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  1. #1
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    Planning a tour from San Franciso to Vegas, advice very welcome!

    Hi Folks,

    Myself and a few friends are planning to tour from San Franciso down to Santa Cruz and onwards through national parks starting with Yosemite to Las vegas, we are new to this so am wondering if anyone has advice with the following questions?

    1. How long is a reasonable time to get from Santa Cruz to Vegas through those area's non stop without sightseeing? We will sightsee of course I'm just wondering for planning purposes I'd estimate we won't be doing more than 10mph at best.

    2. Is it fesable to attempt this in early May and does anyone know if they would allow people to cycle the roads at this time of year.

    Thanks for the help in advance!

  2. #2
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    Tioga Pass generally opens around Memorial Day, but can be later if it's a big snow year. The camping up in Tuolumne opens later, and not sure when the store opens & water is available. If you had a filter you would be fine, lots of free-range water up there.

    Other than that, it's a great time of year. Have fun!

    (The "valley" in "valygrl" is Yosemite Valley - I used to spend a lot of time there)
    ...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Using Google map walking directions, about 650 miles thru Yosemite to Vegas from Santa Cruz. Considering the climbs in Yosemite and your conservative mph, allow yourself 10-12 days.

    Here is a link to Bikely.com site showing a route from SF thru Yosemite. Looks to be a day or two shorter than from Santa Cruz. You can see an elevation profile by clicking on the Show tab on the left of the header.

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/SF-to-Vegas
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

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    Cyclebum, your heart is in the right place, but that bikely route is impossible. It routes you on major freeways that do not allow bikes in the bay area. And it doesn't even go through Yosemite.

    I would recommend a route from SC to Yos via Watsonville - Los Banos - Mariposa.

    Flashaha, if you want some info from my 10 years of driving from Santa Cruz to Yosemite, PM me and when my work load mellows out I'll hook you up
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  5. #5
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    Thanks guys for the help, I was thinking it would take around 10-12 days myself depending on which route.

    BTW apologies for the title I've misspelt San Francisco not sure how to edit it?
    Last edited by Flashaha; 01-08-10 at 10:58 AM. Reason: Spelling

  6. #6
    Hooked on Touring
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    Howdy -

    I've ridden the stretch from the Bay Area into central Nevada - - many times.
    Here's a Crazyguy journal -
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p..._id=26284&v=RI

    DO NOT do Pacheco Pass on Hwy 152.
    That is a huge, busy 4-lane road.
    Take Hwy J1 over Panoche Pass - San Juan Bautista to Hollister to Paicines.
    Then on an empty road to Mercey Hot Springs where they have camping.

    The Central Valley is pretty uniform and monotone.
    I like to ride thru Firebaugh - a great little ag town with a park on the river.
    From Firebaugh you can head up to Chowchilla along the diagonal county road lined with palms.
    Then take White Rock Road to the Old Highway and Mariposa.
    (White Rock Road is magical - but does have about three unpaved miles)

    One problem doing both Yosemite and southern Nevada is that
    Tioga Pass stays snowed in until late May or June -
    While southern Nevada will be baking by early June.

    Still, biking into the Valley is not to be missed.
    (Make sure to ask for a permit to camp in the hiker campground at the backcountry office.)
    (Yosemite does not give this info out, but you are entitled to camp there as a cyclist.)

    Come down on the east side of the pass on Lee Vining grade is steep.
    I had a blowout once and it was real hairy.

    You could head towards Vegas on US 395 (very busy) and Death Valley - but I do not recommend.
    The better option is to continue on Hwy 120 to the Benton on the Nevada border.
    US 95 has shoulders, but has those awful rumble strips plus moderate traffic.
    If you choose US 95, I'd swing thru Dyer and Lida on NV 264 / NV 266 rather than Tonopah.

    Better still, if you have time, is to continue on US 6 all the way thru Tonopah to Warm Springs
    Then take Hwy 375 to Ask Springs and US 93 south.
    You can do the Lake Mead loop via Moapa -
    Or stay on US 93 into Vegas on North Las Vegas Boulevard.

    PS - Remember that once you get east of Yosemite it is very hot, dry, and remote.
    Just because there is a dot on the map doesn't mean there is anything there.
    Last edited by jamawani; 01-08-10 at 11:47 AM.

