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Old 01-14-2023, 08:44 PM   #1
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Traveling Hwy 101 NorCal Southbound

I had a question for anyone. Still pretty new to this but, I am planning a trip and want to know if anyone has any experience driving southbound from the oregon into california on Hwy 101. My destination will be monterrey and I have a 40 ft 5th wheel. Is this a big rig friendly hwy from Oregon border into/around Monterrey.

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Old 01-14-2023, 08:50 PM   #2
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There are a couple of places where 101 becomes 2 lane and twisty through the Redwood Forest. Otherwise it is mostly 4 lane. Plenty of big RV rigs and 18 wheelers go through daily.
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Old 01-14-2023, 09:01 PM   #3
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Your 40' Montana will be fine on 101 all the way down to the Bay Area. It then goes over the Golden Gate Bridge (scenic for sure) and though the downtown streets of San Francisco. Doable if you are up to it, but it is busy. You might consider jumping over to the East side of the bay at San Rafael and taking 580 South to San Jose (busy but freeway) where you can get back on 101.

Either route works, it mainly depends on your courage and sense of adventure. Below S.F. or San Jose, 101 is fine to Monterey.
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Old 01-15-2023, 09:51 AM   #4
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@Carl n Susana Thank you for the reply! I originally wanted to take Hwy 1, but after researching and looking at maps it did not look big rig friendly. Thanks for confirming hwy 101!!!
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Old 01-15-2023, 09:51 AM   #5
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@Hblick48 Thank you for your insight. We will be taking Hwy 101!!!
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Old 01-19-2023, 08:23 PM   #6
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We live in SoCal and go to NorCal often and have taken 101 to Bodega Bay (west of Santa Rosa) as recently as late Dec, 2022. Also visited SF without the 5th wheel attached while in the area. A couple of watch outs:

Would recommend taking the 580 bridge as recommended and take the route along the Fremont side of the bay to avoid the Golden Gate. The SF streets are narrow and pretty short between a few stop lights.

There is also road construction going along the 101 near King City where itís down to one lane both N and S. Itís been that way for a couple years. Itís perfectly doable but does have the concrete barriers on both sides with no shoulder for about 1/2 mile. The bridge near town is a gentle turn but had those barriers on the shoulder lines in Dec. Just slow down (like the big rigs going about 40 mph) and make sure you stay centered. You can bypass the town with side roads but I donít have any knowledge or experience of exits and what the roads are like. Alt way is to take the 5 and cut over to 101 at the 5/41 by heading to Paso Robles. The 41 will merge with the 46.

From 101 to Monterey is all good, two lane highway but check with your hosts that roads are open as the recent rains flooded some roads. Probably drained by now but have no info on damage. Weíve stayed at a few RV parks in the area.

Happy and safe travels!
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Old 01-22-2023, 02:33 PM   #7
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Stay away from SF

Any way you can go BUT through San Francisco. 101 gets dumped onto city streets with detours, tight turns, heavy traffic with the worlds most impatient drivers.

Find a route to 680, 680 turns into 280 at 101, take 101 South, Stay on that until you reach 156. That's the easiest way.

Another route is to take 280 to 17. Take 17 to Santa Cruz. Take Hwy 1 south from Santa Cruz all the way to Monterey.

There are several other routes but while they are scenic they are not big rig friendly.

We've taken most of them anyway.
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Old 01-23-2023, 04:11 PM   #8
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Not the big rig friendliest drive, but definitely doable.

We travelled the route 2 years ago. This is how we handled the Bay Area. Stayed in Sonoma Saturday night. Got up early Sun morning, and left around 7. Drove through SF with no problems. Beautiful drive going over the bridge and through Golden Gate Park. Stayed on Hwy 1 to Half Moon Bay. Then down to Santa Cruz. You can then stay on Hwy 1 down to Monterey. Our only negative was arriving at Half Moon State Park at 12:30. The ranger had a hissy fit, since check in is 2 LOL. But it worked out.
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