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Pacific Coast tour

Old 04-07-11, 11:17 AM
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skyzo
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Pacific Coast tour

Well, only a little more than a month, and I will be headed off on my PC tour. I have noticed that the vast majority of people do this tour later in the year, but unfortunately due to time restraints, this is the only time in the entire year that I can do it. I will be heading out from northern Idaho on Tuesday, May 10th, and heading directly west until I hit the coast around Aberdeen, WA. Then I'm just keeping the ocean to my right all the way down to San Francisco, where I have a ride waiting for me to take me back up to ID.

I was just thinking today, all you PNW'ers, what should I expect around mid-May to June weatherwise? I hope its not ridiculously rainy the entire time, but I know that is probably a great possibility . Has anyone else gone at that time of the year?
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Old 04-07-11, 11:55 AM
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Cgob

Go to Crazy Guy on a Bike - there are lots of journals for the coast in May. Your are going to get wet though!
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Old 04-07-11, 12:09 PM
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I actually tried cgoab to find some journals in may, and didnt find any. Ill look again though, because I only looked through like the first page of listings
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Old 04-07-11, 12:14 PM
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Expect cold rain and lots of it. You might get lucky but it would not be wise to expect to do so. I got held up in Newport Oregon for a 3-day winter-like storm in mid August of 2008. May and June of 2009 were great, but the rain didn't want to end until July last year.

Edit: we just got dusted with snow last night, down to about 1500 feet.

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Old 04-07-11, 01:46 PM
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It was much colder than I expected until just before Los Angeles. San Francisco was much colder than Vancouver which I guess is why they have the joke that the coldest winter is summer in San Francisco..
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Old 04-07-11, 02:39 PM
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Dan, when did you do your tour, and what kind of temperatures were you having?
Thanks
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Old 04-07-11, 03:14 PM
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May can be quite variable on the Oregon coast--lots of rain and miserable, or pretty mild. I'd plan on rain at least half the days of your tour (although many of those days will have lots of rainless moments). Bring a second set of rain gear and consider finding a cheap motel to take a break from camping and to dry out your gear. Daytime temps will probably be low-40s to mid-60s, but could reach mid-30s or mid-70s.
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Old 04-07-11, 03:38 PM
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On the Oregon coast you may have some wet days, but mostly in May you'll have good weather. Expect anything that time of year, the winds off the ocean can be cool, but as the roads move away from the beach it will be warmer. A big advantage of traveling in May is the lower traffic volume. If you are prepared for some rain and cool temps you'll be fine. Be safe and enjoy the trip, it's a fantastic ride.
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Old 04-07-11, 04:27 PM
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You'll have a good time, however it will rain and you can count on lots of wind. Temps at night could be in the high 30's F. I think if you went to the weather channel's web page you should be able to find weather histories for some of the larger cities like Hoquiam. Click on 10 day forecast, then look for a box called averages.
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Old 04-07-11, 04:39 PM
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winds

Alright thanks for the replies guys. I had figured on around half of the days having precipitation of some sort, because the averages for a lot of cities I looked up on the coast have anywhere from 12-18 days of rain in May.

As for the winds, would they mainly be winds from the north? In "the book" he highly reccomends going north-south on the PC route, because the wind will almost always be blowing from the north so it will be at your back. It says that this is true in the summer months, I dont know if I'd consided mid-May summer though.
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Old 04-07-11, 05:12 PM
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The reason to go from north to south is so that you don't have two lanes of traffic between you and the pretty ocean.
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Old 04-07-11, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
The reason to go from north to south is so that you don't have two lanes of traffic between you and the pretty ocean.
Actually it is the wind. It is ferocious along the coast and blows from north to south but riding on the ocean side is an added benefit.
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Old 04-07-11, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
The reason to go from north to south is so that you don't have two lanes of traffic between you and the pretty ocean.
Yeah like spinnaker said, it is because of the wind, the guidebook says that in one of the first paragraphs. I was just wondering if by Mid-may/June if the wind is blowing from the north yet, or does it always blow from the north? The guidebook made it seem like the wind direction was seasonal
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Old 04-07-11, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by skyzo View Post
Yeah like spinnaker said, it is because of the wind, the guidebook says that in one of the first paragraphs. I was just wondering if by Mid-may/June if the wind is blowing from the north yet, or does it always blow from the north? The guidebook made it seem like the wind direction was seasonal
Maybe Raybo or Pat from CA will chime in. They live there. But as far as I know it blows North to South all but a few weeks in the winter and when a storm comes up the coast.
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Old 04-07-11, 06:47 PM
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My experience in Calif. is that the prevailing direction is from the north in all seasons but it switches to the south when a storm front is moving in. Since there are many more storms in the winter and early spring the northerly winds aren't as dependable then.
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Old 04-07-11, 11:59 PM
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Also, if you look at the road shoulers, it is usually better on the southbound lane. I think that ODOT realizes that most bike traffic is N to S, and has made more effort to improve that side of the road. The wind is also a factor. I road it both ways and there is a good reason for doing it north to south! I spent last weekend over on the coast and it was difinately from the north, at least Saturday. That was a bit unusual because it is generally from the SW this time of year.
I work a lot (outside) on the coast, and there is a very high probabilty you will get some rain at that time of year. However, it can also be pretty nice. Have a good ride.
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Old 04-08-11, 12:37 AM
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I've ridden up and down the coasts of CA and OR for decades in all seasons. In May you will get wind from the north much more often than from the south. However, if a storm comes in you will be facing a south wind nearly every time. For me the main reason to go north to south along the OR coast whenever possible is that ODOT has made some shoulder improvements on the southbound side but has purposely not made any improvements on the northbound side. They assume that no one rides in the eight months of non-dry weather and that everyone insists on a tail wind. It looks like a self-fulfilling prophesy to me.

