Author Topic: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana  (Read 1254 times)

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Offline chrissiedakini

Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« on: June 22, 2014, 06:25:06 pm »

Hi everyone!

So my bike companion and I will be leaving Bakersfield on the 3rd of July and going on an epic 9000 miles plus cross country and back bike tour and had a few questions with regards to the California/Oregon routes that we are looking to take, our first leg,  and whether they are considered bike friendly or not. We are leaving Bakersfield and heading north towards Sacramento/Red Bluff before cutting over to the 395.

This is the approximate route we wish to take in California:

43 to Fresno towards the 41 to stop at Yosemite, continue on the 120 to 120/49 turn west towards the 20/45 into Red Bluff. From there we were
then going to take the 36 to the A6 onto the 44/89 to the 299 east towards the 395.

However I have just been reading that the 299 is busy and no shoulders and quite scary for cyclists. And that people were recommending the 36 even though the summits are higher.

From the 395 we will head into Oregon then onto the 20, then the 95, 12 into Lolo, Montana and towards Darby on the 93. I see that the 95 - 12 - 93 are official adventure cycling routes, so that's good news, but none of the other ones are.

Has anyone had any experience with any of these routes? Any recommendations, or do not even think of cycling insert route here advice?


We have a website if you feel like having a gander and are partnering with charities!
http://vagabonditinerary.wordpress.com/about/

Thank you for any insight!

All the best

Christina

Offline Bclayden

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2014, 07:04:01 pm »
Sounds like a fun trip.  I can add some input for a small portion of your route I am very familiar with:

Highway 41 leaving Fresno gets quite busy with boating and RV traffic heading to Sierra destinations.  Speed limit is 55 and there are some narrow shoulders too.  To get around some of this suggest turning at N. Fork Road to bypass Coursegold and Oakhurst.  This is a nice country back road which joins Teaford Saddle Rd to Bass Lake.  Stop at The Forks for a great lakeside lunch.  You can pick up 41 again soon after.  This is a mellow and very pretty detour and doesn't add much if any mileage.  No services though.

Suggest avoiding 41 into Yosemite during the weekend or any summer weekday afternoon.  Traffic is heavy with many RVs along this road.  Get a super early start and you will be glad.

Have fun!

-Ben

Offline chrissiedakini

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2014, 09:27:52 pm »
Thank you Ben, that is very helpful!!! I will change our route accordingly in that section! And make sure we get up very early!

All the best!
christina

Offline jamawani

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2014, 11:27:10 pm »
What is you level of experience?
Is Red Bluff a must? Because the Valley is super hot.

If not, then from Yosemite cross over Tioga on CA 120 -
Then take US 395 to Bridgeport -
Then CA 182 / NV 338 / NV 208 to Yerington -
Continue on US 93A to Fernley -
Then a very remote NV 447 to Cedarville -
And over CA 299 to Alturas

There's also the ACA Sierra Cascades route from Yosemite to Truckee -
But I would stay to the east thru Plumas N.F. and hit Susanville then up to Alturas.

The Nevada route is really remote north of Fernley - but beautiful.
Susanville to Alturas is pretty remote, too - either CA 139 or US 395.


http://www.papermapsonline.com/home/NorthernCalifornia/PlumasNationalForest.aspx

Offline chrissiedakini

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2014, 02:06:14 am »
Hi Jamawani,

Are the routes you recommend instead of the valley for experienced riders? My partner has done a couple of overnights, I have just been an avid cyclist since forever, but more day trips and lengthy commutes. But both in really good shape.

Two reasons I mentioned Red Bluff and that way is because we need to get relatively close to Sacramento to pick someone up; partly as we have a deadline to get to Darby MT and wanted to avoid the real high passes...     

We might be able to swing the route going from Truckee (from Sacramento) up towards Susansville and Alturas. Or if we can find a route through the Sierras that isn't too crazy in elevation, we could swing over east and connect in Fernley... If the passes on the routes that you mention are comparable,  then that would be viable - and I do love the more remote routes! And they sounds gorgeous.

With regards to the temperature, I do live in Coachella Valley in the lower desert and my partner grew up in Phoenix and Bakersfield, but not sure whether the Valley would be as hot as it is here in the summers... as that would be trying indeed! If I am correct, it appears as though the average temperatures reach about 100f? That is quite hot indeed...

Thanks for the insights!!!! That is very helpful! Will look more into it!

Offline jamawani

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2014, 09:11:38 pm »
The route you outlined surely isn't easy -
A good deal of climbing and a good deal of traffic on many roads.
So I'm not sure what "experienced" means in this case.

