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PCH in the winter

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Old 09-23-16, 11:58 AM
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alan s 
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PCH in the winter

Looking for weather advice on the PCH route from San Francisco to Santa Barbara in late December/early January. Thinking of heading there to visit a relative, and have always wanted to do that ride. Found a CGOAB journal of a couple who did it then, and the weather looked nice, but maybe they lucked out. https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=354931&v=6R

Anyone from the area or who has ridden there in the winter? I understand there is the possibility of a winter storm, and would have a contingency plan in that event, but is the weather generally decent at that time for rain and temperature?
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Old 09-23-16, 12:07 PM
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fietsbob 
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NOAA.gov can give you Data. as its the least daylight ours the ride time is less.

I lived in SF Cal before it got Obscenely Expensive . Damp and Foggy with Occasional, Showers .

Is , for the East coasters, Better than Snow, right..






./.

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Old 09-23-16, 01:11 PM
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Usually wet. Sometimes very wet.
And in areas hit by fires, there is a high risk of mud slides.
Slides often close sections of Highway 1 during the winter.

Climate data from Western Regional Climate Center -
Western Regional Climate Center

And, specifically, Morro Bay - for example -
Dec. Avg Hi - 62F; Avg Lo - 43F, Avg Precip - 2.66 in.

Wettest in Jan/Feb, but Dec & Mar almost as wet.
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Old 09-23-16, 01:35 PM
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fyi - PCH only exists in the Los Angeles area. In northern California, the highway has different names, but most locals just call it State Highway 1 or California 1.

Weather is very erratic along the California coast. It can be sunny for weeks at a time during the winter, then rain every day for a week. If you're flexible, the weather people are pretty good at predicting these patterns several days in advance.

Don't know if it is global warming or something else, but the rain season seems be shifting in California. When I was little, the rain season would regularly start in October or November. Now days, we don't get regular rain until late December. Most reliable rain is now Feb-March.
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Old 09-23-16, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
Weather is very erratic along the California coast. It can be sunny for weeks at a time during the winter, then rain every day for a week. If you're flexible, the weather people are pretty good at predicting these patterns several days in advance.
Yes, this is true. For riding it is important to consider the wind patterns as well. In summer the wind generally blows down the coast. In winter as low pressure systems approach the coast the wind will back and can blow quite strong from the SE to the SW in advance of the front, creating headwinds on the route. As the front passes the wind will veer to the W and then NW (tailwind). Often a high pressure system will follow a cold front and the wind will continue to clock to the NE and blow very hard and can be quite warm.

The weather is most predictable when the persistent high pressure ridge is over the state pushing cold fronts north of the bay area. Then the weather can be beautiful for weeks (and it's the cause of our drought).

Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
Don't know if it is global warming or something else, but the rain season seems be shifting in California. When I was little, the rain season would regularly start in October or November. Now days, we don't get regular rain until late December. Most reliable rain is now Feb-March.
Here in SoCal the last few years we've had rain in December and then almost nothing in January - March, our historical wet season.
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Old 09-23-16, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
Yes, this is true. For riding it is important to consider the wind patterns as well. In summer the wind generally blows down the coast. In winter as low pressure systems approach the coast the wind will back and can blow quite strong from the SE to the SW in advance of the front, creating headwinds on the route. As the front passes the wind will veer to the W and then NW (tailwind). Often a high pressure system will follow a cold front and the wind will continue to clock to the NE and blow very hard and can be quite warm.

The weather is most predictable when the persistent high pressure ridge is over the state pushing cold fronts north of the bay area. Then the weather can be beautiful for weeks (and it's the cause of our drought).



Here in SoCal the last few years we've had rain in December and then almost nothing in January - March, our historical wet season.
Interesting. I could ride either way, starting in SB or SF. Fly into SF and ride south or rent a car, drive to SB, and ride north. Guess it will depend on the weather at the time. A little rain doesn't bother me, but a washout for an entire week would not be much fun.
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Old 09-23-16, 05:59 PM
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Your odds are much much better starting in SF and riding south. The winds would be contrary only in advance of the approaching front. Also the weather typically improves as you move south. Our storms typically come from the N Pacific and get weaker as they move south and east across the state (unless we get a "pineapple express" condition channeling moisture from southwest over the state). But we haven't had that condition in a long time.

It's unlikely you'd be washed out for a week. Not impossible, sometimes a low will stall over the the state and just keep bringing moisture, but the typical system passes through in a day or two. Just a question of how much of a gap or how much high pressure is between them as to how much time between storms.
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Old 09-23-16, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Interesting. I could ride either way, starting in SB or SF. Fly into SF and ride south or rent a car, drive to SB, and ride north. Guess it will depend on the weather at the time. A little rain doesn't bother me, but a washout for an entire week would not be much fun.
It will be cold and wet. Not a good combo.


Most shoulders are on the coast side of the road plus your views will be better going south. Something to consider.
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Old 09-23-16, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
It will be cold and wet. Not a good combo.


Most shoulders are on the coast side of the road plus your views will be better going south. Something to consider.
Not so sure about the weather being bad. If you read through the CGOAB link in my first post, the weather was great the whole time. As for the direction, good point on riding south for a better view and shoulder. That, and the likely wind direction, seems to favor riding south, but I could reverse course on arrival in SF.
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Old 09-23-16, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Not so sure about the weather being bad. If you read through the CGOAB link in my first post, the weather was great the whole time. As for the direction, good point on riding south for a better view and shoulder. That, and the likely wind direction, seems to favor riding south, but I could reverse course on arrival in SF.

It was cold when I did it in September! I would have been miserable if it were raining.

Don't miss the hostel at Montara. Even if you camp, I highly recommend that you stay there. Treat yourself and get a private room. The view from the rooms are awesome. A $700 view for $90 or so.


The hotel at Ragged Point is also excellent views.
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Old 11-23-16, 03:04 PM
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Have the trip all planned out. Nights are as follows:

SFO airport hotel
Pigeon Point hostel
Sunset Beach SP
Andrew Molera SP
Ragged Point Inn
Montana de Oro SP

Not sure about the last night before Santa Barbara, but plenty of time to figure it out.

Turns out a few years ago my sister drove the same route at the same time, and said the weather was nice. Still, it could be cold and rainy. This is about 50 miles a day, giving enough time for a bit of exploring, even with the very short days.

Looking forward to the trip. Any side trip suggestions along the way would be most welcome.
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