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  1. #1
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    Central Coast in January

    I was talking with the wife about possibly heading to the central coast (of CA) in January. Previously we've stayed in Morro Bay & Los Osos several times, but I was not riding at that time.

    So now we're thinking to go up there somewhere for 3-5 days, and I was looking at VRBO listings and realized I don't know how any of these possible destinations rate in terms of riding opportunities. I'm not a good climber, so I'm not looking for a lot of that, but currently I'm looking from Avila Beach to points north... I suppose I'd even go up to Monterey.

    Any advice would be appreciated... thanks in advance

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    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    What's your wife's take on wine?
    There are some terrific wineries and sillystring-roads around Paso Robles, which is where I'm taking my bike (bicycle) the weekend after next if the weather don't stink.



    Riding on Big Sur is pretty much a nightmare when RV's are allowed on the road, but I've heard magical legends about landslides during winter (which are perfectly passable on foot) which have closed Hwy 1 and turned it into a post-Ebola-virus paradise for bicycles.
    Last edited by calamarichris; 12-02-10 at 01:13 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilWeasel View Post
    Well, if you are gonna carry a snapped frame all the way home. It might as well be light weight carbon fiber.

  3. #3
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    My wife doesn't mind to visit local wineries, and we've done that before.

    I've driven through Paso Robles a few times-- we've taken visitors to the cellar/cave tour at Eberle, for example-- but never stayed there.

    As for Los Osos, I know the roads that I drive on, but I'm not sure I'd want to ride on them.

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    Senior Member LawnChair's Avatar
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    I realize that you are looking north of Avila Beach, but if you want a fairly easy, enjoyable ride, head south to the farm town of Guadalupe. I've heard that they have a good Mexican restaurant there, but the few times I have ridden through the town it's always been way too early for Mexican Food. The ride will give you some coast, some farmland, and a little bit of climbing.
    Last edited by LawnChair; 12-02-10 at 08:15 PM.

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    My wife and I have spent our late December anniversary in Cambria the past few years. We rode along highway 1. A bit of traffic but pretty and flat. There are climbs if you want them as well going towards Paso Robles.
    [insert clever quote here]

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    It's never too early for good mexican food.
    Runnin' With The Pack

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    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    There is a poster on the boards that lives in PR....HomeyBA.....He's usually up to offering help and advice.

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    Senior Member DanteB's Avatar
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    You should no trouble with the roads in Los Osos or out to Montana de Oro, I ride them all the time. From Avila you can go north through SLO to Los Osos then Morro Bay and farther north if you want. If you want to ride all the way to Monterey it could be iffy with road closures, mud slides and water on the road. I ride up Hwy 1 every year in May with no problem with the traffic. Also, at Morro Bay you can come back on Hwy 1 to SLO and back to Avila. A good ride would be from Avila to Pismo east out Price Canyon Rd., south on Edna Hwy 227, southeast on Corrbett Canyon Rd., east on Tiffany Ranch Rd., north on Orcutt Rd. which will become Tank Farm Rd. on the south side of SLO and deadend on Higuera St. From there you can turn north, right, and tour SLO or turn south, left, and head back to Avila.
    Make mine a double!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nesdog View Post
    My wife and I have spent our late December anniversary in Cambria the past few years. We rode along highway 1. A bit of traffic but pretty and flat. There are climbs if you want them as well going towards Paso Robles.
    At Cambria, we stayed at the Moonstone Landing Hotel which is next to the Sea Chest Seafood restaurant http://www.seachestrestaurant.com/

    The distance from that hotel to Ragged Point round trip is about 42 + miles.

    Most of the ride is flat or rolling but as you get closer to Ragged Point going north on Highway 1, maybe 2 miles before, it starts to get steep and its only a two lane highway with some switchbacks. If you don't like that part, just skip it and head back.

