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Old 01-17-08, 09:41 AM   #1
zac.stanley
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Touring Highway 395

Anyone have any experience touring 395 south of Reno?

Info on the web seems relatively sparse.

thanks,
zac
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Old 01-17-08, 09:53 AM   #2
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I only have a few miles experience of 395 but it was horrible. I rode the Western Express route into and out of Carson City and you have to go on 395 approaching/leaving it from/toward the south. There is so much development in that part of Carson City (car dealerships, fast food places, big box stores, casinos) that there is no place for a bike. The cars go fast and there is no shoulder. I rode on the (deserted) sidewalk as far as I could.

I have no idea what the rest of 395 is like but I would avoid 395 around Carson City at all costs.

Ray
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Old 01-17-08, 10:02 AM   #3
zac.stanley
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ok - let me modify.

anyone have experience touring the eastern part of the sierra - reno and southward?
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Old 01-17-08, 11:19 AM   #4
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In my experience cycling Reno to Carson City on 395 it was a reasonable road (for a US highway): http://www.mvermeulen.com/nevada/index.htm
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Old 01-17-08, 12:14 PM   #5
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If you are not tied to only riding on 395 there are some interesting alternatives that avoid the main highway through longer side routes with more climbing, often better scenery and usually fewer cars.

A mile or so South of the junction of 395 and 50 take Nevada 206 til it meets 88 then South to 89 then 89 to Markleeville and its nearby Hot Springs Park for camping and soaking. S on 89 climbing Monitor Pass @8513 feet then a fast and long downhill back to 395.

395 S from the 89 junction is initially narrow and busy at most times with few options all the way to Bridgeport with Much four lane freeway type road with good shoulders after Mono Lake through Mt Whitney and then to LA unless you climb steeply inland over Tioga Pass 9941 feet and end up in Yosemite Valley.

One Alternative at the 89/395 junction is to go North seven/7 miles to the Topaz/Yerington Rd junction going East on Nev 208 to a few miles past Wellington to pick up Nev 338. Follow 338 over Sweetwater Summit @6812 feet. 338 becomes 182 as you cross into California and rejoins 395 at Bridgeport/6495 feet. From there if you are on a mountain bike a trip East over to the ghost mining town of Bodie @ 8339 feet is a treat but not easy on steep gravel roads.
If you are heading further South on 395 consider Hwy 120 EAST [five miles South of the Tioga Pass/Yosemite/120 WEst junction] to loop back to 395 on the Benton Crossing Rd. Good scenery but no services for 70 miles or so.

I hope this rambling about the area is helpful. I keep going back through the area for some reason.
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Old 01-17-08, 08:21 PM   #6
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Last summer I toured on 395 between Carson City, NV and Bridgeport, CA. (Trying to ride 395 thru Carson city is nuts, don't try it. Plenty of side streets that will get you thru town). Beautiful Scenery and low to moderate traffic. Check out my pics here http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/sierragreatbasin
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Old 01-17-08, 11:08 PM   #7
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Highway 395 from Alturas, California to Pendleton, Oregon is one of the best rides in the West. But, unfortunately, you aren't going that way.
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Old 01-18-08, 01:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by arctos View Post
I hope this rambling about the area is helpful. I keep going back through the area for some reason.
Arctos, you've explored this area quite a bit! Thanks for those route suggestions. I'd like to try those backroads in the Bridgeport area someday...

I've toured south on 395 from South Lake Tahoe/Gardnerville to Mono Lake/Tioga Pass. Like artos says, I agree that the 395 above Bridgeport gets narrow and twisty through the canyon as it follows the West Walker River. Because of blind spots around the canyon walls, it's a little dicey. Below Bridgeport, it opens up and is much less stressful (although the traffic goes plenty fast).

My dream is to do a long loop starting from L.A., going north up the 395 to Tahoe, then west to San Francisco and back down the coast to L.A.

PS: I know you said "south" of Reno...but I should mention that north of Reno--Hwy 89 above Lake Tahoe: Sierraville to Quincy to Lassen--is heaven for bike touring. Less traffic, rolling hills and beautiful scenery
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Old 01-18-08, 11:17 AM   #9
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89 might be great - thanks for the tip
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Old 01-18-08, 02:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by surly_tourer View Post
Last summer I toured on 395 between Carson City, NV and Bridgeport, CA. (Trying to ride 395 thru Carson city is nuts, don't try it. Plenty of side streets that will get you thru town). Beautiful Scenery and low to moderate traffic. Check out my pics here http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/sierragreatbasin
Yes, definately get on a side street when riding through Carson City. There are places where the main road gets very narrow with a lot of traffic. Moving only one block east or west will put you on relatively quiet residential areas.

