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Messages - cgarch

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Routes / Re: Getting from SFO (San Francisco Aiport) To Half Moon Bay?
« on: April 27, 2010, 06:37:27 pm »
One last comment. Since HMB is not the destination, consider Valygrl's comments and add this. Consider turning onto Pescadero Rd after La Honda. There is a short steep climb section but the remainder is worth it. Before reaching Pescadero, take the Butano Cutoff to Cloverdale Rd. and head south for some nice quiet riding. This keeps you away from 1 for a little longer. Takes Gazos Creek finally out to the coast. Once at the coast you should be able to count on a strong tail wind to blow you to Cruz.

Update: If you watched the Tour of California, you would have seen them riding exactly these roads.

Routes / Re: Getting from SFO (San Francisco Aiport) To Half Moon Bay?
« on: April 20, 2010, 08:57:50 pm »
You are wise to be suspicious of 92. Heavy traffic and a lot of uncomfortable riding with miserable shoulders in many places. Unless there is some reason to be in Half Moon Bay, the recommendation from here would be to work your way to Woodside, start up CA 84 West but turn at King's Mountain Road. Cross Skyline (CA 35) and descend Tunitas Creek Rd. to the coast. This will put you well south of HMB. Cannot vouch for the grade on King's Mountain Rd.. Another alternative is Old La Honda Rd., cross CA 35 and continue to reconnect with CA 84 west. Don't try to ride up 84 out of Woodside to Skyline. Old La Honda I believe has the lowest summit crossing the Santa Cruz Mtns. Once at the coast Santa Cruz is around 30 some odd miles. Good luck in your journey.

Pacific Northwest / Re: Blaine, WA to Astoria, Oregon
« on: April 12, 2010, 11:06:13 pm »
Can't imagine how the weather could be better. When we rode it in July last year we still got 3 days of rain out of 5 . . . South of Forks: Bogachiel State Park, about 10 miles, is one choice, though haven't camped there - others have. Next is Kalaloch CG, but has no HB sites nor showers, and sites are often reserved. Probably less of a problem in May than in summer . . There is another campground about 3 miles south of Kalaloch but it is more primitive. There's a convenience store at Kalaloch Lodge, has enough stuff to get by on. The trading post in Queets is better but it is also about 7 miles down the road. Next stop is Lake Quinault. The walkin campground, July Creek, on the north shore was closed last year and presumably is closed this year as the sign looked rather permanent. The USFS Falls Creek CG is pretty nice and showers are a mere 1.2 miles away. Since we made the trip last year perhaps you should visit this for what we experienced.   There are other trip posts that have stopped at Bogachiel - suggest you check those out. Other than the long sprint from Lake Quinault to Twin Harbors, there are sufficient campgrounds to make the trip. There are also campgrounds on the coast north of Grays Harbor that we did not check out but have been listed in other resources. Suggest you also look at the bible, Bicycling the Pacific Coast. FYI, the ferry across Grays Harbor is not functional. Overall though, it is a pretty trip. Good luck.

Routes / Re: Packing a Bicycle Trailer
« on: April 10, 2010, 07:12:19 pm »
OK, I'll bite. First you want heavy items at the bottom to lower the center of gravity. Second you want the load balanced across the center line of the trailer.  Putting heavy things up front may not be the best idea. Evenly balanced front - rear would again be best. That's the optimal scenario. Reality is often different. Sometimes just getting stuff in the trailer is half the trick. You do plan to load the trailer and test ride to experiment with how it's loaded, right?

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast or new Sierra - Cascades route?
« on: March 31, 2010, 09:14:11 pm »
One other consideration, since you mention you are new to touring. The coast route is a dream for a first tour. Seems like every SP has an HB site, they aren't that far apart, and services are relatively easy to obtain. I'm not sure that there are campgrounds/state parks in the volume and spacing you see on the coast in the inland areas. When you look at other routes, you can see how sweet the coast route is. Highly recommended for a first tour. And you won't be short of company.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast or new Sierra - Cascades route?
« on: March 31, 2010, 01:07:29 pm »
On the other hand...
Maybe consider taking the Sierra Cascades route to Sisters and then the TA to Florence and follow the coast south from there.  Three weeks is probably a bit tight on the time for that though.  Check the mileage and decide if that can work for you.

