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Hello from Benson, AZ!
This has been a fantastic winter down here in the Southwest and it’s not over yet! Our wedding anniversary is in 2 days, it’s been 9 years since we got married in Jamaica!?! I remember the date, but in case I didn’t, Adrianne had it etched into my ring (3-7-11). Time flies, that only feels like a few years ago…
But we have begun planning our route North and we’ll be taking a route through California. We weren’t planning on going through California but the Thousand Trails Zone Pass will expire in September and we don’t plan to renew it (at this point). We’ll use as many Thousand Trails parks as possible as we travel up the West coast while we still have the pass. Route planning seems to take forever, it’s my least favorite part of RVing. But it needs done.
Since we were in route planning mode and a few opportunities popped up, we also started planning some of the fall route back to the Southwest (Glacier NP and Yellowstone NP). We’ll get to that on a different day, let’s focus on heading North for now.
We already had a few events on our calendar that would put us near Seattle in May. Having a few specific dates really helps with planning. Now we know where we need to be, when, and how long we can take to get there. We just need to fill in the blanks, what looks like fun in between Coarsegold, CA and Sutherlin, OR? We wanted to use the Thousand Trails membership as much as possible since we already paid for it and this would make Thousand Trails campsites not cost any additional money. These are the known parameters we are working within. Let’s get to the route. (Complete route map at bottom of the page)
We’ll be leaving Benson, AZ sometime in mid-March March and spending 5 days or so to get to the SKP Park of the Sierras Co-op. This route is weather dependent but could take us to the Grand Canyon, Lake Havasu, Quartzsite, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, or somewhere else we haven’t thought of yet. Quartzsite could be in the upper 80’s or the Grand Canyon could be in the 20’s, neither sound great to me while boondocking. We’ll leave some flexibility in the plan here. We’ve been to all four and all of them are great areas with lots of stuff to do.
We’ve enjoyed the Saguaro SKP Co-op so much that we wanted to check out some other Co-ops as well. Many other Escapee members have said they liked Park of the Sierras also. This just happens to align with our plans to visit Yosemite National Park, Park of the Sierras is close to the south entrance. This will be our base camp for exploring Yosemite National Park!
We are scheduled to be there for 9 days before moving north toward Sutherlin, OR to stay at Timber Valley SKP Co-op. We’ll have to find a place or two to stay between Park of the Sierras and Timber Valley since it’s just under 600 miles and over 9 hours between them. We’ll leave a little wiggle room here just in case the weather looks bad, we won’t book anything until that week.
The SKP Co-ops have made an impression upon us or we wouldn’t be spending so much time going to them. This will be our first time at Timber Valley SKP Co-op in Sutherlin, OR but I’m sure our stay will be excellent, these parks have been (so far) a huge step up from Thousand Trails parks. This will be a good base camp to explore the Umpqua National Forest and Umpqua river region.
Next we’ll be jumping back into the Thousand Trails park system. We’ll be heading to Whalers Rest in South Beach, OR. On our way south last year we stopped at South Jetty for a few nights so this time we thought we’d try out Whalers Rest. We’ll be staying for 4 days so we can go park to park (weird TT rules) until we get up into WA.
The next stop on the list is Seaside, OR for another 4 day stay in the Thousand Trails system. We did stay here last year as we headed south and it was decent, the sites are larger in the 30 amp section, so we stayed there. The 50 amp section is really tight, all sites we saw (both 30 and 50 amp) had full hook ups.
From Seaside we head to Chehalis, WA for our final stay within the Thousand Trails system, a whopping 14 days. I hope the weather will cooperate with us during our stay, we really wanted to explore Mt. Rainier and Mt. Saint Helens while staying here. We tried to visit Mt. Rainier last year while passing through but the clouds and rain moved in just as we arrived and didn’t quit until after we left.
The final stop on this route is in Chimacum, WA at the Evergreen Coho SKP park. We’ll be here for at least a month if not two. We really enjoyed our stay here last year and decided we’d go back again this year. In case you can’t tell by our route yet, we really enjoy the SKP Co-ops. They are a huge step up from most other parks in terms of maintaining the park, the leaseholders have pride in ownership (and it shows), and the people who frequent the parks. We are looking forward to the hot springs in the Olympic National Forest again this year!
There will be a few additional overnight stops along this route that we haven’t figured out yet, but this is a great overview of the route. The total route time is 31 hours according to google, so you could probably add an additional 10 hours for RV time (it just takes longer). The total length is roughly1867 miles, that sounds like a lot (and it is) but at least the front seats are ultra plush and comfy, one is even a powered recliner (passenger seat). It’s going to be a beautiful drive! Will you be in any of these areas this spring/summer?