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Old 12-30-2010, 02:58 PM   #1
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Need a little advice on S. Cal and Ca./Or. Coast

So we're pretty much decided that we need a little break and plan on driving to S. California near the end of January, stay a while and drive up the 101 on the way home. Unless the weather would be too bad that time of year.

We want to blast down I-5, take the girls to see Mickey for a couple of days (is that enough? we've never been), see an old friend in Murrieta Hot Springs and take our time getting home. We're taking the pop up and the van.
Is camping on the coast that time of year OK?

What kind of weather can we expect ?

Should we wait until later in the year?

Any recomended locations?

Thanks, Bob
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:08 PM   #2
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Re: Need a little advice on S. Cal and Ca./Or. Coast

My wife and I are driving up the California coast Mid-May. I asked the same questions you did, only I did it by PM to Forum members in cities all along the coast. I received great responses from everyone. Too bad I didn't do it in a post so you would already have your answers.

In an nutshell the answers were that the weather changes significantly along the coast and could be good one day and bad the next. Could be clear or foggy. If foggy, it could be clear 10 miles down the road. If sunny it could be cloudy later in the day. In other words . . . you get what you get. So bring the sun and rain gear. However, all were in agreement that the best odds of great weather for such a trip is October.

Also, there are lots of wonderful places to see along the way. Here's the list I was given:

From S to N (roughly):
*
La Purisima
Jalama Beach
Guadalupe Dunes
Village of Arroyo Grande
Avila Beach
See Canyon/Prefumo Canyon
Downtown San Luis Obispo (Thursday night Farmerís Market; but be careful b/c youíll want to move here.)
Morro Rock
Morro Beach
Cambria
Hearst Castle (if you like arts and artifacts, plan on spending all day there)
Wineries in Templeton and Paso Robles
The Old Coast Road
Nacimiento-Ferguson Road
Pfeiffer Big Sur Park
Nepenthe
Palo Colorado to Botcherís Gap
Carmel Valley Road
Tassajara Hot Springs
Monterey Bay Aquarium
*
I can add to the list is your SMB is 4x4:
Refugio Road (Regan Ranch is along there)
El Camino Cielo
Figueroa Mountain Road (Neverland Ranch is along there)
Hi Mountain Road
Hi Mountain Lookout Road
Oceano Dunes
Pozo


I was told the views are better North to South, so we changed our plans and will start at the top and end at Santa Barbara rather than the other way around. We've decided to stop at Yosemite and Sportsmobile West on the way out to the coast.

Hope this helps,

Mac
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:02 PM   #3
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Re: Need a little advice on S. Cal and Ca./Or. Coast

Quote:
Is camping on the coast that time of year OK?
Wet.

Quote:
What kind of weather can we expect ?
Wet.

Quote:
Should we wait until later in the year?
Yes, if you can, wait until April/May.

If you do come in Jan, Hwy 101 is more of a sure thing than I-5, which can be shut down for snow/ice. On the coast it's usually just wind and rain.
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:39 PM   #4
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Re: Need a little advice on S. Cal and Ca./Or. Coast

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If you do come in Jan, Hwy 101 is more of a sure thing than I-5, which can be shut down for snow/ice. On the coast it's usually just wind and rain.
While it is possible for I-5 to be shut down by snow over the "Grapevine" between Bakersfield and Los Angeles, the more likely problem is fog in the Central Valley. Don't expect to be able to drive early in the morning or late in the evening but the fog normally dissipates enough by mid-morning to drive safely. Weather maps will show the fog which can extend from south of Sacramento to south of Bakersfield.

Yes, two days is enough at Disneyland if you get to the park early each day. Get park hoppers tickets and start in Disneyland but immediately go to your most wanted attraction (Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones, etc.) and get fast passes for the family. Later, take everyone's entry tickets and go over to California Adventure and get fast passes for California Soaring. That way, you can bounce back and forth between the two parks without spending a lot of time in lines. PM me if you need more suggestions. (We go every year and were there earlier this month.)

