Author Topic: Vancouver to Los Angeles  (Read 3878 times)

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Offline theworldawaits

Vancouver to Los Angeles
« on: February 21, 2012, 01:50:29 pm »
Hey everyone.. I was planning to ride from Vancouver, Canada down to Los Angeles in late May or early June.  I had a few questions...

1) How long would this take? The route says roughly 1800miles but with all the hills, etc... am I looking at 3 weeks roughly?

2) The AIDS ride from San Fran to Los Angeles is happening from June 3-9th. Could this interfere with my ride? I'm wondering if they close roads to only 'registered riders', etc.  It also looks like they don't hug the coast though..

3) I have all the gear..  any idea how much a trip like this would cost? I'd prefer to wild camp / warmshowers as much as possible... but also okay to pay for camping when needed.  I'm just looking for a ballpark figure.

4) Is the California/Big Sur coast reliable? I used to motorcycle up there and noticed the roads were closed quite often. I don't really want to go inland as the Big Sur coast is one of the biggest draws for me.. :D

5) Any other thoughts, insights, suggestions?  I'm trying to do all the leg work now so the trip goes smooth in May/June.

Thanks in advance!!

Jason


Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 10:12:32 pm »
Not all the answers, but I'll take a swing at some of them:

(1) I'd figure 300-400 miles per week, unless you're in really good shape.  Really, really, good shape.  And carrying very little in the way of gear.

(3) Costs are all over the map.  The lowest estimate I consider reasonable is $15/day.  You might need to double it, depending on what campsites cost this year.  (Or multiply by 20 if you have to motel it in a beautiful, scenic, touristy area.)

(4) AIUI, most of the slides occur in rainy weather.  Wait 6-8 weeks for the end of the rainy season, and check the road status then.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 02:16:00 pm »
1) How long would this take? The route says roughly 1800miles but with all the hills, etc... am I looking at 3 weeks roughly?

Three weeks would be quite ambitious in my opinion, unless you were mostly pulling centuries each day and not taking any break days. When I did a coast tour several years back it took me a little under two weeks to get from Tillamook, Oregon (about 100 miles south of the OR/WA line) to San Francisco. I would say at least a month, but if I were doing it again I would take 5-6 weeks, allowing for more off days. I can't really answer this question without knowing what kind of rider you are and your touring style. (Do you like long days? Don't want to stop much? Bike loaded like a pack mule or going ultralight?)

3) I have all the gear..  any idea how much a trip like this would cost? I'd prefer to wild camp / warmshowers as much as possible... but also okay to pay for camping when needed.  I'm just looking for a ballpark figure.

In Oregon, most state park campgrounds have hiker/biker sites, which are reserved exclusively for non-motorized travellers. These typically run $5 a night per person, hot shower included.

Offline theworldawaits

Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2012, 02:57:23 am »
Thanks for the responses!  Am I missing much if I skip Washington and start in Oregon?  I would love to keep this around three weeks if possible.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2012, 03:31:32 am »
Am I missing much if I skip Washington and start in Oregon?  I would love to keep this around three weeks if possible.

Depends on who you ask and what you want to do. My short answer if you want to keep the route to three weeks and see as much of the actual Pacific Coast as possible, then yes, start in Oregon.

There are two "main" Coast Routes, the Peninsula and the Inland. The Peninsula route starts in the NE part of the Olympic Peninsula (Port Townsend/Angeles), heads west than south along the Olympic Peninsula. The Inland route goes through the Puget Sound region. Depending on whose Inland routing you use (either the Kirkendall/Spring Bicycling the Pacific Coast book or ACA's Pacific Coast Route), you can join up with the Peninsula route around Aberdeen (Kirkendall/Spring) or near Astoria (ACA).

The Peninsula Route to me is worth it if you can invest the time and energy into getting off the main road (US 101) and explore Olympic National Park. But these explorations mean side-trips anywhere from 10 to 40 miles round-trip to see things like the Hoh Rain Forest and Sol Duc Hot Springs. 101 itself stays inland north of Aberdeen so you'll see very little of the coast. South of Aberdeen 101 stays nearer to the coast.

While the inland routes go through some lovely countryside and you'll see quite a bit of the Puget Sound or Hood Canal (depending on the route), you don't see the actual ocean. But it is more direct than taking the Peninsula route.

What do you think your daily mileage will look like?

Offline theworldawaits

Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2012, 12:23:03 pm »
Well, I just moved to Vancouver, BC and plan to live here for some years... so perhaps I'll save the exploration of Washington and Olympic Park for another time... :)   I think starting in Oregon makes more sense... Thanks for the tips!

I'm thinking of averaging about 60miles per day.  The only thing I'm concerned about is that I remember the Pacific Coast to be quite hilly... ;)

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2012, 02:44:19 pm »
Well, I just moved to Vancouver, BC and plan to live here for some years... so perhaps I'll save the exploration of Washington and Olympic Park for another time... :)   I think starting in Oregon makes more sense... Thanks for the tips!

