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Pacific Coast north of San Francisco?

Old 03-25-13, 11:04 AM
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spinnaker
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Pacific Coast north of San Francisco?

I have already done the Pacific Coast Hwy from San Francisco to Santa Barbara and I loved it. Now I want to to a section north of San Francisco. One of number of tours were I will have to choose for 2013.

There is a whole lot of nothing between Portland and San Francisco with those two cities being the most likely to fly in or out of.

I won't have time to do the whole stretch from Portland. Looks like it is near 800 miles and I will probably only be able to do half of that. So my question is where to start and where to end? I like to know the best and most scenic section. And would like to know about weather. Does it get better as you approach San Francisco or am I pretty much going to get rained on a few days (plan to go in September).

Also how to get there? Say the recommendation is to end in San Francisco. Is it best to fly into San Francisco, then just take a train north for as far as I like? Or fly into Portland and get south a bit somehow?
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Old 03-25-13, 11:16 AM
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I would go south from portland.

Riding north puts you on the wrong side of the road of the oceanside turnouts, is against prevailing winds, and is arguably less scenic (seastacks, etc). end in Eureka or somewhere thereabouts if you don't want to tour the entire distance to SF.
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Old 03-25-13, 11:22 AM
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When I did it I flew to San Francisco and then took the bus to Eureka. I cycled from Eureka to San Francisco and then flew home. It worked well.
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Old 03-25-13, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
I would go south from portland.

Riding north puts you on the wrong side of the road of the oceanside turnouts, is against prevailing winds, and is arguably less scenic (seastacks, etc). end in Eureka or somewhere thereabouts if you don't want to tour the entire distance to SF.
Thanks I am well aware to ride north to south.
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Old 03-25-13, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by paul2 View Post
When I did it I flew to San Francisco and then took the bus to Eureka. I cycled from Eureka to San Francisco and then flew home. It worked well.
Thanks. Was the train and option? What did you think of that section?
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Old 03-25-13, 12:11 PM
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If there was nothing where would I live? instead I live in the Oldest US settlement west of the Rockies .

We have a Very Nice Bus serving Clatsop County's major towns twice a day, coming out of Portland.
Tillamook County to the south of us has one too..

People ship their Bikes to the LBS here , rather than drag them around airports.
and the shop ships them back east for the transcontinental Tours that end here,

Train, The Amtrak rail line runs through Sacramento valley then crosses the Cascades
From the eastern side, to Eugene and then north, to Portland , Seattle and Vancouver BC..

Train is not an option on the coast. Hence the Bus Connections, out to the Seashore..
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Old 03-25-13, 12:32 PM
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The train can get you to some of the best places to start. An option that worked out well for us was to take the train to Vancouver B.C. head north to Powell River, over to Vancouver Island, down to Washington. From there you can either take the Coast Route or the Hood Canal Route to Astoria. In Astoria you can catch the Amtrak bus back to PDX or go further down the coast if you have time. You can catch Amtrak in the Willamette Valley in many place form Eugene north to Portland. The B.C. segment is outstanding, but IMO the Washington portion was interesting, but nothing special. You have to realize that living in Oregon has spoiled me

I'm biased, but I think Oregon's coast is the best ride of the entire Pacific Coast Route. Catch the bus at the Amtrak station in Portland or ride to Astoria and head south. The rub here is return transportation. When we strarted the Pacific Coast Rout we had a family emergency and had to bail out near Crescent City. The only good option that worked for us was a rental car. When we decided to finish it we used a rental car to get back to Crescent City.

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Old 03-25-13, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
The train can get you to some of the best places to start. An option that worked out well for us was to take the train to Vancouver B.C. head north to Powell River, over to Vancouver Island, down to Washington. From there you can either take the Coast Route or the Hood Canal Route to Astoria. In Astoria you can catch the Amtrak bus back to PDX or go further down the coast if you have time. You can catch Amtrak in the Willamette Valley in many place form Eugene north to Portland. The B.C. segment is outstanding, but IMO the Washington portion was interesting, but nothing special. You have to realize that living in Oregon has spoiled me

I'm biased, but I think Oregon's coast is the best ride of the entire Pacific Coast Route. Catch the bus at the Amtrak station in Portland or ride to Astoria and head south. The rub here is return transportation. When we were doing the Pacific Coast Rout we had a family emergency and had to bail out near Crescent City. The only good option that worked for us was a rental car. When we decided to finish it we used a rental car to get back to Crescent City.
In you opinion, if I were to do the Portland coast which is the best section? Vancouver then south to Portland? Or start in Portland then south?
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Old 03-25-13, 12:44 PM
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I'd love to ride through Redwood National Park., like this guy.

