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  1. #1
    Junior Member Surly Q's Avatar
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    Planning a Pacific Coast Tour-questions

    I am planning on doing a tour from Seattle to San Luis Obispo either later this month or in September. I have a couple of questions.

    1. Are dogs a concern on this route? I was reading about a couple who are doing the same route basically, and they are carrying HALT. Up until reading this, I wasn't even considering taking a dog deterrent. Is this something I should consider bringing?

    2. Just a guesstimation--by people who have done this route before- what percentage (from Seattle to SLO) has very little shoulder?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    From San Francisco to SLO, I may have encountered one dog but I was moving so fast, it really was not an issue. I would say that dogs in that section are no problem at all. Most of the route is a busy road. I doubt a dog would last very long wandering about.

    On this same section the shoulders vary from good to non existent but the road is mostly plenty wide. I felt fairly comfortable on most of the route with exception of Devils Slide and maybe a few of the bridges.
    "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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  3. #3
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Sorry I encountered two dogs.

    "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."

    Albert Einstein

  4. #4
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    1. No dogs to speak of. Any you see are well behaved and friendly - just like the people.

    2. Morning fog seems to compress the road a bit, so a red blinky is good for at least POM. If you go over at some places, you'll never be found. Tunnels, Devil's Slide S of SF, and bridges - like what Spinnaker said.

  5. #5
    Fraser Valley Dave
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    Totally agree with the previous posts, dogs are no problem at all, and compared to most other places I've toured, if you follow the coast, people expect to see cyclists at any time. I always wear a high-visibility vest or use the blinkies.

  6. #6
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    Very very few dog problems on Hwy 1.
    There are some canine issues on the connecting roads (I don't mean the towns, but in the countrysides).
    ---
    Traffic and shoulder space are not good everywhere in the Norhtern California sections re of the coastal hiway.
    Living in California & Nevada, I have been ill met by autos suddenly appearing seemingly out of nowhere along Hwy 1.
    I do ride on the dreary inland North South 99 Hwy/freeway all the time in places where legal.
    But everywhere along the coast hwy?: no thanks! Most placese i.s OK but there are a few hair raisers.

    P.S.: Years ago (many) while a passenger in a car driven by my dad about 50 miles North of San Francisco on US 1, he backed up on narrow section where two cars side by side was too dangerous for his young family. I am not nearly as cautious as that myself, however, and buzzed along the whole way cheerfully in my MGB roadster. But not on a bike, not me.
    "We unfurled upon an alpenstick the small silk"-Allen and Sachtleben, 4 July 1891 mid-tour atop Ararat.


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  7. #7
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    Same experience as others regarding dogs. Portland to Sacramento (turned inland at Bodega Bay) in 2008, zero dogs. Not one. As far as shoulders, Oregon was great, California less so. I seem to remember two climbs just south of Crescent City on 101 with zero shoulder, winding roadway. Keeps the heart pumping. Much of Hwy 1 is also shoulderless with lots of curves, ups and downs. Despite all that, had zero problems with traffic, other than there being too much of it (summer).

  8. #8
    Bike touring webrarian
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    From SF to SLO, the only places where there aren't any shoulders are just south of SF (Devil's Slide) and through some of Big Sur. The rest of the ride either has shoulders or it is on low traffic roads.

    North of SF (I've only ridden from Ft. Bragg), there is less shoulder and once you get north of Jenner (Russian River) Hwy 1 is the is only access to the coastal towns so carries delivery trucks which scared me much more than the RVs in Big Sur.

    You can get a look at the roads by checking out street view at Google Maps (drag the little man in the upper corner onto the road).

    Ray
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  9. #9
    Junior Member Surly Q's Avatar
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    Hey Thanks everyone for your replies. The information was very useful. I was a little concerned about how much time I'd be riding on no shoulders, but I think I'll just do what BigBlueToe does and pull over to let the cars go by. Ray, thanks for the tip about google maps. I couldn't figure out how to get that street view. Duh!

  10. #10
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    When I rode from the SF Bay Area to LA, I didn't see a single dog.

    As others have mentioned, there are sections of Highway 1 through Big Sur where the shoulder disappears. I rode in September (post-Labor Day) and didn't find cars to be a problem on these sections. Most gave me plenty of room... though sometimes by pulling into the opposite lane in a blind corner! With a good rear view mirror, I found I could keep an eye on traffic and arrange to traverse shoulderless sections of the road when I wouldn't have to worry about cars. If I saw that the shoulder was going to disappear and there were cars behind me, I'd slow down to let them past. Most sections were short enough that with a little extra pedaling I could get through them before another car showed up.

  11. #11
    Ride-On! Raleigh_Rider's Avatar
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    I just returned from a west coast car trip down California Highway 1 from SFO-SAN. Really enjoyed not only the beautiful scenery but seeing the many, many cyclists along the way. Some with packed saddle bags front and back, others with a light pack for a day trip while a few were just out for their routine ride. What a great road to ride, sight see and enjoy.
    1987 Raleigh Technium 440 / 2009 Raleigh Clubman / 2010 Felt ZW100 (hers)

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  12. #12
    Bicycle Lifestyle AsanaCycles's Avatar
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    this is a great route
    you'll really like the trip

    in SLO town, if you are taking the Coast Starlight back to Seattle the bike will have to go into an Amtrak Bike Box.

