Friday, October 9, 2009


The crystal clear waters of Spring Creek We are settled in a cozy spot at Collier Memorial State Park, prepared for our first sub-freezing temperatures since last winter.  When we arrived this afternoon, it was sunshine and t-shirt weather - we set off on a riverside loop hike right away.  The color of the water in Spring Creek is just a warm up for what we will see at Crater Lake tomorrow.

This morning, I received a comment on a post on my other blog, We Called It Home, where I review campground/campsite.  This is part of what it said:

“By chance, can you recommend a web site or where I can obtain info on which roads are RV (37footer) friendly in Oregon? After driving around No. California's mountains and coastal area, I'm chicken to blindly head out off the interstate. Thank you again for your time.”

Our most-consulted route planning resource is the Mountain Directory West (there is also a Mountain Directory East, but most of our travel is in the west).  The online RV Bookstore (one source for these books; I’ve also seen them at Camping World) has a great description of these valuable books. 

Unless we are traveling a route known to us, we ALWAYS check the book for information on any passes we will encounter, and have occasionally changed our plans based on the description of the road and/or grade.  We learned this lesson the hard way, heading west out of Death Valley to Lone Pine during our first year of travel on a 95 degrees day, climbing and descending two steep, narrow, winding passes for which we were completely unprepared.

I consider these books a crucial part of an RV’ers library.  To get started, look up some of the roads and passes you have traveled and read the descriptions.  Find a couple you considered easy, and one or two you considered difficult or scary – that will give you a reference point for your planning.  Eight percent downhill grade for 4 miles with two lanes and 25 mile per hour turns?  We’ll try to avoid it.  Six percent uphill grade for 8 miles, with passing lanes?  No problem, unless it is going to be a hot day – so be ready for an early start. 

Mountain Directory West (or East): get it, and use it.


  1. After our Mingus Mountain ordeal in Arizona a couple years ago we bought the Mountain Directory west & keep that book close at hand anytime planning any mountain driving.

  2. We always avoid the Panamint/Death Valley road to Lone Pine, it is horrible to contemplate for an rv. In addition to the book that you have recommended, we always plot a route on Google Maps, then I change the view to Satellite and also Terrain View. Now go in close and you can follow the road and see clearly if the road follows a canyon opening or climbs up and over some grade. We are depending on this Google Map Feature about 99% of the time now and it has not let us down. Sharon and Allan

  3. Sharon and Allan, that's a great suggestion... I'll have to give that a try. Thanks!