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Old 03-25-13, 12:52 PM
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When I did it some years ago, I flew into Seattle, took the ferry to Bremerton and road south using the Adventure Cycling maps. From Seattle to San Fran is about 1100 mi. I took 3 weeks to do it. If that is too far, pick a town in between. It is a great trip, but the northern half is prettier to me than the southern half. The further south you go, the drier and browner it gets. As has been suggested, flying into San Fran and taking the bus or train north to your chosen starting point would work.
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Old 03-25-13, 12:58 PM
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I followed the AC route from Seattle and wasn't impressed with the part in Washington. Oregon was mostly great. The Redwoods in California were nice too.
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Old 03-25-13, 01:17 PM
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I like Medford, OR to Fort Bragg, CA by way of Crescent City, Ca ....the grades and switch backs on '199' are something. Some bike access to redwood stands, good ocean sightlines and a nice rural feel.... if you go for that. It's less then 400 miles
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Old 03-25-13, 01:42 PM
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I live in San Francisco and looked at lots of options for a North to South coastal trip with my kids by tandem bike. I ended up renting a car in San Francisco, dropping it off at the Crescent City airport, and riding south from there, ending just north of Fort Bragg, where my wife ended picking us up. My initial thought was to take the train to get somewhere north, but as already stated, the train from the Bay Area goes up the central part of the state, not the coast, so it wasn't a good option. We liked seeing a variety of terrain/scenery on the ride - coastal areas, forests, redwoods, farm and dairy land, etc; I haven't ridden the Oregon coast, but am not sure you'd get similar variety on that ride. https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=7203
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Old 03-25-13, 01:43 PM
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.. if I were to do the Portland coast which is the best section? Vancouver then south to Portland? Or start in Portland then south?
Geography:
South of Portland is the Willamette river valley, 'I-5 corridor' not the Seacoast..

the City is built where that river flowing north, joins the Columbia, It flows north, then west,
to the Sea.

& there is the other Washington state Vancouver that is across the Columbia from Portland Oregon.

a Coastal Mountain range separates the Willamette River valley, from the Seacoast.

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Old 03-25-13, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Thanks. Was the train and option? What did you think of that section?
As has been stated, the train doesn't go along the coast, hence the bus. I though that section was great. Just south of Eureka you've got the Avenue of the Giants. Then the Legget Hill followed by some spectacular coastal scenery.
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Old 03-25-13, 02:31 PM
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Oregon coast is great. Second only to Big Sur, only with less hills. California is not coast from crescent city to just south of Legget. South of there it is fantastic, and quite steeply hilly but the hills are short. Washington coast is not coast, and i would not recommend it very highly.

My first tour, I took the bus to Legget from the bay area and rode to SF, only 4 days or riding. Bus is horrid. I would fly to Portland and rent a car home from where ever you end up.

The redwood section in NorCal is awesome riding but the amount of weirdness around the weed trade was off-putting to me. Unless you want a job in the weed industry, in which case, you are all set. Just hang out for 10 minutes at the grocery store parking lot anywhere from Eureka to Garberville. Ick.
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Old 03-25-13, 02:45 PM
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'The Lost Coast' is what the area west of 101 between Eureka and Leggett,
[where Cal Rte 1 turns off to the coast], is called ..
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Old 03-25-13, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I followed the AC route from Seattle and wasn't impressed with the part in Washington. Oregon was mostly great. The Redwoods in California were nice too.
Yeah the Redwoods are definitely a factor for the California section. Somehow I missed the really big ones on my other trip. My riding partner tells me we opted out because it was a significant ride off of our route. I assume that if I will be coming down from Eureka, I can't miss them?
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Old 03-25-13, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
Oregon coast is great. Second only to Big Sur, only with less hills. California is not coast from crescent city to just south of Legget. South of there it is fantastic, and quite steeply hilly but the hills are short. Washington coast is not coast, and i would not recommend it very highly.

My first tour, I took the bus to Legget from the bay area and rode to SF, only 4 days or riding. Bus is horrid. I would fly to Portland and rent a car home from where ever you end up.