    Ragged Point has a nice hotel and a place where you may take pictures of the ragged coastline. Some fog.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanteB View Post
    You should no trouble with the roads in Los Osos or out to Montana de Oro, I ride them all the time.
    I live here. I've ridden out to Montana de Oro many times. If you're worried about traffic it's not the best road as there's no shoulder, no bail-out room, and plenty of cars. However, they're usually not going too fast, and seem willing to yield to cyclists.

    There are plenty of great rides in this area. Paso has the Great Western Bike Rally in May. They compile many routes and rally-goers can pick and choose. Peachy Canyon is a favorite, but it has a pretty good climb at first. South of San Luis there's the ride out to Huasna and back. It's ranchland and very pretty. However, there's no shoulder. From San Luis (park at the high school) you can take Johnson south to Orcutt Road, then down to Lopez Drive. Turn left and ride up to Lopez Lake. It's pretty. Coming back you can go a little further on Lopez Drive, then head north on Corbett Canyon. Then turn right on 227, right again on Orcutt, left on Laurel Lane, and left on Johnson to get back to the high school.

    From Los Osos you can head towards SLO via Los Osos Valley Road (add a jog on Turri Road for some pastoral ranchland and nice scenery), turn left on Foothill, left again on Highway 1, and ride towards Morro Bay. Turn left on South Bay Boulevard and head back to Los Osos.

    From Los Osos I often head north on Highway 1 and go as far as I feel like that day, then turn around. A ride to Harmony will make a 40 mile round trip. All the way to Cambria will be more like 55. Highway 1 is beautiful. There's a caution out of Morro Bay northbound though. Right before Toro Creek Road there's a bridge with no shoulder. I hate it. I won't ride it with traffic overtaking me; I'll stop and wait until it's gone. Coming back it's no problem; it's only in the northbound lanes.

  11. #11
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    Thanks to all of you that replied; I really appreciate all the advice.

    If we go, I'll take some pictures and post them here. The last time we tried the central coast in January was 2005, when it rained record amounts. Still, it was a great trip.

    Edit: looks like we're headed to Los Osos.
    Last edited by ZippyThePinhead; 12-05-10 at 04:13 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member hendrick81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanteB View Post
    You should no trouble with the roads in Los Osos or out to Montana de Oro, I ride them all the time. From Avila you can go north through SLO to Los Osos then Morro Bay and farther north if you want. If you want to ride all the way to Monterey it could be iffy with road closures, mud slides and water on the road. I ride up Hwy 1 every year in May with no problem with the traffic. Also, at Morro Bay you can come back on Hwy 1 to SLO and back to Avila. A good ride would be from Avila to Pismo east out Price Canyon Rd., south on Edna Hwy 227, southeast on Corrbett Canyon Rd., east on Tiffany Ranch Rd., north on Orcutt Rd. which will become Tank Farm Rd. on the south side of SLO and deadend on Higuera St. From there you can turn north, right, and tour SLO or turn south, left, and head back to Avila.

    This....


    I live in San luis obispo and ride these roads all the time. Try this ride also San Luis Loop south to Lopez Lake and back . This is a very scenic ride with lots of little wineries on the way to Lake lopez.

  13. #13
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    I appreciate the route suggestions. I mapped DanteB's route, and I have seen a few others on MMY:

    A coastal route through Montana De Oro SP;

    Los Osos Valley Road --> Turri Road Loop;

    Los Osos --> Avila Beach.

    Unfortunately I don't expect to have time for more than one or two rides, tops.

  14. #14
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    You're in for a real treat, Zippy!
    I just returned from 3 days of riding around SLO, Paso, Avila & Los Osos and it was stellar! Unfortunately my camera battery pooped out, so I didn't get many pictures, but I'll post the few I did get. I got really, really lucky with the weather.
    There is a great, but unfinished bike path from Avila Beach (I think it was called the Bob Evans Path?) heading inland toward SLO. And from that, you can take the frontage road to SLO, which is just about the coolest bicycling town this side of Portland.
    My hotel in SLO was right across the street from Cambria Bikes on Monterey Ave., and the chamber of commerce has produced a FREE cyclo-tourist map of the area with a large map of the whole region and smaller maps of each town.