How old are your girls? The Big Sur coast can be boring for young ones (but amazing for the rest of us). If they are 10 years or older, Hearst Castle can be interesting to see how the rich spent their money. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is great. In San Francisco, consider visiting Alcatraz...while it seems weird, it is very interesting to visit solitary confinement, the exercise yard you saw in the "Escape from Alcatraz" movie, etc. Chinatown is also great to visit.

Yes, it will be wet in Northern California... expect rain 3-4 days per week in January but that shouldn't keep you from having a great time! Besides, the campgrounds (if open) will have more open spaces! But, you might check state parks for open campsites and plan accordingly...
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:48 PM   #5
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Re: Need a little advice on S. Cal and Ca./Or. Coast

Although I haven't been there since the 60's, a buddy of mine said he enjoyed Knox Berry Farm as much as D-land. He said it has thrilling rides. Has that place been upgraded that much? I hated it as a kid but things change I guess.
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:09 PM   #6
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Re: Need a little advice on S. Cal and Ca./Or. Coast

I loved it as a kid in the 1950s (before D-land) when it really was a "ghost town". But it has, in my opinion, lost its niche as it has tried to match D-land and the other "thrill-ride" park. But kids today don't see the nostalgia of Knott's....
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:22 PM   #7
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Re: Need a little advice on S. Cal and Ca./Or. Coast

Its nice here during January, well its actually quite nice through out the year. I guess that's why we live here in So Cal Disneyland and California Adventure is quite doable in 2 days. I don't really recommend Knots Berry Farm. It has definitely changed the last few years, not too kid friendly IMO (lots of unsupervised hoodlums roaming around). You can probably find lots of campsites available by the beach, since its not peak season. Let me know when you have a solid date for D-land, maybe we can meet up, we have a annual passes. Too bad you guys aren't here sooner. My sister is an RN for D-land and could have got you and 2 other guest for free. She just gave her 2 weeks notice before the holidays.
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:13 PM   #8
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Re: Need a little advice on S. Cal and Ca./Or. Coast

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Originally Posted by surfgeek33
I don't really recommend Knots Berry Farm. It has definitely changed the last few years, not too kid friendly IMO (lots of unsupervised hoodlums roaming around).
Oh yeah, that's how it's spelled Well I still like the jelly
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:29 PM   #9
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Re: Need a little advice on S. Cal and Ca./Or. Coast

Expect 40-45F and wet on the northern Oregon coast. Warmer later in the spring, but very likely wet through June. Still things to do and see, but odds are it will be cool and wet.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:41 PM   #10
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Re: Need a little advice on S. Cal and Ca./Or. Coast

The advice re. park hopping and fast passes in Disney are spot on. Two days is perfect for Disneyland. Disney World requires one to two weeks.

I have driven the coast from Canada to San Diego and I would suggest some other time of the year. As has been said, you will have variable weather, but that is assuming no systems are coming through. If we get a big slow system, or a series of systems, you could have pouring rain for days on end. We are in a La Nina year, which typically have dryer than average winters, however a different phenomenon has moved the jet stream further south than La Nina usually allows. This added phenomenon usually looses its effect in January. We have had a wetter than average winter so far (very wet in fact-it has been like an El Nino winter thus far), yet I have read that climatologists still predict below average precipitation by the time the wet season ends. Still, you can never predict winter weather here with much accuracy beyond a couple of days. In the dry season, you can depend on constant changes between sun and fog on the coast. Spring and early fall are much quieter than summer.

I love the string of small wooded mountain lakes about 4 miles from the coast in the Florence, OR area. I also enjoy the hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore. Your SMB is ideal for a section known as the Lost Coast. CA state route 1 veers away from the coast for a hundred or so miles north of Fort Bragg and coast access is by more minor roads. Below is a short thread on the Lost Coast, but I would recommend additional research. Good Luck. Be safe and have fun.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=5874
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