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Old 02-19-2021, 01:08 PM   #1
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Late March Travel from Oregon to AZ

I'm planning our first road trip with our 30' 2004 Brave. We want to go from the Portland Oregon area, to Phoenix, then back to Oregon. Leaving March 20th and returning March 31st.

There are many different routes to take. (I5, 101, 84E-93S or I15S)

Is this the best place to ask for recommendations or should I ask in the A-Class section or somewhere else?
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Old 02-19-2021, 05:01 PM   #2
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Can't help with the route, but I can comment on freezing. There is a small chance of overnight freezing temps along this route. I wouldn't worry about freezing while stopped for the night, but if you leave early the next morning in 25 degree temps the 65 mph winds can quickly freeze exposed piping.

I would opt for a low elevation route. Stopping overnight at higher elevations can result in low temps. I use this site for planning: https://weatherspark.com/

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Old 02-19-2021, 05:54 PM   #3
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If my intent was to take that trip with the easiest and fastest route, I would think the choices are I-5 -- I-10, or I-84 to I-15 to Las Vegas and then US-93 to Phoenix. The I-84/I-15 route looks to be about 120-130 miles longer

With those choices I would take the I-84/I-15 route. I wouldn't want to go through Los Angeles.

While you could have small chance of snow on the I-84/I-15 route it should be a very small chance that late in the winter season. I would keep a close eye on the weather though.
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Old 02-19-2021, 06:13 PM   #4
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wouldn't worry about freezing while stopped for the night, but if you leave early the next morning in 25 degree temps the 65 mph winds can quickly freeze exposed piping.
This would not be a worry for me now that I own a Class A, nor back when I owned a Class C, nor even with any of the three travel trailers I owned previously. It’s not even something I’ve ever heard anyone speak of as a concern.

Are you sure this is a thing? Maybe with pop up trailers?
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Old 02-19-2021, 06:24 PM   #5
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leaving March 20th and returning March 31st.
For 11-days out and back, at that time of year you will need to get far south as fast as possible.

It will be iffy camping weather all the way to the desert southwest. AZ above Sedona doesn’t open until later in May.

Phoenix should be very warm but not too hot.

If that’s the only time you can go then so be it, but if you could delay the start for 45-days you’d probably be happier.
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Old 02-19-2021, 07:25 PM   #6
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I would take I-5 to a bit past Redding CA. That puts you in the Central Valley which typically has better weather and fewer snow and freeze issues. Then down to Bakersfield and across US58 across, skipping LA.
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Old 02-24-2021, 06:49 PM   #7
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Be sure to at least overnight- if not 2 at Seven Feathers!
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Old 02-24-2021, 06:58 PM   #8
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Subscribing because we want to make the reverse of that trip this spring, from Tucson to Portland and back. Never drove it before, always flew but retired now.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:18 PM   #9
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Having made that trip multiple times in our 2010 VIA, I would agree that the I-5/I-10 is the most straightforward. At 1300+ miles (one way) however, you need to consider how much driving you want to do on a daily basis, given that you are talking about 11 days total. Unless you want to drive 400+ miles/day, that won't give you much time in Phoenix. As of December 2020 (our last RV trip to Anza Borrego), US 99 is much better condition than I-5 south of Sacramento, which had deteriorated so badly that we stopped using it after 2018. (Maybe it's been repaired since.) Nearly all of the state, county, and regional campgrounds closed in December, as did many private RV parks -- they should have reopened by now, but you should check about the I-10 corridor. As to driving in LA, I find it exciting having lived there for 40 years, but avoid rush hours (6-10 AM and 3-7PM) for the major intersections. You can avoid the I-5 downtown by using the 210. Finally, one of the major concerns for larger RVs in the Spring and Fall on both Tejon Pass and in the Cochella Valley is wind. You would want to plan ahead for that possibility. Enjoy!
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:24 PM   #10
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Subscribing because we want to make the reverse of that trip this spring, from Tucson to Portland and back. Never drove it before, always flew but retired now.
A great route in the spring is to work your way over to US-395 in southern Calif and follow it up to just north of Lakeview OR, then pickup SR-31 to US-97. From there take US-97 to Bend then US-20 to Sisters, OR and on to pick up SR-22 to Salem, OR and then I-5 to Portland.

