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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 06-20-11, 04:48 PM   #1
The Crafter
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Can't pick a damned route.

How do you guys do it? I already know I want to start in Oregon and ride south through cali, once I hit the bottom of Cali I'll then decide if I want to ride east through Arizona and New Mexico back home or grab a bus. I just can't pick a route, I want to see as much as I can and time is a non-factor. Money on the other hand, is. I have no problem living on bare essentials and always camping so I think I can keep it below 15 bucks a day.

Like I said tho I can't plan my route ahead of time, surely I shouldn't just take off with no real route right? I want to see all I can but I don't really know how to find the stuff I want to see before I'm already there y'know? One thing I know forsure is that I don't want a schedule other than managing to roll into a town just in time to get more food and water. If I take 3 days longer to get somewhere it doesn't matter, the journey isn't about reaching the destination to me, it's about being on the journey.

I'm probably thinking too much...
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Old 06-20-11, 05:14 PM   #2
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Welcome to BF.

I see no question in your post, but I guess you're asking for route ideas.

All depends on how free a spirit you are. Some folks gotta plan nearly every mile, others just wing it. Most fall in between.

As time doesn't seem to be a major factor, you've got the freedom to get aboard and head south without a definite route. Time to stop in libraries to log onto a computer and snoop around the area a bit. Time to visit with locals and find out what they know about what to see and do. Time to explore printed maps and tourist guides for ideas. Time to post specific questions on here and wait for the answers. Time to explore the relevant journals over at CG for ideas.

Check out Slab City as a possible stop on one route you might chose. Funky place.

Better measure your calory needs vs food cost. $15/day is probably doable if you're resourceful, disciplined, lucky, and don't require any amenities that most think are essential for a decent touring experience.

Above all, don't overthink this, and have fun. It'll all work out.
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Old 06-20-11, 05:47 PM   #3
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You don't mention when you plan to go, but if it's soon, and you're thinking of going east from the south end of California, it's extremely hot right now, and only will get worse as they are experiencing a nasty drought this year. (just was goggling Yuma...42-46 degrees)
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Old 06-20-11, 06:15 PM   #4
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Welcome to BF.

I see no question in your post, but I guess you're asking for route ideas.

All depends on how free a spirit you are. Some folks gotta plan nearly every mile, others just wing it. Most fall in between.

As time doesn't seem to be a major factor, you've got the freedom to get aboard and head south without a definite route. Time to stop in libraries to log onto a computer and snoop around the area a bit. Time to visit with locals and find out what they know about what to see and do. Time to explore printed maps and tourist guides for ideas. Time to post specific questions on here and wait for the answers. Time to explore the relevant journals over at CG for ideas.

Check out Slab City as a possible stop on one route you might chose. Funky place.

Better measure your calory needs vs food cost. $15/day is probably doable if you're resourceful, disciplined, lucky, and don't require any amenities that most think are essential for a decent touring experience.

Above all, don't overthink this, and have fun. It'll all work out.
I figured I'd get a lot of guidance from locals and libraries along the way. Thanks for the link to CG I've been looking for journals for awhile to no avail.

What do you mean by the "amenities that most think are essential for a decent touring experience"?

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You don't mention when you plan to go, but if it's soon, and you're thinking of going east from the south end of California, it's extremely hot right now, and only will get worse as they are experiencing a nasty drought this year. (just was goggling Yuma...42-46 degrees)
I hope to start around August or maybe sooner, heat doesn't bother me too much I've grown up in 100+ weather my whole life. If it turns out to be unbearable I can just get a bus.
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Old 06-21-11, 06:46 AM   #5
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What do you mean by the "amenities that most think are essential for a decent touring experience"?
Overnighting in fee parks. Regular showers. An occasional motel. 2nd breakfast at McD's. Restaurant meals. Bike repairs at LBS. Entry fees to attractions. Gift for WS hosts.

All stuff a hard core tourer can do without.
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Old 06-21-11, 07:38 AM   #6
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Have you looked into Adventure Cycling's Pacific Coast route?
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Old 06-21-11, 08:23 AM   #7
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I suggest the Hoover Damn route.
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Old 06-21-11, 08:37 AM   #8
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Then don't bother picking a route. Pick a destination and ride to it. Pick another, and ride to it.

No matter how much you plan, some roads will suck. Some roads will be perfect, but headed into a 40mph headwind.

There's no 'wrong' route, there are only routes you like or do not like. The cool part is that you get to decide whether or not you like them. Win\Win.
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Old 06-21-11, 08:47 AM   #9
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Hey, left out the Snicker bars from the 'amenities' list:+)

+1 for Hoover Dam. You'd get to ride over the new bridge, or not. Nah, just take the old route and look at it.
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Old 06-21-11, 01:21 PM   #10
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Have you looked into Adventure Cycling's Pacific Coast route?
I have, I'll probably go on highway 1 as much as possible, I'm just worried (probably senseless worry) about any cold weather I might encounter in northern California and Oregon. I know it's warmer inland so I'm thinking of starting the tour more northeast and then working my way to coast as I go south.

