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  1. #1
    Senior Member 82times's Avatar
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    [US] Pacific Coast headwinds

    OK, so I'm planning a long trip this summer. I live in the bay area in California and will have about 3 months to ride toward the east coast. Along the way, I'd like to go through Sheridan, WY (in the north-central part of the state).

    My initial plan was to ride up the coast to about the middle of Oregon before heading east, but(!) will the headwinds kill me before I get there? Anybody with experience riding north along the California/Oregon coast? Are there crazy headwinds on 101 up north of Mendocino?

    Any inklings of route suggestions very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Hooked on Touring
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    Only gone south - the direction of the prevailing summer winds.
    However, one time heading south from Half Moon Bay, I was in a bad storm with killer headwinds.
    Winter and late spring storms bring southwest winds.
    Summer days have northwest winds.

    There are a couple of journals over at crazyguyonabike about people heading north.
    Most have complained about the hard work.
    Believe it or not, summer surface winds in the Sac Valley are southerly.

    Don't know when you are heading out, but I suspect late May of early June.
    Why not head north from San Fran to Bodega Bay, then cut inland -
    Following the Russian River on back roads to Healdsburg and Ukiah -
    Then cut over to Lucerne and Colusa to Chico.
    From Chico you can head thru Lassen NP if the snow is plowed -
    Or thru Susanville and then to Alturas.
    US 395 to Burns is really sweet in late spring or early summer.

    Then if you head thru Ontario, make sure to hit the hot springs in the Payette Valley -
    just east of Garden Valley and continue on to the Sawtooth Mountains.
    There are a number of ways to "do" Wyoming - I suggest cutting east to Alpine
    Then heading north thru Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons to Yellowstone.
    Plan to spend a few extra days here.

    Sheridan?? Not Buffalo???
    I gotta wonder about you.

    Best - J

    PS - When you headin' out?

  3. #3
    Senior Member 82times's Avatar
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    Hey, jamawani--thanks very much for the suggestions. I'm heading out early June, probably the 8th or 9th or so. I'd like to make it to Sheridan by about the 27th for a family get-together. [it's not in Sheridan, but at a cabin somewhere thereabouts]

    Winds from the south in the Sac valley? That's the kind of info I was looking for.

  4. #4
    Hooked on Touring
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    Ummmmmm 82 -

    How much touring experience do you have?
    Are you aware that it's 1200+ miles to Sheridan by the most direct, interstate route?
    And you are giving yourself less than 3 weeks????

    Heading north up the coast would be well nigh impossible.
    It will be a rushed trip even on a direct route.
    Have you calculated mileages and your expected daily averages?

    Best - J

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    Senior Member 82times's Avatar
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    Holy cow do you like question marks????

    Actually, I mistyped before. It's not Sheridan I'm headed toward, but Cody. Closer, but still, a long way for 3 weeks, and I realize that. It will definitely be the most rushed part of the trip (and the most rushed touring I've done). Also, if I don't make it "on time" it doesn't really matter. Getting there anytime between the 27th and the 4th of July would be optimal, but if I don't, I'll still be happy to be out on the road.

    Thanks again for the route suggestions. As I get things more nailed down, I may ask you for more Wyoming advice.

  6. #6
    Hooked on Touring
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    Did I use a lot of question marks????

    If so, I do apologize.
    One should do, eh?

  7. #7
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    I think the prevailing winds are less of an issue on the pacific coast than they are going cross country. There is so much climbing and descending that it shouldn't make as much of a difference as it does on the plains. I did a combined east-west cross country tour and north-south pacific coast tour five years ago. There seemed to be a lot less days on the coast where the wind seemed to make a significant difference in the day's riding. But then, the prevailing winds were behind me on the coast, and you tend to notice tailwinds a lot less than you notice headwinds.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  8. #8
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    How much touring experience do you have?
    Are you aware that it's 1200+ miles to Sheridan by the most direct, interstate route?
    And you are giving yourself less than 3 weeks????

    Heading north up the coast would be well nigh impossible.
    It will be a rushed trip even on a direct route.
    Have you calculated mileages and your expected daily averages?
    I don't think 2000 miles over three weeks is an unreasonable goal for a reasonably fit rider. I wouldn't be shooting for a century a day pace at the start of my first tour, but I wouldn't hesitate to attempt that kind of tour after a couple of years of touring experience.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

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    I've gone north from CA to OR and WA. Most days it was OK. The winds usually picked up in the afternoon and evening. There were a few days when the headwinds were so strong that I had to pedal DOWNHILL (mountains actually). These were probably some of the most heartbreaking segments of my tour.

    But, it's not impossible. You do get to meet lots of folks going the other way. It's not too bad.

    Have a good trip

  10. #10
    Senior Member 82times's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mooncricket View Post
    I've gone north from CA to OR and WA. Most days it was OK. The winds usually picked up in the afternoon and evening. There were a few days when the headwinds were so strong that I had to pedal DOWNHILL (mountains actually). These were probably some of the most heartbreaking segments of my tour.

    But, it's not impossible. You do get to meet lots of folks going the other way. It's not too bad.
    Thanks for that info, mooncricket. I definitely had the pedaling-to-go-12-mph-downhill experience on at least one short ride I've taken north up the coast (just a day trip from Soquel to Pescadero). That was a rough 50 miles. If it were that bad every day, I think my legs and brain would turn to mush.

  11. #11
    Senior Member 82times's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brotherdan View Post
    I don't think 2000 miles over three weeks is an unreasonable goal for a reasonably fit rider. I wouldn't be shooting for a century a day pace at the start of my first tour, but I wouldn't hesitate to attempt that kind of tour after a couple of years of touring experience.
    It's been a few years since my only other tour of 1200 miles (a fantastic solo loop around New England). That trip took about 6 weeks, but I had lots of friends I would stay with for days on end along the way. Maybe more rest days than riding days. I'm in good riding shape, but the first leg of this tour is definitely very ambitious for my style of riding.

  12. #12
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    Hello,

    I rode the Oregon Washington coast from the California border North three years ago. Winds became an issue in the afternoon but as I often move early (7:00 AM start) I never found it to be a problem.

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