Author Topic: Skip WA portion of the PNW route?  (Read 2247 times)

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Offline esassaman

Skip WA portion of the PNW route?
« on: July 15, 2011, 06:39:24 am »
I am very interested in doing parts of the west coast route this summer. I have about a month to be on the road, so I can't do the whole route. I live in Seattle, and I have relatives near San Luis Obispo, which would be really fun to visit, so I'm trying to decide... I can either:

1) Start the route in Bremerton, just west of Seattle, and try to get as far south as possible. Guestimating on how far I'd like to ride each day, I figure maybe I can get to San Francisco before my time runes out, and catch a train back home. Will miss the relatives though :(

2) Get a lift down to Astoria in NW Oregon and start the route right on the coast, skipping the WA part entirely. I figure I can get to see my relatives in San Luis Obispo before it's time to go home, which would be great.

I'm wondering if the WA part south of Seattle (past all the awesome islands that I've ridden on many times already) is all that great or not... if it's so-so, heck I'll just skip it and launch the trip right on the OR coast. What do you think?

How much I can do each day kinda depends, I'm not a gung-ho distance guy, I like to make some distance but mix it up with some easy riding or spend a rest day if I find an awesome place to hang out. But I figure... 1000-ish miles is very doable with the time I have, maybe 1200 if the darn hills don't kill me.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Skip WA portion of the PNW route?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2011, 01:02:27 am »
Hmmm...I'd say start in Astoria. The Washington coast is in your backyard, so you can realistically do a Washington Coast tour anytime. If you have limited time to get to San Luis Obispo it'll shave off a few days. If you keep an average of 50-60 miles a day with a few rest days thrown in you should be able to make it to SLO and can take a train back to Seattle.

I haven't biked the Washington Coast south of Lake Quinault so I can't say how good it is. I have biked the entire coast between Astoria and SLO and know it is overall great.

Offline esassaman

Re: Skip WA portion of the PNW route?
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2011, 05:00:32 pm »
OK sounds good. My plans are shaping up. I'm launching from a bit south of Astoria, so NW OR coast, I'm figuring about... 1000 miles (Google says 988 miles along the highways along the coast... so maybe it's more like 1100 by sideroads, I dunno) which is 33-ish miles per day every day, give or take. So I'm thinking 30-40 miles per day, maybe a few longer days, throw in a few rest days, and that I can do with a full load and a few hills along the way. I'm sure after a week in the saddle I'll be able to survive the day without collapsing :)

Anyone have any experience with the Amtrack "Coast Starlight" train that runs from LA thru SLO thru San Francisco all the way up to Seattle? Tips for taking your bike on that train?

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Skip WA portion of the PNW route?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2011, 02:25:02 am »
Anyone have any experience with the Amtrak "Coast Starlight" train that runs from LA thru SLO thru San Francisco all the way up to Seattle? Tips for taking your bike on that train?

FIFY.

Amtrak's official bikes on trains policy here:
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am%2FLayout&cid=1241337895554\\

The short version: Coast Starlight has checked baggage service. SLO and Seattle are checked baggage stations. You'll need to box the bike for the train. Service fee for boxed bikes is $5. You can find a box at a bike shop, or purchase one from the station for $15. (You might be able to snag a used box from the station for free, though. Never hurts to ask. Or check around the station, especially by the dumpster or laying against an outside wall.)

If you get the box from Amtrak, you'll just simply need to (a) turn handlebar sideways and (b) remove pedals. You should have appropriate tools (cone wrenches and/or allen wrenches) to do this, as the station usually doesn't. Get there at least an hour before train departure to box the bike and check the bike at the baggage counter.

The Starlight is a beautiful route. It frequently ran late in years past, but supposedly has improved. All bets are off if Union Pacific is doing track work.