The redwood section in NorCal is awesome riding but the amount of weirdness around the weed trade was off-putting to me. Unless you want a job in the weed industry, in which case, you are all set. Just hang out for 10 minutes at the grocery store parking lot anywhere from Eureka to Garberville. Ick.
In your opinion, what was easier as far as travel arrangements. NorCal or Oregon?
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Old 03-25-13, 06:24 PM
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Spinnaker, I did those segments as parts of larger tours. Obviously, big cities are easier to start/end in since there are airports and one-way rental cars. You can't answer that question without more parameters, like max trip length, flexibility of trip length, budget, budget vs. time vs. comfort preference.

Assuming you have a time limit (based on your comment in the OP), I would fly Southwest or Frontier to Portland, ride from the airport to the coast (numerous options, ask someone with more local knowledge) ride south enjoying the awesome and plentiful state park campgrounds, and get a one-way rental car in Crescent City or somewhere south of there. Cars don't need much advance notice, so you can figure it out a day or two from when you run out of time, jump in the car, shove your stuff in there and drive home that day. You don't need a huge car, either, anything bigger than economy class should work.
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Old 03-25-13, 09:10 PM
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Another option is to catch the southbound Amtrak Thruway bus to Oakland in Arcata.

Here's a link to the map (PDF): https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/158/578/...y-Map-2012.pdf
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Old 03-25-13, 10:10 PM
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Another option is to either fly into PDX and take the Amtrak Cascades to Eugene (or just fly directly into Eugene, or take the Coast Starlight overnight from the Bay Area) and then take the Smith River route from Eugene to Reedsport. It's a full day's ride (85 miles), but the hills are front-loaded and the last fifty miles are either downhill, slightly downgrade or flat. This shortens the trip along the Oregon coast a bit, but you get a nice train ride and get to ride one of our real gems on the way to the coast. The lands along/near the Smith River are known as the O&C, and riding in them is the reason I live here. (O&C is short for Oregon and California Railroad Co. The land was given to this company to build a railroad; they didn't build it, so the BLM now controls the land.)

Once you are on the coast, just go as far south as your time/legs allow. At Eureka, you can make the call as to whether or not to rent a car and call it a trip or to push on. You can also decide whether to turn out to the southern portion of the Lost Coast after you get your redwoods fix along The Avenue (warning: Chemise Mountain Rd and Usal Rd are dirt and everything is steep on the Lost Coast.). If you are going to stop around Eureka anyway, you might consider riding out to the Lost Coast and then coming back out to ride the Avenue south to north on your way back to Eureka.

That would leave you the Eureka to S.F. thing to do next year. Bonus: That means you ride the Avenue two years running.
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Old 03-25-13, 11:12 PM
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In you opinion, if I were to do the Portland coast which is the best section? Vancouver then south to Portland? Or start in Portland then south?
I think the previous posts have covered some good options.

Here are some options on the Oregon and northern California Coast.

-Fly into PDX
- Ride or take the bus to Astoria @100 miles. Using the bus will give you an extra day on the coast.
-South on 101 at Astoria.
-Once you get past Florence, @ 190 miles south of Astoria, there are no straight shots to an Amtrak station in the Willamette Valley.
-There are also car rentals in Coos Bay, @ 240 south of Astoria.
- Next rentals are in Crescent City, @ 380 miles.
-Rent car and drive back to PDX.

- Another option is to take one of the more direct routes from Portland to the coast,e.g., PDX to Forest Grove to Tillamook which is about 90 miles. This will put you further south on the coast, about 70 miles south of Astoria. You would miss a small section of the north coast, but a couple of scoops of Tillamook ice cream will take so care of some of the disappointment. All the roads from the Portland to the coast area are pretty busy. I've only ridden on Highway 30 from Astoria to Portland, and Hwy 20 from Newport to Albany; so I'm not much help there.

Part of the cost of the car rental may be offset by the lower price of a round trip airline ticket. I don't have any experience with the coastal bus system.

September is a great time to be on the coast. You can still get some rain, but there is generally less fog.
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Old 03-25-13, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
September is a great time to be on the coast. You can still get some rain, but there is generally less fog.
There is also a bit less traffic after Labor Day than before. However, weekends can still be a bit crowded and I advise calling it a day early on Sunday.
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Old 03-26-13, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I followed the AC route from Seattle and wasn't impressed with the part in Washington. Oregon was mostly great. The Redwoods in California were nice too.
Washington has some very beautiful scenery, but the ride from Seattle south isn't the greatest.
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