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Where should I ride?

Old 12-19-20, 04:50 PM
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gquirk77
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Where should I ride?

I have 4 weeks of free time (Jan 26-Feb 22), I live in NC, I've never done a bike tour but I want to.

I was thinking of a 1 way ticket to Vegas, then riding down near the Salton Sea, then over to the coast (possibly taking Amtrak from Oceanside Ca area to Ventura) then riding PCH up to the Bay area and flying out of there. Is this a good idea? It'll be chilly in the mornings but daytime temps look OK, I would have camping gear and camp about half of the time.

My plans and ideas keep changing. Open to any suggestions or new ideas on where to go.
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Old 12-19-20, 05:06 PM
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It'd be cold--far, for too cold to get from Vegas to either the Salton Sea or the coast. The nights would be intolerable with any elevation. Just toured that area, got back yesterday. About a month ago, I was in the Mojave, and already, nights were in the low thirties.

The other factor is the wind. The desert is very windy in the winter. Likely a headwind. I'd recommend getting off in LA. You can take the Metrolink to San Clemente. From there, you'd be able to go get to the Salton Sea, maybe loop it and check out Palm Springs. Then head towards Phoenix. The Metrolink also goes to Ventuta. Good luck to you!

Last edited by Comfort is King; 12-19-20 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 12-19-20, 05:49 PM
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I lived in San Diego for eighteen years, and I can tell you it's too cold.
Real self sufficient/ touring with camping doesn't really "kick off" until march at the earliest. Your best bet is Florida/ the Florida keys.
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Old 12-19-20, 07:39 PM
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Yes, it definitely would be cold at night if I started in Vegas, but when I look at the avg Feb lows in San Diego and other towns along the coast it doesn't look too bad to me, highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Maybe I could start in San Diego instead of Vegas.
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Old 12-20-20, 12:22 AM
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coastal california is your best bet. higher humidity but at least 10 degrees warmer at night. if you do tackle inland and low-lying california (4+ miles from the coast) dec-feb, you will be looking at low 30's fahrenheit nightly.
high/low temp swings along the coast will be 20-25 degrees vs 35-40 degrees inland/desert dec-feb.

but if you're sold on the vegas start and wanting to head into california, i'd research hitting death valley national park. dunno your fitness...dvnp ain't the easiest place to climb out of...
hence the name. super scenic tho and the stars are phenomenal.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 12-20-20 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 12-20-20, 07:03 AM
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If you have never done a bike tour before, if you decide part way through that maybe it is not what you enjoy, having a closer route to home might be a good idea. Like, maybe head towards Key West and if you don't get there within two weeks, (1) turn around early and head for home or (2) keep going that way but have a plan for how to get home. With this option, if you decide after a week and a half that you want to go home, it is easier to throw in the towel.

My first bike tour was 4 days. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th each were a week long. By then I had the confidence that I knew what I was doing, how to plan itineraries, etc. Now I do multi-week tours.

I did a lot of bike tours before I tried a solo trip. When you are traveling with someone, if you are injured or sick or have a mechanical or a crash, someone can help. If I was trying a solo trip as my first one, I would stay closer to home.

Do what you want and I hope you have a great time, I am just throwing out a few considerations in case you need a contingency plan.
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Old 12-20-20, 07:16 AM
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Stay home. In case you haven't heard, there's a pandemic happening at this time. California currently has a stay at home order in most of the state. Many states require visitors to quarantine for 10-14 days. These orders are for the protection of everyone. This is not a time to be traveling.
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Old 12-20-20, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If you have never done a bike tour before, if you decide part way through that maybe it is not what you enjoy, having a closer route to home might be a good idea. Like, maybe head towards Key West and if you don't get there within two weeks, (1) turn around early and head for home or (2) keep going that way but have a plan for how to get home. With this option, if you decide after a week and a half that you want to go home, it is easier to throw in the towel...
y'know, i was thinking of offering the same advice, but then i thought about my first tour.
back in college i'd ridden around the neighborhood, or around town when i moved out to
be near the school, but never anything long distance.

my first big ride was when i bought a too-small paramount racing bike and headed out of
town to visit the parents. made it a whole ten miles before one of the rack bolts came loose
and i threw the bike in the trunk of a friend who happened to be passing by.

a few months later was landing in luxembourg, decked out in the latest fredwear, athaletic
sox and golf ball bell helmet, loaded down and heading for vienna via omaha.

yeah, if i knew then what i know now, but i couldn't and i didn't, so i did and went and had a blast.
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Old 12-20-20, 08:47 AM
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As axo said, if you head out on a bike trip during a pandemic, you sure as heck would want to know the latest up to date fine print of your health insurance.
Assessing risk in life, just as on a bike trip, is important, and especially during a unique period of history that could have serious life long affecting monetary implications as you are American.

And this isn't even touching on the responsible topic of travelling and potentially adding to the woes of health care workers.
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Old 12-20-20, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by gquirk77 View Post
Yes, it definitely would be cold at night if I started in Vegas, but when I look at the avg Feb lows in San Diego and other towns along the coast it doesn't look too bad to me, highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Maybe I could start in San Diego instead of Vegas.
This may not be the best time to travel right now with the pandemic.

