Author Topic: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!  (Read 2757 times)

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Offline Martina

Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« on: September 26, 2012, 03:50:11 am »
Hi there,

I am new to this forum and very excited about the discussion and information from you "cycling friends and experts".

Next year in June and July we plan to cycle from the South-West of the US to Canada. We would like to start in the beginning of June in the South (either in San Francisco or somewhere in the southern part of Oregon) and cycle in 3-4 weeks to the Canadian border. However, we already read in the book "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" that due to strong winds coming from North-West it is not recommended to go from South to North along the coast. Now we are thinking about cycling the "Sierra Cascades"-Trail which leads from Woodfords (CA) - Truckee (CA) - Lassen Vulcanic NP (CA) - Mt. Shasha (CA) - Ashland (OR) - Crater Lake NP (OR) - Bend (OR) - Sisters (OR) - Hord River (OR) - to Yakima or Seattle. Unfortunately, we did not find any information so far about the wind strength and direction in this area in June. We hope that it is not too strong since it is away from the coast.

However, we would like to make sure and get some information from an "cycling expert" or local before booking the flights and plan everything in detail.

Does anybody know this route and has information about the wind and other aspects to regard? Thanks a lot for your help and advice!
 
Greetings from Germany
Martina

Offline staehpj1

Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 06:56:42 am »
The Sierra Cascades is an incredibly beautiful route, at least the southern half was and I expect it all is.

Wind direction is a crap shoot on that route and given how mountainous the route is would likely be the least of your worries any way.

I advise being sure you are willing to deal with a lot of climbing and possibly some very hot weather.  When we were there (about the same time of year) it got to 110 F in the Mojave.   Also this route is constant steep climbing and descending with hardly a flat spot anywhere.  That said it is extremely scenic and very beautiful.

It isn't unusual for there to still be snow closures up until July and occasionally beyond.  Tioga Pass is likely to be closed until then and Yosemite National Park had all services on the route outside of the Yosemite Valley closed when we were there.  They did open more on July 1st, but were were through there by then.

The Yosemite Valley is well worth spending some time in so I advise allowing time for that.  There is a limit for your stay there (7 days maybe?) and it is worth taking that time.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 09:51:34 am »
I have no experience with the Sierra Cascades (SC), but do have a rhetorical question.  Why not just book the flight say into Vancouver or Seattle and head south?  Assuming your preferred route is the Pacific Coast (PC) and not the SC, unless you are continuing on with your journey when you reach Canada, i.e. Banff to Jasper and flying back to Germany from Edmonton the benefits of going south to north are not as strong.

No matter which route you choose, enjoy the ride!

BTW, I did the PC south to north many moons ago and can verify it is not the preferred way to go.  However, it is doable.
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John

Offline Martina

Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 10:35:49 am »
Thanks John, for your reply. We also thought about doing the route from North to South. However our favorite months are June and July (more daylight, no holiday time, less people) and we would like to combine the US and Canada. Starting in June in Canada might be very cold and still some snow in the mountains.

We also think about taking a train, bus or flight but that might be complicated (and expensive) with the bikes. Does anybody has experiences with that?

Offline staehpj1

Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2012, 10:43:13 am »
The North to South mantra is said so often that it must be true.  The funny thing is that when I rode the Pacific Coast (N-S) there wasn't all that much wind.  Yes there were a few tail winds, but nothing like I was expecting.  There were also days with headwinds.  I am not sure if it was just an anomaly or if it was because I tended to start out at the crack of dawn and finish very early in the afternoon.  Perhaps I was just lucky or the winds didn't kick up until afternoon when I was in camp.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 02:41:43 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline indyfabz

Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2012, 02:19:09 pm »

Just climbed from Fort Klamath up to Crater Lake, rode around the rim and then down to Prospect a few weeks ago on Cycle Oregon. The day after that we did Prospect to Ashland. After a rest day we climbed out of Ashland the same way we came in--on Dead Indial Memorial Rd., which is what I believe the ACA route uses. The climb is arduous. It was early in the morning, so wind was not a factor, but after the short descent from the summit, we hit some headwind. Not intimately familiar with the ACA route, but if it goes from Prospect up to Crater Lake via Rte. 62, that's a 30 mile ascent of one degreee or another. Wind was not a factor. Once you are up at the rim, anything goes. We had a headwind for a while going clockwise from the lodge to the park road that leads down to Rte. 138. I climbed that road 5 years ago into a headwind.

