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Learning as we toured, north to south, on the Pacific Coast


Six weeks of tandem togetherness in terrific fall weather, during which we learned a huge amount about cycle touring, and were left ready to plan more trips.

1,938 miles (3,118 km) over 44 days from September 12, 2012 to October 25, 2012

Topic: Bicycle Touring  
Categories: Tour diaries, Equipment lists, Tandem, 1-3 months, Pacific Coast, North to South
Locales: North America, United States, Washington, Oregon, California
Year: 2012
Keywords: tandem, Bike Friday, cost, Astoria Bridge, lessons, beginners, motels, credit card, safety,

Permalink: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/PacificCoastTour2012

Copyright © 2012-2014 By Mark Hoffmann - (contact)

Status: Completed Dec 2012Featured Journal #533
Last update: Saturday December 29, 2012 20:03 (US/Pacific) (edited Sat 29 Dec 2012 20:06 (US/Pacific))
46,201 hits since November 15, 2012 (hitcounts updated nightly)
505 pics

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Table of Contents

Preliminaries

      Foreward: Been there, done that, looking back and now reflecting...
      Introduction: Who are we, and how did we decide to ride the Pacific Coast?
      Equipment: An overview, including a list of some things we found particularly valuable

Washington

      Day 1: Abbotsford, BC to Bellingham, WA__ There is no substitute for local knowledge when it comes to good cycling routes.
      Day 2: Bellingham to Oak Harbor__ We think the fall season is the best time for cycling on popular scenic roads.
      Day 3: Oak Harbor to Quilcene__ Plan for higher costs (lodging) and lower quality (food, esp. produce) in rural, isolated areas.
      Day 4: Quilcene to Shelton__ Don't believe the first person's word that, "Due to the races, every room in town is probably taken."
      Day 5: Shelton to Aberdeen__ In Washington in late season, an out-of-the way stop leads to abundant, ripe, unpicked blackberries.
      Day 6: Aberdeen to South Bend__ A good meal at a Chinese restaurant was sufficient for two days.
      Day 7: South Bend to Long Beach__ If possible, find those paved bike paths, wherever they exist on your route! (And find bakeries, too!)
      Day 8: Long Beach, WA to Seaside, OR__ Ours was an easy ride over the Astoria Bridge, thanks partly to construction.

Oregon

      Day 9: Seaside to Tillamook__ Where the manager of the Ashley Inn went to the market to get Greek yogurt for us for breakfast.
      Day 10: Tillamook to Lincoln City__ At another Ashley Inn, the desk had been contacted (not by us)... and we again had Greek yogurt for breakfast!
      Day 11: Lincoln City to Yachats__ It started to really sink in... the beaches stretch for miles, the ocean is ever changing, and, in the fall, people are few.
      Day 12: Yachats to Florence__ Very nice coastal views along these 30 miles, plus Darlingtonia californica plants.
      Day 13: Florence to Coos Bay__ Seems like here they sometimes have to do "sand shoveling" (likely heavier than the snow I used to shovel in Wisconsin).
      Day 14: Coos Bay to Port Orford__ Be sure to stop in Bandon! Great seafood, terrific candy.
      Day 15: Port Orford to Brookings__ Wave-washed rocks, fascinating beaches, more beautiful coastline.

California - North of San Francisco

      Day 16: Brookings, OR to Klamath, CA__ Looks can be deceiving. It's what's inside that counts. As in one of the best hamburgers, ever, period.
      Day 17: Klamath to Arcata__ Do not skip the town of Trinidad en route... great lemon squares!
      Day 18: Arcata to Redcrest__ The Avenue of the Giants is breathtaking! Plan to linger.
      Day 19: Redcrest and surrounding area__ Daytripping slowly among the redwoods... hard to imagine a more peaceful day.
      Day 20: Redcrest to Garberville__ Some motels with hot breakfasts are a cut above others.
      Day 21: Garberville to Ft. Bragg__ Our only exploding tire. (Don't leave home without good spares.)
      Day 22: Fort Bragg to Mendocino__ Health concerns meant a shorter day... and some shorter days are great.
      Day 23: Mendocino to Gualala__ Our Click-Stand attracts more attention!
      Day 24: Gualala to Bodega Bay__ Do not believe every motel review you read. (Be prepared for pleasant surprises.)
      Day 25: Bodega Bay to San Rafael__ We rejoin civilization on a busy weekend.

California - South of San Francisco

      Day 26: San Rafael to Half Moon Bay (actually, to El Granada)__ There is a wonderful, quieter "back way" up to the Golden Gate Bridge.
      Day 27: Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz__ Where we learn that not every post office will handle "general delivery" parcels.
      Day 28: Santa Cruz to Monterey__ Right up there with bakeries: a Mexican food store's fresh juices!
      Day 29: Monterey and Carmel area__ The 17 Mile Drive, neat architecture, art galleries, and our only rain on the entire trip.
      Day 30: Monterey to Big Sur__ Cabin$ in isolated spots can come with skunks, who really don't care what you paid.
      Day 31: Big Sur to San Simeon__ Do not head out on this stretch of coastal cyns (canyons) undernourished or poorly rested.
      Day 32: San Simeon to Pismo Beach__ Terrain a bit flatter, we're getting stronger, so distances longer... and a great bakery for good measure!
      Day 33: Pismo Beach to Lompoc__ A packed pint is much more ice cream than two double cones... and she layered in three flavors!
      Day 34: Lompoc to Santa Barbara (actually to Carpinteria)__ UCSB: We don't think we've ever seen more bikes in one place.
      Day 35: Santa Barbara (Carpinteria) to Santa Monica__ The road has flattened, and beaches and bike paths were quiet.
      Day 36: Santa Monica to Newport Beach__ An easy route through Los Angeles, on bike paths past miles of empty beaches.
      Day 37: Newport Beach to San Juan Capistrano__ Winner of the "Most Congested, