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Pacific Coast vancouver to San Fran or LA, and hot springs

Old 05-26-15, 12:48 PM
  #1  
velowallah
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Pacific Coast vancouver to San Fran or LA, and hot springs

I am looking at biking from Vancouver, BC, to San Francisco, and wondering whether it would be worth extending the trip to LA. Is the route between San Fran and LA great? Even more importantly, does the traffic get worse on that more populated stretch?

Also, are there any natural hot springs anywhere on the way, especially the Van-San Fran portion?
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Old 05-26-15, 01:44 PM
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The ride from San Francisco down to San Luis Obispo is worth doing, if you are so inclined. South from there has its moments but they are few and far between.

I don't know anything about hot springs.

I wrote a guide to riding from SF to LA that might provide you some better information to decide.
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Old 05-26-15, 03:05 PM
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When I cycled the Pacific Coast, I most enjoyed parts between Astoria, OR and Pismo Beach, CA. I wasn't as excited about Washington or about the southern, more urban parts of California.
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Old 05-26-15, 05:24 PM
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pretty much my take on things too. i might consider Santa Barabara a cutoff point though.

google "hot springs california coast".
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Old 05-26-15, 09:01 PM
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In northwestern WA, there are several hot springs:
- Baker Hot Springs (near Mount Baker / Bellingham WA) is a slimy mud pit. Not very hot, and not recommended.
- Sol Duc Hot Springs is on the Olympic Peninsula beyond Port Angeles. If you are heading around the Olympic Peninsula, it is very nice, with good campgrounds and hiking nearby. Hot springs are developed, but not ritzy.
- Olympic Hot Springs is on the Olympic Peninsula beyond Port Angeles. Slimy mud pit. Not recommended.
- Goldmyer Hot Springs is near Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90. Recommended, but extremely difficult access. Info here.

In general, WA has lots of mountains, and our hot springs are deep in the heart of mountains. You should expect lots of extra cycle miles if you want to make hot springs a priority in WA state. (I can't offer advice on BC, OR, or CA.)

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Old 05-27-15, 08:22 PM
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I've cycled from Vancouver to south of San Fransisco, and driven south of there many times.
I agree with "raybo" in ending it at San Luis Obispo, or Santa Barabara as "hueyhoolihan" suggests.
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Old 05-28-15, 08:36 AM
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Geologically, Hot springs are part of the mechanism that makes Mountains (& Volcanos),
the ones I Know of in OR are in the Cascades, & the Inland Mountains in Lake County and Calistoga California

the one on the Coast with a Sea View, is at Big Sur, south of SF and privately owned .. Esalen Institute .. (We only got to use it, for a fee, in the middle of the night)

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Old 05-29-15, 07:30 PM
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Paso Robles a bit inland developed one in a parking lot due to their biq quake a few years back

Avila Beach turnoff near 101, but absolutely not natural. If you want them in California, going N-S just east of the Sierra is your best bet.

Any hot spring anywhere near the coast highway is going to be developed, you would have to do some hiking: Pine Ridge Trail to Sykes Hot Springs | EveryTrail
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Old 05-30-15, 08:47 PM
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While it's a day's ride in from Mendocino, this hot springs resort looked interesting enough that I was going to stop off at it on my last trip down the coast (but I ran out of time). Orr Hot Springs Resort - Home If I wanted to continue down the coast from there, I'd look to stay inland into Napa county and then hop over to Sonoma County and back out to the ocean via the Russian River area. If you don't like riding over hills, skip it.
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Old 05-31-15, 01:56 AM
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I'm going to have to disagree that WA is lowest on the list to bike along the coast. I did Seattle, around the Olympic Peninsula, and down to SF. The Peninsula had some of my favorite parts of the trip, and was overall the most awesome. Northern California was amazing too. Oregon is definitely awesome, but I'd rank it as slightly below Northern California. I actually plan to go back and do just the Peninsula for a couple weeks and get in more hiking. The nature there is absolutely stunning. It's also pretty frequently rated as one of the overall most beautiful places in the world with lots of amazing nature sites to see.

