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Ca to Me in March, what route would you take?


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Im hoping to benefit from the wisdom and experience of those of you that have zigzagged around this country with your OTT in tow...

We are headed from the Bay Area in California  back to Maine sometime close to the end of March.. The hope is to move along at a pretty good clip, but taking a day off here and there .

while I’m comfortable calculating weather related risks East of the Mississippi, I’ve no experience with traveling in the West during that time of year. Would it be prudent to loop south on Rt10 until we can pick up Rt20 to Dallas, and just keep easing to the Northeast through Little Rock and on to Nashville?

Thanks in advance!

Mark & Deb..2020 Elite II..Dearie..Hull #685..2016 Tundra

 

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By the end of March even interstate 70 through the western mountains should be OK.  Yes, there can be late winter storms there but that section through Vail pass is very well traveled.  However, chains just might still be required even without snow - I'd check on that before I left.

The only problem that I've heard of regarding interstate 10 is that it is very rough in certain areas, and, of course, it is a longer drive.

Good luck!

Bill

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We travel I-10 west from San Antonio to AZ and southern CA all the time.  Roads are good and not much traffic.  I’d monitor the weather and if it looks like there might be some winter weather on the northern route I’d drop south and go I-10/I-20 or even I-40.

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As Mike said I-10 and pretty much all of the main roads of TX - are a cut above. There are a few spots that  can  get dicey - same for I-40, but most of the time - good travel. But if it was me - I would would consider I-70 - absent a big spring storm -  its a decent drive. East of Missouri - I have no experience - Good travels.  

Then again - off the main routes- creative paths are always interesting. I have found some of the  coolest places - in places I wasn't headed. Just head easterly, eventually you end up at the destination - and have more fun.

RB

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Back when I was driving with my dad, (decades ago), if forecasts were iffy, we dropped down and went through Texas, in winer and spring. 

It was longer, cost more in gas, but safer.

Weather forecasts are better now.

March can be iffy.

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11 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

We travel I-10 west from San Antonio to AZ and southern CA all the time.  Roads are good and not much traffic.  I’d monitor the weather and if it looks like there might be some winter weather on the northern route I’d drop south and go I-10/I-20 or even I-40.

We never been through that area and are pretty excited about it.. do you have any favorite campgrounds along the way? 

Mark & Deb..2020 Elite II..Dearie..Hull #685..2016 Tundra

 

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2 hours ago, Mcb said:

We never been through that area and are pretty excited about it.. do you have any favorite campgrounds along the way? 

On I-10 between San Antonio and El Paso there isn’t much.  In Junction just off the freeway is South Llano State Park.  We stayed there a few days and it is nice.  Davis Mountains State Park is also nice, very close to McDonald Observatory which is worth a visit.  Drop down further past Marfa and you’ll get to Big Bend National Park.  There are a couple of commercial RV parks we’ve stayed overnight at along I-10 in west Texas, nothing special but a place to stop if needed.  One is Van Horn RV park which is getting a little run down and the other is Fort Stockton RV park which is nicer and a convenient stop.  In New Mexico we’ve stayed at Aguirre Spring COE near Las Cruces, no hook ups but great views and close to White Sands National Park - you have to drive up the mountain on a winding road.  We plan on returning there.  I think most state parks in NM are still closed.  In Arizona, Karchner Caverns state Park is just off I-10 on highway 90 as you head south to Sierra Vista, Tombstone and Bisbee.  In west AZ, you should spend a night at Quartzsite just to say you did!  Dome Rock area is where the fiberglass rally is held, just a big swatch of desert speckled with campers.  Mike

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That's two votes for the I-70 route - thanks BackofBeyond.  East of the Mississippi you will drive through a bunch of fields until you get near the WVA/PA state lines.  Then you are in the "real" east with roads that wind through the hillier areas of western and central PA along with more traffic.  If you decide on the I-70 route I can give you a list of campgrounds that I've stayed at over the years but, there are enough of them east of Kansas City that it should not be an issue.

Bill

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Besides your route getting to Maine, consider which campgrounds might be opened in the far Northeast.  Many campgrounds close for the winter and drain the water from their lines to prevent freezing and bursting.  Campgrounds may remain closed until early to mid May to protect their water lines from a late freeze and to prepare the grounds for the camping season after heavy snows.

Be safe and have fun.

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3 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

On I-10 between San Antonio and El Paso there isn’t much.  In Junction just off the freeway is South Llano State Park.  We stayed there a few days and it is nice.  Davis Mountains State Park is also nice, very close to McDonald Observatory which is worth a visit.  Drop down further past Marfa and you’ll get to Big Bend National Park.  There are a couple of commercial RV parks we’ve stayed overnight at along I-10 in west Texas, nothing special but a place to stop if needed.  One is Van Horn RV park which is getting a little run down and the other is Fort Stockton RV park which is nicer and a convenient stop.  In New Mexico we’ve stayed at Aguirre Spring COE near Las Cruces, no hook ups but great views and close to White Sands National Park - you have to drive up the mountain on a winding road.  We plan on returning there.  I think most state parks in NM are still closed.  In Arizona, Karchner Caverns state Park is just off I-10 on highway 90 as you head south to Sierra Vista, Tombstone and Bisbee.  In west AZ, you should spend a night at Quartzsite just to say you did!  Dome Rock area is where the fiberglass rally is held, just a big swatch of desert speckled with campers.  Mike

Thanks Mike, very helpful information, really appreciate it. We have two days reserved at South Llano State Park, which we are excited about. We will have a look at the other places as well...Karchner Caverns in particular.. 

