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  1. #1
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    Where is the best Touring out West?

    I'm dreaming about bicycling out west mainly the Pacific Coast Route (I love to be near water). However, I do not have enough time to complete the whole route. Any suggestion on where to start the route and finish??? Or maybe a Washington Parks Loop? Where is the best bicycling out west? I'm looking for great scenery. I'm thinking I'll bicycle around a 1000 miles in August this year or next.

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    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    I can say that the parks you will visit on the Washington Parks loop would be a pretty amazing trip. You would see just about everything from oceans to mountains to wildlife. Pretty much get to see a little of everything in a compact amount of time.

    I'm a little biased... Lived here all my life. Come and check it out.
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  3. #3
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    OR and WA are great, so is SF to Santa Barbara. SOuth of there is overpopulated. Haven't done NorCal so I can't comment.

    CO is awesome too, if you like mountains.

    here's what I did last year http://tinyurl.com/m9glg9
    and a few years ago http://tinyurl.com/2ouoay
    (maps are slightly messed up by google maps)
    ...

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    I recommend the Olympic Peninsula, especially if you are here in August (the driest month of the year).

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    Senior Member Btflmutant's Avatar
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    Starting at Astoria, OR and finishing at San Luis Obispo, CA would give you about 1100 miles and is incredible for scenery and not too crowded. The weather should be perfect that time of year. Normally a tailwind, too. I did the Nor CA section from Crescent City to Santa Cruz last August and it was hard to beat.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I started in Seattle and ended in Santa Cruz in 1992. It took me four weeks and I had a great time! My favorite part was the Oregon coast, so a few years ago I rode the train up to Portland, rode Highway 30 out to the coast, and rode down to Crescent City. That took me about 10 days?

    I took the ferry from Seattle to Bremerton and then rode along Hood Canal to Twanoh State Park. That was a nice, easy ride. The next day I rode to Montesano. That was a long, boring ride on roads bordered by evergreen trees. That's all I could see. I love evergreen trees, but a whole day of them gets really boring. From there I rode out to Willapa Bay and stayed at the KOA, per the route in "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" by Kirkendall/Spring. That was on okay ride. The next day I rode to Cape Disappoinment State Park - another nice ride, though gray and drizzly.

    The next day I rode the bridge across the Columbia into Astoria. That was harrowing. From there I started down the Oregon coast, and the best part of the ride.

    When I got to northern Oregon the road - 101 - wasn't as nice. It was busy, had no shoulder, and lots of turns bordered by big trees - no room to bail out if traffic got too scary. Plus there was a lot of construction that year. It was still beautiful though. After Eureka you head inland. There was more shoulder and the scenery was good, but it got a lot hotter as you left the coast. I particularly loved the Avenue of the Giants. That was a magical part of the ride.

    After the Leggett Hill climb over to Highway 1, I was back to the beautiful coast. That part of the road had few services, but was gorgeous. I enjoyed it very much. I continued to enjoy myself all the way down to San Francisco. I started to see homeless people in the hiker/biker sites just north of San Francisco, and the numbers gradually increased as I went south. I have to say, though, that while their appearance seemed somehow ominous, I never had a single problem. Riding through San Francisco was confusing and I got off the route once, but riding across the Golden Gate Bridge was a highlight.

    South of San Franciso was very nice, though I knew I was in a much more heavily populated area.

    I aborted the trip in Santa Cruz after breaking too many spokes and getting discouraged. It was time to go home. I've since gone back and ridden from there down to San Luis Obispo. It's spectacular - especially between Carmel and San Simeon, but there's a lot of traffic and no shoulder.

    I hope this blow-by-blow account will help you plan, if you decide on this route. If not, it was fun for me to reminisce.

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    while just adequately spectacular the run between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz is great just to have a huge parking lanes worth of road to ride on and consistant tailwind. In '74 I visited my gf in santa Cruz a lot. Rode down on Friday aft came back on Sunday.

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    The BEST riding in the West -
    Would have to be Glacier National Park to Banff and Jasper.
    And yes, it has lots of water - i.e. fresh water in the form of lakes.

    The San Juan Islands are lovely -
    The Olympic Peninsula is great, esp. out to Neah Bay -
    The Oregon Coast is stunning -
    (although you have long stretches away from the water)

    The California Redwoods are awe-inspiring, but inland -
    The Mendocino coast is rugged with great views -
    And there is no topping Big Sur.
    All of that is true.

    But you get water and carved mountain peaks in Glacier -
    Plus hiker/biker campsites all over the park.
    And you can take in Waterton National Park in Canada -
    Not to mention riding over to Akamina-Kishinena in BC.
    (Canadian parks allow mountain biking on trails.)

    From Waterton north there is Kananaskis, Banff, and Jasper.
    Eye-popping and a cyclist's dream.

    If I had to pick a route in the West -
    It would be Jasper, Alberta to Whitefish, Montana.
    (North to south so you can do Going to the Sun east to west)
    Only about 600 miles - but why hurry?


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    The Kettle rails to trails looks pretty good as well.

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    I'm so jealous. I reside in this huge coastal state next to the biggest ocean in the world and yet haven't toured yet.

  11. #11
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Btflmutant View Post
    Starting at Astoria, OR and finishing at San Luis Obispo, CA would give you about 1100 miles and is incredible for scenery and not too crowded. The weather should be perfect that time of year. Normally a tailwind, too. I did the Nor CA section from Crescent City to Santa Cruz last August and it was hard to beat.
    Yep. Exactly. It's by far the best part of the coast.

