View Full Version : Updated Traveling West

Jay Bird
02-09-2012, 03:08 AM
Rosetta and I are traveling west this spring. For those of you who have traveled from AZ to CA what route do you recommend from Phoenix, AZ to Dixon, CA (a little SW of Sacramento). The route does not have to be on the interstate all the way. Plus recommended campgrounds along the route would be appreciated.

02-09-2012, 05:37 AM
George and Rosetta, I would highly recommend US 395 in California, up to Carson City, then US 50 west from there. I am assuming Dixon is that little town west of Sacramento and east of Davis? US 395 is not a tough drive at all. Easy tow but beautiful scenery.

Also, if early in the Spring, I'd recommend at the very least you travel through Death Valley NP. Spend some time there if you can. But keep in mind May is definitely NOT the time to be there. We did it one May and it was 114 degrees. Also keep in mind there is a tough grade going up out of DV going west. We did it just fine at that high temperature so you can, too. I'm not sure what April is like in DV but maybe someone else can tell you. Same for March.

Anyhow, we took US395 north from the west side of DV, near Lone Pine. It's a beautiful drive from there to Carson City. Also, Carson City is very near Lake Tahoe, another good place to visit. There are tons of other places to visit along that route, too. Manzanar National Historic Site, a Japanese Interment site from WWII is right next to US395. And, of course, Yosemite is close as is June Lake and other sites.

If you can avoid CA interstates, that's a good thing. They are very rough in that state. That's the only time we've had our steps come down on their own while traveling. Twice. Both times on CA interstates.

Capt Kidd
02-09-2012, 05:41 AM
Hey Jay Bird, depending on where in AZ you are coming from either I-40, I-10, or I-8 are all good. Once you get to CA if you want to avoid LA consider going north on Hyw 395 to Reno, NV then I-80 to Dixon, Or if the weather is not great take I-40 to Barstow, CA then hyw 58 to Bakersfield then I-80 or Hyw 99 north to Dixon.

Going thru the LA area on the interstates is not too bad depending on the time of day say 10 am to 3 pm.

Also if you have lots of time you can go from the LA area up Hyw 10 thru Paso Robles to the SF bay area then I-80 north to Dixon.

Most all of the ways to get to Dixon are no big deal it just depends on what you want to see and how long you have to do it.

02-09-2012, 07:05 AM
If you are looking for a place to spend the night or a couple of days, Ozz and I both would recommend the Saddle Mountain RV Resort in Tonopah, AZ just a little west of Phoenix on I-10. Great park with plenty of pull thru's if you want to just stop overnight. Great views from most every outer rim site if you want to stay a couple of days. In our site we have a view of a different mountain out every window. The last park we were in we had a great view of Class A's out two windows and a 5th wheel was out the back window and we were out his. Quite a difference.

02-09-2012, 07:40 AM
I lived in Placerville, CA for 20 years. Call me and we'll talk about the area.

02-09-2012, 09:46 AM
You don't mention if you are slow-boating or fast-tracking. The fastest route would be I-10W to SR 71NW to I210W to I-5N to I-80W to Dixon. While this is mostly Interstates (which are rough driving), it does skirt parts of L.A. and could be in real bad traffic.

The SR395 route (I-10W to I-215N to I-15N to SR395N to SR-50W OR I-80W) is a little longer but the traffic is a lot less and the scenery FAR better plus there's plenty to stop and see if you are not in a hurry. Capt Kidd has some great ideas to avoid L.A. (the Paso Robles route is the longest).

A middle of the road route would be to use SR395N to SR58W then catch SR99N (avoiding the scenery of the Eastern Sierras. SR99N parallels I-5N and includes many towns and if you are inclined to stop along the way, like others have mentioned there are the National Parks and Forests to the distant East. Other than Yosemite, they are tough to get to towing a trailer and even Yosemite is a tough tow and requires advanced reservations to visit with a trailer. That time of year will have some snow in the higher mountain elevations and some road closures because of it.

Like Steve (Riegle) mentioned, taking the SR395 route north to Lake Tahoe, Manzanar (historical Japanese internment camp) is just a few miles north of Lone Pine. If you do take this route I also recommend a stop in Bishop about 60 miles north from Lone Pine to the Schat's bakery for outstanding breads, pastries and food. Pretty much each town along SR395 has its road as the trailhead for some very steep climbs into the Eastern Sierra but they'll probably be closed because of snow.

There's so much more info to provide but I'll stop here, since you don't mention how much time your allowing for stops or what kinds of things you like to do. You will find that California is a very long state north and south and about as wide as Arizona or New Mexico. Staying below 5,000 ft and you'll miss most road closures due to snow.

Sounds like it's gonna be a fun trip!

Jay Bird
02-09-2012, 10:49 AM
Thanks to all for the information. Travel time depends on our start date from home. If we leave on the date I have scheduled, it will be a moderately slow trip. If we start later the trip from Phoenix to Dixon will be fast track. However, we are planning a return trip and if we did not get to see some of the places on the way out we can hit some of them on our return trip. Thanks again.

02-09-2012, 11:25 AM
Bet that 450 is just sitting out there singing "ain't no mountain high enough".

Jay Bird
02-09-2012, 11:57 AM

You could not have been more correct