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Old 07-19-11, 08:21 AM   #1
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Pacific Coast, where to end tour?

I may not actually decide until am near the end of the tour, but I was wondering what folks thought about the merits of going all the way to San Diego vs stopping further north (Santa Barbara maybe?)

I really hate firm schedules and deadlines on tour so I might book a ticket back to the east coast when I am about a week from the end of the tour. I guess that I could alternately book a ticket from San Diego well ahead of time and hop on a train to there when I am running out of time.

Since I am starting in Seattle the notion of riding from Canada to Mexico has already been dismissed, so there is no added value to getting to Mexico just for the sake of doing so.
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Old 07-19-11, 08:28 AM   #2
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If it was me I'd stop a little - one day - further south than (edit) Santa Barbara, to the state parks and wild areas near Malibu.

From Malibu's Topanga State Park first come first served camping, you'd be within striking distance of LA for some West Hollywood and Venice Beach action.

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Old 07-19-11, 08:55 AM   #3
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For me, the ride started to get boring around Santa Barbara. I like the satisfaction of being able to say I rode all the way to Los Angeles, but there wasn't a whole lot to recommend about the riding south of Ventura...
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Old 07-19-11, 09:25 AM   #4
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Apart from the 5 mile industrial bit between San Pedro and Long Beach, there is nothing actually bad about the ride through southern California. In fact, there are still quite pretty stretches through Orange County and San Diego counties.

The train is not so easy to hop on and off of. It doesn't get to the coast until south Orange County and it runs only a couple of times a day. OTOH, San Diego has an accessible airport with many surrounding bike shops who will pack up and ship your bike home. Plus, the beach communities are very hospitable.
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Old 07-19-11, 09:55 AM   #5
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A couple other data points that I'll mention in case they either affect someones comments or I need to be corrected:
  1. It looks like Amtrak would work from Santa Barbara to San Diego if I decided to by a ticket ahead of time and then decided to bail from Santa Barbara.
  2. It looks like it is cheaper to fly home from Santa Barbara or San Diego than from L.A. This seems especially true if I decide to buy a ticket on short-ish notice.
  3. I probably will have a bike shop ship my bike home. That is typically my preferred method.
  4. Spending a day in a big city without the bike or shipping the bike before hopping on a train, bus, or rental car between where I stop riding and where I fly home from are fine with me.

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Old 07-19-11, 10:21 AM   #6
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If you make it down to San Diego you can eat some of the best fish tacos you will ever taste in Ocean Beach. That alone would entice me...
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Old 07-19-11, 10:33 AM   #7
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Live in Seattle?

Logistics : Amtrak Station, take the Coast Starlight back to Seattle?

Carbon footprint for that seat to fly is huge, Train much less..

Oh , MD, nevermind .. could take Train, east.
I hear, the northern route is broken due to flooding
in upper Missouri/ Mississippi river basin..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-19-11 at 10:51 AM. Reason: below.. respond
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Old 07-19-11, 10:39 AM   #8
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Amtrak Station, take the Coast Starlight back to Seattle?
I'm not really understanding this suggestion. Why take the train all the way back only to fly out of Seattle? Expensive and time consuming.
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Old 07-19-11, 10:49 AM   #9
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I'm not really understanding this suggestion. Why take the train all the way back only to fly out of Seattle? Expensive and time consuming.
I suspect fietsbob thinks I live there. Baltimore, MD is home though. That would be like 70 hours or so on a train, so I think I'll pass on Amtrak.

The last time I rode Amtrak it was 17 hours and I was more tired from the train ride than from the tour. if I were to get roomettes to sleep, it might be more restful, but the price would be close to $1000!

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Old 07-19-11, 10:52 AM   #10
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I found riding the 101 freeway between just south of Santa Barbara and Ventura to be harrowing. Some of the scariest bike lane riding I've ever done. While I've ridden to LA many times, I've only done that stretch of 101 once.

The real gems of the coast south of San Francisco are done after Big Sur. The ride from there to Santa Barbara is good but not spectacular. The route between Ventura and Malibu is largely through a military base and the surrounding lower cost housing. The coast north of Malibu is a bright, but traffic-heavy spot.

