Re: Boondocking between LA and SF?

There is a campground just 5 mi off I5 at Lake Webb - here (35.227293,-119.261841). It's between Bakersfield and Taft. Take 119 west off I5.

The only other one I can think of is at San Luis Reservoir west of Los Banos. It's past the turn for Pinnacles but much closer to I5.
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Old 12-09-2013, 09:15 PM   #3
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Re: Boondocking between LA and SF?

If you were thinking of going up 101 towards Pinnacles, take a look at Williams Hill Rec Area (west of San Ardo). Free BLM camping and the night sky should be pretty good up there.
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:55 AM   #4
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Re: Boondocking between LA and SF?

We were hiking at Pinnacles last year around Thanksgiving and the campground looked fairly full.
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:06 AM   #5
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Re: Boondocking between LA and SF?

A bit farther south: Gorman/Hungry Valley State Recreational Vehicle Area. A few places in the Los Padres National Forest as well...
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:10 PM   #6
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Re: Boondocking between LA and SF?

Well not boon dock but Los Banos creek rec area is less used than San Luis. Neither have premium campgrounds IMO. George Hatfield SRA is much nicer and fairly close to I-5 but I just don't know if it has re-opened the camping so you would have to call. Caswell SRA isn't too far from I-5 either and is usually void of people. Highway 33 is kind of like a California version of route 66 and comes close to Caswell. If you camp down south and make the trip to the bay area a two day event, coupling Santa Fe Grade road out of Los Banos and north-west through the wetlands is a neat route. Then hook up with 33 to Hatfield or Caswell.
A stop at the Wool Growers in Los Banos is... well a different experiance as far as a dinner stop.

I'd say in a mad dash to SF the quickest and easiest stop after dark would be San Louis. When I did my Deaver's, I stayed at Castaic Lake (heading south). The ranger told me to stealth camp at the fishing access. He might have pulled one on me because at midnight these huge lights kicked on and the people started coming in to fish. It was hard to sleep with all the noise but that was in springtime. There is a campground there but I don't know how much it cost. Gorman is probably better...I'm not sure.

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Old 12-13-2013, 08:02 AM   #7
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Re: Boondocking between LA and SF?

My rig is at Deavers now.... will note these places for the drive home.
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:26 AM   #8
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Re: Boondocking between LA and SF?

I ended up slinking off the interstate and hiding in a citrus grove. But thanks for all the info and glad if it can help anyone else out. I'm heading back to AZ today but hopefully making it a little further into the Mojave somewhere.
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