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Author Topic: Route to California advice needed  (Read 1999 times)
Gordie Allen
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« on: November 13, 2013, 12:11:48 PM »

We just returned from a 1400 mile shakedown trip from Augusta, MI to Hayesville, NC and back.  4104 (671) with Spicer 4 speed.  No major issues.  Some long 6% climbs at the end on two lane roads (1st and 2nd gear both climbing and descending).  I'm WAY more conscious of elevation changes now, and I thought I was being careful before.  We're planning to leave Michigan around Dec. 22nd headed to San Mateo, CA.  Although the shortest route is through Denver, there is no way I would do this in the winter.  I doubt I'd even try it in the summer.    We're going to head straight south via I-69.  My question is should I take the I-40 route or the I-10 route through the southwest?  I looked at the elevation profile for I-40 using Google Earth.  It doesn't show anything over 3.5%, but it's hard to tell if there are any short stretches bigger than that.  Is I-40 still in possible snow territory?  Are there any bad climbs through the Sierras?  Any and all info would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
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John316
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2013, 12:19:26 PM »

Me personally? I would go I10. You could (will?) have snow in Flagstaff. I like I-10 because we stop at Joshua Tree National Park. That being said, with where you are located, I10 adds quite a bit more time to the trip. I would just watch the weather, and sneak over on I40.

Otherwise six of one, half dozen of the other.
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2013, 12:45:12 PM »

Hi Gordie, I agree with John, I10, you are gonna hit mountains no matter where you go in the west, if you go on the 10 you could stop in Quartzite in mid Jan, truely amazing to see all those RVs, and the desert rally near scottsdale, see another posting here, I70 has some gigantic long climbs, the E tunnel, and snow and ice, lvmci...
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2013, 02:22:29 PM »

 You really can't miss California, just keep going west,,,,,,,, you'll find it.>>>Dan
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2013, 02:24:05 PM »

I once picked up a load in Detroit that was heading to Boise, Id. And there was a giant ice storm heading my way. I dropped down to 40, then 30, 20, 10 and back up on I-15. Was several hundred miles further, but didn't have any bad weather. The shipper drove through it and slid twice off the road.

Go down to I-10 and enjoy the desert in winter. Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2013, 04:14:27 PM »

Augusta, MI to San Mateo, CA quickest route is across I-80 @ 2294 miles.
Augusta, MI to San Mateo, CA most practical route is across I-40 @ 2505 miles.
Augusta, MI to San Mateo, CA most southern route across I-10 @ 2594 miles. (that's taking I-40 to Holbrook, AZ and dropping down to Phoenix on 377/260/87.

There are as many different variations of these routes as there are members here on the board.

If it was me I'd take 69 to Indy, 70 to St. Louis, 44 to OKC, and 40 to Barstow, 58 to Bakersfield (see Don Fairchild for Tri-tips), 99 to Chowchilla (stopping by Freshno for a free pepsi from RJ), 152 to Gilroy, and up 101 right into San Mated.

At least back when I was trucking that's the way a lot of my friends & I ran it.
Grin  BK  Grin 
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Cary and Don
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2013, 04:46:56 PM »

If you are talking about the Sierras on I80,  it will be all down hill from just west of the state line.  If our drought ends,  you will most likely hit snow. Nevada gets a lot of snow also.  We liked I10,  really flat, nice overnight reststops. Once in California,  HWY99 is much better than I5.  5 has gotten really rough.

Don and Cary
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John316
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 05:39:41 PM »

Okay, I have to disagree with BK and Don. I don't know how long it has been since you all have driving 99, but I do NOT like driving 99 with the bus. I am in the Central Valley several times a year (busless). 99 is always a drag race, little shoulder, and just a pain.

Last year we took the bus all the way up I-5 and it was fantastic. Wide lanes, good shoulder, and good road. Also, there was way less traffic on most of 5. No question about it. I take I-5 anytime I possibly can. That being said, maybe there are stretches of 99 that are better than 5?

Take that, and five dollars, and you can afford a gallon of diesel.