My advice would be to spend more time in the Olympic National Park and on the Oregon and Northern California coasts and to cut it short in Santa Barbara. There are worse places to spend a day.

By the way, on your way through San Francisco, if you want, I will happily show you around Alcatraz Island, as I am a docent there (though you still have to buy your own ticket).

I probably won't see you on the road but will biking on the same route a couple weeks earlier. I'm doing the ride from Bellingham, WA to Newburg, OR starting around August 20 (oh no, will someone break into my house now?).

Have a great time.

Ray
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Old 07-19-11, 10:54 AM   #11
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re: Flood on the tracks, yea the climate changes from the CO2
from all the coal and petrol burned, are showing the future, now.
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Old 07-19-11, 10:54 AM   #12
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How you gunna go to Disneyland if you stop in Santa Barbara?

Most people don't like riding much south of Malibu for some reason.Granted,there's the big bad city,if you take a wrong turn before Long Beach you could end up in "The Badlands".

From Malibu to Palos Verdes,there is a 23 mile bike path mostly right on the beach.Real busy on weekends but a nice ride during the week.You'll get to see Venice Beach,Muscle Beach,Ride around Marina Del Rey,ride behind LAX,a bunch of piers,surfers,kite surfers.If you ride the coast around Palos Verdes,instead of staying on PCH,you won't have to ride through much of the industrial parts of Long Beach.

It's nice behind Palos Verdes,it's like a miniature Big Sur....with a Trump golf course and fancy hotel and big houses.Where the golf coarse is now,is where Marineland used to be,a local Sea World.Point Ferman and Cabrillo beach are back there,along with Ports-of-Call(local tourist trap) and a Maritime museum.The museum has the bathysphere on display outside(among other things),that went down to the bottom of the Marianas trench off of Japan(one of the first,if not THE first),the trench is the deepest spot on Earth,deeper than Everest is tall and 1000 times as dangerous.They won't be running a conga line to the trench anytime soon.

If you want to ride mostly along the beach within the urban sprawl,south of Malibu,all the way to San Diego,it's not so bad.There's plenty to see and do,your going to run into traffic the whole way there,riding through Laguna Beach is a nightmare,you get to ride through a Marine Base if you want(won't let you in without a helmet,but they have no problem sending you out of the freeway without one???)but there is fun to be had.

I enjoy the ride,I guess most people don't.

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Old 07-19-11, 11:42 AM   #13
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He lives on the east coast, not in Seattle, fietsbob.
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Old 07-19-11, 01:16 PM   #14
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How you gunna go to Disneyland if you stop in Santa Barbara?

Most people don't like riding much south of Malibu for some reason.Granted,there's the big bad city,if you take a wrong turn before Long Beach you could end up in "The Badlands".

From Malibu to Palos Verdes,there is a 23 mile bike path mostly right on the beach.Real busy on weekends but a nice ride during the week.You'll get to see Venice Beach,Muscle Beach,Ride around Marina Del Rey,ride behind LAX,a bunch of piers,surfers,kite surfers.If you ride the coast around Palos Verdes,instead of staying on PCH,you won't have to ride through much of the industrial parts of Long Beach.

.....
what Booger1 said. Venice Beach, dang he could ride up to LAX from camping in some Malibu Canyon in a half day of riding.

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Old 07-19-11, 04:22 PM   #15
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You just can't ride a bike on the bridges in the LA harbor. You have to ride Anaheim street. You venture north from there and you're soon in South Central. For that, bring an Uzi. Ideally make the passage just after dawn.
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Old 07-19-11, 05:11 PM   #16
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I suggest ending your ride in San Luis Obispo. There's a great hostel a block from the amtrak station, and numerous bike shops in town to box up your bike to ship home (I recommend Foothill Cyclery). After taking care of business, you can jump on the amtrak for the bright lights of Southern California where you can be a tourist before flying back home. To me, this plan requires very little effort on your part to succeed. Good Luck!!
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Old 07-19-11, 05:34 PM   #17
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Thanks to everyone for the great info so far. It gives me a lot to think about.
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Old 07-19-11, 06:27 PM   #18
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IF you are going to NOT ride the entire left coast, I agree with stopping the ride in either Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo. Although I live in San Luis Obispo I would, personally, continue the ride to Santa Barbara. Most of that ride is very pretty coast even though its on a high speed highway...there is a good shoulder and Santa Barbara is a great town...Great restaurants etc. You can get on the train at either location and its true, Santa Barbara Air Fares may be cheaper than from LAX. However, the Santa Barbara airport is not exactly the easiest airport to get to on public transportation. There are a number of good to great bike shops there in Santa Barbara--- I'd recommend Fastrack Bicycles but I'd call them to make sure they are willing to pack your bike. The owner was Armstrongs personal bike mechanic in several tour de france epics. In San Luis Obispo I don't quarrel with Foothill Cyclery but I would recommend Wally's Bike Shop. Very well known in SLO among higher level bikees.

