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Messages - Patco

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1
Routes / Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« on: July 01, 2014, 08:06:23 pm »
I have biked some of the route you are suggesting through Northern California and Oregon. I biked 45 to 162 to Willows, then I took 99W to County Road A8 to Red Bluff. 45 was okay. Light traffic. No shoulders. I liked 99W. Some shoulders. Light traffic (generally) and while I could see
I-5, I could not hear it. From Red Bluff I joined SR 36 then took a number of local roads (Beegum to McCoy Rd to Hooker Creek Road to Bowman Road to Draper Road to Main Street in Cottonwood to Locust Road to SR 273) to travel to Redding. I had originally considered taking 36 to A6 to 44 as you are planning, but decided to use 299 from Redding. The challenge with the route I selected from Red Bluff was the McCoy Road section. This was gravel for about three miles.

299 from Redding was not bad. Yes, shoulders are minimal but generally drivers were considerate. I took 299 to Bieber. At Bieber, rather than continue on 299 to U.S. 395 to U.S. 20 in Oregon, I took I took the Lookout Hackamore road out of Bieber. This is a very lightly traveled road through ranch land and the Modoc National Forest. Excellent road. This road connected to SR 139 to Tulelake. A more traveled road, but with a good shoulder.

I continued on SR 139 to Oregon 39 to Oregon 140 to U.S. 97 to Bend. Good shoulders in Oregon. Traffic is not bad, even on U. S 97, which has, for the most part, excellent shoulders. I decided against U.S 395 because there is a whole lot of nothing on that route.

From Bend eastbound I decided against U.S 20 because, again, there isn't much on that route. I would suggest U.S 26 eastbound to pick up your route to Montana.

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Routes / Re: Eugene Or. TransAmerica vs. Lewis & Clark to Missoula
« on: May 16, 2014, 02:26:37 pm »
I will be the contrarian...I do not consider 97 traffic as being heavy, and the shoulders are quite good. The further north you travel on 97 the less traffic you will find, particularly once north of Madras where you will have a variety of options - such as taking 197 to The Dallas (Cycle Oregon used this route from Tygh Valley to Dufur a number of years ago), or taking 218 to Fossil before heading north. However, given the choice, I would follow the TA to Baker City to Missoula. Since this is your first trip you may wish to use a route that others have already blazed for you. 

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Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« on: April 18, 2014, 12:38:01 am »
My touring bike has the same setup that you are contemplating (except I ride on 700X28's). I have elected to have low end gears I may not use versus high end I use on the downhills only. I haven't experienced the need to walk on the steeper and longer climbs....but that doesn't mean I don't stop for a break.

4
General Discussion / Re: Logistics of shipping equipment for touring
« on: April 15, 2014, 08:36:54 pm »
Another thought for your consideration. I have generally packed my bikes in cardboard boxes built for shipping bikes (as has been suggested, a box for the bike and a box for gear, although I generally have three boxes since I ship my wheels in a separate box) and then I use UPS and have them delivered to my first night destination (generally a hotel near the airport of my start point), where I put the bike together, take a test ride, and leave the following morning. I have never had a problem with a hotel accepting the boxes for a future guest. I generally ship so that the boxes will arrive two days before I arrive. I want a cushion. I have found the cost to be less, and the hassle to be less.

5
Routes / Re: Gravel Road Touring in Napa Valley with a 4 year old
« on: February 25, 2014, 12:38:41 pm »
I am not aware of any significant gravel roads in Napa or Sonoma County, particularly for a four day trip. The roads in those counties are generally paved, small to no shoulders, and loaded with traffic, some of which are exploring the hundreds of wineries in those two counties. Of the two counties, Sonoma would be a better choice for biking (Alexander Valley, Dry Creek, Russian River) or, perhaps, Mendocino County (Anderson Valley). 

6
Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route Northbound
« on: February 14, 2014, 06:55:25 pm »
I have one comment regarding traveling north - while in California it does not too much matter, but in Oregon the shoulder on 101 when traveling north tends to be narrower than if traveling south. Also, the prevailing winds from May through October are from the northwest. The Oregon DOT suggests traveling north to south. The Oregon Coast Bike Route map from the Oregon DOT indicates that improvements are concentrated on the southbound shoulder.

