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Old 02-22-08, 02:15 AM   #1
mac
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How much to budget for each day for lodging and food?

I am considering doing a big clockwise loop following the Adventure Cycling maps. It's LA to San Francisco, to Cedar City, through the Grand Canyon, to Tempe, to San Diego, and back to LA. It's almost 2,500 miles. If I could ride 75 miles a day, 5 days a week, it would take me almost 7 weeks or 45 days.

What kind of budget would I be looking at riding solo? And I'm not going camping or cooking my own food. How cheap are motels, especially outside of the "Big City"? Does a total budget of $100/day sound reasonable or is that too little?
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Old 02-22-08, 02:41 AM   #2
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man, $4500 dollars sounds like a lot of money to me. if you're comfortable with it, i would suggest couchsurfing via couchsurfing.com or warmshowers.org. i spent 6 months touring in europe on about $3000, mostly because i couchsurfed almost the whole time.
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Old 02-22-08, 07:41 AM   #3
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75 miles a day? That sounds like a lot to me, especially in hilly terrain, but I have never actually toured. What kind of average speeds do you normally ride fully loaded?
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Old 02-22-08, 08:10 AM   #4
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75 miles a day? That sounds like a lot to me, especially in hilly terrain, but I have never actually toured. What kind of average speeds do you normally ride fully loaded?
Not camping + not cooking = light load = good mileage
75 miles = reasonable if you start off in reasonable shape or a bit much if training as you go.

On the money issue, it can vary widely depending your choices of lodging and meals. I am not that familiar with the area, but I would think that $100 should be comfortable. I may not be the best to advise though because camping, cooking, and $15 a day are more my speed. Some folks may spend $100 per day on a bar tab.
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Old 02-22-08, 09:54 AM   #5
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Try couchsurfing, warmshowers, and hospitalityclub.org (not .com different site)
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Old 02-22-08, 10:08 AM   #6
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I've ridden from SF to San Diego (but not in the other direction), from SF to Carson City, NV, and from San Diego to Phoenix, AZ.

Here are some thoughts on your plan:

Going North on Highway 1 will be against a serious headwind in the afternoons. Either get off the road by then or go South. You might think about reversing the direction of your tour so that you start by going down to San Diego, then out to Arizona, and back to LA via San Francisco.

There are going to be spots where finding food and hotels will be tough or expensive. From Cambria (central California Coast) up to Big Sur is about 70 miles of serious rolling hills with no low cost hotels or places to eat. If you are doing this in one day and have to go against the wind you are going to be in for some hard riding that won't be fun. What's more, since Big Sur is a big tourist area, you may have to make reservations a bit in advance to get a place, making your timing critical. I have done this ride once (in the opposite direction) and by the end of it I could barely walk!

Another tough spot will be from Placerville, CA (2 days east of SF) to Kirkwood, CA (just west of Carson Pass). With the exception of Jenkinson Lake, there are no services along this stretch. I have ridden it without camping or cooking equipment and it was the hardest day I've every had in the saddle (even worse then the 70 miles I mentioned above). All along the deserted forest-lined road I kept thinking about how much nicer it would been if I'd had a tent and a bag.

I haven't been east of Carson City but I know that there are long stretches in Nevada where getting water isn't possible, let alone food or lodging.

The ride from 2 days east of San Diego (Jacumba) to Phoenix isn't very interesting. You go on straight roads though mostly barren desert. Some of it you have to ride on US 10. It was this ride that convinced me not to do a cross-country tour! I'd rather see interesting scenery then be able to brag that I went coast to coast.

Here is a link to all my bike journals, including the three mentioned above: http://www.biketouringtips.com/bike.journals/

As for costs, I would think that $100/day would be enough. In fact, if you find cheap hotels or use some of the hospitality sites, you might be able to get it below that.

There is lots of information at www.biketouringtips.com on the routes you are considering.

