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  1. #1
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    San Francisco to Santa Barbra in eight days, doable?

    Looks like my buddy and I (possibly 2 buddies) are going to pull the trigger and tour the PCH this fall. Here is my itinerary .

    Day 1 - Mill Valley to Montara, 33 miles

    Day 2 - Montara to Santa Cruz, 62 miles

    Day 3 - Santa Cruz to Monterey, 50 miles

    Day 4 - Monterey to Big Sur, 38 miles

    Day 5 - Big Sur to Cambria, 75 miles

    Day 6 - Cambria to San Luis Obispo, 34 miles

    Day 7 - San Luis Obispo to Lompoc, 54 miles

    Day 8 - Lompoc to Santa Barbra, 53 miles


    Does this sound reasonable? We are all 45+ males, all in good to excellent condition.

    I figure maybe one day of rest in Monterey just because it is a cool town. Maybe one other day of rest somewhere along the way.

    We are considering late September to early October.

    The only stop that concerns me for accommodations is Big Sur. We will NOT be camping. Hostels and hotels for us. It worries me a little finding something reasonable in Big Sur.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  2. #2
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    You'll do just fine with that mileage. Last summer I did a whirlwind tour (under time constraints) of San Francisco to LA 500 miles in 5 days. I wished I could've gone a little slower to rest my legs.

    You're right that you won't be finding anything in Big Sur. I remember seeing some very expensive lodging (late August 07) but for the most part they are campgrounds. If the weather is fine, I'd suggest staying at Kirk Creek Campground and open-airing it. You wake up a little wet but it was great for me.

  3. #3
    40 yrs bike touring
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    With the normal N to S tailwinds assisting you can manage this route easily in the time alloted. The Big Sur to Cambria section will be the most difficult due to the ups and downs.

    For comparison: Long ago I rode from Santa Barbara to Monterey in 2 days fully loaded for camping and did the 150 mile return Monterey to SLO leg in one day due to an incredible tailwind that left me spinning out my top gear. So much fun that I did not want to stop. It is one of the best routes anywhere. Enjoy!

  4. #4
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    I haven't biked it yet, but I'm very familiar with Highway 1 from having driven it many, many times over the years. The 75 miles from Big Sur to Cambria is not only the most scenic stretch of the trip, it's very hilly. If at all possible I'd want to break that stretch into smaller chunks. Camping would make that a little easier, there are a couple of campgrounds just south of Big Sur.

    Good call on the season - early autumn on the Coast is gorgeous!

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    Yeah it's fine, did in 7 from daly city (1 day to Santa Cruz) last week in October a couple years ago. do not expect reasonable prices in Big Sur - $120/night for a tiny room in Lucia (I camped at Kirk Creek).
    ...

  6. #6
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    I did it easily in five days. Tailwinds around San Simeon rocketed me 130 miles into Santa Barbara with three hours of daylight to spare.

  7. #7
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucko58 View Post
    I haven't biked it yet, but I'm very familiar with Highway 1 from having driven it many, many times over the years. The 75 miles from Big Sur to Cambria is not only the most scenic stretch of the trip, it's very hilly. If at all possible I'd want to break that stretch into smaller chunks. Camping would make that a little easier, there are a couple of campgrounds just south of Big Sur.

    Good call on the season - early autumn on the Coast is gorgeous!
    I'd like to break it up too but we will not be camping. There does not seem to be much between Big Sur and Cambria, That stretch has me worried.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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    That's very doable. I did Half Moon Bay to Tijuana in 9 days last September and had only previously done some one day 40 and 50 mile rides. The first half my legs were very sore but by the end they felt great. Here's the trip I took:

    Half Moon Bay -> Santa Cruz
    Santa Cruz -> Big Sur
    Big Sur -> Cambria
    Cambria -> Santa Maria
    Santa Maria -> Goleta
    Goleta -> Malibu
    Malibu -> Long Beach
    Long Beach -> Del Mar
    Del Mar -> Border Field State Park

    Big Sur - Cambria was tough but the views are so amazing. Just take it easy on the climbs, wear some super bright clothes and a mirror. Narrow or non-existent shoulder plus curvy mountain road plus large vehicles make it a bit sketchy. Load up on water in Big Sur. If I recall I ran out before finding a place to refill.

  9. #9
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    I heard from another forum that Big Sur to Cambria is mainly downhill. Is this true?

    Also what are the temps this time of year? I took a peak at weatherunderground and see temps can be in the under 40s to low 50s. Am I looking at that right?


    Thanks for tip on water. I usually carry 2 bottle but maybe I will carry 3.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    I heard from another forum that Big Sur to Cambria is mainly downhill. Is this true?

    Also what are the temps this time of year? I took a peak at weatherunderground and see temps can be in the under 40s to low 50s. Am I looking at that right?

    Thanks for tip on water. I usually carry 2 bottle but maybe I will carry 3.
    down hill... no, not really, there are about 2 or three significantly big hills on the big sur coast, once you get over the last one (before lucia/kirk creek) it does a big long descent to near sea level, and then rolls. It gets less hilly in that area, and there are lots of fast down hill stretches, but there are some ups, too. It just kind of does big rollers the whole rest of the way.

    The temps are not correct, maybe that's an average that includes night time. i did the ride the very last week of october and it was wonderful - cool and crisp in the morning, mid 70s during the day, 40's at night.
    ...

  11. #11
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Site does not say night or day temps so I guess it is correct. It is good to know that the 40s will occur only at night.

    I am assuming I can leave my full fingered gloves and balcalva at home?

    Tights and long sleeve jersey OK for those mornings?


