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#976591 - 12/16/16 02:45 AM Re: West Coast in March [Re: Ken S]  
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Ken S Offline
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Ken S  Offline
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Anchorage, AK / Atlanta, GA
Thanks guys for the advice. I'll do more research based on this and may end up changing the plans to stay in CA, and come back later in the Spring to get the bike farther north. I do want to see Death Valley and Yosemite as much as possible.

When I make it to WA, I was thinking of heading up the west side of Puget Sound at Tacoma, then going on up to Kingston where Rich's Seats is located. I think I could take a ferry across to Everett from there. I have no interest in riding in Seattle traffic.


Ken
'13 R1200RT
#976725 - 12/19/16 12:30 AM Re: West Coast in March [Re: Ken S]  
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Bill_Walker Offline
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San Marcos, CA USA
Yeah, the Sierra passes (120, 108, 88, 4) may not be open by mid-March. 120 is the eastern access to Yosemite. If it's closed, you can't get into Yosemite from 395 except via a very long detour to the north or south.

Assuming 120 is open (or even if it isn't but you're still passing through), I'd suggest a fun little detour off 395. Take 6 northeast to Benton, and then turn west on 120 there. The stretch of 120 from Benton to 395 is a real roller coaster ride, and great fun.

For Death Valley, I'd drop down 373 to Death Valley Junction and catch 190 there, rather than going up to Beatty. You'll see a lot more of the park, including Badwater, the lowest point in the US. Catch the Artist's Drive off 190 between Badwater and Furnace Creek, too.

I assume you have reasons for going to Livermore and Rio Vista. Between Rio Vista and Santa Rosa, unless I was in a hurry, I think I'd rather go this way. 37 is not scenic, IMHO. You'll no doubt hit traffic on 29 and 12 (weekdays better), but Oakville Grade is a tight, twisty hoot, and the Napa and Sonoma valleys are pretty and have lots of wineries to visit.

From Santa Rosa north, I'd go straight out 116 (through the redwoods) to 1 (on the coast). CA-1 is a must ride.

All of this being said, I'm not sure I'd try to do any of this in March. Folks who've lived in NorCal more recently than I (I grew up there, but left in '83) can comment on the likely weather, but I think storms are not unlikely. The first west coast BMWST event of the year is usually in late March in Temecula, just north of San Diego. We have great weather for that. The next is North Meets South in the Middle, in late April near Yosemite, and we nearly always have at least one day of rain (or more) for that event. Last year, heading up to Weaverville in late May, I had to change my planned route due to snowstorms in the Sierras, and a couple of riders attending rode their LTs across Donner Pass in snow! So, if you go, you're really going to have to be flexible, and you may have to accommodate a day or more hunkered down waiting for weather to pass.


"Dry-Town" Crew, San Diego
'15 R1200RT
'12 Kawasaki KLX250S
'04 R1150RT (gone)
'02 Suzuki V-Strom (gone)
#977169 - 12/29/16 06:54 AM Re: West Coast in March [Re: Bill_Walker]  
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Ken S Offline
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Thanks Bill for the recommendations. I see from CalTrans that all the roads through Yosemite are closed for the winter. I'd probably be there the last week of winter.

I'd like to get from Las Vegas to Death Valley, Fullerton and Santa Rosa. With these passes closed, any suggested routes? Looks like I'd have to take the Interstate to Bakersfield, then head north? I don't suppose it's a good option to go north through NV to Reno, then west?


Ken
'13 R1200RT
#977207 - 12/30/16 12:27 AM Re: West Coast in March [Re: Ken S]  
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Danny caddyshack Noonan Offline
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Don't go north in March via 50 or 80 unless you check the weather first and, it hasn't snowed in a week or so. Especially bad if it gets over 40 during the day and you get snow melt and a boatload of road ice. I got lucky in late April bringing my bike out to Utah having missed a storm and no melting. There was still some black ice and very dirty (sand) road resulting in filthy bike and gear. 27 or 28 F over Donner Pass on that trip. It was worth the look from the Caltrans guys standing on the side of the road in Truckee though.
120 won't be open since they don't start with the snow blowers until the storm cycle stops.....usually late April into May. However, the park website shows status for clearing the road and webcam views. For scale on how much snow the northern Sierras and Cascades get, the south slope of Mt. Lassen can get 40+ feet and stays closed usually into June. Rode over it on opening day several years ago on July 10.

Last edited by Danny caddyshack Noonan; 12/30/16 12:39 AM.

Peter

God bless America!
Rule of rocketry #1: Pointy end up...stupid.
Danny, be the ball.
'12 R1200RT Midnight Blue.
99 R1100RT, KLR650 sold
TR6 (sold, wife can now park in the garage)
#977241 - 12/30/16 07:30 PM Re: West Coast in March [Re: Ken S]  
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Bill_Walker Offline
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Originally Posted By: Ken S
Thanks Bill for the recommendations. I see from CalTrans that all the roads through Yosemite are closed for the winter. I'd probably be there the last week of winter.


You never know. It's a La Niņa year, so we might not have that much snow. We're currently well below average for the date. They open the passes based on conditions, not on the calendar. But if they've opened recently, be very wary of ice or sand on the road.

Quote:

I'd like to get from Las Vegas to Death Valley, Fullerton and Santa Rosa. With these passes closed, any suggested routes? Looks like I'd have to take the Interstate to Bakersfield, then head north? I don't suppose it's a good option to go north through NV to Reno, then west?