Take about 10 days to 3 weeks (or a month or two) for the trip. Lots of stuff for sightseeing along US-395.

Much more enjoyable if you dry camp/boondock. Lots of BLM campgrounds, State Parks, National Forest campgrounds and lots of Boondocking along this route.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:49 PM   #11
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Much of the worries of the trip will depend on your experience as it can change the plan in less than 24 hours!
Since you are asking and you mention it being the first road trip, I would call this a risky idea, simply because of the unknowns involved. Small things can ruin your day in hurry, so I might mention a few that new folks may overlook. Weather in the spring is very volatile and that can go double for the higher elevations like passes which are hard to avoid if you've driven a few hundred miles in some direction only to catch the local forecast for 8 inches of snow as you get above 3000 feet and you are looking at a 5000 foot pass! Check the height of passes on any chosen route. They often do clear them good but you may have to wait at times.
I consider myself to be from cold country and I have driven lots of big work trucks in the worst weather but there were a lot of new experiences when I first drove I 80 West in late September a few years back! Small thing like how early in the season folks closed down the RV park and went down lower was a real surprise. Being a Northern guy but not a high elevation guy made it a real shock! Learning to work the question as an elevation thing, rather than a North/South thing took some guessing! LA traffic is a piece of cake compared to some of the other problems you may find.
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Old 02-25-2021, 02:47 PM   #12
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We are making the opposite trip at the end of April continuing to Seattle. The portion to Portland for us is 4 days averaging over 5.5 hours of driving a day. Not sure how much experience you have driving an RV but we try to limit our trips in a Class C Outlook to 4 to 6 hours. We are traveling a month later taking I-10 and I-5 for two reasons. First to minimize the winter weather over the high passes and second because many of the RV parks aren't open in March. Good luck on your trip and be sure to schedule your stops in advance.
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:50 PM   #13
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Even in March, everything may depend on the conditions at a few passes: Siskiyou and Grapevine in I-5; Mecham on I-84, Donner on I-80, several passes and long lonely stretches on 26/20/95 via Las Vegas. The latter route is almost as fast as I-5/I-10, and can be interesting if you've never done it and don't mind 2-lane roads.
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Old 02-28-2021, 02:44 PM   #14
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Even in March, everything may depend on the conditions at a few passes: Siskiyou and Grapevine in I-5; Mecham on I-84, Donner on I-80, several passes and long lonely stretches on 26/20/95 via Las Vegas. The latter route is almost as fast as I-5/I-10, and can be interesting if you've never done it and don't mind 2-lane roads.
The 26/20/95 via Las Vegas route: Is that SR-26 from Portland to Madras, then US-97 to Bend where you pick up US-20 to Burns, then SR-78 to US95 which you follow to Las Vegas?

We have driven that route from Las Vegas to Portland and it is an enjoyable leisurely drive in mostly wide open western country. Great open views. I suggest taking that route if you have the time to drive about 300 miles, or less, a day. All good 2 lane highways.
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Old 02-28-2021, 06:14 PM   #15
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Alternate routes to Phoenix

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Originally Posted by al1florida View Post
The 26/20/95 via Las Vegas route: Is that SR-26 from Portland to Madras, then US-97 to Bend where you pick up US-20 to Burns, then SR-78 to US95 which you follow to Las Vegas?

We have driven that route from Las Vegas to Portland and it is an enjoyable leisurely drive in mostly wide open western country. Great open views. I suggest taking that route if you have the time to drive about 300 miles, or less, a day. All good 2 lane highways.



Yes. Another alternate route some map programs suggest is via Salem and Highway 22, but 22 is narrow and slow.
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Old 03-01-2021, 05:39 AM   #16
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Yes. Another alternate route some map programs suggest is via Salem and Highway 22, but 22 is narrow and slow.
My personal choice would be to take Hwy 22 instead of fighting all the city stop and go traffic on hwy 26 through Portland up past Mt Hood. Time wise it might be the same from Portland to Bend on either route.
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Old 03-01-2021, 02:01 PM   #17
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Yes. Going during kid's spring break.

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Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
For 11-days out and back, at that time of year you will need to get far south as fast as possible.

It will be iffy camping weather all the way to the desert southwest. AZ above Sedona doesn’t open until later in May.

Phoenix should be very warm but not too hot.