    I think I might make a night stop in Gorda. It will give me more time to explore the Hearst Castle the next day. Plus Gorda is supposed to have one of the most beautiful views from a gas station in the world so must be a little town worthy of a look see.
    Last edited by spinnaker; 05-30-08 at 12:46 PM.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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    Well, that's your call. I always have tights, l/s jersey, long finger gloves, a rain jacket, ear band, vest, arm warmers. no balaclava i'd rather carry all that stuff 500 miles and never use it than not have it for the 1/2 hour i want it. but that's me.

    i hate being cold, and there is no guarantee there won't be a freak early season storm.
    ...

  13. #13
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    We did it in five. No problem. Not many facilities when going thru Big Sur. Seems, Even the state parks are like 75 miles apart. By the way, Between the wind and heavy traffic. Its a better ride after Labor Day. TOurist traffic will be more than obliged to push you over the cliff.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living









    ^ Since June 16, 2011

  14. #14
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    After Labor Day - Yeah we figured the same. More than likely it will be late September. Maybe early October.

    I guess the temps are pretty much the same. Looks like it may be a little rainier later in the year. The later you go in the year the less people but also less daylight, something that needs to be considered.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  15. #15
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I recall it well. It was one week after 9-11. Some canceled due to the tragedy. We were told in mid September the winds are more favorable. Correction. Our tour was from Santa Cruz to LA.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living









    ^ Since June 16, 2011

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    Accomodations at a reasonable rate in Big Sur can be found at Deetjens... its south of Nepenthe so your day would be more like 45-50 miles instead of 38...

    http://www.deetjens.com/home.htm

    As for Gorda... I would not recommend that stop... go farther south and stop at Ragged Point or even farther and stay in San Simeon... its just a couple miles past Hearst Castle

    Good Luck

  17. #17
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat from CA View Post
    Accomodations at a reasonable rate in Big Sur can be found at Deetjens... its south of Nepenthe so your day would be more like 45-50 miles instead of 38...

    http://www.deetjens.com/home.htm

    As for Gorda... I would not recommend that stop... go farther south and stop at Ragged Point or even farther and stay in San Simeon... its just a couple miles past Hearst Castle

    Good Luck
    Thanks for the tips. Will I need reservations during the week in September? If so, how far in advance?

    Someone else on another forum also recommended the Ragged Point .
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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    Ya know...big Sur is a small place with very few lodging choices....I'd make reservations at Deetjens and at Ragged Point if you plan to stay there. There are a few more choices up near Big Sur if Deetjens isn't your cup of tea. I've never stayed there but have had breakfast there and have ridden my bike from Monterey or further north through to San Luis Obispo where I live. I have always thought Deetjens was a great place to watch the sun go down even though you probably can't see it from inside the buildings.... you'd walk across the street and sit on the wall... just an incredible cliff below you and Big Sur stretching south...

    Ragged Point is a little pricey...I'm sure you can do better in San Simeon for price...on the other hand...Deetjens to San Simeon would be a trek! It's about fifteen miles or so from Ragged Point to the Castle.

    I'd make reservations as soon as you firm up your trip dates...

    How are you getting back from Santa Barbara to the Bay area?

  19. #19
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat from CA View Post
    Ya know...big Sur is a small place with very few lodging choices....I'd make reservations at Deetjens and at Ragged Point if you plan to stay there. There are a few more choices up near Big Sur if Deetjens isn't your cup of tea. I've never stayed there but have had breakfast there and have ridden my bike from Monterey or further north through to San Luis Obispo where I live. I have always thought Deetjens was a great place to watch the sun go down even though you probably can't see it from inside the buildings.... you'd walk across the street and sit on the wall... just an incredible cliff below you and Big Sur stretching south...

    Ragged Point is a little pricey...I'm sure you can do better in San Simeon for price...on the other hand...Deetjens to San Simeon would be a trek! It's about fifteen miles or so from Ragged Point to the Castle.

    I'd make reservations as soon as you firm up your trip dates...

    How are you getting back from Santa Barbara to the Bay area?

    Thanks for the tips.


    I will not be returning to the Bay area. I will either fly out of SBA or LAX. At first I thought SBA was direct to PIT but it is not and the options are limited. So I might drop the bike at an REI in Santa Barbara then fly out of LAX.

    Once we get the dates firmed up, I'll post. You and any other of the locals are welcome to join us for a day, part or all of the trip. Local knowledge is always most welcome.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  20. #20
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    pat from CA,

    BTW San Luis Obispo is one of our scheduled stops. Planning on staying at the hostel have you seen it?
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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    I've seen it from the outside...seems nice. It's right near downtown and plenty of places to eat out if you don't want to cook in. Thursday night is Farmer's Market downtown...lots of music, food, etc if you happen to be there that night...otherwise, plenty of restaraunts, bars, movies within walking distance...

    There is also a hostel somewhere in Nipomo about twenty miles south of San Luis Obispo if that worked better for your trip. I'm not sure where it is but I'm sure the internet would reveal it for you... SLO definitely has a lot more food and entertainment options than Nipomo.

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    Hi folks.
    Was planning to do a similar trip (San Fran to SLO) the last week of July. Camping most of the way with stops at Costanoa (Ano Nuevo SP), Monterey, Pfeiffer SP (Big Sur), San Simeon SP (Cambria), and San Luis Obispo. Assume tourists will be out in droves but hope to avoid some of the traffic since we will only be riding Monday-Friday. Any further recommendations than what has already been mentioned (Sorry to hijack the discussion). This will be my girlfriends first tour so want to get plans as good as I can!

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