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Old 09-16-12, 05:59 PM   #1
-holiday76
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Offroad touring in california

Does anyone know of a good place to go on a 2-3 day tour accessible from the bay area within a few hour car drive that is primarily dirt roads or non technical single track and camping?
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Old 09-16-12, 07:36 PM   #2
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Head to the Lost Coast. You can do a mixed loop out of Shelter Cove that can be part gravel/dirt roads and part pavement. (There aren't any cars on the pavement to speak of.) Head on over towards Honeydew and either camp at Camp A.W. Way or head on down to the beach again from Petrolia. Wilder Ridge is paved, the north/south roads to the west of it aren't.

There's also the option of an out-and-back along Usul Rd (dirt) and Chemise Mountain Rd (mostly gravel the last time I was on it years ago).

The Lost Coast is all hills, all the time, so be geared low and have good brakes.
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Old 09-17-12, 02:05 PM   #3
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thanks for the suggestions! If anyone else has any i'd love to hear them as well!
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Old 09-17-12, 04:27 PM   #4
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Plumas N.F. northeast of Quincy. Great roads - mix of paved, dirt, & trails.
Frequent enough campgrounds so that you can get water without filtering.
But, of course, you can camp anywhere - but check fire regs this time of year.
Taylorsville, Genessee, to Beckwourth - and lots of loop possibilities.
Relatively light use by Calif standards - no eye-popping scenery -
Valleys and streams, low mountains, meadows.
Diamond Mtns escarpment over Honey Lake Valley is nice.
Also check hunting seasons - archery has started I think -
If you ride in this area - have something orange.
The higher areas should be chilly in the a.m., warm afternoons.
Not appropriate after mid to late October.

PS - I'm from Wyoming so I really like NE Calif.
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Old 09-17-12, 07:13 PM   #5
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Tank you jamawani! I will def check out some of those suggestions. Btw, the trip probably wouldnt happen untilnnovember or december.
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Old 09-17-12, 08:01 PM   #6
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Hmmm - Nov/Dec means south.
And you have to be careful because some of the dirt roads turn to glue when it rains.
Fall is a pretty bleak time in the desert after a summer's heat.
(Although this year some areas have gotten rare summer rains.)
I'm thinking Carrizo Plains Natl Monument - east of SLO.
http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/baker...s/carrizo.html
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Old 09-18-12, 12:48 AM   #7
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The Coast Ranges of Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties do have a network of paved and unpaved roads, also. The sticking point would be whether they have a wet or dry autumn...the Cuyama Badlands and the Mt. Abel highlands are an interesting area, too, but the washes may be a bit too sandy.
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Old 09-19-12, 07:24 AM   #8
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I agree about going south, the weather could go either way in the north. In early December here (2,000 feet elevation, near Chico) you might get temps in the 40s and almost constant rain for a few days - or worse - if a cold storm moves through.
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Old 09-19-12, 09:21 AM   #9
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You might want to check out Jill Homer's blog. She's posted about a couple of on-/off-road tours in/near the Bay Area.

One in Humboldt County:
http://arcticglass.blogspot.com/2012...oad-again.html

Los Altos toward Santa Barbara:
http://arcticglass.blogspot.com/2012...adventure.html

The links are to the first of multiple blog posts, BTW. She doesn't post maps or turn-by-turn directions, but if you read the posts you can probably figure out the general route.
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Old 09-23-12, 08:16 AM   #10
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Take Caltrain up to sf. Hit the Marin headlands, you can almost link dirt all the way to pt. Reyes. Look for Bolinas ridge on a map. Indians road out of Arroyo Seco is good. Henry Coe is always nice but steep. Coit road is a fire road that isn't too bad and can get you out in the park. Plus it's super close to you.
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