If that’s the only time you can go then so be it, but if you could delay the start for 45-days you’d probably be happier.
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Old 03-01-2021, 05:25 PM   #18
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I'm guessing you need to take the RV to social distance from the folks you are visiting.

However if that is not a problem, have you thought about flying?

My calculations show the gas at $3.00/gallon is about $1100 round trip. (1300 miles divided by 7.5mph* gas price for each way) Plus the cost of RV parks and food for the trip.

I checked Southwest Airline and tickets are available for $150-$170 going to Portland & as low as $88 to $100 coming back.

Driving 450-500 miles a day in an RV is very tiring for the driver. Plan on at least a 10 hour travel day including stops for food and bathroom brakes. Plus the setup break down time at the RV park.
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Old 03-02-2021, 11:48 AM   #19
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No doubt, this plan might be a little crazy. I really appreciate everyone's thoughts.

We are a 4-person family with a puppy. Our youngest is 8 and he is autistic. That can mean a lot of different things. Our particular fella is wonderful, fun, sweet, and full of joy. He is also non-verbal, not potty-trained (same for the puppy so-far), and a sensory seeker (very busy). He (Josh) is accustomed to the routine of sitting in a vehicle, in his car seat, strapped-in, and actually enjoys the changing scenery.

Some aspects of flying might be asking a lot of him. He is a trooper and works hard to cope with difficulties that most children never have to consider and we are accustomed to his frustrations when he is unable to tell us how he feels or understand our explanations. However, it would potentially be very uncomfortable for others and that would make us/him uncomfortable.

I don't want miss out the fun of travel to visit friends and family. For the kids, the motorhome journey is also part of the adventure. As long as I can mitigate problems, safely transport us, not put us in dangerous situations, and solve issues with a spirit of competent adventure... the worse of the traveling will be on me, driving (and the gas$).

My parents, sister, niece, & nephew live in Indiana. I've not taken the family there since before Josh. My mother's family gathers in North Carolina every 4th of July. I used to go every year but have not for nearly 10-years now.

I have a summer sabbatical planned with 4-weeks set-aside for a road trip. The plan is to take a week getting to Indiana, spend 2-weeks out that way, with a jaunt to North Carolina... then spend another week returning home, including a visit with friends in Montana.

Our closest friends just moved to the Phoenix area. I was thinking that this trip to AZ would help us set our expectations, shake-out the RV, and give us ideas of how to better prepare for the summer trip.

In 2017, we rented a 36' class-C for a Christmas trip to Disneyland. In late December, I drove our minivan to Redding, where the RV was. We spent a night in the RV, then left our van in Redding, driving the RV from Redding to Disneyland. We stayed there for 6-days and did the reverse.

I chose to pick-up the RV in Redding to make sure we would have less problems with the pass in the winter. If I recall, the pass happened to be clear and probably wouldn't have been a problem, but this was the safer trade-off.

This is a wonderful owners forum. The helpfulness is like nothing I've ever seen. I think this is just how the RV lifestyle and it's people are... helpful.

I'm considering altering the plans to maybe just go to San Fran, or something, and have our friends meet us there if they want. Maybe AZ and back in 11-days is asking for too much adventure. That is why I'm trying to understand the various routes.

Thanks again, everyone, for all of this great advice.

Mark

Quote:
Originally Posted by al1florida View Post
I'm guessing you need to take the RV to social distance from the folks you are visiting.

However if that is not a problem, have you thought about flying?

My calculations show the gas at $3.00/gallon is about $1100 round trip. (1300 miles divided by 7.5mph* gas price for each way) Plus the cost of RV parks and food for the trip.

I checked Southwest Airline and tickets are available for $150-$170 going to Portland & as low as $88 to $100 coming back.

Driving 450-500 miles a day in an RV is very tiring for the driver. Plan on at least a 10 hour travel day including stops for food and bathroom brakes. Plus the setup break down time at the RV park.
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Old 03-02-2021, 01:10 PM   #20
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Hi Mark,
I believe you hit the nail on the head with your logic. Most people on this forum bought a motorhome because it isn't just the destination; it's the journey. I never go anywhere without my dog Grace, so I think I understand how you feel.
I would offer a second vote for staying at Seven Feathers on I-5 in Canyonville, Oregon. It is a very well-kept RV park.
Many blessings to you and your family.
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