As the weather gets colder and RVers “snowbird” south to friendlier temperatures, motorhomes and fifth wheels are soon to be a more common sight on I-5, which runs from the Canadian border to the Mexican border through Washington, Oregon, and California. Wondrous sights and relaxing days at the beach or on the golf course await all of you traveling south this winter. But before you reach your winter home, getting to explore along the I-5 corridor is part of the fun. There’s plenty to see along the way, from heart-pumping city centers to quaint, sleepy pioneer towns, and breathtaking natural scenery. Here are some suggested stops as you head south on I-5.
Mount St. Helens, Washington
If you don’t mind a half day diversion east of I-5, Mount St. Helens is a must. Even with an enormous crater in its center, this mountain that once stood at a towering 9,600 feet above sea level, doesn’t fail to impress. At the visitor’s center you can see before and after eruption photos and learn about that fateful May day in 1980 when the landscape surrounding this behemoth would dramatically change. The 52-mile detour from I-5 to reach the Johnston Ridge Observatory is an attraction in itself. With plenty of viewing points, you’ll have no shortage of photo-ops and if you’re up for a bit of a hike, there are plenty of options in the area, some of which take less than an hour.
Coburg, Oregon & the Guaranty RV Travel Center in Junction City
After you’ve returned to I-5 and taken in the sights as you pass through Portland and Oregon’s capitol, Salem, you will not want to miss the historic, charming town of Coburg, Oregon. Nestled in among hazelnut orchards and U-pick farms, Coburg’s streets are lined with historic late-19th century homes and antique shops packed to the brim with treasures. It’s the antique-lovers dream come true.
Coburg is just a few miles north of Eugene, the third largest city in Oregon, so you’ll have an opportunity to rest, refuel and stock up on anything you need for the rest of your journey. There’s plenty to do in Eugene if you want to stay a few days and it will be the last chance to enjoy the offerings of a larger city until you reach Sacramento, CA. Additionally, the Guaranty RV Travel Center is just short drive away. If you need parts or service, a refill on your propane, or you need to get some laundry done, the Travel Center is the place to go. Designed for RVers and the RV lifestyle, at the Travel Center you can also stock up on needed supplies, stretch your legs, take your pets for a walk, and park overnight for free.
San Francisco & Yosemite National Park, California
After you stop for rest in Sacramento, California’s capital city, you can either head coastward to San Francisco, or toward the mountains for a visit to Yosemite National Park. It just depends on the pace you’re looking for. There are plenty of RV parks near San Francisco. Traffic in the city can be tricky, so park your RV, hook-up and venture into the city in your town car or hop on BART, the public transportation system in the Bay Area, to ride into the city center.
If you’d rather take in the natural beauty of Yosemite National Park, head south on I-5 from Sacramento until you reach Stockton, then head east. Any GPS system will be able to direct you to the park and it will be featured on maps of the area. In the park, there’s plenty of opportunities for fishing, camping, hiking, sight-seeing, you name it. Dine, catch a guided bus tour, shop and learn about the history of the park; learn more here.
Need a Pit Stop?
As you head south on I-5 this fall or winter, don’t forget to stop by Guaranty RV when you need to resupply, refuel, relax or service your RV. If you need help keeping track of regular maintenance, download the RV Owner app from the Google Play Store. If you have an Android phone, you’ll be able to keep track of scheduled maintenance and make an appointment at Guaranty RV if you need service. Set it and forget it until you’re passing through Oregon. Get in touch for more information.
Photo: Clotee Allochuku