Reno to Carson is relatively pleasent and scenic for most of the way but traffic can be heavy depending on the time of day. South of Carson City is getting very developed - with heavy traffic as well. Once you get 30 miles south of the city the ride turns into a dream and stays that way practically all the way to L.A. Very beautiful.
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Old 01-18-08, 09:32 PM   #11
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ronzorini wrote:
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My dream is to do a long loop starting from L.A., going north up the 395 to Tahoe, then west to San Francisco and back down the coast to L.A.
Might I suggest following the length of Hwy 89 from its beginning at the 395 junction to its end at Mt Shasta City at Interstate 5 near Mt. Shasta. You pass Lake Tahoe and go through Lassen NP [8512@summit] and other interesting small towns and parks along the way.

Then head N. toward Yreka via frontage roads to Gazelle then West on the Callahan Rd to Callahan over Gazelle Summit 4921ft. Follow the Salmon River Cecillville Rd. to Forks of Salmon and then on to Sommes Barat junction with Hwy 96. Go South on 96 through Orleans and the Hoopa Indian reservation to Willow Creek which is the junction with Hwy 299. Head West on 299 to Arcata and Eureka climbing over Berry Summit and Lord Ellis Summit [2859&2262ft].

About 5 miles S of Eureka turn West onto Hwy 211 to Ferndale an old victorian town. Climb steeply out of Ferndale on the Mattole River Rd over Bear River Ridge and drop steeply down to Capetown former townsite then climb steeply up the other side of the valley and return to the coast near Cape Mendocino-[the point farthest West in the continental lower 48 states.] Great places to camp with wonderful tasting water near Petrolia where first oil well in California was drilled.

Down the road is Honeydew where you have a choice:

Continue on the Mattole River Rd East over Panther Gap 2744 to reach Hwy 101 and the Avenue of the Giants and the traditional Coastal Route.

OR:[My Preference] Turn S on the Wilder Ridge Rd/Honeydew Rd to the Briceland Rd down to Bear Harbor. These roads are mixed gravel and pavement and can be muddy after rains.The 4000ft King Range Refuge looms up on the West along these roads. See the elk herd while camping at Bear Harbor. Backtrack a bit to the Usal Rd and follow it along the edge of the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park until it joins Hwy 1 near the coast N of Rockport. Between Ferndale and Hwy 1 you really need to be self sufficient with few supply places along the way except Honeydew. All other supplies are off route.

Grab the tailwinds on the coast and fly South to SFO on the Coast Route.

Last edited by arctos; 01-18-08 at 09:37 PM. Reason: clarify some wording
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Old 01-19-08, 02:45 PM   #12
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In case you might be interested, the area around Sierra Valley, along with the lake region surrounding Sierra Buttes and Gold Lake, is beautiful country.
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Old 01-21-08, 09:01 PM   #13
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Highway 395 from Alturas, California to Pendleton, Oregon is one of the best rides in the West. But, unfortunately, you aren't going that way.
I did that about 20 years ago in a severely underpowered 18 wheeler with no jake brakes. Some of the pulls up the mountains I had to use my lowest gear and the motor would only rev to about 1/2 of its rpm redline. I thought it was simply going to stall out. I would have to stop about half way down some of the hills and let the brakes cool off, because they would start to smoke because they where so hot.

But it was beautiful scenery. I would love to do it again on a bike. Sorry for the hyjack.
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Old 01-22-08, 12:20 AM   #14
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Might I suggest following the length of Hwy 89 from its beginning at the 395 junction to its end at Mt Shasta City at Interstate 5 near Mt. Shasta. You pass Lake Tahoe and go through Lassen NP [8512@summit] and other interesting small towns and parks along the way...
Arctos, many thanks for that detailed route!

To the OP, This thread got me motivated to order an out-of-print book called "Pacific Crest Bicycle Trail" by Bil Paul. I think it was last published around 1990, but should provide some interesting routes along the spine of the Sierras.
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Old 01-22-08, 09:26 PM   #15
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Your route

Arctos, do you have a CrazyGuy journal about this route? It sounds wonderful. It sounds like you've been around. I'd like to read about your travels. Thanks for sharing the itinerary. I'm thinking about taking it this summer!
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Old 01-23-08, 12:05 AM   #16
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BigBlueToe: Sorry but no online journals from me.

One source of interesting tour routes is Chuck Elliot aka Bodfish in Chester,Calif at Lake Almanor just off the Hwy 89 route I mentioned. He is a great guy and very experienced and knowledgeable. He has written several bike tour guides to much of N Cal and one covering the best rides of Calif. Buy them from him direct for most benefit to him. [530 2582338] No website that I know of so far.

http://http://www.amazon.com/California-Cycling-Bodfish-Finest-Bicycle/dp/0961670916
Cycling the California Outback by Bodfish

I met him while touring through the area. After talking we realized that we had toured much of the same ground in Calif. and he gave me a copy of each book. He really explores areas in great depth but writes about places without spoon feeding you every detail or holding your hand.
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Old 01-24-08, 12:55 PM   #17
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I seem to have forgotten to mention above that Chuck Elliot aka Bodfish has a great bike shop in Chester, California called Bodfish Bicycles. 530-258-2338.
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