FWIW
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2013, 06:15:16 PM »

You never know about I 40 in Az in the winter it is all high altitude till you reach Kingman which is still 3400 ft then it is all down hill,you leave Flag at 7000 ft then Williams is 4100 ft then you go up to AshFork and Seligman both above 5000 ft there are some nice climbs on 1 40 headed west a lot steeper than any 3.5 %

 I 40 is by far the most scenic drive along old 66 if the weather permits but in Dec and Jan it can get nasty plus very cold and they will close I 40 for a day or so for Dec and Jan driving stay on I 10 or catch 93 out of Phoenix to Kingman back to I 40 it's not bad but it has a couple of good climbs before Wixeup

good luck
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2013, 06:26:36 PM »

Hi Gordie, I5 in southern california is way past capacity at times, to above magic mountain, the grooves and ruts are terrible, we went up to the montery aquarium 2 years ago, us101, had justbeen paved and was great on the way back, plus Im not a fan of goingover the grape vine, or climbing el cajon pass, even down hill is an effort on these, good luck, low an slow, the turtle always gets there, lvmci...
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2013, 06:33:17 PM »

We always watch the weather out here in the winter months, give us a hollar before leaving and we'll be better able to direct you around the soup if any Wink Have a great and safe trip.







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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 09:20:50 PM »

Okay, I have to disagree with BK and Don. I don't know how long it has been since you all have driving 99, but I do NOT like driving 99 with the bus. I am in the Central Valley several times a year (busless). 99 is always a drag race, little shoulder, and just a pain.

Last year we took the bus all the way up I-5 and it was fantastic. Wide lanes, good shoulder, and good road. Also, there was way less traffic on most of 5. No question about it. I take I-5 anytime I possibly can. That being said, maybe there are stretches of 99 that are better than 5?

Take that, and five dollars, and you can afford a gallon of diesel.

FWIW

John that's OK if you have to disagree with us.

I only ran out to CA every week for 10 + yrs and hated I-5.
 
But with respect to you and your more recent experiences. I will admit things could have changed! I was last out there in a truck in 13 yrs ago 2000. (I have snuck in & out of there a few times since picking up/delivering or just flying in to look @ buses)

For 3-4 of those yrs I left Auburndale, FL every Monday AM and went to Tracy, CA. After delivering at Safeway Foods Distribution Center, deadheaded over to Watsonville. Picked up a full load of strawberries then ran down to Lompoc or Guadalupe and off loaded 1/2 the strawberries and filled back up with lettuce and ran back down to Deerfield Beach, FL. 6150 miles a week.

Like I said it's been 13 yrs since I was out there on a regular basis but I USED to take 99 over I-5 ANY & EVERY day of the week.

Of course if you really want an honest and knowledgeable account of what it's like today why not ask the guys that live on or near it.
What say you Don Fairchild, RJ, Grant, and whoever might live on or near 99?
Grin  BK  Grin
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John316
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2013, 05:12:40 AM »

BK, it could be that they have improved the road since then. Or it could be that when I drove I5 from LA to Redding last, that it wasn't a correct representation of what it usually is. I have driven 99 so much, that when I was on 5, it was like, ahhhhhh.

You sure put a bunch of miles on out there. Good for you for staying safe. Drivers tend to have their heads up their saddles and not pay attention.

Cheers,

John
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2013, 06:19:12 AM »

 Drivers tend to have their heads up their saddles and not pay attention.

Cheers,

John

Good one i never heard before....lol
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2013, 06:21:23 AM »

I personally prefer highway 99 going up San Joaquin Valley since it is "the old road" and much more developed with places to stop and things to see. If you just want to drive up the Valley as fast as you can then yes I-5 is the way to go. But just miles of basically nothing with a few rest stops in between. Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2013, 06:52:34 AM »

I personally prefer highway 99 going up San Joaquin Valley since it is "the old road" and much more developed with places to stop and things to see. If you just want to drive up the Valley as fast as you can then yes I-5 is the way to go. But just miles of basically nothing with a few rest stops in between. Good Luck, TomC

IMHO, Tom nailed it. I have no particular affection for the Central Valley. I like to get there, and don't care about the rest stops. We roll hammered down as quick as we can.

Matt, I want to put a sign on our bus that says, "Heads out of your saddles please." lol
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« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2013, 07:24:26 AM »

I live here too and I have to agree with John. I will and do take I-5 over99 the wreak road any day of the week. 5 is a breeze.

Dave5Cs from Galaxy S III
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« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2013, 08:19:42 AM »

Greetings,

If you want avoid major mountains and passes in California, your best route is I-10 west. Then up the 101 to the bay area.

The particulars would be 10 west to Redlands CA.
Take Hwy 210 N/W to I-5
Use truck lane through interchange.
Follow 5 north to Hwy 126.
Exit for Hwy 126 west to Hwy 101.
Hwy 101 north to bay area.

Gets you around 70% of LA traffic.

