We have a 33 foot travel trailer that we plan to take a trip with this summer in California. We will be going north on highway 101 & 1 from San Fransico. We are wonding if anyone knows of any difficulties that we might encounter (ie. steep hills, tight curves, tunnels, construction, etc.).
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On highway 1 you will encounter VERY steep hills but they are short duration so probably not any real issue. There will ALSO be lots of VERY tight turns and I would be doubtful if you will be able to keep the trailer in it's lane on many of them. I towed my 26 foot coachmen from the Oregon border to Frisco on highway 1 and it was a little difficult in some cases. Probably depends a LOT on how well your trailer tracks behind your truck. Absolutely FANTASTIC scenery on the route but traffic CAN be heavy at times which doesn't make it any easier on those turns.
Good luck / Skip
For what it's worth, there are very FEW places I wouldn't take my trailer and it's been ten years since I was there but I WOULD think about it.
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If you are concerned about length, I'm pretty sure semi's do it. I've done the trip back in 97 but minus a TT. We did the tent thing back then. Anyway from what I remember, sure tight turns at times but I don't think insurmountable, lots of hills, steep at times but again doable. Saw lots of MH's and TT's, we were heading south from WA.
If you can pick up the CA coast at somewhere near San Jose or farther south near Ventura you'll see quite a bit more. I live in CA but still have yet to do from south to Frisco. There is the Hearst Castle that is a tourist attraction. We turned East from San Fran to hook up with I5 to make time, we ran out and had to dead head home from Frisco.
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Personally, I wouldn't take my trailer up Highway 1. Lots of switchback curves and as someone already mentioned, lots of luck keeping that long of a trailer in your own lane. Plus it's only 1 lane each way which means that you're going to have a lot of angry drivers behind you, even if you frequently use the turn outs.
101 is a very nice drive and still offers some scenery, although not as breath taking as 1. There's only one grade between Buellton and Paso Robles that is nasty. I don't recall the name of the grade, but it is between San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. I've only been on one grade that was worse and that was in southern New Mexico. You may be in first gear, but the hill isn't all that long and then you'll be back to rolling hills.
If you take HWY 1 north of San Francisco, you better be driving very early in the morning, and forget about weekends. There are some very nasty and difficult switchback turns and traffic will back up behind you. Very hard to enjoy the view under those conditions.
I wouldn't take a 33' tt up hwy 1. Folks that have reported not enjoying the trip due to anxiety. Hwy 101 is an easy route and pleasant views. If you get the chance to camp somewhere along the way and drive over to Hwy 1 for a day drive, it's well worth it. If you get the chance, don't miss Hearst Castle.
Cuesta Grade on 101 is tough, but they have added extra lanes -- I was able to maintain 40 mph or better all the way up, low gear on the way down.
Highway 1 north of SF is pretty twisty, especially north of Jenner. Watch out for bicyclists -- if there is oncoming traffic and you have to hug the right side, there is almost no shoulder. I have been both a person towing a trailer and a bicyclist on similar types of roads -- neither situation was fun.
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