Author Topic: Pacific Coast in January-February  (Read 2911 times)

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Offline Lingen

Pacific Coast in January-February
« on: October 04, 2011, 01:50:08 pm »
I am considering riding from Astoria to San Diego via the ACA route.  The only time available for me is Jan-Feb.  Last year on my 1st ever tour, I did the Southern Tier because it would be the "warmest" of the ACA routes during Jan-Feb.  On many days, I rode with added layers, a hat and gloves and was able to tolerate the cold mornings and evenings.

Of all the ACA routes, I am thinking that the Pacific Coast might be the next choice for my available (Jan-Feb) time off.    I know it will get warmer as I head south but I really would like to include the WA & OR section.  I will be happy to be in a motel for most nights and will be prepared to ride in cool weather. 

What type of weather can I expect?  Is it realistic to think this route can be done in Jan-Feb?
In general, should I expect snow on the northern coastal roads? Does it last long or melt away quickly because of the coast?
Are motels usually available during this season?

Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2011, 02:05:59 pm »
I find weatherspark.com to be a great tool to assist in making these decisions.

I have heard it can be pretty wet then, but I really have no first hand experience there for that time of year.

I can say that I found the Oregon and Northern California portions of the Pacific Coast route to be great places to tour (in September in my case).  I was underwhelmed by the portion I did in Washington, but suspect that a route closer to the coast from Elma down might be nicer.  I started in Seattle and took the ferry to Bremerton, I then followed the ACA PC route and wasn't crazy about that part of the trip.  It was OK, but not very special IMO.

Be aware that a lot of the hiker/biker and other campgrounds may be closed then and that there may be more road closures due to slides.

Offline whittierider

Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2011, 02:54:15 pm »
I hope you like rain, because that's the time to get it.

Offline jfitch

Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2011, 10:28:12 pm »
Motels will usually be available. But be prepared for rain. Lots of it. And be aware that the usually reliable Pacific Coast tailwind (if you're going from north to south) become a headwind during storms, which usually come in one after the other all winter. That means with the rain, you'll also usually get headwinds. January-February are high rainfall months in a fairly high rainfall area.

Offline valygrl

Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2011, 11:23:32 pm »
I wouldn't.  Temperature is not a problem, but pouring rain and strong wind is.   

If you can afford the plane ticket, Jan/Feb is the perfect time for New Zealand & Australia.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2011, 08:05:23 am »
And be aware that the usually reliable Pacific Coast tailwind
Off topic, but I did not find them reliable in September of this year either.  The winds were a mix of headwinds and tail winds, and generally not often strong with only one notable exception.  I did tend to finish early in the day though so maybe they kicked up a bit more after I was in camp.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2011, 01:53:21 pm »
Motels will usually be available. But be prepared for rain. Lots of it. And be aware that the usually reliable Pacific Coast tailwind (if you're going from north to south) become a headwind during storms, which usually come in one after the other all winter. That means with the rain, you'll also usually get headwinds. January-February are high rainfall months in a fairly high rainfall area.

If you don't believe him, see what ODOT has to say:

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/oregon_coast_bike_route_map.pdf?ga=t

For Jan.-Mar.:  45 degrees, 12 inches of rain, winds from the SW

Not sure if the rainfall is cummulative for the 3 months or the average for each month.  I am thinking the former since since 3' of rain in three months seems like an awful lot.

Offline ChromolyWally

Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2011, 05:06:28 pm »
I just finished a truncated tour of the Pacific Coast (Oregon to N. Cal) and got exactly two days of those famous tailwinds.  Every other day was a head wind, or calm.  And I got rained on about 30% of the time.  Riding it in Jan/Feb is about the last thing I'd want to do, but to each his/her own.

Personally, I'd much rather plan a route around AZ that time of year.  My first tour took place in AZ during early February, and the weather was great (60s to 70s), with the exception of one rather nasty storm that lasted one day.

The following is a quote from weatherspark.com (reports), describing a typical January 31st in Astoria, OR.
http://weatherspark.com/#!reports;a=USA/OR/Astoria;tr=1/31

=======================================================================
Location

This report describes the average weather conditions at the Port Of Astoria Airport weather station on a generic January 31. It is based on a statistical analysis of the historical records from 1974 to 2011. Earlier records are either unavailable or have been deemed to be too unreliable to include in this analysis.
Temperature

The temperature typically varies from 40°F to 48°F and is rarely below 31°F or above 55°F. The coolest hours of the day are from 11pm to 9am with the coldest at 7am, at which time the temperature is below 46°F three days out of four. The warmest hours of the day are from noon to 5pm with the hottest at 3pm, at which time the temperature is above 45°F three days out of four. The day has gained half its heat by 11am and lost it again by 7pm.

Clouds

The sky is typically overcast with 99% of the sky covered. The sky is 93% covered (mostly cloudy) or cloudier three days out of five. There is little variation in the cloud coverage over the course of the day.

Precipitation

There is a 69% chance that precipitation will be observed at some point during the day. The average liquid-equivalent quantity of precipitation is 0.28 inches. Among only those days for which there is at least some precipitation, the average is 0.40 inches and the total rarely exceeds 0.85 inches. When precipitation does occur it is most often in the form of moderate rain (49% of days with precipitation have at worst moderate rain), slight rain (31% of days with precipitation have at worst slight rain), heavy rain (7% of days with precipitation have at worst heavy rain), and slight snow (6% of days with precipitation have at worst slight snow). Precipitation is observed with more or less equal probability throughout the day.

Wind

The wind speed is 8 mph on average and is rarely outside the range 2 mph to 16 mph. The wind speed does not vary substantially during the course of the day. The wind is most often out of the east (31% of the time). The wind is least often out of the north west (3% of the time) and north (4% of the time).

========================================================================

Offline forrest

Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2011, 08:47:33 am »
be ready for wet, windy and cold conditions and I mean the kind that goes to the bone....this is a bad tome of the year to travel that route...

Offline MrBent

Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2011, 04:14:02 pm »
Don't do it.  That tour is likely to be one soggy slog, possibly dangerous, too, because of visibility and wind along the route when mixed with traffic.  San Francisco south can be OK if you hit a good weather window, but for the whole west coast, Jan/Feb. is the maximum rainfall/storm period, and some of these storms can be extreme.  Hurricane Point in Oregon is not named that way by accident.

I'd put together a nice loop or point-to-point through the Southwest--unless, of course, you WANT the kind of challenge that such a coastal tour is likely to entail.  Some folks are into that sort of thing.  I remember checking out a blog of a Norwegian cycling across Canada--in the winter.  Brrrrrrrrr.....

Scott

Offline PeteJack

Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2011, 12:24:27 am »
I've rode from SF south in January and had 80 degree weather. They tell me I was lucky. I wouldn't bother with anything on the Washington coast any time of year. (Believe me I've lived her 35 yrs.) It's a bit of a bore, you won't see much coast and much of the route is heavily tree lined and it has logging trucks. There is magnificent coast in WA but you have to hike or mountain bike to see it. If you are using the ACA route avoid Bremerton the traffic there is awful. If you do find yourself in Bremerton there's a passenger only ferry ($2) to Port Orchard, from there you can ride on nice quiet country roads to Gig Harbor and from Gig you can work yourself back onto the ACA route. The weather here is usually utter crap in January and February. Snow at lower elevations on the Olympic Peninsula is rare but you can get rain and strong winds for weeks at a time on the coast at that time of year. I believe that goes for Oregon and Northern California.

Offline Lingen

Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2011, 06:23:11 am »
Great information and thanks.  Not sounding very promising.  Will check on flights to Australia!