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Thread: Northern California Road Trip... Tips, Advice wanted

  1. #1
    onno65
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    Northern California Road Trip... Tips, Advice wanted

    Hello All.
    My Brother and I are planning a road trip from Canada down to Northern California by way of the Oregon Coast. So far we are looking at taking the 101 and the 1 down to Jenner and then over to the Eldorado Forest area via roads like River Road and the Porter Creek Road. In the Tahoe area taking roads like Mosquito Ridge and Soda Springs Road. On the way back maybe taking Roads like the 36 back to the coast and the 96 north again.

    I am asking if anyone familliar with the area has any tips on good roads and places to stay. We will most likley do a combination of camping and B&Bs. The time frame at the moment is the weekend after Memorial day. We'll have about 6 or 7 days for the trip.

    Any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Registered User 58058D's Avatar
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    Stay at My Place

    onno65,
    My wife and I own a B&B in Mendocino on CA-1 about 4-5 hour south of the Oregon border, and two years ago we lived in the Sierra foothills in Fiddletown helping set up poker runs for the 49er ralley and the Beemer Bash. Your route is full of great roads, great people. We like most of the other small Inns along the way will have a 3 (THREE) Night Minimum on the holiday weekend, as it kicks off our official money making part of the year (it is really QUIET right now), most small Inns have a two night minimum on regular weekends. For that time of year, reservations two to four weeks in advance is recommended for the popular locations. The CA State Parks are on a reservation system for their camping as far as I know. For other CA B&B's I recommend the California B&B association website CABBI.com. Many other areas along your trip will be less expensive than we are here in Mendocino, but the experience is well worth it. Not to tout us too commercially on this site, but check us out at www.seagullbb.com or send me a private email and I might be able to help out more with lodging and roads that I like. Sounds like a great ride, wish I could get away that time of year!
    Jim
    '00 K12RS 118,000 mi

  3. #3
    Registered User SeabeckS's Avatar
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    Onno,
    I'm sure some others more familiar than I will chime in here soon, but thought I'd get the ball rollin' a little bit. We live near the Olympic Peninsula, but originally I'm from Northern Nevada and the Sierras provided many, many fine rides. The roads you mentioned in your post are a good start, but I'm a bit wary of the distance you intend to travel in 6 or 7 days. A lot of those coastal and Sierra routes are a lot of fun on a bike, but if you want to use a "backroads" approach that's a lot of territory to cover in that time frame.

    I'd sort of recommend skipping the 101 in Washington, and just super slabbing it down most of the way to Oregon, possibly cutting over near Kelso,WA, and riding the north side of the Columbia River with a crossing at the Astoria bridge. Some of my riding buddies from down south came up here last year on the Oregon coast, they found it took most of a full day to travel the length of Oregon by that route, lots of traffic and small towns. South of Coos Bay to Crescent City is usually a bit quicker traveling too, as not so much car traffic.

    Have you seen the Destination Highways book for Northern California? I have a copy even though I know the roads fairly well. That guide book is pretty much spot on for road descriptions and routing recommendations. That Hwy 36 route is one that's been raved about for years by motorcyclists and sports car drivers, it's an excellent piece of road and is not to be missed. My personal favorite Sierra highway is Yuba Pass, Grass Valley/Downieville/Sierraville. Not heavily trafficed by cagers, but there are a few CHiP's sneaking around!

    Cheers, and good luck!

    BJ

  4. #4
    Jeffhorn
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    Great trip! I'm envious. There are too many incredible roads in No. CA. You might consider Hiway 128 from Geyserville off of 101 through Alexander Valley, then Knight's Valley, into Napa Valley then across to Winters. Beautiful made for motorcycles read.

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    California Roads

    You might check out www.pashnit.com

  6. #6
    onno65
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    Thanks

    Thanks everyone for the tips.
    We are still in the planning stages but all this info helps. On an other forum I posted a similar question and Pashnit himself had a couple of links to his road reports, very in depth stuff.

    So far one of the biggest questions seems to be when to get out to the coast in the first place. Originally I was thinking of following the coast road most of the way down. but apparently it might be better to wait till midway through Oregon before getting off the superslab, there fore maximizing the time in Nor Cal.

    Thanks again.

    Onno

  7. #7
    Registered User 58058D's Avatar
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    I have to second JeffHorn's comment on SR-128. I ride it nearly weekly 9 months of the year on my way to Sacramento and back. I love it, my tires are very evenly worn. Scenery is great, and plenty of places to stop and enjoy the 'fruits of the earth'. Stop and say hi, for sure, we are really walking distance from US-1 right in the Village of Mendocino, where we still have 'hippies smokin dope on the corner...'
    Jim

  8. #8
    *censored*
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    As beautiful as the Oregon Coast is... it's horrendously slow going. The speed limits are low, there are frequent towns with lower speed limits, and if you go anytime near "vacation" season, it's jammed with cars and super slow motorhomes. It makes for a long day, to say the least. Plan for AT LEAST 2 days from Astoria to Jenner, if you want to have any amount of Leisure time along the way (and you will, it's beautful.)

    Unless you've got a reason to use River Road I'd think you'd be better served by using Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs road then 128 over to Winters. Much nicer, unless again, you've got something going along River Road or in the Santa Rosa Area.

    Mosquito Ridge Road is going to consume a good portion of your day. I know there's a way up to Soda Springs from there, but I don't know if it's paved- and if you come early it may have snow on it (if we ever get any more this year.)

    89 is a great road to take north from the Tahoe area. From there you can keep heading west (all the way to the ocean! EPIC!) on 36 or find some combination of other nearby roads to get you started north again. Once you're up there, you really can't go wrong if you avoid I-5.

  9. #9
    onno65
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    River Road

    Hi
    There was no reason to take River Road other than a way to get across towards the Eldorado area. I updated our route using your suggested road going through Winters. We are having a dialog about the Oregon Coast. We would get to the coast on a Sunday afternoon the weekend after the Memorial day long weekend , hopefully missing the crowds. Plans are still being drawn up so all this advice is great.

    Thanks again.

  10. #10
    bflemingor
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    Talking

    I live in the Portland area - Astoria to Cresent City is all a reasonable person can do in one day & the ride from Port Angleles to Astoria is a full day too. Note the weather can be anything, at any point of the trip - I have had snow in the Olympics in July... (not on the beach tho ). It's a great trip, and tons to see - the beaches are second to none (water is a bit cold tho ).

    Let me know if you want some specifics... there are some terrific places to eat along your route.. I also liven in Northern California for many years, and other than the Redwoods, Yosemite, & Monterey - I would never miss the rest of it.

  11. #11
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    advice wanted

    At the Rocky Bow Riders dinner last night, I talked to a couple of guys who had ridden the Oregon Coast last July, and said it was pretty quiet. It might be a result of the current economic malaise.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  12. #12
    onno65
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    Rocky Bow Riders

    Hi Rinty

    Just curious who from the club went down the coast. Ekke (junior that is) will be coming on the trip as well so he could talk with them at one of the breakfast or evening get togethers.

    I should be out for the Lunatic Fringe rally again this year. With Mom having to move to the new locale it should make things interesting.

    Onno

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