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Thread: Highway 1 - West Coast

  1. #1
    Donski
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    Highway 1 - West Coast

    Planning on making a visit out from Ontario, Canada to drive highway one on the west coast next year. Can anyone tell me when is the best time to drive. Rainy season, hot weather, best routes and/or side trips. Thanks very much.
    Don

  2. #2
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    September is the best time, but it can be very nice from May to September. It can also be rainy and, especially, foggy.

    There are two sections of CA-1 that you might consider. The longer is from Leggett in the far north down to the Golden Gate Bridge. The first section from Leggett is, IMHO, much better than the Tail of the Dragon; longer and just as curvy, but without all of the traffic and, now, enforcement. It is gorgeous along the coast, and you could spend an entire day riding to SF.

    The second section is from Carmel, south of Monterey, to San Luis Obispo. This section is also beautiful and fun, but has more traffic. The Hearst Castle is along here. There is also a pull out on the ocean side where you can stop and see the elephant seals (but be careful, because the idiot tourists have a tendency to stop unexpectedly in the travel lanes when they suddenly realize that there are some megafauna lying next to the road).
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  3. #3
    Just me rad's Avatar
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    You can't go wrong any time of the year, it is a stunning ride/drive. It is at its best as stated by Darryl above. It is a route everybody should do at least once, just don't be in a hurry any time of the year.

    A couple blocks from my house.....I love the Pacific Coast


  4. #4
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    The southern segment Darryl mentions (Monterey to San Luis Obispo) is pretty empty from Carmel to Morro Bay. In this segment, there's only one connection to the east, Nacimiento-Ferguson Road, which runs up to the coastal ridge, across the Hunter Liggett military reservation, and then gets you to US101 at or south of King City. N-F is also a lovely ride, the pavement's pretty good but often dirty, the scenery spectacular. This is the view about half-way down, descending to Highway 1 (seen in the middle distance, just above the water), when Rad and I did it on a good-weather day last November:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by dbrick; 07-14-2013 at 04:47 PM.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  5. #5
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    I just completed this ride yesterday. While the weather inland was quite warm, the weather along the coast was in the high 50's and low 60's. I rode the Monterey to San Luis Obispo ride in February which interestingly enough was much warmer. While there were plenty of people on the road, I found most of them to be very courteous in letting us pass.

  6. #6
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darrylri View Post
    The second section is from Carmel, south of Monterey, to San Luis Obispo. This section is also beautiful and fun, but has more traffic.
    Understatement. Between June and September weekdays are bad, weekends are impossible. There are few places to legally pass. There aren't all that many places to safely pass legal or otherwise. I have been on the road behind a line of 50-70 cars following a 15 MPH driver apparently afraid of curves. Such drivers won't pull over when they come to one of the few turn outs, either.

    It's often foggy in the summer. Spring or fall weekdays are the best time for that section road (IMHO). I typically ride it in April or October when the vacationers are back at work.

  7. #7
    Registered User TomDac's Avatar
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    North of SF, hwy 1 is spectacular

    I ride Hwy 1 from SF to Ft. Bragg a couple of times a year. It's therapy for me and I really do love it.

    Weather can be unpredictable, even in the summer, so be prepared.. At best, it will be in the low 60's and clear. At worst, 50 and very wet. Lots to see. I have several detailed trip reports on my webiste: http://www.flyv65.com

    Best Regards.

    Tom.
    Tom - MOA #156706, Hayward, CA
    2006 BMW R1200GS Adventure, aka "Gretel"
    1983 Honda V65 Magna - SOLD
    http://www.flyv65.com

  8. #8
    Donski
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    Thank you everyone for the valuable information.
    Don

  9. #9
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    Why start from San Francisco

    Oregon has nice coastal view and ride. I was up there in Salem, however, I did miss coming back. Had to rush home fast to Southern California.
    Oregon and California coast line is very beautiful. I've done the SF to Los Angeles several times, it's nice.

    In fact, I'd even suggest going to southern WA/northern OR and check out the Rainforest as well. Only one spot in US.

    my .02$

  10. #10
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    All of Hwy 1 in Ca is a beautiful ride. First time I was on it was from Santa Cruz going south in 1976, Froze my a__ off. Naked bike and the clouds were about 25 ft above the ground all the way to Hearst Castle. Would stop at every place possible for a cup of coffee and almost would hug the engine to warm up. This was the first week of July.

    Left Carmel a few years ago heading south, and after passing one motor home, had the road all to ourselves all the way down. Departed around 7 am.

    When ever you go, just beware of the weather and dress accordingly.

    bob

  11. #11
    Registered User clowry's Avatar
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    One more thing to consider - it may not look like much, mileage-wise, when you're looking at your map, but it isn't a fast ride. Make sure you leave yourself enough time. We spent a couple of nights in Sonoma before heading up to the Bend, OR Rally, and were fooled into thinking we had lots of time to cover the relatively few miles up the coast. We decided to stay an extra night. That decision cost us the time we had planned to see the redwood forest.

  12. #12
    Registered User David13's Avatar
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    I think you might also want to watch your gas. Unless you head inland, there are not a whole lot of places out there to get gas.
    Bad times. Yes.
    Summer time is bad with all the tourist traffic. Weekends are bad with tourists and locals.
    And holiday time can be bad, if there is much traffic.
    The people are extremely rude. There are no places to pass. They will actively try to prevent you from passing. And they like to crawl along.
    So it is real nice if you never been there, but twice in one year, on the wrong day, and it's like choking on a fish bone.
    dc

  13. #13
    Geoxman KJ6OCL's Avatar
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    I've ridden both sections a few times by bike, and numerous time in the cage. Best time IMHO....late fall and early spring during the weekdays, if you can look for a forecast of a week of sunny weather. I will be warm and sunny with not (or very little fog), but always be prepared for wet weather and cool evenings and mornings. Agree with the fact that this road seems to eat time, give yourself at least 50% more time than you would normally figure on. You will want to stop at numerous site to just enjoy all the views! Also fuel is an issue, you will get somewhat poorer mileage than you are used to, so carefully check the distances. I have done both sections this year and most all services were open.

    Let the forum know when you schedule, you might be able to find a rider or two to ride with in various sections. Enjoy!

    Lkarl KJ6OCL / 2000, R1200C

  14. #14
    Registered User rvb1019's Avatar
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    Reviving an oldie but a goodie!

    Wife and I are thinking of taking this trip next year. I know I could rent a bike but would like to try and ship my GT. Are there any dealers close to PCH. The Leggett to San Luis Obispo looks to be the most entertaining.

  15. #15
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    If you want to come at it from the north, your closest dealers will be Hansen's BMW in Medford, OR and Ozzie's BMW in Chico, CA.

    In either case, you should schedule an extra day or two to ride around in the Shasta-Trinity Wilderness. The roads up there are top ten candidates, and CA-1 will then be the icing on the cake. Look at CA-96, CA-36, CA-3, Forest Service 50 and many of the smaller roads that connect them.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

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