I'd support that suggestion and agree timing might be a little tight for three weeks. Given late July, inland temps can be quite hot - that might also be something to consider.

General Discussion / Re: Camping in NP
« on: March 25, 2010, 07:14:19 pm »
I think you need to check with the park you plan to land at or hope to get lucky. Not all apparently offer this accommodation. Check out this blog:

Routes / Re: portland to SF realistic time frame and advice needed
« on: March 10, 2010, 02:00:57 pm »
Suggest you check out for this route (Pacific Coast). Plenty of journals that cover this stretch complete with experiences and time frames. We took three weeks and we're happy with it. One suggestion  - if you have to stop at Manchester Beach SP, near Pt. Arena, CA, suggest you use the KOA. The state park is in poor condition with no showers. The KOA has showers and laundry.

Routes / Re: Moab Utah to Cortez Colorado(Mesa Verde)
« on: March 08, 2010, 08:55:00 pm »
Likewise, I drove it back in Dec 2007. I actually happened to take some photos from the car and on checking those a very ridable shoulder is visible. My recollection from driving it is that it would indeed be very ridable. You can bet there is the usual variability in shoulders. Nearing Monticello and headed east to Cortez, indeed the scenery is pretty barren. At one point east of Monticello, there is a small forest of small pines (I think) but not for long. If it is clear you can see the San Juans long before you reach them. The barren wide open spaces have a grandeur all their own.

General Discussion / Re: maximum weight 2
« on: February 09, 2010, 10:21:56 pm »
I'd agree with the other posters. Can't think of many bikes or tires that won't support your weight. I weigh 240-250 (i'm 6-5) and don't have any issues other than I don't ride small tires (<23). I ride 23s at 120 psi just fine. On the tandem (carbon, combined weight 375, somewhere north of 400 when touring) we ride 25s for local rides and 28-30s for touring. No issues but then since both bikes are custom, they were made with my size in mind. But still there are plenty of guys racing that are heavier than you. 160 is a non-problem.


Gear Talk / Re: Big Agnes vs Theramrest
« on: January 28, 2010, 02:40:40 pm »
I've had Thermarests for years but for our first Pac Coast trip in 2009 we got a pair of the Big Agnes, primarily because of space considerations. They packed well and we both slept quite well with the BAs.  Only drawback was I didn't want to be blowing the bloody things up everyday, so I brought a small hand pump that was originally for the Fit Ball and I made an adapter to match the BA valve. If I had had more time I would have made an adapter to work with tire pump then I would have only had 1 pump instead of 2. Regardless, it worked well. FWIW, my BA is the extra long and wide version - I'm a big guy - and again no complaints.

Trying to figure what we'll do with the ThermaRests.

Routes / Re: LA to SF in Feb?
« on: January 27, 2010, 02:05:03 pm »
This is the rainy season.  Fronts come down from the Gulf of Alaska so they are cold and wet.  Generally the wind is from the north but during this time they could come from the south when a low pressure zone brings in the cold and rain.  This definitely not the tourist season so road traffic will generally be only locals.  It is also possible that parts of the route nearer to SF could be closed due to slides.  When you get to Cambria check with CalTrans to see if HWY 1 is closed anywhere along the route.

I just checked the web site and there is a slide about three miles south of Gorda.  The road is still open but be prepared for delays and construction equipment in the area.

This reminds me of the last year they ran the Tour of California down the coast. I recall that Levi mentioned that it was one his three worst days on the bike. They fought wind and rain for a stage that approached 6 hours in a miserable slog down Big Sur. Indeed the wind and rain will swirl around and come from the south, so if it is storming you should have something like a (wet) tailwind. Good luck!

Routes / Re: California in December
« on: January 17, 2010, 04:56:53 pm »
8.5 hours of daylight is typical at that time, 0730-1700. Typically here in the Bay Area it is dark at 5 (1700) in Nov-Dec.. As for motels, yes, there quite a few and they will be open. Towards Big Sur there are fewer and south of Big Sur farther between. Shouldn't be an issue.


Thanks for all the useful advice. Very handy. If anyone else could help on a couple of queries. How many hours cycling in daylight can we expect in late November/December in the area? Are there enough motels open on the Pacific Coast at that time of year? 

