Our Itinerary – Any Suggestions?

15 07 2010

For the most part, Amy and I want to be itinerary-free on the road. That said, we know that we’re picking up our RV just outside of Los Angeles at the very end of July, and we know that we have to be at Burning Man on August 30th. If we needed to haul ass to Burning Man, we could be there in ten hours – but we have a month! So what should we do for that month to leave us at Burning Man on schedule?Over the last couple of weeks I’ve become more familiar than ever with the maps of southern California and western Nevada, and I think I mapped out a pretty darn good itinerary for August 1 – August 30. I’m also completely open to critique, advice, and points of interest that I may be missing. I may be packing too much in, but I also leave time to modify, subtract from, and add to our itinerary. Also, don’t forget that we’ll be on the road for a while. Just because we’re not hitting Yosemite in August doesn’t mean we forgot it. It just means we’ll hit it another time.The camping itinerary: 

  • August 1: Pick up RV just outside of LA and learn its basic operation
  • August 2-4: Drive 50 miles and camp at Angeles National Forest Cottonwood Campground (Free)
  • August 5-7: Drive 190 miles to camp at Santa Rosa Springs Campground at San Bernardino National Forest. If all sites full, switch to Tool Box Spring campground 23 miles west. (Free)
  • August 8-10: Drive 100 miles to camp at Belle Campground at Joshua Tree National Park. Fee per night is $10.
  • August 11: Drive 125 miles to roadside camping area on Cima Road nearly opposite the trailhead for Teutonia Peak Trail in Mojave National Preserve. (Free)
  • August 12-13: Drive ~175 miles to boondock near 36.908611, -116.785556 (Near Beatty, NV. Free.)*
  • August 14-15: Drive 130 miles to Grandview Campground in Inyo National Forest ($5 donation requested)
  • August 16: Drive 100 miles to Mono Lake and camp at Rush Creek. (Free)
  • August 17-29: Drive ~145 miles to Reno, NV. Three hour drive – can stop to rest at Washoe Lake State Park ~118 miles in. Can also stop at Travertine Hot Spring, 75 miles in. (Dry camp in/around Reno – free)
  • August 30 – Arrive at Burning Man!!
August RVing Itinerary

A Visual Look


For brevity’s sake I excluded points of interest along the way and at at the sites themselves. The long stop in Reno is really there to allow for detours on the way, staying longer at favorite sites, mechanical issues (fingers crossed!), and prepping for Burning Man.From my research I’m pretty familiar with things to do at the sites, however all I know of the places between sites is a long green line that Google Maps draws. Any suggestions?[Update: I’m becoming a bit drawn to Amy’s take, which is to essentially cut out points D-G on the map so we can spend more time in each location and get to know the RV at a slower pace. We’ll see.] *I may rethink this one… Death Valley in the summer may be a stupid idea.




14 responses

15 07 2010

how about visiting amy’s mom in nj? 🙂

30 07 2010

We just did that!

15 07 2010

you should take a detour to utah and stop at bryce canyon!! it looks incredible and if i could go to any of the parks out west, it’d be that one!!

18 08 2010

We definitely plan on visiting Bryce this year – want to join us? How did you hear about that one in particular?

16 07 2010

Joshua Tree is going to be very hot. Try to roll in at dusk. The evening light and the rocks will be amazing. The Tram in Palm Springs takes you up to 8,000 feet, I believe. It’s pretty wild to go from burning hot to chilly in about 20 minutes. You may find that interesting.

The eastern Sierra has a lot of neat stuff — Mt. Whitney, Whitney Portal and many campgrounds near Lone Pine and Bishop, off of Hwy 395. Head up into the mountains and you’ll find some really nice places. From the campgrounds you can hike up into the higher peaks and catch some amazing scenery, lakes and so forth.

There’s a ghost town, “Bodie,” near Mono Lake. I would venture to say that it’s probably the last remaining gold rush town of its size. The National Park service is guarding it from vandals but will not refurbished anything. So, it’s all original and not a cheesy replica tourist attraction. It’s truly an amazing place with an amazing history — goldminers, gunfights and all. People lost their fortunes over night and left their homes — plates on the tables and linens on the beds. Some of it is still there.

Yes, Death Valley is aptly named. Bring lots of water and don’t break down. You’ll have a great time! California is like no other.

30 07 2010

Interesting comment about the elevation changes – I’m hoping to use elevation to our advantage, staying at higher elevations at super-hot places. Will definitely let you know how that works.

Very, very cool advice otherwise. I have a lot more googling to do!


29 07 2010

There’s a reason they call it Death Valley. Can’t you at least do it after Burning Man? The valley is at it’s most beautiful in the WINTER, although it’s hard to call it “winter” with a straight face. If you’re still having trouble with this decision, at least read reports of the people who didn’t survive so you can learn from their fatal mistakes. Also, I second Rb’s comments.

30 07 2010

I hear where you’re coming from – can you point me in the direction of those stories? Maybe it’s my youthful invincibility coming out, but it’s hard to believe that people who have prepared and who have modern technology have died out there. (Cell phones, GPS, lots of water, etc… Are you talking about death from heat stroke?)

On the other hand, winter in DV is supposed to be wonderful and less… deathy 🙂

4 08 2010
Diane Crowley

Sorry, Jay,
Just lost my lengthy, well thought out reply. Just google it. Many have lost their lives underestimating the magnitude of DV. Try to stack the deck in your favor as much as possible. Attempting DV in the summer time with a rig full of new equipment is just asking for trouble. Definately make a trek there, but wait until the weather softens and you’re more proficient with your gear.

9 08 2010

You win! We’re saving Death Valley for a cooler time of year and are on our way up Scenic 395. Granted it’s the Mojave Desert, but it’s not Death Valley.

PS – Are you sure you’re not Amy’s mom posting under a pseudonym? 🙂

13 08 2010

No, and I’m not Jewish either! Contrary to popular lore, Jewish moms aren’t the only highly qualified nags out there. If I were Amy’s mom, I probably wouldn’t have typo’d “definately”. I’m definitely sure I’m not Amy’s mom (although I’m certainly old enough and it would consider it an honor).
Seriously, I’m glad for your itinerary change. Mojave will be a good challenge. Death Valley will wait patiently while you prepare yourselves for your visit. I’m confident that you’ll get there and love every bit of it, made that much sweeter for the waiting and the proper preparation.
P.S. I love 395. When I lived in SoCal, it was affectionately referred to as “Mammoth’s longest lift line”. Enjoy the world-class scenery!
Also, good tip from Allen below, but chose your route carefully. I once took a road that looked like a good shortcut through to Gualala. It ended up being about two miles of paved road, followed by endless miles of narrow, windy dirt road.

4 08 2010
Allen Strouse

After Burning Man, you should head due west to Eureka and then up the coast to Arcata and Crescent City. Lots of redwoods and nice people.

9 08 2010

Just spent some time reading and looking at photos – sounds great!

18 08 2010

hey- a shout out to diane:

i’m amy’s mom and i don’t mind a bit for the “kids” to have another voice giving them sound advice 🙂

thanks for sharing!

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