That aside, low temperatures drop more quickly as you get away from the coast. Here is a comparison between San Diego at sea level and Julian at ~4000ft. Julian is only ~50 miles inland, but combination of elevation and being further from the coast result in colder temperatures: https://weatherspark.com/compare/y/2...-and-San-Diego

There used to be a "San Diego Christmas Ride" that went in a six-day loop December 26th to 31st from San Diego over to the Salton Sea and then back via Palm Desert. I did this ride five times. Most years it would freeze at least somewhere along the way and we even had a year or two with some snow. Most folks were in indoor lodging (e.g. community center or church) but with proper gear one could camp.

Last year I took Christmas break to bicycle between Tucson and El Paso - https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/22685. I had cool temperatures - the day I rode to Hachita it never got much over 40F and the day I had an overnight in Columbus where it snowed very lightly and was ~22F starting out that morning. However, I stayed indoors overnight and was otherwise prepared to ride in ~20F temperatures.

This year if the pandemic hadn't happened, my default choice would have been to cycle between San Diego and Tucson over Christmas break. I would have prepared similar to my Tucson-El Paso ride and expected freezing temperatures overnight and some mornings. That trip is still waiting for another year.
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Old 12-20-20, 09:05 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
coastal california is your best bet. higher humidity but at least 10 degrees warmer at night. if you do tackle inland and low-lying california (4+ miles from the coast) dec-feb, you will be looking at low 30's fahrenheit nightly.
high/low temp swings along the coast will be 20-25 degrees vs 35-40 degrees inland/desert dec-feb.

but if you're sold on the vegas start and wanting to head into california, i'd research hitting death valley national park. dunno your fitness...dvnp ain't the easiest place to climb out of...
hence the name. super scenic tho and the stars are phenomenal.
I agree with this, about being on the coast. The proximity to the ocean is a powerful buffer against temperature swings. It can only get so cold. No way it'll get into the twenties. The problem with the coast that time of year is the rain. Four weeks is a long stretch to hope for no Pacific storms, which are unrideable. It is the rainy season, after all.

If it were me, I'd stay flexible and try to finalize it at the last minute, once you know the long range forecast. You could get lucky; San Francisco didn't have any rain last February. First time ever.

San Luis Obispo would be a good place to start. Morro Bay is just a little bit North, Big Sur a bit further. SLO has tons of amenities, so you could spend a few days in comfort if you need to let a storm pass. Amtrak gets you there from both ways, weather you fly to SF or LA. You easily could ride from there, down the coast then take the Southern Tier to Phoenix with the amount of time you have. That's if you get lucky with rain. It's been a dry rain year so far, though.

Last edited by Comfort is King; 12-20-20 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 12-20-20, 06:50 PM
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I second what others have said about holding off until after the pandemic.

In the January to February weeks you mentioned, your biggest issue is going to be weather. I'm forced to take off two weeks from work during the first quarter. In the past, 3 years, I have done a week long tour with Adventure Cycling in Southern Arizona, departing from and ending in Tucson. Amazing, perfect weather and the right amount of flats and hills. This wasn't a free trip but you get your money's worth with the support, the hotels and the meals.

I've also done a week-long tour in Key West in Florida, this one being the most recent and enjoyed it very much. The group that I rode with does it every year. If you are interested, PM me and I'll connect you with the leader. You pay for your hotels and your meals and the group rides together at a nice pace. It's 99% flat and I'm thinking of doing it again, after COVID. Flying in and out of Miami, FL.

I also did New Orleans years ago and loved it. My buddy and I rented a vacation rental for 5 or 6 days and just went on rides everyday. The food was amazing. Another choice is also Austin, Texas, which I'll do again for the BBQ alone. Those briskets.......
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Old 12-30-20, 10:12 AM
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I decided not to do a bike tour, instead I am flying in (and out of) Seattle, renting a minivan and driving down the Pacific coast. I will be bringing my bike and going on day rides but will be spending my nights in the minivan and hotels.

As far as going on vacation during a pandemic: I was sick with Covid a few months ago and from the numerous articles I have read it sounds like I most likely have some immunity now.

So...any areas you recommend along the coast that I should ride? Big Sur area is the on my list and Crescent Lake in the Olympic Peninsula if the weather isn't absolutely terrible when I'm there.

Last edited by gquirk77; 12-30-20 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 12-31-20, 07:24 AM
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https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-exc...sential-needs/

"When any California region is under a Regional Stay Home Order, no hotel or lodging entity in California can accept or honor out of state reservations for non-essential travel, unless the reservation is for at least the minimum time period required for quarantine and the persons identified in the reservation will quarantine in the hotel or lodging entity until after that time period has expired.Additionally, hotels and lodging entities in a county under a Regional Stay Home Order cannot accept or honor in-state reservations for non-essential travel."
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Old 12-31-20, 11:02 AM
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I rode from San Francisco to SLO in December a couple years ago. Lucked out between storms. The day before I started, the wind was blowing 60 out of the south. The day I finished it started raining for about 3 months and caused all sorts of landslides and bridge washouts in the PCH. A couple nights there was frost on the ground. The days were warm and short sleeves weather.
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Old 12-31-20, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Comfort is King View Post
...The nights would be intolerable with any elevation....
User name checks out.
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