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Old 05-31-15, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
I'm going to have to disagree that WA is lowest on the list to bike along the coast.
Obviously such things are a matter of personal preference, but I was underwhelmed by the Washington portion of my Pacific Coast ride. Maybe I didn't pick the best route in Washington, but my experience there was that Oregon and Northern California were MUCH nicer. If doing the coast again I will most likely either skip Washington or try a different route. I flew in to Seattle, took the ferry to Bremmerton, and rode from there, so I wasn't really on the coast in Washington. Maybe a more coastal route would be nicer.

When I mentioned that I wasn't thrilled with my ride in the state, a group of Washington riders agreed and said, "We live in Washington and prefer to start in Astoria (Oregon)".
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Old 05-31-15, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by velowallah View Post
I am looking at biking from Vancouver, BC, to San Francisco, and wondering whether it would be worth extending the trip to LA. Is the route between San Fran and LA great? Even more importantly, does the traffic get worse on that more populated stretch?

Also, are there any natural hot springs anywhere on the way, especially the Van-San Fran portion?
It's a bit out of the way and it means ascending the bottom portion of a pass BUT there is the Goldmeyer Hot Springs on the way from Vancouver to San Fran.

Goldmyer Hot Springs | Directions
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Old 05-31-15, 07:17 AM
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3speed, when you say you love the Olympic Peninsula, did you ride it on the east or west side? The road on the west side doesn`t seem to hug the coast very much.

Does anyone know what the food options are like on the Van-Frisco route? Touring in rural areas of Canada, it's often pretty hard to find much else than fries, burgers and hot dogs, except in Quebec where you can also have fries, but with gravy and cheese.

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Old 05-31-15, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by velowallah View Post
Does anyone know what the food options are like on the Van-Frisco route?
On my Seattle to San Luis Obispo ride I thought that for the most part the food options were pretty varied and good. I had great seafood in Bandon and Monterey, good Mexican food a number of places along the way, and lots of good diner food just about everywhere along the way. There were the usual chain restaurants and fast food joints in the larger towns. There were also "nicer" restaurants with some regularity, but I didn't frequent the fancier places much.
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Old 05-31-15, 09:51 AM
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If you have the time, riding north from Vancouver up the Sunshine Coast to Powell River, then across to Vancouver Island before turning south; makes that northern section worthwhile. Victoria is a great city. My wife and I started our PCH ride that way and we were glad we did. I would gladly trade the extra time on the north end than for the south end.

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Old 05-31-15, 10:56 AM
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Actually, I did exactly that loop, Doug, two years ago! Although in the opposite direction. I loved many parts of it, but found that the ocean wasn`t very often within view of the road. One of the best things of that ride is that I found fantastic warmshowers hosts almost every single night, and these folks were the highlight of my trip. I am still planning to go via Victoria and the Port Angeles ferry this time.

Talking of Port Angeles: is that climb up Hurricane Ridge a worthwhile detour?
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Old 05-31-15, 09:23 PM
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Hurricane Ridge is pretty fantastic but don't know that it'd be worth it. If you're there, you may as well get off the bike, do some hiking, and camp overnight. It's fun being in snow fields in the summer months.

If you do go that way, may I suggest spending some time at the tide pools near Neah Bay just for a relaxing and awesome thing to do?
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Old 06-01-15, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Obviously such things are a matter of personal preference...
Absolutely, it is personal preference. The friend I rode with enjoyed Northern California the most.
Originally Posted by velowallah View Post
3speed, when you say you love the Olympic Peninsula, did you ride it on the east or west side?
We also took the Ferry to Bremmerton, and rode up to the peninsula and up to Port Angeles. Then out around the outside of the Peninsula toward Forks, Ruby Beach(holy ****, that stretch simply Magical), the rain forests, etc. I did also take rest days to do a little hiking in the more beautiful areas, which was simply amazing stuff. We took some long bike paths when possible, which were more scenic than just riding on the road. Oregon definitely had some beautiful and awe inspiring spots up on the high hills along the coast, but it didn't have the consistency of beauty to me that the peninsula had. I loved the dense, lush, ferny, mossy forest that randomly made it's way out to high up, beautiful ocean (often sea stack) views more than the sort of "amazing at first, but then OK, we've been riding the same ocean shore for 5 days" of the Oregon coast. There were definitely awesome sights in Oregon, but to me the peninsula was more beautiful and I liked the changing scenery.