Siberyd
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« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2013, 10:07:11 AM »

Gordie -

If the weather forecast is clear for the next week when departure day comes, the most direct, shortest and fastest route is I-80 (which does NOT go thru Denver) to San Francisco, then south on either 280 or 101 to San Mateo, depending on where exactly you need to be.  Just under 2300 miles, according to Google Maps.

Yes, you'll be going over the Rockies and the Sierras, which means you'll be spending some time in 2nd gear going up, and 3rd gear going down (or 4th if you've got a working Jake brake.)  IMHO, so what - it's part of the adventure!  Greyhound and others ran this route in their 4104s for years and maintained their schedules, just pay attention to the yellow trucker signs.

The route Jon listed above will avoid a lot of mountains and potentially nasty weather, but it's also 600 miles longer.

Your choice!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink

PS: Check your PM.
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« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2013, 01:06:41 PM »

We just did I-5 a month ago, came from the coast and got on to it just west of Lodi and ran all of the ways down to the 223 just on the southern edge of Bakersfield. Looked to me like they must have repaved that stretch in the last year or two, it was way better than the last time we came down on it 6-7 years ago. Have done 99 a few times too, more on ramps and merging traffic to have to keep an eye on.  Mileage difference is only a few miles  which surprised me as i thought 5 would be a lot farther.
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« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2013, 01:18:01 PM »

Both roads will get you to Tracy, CA. Grin

Many of the ideas and opinions offered so far are spot on. I would only echo what has already been said. The I-5 option provides better shoulders and often a smoother ride.  Hwy 99 offers more opportunities for fuel, food and sightseeing.  While I have not taken the bus south, (only north!) I would say if I were full of fuel and really only concerned about arriving in Tracy I would select 1-5 as a better drive without construction zones/narrow lanes (Bakersfield) and some tight turns around Fresno/Modesto and Livingston.
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Grant Goold
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Gordie Allen
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« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2013, 01:34:24 PM »

Thanks for all the info!  This is a great resource for building, and now I'm finding equally awesome for travel.  I've driven 80 to 76 to 70 to Moab, Utah for the last 18 years - in September.  The Great Plains in December is a little intimidating, Nebraska can be a long, cold, and windy drive.  I guess I'll take a close look at the weather at launch date and take 80 as RJ suggests if there's no threat of big snow or subzero temps.  The only other concern I might have is the need for chains.  Does anyone know if they are required on I-80?  I know they are on 70 from Denver to Glenwood Springs for big rigs, but don't know about single axle buses on 80.  I think we'll take the south route home at a more leisurely pace and seeing more of the southwest .
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John316
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« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2013, 02:35:10 PM »

Gordie,

I believe you have to have them. Look up the state laws, but I believe at least WY says they must be with you. If you take your time, you should be able to make it no problem. I have done that entire trip in February before, in the middle of snowstorms. Very doable, but be careful.

Have fun.

John
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« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2013, 02:55:21 PM »

I know that Wa.  and Or. require you to carry chains in any rig if you are going over any of the passes from Nov. 1st to April 1st.
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Gordie Allen
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« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2013, 04:37:27 PM »

So, do you all carry chains?
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« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2013, 04:56:27 PM »

Gordie -

If the chain control sign is turned on, you've got to hang chains on the outside dual of your coach here in CA.

I've done it so many times going over 80 & 50 I can chain a bus faster than I can chain a car. . .

Most RV folk don't carry chains - they go south to avoid having to do so.

However, if you want to get a set to have "just in case," then buy a "singles" set with the cam locks, similar to what's posted via the link below.  Buying a set for duals is useless, because you cannot reach the inner dual on a bus - that's a "trucker only" debacle.  Add six HD rubber bungie cords, three per side, to keep things snug and you're good to go.  I do suggest you practice hanging them at home on dry pavement first - you don't want to have to learn at Oh Dark Thirty in a snowstorm!

Just watch the weather reports to help guide your choice.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink

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RJ Long
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« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2013, 05:06:46 PM »

So, do you all carry chains?

Yup, two full sets.
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« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2013, 05:26:59 PM »

Nope, i don't do snow. Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2013, 07:13:01 AM »

It's been yrs since I had to worry about chains since we typically don't go where they are needed on a regular basis. (Although I have 1 set of cables, just to be legal when we do. They stay in the shop unless a bus is headed to snow country)

But my question is do they still have the "Chain Banks" out west?
Used to be most all the truck stops in or near the mountains stocked chains that you could "rent" and drop off at another truck stop when you were done with them. (I never used them as I carried my own, but could be a option for those one times users)
Grin  BK  Grin
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