My takes on less experienced needs - in order of importance - are:

1. Low traffic and/or adequate shoulders -
A high traffic road without shoulder can be tough - esp. when you have panniers on your bike.

2. Moderate climbing -
Really steep ascents - 10%+ - or killer rollers can really sap a new touring cyclist.

3. Frequent services -
New touring cyclists need the reassurance of services at moderate intervals.

4. Reasonable weather -
Extreme weather - heat/cold/rain - can really sap a new touring cyclist and make it a drudge.

The Nevada route has 1, 2 & 4 with good services until Fernley.
The Sierra Cascades route has more traffic and climbing, but better services and weather for July.

Camping options are somewhat limited in Valley towns.
And you will likely encounter few other cyclists.

PS - As for meeting folks along the way - after 20 years I have found that it is way better for them to meet me than me to meet them.  Anyhoo, 60 miles is a hour driving for them and a day riding for us. It's different if I really want to visit Boulder or Jackson - - but it's even harder when it's a big city.

Offline chrissiedakini

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2014, 10:20:21 pm »
Hi Jamawani,

forgive my ignorance: Isn't the Tioga Pass really high (almost 10,0000 ft) and isn't there a lot of traffic along the 120? Or is that the only section that we would encounter high traffic and a high pass in the nevada route you outline? Also, we do still need to pass by Sacramento, otherwise the route you outline sounds amazing. I too am with you on the needs you outline, in the order you place them, pretty much.

So to reiterate: the valley along the possible routes I have outlined has high traffic, lots of climbing and is hot and does not have much camping... the highest pass I found was in the mid-5000ft range... I'm just a little confused over the climbing part... or, is there just more climbing overall?

I will be checking on ways we can amend the route and go from there...

Thank you for your patience... :-)
christina



 

Offline jamawani

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2014, 10:40:15 am »
Chrissie -

Take a little time with maps and with websites like ridewithgps.com.
I haven't mapped it out - but Yosemite Valley is at 4000 ft and Crane Flat at 6000 ft.
Thus it is only another 4000 ft to Tioga Pass - - then a killer downhill to Lee Vining.

The Pass you mention may only be at 5500 ft - but you drop 6000 ft, then climb again.
Not to mention that nearly all of Hwy 49 is a roller-coaster.
I would be willing to bet that the NET climbing is about equal - Nevada vs Valley.
(The ACA route will have significantly more climbing.)
Also, the gradient of Tioga Pass Road is quite reasonable heading east.

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/5126039
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/5126124

Yep - the Nevada route is almost 100 miles shorter and 2700 ft less climbing.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2014, 10:50:43 am by jamawani »

Offline chrissiedakini

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2014, 02:06:12 pm »
Hi Jamawani,

been meaning to reply sooner, but forums were down for maintenance?

That is a huge difference re mileage and climbing!!! Thank you for taking the time to write it all out - I really appreciate it!

I just now have to still get to sacramento or convince our friend who is coming with us for a section to meet us in yosemite.....

I did find some routes that run parallel to the 49 that don't have as much climbing (not at home at the mo, so can't put in the details - will do so later)! So if all fails and we do have to go via sacramento, at least I have managed to cut out the 49 in a lot of sections!

Thank you for your advice - really helpful!!
christina

Offline chrissiedakini

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2014, 08:58:19 pm »
Last question!!

Still waiting to hear whether one of our partners can meet us in yosemite....

otherwise....

any insight into what the 36 is like?

Thank you!

Offline indyfabz

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2014, 10:08:36 am »
I see that the 95 - 12 - 93 are official adventure cycling routes, so that's good news, but none of the other ones are.

Just rode from Missoula through Darby last week. Heading east on 93 at Lolo, a bike trail begins just after the gas station on the right. Definitely take that. 93 is busy and loud. Not long after I got on the trail I came to the scene of a head on collision on 93. The official AC route gets off the trail and crosses the river onto East Side Highway at Stevensville. No need for that. The East Side Highway is busy and has no real shoulder to speak of. Stay on the trail towards Hamilton. In Victor, you have to jog to the right for a bock or so of street riding, then you jog left at the cafe/mercatile (big breakfasts there) to get back on the trail. When you come to the road that crosses the river towards Corvalis, cross the intersection then cross 93 and you will pick up a trail on the other side of 93 that takes you nearly all the way into the center of Hamilton. Be careful in Hamilton. The shoulder on 93 goes away for a while and traffic can be heavy depending on the time of day.

