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Hi! I'll be doing the ride from Vancouver to San Diego in October and am stressing out about encountering cougars along the highway. I hear they can come up on you. Has anyone encountered or heard of cyclist on this route having to deal with them?
I knew the moment I wrote that that someone would jump on the term "normal" No, I'm not against articles on exotic and unusual touring destinations but there has been a preponderance of them lately. Perhaps more accessible locations have all been written about?
I still enjoy reading AC but I agree that some of the articles are getting pretty far afield from rides "normal" people can even think of doing. I further agree with your take on O'Grady's bike reviews. His definition of "Touring Bike" seems to be rather wide and includes some pretty unsuited bikes. How can you recommend a touring bike that has a 52x11 high gear and a 39x25 low gear?
Nowadays, Adventure Cycling seems to reflect the schizophrenia within ACA itself. I expect to read "Biking with Brown Bears" any issue now. It'll be right after an announcement that some paved ACA route has moved off a four-lane road, recently paved, with daily traffic of 500 vehicles, because a parallel rail-trail opened up surfaced with leftover riprap...
I have an upcoming camping trip in the San Juan islands with a group of friends from Seattle...I want to bike through and back Deception Pass and Whidbey Island! Does anyone have any good routes or route planning techniques for this? My main fear is that I'll follow Google maps and end up on a two lane road with no shoulder...
As to the nature of traffic along Lake Crescent it certainly is no worse, and in my mind, a whole lot better, than riding through Sea Ranch in CA where there has been no upgrade on CA 1 since Sea Ranch was built.
Since we've traveled to Port Townsend several times in the last three years, we've driven the stretch along Hood Canal - other than the proximity of campgrounds I wouldn't take it over the peninsula route - way more traffic (and fast) and so-so shoulders. Certainly scenic enough.
Count me in the camp that favors riding the Peninsula and taking in the side trips, if you can. The part that does rub me the wrong way is the lack of HB camping sites at both Kalaloch and Hoh (not to mention a lack of showers). Sure would like to see ACA put some pressure on the Park Service on this. Riding 18 miles one way from 101 to the Hoh to not find a camping spot is not acceptable.
What it boils down to is route selection is somewhat subjective. We take in as much information as we can, distill it to what we've decided are the most important factors and determine a route from there...What you have to remember for this route in particular is that when it was developed in the 80's, there was a lot of logging going on in the area and US 101 carried much of that traffic with little to no shoulders. Safety is a large factor in our selection process, it won out over other considerations.
i disagree with those posters who think the peninsula is not great unless you do the side trips.
Kirkendall/Spring has both an Inland route along the Sound to Shelton (where it turns West) and a Coast route using 101 around the Peninsula. They take 101 around Crescent Lake which as you note is among the worst sections on the the coast. There I'd instead take 112 along the Strait of Juan de Fuca as WA Parks does.
In general there is nothing wrong with ACA's "I-5" route (though basically it's Cascade's long available STP route) and those of us who ride down there certainly ride all over that. It's just not the Pacific Coast in an area where actually riding along the Pacific Coast is an option and pretty great.
The WA coast is a far more rugged and wild coast then the tame (though wonderful) OR Coast. Only very Northern CA coast compares and is of course different. And while there are plenty of places where the route ducks in from the coast it's not like you are riding on the beach the whole time on any stretch of the coast. Not to mention there is a distinct difference between the northern and southern stretches of the coast and on the southern end you are pretty close to the water for long stretches if you use 105, 109 as well as 101.
Finally even if you want to take the inland route along the Sound and Hood Canal at the very least the Coast Route should from Elma (where WA Parks inexplicably starts) take the back roads and 105 to the Coast at Twin Harbors State park and down the coast and along the bays to Cape Disappointment. There is great views, great parks and great riding on this stretch and this isn't part of WA Parks, so no way to do all of the WA coast on ACA rates... Why anyone would want to take the inland route near I-5 (which does have some nice places, but just doesn't compare) beyond being in a real hurry, is bizarre to me.