    Every Thursday night is the SLO farmer's market, and it's quite the festival. Such a cool town.

    If you're feeling ballsy enough to do a little climbing, take See Canyon up to Prefumo Canyon Road, back to SLO. About a mile of it is unpaved, but easily manageable with a road bike. Climbing up Prefumo Canyon was harrrd in places, but it was a real treat to climb up out of the clouds and fog. Even if you don't ride all the way through, there are a bunch of apple orchards along See Canyon. The smell of rotting apples along the road really puts one in the mood for hard cider, but neither of the orchards I stopped at had any hard cider. When going back on Prefumo, there were places where the descent was so steep, releasing the brake levers made you feel like a bullet being shot out of a ***.

    If you're in Paso (which is not as bicycle-friendly as SLO) and feel like splurging on a meal for your wife, I give Bistro Laurent two enthusiastic thumbs way up! It wasn't cheap, but the food was truly memorable. They get their chantarelle mushrooms fresh from some mushroom hunter around Big Sur. Each course comes paired with a wine, and the sauces were so good I ordered one of my courses as the dessert.

    Have fun!
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilWeasel View Post
    Well, if you are gonna carry a snapped frame all the way home. It might as well be light weight carbon fiber.

  15. #15
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
    You're in for a real treat, Zippy!
    I just returned from 3 days of riding around SLO, Paso, Avila & Los Osos and it was stellar! [...]
    There is a great, but unfinished bike path from Avila Beach (I think it was called the Bob Evans Path?) heading inland toward SLO. And from that, you can take the frontage road to SLO, which is just about the coolest bicycling town this side of Portland.
    I'm looking at this Bob Jones trail and I want to make sure I'm tracking you... you're saying that you rode down the frontage road, a.k.a. Higuera Street, a.k.a. Ontario Road, all the way to the trailhead of that Bob Jones Trail? It's a good ride, with decent shoulders/no traffic problems?

  16. #16
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
    I'm looking at this Bob Jones trail and I want to make sure I'm tracking you... you're saying that you rode down the frontage road, a.k.a. Higuera Street, a.k.a. Ontario Road, all the way to the trailhead of that Bob Jones Trail? It's a good ride, with decent shoulders/no traffic problems?
    The Bob Jones trail is very incomplete. Eventually it's supposed to go from San Luis Obispo to Avila Beach. Now there are only two sections finished. The first starts at Prado Road and deadends before you get to Los Osos Valley Road. There's no way to get from that end to surface streets, so you have to backtrack. It's a "path to nowhere."

    The southern section is pretty nice and very well-used. People park on Ontario Road at the trailhead and ride out to Avila Beach. The last part is on a road, but with very little traffic, other than bikers and walkers.

    It's a nice ride from San Luis out to Avila. From South Higuera and Madonna Road, head south on S. Higuera. There's a bike lane. South Higuera heads out of town. After it turns and goes under the freeway, you have to turn right to avoid going onto the freeway. The right turn is Ontario Road, according to Google Maps (I always thought it was still S. Higuera.)

    Follow Ontario Road as it parallels the freeway. Go straight across San Luis Bay Drive. At the bottom of the hill, just past the Salisbury Vineyards tasting room, the Bob Jones Trail starts on your right. If you go across the bridge on Ontario, you've gone a little too far. If you go past an RV park, then a Hot Springs resort on the left, you've gone quite a bit too far.

    Let me know if there are any other route directions you'd like. This is my neck of the woods.

  17. #17
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    The Bob Jones trail is very incomplete. [...]

    Let me know if there are any other route directions you'd like. This is my neck of the woods.
    I appreciate the heads-up. We'll be staying not too far from Sea Pines GC. I've looked at Pecho Valley Road on Google Maps and I'm wondering if that is what you referred to in your previous post: "I've ridden out to Montana de Oro many times. If you're worried about traffic it's not the best road as there's no shoulder, no bail-out room, and plenty of cars. However, they're usually not going too fast, and seem willing to yield to cyclists."