Fullerton is a big dogleg out of the way (and not shown on your original map). Once you're there (down 395 from DV to I-15, then throw the dice about where to cross west to I-5), that time of year, I'd probably take 101 north from LA. It'll keep your altitude down and avoid the tule fog in the central valley (or is March too late for that? I don't remember). And unlike I-5, it has curves and scenery in places. And if the weather is nice and you have time, you can hop over to CA-1, aka the Pacific Coast Highway (I wouldn't bother doing that any further south than San Luis Obispo, though). Check conditions for CA-1, though, because winter landslides can result in closures.

Getting through San Francisco is always kind of a pain (I'd take 280 from San Jose rather than staying on 101), but you get to cross the Golden Gate bridge (no toll going north, BTW). Try not to hit it on a weekday after, I'd guess, 3:00 PM. From there, you can just take 101 straight to Santa Rosa, or take CA-1 again at Mill Valley and go up the coast until you feel like crossing back east. CA-116 is your northernmost chance, but you can also take scenic back roads from Valley Ford or Bodega.

Google suggests going up the East Bay on I-880 from San Jose and crossing the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to 101. I had the misfortune to hit that route at commute time on my way north to the Moscow UN a couple of years ago, and it was bumper-to-bumper traffic from south of San Jose all the way to Emeryville, where I stopped for the night. And it's not very scenic.

General tip for LA and the Bay Area: remember that bikes can use the HOV lane and that lane splitting is legal.

If you want to avoid the Bay Area altogether (it's beautiful, but crowded), then north on I-5 and then west on CA-12 at Lodi (per previously posted route) is probably your best bet.

If you wanted to skip Fullerton, I'd say either take 190 west out of DV, go south on 395 and 14, then take 58 west all the way to 101 (there's a short dog-leg on CA-99 in Bakersfield), or take the scenic, mostly-two-lane 178 through Lake Isabella, which runs right into 58 heading west out of Bakersfield. 58 from 14 to 99 is a divided 4-lane, but it's curvy and kinda fun and scenic from Tehachapi to near Bakersfield. The part of 58 from I-5 west to CA-101 is a really fun, mostly-twisty, two-lane road. Once you're at 101, you can then decide to continue north on 101, or cross west to CA-1 via 46. Take Santa Rosa Creek Rd. off 46 to Cambria if you have time and conditions are right to enjoy a twisty, scenic little goat-track. Cambria's not a bad place to spend a night. The motels aren't cheap, but there are several and there are plenty of good restaurants.

Obviously, you have a lot of options. So much is going to depend on what weather you hit and how much time you have. You're going to have to be flexible and adaptable, and you might have to build some wait-out-the-weather days into your schedule, if you have one.


"Dry-Town" Crew, San Diego
'15 R1200RT
'12 Kawasaki KLX250S
'04 R1150RT (gone)
'02 Suzuki V-Strom (gone)
#977747 - 01/08/17 01:41 AM Re: West Coast in March [Re: Ken S]  
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Havasu Dave Offline
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Take a look at Temecula Days in Event Planning section. Chance to ride SoCal mountains and desert, and meet lots of the bmwst.com cognoscenti.


K1300GT; K1200LT
IBA #38110
#980747 - 02/22/17 06:05 AM Re: West Coast in March [Re: Bill_Walker]  
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Ken S Offline
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Anchorage, AK / Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: Bill_Walker
a lot of options.

The tips are very helpful for someone who hasn't ridden much in CA -- or the West Coast. Here's my tentative route to Santa Rosa. LINK

I've been to San Francisco several times, but don't want to ride on crowded city highways this trip. Does it make sense to go around/thru SF on the west side, or would it be too slow and painful? I'd like to do it on a Sunday, but may end up in the middle of a weekday.

Thanks
Ken


Ken
'13 R1200RT
#980837 - 02/23/17 01:23 AM Re: West Coast in March [Re: Ken S]  
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Danny caddyshack Noonan Offline
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Near the mine, Utah
Ken
check dot.ca.gov for road conditions. Been a little wet in Cali, could be sections of 1 washed out. Scratch that, there are sections of 1 closed. One near Big Sur for a bridge that's moving....it isn't supposed to.


Peter

God bless America!
Rule of rocketry #1: Pointy end up...stupid.
Danny, be the ball.
'12 R1200RT Midnight Blue.
99 R1100RT, KLR650 sold
TR6 (sold, wife can now park in the garage)
#980862 - 02/23/17 12:48 PM Re: West Coast in March [Re: Ken S]  
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Savannah, GA and Port Ludlow, ...
Ken, if you've never been to Sedona it is well worth visiting; then catch 89A (this is all predicated on the weather of course) then 89 north, then pick up Route 66 at Seligman.


Jim Carter
2013 WR250R
#980917 - 02/24/17 02:02 AM Re: West Coast in March [Re: mickeym3]  
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mbelectric Offline
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CA Hwy 1 closure. This bridge has been deemed unusable and permanently closed. The replacement will take months, if not years.

https://www.google.com/amp/www.sfgate.co...p?client=safari

I'd suggest CA 33 North at McKittrick, then 198 West to 25 North. Then if it's the coast you want, a short trip over 152 to Watsonville and Hwy 1.

MB>


74 R90S
98 K1200RS
03 1150RT
04 DRZ400
15 1200RTW

......and a Jeep Rubicon

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