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Old 07-25-08, 08:26 PM   #1
B + M
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california/oregon tour suggestions

My wife and I have 10 days off at the end of august. We are thinking of riding from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, Arcata to San Francisco, or doing the Oregon Coast. We are new to touring but are both strong cyclists. We will be camping most nights. Which would be the best/least traffic? Any other suggested routes? Thanks Brian
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Old 07-26-08, 09:30 AM   #2
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I am guessing that the Oregan coast has the least traffic. Subjectively, I felt that entering CA last year my fear factor rose a bit. However, all the possibilities you mention are very beautiful and worth the effort.

One issue is how you will get to the beginning--or back from the end of--your trip. If you go from SF to SB then you can simply return to the SF area by train. Not sure how to get to/return from Arcata or the southern Orgeon coast cheaply with bikes (although renting a car one way is possible). If you detour inland in OR or Wash. at the begining or end of the trip then catching a train is a possibility there, too.

Last Fall I took the overnight train to Eugene and returned to the SF Bay area in about 10 days but this was really too much mileage to be optimal (for me) for such a short time. I think that is about 700 miles which is 70 miles/day with no rest days = a little too much for me but I made it and it was wonderful.
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Old 07-26-08, 09:38 AM   #3
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If I only had time for one of those, the Oregon Coast would be my choice. The shoulders on 101 are mostly very good, the scenery is spectacular, and the camping is very accessible and bike friendly. There are hiker/biker sites all over the place.

Between San Francisco and Santa Barbara is also spectacular and a premiere route, but the campgrounds are a little farther apart, the road from Carmel to San Simeon is scary at times with no shoulders, lots of tight corners, and lots of traffic.

I've never done the other one.
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Old 07-26-08, 10:54 AM   #4
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I second the Oregon coast. I've done the stretch from Seattle to LA before and the Oregon coast sticks out in my mind as great riding, plus the campsites are awesome.
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Old 07-26-08, 12:57 PM   #5
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The Big Sur coast has been burning.
The northern coast has more inland sections and more traffic.
The Oregon coast is great with great hiker/biker camping.

But - and ain't there always a big but - -

It's hard to access the Oregon coast quickly via public transportation.
If you are from Sac, you could take Amtrak north to Salem.
(Salem is easier to get into and out of than Portland.)
Then ride down out to the coast and down to Brookings.
There is a shuttle bus with connections to Eugene and Amtrak back.
Although you can rack your bikes to Coos Bay, you have to box them to Eugene.
And you'll have to box your bikes anyhoo for Amtrak.

Another option that has fewer connections is to ride from Salem out to the coast.
Then ride up the Umpqua Valley to Crater Lake and catch Amtrak at Klamath Falls.
The latter would give you coast plus mountains - not to mention easy connections.

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...Schedules_Page
Click on the Coast Starlight -
It's overnight to Salem getting in after lunch.
That would give you time to set up and get about 20 or 30 miles in.
It's 50+ miles to the coast - and Amtrak tends to run late.
So I wouldn't plan on getting out to the coast the first day.

Depending on how much distance you cover you could ride to Bandon
Or even all the way to Brookings and then cut over to Crater Lake and Klamath Falls.
From Klamath Falls it's an overnight trip back to Sac with early a.m. arrival.
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Old 07-26-08, 02:39 PM   #6
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Regarding the Oregon Coast, it is best to ride from the North to the South because the shoulder of the road is wider and you aren't bucking the headwinds.

As for transportation to Oregon, I recommend taking Amtrak or Greyhound to Portland, then riding by bike from Portland to Astoria.

For the return trip, you could ride the entire Oregon coast and keep going just South of the Oregon/California border to Crescent City and take the Greyhound back. Alternatively and much more difficult would be to ride inland from Brookings Oregon, to Medford Oregon and take Amtrak (or Greyhound) home.
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Old 07-26-08, 03:17 PM   #7
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Check out this earlier thread on Oregon's Pacific Coast: Oregon Coastline Touring -- Any Suggestions?

In addition, this page has 12 links to information on bike touring in Oregon. One of them is the thread listed above and another is this one.

Ray
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Old 07-26-08, 04:16 PM   #8
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I did all of those routes last year and preferred the Oregon Coast. The people are friendlier, the campsites are nice and traffic was alot better. Hiker biker sites are very nice in Oregon and if it rains, it doesn't cost too much to rent a Yurt. Cape Lookout is a very nice campsite on the Oregon coast. The other rides are nice too. You really can't go wrong. Cars do seem more aggressive as soon as you pass into California and some of the campsites or just so so. If you do San Fran to Santa Barbara, don't miss Point Lobos State Reserve. If you're biking into San Fran, you can hit up the Marin Headlands hostel. The staff there is amazingly friendly and there is also a nearby campground where you can stay for free. Just go to the visitor's center near the hostel and ask about it. Sometimes it fills up but in that case you can just stay at the hostel. Have fun!
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Old 07-27-08, 06:48 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone! I think we are leaning towards Oregon. We have been wanting to check out Portland, and this looks like a good opportunity. I think we will amtrak to Portland, ride out to the coast, continue down to Crescent City or depending on our time schedule maybe all the way to Eureka/Arcata. We are still working on a way back to Sacramento. Thanks Brian
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Old 07-28-08, 09:29 AM   #10
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I did this same thing a couple of years ago. I took Amtrak from San Luis Obispo to Portland. I assembled my bike on the sidewalk outside the train station, rode 20 blocks to a hotel I found on the internet, and stayed the first night. (You probably know this, but when you ride Amtrak, don't plan on arriving anywhere close to their stated arrival time.)

I rode to Astoria on Highway 30. I stayed in a motel in Rainier, which is about halfway to the coast (I always start my tours with easy days - 30 miles or so) and made it to Fort Stevens State Park the next day. Then I rode down the coast and had a great time. I ended the tour in Crescent City, California. I rented a car there and drove home. You pick up the rental at the airport. I had called the day before from Brookings. I vastly overestimated the time it would take to get to Crescent City. I reserved the car for the afternoon. It turned out that I got to the Crescent City airport by about 10 a.m., and had to sit around in the airport for hours until the car was ready.
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