Touring - West Coast of USA
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12-18-04, 02:00 AM
We are three male Brits (ages 57, 52 and 14!) planning to ride Vancouver - San Francisco in August/Sept 05.
Around 50 - 60 miles a day for three weeks. Approx one rest day per week. We're not completists though; we'll use rail or bus if need be (tho I understand this can be awkward with bikes, having to box them etc). Most likely credit card touring (no tents, staying in motels).
I've bought the Lonely Planet Guide to Cycling on the West Coast of USA. I quite fancy starting with riding a little of Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands. The Lonely Planet "Border to Border" route then passes through Bremerton to the west of Seattle (in fact it misses Seattle out completely which suits me, we're not coming all the way to the US for city riding!), then to Kelso just North of Portland, heads for the coast down the Columbia River valley to Astoria, hugs the coast (Route 101) all the way to Eureka, comes inland a little to go through the Redwoods National Park. On to San Francisco.
Experiences and advice gratefully received please.....
Any suggestions where best to take our rest days.
If we do well, we may carry on and finish at Big Sur (memories of 60's hippies!) :) :)
12-18-04, 07:23 AM
Sounds like a wonderful tour... I rode from Bellingham, WA (north of Seattle) to Crescent City, CA back in 1999, and it was a wonderful area for touring. You might get some ideas from my tour, and you can share my experiences at denise1999nw.crazyguyonabike.com (http://denise1999nw.crazyguyonabike.com) (although I have to admit the journals I've written in later years are much more detailed!).
There are a number of journals on www.crazyguyonabike.com (http://www.crazyguyonabike.com) from others who have cycled the same area that you're plannng to experience. You can find a list of those journals here (http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journal/?o=ao&category_id=10).
Also - for the Vancouver Island piece of your trip, here's a link to some touring journals that include Vancouver Island (http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/search/?docs=on&context=exact&term=vancouver+island&page=1&opts=ao&o=300000&advanced=1). And for cycling information (where to go, where to stay, etc.), take a look at cyclevancouverisland.ca (http://www.cyclevancouverisland.ca/).
12-18-04, 10:17 AM
If you are not camping, please be aware that motels are often filled - especially on weekends in the San Juans, around Puget Sound, and along the north Oregon coast. It's a beautiful cycling route - but also very popular with all those city folk from Vancouver, Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland - all of which are no more than an hour from the coast. If you are willing to do hostels - check out hostels.com - some also take reservations, but I hate having to keep to a fixed schedule while touring. After Labor Day (that's Labour for you blokes) - 1st weekend in September - things open up and rates go down a little. Make advance reservations for that weekend.
If you haven't ruled out camping completely, I would highly recommend for this tour since Washington, Oregon, and California all have great state parks with hiker/biker campsites. Many people touring the coast choose to camp but stay in a hostel every third or fourth night. You carry more weight, but you get the best of both worlds since motels tend to be clustered in ticky-tack strips.
One of my favorite places is Cathlamet on the Columbia River - halfway between Portland and Astoria - it's an old logging/fishing/dairy town that hasn't yet been "discovered" - you can cross the river on a ferry here - or head downriver thru the Skamokawa wildlife refuge. By the way - Cathlamet rhymes with an oath more extreme than "Gosh-DARN-It" - that goes for Willamette, too - you are a dead give-away of a tourist if you use a French pronunciation. And Skamokawa is pronounced "Ska - MOCK - ah - way". Just remember that many of the place names are Chinook and Nootkan with second-syllable stress.
It will be a great trip with near-perfect weather that time of year - - enjoy!
Best - J
PS - I'd recommend US 101 south from Port Townsend down the west side of Puget Sound rather than Bremerton - which is still very densely populated with high traffic.
Get the adventure cycling maps too. Very good route guide. http://www.adventurecycling.org
Here's a link to the Oregon Coast Bike map:
Some friends and I did the Oregon Coast ride 10 years ago and it's a wonderful place to ride with great roads, well marked routes, and beautiful scenery.
12-18-04, 03:17 PM
I just might see you. I am considering another trip down the west coast. Last time was 1983. I rode from Nanamo B.C. to San Francisco. I recommend camping. You will have no trouble finding campgrounds and it is much cheaper. If coming from Vancouver, I would recommend going down Whidbey Island Island, catch the Keystone ferry to Port Townshend, then continue down 101.
I am thinking of taking the ferry to Port Angeles then down the west side of the Olympic Peninsula, but I have been hearing some bad things about this road. I will start a new thread and see what I can learn.
12-18-04, 03:52 PM
I have an extra copy of Bicycling the Pacific Coast, by Kirkendall & Spring, published by The Mountaineers in Seattle. Its a complete guide from Vancouver B.C. all the way to south of Los Angeles
Its yours ,free if you send me your address.
No charge, in great appreciation to those fine people who I met and helped me this past summer for the 2 months I was in Europe
I recently did the section from San Francisco to Malibu and except for the awful part south of Pacifica called Devils Slide I had no problems
I camped a few times but did motels mostly, the nites were chilly to cold
e mail address is Travelinguyrt@AOL.COM
Hi Phillip great area for cycling. I have only done S.Francisco to Santa Barbara through Big Sur and scenery, weather and people made for a great trip I look forward to repeat. cyclingtheworld have a good section on the Pacific Coast and from there you can see all the links to people who did similar rides to what you are planning. http://www.cyclingtheworld.org/tours/pacificcoast.php
Enjoy your planning. Bicycling the Pacific Coast is also a classic guide that many people use.
12-18-04, 05:34 PM
Hi Wolfclan333 - please let me know here if you post another thread about riding down the west side of Olympic. I'd also thought of taking that route.
Travellinguyrt - I'll email you direct about taking you up on your very kind offer
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