Don't forget about exploring the Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, Gulf/San Juan Islands, and the BC interior as well! You won't get bored, trust me.

I'm thinking of averaging about 60miles per day.  The only thing I'm concerned about is that I remember the Pacific Coast to be quite hilly... ;)

Yep, there are plenty of hills. No mountain passes, but hills for sure.
I'd say it is possible to get to LA from Astoria at that rate, but it would be tight. It doesn't allow time for break days. I did Tillamook, OR to Cambria, CA in about three weeks, not counting break days, and averaged 55 miles a day. I chose Cambria as an end for that trip because of mechanical issues, but it is past Big Sur and close to San Luis Obispo where you can hop on Amtrak. That can be an option.

Offline raybo

Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2012, 01:01:08 pm »
I recently rode from Bellingham down to Newburg, OR (just south of Portland) (Journal here). I had great weather (I did it in late August) and enjoyed much of my ride in Washington.  I didn't really follow either ACA route in Washington, riding through the islands, down the Hood Canal, over to the coast and then down to Oregon. The time I spent on the northern Oregon coast (Astoria to Tillamook) was nothing special, with the exception that the coast from Cannon Beach to Nahalam Bay was spectacular.  I have no experience south of Tillamook, though I have heard it is beautiful.

I have also ridden from SF to LA many times as I live in SF and am from LA.  The first ride I did, I averaged 70 mile days (Journal here). It took me 11 days, though I had 2 rest days.  It was hard and I was often very tired at the end of the day. On other rides, I averaged about 50 miles a day and enjoyed my ride far more (Journal here).

To your questions:

1) 1800 miles in 21 days is too much, in my view.  I aim for no more than 50/day knowing I could do 70+ if needed. This also leaves you no time for mechanical failures or spending time somewhere along the way.  Also, riding to a strict schedule puts undue mental pressure on something that is supposed to be fun.  Frankly, I'd plan to do less than more. I aim for no more than 250 miles/week.

2) I have never ridden the AIDS ride but I have driven Highway 1 when they were on it and it was a steady stream of bike riders in all modes of dress and distress.  Frankly, unless you like being part of a larger spectacle, I'd avoid it as they will overwhelm the services along the road and road side.  They don't close the road. In the past, they have headed inland instead of riding the Big Sur Coast.  This makes sense as there isn't any camping place big enough to handle the hundreds of people on the ride on the coast.

3) I don't concern myself with costs when touring.  But, if you use warmshowers and couchsurfing (far more hosts) and stay in hiker/biker sites, your overnight costs should be minimal.  Also, there are many Subway sandwich shops along this route were for $7 you can get a day's worth of calories.

4) Don't miss Big Sur.  As someone earlier said, it is only a problem during big storms (which we haven't had this year).  If there is a slide before your trip, it might be a while before the road is reopened.  Check various biking forums for local reports should this happen.

5) Comments:
The further north you start, the more likely it is to rain part of the trip.  Be sure to carry raingear.
Most of the ride is on roads with little to no shoulder.  Take a rear view mirror and check it constantly.  Be ready to pull off the road, if necessary.
Carry name cards that provide ways for people to get in touch with you or follow your ride.  It is nice to hand something to someone you've made some contact with.
Take lots of photos.

Visit the on-line bike touring archive at www.biketouringtips.com

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 05:02:25 pm »
Thanks for the responses!  Am I missing much if I skip Washington and start in Oregon?  I would love to keep this around three weeks if possible.

With your time frame, I'd skip the northern half of Oregon, too.  I found the best parts of the ride to be from Coos Bay to around Bodega Bay, Cal and from Carmel Cal to just north of Santa Barbara.  The very best days? It would be a toss-up: either the redwoods/north Calif coast or the Carmel/ Big Sur/San Simeon area.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline gbnbr0

Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2012, 10:22:27 am »
Hi, I'll be riding from Vancouver to US/Mexico border, beginning in April. I'm taking three months.  Really don't want to rush it.  I'm guessing I'll like to deviate from the given route - but not to sure when and why?

First time I've ridden more than 15miles in one go.  Some people say I'm foolish!? I'm hoping to raise money for Cancer Research UK while I'm about it.  Please come and support me at: http://www.facebook.com/cycle.the.us.pacifichighway / www.twitter.com/nickbrown40

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Vancouver to Los Angeles
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2012, 12:12:44 pm »
I guess I can't see many places where I would change the Pacific Coast route except maybe in WA, where I think the best riding would be to go around the Olympic Peninsula through Port Angeles, Forks, Aberdeen in that order.  Also, I'd get in a lot of practice rides and short overnighters with gear if you've only rideden 15 miles at a time.  I don't think you're foolish, but you need to be in shape and know how to ride in highway traffic and haul gear to do this ride.  There's lots of info on this site how to do all this.   
May the wind be at your back!