7
Agree. It is reasonably safe. As said earlier, Oregon is very bike friendly. Nice shoulders. Accomodations are easy to find, particularly at the time of year you are considering. California roads do not provide the same type of shoulders but I still consider the ride as "safe". I do use a mirror and I am aware of what is coming up on me.

As to climbing - I consider the short climb out of Charleston (Seven Devils Road) as strenuous but there is no rule that says you can't stop on the ascent for a break. The climb over the Crescent City Hills south of Crescent City is just long and, again, minimal shoulders. A number of climbs in Oregon, as you would expect, but nothing out of the ordinary. As I thing about it, if you take the Three Capes Scenic Route (I do suggest this alternate) there is a rather steep climb. My gearing is rather low because after a number of trips I decided I would rather have low end gears I do not use rather than high end gears I will never use when touring. The descents can be exhilerating. On one of my earlier trips, on the descent from Cape Sebastian I reached 53.9 mph, and the whole time I was thinking, 'this is sooooo stupid'.

In addition to the CGOAB site, the Tom Kirkendall and Vicky Spring book, Bicycling the Pacific Coast, is a good guide. Oregon has a specific bike map for the coast trip. You will likely find that very helpful. California does not have a specific map (at least I haven't been able to find one).

A final thought - whenever an alternate route is suggested that will take you off of 101, take it. I have never been disappointed.

If you are thinking you will take a month for the ride, you should have an incredibly enjoyable trip. Plenty of time to stop and enjoy the coast and the redwoods.

My best to you.


8
From earlier trips near that time frame you are contemplating, temperatures on the Oregon Coast for a May/early June trip from Astoria to SF will likely be in the low 60's; a better than even chance of cloud cover; and better than even chance of some precip. You will likely be riding with long sleeves and cycling tights, and keep your rain gear close. In Northern California, once on US 1, rain will be rare but there will be fog. I would strongly suggest a flashing rear light for the bike. It will be cool in SF and along the Sonoma coast. I have never considered US 1 as being very bike friendly. It is narrow with limited shoulders.  Traffic will increase as you move south of Ft. Bragg. Similar to an earlier poster, I am not generally intimidated by traffic so what may not be an issue for me may be an issue for others. That said, the Oregon section of the route has very good shoulders. The two Oregon tunnels get my heart rate. Be sure to activate the "Bikes in Tunnel" warning lights and then do not dawdle.

The Oregon portion of that route is one of my favorite rides. California is okay - scenic but because of the roads I consider it less bike friendly than Oregon. Enjoy the ride.

9
Early to mid September. Weather is generally very pleasant in Washington and Oregon, and in Northern California the chance of the cold fog along the coast is greatly diminished. There is a reason why September and October are the best times to visit Northern California and San Francisco.

10
Gear Talk / Re: Tent - One Person and Freestanding?
« on: January 23, 2014, 12:47:45 am »
I have travelled with a two person tent, freestanding, for the extra room but on my last trip I opted for a single person tent that would pack smaller and lighter. I went with Big Agnes' Copper Spur UL1. Packs small, less than three pounds with footprint, and while not as spacious as the two person tent, it was okay (I am 6 feet tall). Easy to set up and I was comfortable during those times when nature decided to become rowdy, but I did stake the tent when there was any hint of inclement weather. Okay vestibule.

11
General Discussion / Re: Advice or Feedback for Pacific Highway Cycle 2014
« on: November 09, 2013, 03:47:33 pm »
I have ridden from Seattle to SF seven times using the coast route. Each time the route I have taken has been a little different.

I strongly suggest using the Seven Devils Road from Charleston to Bandon. On my second trip I decided to bypass that route and take 101. Big mistake. There were sections south of Coos Bay where the shoulder was nonexistent, and when a shoulder existed, it was narrow. That was a stressful stretch. Yes, there is a steep climb out of Charleston on the ACA route, but it is not that steep and not than long and once on top there are no significant climbs. Plus, the climb is worth it for the solitude and lack of traffic. A much more pleasant way to reach Bandon.

The Astoria Bridge was challenging but I found the drivers were accommodating.