Routes / Re: California in December
« on: January 09, 2010, 10:27:25 am »
I would offer this additional comment regarding crossing the Sierra in Nov-Dec.: Caltrans closes (going north) Tioga (CA 120),Sonora (108), and Ebbetts (CA 4) at the first hint of snow - it can be as early as mid-October. Carson (CA 88) and US 50 are open all year. But just because they're open doesn't mean they're an easy ride if they are covered with snow and ice as they were this past November. Checking with Caltrans is essential to a sane trip. It can be quite cold and windy in this area for days at a time.

After re-reading your post, it seems the automatic assumption is that you would ride a loop headed north along the eastern Sierra. Novermber-December is not the time to do that route (IMHO - unless you really really want that kind of challenge). It would make more sense to cross the Sierra further south. Consider going over the Kern River Canyon (CA 178) and then head north through the western Sierra foothills. Work your way north to CA 49, then cross the valley at either Merced area or Modesto. There are several areas where you could cross the valley. Being on the western side of the Sierra would allow you to adjust your trip for time a lot easier. There are lots of roads in this area to choose from.

I'll defer to other comments for the southern half of the state.


Routes / Re: New to board: Eugene, OR to Sacramento, CA
« on: December 27, 2009, 02:06:54 pm »
snip> My first thought was the coastal route, but if I want to see the first stage (Nevada City to Sacarmento) it looks like a better (i.e. direct) route is to Klamath, Altamont and down.

I know nothing, I've only been to OR once and that was for business in Portland 20 years ago.  I've only just started looking at this and have gotten no further than trying to pull info off the 'net, which hasn't been a fruitful search.  About all I know is what I can surmise from Google Maps.

First I think you should be very careful with Google Maps. It cost someone his life a couple of years ago when he got lost in the mountains west of Grants Pass and that was in a car. If you don't have a real good sense of the area, particularly away from cities, or how to use Google maps, then I don't recommend relying on it.

Second it would have helped if you gave us better idea of your thoughts south of Klamath. And are you moteling or camping? Time frame?

I think you have 4 choices:
1) Eugene to the coast, then south, then finding a route back east to Nevada City. Not an easy nor direct proposition. Probably the longest route.
2) Eugene straight south through Ashland, through Mt. Shasta and then to Nevada City.
3) Eugene to Klamath (by way of OR 58), to Weed, CA (by way of US 97) to Mt. Shasta City, then to CA 89 south to NC.
4) Eugene -> Klamath -> Alturas -> Susanville -> Lake Alamanor to last portion of choice 3.

Choice 1 is of course the best for scenery and touring facilities. The problem in my eyes is getting back from the coast to Sacto area. Once in CA on the coast, you have few choices: 36, 20 or something further south around the top of the Bay Area. It is the long way around. CA 36 is very climby with very limited services.

Choice 2 requires a lot of minor road navigation through southern OR. It also involves a lot of up and down, plus Siskiyou Pass. I've researched some of the roads but can't comment on how well it supports a touring cyclist. There are plenty of towns so a credit card moteling trip is quite doable. Once you're near Mt. Shasta City the choice is pretty clear. Either follow CA89 through the foothills, Lassen NP, and on south to Nevada City or take I5/99 through Redding and such, through the western edge of the Sacramento Valley then up to Nevada City.

Choice 3 is in my view more direct than riding through the Ashland area. Tip-off is this is the railroad's preferred route - direct and better grades. A few towns and plenty of places to camp. Once in Klamath, turning back towards Weed brings you back towards Mt. Shasta City and highway 89. CA 89 is a fine two-lane road, though it has occasional logging truck traffic and can be narrow in places. At the junction with CA 49 you could then turn west towards Nevada City.

Choice 4 heads further southeast to either Alturas or continues on CA 139. This route is pretty desolate with very few services south of Alturas for a long way. Can't speak to CA 139 as it's been 40 years since I was last on it though it appears to be more direct. Once reaching Susanville and heading west to Lake Almanor you could pick up the remainder of the choice 3 route.

Your route choice then depends a great deal on how much time you have and where you plan to stay. Good luck.


edited 28 Dec 2009: You might want to look at the comments regarding CA 89 in the discussion about the Sierra Cascades Route.

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