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Old 02-22-08, 11:07 AM   #7
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Hey thanks guys, esp raybo. The other trip I had in mind before doing this circle was the Adventure Cycling pacific coast route LA to Canada. I did the short LA to Mexico stretch so now I'm looking to go in the opposite direction. I'm assuming the terrain is pretty flat the entire way since it's by the ocean.
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Old 02-22-08, 12:59 PM   #8
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I'm assuming the terrain is pretty flat the entire way since it's by the ocean.
This is not a correct assumption. For most of the California coast it is rolling hills the whole way. Some of the climbs are real thigh busters. I can think of the hill just south of Big Sur and the one just north of Ragged Point. Leaving Jenner (Russian River outlet), there is a major hill to get over. Up where the Redwoods are, there is the Leggett hill and other big time rollers. I'm sure it is the same all the way up the coast.

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Old 02-22-08, 01:21 PM   #9
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This is not a correct assumption. For most of the California coast it is rolling hills the whole way. Some of the climbs are real thigh busters. I can think of the hill just south of Big Sur and the one just north of Ragged Point. Leaving Jenner (Russian River outlet), there is a major hill to get over. Up where the Redwoods are, there is the Leggett hill and other big time rollers. I'm sure it is the same all the way up the coast.

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Definitely NOT flat. A quick glance at the contours in "Bicycling the Pacific Coast, A Complete Route Guide Canada to Mexico", showed lots of 500 to 1000 foot climbs and at least one that looked close to 2000 feet. I didn't look at every inch, but just kind of flipped through so I probably missed some. Oh and for what it is worth, the book really harps on how much worse it is going S-N as opposed to N-S due to the winds.

The few sections that I have actually ridden or driven were pretty hilly.
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Old 02-22-08, 01:36 PM   #10
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The Tour of California went south through Big Sur on stage 4, the other day. There were two category 4 climbs and a category 3 climb. Definitely not a mountain stage, but not a flat ride either.. but beautiful as I recall from driving through the area.
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Old 02-23-08, 12:10 PM   #11
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Hey thanks guys, esp raybo. The other trip I had in mind before doing this circle was the Adventure Cycling pacific coast route LA to Canada. I did the short LA to Mexico stretch so now I'm looking to go in the opposite direction. I'm assuming the terrain is pretty flat the entire way since it's by the ocean.
I've ridden this route. It's definitely not flat. It's one hill after another, the whole way. None of them are too steep, but there are a lot of them. I averaged 55 miles a day. The hardest hill was Leggett Hill, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the North Cascades Highway I rode over last summer. Actually, there was a harder one - the road up to the lighthouse from Tillamook (going north to south). A couple I was with recommended this. I struggled up to the top. The lighthouse was cool (although from the top of the road there's a steep downhill to the lighthouse which you have to climb back up when you're done sightseeing) but when I got to the campground I discovered they had chosen to skip the lighthouse and go around on a relatively flat bypass.

If you do this route it makes much more sense to go north to south. The winds will be much more likely to be behind you, and the southbound lanes have better shoulders in many places and a better view.
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Old 02-23-08, 12:37 PM   #12
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If you do this route it makes much more sense to go north to south. The winds will be much more likely to be behind you, and the southbound lanes have better shoulders in many places and a better view.
Yeah, but where's the fun in flying to your destination then riding home. It's much more gratifying to ride to your destination then fly back. But thanks for the info. I think I'll knock down my estimated daily mileage and plan again.
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Old 02-23-08, 04:09 PM   #13
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Yeah, but where's the fun in flying to your destination then riding home. It's much more gratifying to ride to your destination then fly back. But thanks for the info. I think I'll knock down my estimated daily mileage and plan again.
Different strokes I guess, but I have found that it is nice to have all of the air travel and bike shipping out of the way in the beginning. Then you don't have to be at the end at the "right" time for a flight home and can take more or less time to get to your destination. To me nothing is worse than having to stick to a schedule on tour.

We did the TransAmerica headed toward home last summer and it worked out very well. It was really nice to be met by family and friends at the end (they threw us a great welcome home picnic).
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Old 02-23-08, 06:32 PM   #14
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Just go online and start checking motel rates along the route. The chain motels should all be available online.

Part of it will depend on how choosy you are on your motels, anyway.

One potential problem, especially in wide desolate areas, is you may not have motels meeting your standards spaced out at convenient 75 mile increments. Come to think of it, in a lot of places, the motels will all be along an interstate, but that's not where most people would prefer to ride.

Food is very variable as well. For cheapest food, stop at a grocery store. If you want warm food, not fast food, etc, you could easily hit $30 a day. Also try to hit the continental breakfasts at the motels you're staying at.
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