    Thanks in advance.

  18. #18
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Nice. I live about a mile from Sea Pines. This is really my neck of the woods!

    Los Osos Valley Road starts in San Luis Obispo at South Higuera street. It goes west (pretty straight and flat, with a nice shoulder) all the way to Los Osos. It is the main road through the center of the business district of Los Osos. On the other end (west) of town it turns left and becomes Pecho. It goes out to Montana de Oro S. P. and dead ends there.

    Sea Pines is a block or so off of Pecho/Los Osos Valley Road. The turnoff to go to Sea Pines is right about where LOVR becomes Pecho.

    Pecho is the one I mentioned when I said I had ridden out to Montana de Oro.

    While you're at Sea Pines, I recommend a hike out to the sandspit. You'll see why when you get there - it's beautiful and a nice walk. One way is to go to the end of Butte Drive (on the bay side of the golf course.) Follow the trail as it winds around the bay. Take the right turn when you can, up and over the sand spit to the ocean. The other way is to go to the end of Inyo Street and take the trail from there.

    Montana de Oro St. Pk. is spectacular and worth a visit, whether you ride there or drive. (If you're comfortable in traffic, the ride isn't as bad as I described; I just wouldn't take inexperienced riders or kids on that road.)

    Another good ride would be an up-and-back on the coast. Take Pecho/LOVR east through Los Osos. Turn left on South Bay Boulevard. Right before Highway 1, turn left on Quintana. Go up the hill. Turn left at the main road - Morro Bay Blvd. (if you turn right you'll go onto the highway.) At the traffic circle, take the first right onto the other half of Quintana. At the light on Main Street, turn right. At the bottom of the hill, before you get to the highway underpass, there's a little road on the left that's a back entrance to the power plant. The Morro Bay Bike Path starts there on the right. It's a nice way to avoid a little riding on the highway shoulder. Take it to Highway 41/Atascadero Street, cross that street and go a little ways left to the entrance to Morro Bay High School. Go up the sidewalk on the right side of the entrance road. It turns into the bike path and goes around the east side of the high school, then up the hill into the Cloisters housing development. It ends there. Turn right onto the road. Go to San Jacinto and turn right. This will take you back to Highway 1. Turn left and start riding on the highway. There's a nice shoulder. From there you can go as far as you want. I often ride up to Cayucos, sit at the beach for awhile, or get something to eat in one of the nice eateries there, then ride back. Other times I ride up to Harmony and back (no services there.) If I'm really ambitious I ride all the way to Cambria, which is another nice touristy town.

    If you do this ride there's one hazard. Between Morro Bay and Cayucos, on Highway One going north, there's the Torro Creek Bridge. It's a short bridge, but there's no shoulder (well maybe an inch or two.) It's scary. I usually wait until there are no cars coming to pass me. There wouldn't be room, and I don't want to count on someone pulling into the other lane. Going southbound it isn't a problem; there's plenty of shoulder.

    One last thing. The nice way to get into Cayucos going north is to get off the Highway and cut through the cemetary. (It's at Studio Drive, but there are at least three exits saying Studio Drive. You should be able to see the cemetary in the distance on the right. Turn off, and go through the cemetary. At the end of the road you'll see a bike path veering off to the left, over a little bridge. Then it cuts through the Cayucos water treatment plant. Then you go up a hill, turn left at the top, go under the highway, turn right on S. Ocean Ave., and that will take you right down into Cayucos. There's a public bathroom and drinking fountain at the beach - left on Cayucos Drive.

    If you want to go further north you keep going on N. Ocean Ave. It deadends at Highway 1. Turn left (north) and you can continue on to either Harmony, or Cambria, or as far as you want to go.

    Just an idea.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Big Blue, is there some kind of nuclear thing at Avila Beach? We were there last summer and it seemed to be a nice place. But someone told me that the negative is some kind of environmental thing.