For food options, I'd say what I'd say for anywhere. Just try to find the local stuff. Like poutine in Quebec as you said, the town just before Humbug Mountain in Oregon is supposed to have amazing clams, and San Fran has a pretty cool "authentic" Vietnamese food culture in one area. Hopefully some others will comment with personal experiences beyond what internet research will give you. Gas stations are often decent places to ask about local food when you pick up a granola bar or something.
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Old 06-01-15, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
Absolutely, it is personal preference. The friend I rode with enjoyed Northern California the most.

We also took the Ferry to Bremmerton, and rode up to the peninsula and up to Port Angeles. Then out around the outside of the Peninsula toward Forks, Ruby Beach(holy ****, that stretch simply Magical), the rain forests, etc.
Your comments make me wonder how much of our very different impressions were due to personal preference and how much due to route choice. If I had to guess I'd guess it was more about personal preference, but admit I am a bit torn on whether I will try a different route in Washington next time or just skip Washington altogether.
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Old 06-01-15, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by iconicflux View Post
Hurricane Ridge is pretty fantastic but don't know that it'd be worth it. If you're there, you may as well get off the bike, do some hiking, and camp overnight. It's fun being in snow fields in the summer months.
Camping at Hurricane Ridge is forbidden ... if you get caught. (There is a car campground halfway up called "heart of the hills."

There is no snow at Hurricane Ridge this summer, or spring, or this winter. 8% of normal snowpack in the Olympic range this winter. Official drought declaration in a rain forest.
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Old 06-01-15, 01:44 PM
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High Risk Fire season will start early this Year ..
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Old 06-02-15, 06:45 PM
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I liked the route between San Francisco and LA. Views on the Pacific are great. Going all the way to San Diego might be a good idea !
Dealing with traffic was not worse (for me) in the more populated stretch between Vancouver and San Diego. For instance, in LA you can cross the city mostly on bike paths.
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Old 06-03-15, 03:47 AM
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Hi all,

I'm researching route options for Vancouver to San Fran. Looks like Hwy 101 covers most of the route but ideally I want to take in Portland and am undecided on the best way to get there.
Option 1: Broadly follow the ACA route through Port Townsend, Bremmerton, Shelton, Toledo, then instead of going on to Astoria, keep heading South to Portland. Head back to the 101 via 99W/22 (?)
Option 2: Ferry straight over to Vancouver Island, then to Victoria - Port Angeles ferry. Onto the 101, West around the peninsular, through Astoria and onto Portland via the 26 (or other route?)
Option 3: As option 2 Vancouver Island, but left instead of right at Port Angeles, straight down the east side of WA to Portland.
Option 4: Forget about Portland and just head straight down the coast, but still to decide on the nicest way to leave Vancouver; island or mainland?

Time/distance is a consideration. I've given myself just under three weeks for the whole journey, which seems to be averaging out 60 - 80 miles per day (PLUS rest day each week). I'm pretty fit but don't want to be cramming mileage too much.

Finally, my girlfriend (who is also pretty fit!) and I will be flying over from the UK with bikes, and my brother lives in Vancouver, so I'd like to book a return flight to Vancouver to keep things simple. Idea being to hire a car in San Fran and spend a couple of days driving back to Vancouver. Is this a good idea? Is there a feasible train option with the bikes?

Thanks!
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Old 06-03-15, 07:24 AM
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...In fact, would it be a crime to take an even more direct route (but still avoiding the Interstate 5) such as this, which has the benefits of (a) also taking in Seattle (I've not been to Seattle or Portland), and (b) getting us to Portland quicker and fresher, in order to allow a more leisurely itinerary for the Pacific coast, once the other side of Portland?

One consideration for including Portland rather than just heading down the coast is that my brother may join us for the first week, then head back by public transport to Vancouver as we carry on, and I guess this would be a lot easier to do from Portland.
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Old 06-03-15, 09:44 AM
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Only train , Phil, is Seattle to Eugene , which is well inland like I-5 ..

at Eugene the Amtrak rails head over the Cascade mountains then turn south to K falls..and California.

Oakland Cal to Eugene is 24 hours ..

Bus from Portland to Astoria is stopping at Greyhound bus and Union , rail station, 2 runs a day,

in Portland they are within sight of each other, 2 blocks apart..

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