For the final leg to Darby, I highly recommend taking Old Darby Rd. instead of 93. As you head out of the center of Hamilton on 93, you will see a green sign poiting left for Skalkaho Rd. Make that left, crossing 93. Not long aftrer that, Skalkaho curves to the left. Bear right onto unsigned Sleeeping Child Rd. then, after a few miles, make a right onto Old Darby Rd. where Sleeping Child Rd. begins to climb. (There is a cool bike shop down a dirt driveway to the right shortly after you get onto Sleeping Child called Red Barn Bicycles. As it's name implies, it's in a red barn. Nice group of people and worth a look.) Old Darby has about a 7 mile section that is unpaved, but it was not rough when I rode it. And it's quiet and very pretty back there. After you cross the river (Fishing access site on the left after the bridge. Nice place with a picnic table by the water to take a break in the shade.) Old Darby crosses 93. You can either make a left on 93 to Darby or cross 93 to stay on Old Darby, where there is a final short stretch of unpaved road before the pavement picks up again. When Old Darby ends, make a right onto 93 and you will practically be in the center of Dabry. I would stay on Old Darby as it is quieter.

Offline JMilyko

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2014, 01:34:13 pm »
Hey Indyfabz

First, I'm bummed that we missed meeting in the office while you were in Missoula!

Second, I think you must have an older TransAm #4 map. Once the bike path was completed, we changed the route to do just as you suggest below:

Quote
The official AC route gets off the trail and crosses the river onto East Side Highway at Stevensville. No need for that. The East Side Highway is busy and has no real shoulder to speak of. Stay on the trail towards Hamilton.

.Jenn.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline Patco

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2014, 08:06:23 pm »
I have biked some of the route you are suggesting through Northern California and Oregon. I biked 45 to 162 to Willows, then I took 99W to County Road A8 to Red Bluff. 45 was okay. Light traffic. No shoulders. I liked 99W. Some shoulders. Light traffic (generally) and while I could see
I-5, I could not hear it. From Red Bluff I joined SR 36 then took a number of local roads (Beegum to McCoy Rd to Hooker Creek Road to Bowman Road to Draper Road to Main Street in Cottonwood to Locust Road to SR 273) to travel to Redding. I had originally considered taking 36 to A6 to 44 as you are planning, but decided to use 299 from Redding. The challenge with the route I selected from Red Bluff was the McCoy Road section. This was gravel for about three miles.

299 from Redding was not bad. Yes, shoulders are minimal but generally drivers were considerate. I took 299 to Bieber. At Bieber, rather than continue on 299 to U.S. 395 to U.S. 20 in Oregon, I took I took the Lookout Hackamore road out of Bieber. This is a very lightly traveled road through ranch land and the Modoc National Forest. Excellent road. This road connected to SR 139 to Tulelake. A more traveled road, but with a good shoulder.

I continued on SR 139 to Oregon 39 to Oregon 140 to U.S. 97 to Bend. Good shoulders in Oregon. Traffic is not bad, even on U. S 97, which has, for the most part, excellent shoulders. I decided against U.S 395 because there is a whole lot of nothing on that route.

From Bend eastbound I decided against U.S 20 because, again, there isn't much on that route. I would suggest U.S 26 eastbound to pick up your route to Montana.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2014, 09:08:42 am »
Hey Indyfabz

First, I'm bummed that we missed meeting in the office while you were in Missoula!

Second, I think you must have an older TransAm #4 map. Once the bike path was completed, we changed the route to do just as you suggest below:

Quote
The official AC route gets off the trail and crosses the river onto East Side Highway at Stevensville. No need for that. The East Side Highway is busy and has no real shoulder to speak of. Stay on the trail towards Hamilton.

.Jenn.

Great. Mine may be from 2010 or 2011, unless I a used the one from 15 years ago.

As I think I noted in my trip report, United Airlines is to blame for my late arrival. I did stop in on 6/28 around noon. Only two people in the office. Already making good use of my Bikelingual bandana.

Offline chrissiedakini

Re: Bakersfield California to Darby Montana
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2014, 12:12:32 pm »
Thanks for all the info!!!

Super helpful!!
We have decided to change our route and ARE going over Tioga and into Nevada!

Thank you also for the Route 93 Lolo into Darby! - Have driven that section plenty of times, but never cycled. Though I used to cycle all the time from about 17 miles down the West Fork into Darby - so I know that section really well! 

Today I leave to Bakersfield and tomorrow we start peddling!

All the best to everyone!!!