President Obama has just changed the name of the mountain:
Article on renaming
So will they now start to call it "McKinley National Park?"
And in other news, the president will once again be known as "Barry." ;)
Naio, as I have said earlier, you will have no trouble with any part of this road, in your little van. But you asked for more detail on the north. The part from Marin to Stimson Beach is very twisty and slow, as is the part where the road leaves the coast and then heads inland to Leggett. (I have done that part with a small trailer. Not a problem, but not easy, either.)
The rest of the road is just fine. The views are fairly good -- the views are spectacular south of San Francisco to Morro Bay.
And just to whet your appetite for the area, this is a shot of the Lost Coast, taken above Mattole Campground:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-iwzIsoovCzQ/Tjx7BD-0HcI/AAAAAAAAC74/ji4quwt9PxE/s400/IMGP7027.JPG height=400 width=600
Mattole Campground is just made for your van -- the road to get there is terrible, bad for trailers or big rigs, so you can take advantage of your small size and agility.
If you are interested in more photos and text, please feel free to click on my blog link below and use the search bar -- type in Big Sur, and Mattole, and Ft. Bragg, and Jackson State Forest, and Mendocino, and Humboldt Redwoods, and Prairie Creek, and Van Damme State Park, and Russian Gulch State Park, just for starters.
Eastern Sierra, near Green Creek (about nine miles due north of Tioga Pass), August 2015:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dFlgXTuArEA/VdN-PKKDGnI/AAAAAAAAQu0/3KCoSwDxVCY/s640/crepuscular%2Brays.jpg height=400 width=600
Len, this shower would not have been such a bust, except for the smoke. Even with hazy skies, we still were able to see about 20 decent meteors per hour. So the predictions were reasonably on target. But I could not find anywhere in the Western US without either smoke or monsoonal clouds.
We spent several pleasant days of boondocking and hiking in the Eastern Sierra, hoping to see the Perseid meteor shower. As it turned out, the meteors were a bit of a bust, due to smoke from forest fires in the Western Sierra. But DW managed to capture a great recording of some howling coyotes – the video clip is in this blog post:
We were hoping to take some pictures of the meteors, but my camera died suddenly and spectacularly the day before the meteor shower. So this is the only picture that I took that captured a meteor, and it was by accident – the meteor is the little yellow streak at the left of center, just above the horizon:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-PNL_jCu3Sio/VdN_g-9CTRI/AAAAAAAAQvQ/SJ_VBKqV4R8/s640/meteor%2Bmilky%2Bway%2Blmic.jpg height=400 width=600
I have now replaced my camera, so I am hoping that there will be another year, and another meteor shower.
Here is another useful short trailer trick -- when it starts to jackknife, just pull forward a little and it will straighten out. Then, before you start back again, put your hand on the bottom of the wheel and crank the wheel all the way over in the direction you want the trailer to go. As soon as the trailer starts to respond, straighten the wheels.
A spotter is invaluable, especially if she is patient with you.
A sense of humor is essential, as is a flexible neck.
DAS, we have found that on a really, really dark night, there is so much starlight that you can indeed see your feet, and you can see well enough to walk on a rocky forest road for quite a way without tripping.
Supposedly, there can be so much starlight that you can see your shadow, but I have never seen it that clear or dark.
One more thought -- watch out for the text offenders. Every day, we see folks on the freeways in LA looking at their phones while driving. Always assume that the other folks around you are fools, which is apparently pretty close to correct. Sigh.
Just another viewpoint -- we have towed our little trailers for more than a hundred thousand miles in ice, high wind, heavy rain, steep mountains, all with just a friction anti-sway bar, first with a Pathfinder and then with a Tacoma. Absolutely no stability problems. We rarely go over 62 mph, and usually hold it around 60.
Obviously, as the trailer gets bigger, the need for weight distribution becomes more and more important.
I am not sure whether there is a lower limit for WD hitches -- could you use one with a teardrop? Or with a 12 footer, like my trailer?
You can "rugged-ize" an ordinary trailer with shocks and extra clearance and bigger tires and so forth -- we did it for our little trailer -- see my blog links below. I am sure that there are better-built rugged trailers, but they will cost a lot more.
Jim, I laughed out loud. Well done! There is apparently a true story of a little boy at Sunday school. They were discussing Easter, and the teacher said, "Do you know what resurrection means?" The boy said, "Not exactly, but I know that if it lasts more than four hours, you need to see a doctor."
And this is exactly on topic, because six cups of espresso could cause a resurrection of a deceased person!
First time towing, the trailer started to sway. I eased off the accelerator, drove slowly home, and got a sway control. My ignorance almost caused an accident. That was ten years ago.
Since then, despite ten years of towing many thousands of miles a year on all kinds of roads (LA freeways, rural highways, mountain roads, dirt forest roads), no problems at all. Is towing more dangerous than not towing? Yes, I think so, because you are less maneuverable than an ordinary vehicle. But it is really worth the slight increase in risk.
I have not yet (yet!) had an accident or a ticket in 47 years of driving. (Knock on wood.) Why? Mostly good luck -- bad stuff can happen in a heartbeat, whether you are towing or not. Stay off the phone. Concentrate at all times. Be ultra-conservative. Only the paranoid survive.
Your terrible experience with the ambulance could happen to anyone at any time, towing or not. I would not let that prevent you from enjoying camping with your family. Unless you are already an experienced camper, you have no idea how much fun this is going to be. In retrospect, I wish we had not waited until the kids were grown to begin RVing, but I did not know what I was missing.
The best advice that I can give you is to ask a lot of questions on this website, especially during your early newbie stage. In the pre-Internet days, it would have been impossible to take advantage of so much collective wisdom. Yes, there is some misinformation here, and yes, there are a few unpleasant and opinionated participants. But the vast majority of us are well-intentioned, and you can learn from our mistakes.
Sorry for the long rambling reply. Bottom line -- just do it. (Carefully.) ;)