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Old 02-18-2019, 07:36 PM   #1
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Looking into doing West Coast in April.

Have a 2005 GMC 3500 EB SMB permanent raised roof with about 99,000 miles and with Quigley 4x4. Planning to spend a few or so weeks perking up the west coast in April from southern CA to Seattle. Enjoy spending some time driving primitive roads, hopefully with some interesting stops or views, that might require 4x4 (H or L) but with such a big rig not a real rugged road or a true off-road. (Besides, we are over ¾ century old.) Suggestions?
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:27 AM   #2
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Sounds like a nice trip. You might post this in Meetups and Trip Reports.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:00 AM   #3
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Benchmark Atlas is the way to go. The paved roads clearly show solid red and you can see all kinds of secondary roads. The heavy red dotted lines are the better of the dirt roads and in my experience they are pretty well maintained. The lighter/skinnier dotted red lines show the more challenging roads that are pretty much OK. The really light dotted red lines are probably the roads you won't want to take. Just a suggestion but I have my CA Benchmark out for a trip to Death Valley in March and it's just better at showing easier to harder roads than the DeLorme Atlas'.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:04 AM   #4
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Yep, as Marret suggested start a thread and also read up in the meet ups/trip reports section. Lots and lots of trip reports from out there.

Looking for nature and less people or some of the touristy stops?
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:06 PM   #5
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If you are thinking about going up the center and coastal regions of California; Once you get out of southern California, there are a few interesting fire and forest roads, campgrounds north of Ventura, in the Los Padres National Forest, that exit terra firma from Hwy 33. Pismo Beach offers a unique place to camp and use that 4x4 lever and skills with little chance of getting stranded (Lots of potential help to pull you out of a rut, if you happen to get your camper stuck). Morro Bay, Cayucos, and Cambria offer nice coastal views and camping spots. Bypass the Bay Area, not much offroading or camping opportunities there

There are quite a few interesting forest service roads through northern California, that might be worth a couple days of exploring. We've gotten off-road starting at the north side of Indian Reservoir and unimproved camping at Hough Springs, which is north of Clear Lake. We've stayed mostly on dirt around Lake Pillsbury, over Hull Mountain, and up through Mina, the tiny town of Kettenpom. The trinity and mendicino forests lie between Interstate 5 and 101. Nothing too tough, fireroads and such definitely off the beaten path.
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Old 03-03-2019, 07:50 PM   #6
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Southern WA coast

Most of the Oregon Coast beaches are off limits to vehicles. But once you hit the southern Washington coast at Long Beach you can drive 20 miles or so of the beach there. You can't camp on the beach, but you can park/stealth camp (lots of folks do) just off the beaches on the access roads. I like the road at Seaview best. Order the clam chowder at the Long Beach Tavern. More of a local place than a tourist spot. And the bakery downtown has a great selection of pastries, plus breakfast sandwich sort of stuff.
And when in Astoria, before you cross into Washington, go to the Bowpicker for fish and chips. Instead of a food truck it is a an outdoor food boat in a parking lot right off the main street. Delicious albacore tuna. The place is hugely popular.
It is a long run from here in Idaho, but we go down every year. Cape Disappointment is a huge yet nice WA State Park right at the mouth of the Columbia River.
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Old 03-03-2019, 08:37 PM   #7
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If driving Hwy 1 up through Big Sur toward Carmel the “Old Coast Road” is a great detour that takes you inland a bit on an old dirt road. Worth a drive IMO.
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Old 03-04-2019, 06:32 PM   #8
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We live in Seattle and travel to the SW frequently. Although most of our dirt road adventures are in Nevada and Utah there are worthy destinations in the PNW as well. A few worthy spots might include; Harts Pass Road out of Mazama, WA with an option to descend to Slate Creek (although this is a dead end road). Harts Pass is the highest road in WA state. Get a Gazeteer and follow FS roads to Concunully, Sinlahekin Road, eventually find your way to Molson, WA via Nine Mile Road which skirts the Canadian border. You can't go wrong driving northern WA towards Pend Orielle County.
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Old 03-04-2019, 06:34 PM   #9
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Agreed, Benchmark is much better than DeLorme.
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