Author Topic: Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101  (Read 4753 times)

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Offline sanuk

Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101
« on: May 05, 2010, 02:46:28 am »
I'm planning to cycle this route - 101 - in August/September.  Not sure how far south I'll get, but would like to make it to northern Cal.  Then I'll need to get back up to Seattle, hopefully without having to backtrack.  Any alternative routes inland that aren't too hilly?  The new Sierra Cascades route is no doubt scenic, but is sure to be hellishly uphill.  This will be the first time I've cycled in the US, although I've done a fair bit in Europe and some in SE Asia where I'm based.  Hoping to camp most of the way and will buy maps, etc when I get there, but any specific tips would be appreciated.  For example, approx daily costs - camp sites, food,etc. Safety issues?  I guess the 101 has a fair amount of tourist traffic at that time.  Having once lived in Vancouver, Canada I'm aware of the likely weather.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 06:44:06 pm by sanuk »

Offline vanvalks

Re: Cycling from Olymipic peninsula south on 101
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2010, 10:44:02 am »
For some ideas for routes, see if you can access some of the old Cycle Oregon routes.  They have pretty much criss-crossed Oregon with bike friendly routes.  The state of Washington has bike maps online at dot.wa.gov.  the STP route from Seattle to Portland is about as level as you can get between those two cities.  On the eastside in WA, highway 97 has a significant amount of traffic, but generally decent shoulders. 

Bob

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2010, 09:20:01 pm »
I agree with vanvalks.  The STP route in WA is great.  You can find more about from the Cascade Bicycle Club www.cascade.org.  Generally, most of the I5 corridor has parallel roads nearby.  You'd have to some research and ask around.  However, I like HWY 97 and have biked a lot of it in ORE and WA.  The scenery is great and the road well-maintained.  I'd consider crossing the Cascades and trying it.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline sanuk

Re: Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2010, 10:13:17 pm »
Thanks.  I haven't got any maps of the region yet, and won't until I fly into Seattle, but a few people mention Highway 97 as a good inland option.  However, for someone who is unfamiliar with US terminology - I'm British and reside in Asia - what does the 'STP' in connection with highway 97 stand for?  Also, I know cycling is not allowed on freeways, just as it is on motorways in the UK and autobahns in Germany - and anyway what cyclist would want to mix with that? - but what does the designation 'highway' actually indicate.  Is it a matter of how many lanes, or just being a secondary road and maybe with a shoulder for cyclists?  Presumably I'll know one when I see it.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2010, 10:47:45 pm »
STP has no connection to Interstate 5. STP is Seattle to Portland group bike ride every July and it is in western Washington and NW Oregon.  Clcling on freeways in WA is allowed except in busy urban areas.  Over here in Eastern WA, I have ridden on the freeway (I-90) a lot.  Highway usually means a road secondary to the term freeway.  You will know a freeway when you see it--limited access via on and off ramps, no traffic lights or stop signs, etc.  It kind of goes freeway--highway--road in decreasing order of speed, size, traffic volume...
May the wind be at your back!

Offline sanuk

Re: Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2010, 11:35:34 pm »
Thanks for the info.  As I sit here in the steamy heat of SE Asia thinking this trip through I keep coming up with other options.  Originally I just thought of cycling down from the Olymipic peninsula/Seattle area on 101 as far as I felt comfortable within about a 4 to 6 week period this summer.  I basically have about two months - August/September.  But then I have to get back up to Seattle for my return flight out.  Obviously, the further I go down south the further I have to cycle back up by whatever route, and I'd prefer that route to be as pleasant as possible.  However, it would be nice to just go down as far as I could - maybe even all the way to the Mex border - if I was certain I was able to return with my bike by some means other than pedalling - but not by air.  Apart from the hassle of airports I'm on a budget.  What about Greyhound buses?  Do they accomodate bicycles?  Or trains perhaps?  I know this isn't Europe, so they might be even more expensive than flying? And do they take bikes?  Either way I'd have to get a box for my bike I guess.  Any info on that idea would be greatly appreciated?     

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2010, 07:10:08 pm »
In 2005 my partner and I rode the Amtrack train back from LA to Seattle and he brought his bike along for $10.  Yup, 10 bucks.  We had to box it sourselves, with a box they provided.  That's a pretty good deal, although the few times I've taken the train, the trip itself  has been miserable--dirty bathrooms, rude employees, way behind schedule.  I know others on the forum have had better experiences.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline cgarch

Re: Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2010, 10:42:01 am »
Going back to your original question, the plan is solid. Getting from Seattle over to the Olympic Peninsula is straightforward. If you want to get out on the coast you can easily make it to at least San Francisco and beyond in the time frame you've mentioned. It won't be until you're near the SF Bay Area that you can make it over to Amtrak in either Martinez or Emeryville. It will cost you a little more than $10 - $15 these days. You'll be in striking range of Amtrak until you reach the Monterey area. Obviously on the Big Sur Coast you'll away from public transport until you reach San Luis Obispo. After that access to Amtrak isn't too far away. Only word of caution is that the Coast Starlight often books up months in advance so don't plan on pulling up to the train station and expect to hop on the next train. FYI, Coast Starlight leaves the Bay Area fairly late in the evening. FWIW, our Amtrak trips have been great with only one being really late.

As for hilly, the coast can easily be as hilly as any inland route. You can expect several 3,000 ft days.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2010, 12:40:16 pm by cgarch »

Offline sanuk

Re: Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2010, 06:54:49 pm »
3,000ft climbs sound very intimidating with around what I imagine will be something like a 30kg load.  So, I may not get all that far unless I lighten up.  Even then, my experience with hills in northern Laos gave me a pretty clear indication of my physical limitations.  I'll stay flexible but booking ahead for the train probably won't be possible until I'm actually at a station.  Thanks for that info.  But what about Greyhound?  Or are they worse now than when I last tried them about twenty years ago?

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2010, 08:07:47 pm »
30 kg is a lot.  That's about 65 pounds.  I've done long tours with only about 30 pounds.  On the coast route, you can buy food every day.  I wouldn't carry extra food. and you don't need much for clothes in the summer on the coast.  There are also vey frequent opportunities to wash clothes.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2010, 08:56:00 pm »
Check this one out on a Wa map.  It does have lots of mountains.  Seattle area-north to Hwy 20 (Sedro Wooley)--east to Winthrop  (Hwy 20), Twisp, Pateros, south to Chelan (hwy 97), Wenatchee, west to Cashmere(hwy 2), south over Blewett Pass (97), to Ellensburg, south on 821 to Yakima, west on 12/410 to Enumclaw to Seattle.  If more time, instead of 410, stay on 12 over White Pass and go up to Paradise on Mt Rainier, then west to Elbe, Eatonville, and back to Seattle.  This is a lot of climbing, but the elevations are not like Colorado.  Some areas east of the cascades can be very hot in summer--90-100 degrees.  Just about all of this is magnificent.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Ben2.0

Re: Cycling from Olympic peninsula south on 101
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2010, 02:34:56 pm »
Always wanted to do this one on a bicycle. Hwy 12 is amazing!