Author Topic: Sierra Cascades section 3 - Hwy 89  (Read 2028 times)

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Sierra Cascades section 3 - Hwy 89
« on: July 15, 2019, 07:23:44 pm »
We just completed Section 3 of the Sierra Cascades this last week and I wanted to share my opinion(s) regarding the route.  Due to time we started our trip in Medford, dropping off the rental at the airport and riding the Bear Creek Greenway to Ashland where we spend out first night.  The next four days we rode/survived Hwy 89 headed towards our destination of Truckee, CA.

1. I'm not aware of Hwy 89's condition in other areas, but there was little or no shoulder for four days, riding with gear and competing with the logging trucks made for some stressful miles.  In previous tours we've ridden Hwy 1 and thought it was somewhat dangerous...Hwy 89 takes it to a new level of "dangerous".

2. From the CA border to Old Station resources are very slim, if nonexistent, markets that were on the map were closed or boarded the town of Montague (5.5 hours after our start), we found water in the City Hall bathrooms.  On day two between Mt. Shasta and Old Station we located water at an RV park that had old bottled water...we bought everything they had.  Both days we rode for 5.5+ hours before we found water.  I understand suffering is part of bike touring, but not dehydration.  This area is desolate and sparsely inhabited which explains why there are no stores / resources for bike touring.

3. Mount Lassen might be one of my favorite rides of all time...since it's a Nat'l Park logging trucks are not allowed.  The climb is not steep and the views keep your mind off of the 33 miles to the top...but what a downhill!  It seemed like the downhill section lasted all the way to Chester where we have hotel reservations.

4. We took the advise of the AC map and planned on using the Plumas Transit shuttle service, but the 6am shuttle could only accommodate two bikes.  If you have a larger group then two you'll need to wait for the 10am shuttle.  We took a second shuttle from Quincy to Graeader as the first shuttle driver was adamant that we take a second one to Graeader.  Graeader is a nice affluent High Sierra community, very pretty and tons of resources. we started riding at 3pm and finishing in Truckee just after 7pm.

Observation:  We did not see any other bike touring groups the first two days, after spending two days staring at my rear view mirror and the absence of a road after the fog line, it makes perfect sense.  Why would you want to ride this route unless you have no other options...I would take the coastal route instead of Hwy 89.  The resources listed on the RC map were closed or had been boarded up long ago.

Regards, Dave

Offline zzzz

Re: Sierra Cascades section 3 - Hwy 89
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2019, 11:40:48 pm »
I’ll make a couple of comments on this post:

I did this ride pretty close to its entirety 5 years ago. I started in Sumas at the Canadian border and ended in La. It doesn’t surprise me that a number of markets closed in the meantime as many of them looked in pretty sad shape when I came thru. I also came thru 2 weeks after the colossal “hat creek” fire was extinguished and it had burned a 10 or 15 mile corridor along 89 to a crisp

As for 89, I lucked out and I left Shasta (the start of 89) on a Saturday morning. This was not planned on my part but anyone taking this ride should plan on it. I didn’t see a single logging truck for either Saturday or Sunday. Monday morning I was about 30 miles north of Quincy and I was passed by probably a dozen or more, and the road is tight and windy, but they all were really courteous. Of course all it would have taken was a couple of them to do something dangerous  for me to have a whole different opinion of that morning. All the logging trucks were heading to a mill in Quincy so once you’re thru town you’ll get passed by some empty trucks, but they weren’t nearly as intimidating as the loaded ones and I’m pretty sure there was a shoulder on the hywy south of town.

 I don’t know of the shuttle that David mentioned but the ride from Quincy to Graegle was a nice enough one as far as I can remember so i’d be interested in why the shuttle is suggested.

I liked this route and I have encouraged others to ride it, but it’s a good idea to plan your trip so you get to Shasta Friday night and get as many miles in between there and Quincy over the weekend.


Offline Nyimbo

Re: Sierra Cascades section 3 - Hwy 89
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2019, 03:57:26 pm »

I don’t know of the shuttle that David mentioned but the ride from Quincy to Graegle was a nice enough one as far as I can remember so i’d be interested in why the shuttle is suggested.
My guess is it is just because of the logging trucks with hwy 89 not having a shoulder through that section.  I've ridden some day rides in the area and the logging truck are everywhere. 

By the way, a couple hours drive south is my favorite relaxing day ride without logging trucks.  hwy 89 from Truckee to Lake Tahoe, huge shoulders and a mostly flat section of the highway along the Truckee River with occasional sightings of Black Bear. A short detour of 4 miles to Squaw Valley and a nice lunch in the Olympic Village. (Sorry I rode that section yesterday so it is fresh on my mind)