  20. #20
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    It is Diablo Canyon.

  21. #21
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    Nice. I live about a mile from Sea Pines. This is really my neck of the woods!

    [...]

    Just an idea.
    Thanks for the detailed reply; I plan to shoot some pics, and I'll post them here when I'm back home.

  22. #22
    Senior Member DanteB's Avatar
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    Zippy, if you go to Cayucos stop at the Brown Butter Cookie Company in the red building on the north end of town, you will not be disappointed.
    Make mine a double!

  23. #23
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Between Montana de Oro St. Pk. south of Los Osos and Avila Beach sits the Diablo Canyon nuclear powerplant. It's on some of the best coastal land around. Right now it's pretty much off-limits to the public. There's talk of running a trail through to connect Montana di Oro with Avila. Security is pretty tight though. They just opened a trail on the south side of Montana de Oro. You have to sign in at a guard station, and there's a guy who rides around on a golf cart to make sure no one is straying off the trail.

    I've kayaked between Montana de Oro and Avila Beach. You used to be able to paddle right into the lagoon at Diablo Canyon. It was interesting to look up at the powerplant (okay, probably not everyone's cup of tea, but I found it interesting) and the lagoon was filled with sea lions who seemed to be enjoying the warm water discharge. There's a little beach just south of the plant where you could haul out and have some lunch. After September 11 they closed access, and you can't get within a mile of the plant. I haven't tried it, but I've heard Coast Guard boats come out and shoo you away.

    I've taken groups of 6th graders out on a field trip to tour the plant - especially the marine biology labs. We once had a parent who was an engineer there. He let us in to the mockup control room where they train people. He let the kids pull some levers and press some buttons until mock alarms went off and we were in danger of a pretend meltdown. The kids loved it.

    Since 9-11, no more field trips to Diablo.

  24. #24
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    This was a good trip. The riding was a nice change of pace from what I usually do here in and around Orange County.

    We stayed for a total of four days, and I was able to ride three of the four days, which was very good.

    The first day I rode out to Montana de Oro SP. Below is the view as one climbs Pecho Valley Road, heading toward Montana de Oro.



    The scenery available in the park is pretty good...





    I really enjoyed riding around the park. Is there any road bike routes in Orange County that can compare? Maybe not.



    I was very fortunate riding in and out of Montana de Oro. Both ways, there were very few cars/vehicles going my way. The descent into the park was great, and not one car passed me. I almost ate it when I hit some loose sand/gravel on the road near the park HQ, but other than that, it couldn't have been better. The climb back out was almost car-free, though there was a huge bus (going the other way) heading into the park. I don't know that I'd care to ride that road on a busy weekend, but it was great on a Friday morning.

    After leaving Montana de Oro, I rode over to Turri Road. This is also a really nice ride, in its own way.



    My photos don't really compare to this 360-degree panorama, but anyway...





    Turri Road takes you through a lot of beautiful rolling hills. When I rode it, I had the whole road practically to myself. I saw only a few other riders and one or two cars.

    The last time I rode, I was thinking to go to Avila Beach, but it was pretty cold, and there was a stiff, cold wind blowing. I probably should have HTFU'ed and gone anyway, but I turned around after 15 miles or so, because I was freezing my @ss off, and my right foot was numb.

    Had I known the temperature would be 40-something, I would have dressed for it, but I thought it would warm up as I rode, instead of getting colder.

    You guys that live up on the central coast are very fortunate... what a great place to ride.
    Last edited by ZippyThePinhead; 07-29-12 at 10:56 AM.

  25. #25
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    1986 Peugeot Orient Express, 1987 Trek 560 Pro, 1983 SR Semi Pro, 2010 Motobecane Le Champion Titanium, 2011 Trek Fuel EX 8
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    One more pic...

    Here is a panorama of the scenery from Pecho Valley Road on the way to/back from Montana de Oro SP. The photo doesn't quite do it justice.


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