In short, I think the hills will be much more of an issue than the wind. The heat, too. It was at least 90 F in Ashland on 9/12 and 9/13. It cool up on the rim road this year, but pretty darn warm five years ago despite the altitude and early September date.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2012, 02:46:49 pm »
You can rent a Toyota RAV4 from San Diego to Salt Lake City for about $150/day (based on weekend).  Ride from SLC to Jackson, WY and see Tetons and Yellowstone before heading to Canada.

You can rent same car from San Diego to Bellingham, WA (between Seattle and Vancouver) for about $175/day.

Same car to Jackson, WY or Whitefish, MT (near Glacier NP) is a horrible $275/day.

You can get to any of the above locations in 2 or 3 days of driving.  Figure $4.50/gallon gas at 22mpg to play it safe.

A fare and # of transfers by bus (Greyhound) to SLC $90/2 Jackson $100/4, Whitefish $109/5, Bellingham $109/4, and Jasper $119/5.  Bike fees (maybe $20 each) are extra.  If traveling out of Los Angeles,transfer tranfer required.

Airfare to SLC is $109*; Spokane $248*; Jackson $500; Missoula, MT $225; Edmonton$180; Calgary $160 ($190 NS). Bags and bikes are extra $20-$50 each). * = first 2 bags free.

You could do a combo of things.  For instance, say you want to see the Grand Canyon on your way north to Jackson.  You could rent a car for two days to SLC.  Then take a no-transfer bus (Mountain States Express (MSE) NOT Greyhound) for $70 (up to 3 pieces of "luggage or bikes) to Jackson.  This would cost about $300 for car and $70 per person for the bus.  If you wanted least amount of transfers would be to take a bus from Los Angeles to SLC then trantotalingSE totalling 3 transfers.

Finally, if you could start in latter part of June, I would think that you could start in Edmonton and work your way south without danger of snow.

Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John


Offline bobbys beard

Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2012, 07:33:33 am »
i biked south to north twice last year and it was fine. a lot of people will tell you tales of 80mph winds etc, but really if the conditions are that bad, you're not going to be riding in either direction ;)   in my diary, i only noted two days of strong wind and many other days when the wind was from the south and oncoming cyclists were struggling.

it depends what you're used to i guess, but cyclists like to beef everything up i've found. the miles they've done, the mountains they've climbed and the wind they struggled against. blah blah. it's just nature, get on and do it :)

Offline Nubo

Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 11:43:47 am »
The North to South mantra is said so often that it must be true.  The funny thing is that when I rode the Pacific Coast (N-S) there wasn't all that much wind.  Yes there were a few tail winds, but nothing like I was expecting.  There were also days with headwinds.  I am not sure if it was just an anomaly or if it was because I tended to start out at the crack of dawn and finish very early in the afternoon.  Perhaps I was just lucky or the winds didn't kick up until afternoon when I was in camp.

The time of day probably did have something to do with it.  I have ridden N-S three times and tailwinds predominated, becoming significantly more pronounced in the afternoon as inland areas heat up and draw more ocean air.  I felt sorry for northbound riders on a number of occasions!

Of course, nothing is for certain.  Last year I departed San Francisco on June 4.  Now, it almost never rains there in June, and if it does it's just a sprinkle.  Not last year!  A freak storm rolled in.  Not only were there a couple hours of torrential rain, but the rest of the day down the coast was into the teeth of a direct head-on gale.  At one point I passed a sign saying "Santa Cruz, 33 mi".  TWO HOURS LATER I passed another sign "Santa Cruz, 25 mi"  This was on mostly flat ground; the wind was just that intense. 

But yes, generally you will get a tailwind   ;D, and a couple of days later things were back to normal.

Offline Norsman

Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2012, 11:17:45 pm »
Quote
We also thought about doing the route from North to South. However our favorite months are June and July (more daylight, no holiday time, less people) and we would like to combine the US and Canada. Starting in June in Canada might be very cold and still some snow in the mountains.

If you plan to start in Vancouver it will not be particularly cold in June.  It might however be wet.  There are no significant mountains in the northern section so there will be no snow worries. When I rode the route in the fall the wind was almost always from the north or northwest.