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Messages - cgarch

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Routes / Re: Getting bikes to Canada from California
« on: April 22, 2015, 07:53:34 pm »
No Amtrak to Victoria - need to get there by ferry. Several options exist and I think others can speak to that. There is a ferry from Seattle but my recollection is that it is $$$. You could take the Amtrak Cascade to Vancouver from Seattle and then take BC Ferries to Victoria - if you're coming up the coast via the Starlight that means an overnight in Seattle. I'm sure there might be some other options.

Routes / Re: Getting bikes to Canada from California
« on: April 22, 2015, 04:27:39 pm »
Yes you can bring the tandem on Amtrak - if you can break it down or as adventurePDX sez, fit it in the box. If your tandem has couplers no problem, but there are issues with a split tandem banging around loose in two boxes (timing chain wheels digging through the box would be one). You’ve got to respect the 50lb weight limit as well. The weight weenies in Seattle made sure I was aware of this the last time we traveled on Amtrak (and right now it probably is the last time sadly).


Apologies for the lengthy delay - the holidays got in the way. Jamawani makes a plenty of good arguments for that route. I agree that riding north up the coast is not recommended - the wind will beat you down. Plus if you ride south on the coast, you're on the ocean side of the road which is a lot more pleasant. I would suggest that you have two choices - a loop ride that goes up through either Napa Valley or Sonoma, crosses over to the coast and then returns south on 1 to SF. Or a straight up out and back on the coast.

First, if camping in state parks then hiker-biker sites are first come, most everyone served. If you want a conventional site, then you'll need reservations. The tough part is connecting the dots if you choose to do an inland loop for camping sites.

Suggested Loop route: SF to Vallejo by Ferry, ride to Bothe-Napa SP, north of St. Helena. B-N SP has HB sites and a lot of good eats along the way. Here it gets tough - do you go to Clear Lake as Jamawani suggests or do you start thinking about the coast. Clear Lake is a reasonable destination but it is hot in July, Worse, Getting to Clear Lake is a bitch. You don't want to take 29 unless you have to - it is narrow and has relatively heavy traffic. 29 twists and turns as it climbs the shoulder of Mt. St. Helena and has no shoulder - It's highly not recommended. There is an alternate - further north of Calistoga is Ida Clayton. Great scenic road but just a stinker of a climb for several miles. Over the county line (to Lake County) the road turns to powdery dirt for the descent into Lake County on Western Mine Road. Once past that you rejoin CA 29 for the ride to Middletown. From there you would continue on 29 towards Kelseyville and Lakeport. There is Boggs Mtn State Forest, but I'm not sure of the camping opportunities. And this to me would be the problem with this route, is the limited number of camping opportunities in this area. Personally, I don't care much for Lake County and would suggest you avoid it.

So if you don't go to Clear Lake, then you could continue north of Calistoga on CA 128 towards Geyserville. Above Geyserville there is a KOA where you could probably camp. From this location you would track back through Dry Creek Valley to head towards the Russian River. Alternatively you could cut through Healdsburg (great eats and lodging) and work towards the Russian River (Westside Road, River Road). There's a campground near Korbel Winery, think it's called School House (private) that would be worth a shot. The gist is that you would start to work through the Alexander Valley towards the Russian River to head out to the ocean. Road traffic is moderate and the roads have decent shoulders. If you consider this area and route do not give any thought to going towards Warm Springs Dam and trying to reach the coast by way of Skaggs Springs - Stewarts Point Road. Unless you like hot temperatures, extreme grades (12-18%) and no services - including water - zip, nada zilch. It's 40 miles of the most beautiful and rugged terrain but a nightmare if you are fully loaded and just returning to touring. Stick to working towards River Road and CA 116 on back roads to reach the coast.

Presuming you stick to this itinerary, CA 116 will take you to the coast. A short run down to Bodega Bay will take you to Bodega Dunes SP with its teensy-weensy HB site. Within easy reach of town for supplies. Options include riding out to Bodega Head and various hikes. From Bodega Bay traveling south takes you to SP Taylor SP with more HB sites. There's also a great B&B in Olema, The Bear Valley Inn, run by a former LAB board member - you get a discount if you arrive by bike. A good spot to hole up for a day or two and ride out to Pt. Reyes and back - 40 miles or so.

Presuming you've stuck this route out, you're now 1 day away from returning to SF. So there's a good 5-6 days of riding in some fabulous territory.

If you want to do the coastal O&B then it's just those last few days in reverse order going north before you turn south. Hope this helps.

OK, I'll byte. Let's have a little more info first. Are you thinking that you will simply head up CA 1 for a few days then turn around and come back? That's one option and since you say 'coast' I presume that's exactly what you mean. If that's what you're thinking then the ACA route and stops should satisfy your needs. How far north do you want to go? Bodega Bay? Ft. Ross? What you could do is take in some side trips while headed north - Pt. Reyes comes to mind - it's a great out and back.

Or are you thinking you would like to head north, say inland first (like maybe the Napa Valley), head out to the coast, and then back to SF?

How familiar are you with the area?

I'll offer what I can based on your reply.

Santa Rosa, CA

California / Re: Tours around San Francisco Area
« on: October 08, 2014, 03:07:23 pm »
You could conceivably go either direction. There is one possible route that involves going out towards that Napa Valley (ferry to Vallejo), heading north towards Calistoga (camp at Boethe Mills SP (sp?) ) over through Healdsburg/Santa Rosa (skimpy camping) out to the coast (Bodega Bay SP) then south (Samuel P. Taylor SP) than back to SF.