    Another option (but isn't by water) is the canyonlands area of southern Utah/northern Arizona. Absolutely incredible area - BEAUTIFUL! (I think I enjoyed that part more than the coast.)
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Thanks so much for the helpful information. You have given me great guidence and a good place to start my planning. What great responses.

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    the oregon coast sucks. i would not recommend it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by vegenaise View Post
    the oregon coast sucks. i would not recommend it.
    I'm guessing you rode the Oregon coast with your eyes closed.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by vegenaise View Post
    the oregon coast sucks. i would not recommend it.
    Your social skills need some polishing.
    Last edited by Allen; 02-25-10 at 09:32 PM.

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    I've ridden the Oregon coast from Astoria three times, once continuing on to San Francisco and each time I've had a great ride. The shoulders are generally pretty good particularly the further south one goes. There's also less traffic and beach town congestion once you get past Newport. Oregon campgrounds are some of the best I've experienced with Cape Lookout a favorite of ours. Four years ago campsites were $8.00 per night at the hiker-biker sites, including showers.

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    The California coast is great from Eureka to San Luis Obispo and the length of the trip is about right. You want to go downwind, north to south. Also the weather inland as you get off the coast is very hot in August, so stick as close to the ocean as reasonable. The very best road on the coast is from Ferndale to Petrolia and is known as the Lost Coast. Don't miss it if you get the chance. I consider it the best road in the USA.

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    there is so much traffic on the 101. 80% of the ride is riding on freeways with tons of traffic at 50 mph. not fun. i prefer roads where i see like a car an hour or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
    Your social skills need some polishing.
    also, confused. want to explain what you meant by that?

  20. #20
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    The peninsula, middle of the Oregon coast, and the redwoods were all amazing. Unfortunately, it seemed that all state borders stink. Oregon to CA was especially ugly.

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    I hadn't heard of the Washington Parks Loop before. That looks pretty amazing.

    Currently planning a trip for sometime in May-July. Was thinking about part of the Pacific Coast route but now I'm intrigued by this.

    My girlfriend and I did our first tour and rode from LA to San Diego last October for New Belgium's Tour de Fat. We had a lot of fun and are really looking forward to get out on another longer trip.

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    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    All good ideas, and contrary to some opinions the Oregon Coast is great. However, I have to agree with Kyakdiver about the Wahsington loop-- It is hard to make a loop going down the Pacific Coast Route. It is also not easy to bail out or find a good terminus with a rental car or rail connections. I had to bail last summer because of a family emergency, and it took a couple of days riding to get to Crescent City, CA and a rental car. I was actually thinking about renting a U-Haul truck, but that's another story. There are several great loops around the Puget Sound area including a portion of BC. Including the San Juan Islands in the US, Vacouver Island BC and the Canadian Gulf Islands makes for a great bike/ferry tour.

    I don't think you can go wrong!

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    One route that no one has mentioned is the Cascades Sierra Route. Adventure Cycling is publishing their first map in a couple of weeks. I have ridden most of that route and it is awesome.

    San Diego Cyclist

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    The BEST riding in the West -
    Would have to be Glacier National Park to Banff and Jasper.
    And yes, it has lots of water - i.e. fresh water in the form of lakes.

    The San Juan Islands are lovely -
    The Olympic Peninsula is great, esp. out to Neah Bay -
    The Oregon Coast is stunning -
    (although you have long stretches away from the water)

    The California Redwoods are awe-inspiring, but inland -
    The Mendocino coast is rugged with great views -
    And there is no topping Big Sur.
    All of that is true.

    But you get water and carved mountain peaks in Glacier -
    Plus hiker/biker campsites all over the park.
    And you can take in Waterton National Park in Canada -
    Not to mention riding over to Akamina-Kishinena in BC.
    (Canadian parks allow mountain biking on trails.)

    From Waterton north there is Kananaskis, Banff, and Jasper.
    Eye-popping and a cyclist's dream.

    If I had to pick a route in the West -
    It would be Jasper, Alberta to Whitefish, Montana.
    (North to south so you can do Going to the Sun east to west)
    Only about 600 miles - but why hurry?

    jamawani,

    Your influence has changed my plans for a pacific coast tour to another year. I should be flying in to Edmonton second week of August. I have two weeks to bicycle solo and then I will be meeting my brother in Glacier National Park for a week of hiking.

    I currently have a road bicycle with 25mm tires which I use on all my tours and quite enjoy. Gravel roads are out of the question with this bicycle. However, I do have the possibility of borrowing friends Surly Long Haul Trucker if you tell me I am really missing out on back roads. But I would really like to take my bicycle since I'm comfortable with it.

    Route suggestions? Iíll be riding the Going the Sun Highway

    Jasper to Whitefish 93 all the way.
    Jasper 93 South to 3 East to 6 South (I think your recommendation from above post).

    And what about Edmonton to Jasper? Route 16 all the way.

    Any must stops along the way? I have time available to put in additional miles if need be.

    Food & water suggestions: In past tours I have just stopped at small grocery stores or restaurants to keep weight down. Iím guessing food will be scarce & I must carry some. Would this assumption be true? Would you suggest a water filter?

  25. #25
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeTommyD View Post
    I'm dreaming about bicycling out west mainly the Pacific Coast Route (I love to be near water). However, I do not have enough time to complete the whole route.
    Seattle to San Francisco is about 1000 miles.

    Another option would be a loop using the Pacific Coast and the new Sierra Cascades route. Maybe ride down the coast to Florence then to Sisters on the TA and back to the start on the Sierra Cascades route. If you have time lots of optional detours would be possible.

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