Mark

 

 

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3 hours ago, topgun2 said:

That's two votes for the I-70 route - thanks BackofBeyond.  East of the Mississippi you will drive through a bunch of fields until you get near the WVA/PA state lines.  Then you are in the "real" east with roads that wind through the hillier areas of western and central PA along with more traffic.  If you decide on the I-70 route I can give you a list of campgrounds that I've stayed at over the years but, there are enough of them east of Kansas City that it should not be an issue.

Bill

Thanks Bill, yup.. two votes for I-70. I think that’ll be our first choice, we’ll keep an eye on the weather. A list of campgrounds would be great, or, if it’s easier, just a couple that you liked would be great. Actually, any that you didn’t like would be great too.. 

Mark

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1 hour ago, bugeyedriver said:

Besides your route getting to Maine, consider which campgrounds might be opened in the far Northeast.  Many campgrounds close for the winter and drain the water from their lines to prevent freezing and bursting.  Campgrounds may remain closed until early to mid May to protect their water lines from a late freeze and to prepare the grounds for the camping season after heavy snows.

Be safe and have fun.

 Good thought.. it could certainly impact our final trajectory as we get further East.. Maine is home, so we will make a run for it once we are close enough.... we are prepared to winterize the camper en route if needed.. the closer we get to New England the greater the number of folks we know who will put up with us there driveway for the night🙂

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On 2/9/2021 at 12:28 PM, Mcb said:

Thanks Bill, yup.. two votes for I-70. I think that’ll be our first choice, we’ll keep an eye on the weather. A list of campgrounds would be great, or, if it’s easier, just a couple that you liked would be great. Actually, any that you didn’t like would be great too.. 

Ready?  I've only included sites between just west of Vail CO and Saint Louis that are on or very near interstate 70.  Before I forget - when headed east on I-70 through the Saint Louis metro area, it is best to exit I-70 some 25 miles west of the city onto I-64.  Generally there is a bit less traffic on I-64 and it is a bit of a straighter shot.  Once on I-64 you can stroll along until you obviously hit near the center of town - then be sure to be in one of the two LEFT lanes.  These will automatically dump you onto a bridge over the Mississippi River.  From there just follow the signs or your GPS to I-70 (actually it simply goes straight over the bridge and straight onto I-70 unless there is construction).

River Dance RV - 39.65006, -107.00831  (regular RV camp right off I-70 some 35-40 miles west of Vail - nothing fancy but OK showers, h2o and electric at site and dump)

Gypsum BLM camp, Edwards, CO - 39.65570, -106.97616 (right on CO river west of Vail - no water, electric or dump and right by I-70) Free

Wolcott BLM, Wolcott, CO - 39.71200, -106.69586 (again right on the river closer to Vail but no services and right next to I-70) Free

Gore Creek, Vail - 39.63069, -106.27221 (nice campground very close to but east of Vail on north side of I-70)  Might be snowed in though in March.  Red Lion Inn in Vail has a great burger and Vail is a great place to people watch.  Or Three Amigos mexican is not bad and relative cheap for Vail with a great view of the slopes.

Pine Cove Camp, Frisco, CO - 39.58692, -106.06897 (nothing but a parking lot on SE side of the reservoir, pit toilets, h2o in season, no dump.  might be spots in regular campground that you will see as you drive in.  Frisco is a nice little town right on I-70 for drinks/dinner.

High Plains Camp, Oakley, KS - 39.18561, -100.87067.  A restaurant and bar and gas station are very close.  This is a regular RV park very close to I-70.  h2o, electric at site and dump on exit.  If you stay here it is worth taking a short drive towards the town of Oakley if it is a clear day to see the Buffalo Bill Statue right near the road.

Kansas Country Inn, Oakley, KS - 39.11988, -100.84371.  Less road noise than High Plains but not much else there.  Motel Breakfast used to be included with camping fee.  Sites have full hookups.  It is still worth the short drive to see that statue.  There is also a free "fossil" museum in Oakley if you are into that sort of thing.

Blue Spring Lake Camp, Kansas City, MO - 38.86822, -94.32020.  One of my favorites but Google shows that it is "temporarily closed" - check at 816-503-4805.  Easy to get to off either I-70 straight through KC or (better yet) take the southern belt around KC and exit to camp off I-435.  Full hookups or h2o/electric with dump are available with decent showers/restrooms.  Bass Pro Shop and Duluth cloths are near if you care.  From here, Columbia, MO is right at 2 hours drive and there is a Cracker Barrel there.  Then Saint Louis is about another two hour drive from Columbia.

Lazy Day Campground, Danville, MO - 38.89626, -91.56015.  Nice commercial camp about 1.75 miles off I-70.  Very nice restrooms/showers.

Flying J/Pilot Gas, Warrenton, MO - 38.84047, -91.22814.  If you think you will need fuel get it here.  Shortly after this traffic and congestion will get worse and after ST. Louis fuel will get more expensive due to higher taxes in Illinois.  In addition, they sell Kettle Corn in a tent outside the station!

That's all I got.  If you have questions - yell.

Bill

p.s.  Phil Long is the owner of the Red Lion Inn in Vail.  He also puts on a good show (singing one man band) that usually starts about 7-7:30.  Please tell him I said "hi" if you go there.

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I'll second Bill's recommendation of Blue Springs Campground.  Jackson County operated. Super clean. Decent space between most sites. You won't see the lake, it's wooded, and the lake is aways away.

The camping world 30 minutes away in Grain City was really good to work with.

Unfortunately,  the campground probably won't be open in March. 

 

 

 

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Wowie  Bill, that is an amazing list! Thanks so much, I’m going to enjoy going thorough it and checking all the places out. Even if we don’t use any of them this trip, we have lots of East/West runs in our future ( grandkids on both coasts ) so this kind of intel is invaluable...

thanks again,

mark

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