Touring - Help with route: Vancouver, BC -> Portland -> Ukiah, CA
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J B Bell
03-30-08, 12:57 PM
I'll be leaving in a couple weeks or so (!) for a tour that is not quite the standard Pacific Coast Route. I plan to deviate after the Canadian bit to get myself to Ukiah, CA, which is sort of in the middle of northern California, there to visit the Abhayagiri Buddhist monastery. Then I'd rejoin the PCR down to San Diego with stops in L.A. and San Jose where I have friends & family.
Anyone familiar with a good route on this path? Is going to Ukiah pure suicide for a n00b tourist? (The road looks pretty . . . crinkly on the map. Google Earth makes it look "not so bad" but for all I know it might be a 20% grade on the ground.) Time isn't really an issue for me, so taking it easy is the preferred method if possible.
Thanks folks--this forum is incredibly helpful & informative and I hope to get some more of that!
You can contact the Oregon Department of Transportation, they have several bike Oregon maps. There is one especially for the coast route.
03-30-08, 07:01 PM
From Bellingham I would go down Route 11/Chuckanut Dr., head to Route 20, take that to Whidbey Island, and take the ferry across to Port Townsend and the Olympic Peninsula.
After that, I don't know.
03-30-08, 07:36 PM
I'm not sure where exactly in Vancouver you are (proper, Burnaby, Richmond, North Shore), but if you're going via the George Massey Tunnel (and taking the shuttle) - it only runs on weekends until April 28. After that it runs daily. But you've probably already researched that. If not...
Have a blast!
03-30-08, 08:11 PM
I don't know how far inland you're planning - Hiway 97 in Oregon is often pretty busy. Though there are side roads to put together routes east of the Cascades.
If inland, in So. Or., you can cross to Calif from 199 to Happy Valley (long, pretty stiff climb and long, pretty wildish descent) or paralleling I-5 into Hornbrook (I think some winds up being ON I-5). Or 97. If you go through Ashland OR. the bike shops will have maps of No.Cal century rides and that should help put together a route.
In No Cal. Hiway 96 can have logging traffic (we did a bunch of it about 4 years ago and there was virtually none) but is very pretty and a fair amount of camping sites. Hiway 3 might be a bit busier, but also offers camping, I believe.
I'm also a little unclear about where you are and therefore where you're headed to get to Ukiah. Keep in mind two things:
1. This is some of the most ecstatically perfect bicycling territory ever developed in the history of the universe. You are choosing between extra-sublime and extra-extra-sublime. The worst thing that could happen based on your worst decision will still be better than most folks' best memories of their tours elsewhere. You can do no wrong.
2. California is surprisingly urban. As in surprisingly unsuburban with respect to other states -- it's a state where people live disproportionately close together and don't ruin nearby open spaces with suburban subdivisions and shopping malls. (OK, we're good at ruining things, too -- just not as much, proportionately, as the rest of the country.) So compared to a state like Iowa or Wisconsin or Mississippi or Indiana or Texas, all of which have marvelous little overlooked, undertravelled state or county roads with almost no traffic passing through nostalgic old off-the-map communities, California has specacular little roads leading from one dense place to another that are way more travelled than you wished. It's a tradeoff -- many more pleasant, unnoticed backwaters elsewhere, lots more highly discoved spectacular vistas clogging the roads here in California.
So -- Know that you basically can't hope to find a way to have a bad time. And know that, during your whole ecstatic journey, you'll be menaced by auto traffic on narrow roads and challenged by big grades up and down.
Still, you'll love it! Just improvise and do it. Ukiah is a cool little city. Surrounded by excellent little places. Try to take your time, and don't plan ahead too much if you can help it.
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