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Messages - cgarch

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Routes / Re: Is the Lost Coast Alternate worth it ?
« on: May 28, 2015, 04:41:39 pm »
If you've got the legs, the alternate is worth it. Very little traffic, gorgeous coastal views. Camping is available at the county park and Albee Creek SP. Supplies at Petrolia. Get real close to one of the most seismically active spots in the continental US - the Mendocino Triple junction is just off the coast. It has far more climbing (some of it very steep at 16-20%) than the inland 101 route, but more remote. The route is part of the Tour of the Unknown Coast in May. Disclaimer - i have ridden portions of it but not as part of a loaded tour - I just live in the area and have traveled it. Probably will add a day or two to your time, depending on how much you linger. You will still get plenty of miles riding Avenue of the Giants south.


California / Re: Cycle touring in Napa and Sonoma
« on: May 26, 2015, 03:52:35 pm »
Other than Pleasure Cove, no. Might be worth a try though I suspect it is mostly boaters camping. Try giving them a call to see how amenable they are to touring cyclists.

California / Re: Cycle touring in Napa and Sonoma
« on: May 18, 2015, 05:34:11 pm »
No worries. Lake Berryesa is a good route, just watch for the fast traffic with narrow shoulder. Pope-Chiles Valley is wonderful. Bothe-Napa is a good choice for an overnight. Holler if you need anything else.



California / Re: Cycle touring in Napa and Sonoma
« on: May 15, 2015, 03:31:02 pm »
Hi Craig - many thanks for the signposting: I read those with interest - nothing like someone who knows the area well. I am still in a quandry however, as I was really hoping to 'join the dots' as you put it so well with campgrouds just waiting for me to pitch up at having dawdled my way thru some beautiful countryside and wineries. I'll keep looking. I guess wild camping is not such a good idea?

That would be correct - not a good idea. Not that it couldn't be done, just be careful.

I have another idea too: as I will be near Olympia and travelling to Portland potentially to catch a train to Davis CA, why not fly into Sonoma from Portland and then have the pick of the Sonoma and Napa valleys to the South with the wind behind me before hitting the coast and SF? I could then do some of your recommended route in reverse potentially.

my absolute ideal would be to stay on a winery - and wondered (possibly in a demented fashion) if wineries allow itinerant campers? Especially if said visitor is obviously an innocent Brit abroad? Anyway - if you have any further thoughts do let me know! Everything is appreciated.

Many thanks, Hugh

I'm afraid that itinerant camping in the glitzy wineries of Sonoma and Napa is a demented idea. Best if you can find either a county park or one of the state parks, and there are few if any that offer camping within the 'valleys'. One option may be the Alexander Valley RV Park and Campground at 2170 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg. One of these days I will put together a touring cyclist guide to this area. Got enough folks asking questions (that I keep answering) that I'm sure it would be a great resource.

California / Re: Cycle touring in Napa and Sonoma
« on: May 12, 2015, 03:46:35 pm »
Take a look at some of the threads three or four posts before yours. You should get some good ideas.


I will second what Johnsondasw has noted. Rode this area in 2009, on many of the same routes. Easy to restock near Lake Quinault (between Forks and Hoquiam). Definitely take in the Grayland loop.


Routes / Re: Getting bikes to Canada from California
« on: April 22, 2015, 07:53:34 pm »
No Amtrak to Victoria - need to get there by ferry. Several options exist and I think others can speak to that. There is a ferry from Seattle but my recollection is that it is $$$. You could take the Amtrak Cascade to Vancouver from Seattle and then take BC Ferries to Victoria - if you're coming up the coast via the Starlight that means an overnight in Seattle. I'm sure there might be some other options.

Routes / Re: Getting bikes to Canada from California
« on: April 22, 2015, 04:27:39 pm »
Yes you can bring the tandem on Amtrak - if you can break it down or as adventurePDX sez, fit it in the box. If your tandem has couplers no problem, but there are issues with a split tandem banging around loose in two boxes (timing chain wheels digging through the box would be one). You’ve got to respect the 50lb weight limit as well. The weight weenies in Seattle made sure I was aware of this the last time we traveled on Amtrak (and right now it probably is the last time sadly).


Apologies for the lengthy delay - the holidays got in the way. Jamawani makes a plenty of good arguments for that route. I agree that riding north up the coast is not recommended - the wind will beat you down. Plus if you ride south on the coast, you're on the ocean side of the road which is a lot more pleasant. I would suggest that you have two choices - a loop ride that goes up through either Napa Valley or Sonoma, crosses over to the coast and then returns south on 1 to SF. Or a straight up out and back on the coast.

First, if camping in state parks then hiker-biker sites are first come, most everyone served. If you want a conventional site, then you'll need reservations. The tough part is connecting the dots if you choose to do an inland loop for camping sites.

Suggested Loop route: SF to Vallejo by Ferry, ride to Bothe-Napa SP, north of St. Helena. B-N SP has HB sites and a lot of good eats along the way. Here it gets tough - do you go to Clear Lake as Jamawani suggests or do you start thinking about the coast. Clear Lake is a reasonable destination but it is hot in July, Worse, Getting to Clear Lake is a bitch. You don't want to take 29 unless you have to - it is narrow and has relatively heavy traffic. 29 twists and turns as it climbs the shoulder of Mt. St. Helena and has no shoulder - It's highly not recommended. There is an alternate - further north of Calistoga is Ida Clayton. Great scenic road but just a stinker of a climb for several miles. Over the county line (to Lake County) the road turns to powdery dirt for the descent into Lake County on Western Mine Road. Once past that you rejoin CA 29 for the ride to Middletown. From there you would continue on 29 towards Kelseyville and Lakeport. There is Boggs Mtn State Forest, but I'm not sure of the camping opportunities. And this to me would be the problem with this route, is the limited number of camping opportunities in this area. Personally, I don't care much for Lake County and would suggest you avoid it.