While you're keeping the ocean on your right, be sure to dump hwy 101 in CA at Fortuna and head out to the Lost Coast via Ferndale. You'll need 1:1 or lower gearing depending on your strength and load and maybe some off-road tires, or at least something with a bit of a tread pattern, for the last 25 miles of Usul Rd (unpaved), but it is always my favorite portion of coastline. Unfortunately, it means skipping the Avenue of the Giants, but you also miss the horrific portion of hwy 101 between the Avenue and Leggett, so that seems like a fair trade. Of course, you could come off the Avenue and then head to Honeydew and get half the Lost Coast in while still avoiding the worst of hwy 101.
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Old 04-08-11, 06:43 AM
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I have just checked the hoquiam airport weather for fun. Currently at 5 am, it is 1/2 mile visibility in fog, winds from the Northeast at 4 kts, or approx 5 mph with a temperature of 32 F. As others have said with a storm approaching the winds will be out of the south. With improving weather the winds typically are from the north. In any case , you'll get what you get, and will have a great time.
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Old 04-08-11, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
While you're keeping the ocean on your right, be sure to dump hwy 101 in CA at Fortuna and head out to the Lost Coast via Ferndale. You'll need 1:1 or lower gearing depending on your strength and load and maybe some off-road tires, or at least something with a bit of a tread pattern, for the last 25 miles of Usul Rd (unpaved), but it is always my favorite portion of coastline. Unfortunately, it means skipping the Avenue of the Giants, but you also miss the horrific portion of hwy 101 between the Avenue and Leggett, so that seems like a fair trade. Of course, you could come off the Avenue and then head to Honeydew and get half the Lost Coast in while still avoiding the worst of hwy 101.
What's so horrific about this portion of road? I'll be riding this route in June and I'm not familiar with the area.
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Old 04-08-11, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Uosdwis R Dewoh View Post
What's so horrific about this portion of road? I'll be riding this route in June and I'm not familiar with the area.
I always thought it was the stretch between Crescent City and Klamath that everyone hated. I remember non-stop 60 mph traffic, trying to go as straight as possible up these winding hills, and no shoulder.
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Old 04-08-11, 09:36 AM
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San Francisco was much colder than Vancouver which I guess is why they have the joke that the coldest winter is summer in San Francisco..
I believe it was a phrase quote, from Sam , mark twain, Clements..

the Why is the central valley, It's Hot. so pulls cool air off the Pacific,
thru the GG and up Carquinez straights,
& delta combine the 2 big valley rivers.
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Old 04-08-11, 09:52 AM
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Having just ridden this route last fall I really didn't think any part of the trip was horrible when it came to the roads. I guess it boils down to what you find comfortable.
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Old 04-08-11, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Uosdwis R Dewoh View Post
What's so horrific about this portion of road? I'll be riding this route in June and I'm not familiar with the area.
After you leave the beautiful Avenue of the Giants (not to miss), you ride on the shoulder of the four lane highway 101. The traffic is high speed and noisy, and climbs at a steady rate. It's not the most pleasant part of the coast ride, but you have to do it. I curse the time on this stretch of road, but having ridden the Lost Coast, it's the best alternative for my taste. It is like the road south of Crescent City, it's not particularly nice, but you ride it and get it over with as you can, thinking of the beauty of Avenue of the Giants as you ride along. The worst part of the trip for me is the road south of Mendocino near Sea Ranch where there is NO shoulder and too much traffic, that gets scary at times.
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Old 04-08-11, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by skyzo View Post
I was just wondering if by Mid-may/June if the wind is blowing from the north yet, or does it always blow from the north? The guidebook made it seem like the wind direction was seasonal
For weather guesses, try Weatherspark. You can view historical data in the graphs tab, going back several decades up to the present. The reports tab makes generic predictions for the date and location you enter based on decades of data. For example, here's what it says about the wind in Newport, OR, on a generic May 15th:

"Sustained wind speeds typically vary from 4 mph to 13 mph over the course of the day. The peak sustained speed typically occurs around 4pm and is rarely outside the range 7 mph to 18 mph. The wind is most calm around 4am, rarely exceeding 9 mph. The wind is most often out of the north (27% of the time). The wind is least often out of the north east (4% of the time) and south east (4% of the time). "

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Old 04-09-11, 12:04 PM
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I live at the southern end of Big Sur in California. It always...no let me rephrase that...ALWAYS!!!!!!!!...blows north to south (except in a storm). I would estimate that a south to north wind happens maybe 1 day out of 30 or so... Given your time table I think you will have mostly sunny weather in California although it can be foggy on the coast beginning in June. Have a great trip!
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