I have elected to walk my bike across a few of he bridges in Oregon using the sidewalk, particularly the bridge north of Coos Bay. I liked the calmness of walking and stopping on the walkway to see what I was crossing. 

In Oregon you have two tunnels. Be sure to use the warning lights at the beginning of the tunnels then pedal hard.

Whenever possible take the alternative route that will keep you off 101, particularly in California. As an example, in Oregon the route from Neskowin to Otis through the Siuslaw National Forest over the back shoulder of Cascade Head is a joy. Traffic is nearly nonexistent and the forest seems primeval. Also, the Three Capes Scenic Route from Tillamook is a much better option than staying on 101. More climbing but much more scenic and far less traffic.

Your May/June date will find the weather still iffy and likely extensive fog on CA 1 in Northern California. If you have not already done so, I suggest a flashing rear light for safety. And as already discussed, I have found a side mirror very helpful.

As others have said, this is a wonderful bike route. Oregon is very bicycle friendly. Great roadside parks (the park on the southside of Florence is incredibly nice). California is less bicycle friendly in that the roads have less of a shoulder and, in the case of CA 1, zero shoulder. The Washington part of the ride is okay and the shoulders are better than California.

Enjoy the journey.

12
Routes / Re: Best way to build a route from scratch?
« on: October 27, 2013, 12:17:43 am »
Not sure if this is a "smarter" way to plan a trip, but, in general,  I determine my starting point and end point. I then draw a line between the two and begin collecting state bicycle and/or road maps. Some states have good to very good bicycle maps (some not so much), and I also obtain the related state road map from their department of transportation. With this info I determine a preliminary route taking into account expected miles; services; what I want to see; etc. Then I check out the preliminary route using Google maps street view. Changes are made and a somewhat final route is obtained. Once on the ride, each day I determine whether there are any changes I wish to make to the next days route. Regardless of how much research and planning I have put into my routes, there are always surprises. And there is always construction. Stay flexible.

I have used ACA routes and other planned routes. They have their advantages but for a variety of reasons I like the challenge afforded in planning my routes.

13
Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades-Oregon section: Windigo Pass question
« on: August 19, 2013, 01:57:16 pm »
For what it's worth, U.S. 97 through Oregon is a good road, and with a few exceptions, has very good, wide shoulders. Traffic isn't unbearable.

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General Discussion / Re: VANCOUVER TO SAN FRANCISCO IN OCTOBER
« on: August 04, 2013, 05:47:58 pm »
I have biked from Seattle to the Bay Area a number of times, usually mid to late September. One trip did start the third week of October, generally following the ACA route in Oregon and California. It was...damp. Most days I experienced drizzle and cool temperatures. Earlier October I would have encountered more Indian Summer weather. South of Fort Bragg in Northern Califonia the weather was better because the summer fog stayed off-shore.

15
Routes / Re: portland>SF>boise
« on: August 04, 2013, 01:12:47 pm »
I suggest traveling south along the coast (consider using the ACA route). South has better shoulders, better opportunities for tailwinds, and better views in the sense that you have turnouts on the coast side and you would not need to cross traffic, which would not be the case when travelling north. Not sure what you have in mind from SF to Boise and the time you have for travel. Depending on what speaks to you, there is a lot of nothing in Northern Nevada and Southern Idaho. I would be inclined to travel north from SF through the Sacramento Valley toward Redding (I have biked a route from the Wine Country to Redding then 299 east to Bieber, then north to Bend - 299 was not my favorite - typical California road without much shoulder, but traffic was generally light), then east to pick up a route to Boise. You might consider 299 to 395N to US 20 to Boise. 395 will be lightly traveled with minimal services north of Lakeview, Oregon, and depending on time of travel, warm to hot (I have not biked 395). 20E from the intersection with 395 has generally good shoulders and light traffic, but east of Burns services are spotty and, again, warm to hot temperatures. A less direct approach is biking to Bend then east using the ACA route but rather than take State Route 7 toward Baker stay on 26 towards Unity, Vale, Ontario. That route is lightly travelled, okay services, a fairly easy ride, warm to hot temps (I have biked that route and I liked it more than the US 20 route). And to add a 'duh', carry sufficient water.

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