South maybe not so good, down CA 1 to Half Moon Bay SP >Santa Cruz (New Brighton SP) > Watsonville Area (Sunset Beach SP) and then? That's the tough part (my opinion) - either backtrack or take public trans back to SF.



General Discussion / Re: Washington Hiker/Biker Campsites?
« on: July 22, 2014, 02:36:45 pm »
Olympic NP doesn't have hiker/biker sites

We've only been to the NPS Olympic campground at Fairholm (or Fairholme) once (2009) but it did have specific HB sites [down a rather steep trail]. Nice too. Kalaloch does not. If you plan to visit Kalaloch before Labor day a reservation is highly recommended.

Routes / Re: Washington parks route
« on: May 21, 2014, 04:27:10 pm »
Depends . . where you're from, what you're looking for, those sorts of things. We've ridden a portion of it around the Olympic Peninsula and will be riding more of it this summer (along the Strait and out to Cape Flattery). We haven't ridden the eastern portion yet. I like it, and think pretty highly of the area for riding. YMMV.


While I do not have a specific route recommendation, you might find this CGOAB article of use.

Wayne is an Oregon local and knows the area well.

Santa Rosa, CA

Routes / Re: Tenting on the Pacific Coast Route
« on: April 07, 2014, 06:30:41 pm »
Agree with Norsman, camping along the Pac Coast is pretty easy stuff - there are plenty of journals to attest to that.

I did look at your route and specifically in the Sonoma County area. I think you're making a big mistake to leave the coast at Skaggs Springs - Stewarts Point Road. It's one thing to do that road unloaded and questionable to do that loaded . . really questionable . . there are no services between the coast and Lake Sonoma, and that includes potable water sources. And there are many stretches that are 10-15% grades for many miles, some that are exposed. We use this road for an obnoxious double century called the Terrible Two and the Terrible Two's Bad Little Brother. While only ~36 miles, you may wish you had gone further down CA 1 and taken CA 116 and some other backroads to reach CA 128 through Healdsburg.

Here's a link to a ridewithgps route map - look at the elevation profile from mile 107.3 to 143.3 and you can make your own decision. Best of luck.

Retired Terrible Two Director
Santa Rosa, CA

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Connect PCH with SC
« on: March 14, 2014, 07:23:46 pm »
And another shot.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Connect PCH with SC
« on: March 14, 2014, 07:15:39 pm »
I cannot say enough about how great Highway 96 and its surrounding roads are. Yeah it's a little tough getting from Ashland over Siskiyou summit to the turnoff, but once you're on 96 you are rewarded with a wonderful 2 lane highway in pretty good condition. There is some variability in the shoulders but then there isn't that much traffic anymore. You follow the Klamath (designated wild and scenic river) for a long ways in a generally downhill trending road until you reach Weitchpec. There, at the confluence of the Trinity, you climb back up towards Willow Creek and thence to a summit climb on 299 to reach Arcata. There is a bike trail in the area (basically the old highway) that circumvents some of the crappy parts of 299 on the way to Arcata. There are a variety of FS campgrounds as well. Enough towns on the route as well to restock.

Our club does a one-week tour in the Klamath area. It started out as one time trip - it's now an annual affair and sells out. The area includes the Marble Mountain and Russian Wildernesses which make for good alternate route choices.

36 is a great road, no doubt but hilly and remote. 299 is a non-starter (my opinion).

Routes / Re: Need help mapping out DETAIL Route. San Juans to San Fran
« on: March 06, 2014, 03:48:47 pm »
Much of the ODT is paved, though it is not always a contiguous trail - meaning that occasionally you have to get on some roadway, usually US101. The Kirkendahl/Spring  book is generally relevant with one clear caveat - the ferry across Grays Harbor is kaput.

As for leaving from Orcas, either route would be good, though the Anacortes route would be easier (IMO).

Generally biking the west coast is a pretty straightforward affair. Like magic, there are campgrounds at reasonable day distances with nearby towns for supplies. Hard to beat. It bears repeating that checking out and search for the ACA Pacific Coast routes will lead you to journals that well describe the region.

Santa Rosa, CA

Yes it is safe, as long as you ride safely.

Gears? There are some long climbs, not too bad, but you will wish you had lower gears (Crescent City south, Leggett . . ). Oregon grades seldom exceed 6%, California is not as kind.

Lots of HB sites open, no reservation required.

Strongly suggest you check out Pacific Coast journals at CGOAB


Routes / Re: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« on: February 10, 2014, 02:55:05 pm »
I considered offering that route or something similar, but I think there are some disadvantages: It would add about 3 days to the trip, it adds some significant climbing and, until they reach the coast, there are few if any camping choices except wild camping (there is a KOA in Petaluma). It also involves some convoluted route planning. The good news is that Cal Trans completed a beautiful widening of CA 116 between Sonoma and Petaluma and it is now feasible to ride that road between the two towns. All that being said, the pleasure of reaching the coast is worth it.

Routes / Re: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« on: February 10, 2014, 12:30:15 pm »
Judging from the website and the list of updates, it appears to cover Vallejo. Would really help if he had larger map with a boundary of the area covered . . That being said, I think one can get just as much info from a Google route search. The route choice is fairly limited. It's a fairly urban area at that point and services are not hard to find. The Google route correctly picks up the bike routes so that's a plus.


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