So if you don't go to Clear Lake, then you could continue north of Calistoga on CA 128 towards Geyserville. Above Geyserville there is a KOA where you could probably camp. From this location you would track back through Dry Creek Valley to head towards the Russian River. Alternatively you could cut through Healdsburg (great eats and lodging) and work towards the Russian River (Westside Road, River Road). There's a campground near Korbel Winery, think it's called School House (private) that would be worth a shot. The gist is that you would start to work through the Alexander Valley towards the Russian River to head out to the ocean. Road traffic is moderate and the roads have decent shoulders. If you consider this area and route do not give any thought to going towards Warm Springs Dam and trying to reach the coast by way of Skaggs Springs - Stewarts Point Road. Unless you like hot temperatures, extreme grades (12-18%) and no services - including water - zip, nada zilch. It's 40 miles of the most beautiful and rugged terrain but a nightmare if you are fully loaded and just returning to touring. Stick to working towards River Road and CA 116 on back roads to reach the coast.

Presuming you stick to this itinerary, CA 116 will take you to the coast. A short run down to Bodega Bay will take you to Bodega Dunes SP with its teensy-weensy HB site. Within easy reach of town for supplies. Options include riding out to Bodega Head and various hikes. From Bodega Bay traveling south takes you to SP Taylor SP with more HB sites. There's also a great B&B in Olema, The Bear Valley Inn, run by a former LAB board member - you get a discount if you arrive by bike. A good spot to hole up for a day or two and ride out to Pt. Reyes and back - 40 miles or so.

Presuming you've stuck this route out, you're now 1 day away from returning to SF. So there's a good 5-6 days of riding in some fabulous territory.

If you want to do the coastal O&B then it's just those last few days in reverse order going north before you turn south. Hope this helps.

OK, I'll byte. Let's have a little more info first. Are you thinking that you will simply head up CA 1 for a few days then turn around and come back? That's one option and since you say 'coast' I presume that's exactly what you mean. If that's what you're thinking then the ACA route and stops should satisfy your needs. How far north do you want to go? Bodega Bay? Ft. Ross? What you could do is take in some side trips while headed north - Pt. Reyes comes to mind - it's a great out and back.

Or are you thinking you would like to head north, say inland first (like maybe the Napa Valley), head out to the coast, and then back to SF?

How familiar are you with the area?

I'll offer what I can based on your reply.

Santa Rosa, CA

California / Re: Tours around San Francisco Area
« on: October 08, 2014, 03:07:23 pm »
You could conceivably go either direction. There is one possible route that involves going out towards that Napa Valley (ferry to Vallejo), heading north towards Calistoga (camp at Boethe Mills SP (sp?) ) over through Healdsburg/Santa Rosa (skimpy camping) out to the coast (Bodega Bay SP) then south (Samuel P. Taylor SP) than back to SF.

South maybe not so good, down CA 1 to Half Moon Bay SP >Santa Cruz (New Brighton SP) > Watsonville Area (Sunset Beach SP) and then? That's the tough part (my opinion) - either backtrack or take public trans back to SF.



General Discussion / Re: Washington Hiker/Biker Campsites?
« on: July 22, 2014, 02:36:45 pm »
Olympic NP doesn't have hiker/biker sites

We've only been to the NPS Olympic campground at Fairholm (or Fairholme) once (2009) but it did have specific HB sites [down a rather steep trail]. Nice too. Kalaloch does not. If you plan to visit Kalaloch before Labor day a reservation is highly recommended.

Routes / Re: Washington parks route
« on: May 21, 2014, 04:27:10 pm »
Depends . . where you're from, what you're looking for, those sorts of things. We've ridden a portion of it around the Olympic Peninsula and will be riding more of it this summer (along the Strait and out to Cape Flattery). We haven't ridden the eastern portion yet. I like it, and think pretty highly of the area for riding. YMMV.


While I do not have a specific route recommendation, you might find this CGOAB article of use.

Wayne is an Oregon local and knows the area well.

Santa Rosa, CA

Routes / Re: Tenting on the Pacific Coast Route
« on: April 07, 2014, 06:30:41 pm »
Agree with Norsman, camping along the Pac Coast is pretty easy stuff - there are plenty of journals to attest to that.

I did look at your route and specifically in the Sonoma County area. I think you're making a big mistake to leave the coast at Skaggs Springs - Stewarts Point Road. It's one thing to do that road unloaded and questionable to do that loaded . . really questionable . . there are no services between the coast and Lake Sonoma, and that includes potable water sources. And there are many stretches that are 10-15% grades for many miles, some that are exposed. We use this road for an obnoxious double century called the Terrible Two and the Terrible Two's Bad Little Brother. While only ~36 miles, you may wish you had gone further down CA 1 and taken CA 116 and some other backroads to reach CA 128 through Healdsburg.

Here's a link to a ridewithgps route map - look at the elevation profile from mile 107.3 to 143.3 and you can make your own decision. Best of luck.

Retired Terrible Two Director
Santa Rosa, CA

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