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I suggest the Hoover Damn route.
A quick google search didn't reveal much, care to elaborate?

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Then don't bother picking a route. Pick a destination and ride to it. Pick another, and ride to it.

No matter how much you plan, some roads will suck. Some roads will be perfect, but headed into a 40mph headwind.

There's no 'wrong' route, there are only routes you like or do not like. The cool part is that you get to decide whether or not you like them. Win\Win.
I think I might just do that. Once I'm out and riding I think finding my way will be simple. I just have to actually start.


Anyone have any recommendations of good places to go along the coast or slightly inland in Oregon? I hear it's pretty bicycle friendly.
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Old 06-21-11, 03:32 PM   #11
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Are you from the southwest? You mention going back home through AZ/NM and having grown up in 100+ weather. If so, then you probably know that it quickly climbs to 100 in the morning in the desert and often stays there to well past sunset in summer. Miscalculating your water supply and sources while traversing the desert could be ugly.

Also, plan around California's state park closures: http://www.nationalparksblog.com/cal...ure-list-2011/

An inland route for northern CA sounds interesting, though possibly a good amount of climbing. Maybe someone has experience riding Klamath Falls > Fall River > Susanville > Grass Valley. Then a cut over to the coast below the bay??
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Old 06-21-11, 08:25 PM   #12
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A quick google search didn't reveal much, care to elaborate?
.
I was pulling your leg, Im not sure if you are now or not.
Dam
Damn
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Old 06-21-11, 10:43 PM   #13
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Like I said tho I can't plan my route ahead of time, surely I shouldn't just take off with no real route right? I want to see all I can but I don't really know how to find the stuff I want to see before I'm already there y'know? One thing I know forsure is that I don't want a schedule other than managing to roll into a town just in time to get more food and water. If I take 3 days longer to get somewhere it doesn't matter, the journey isn't about reaching the destination to me, it's about being on the journey.
Unless you have deadlines to meet, it's okay to change your route as you go along. If you plan the route at the start, use that initial plan as a rough guide. When you're on the road, feel free to re-evaluate your plans every couple of days.
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Old 06-21-11, 10:55 PM   #14
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If you are a minimalist and don't mind some discomforts this is do-able.
As said, pick a town/destination and plot to that. Then pick another spot and so on.
Do have a small emergency fund/credit card in case of bike issues or emergencies.
Enjoy the ride.
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Old 06-22-11, 01:20 PM   #15
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I have, I'll probably go on highway 1 as much as possible, I'm just worried (probably senseless worry) about any cold weather I might encounter in northern California and Oregon. I know it's warmer inland so I'm thinking of starting the tour more northeast and then working my way to coast as I go south.
How about the Sierra Cascades route? That should be warm enough for you.
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Old 06-22-11, 03:22 PM   #16
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Determine your starting point, your finishing point, places of interest that you know you want to visit, then connect the dots. For me, on my longest tour, it was about national parks. Olympic, Redwoods, Yosemite, Death Valley, and the Grand Canyon. I also wanted to see Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Roswell, and be in Albuquerque for the balloon festival. I used road maps that you buy at gas stations, and plotted my route as I went. I stayed flexible and made some detours, and got to see some places
that I had not planned on, like the San Juan Islands, which turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip.
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Old 06-22-11, 04:09 PM   #17
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I'm not one to stick to a strict itinerary, but things are better than the old days. The DOT for most states have published recommended bike routes on their websites, Michigan does it by region, Wisconsin by county. Check the states you're going through and see what you find. Here's a couple posts on the subject from my blog.

http://simplecycle-marc.blogspot.com...ngled-way.html
http://simplecycle-marc.blogspot.com...revisited.html

Marc
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Old 06-22-11, 05:05 PM   #18
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You Could Ride From Bar to Bar, and have one with the locals
ask them about where they live.
learn something about the people that live there..
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Old 06-22-11, 05:10 PM   #19
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The DOT for most states have published recommended bike routes on their websites, Michigan does it by region, Wisconsin by county. Check the states you're going through and see what you find.
If you're stopping in towns big enough to support a bike shop, there's nothing wrong with stopping in and asking for route information. These are the people who best know the local area for cycling.
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Old 06-22-11, 05:38 PM   #20
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An inland route for northern CA sounds interesting, though possibly a good amount of climbing. Maybe someone has experience riding Klamath Falls > Fall River > Susanville > Grass Valley. Then a cut over to the coast below the bay??
I'm currently touring in N. Cal. Started in Klamath Falls and headed down 39 to 139, eventually on 299 down toward the Central Valley. If I was touring solo I'd be headed south on the coast, or going this route but through Susanville/Grass Valley, etc. But we were trying to minimize hills due to my gf's limited cycling experience. The trade off is the heat in the Central Valley. Flat, but hot. We'll have to ride early if the current heat wave continues there. But the route so far has been fantastic in terms of traffic and shoulders. Great roads, very light traffic. The Coast, in summer, has almost nonstop traffic, but the temperatures and prevailing winds are nearly perfect for cycling, usually.
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