  7. #7
    Hooked on Touring
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    PS -
    Most years, Yosemite really tries to open Tioga Pass for Memorial Day.
    I plan my trip to spend a few days in Yosemite right before Memorial Day -
    Then cross over the pass on Friday before the traffic comes in.
    During the holiday weekend, I am in the boondocks of Nevada.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flashaha View Post
    Hi Folks,

    Myself and a few friends are planning to tour from San Franciso down to Santa Cruz and onwards through national parks starting with Yosemite to Las vegas, we are new to this so am wondering if anyone has advice with the following questions?

    1. How long is a reasonable time to get from Santa Cruz to Vegas through those area's non stop without sightseeing? We will sightsee of course I'm just wondering for planning purposes I'd estimate we won't be doing more than 10mph at best.

    2. Is it fesable to attempt this in early May and does anyone know if they would allow people to cycle the roads at this time of year.

    Thanks for the help in advance!
    Tioga Pass can open at different times depending on the year. It's hard to predict this far in advance. As the time approaches, you can keep up to date on the estimated opening times. It would probably be good to plan things so you have some alternatives, just in case.

    You can also talk to some friendly ranger who might give you permission to pass early. Occasionally cyclists have gotten such permission. It's not something you can count on, but it is a possibility to be aware of -- there's a possibility that you could make use of it.

    Touring can be *much* more pleasurable when you find quiet routes -- Jamawani has provided some golden information for you.

    Suggestion: schedule some extra time so you don't feel pressured; it tends to make for a better atmosphere and vacation.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Cyclebum, your heart is in the right place, but that bikely route is impossible. It routes you on major freeways that do not allow bikes in the bay area. And it doesn't even go through Yosemite.
    Not doubting you at all Valygrl. Never been there myself, but it looks good on the map and that big green chunk of land is clearly labeled "Yosemite National Park." Maybe the bikely link will do the OP some good.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  10. #10
    Hooked on Touring
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    that big green chunk of land is clearly labeled "Yosemite National Park."
    Make that "mislabeled".
    That's the problem with Bikely and many of the auto-generated routes.
    I seen people put up maps that send them down private roads that are often impassable.
    Between the Sierras and the Rockies there is a lot of remote country.
    One would be prudent to use other, more conventional sources.

    As for the Bikely route - it takes you over the Sierras on Hwy 108.
    At no time are you in Yosemite National Park.
    The grades are steep - - 20% + in places.
    The scenery is nice up top - but nothing like Yosemite.

    Sonora Pass usually opens a week before Tioga Pass.
    So I have had to detour 100+ miles via Sonora when Tioga has been closed.
    And that was in late May both times.

    In addition,
    You are not allowed on the freeways in the Bay Area as Valygrl said -
    You don't want to be on Hwy 160 or Hwy 12.
    You probably aren't allowed on I-5 either - but the old highway runs parallel.

    <<<>>>

    Given the parameters the OP mentioned - heading south on the coast -

    Golden Gate to Santa Cruz - 84 miles
    Santa Cruz to Hollister - 37 miles
    Hollister to Firebaugh - 83 miles
    Firebaugh to Chowchilla - 25 miles
    Chowchilla to Mariposa - 40 miles
    Mariposa to Yosemite - 44 miles

    So it's 313 miles to Yosemite via the coast and Panoche Pass.
    For newbies I would allow at least 5 days.
    There are Hiker/Biker campsites at Half Moon and Sunset Beach -
    Easy first two days. Mercey Hot Springs makes a great stop.
    You can guerrilla camp a a small reservoir northeast of Chowchilla.

    Yosemite to Lee Vining - 72 miles
    Lee Vining to Benton - 51 miles
    Benton to Tonopah - 81 miles
    Tonopah to Vegas via US 95 (bleah) - 206 miles
    Tonopah to Vegas via Hwy 375 - 246 miles

    Yosemite to Vegas - 410 to 450 miles
    It's easier to do more miles in the wide open spaces.
    I would allow at least 6 days since there are some big climbs.
    Maybe seven days if you are doing the longer option.

    So that means 11 or 12 travel days -
    Starting at a very moderate pace on the coast and doing more later.

  11. #11
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    Hi all thanks for the information will come in handy when planning the trip!

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