  13. #13
    Question Authority JoeMan's Avatar
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    Since I live in Oregon I ride the Oregon Coast quite a bit. I have not had any dog issues. I recently spent some time on the coast (Canon Beach) and biked several sections of the northern coast route. Since it was a week before Labor Day traffic was somewhat heavy. However, that said I saw biker after biker with panniers attached headed south! It's a beautiful ride and the shoulders are generally adequate.

  14. #14
    Kip
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    I've ridden the Oregon Coast three times, once continuing on to SF. Dogs were not a problem at all. The OR portion has good shoulders for the most part, but CA is pretty tight in places. Fog can be a problem as others have noted.
    It's a great ride!

  15. #15
    Ride & Smile
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    Has anyone toured the coast in the winter, say, January?

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    Bicycle Lifestyle AsanaCycles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by napoleoninrags View Post
    Has anyone toured the coast in the winter, say, January?
    here in Monterey, January is off an on. It seems to me that the rain comes in waves, a few days at a time, dumping in the early morning, drizzle mid day, then dumping in the evening again, off and on thru the night. Big Sur can really get a deluge.

    I had done some touring around Humboldt for about 3 months, finally pulling the plug around Thanksgiving. I was amazed with how hard the rain came down.

  17. #17
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    I recommend an Airzound for dogs. It doubles as being useful against cars and Podpeople (Ipod users). Works great against all the dogs in Korea.

  18. #18
    Ride & Smile
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    Quote Originally Posted by AsanaCycles View Post
    here in Monterey, January is off an on. It seems to me that the rain comes in waves, a few days at a time, dumping in the early morning, drizzle mid day, then dumping in the evening again, off and on thru the night. Big Sur can really get a deluge.

    I had done some touring around Humboldt for about 3 months, finally pulling the plug around Thanksgiving. I was amazed with how hard the rain came down.
    Wow, that doesnt sound too good. I was hoping that by Big Sur it would be just mostly foggy and cold. Thanks for the info.

  19. #19
    Bicycle Lifestyle AsanaCycles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by napoleoninrags View Post
    Wow, that doesnt sound too good. I was hoping that by Big Sur it would be just mostly foggy and cold. Thanks for the info.
    hope:

    its good to be optimistic.

    honestly, if you have the choice, right about now is a perfect time.
    school has started
    there are fewer people in the parks, and on the road...

    or

    maybe you want that kind of a trip

    last year I arrived at Elk Prairie Campgrounds 8/20/09 to discover at least 20 people in the bike camping!

    sometimes the bike camping can be a bit of a "party scene"

  20. #20
    Obeying Gravity
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    Howdy!

    I finished Seattle-San Francisco several weeks ago and encountered one dog. It was just outside of Elma, WA as I was heading west to the coast. Let's just say it was scary enough to make me seriously consider buying spray... But I never did and never encountered another dog.

    Happy riding! You're going to have the time of a lifetime!

  21. #21
    Junior Member Surly Q's Avatar
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    Hey, thanks for all the replies. Just thought I'd let you all know that I just finished my tour and, it was absolutely fantastic. I had perfect weather the whole time and met some wonderful people.

    I encountered a few dogs, but none became an issue.

    I'd say that the Northern California coast...I'd say from the beginning of Leggett to Port Orford has very little to no shoulder, and some parts of the Big Sur Coast are the same. Cars and trucks, for the most part, were great about giving space, but those huge pick-up trucks were the most nerve wracking of all.

    If it was warranted, I just pulled over to let the cars go by which added to the time on the road but was good for peace of mind.

    Oregon was the best and so was Washington. I'd tour those states again in a heartbeat. California I found to be more challenging physically and mentally (Mostly because there were more cars and aggressive drivers).

    I highly recommend this route. During the summer, it is a very popular route, which is really good for a beginning tourer like I was.

    Tailwinds!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by napoleoninrags View Post
    Has anyone toured the coast in the winter, say, January?
    I lived and rode on the North Coast, riding in a deluge and high winds loses it's charm pretty fast.

  23. #23
    Ride & Smile
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    I lived and rode on the North Coast, riding in a deluge and high winds loses it's charm pretty fast.
    I am just looking to see if it is possible to get to Southern California before getting dispirited by the daily rain and wind. Not particularly concerned about enjoying the scenery, as this section is the beginning of hopefully a longer tour. Only other concern is the availability of campgrounds that are open during the winter.

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    HEY I am from SLO too. Ha and I did your ride two years in a row. I am glad that you had a good time, but it is kind of hard to not when riding down the west coast.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by napoleoninrags View Post
    I am just looking to see if it is possible to get to Southern California before getting dispirited by the daily rain and wind. Not particularly concerned about enjoying the scenery, as this section is the beginning of hopefully a longer tour. Only other concern is the availability of campgrounds that are open during the winter.
    again you're at the mercy of the weather. You could be riding through a weeks worth of cold crisp clear days or winter storms that blow ocean salt spray 100' up the cliffs and across the road. So sure it's possible but plan on burning a lot of calories and having a dry secure tent. I remember riding along Hwy 1 in Mendocino with drifts of hail on the edge of the road. Winter storms where 100lb branches flew sideways. I don't recall if the campgrounds are open but it's open enough to camp in the wilds where you're far from cities.

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