However, if I were putting the kind of effort and time you are going to put into this ride, I'd ride from Canada to Mexico....it just feels right...like it has a start and a stop. It's not that hard to get to the border from Seattle... and being able to say you rode the entire coast is just...."Better." I feel I wouldn't want to ride from say Lake Tahoe to Philadelphia.... I'd make it coast to coast. But... your call
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Old 07-20-11, 07:45 AM   #19
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However, if I were putting the kind of effort and time you are going to put into this ride, I'd ride from Canada to Mexico....it just feels right...like it has a start and a stop. It's not that hard to get to the border from Seattle... and being able to say you rode the entire coast is just...."Better." I feel I wouldn't want to ride from say Lake Tahoe to Philadelphia.... I'd make it coast to coast. But... your call
Yeah, I know what you mean, but for me that isn't what this trip is about. I did feel that way about the Trans America and could under different circumstances feel that way about a left coast tour, just not this one. I actually like that there are no real goals in the form of must reach destinations for this tour. I may wind up riding as if there were a rush to get there and then again I may not. That I can decide that on a daily basis is part of what this trip is about for me.
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Old 07-20-11, 09:30 AM   #20
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Sounds like the best thing for you would be to print out the Amtrak schedules for the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner trains. When you get tired of riding the bike, hop on the train and head to San Diego or Los Angeles. You'll pay a bit more booking the train last-minute, but my guess is that you wouldn't have a problem getting a ticket on short notice. I took the Coast Starlight north on a weekday and it was relatively empty...
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Old 07-20-11, 09:41 AM   #21
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C2C and North-to-South Amtrak schedules are a snooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooze. Nice way to travel, but it is by no means quick. I personally love training, but when it goes over a day, a room/roomette is almost necessary for comfort (and sanity), and it gets very pricy at that point. Remember those 150 years where we neglected to upgrade a specific, single mode of transportation, while focusing on all the others? Yea...
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Old 07-20-11, 09:50 AM   #22
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Please follow along: the guy is talking about riding his bike to San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, etc. then jumping on the train and riding it to San Diego. It doesn't move fast, but you're only talking about being on-board for a few hours. No need to book a room, or worry about your sanity. If the weather is nice, the ride is actually pretty scenic and enjoyable...
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Old 07-20-11, 10:29 AM   #23
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Please follow along: the guy is talking about riding his bike to San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, etc. then jumping on the train and riding it to San Diego. It doesn't move fast, but you're only talking about being on-board for a few hours. No need to book a room, or worry about your sanity. If the weather is nice, the ride is actually pretty scenic and enjoyable...
Yes that is essentially what I think might happen. Definitely not likely that I will wind up with a long train ride. The only way that would happen would be if I decide to buy a ticket home in advance and then have some kind of emergency and have to bail very early. In actuality I will most likely not buy a ticket home until 1-2 weeks from the end of the tour, which makes it less likely that I will need to use the train at all.

BTW at the prices I have seen, I am unlikely to ever book a roomette.
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Old 07-21-11, 11:02 AM   #24
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Check out the John Wayne airport in Orange Co. It is where I fly into when headed to visit Ca. Small town airport feel. Way better than LAX and sometimes cheaper.
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Old 07-21-11, 12:07 PM   #25
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"BTW at the prices I have seen, I am unlikely to ever book a roomette."

No need to do so from either San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara. From SLO it's about 3-4 hrs to LA and another 2 at most to San Diego. Coast Starlight train would work for you easily.
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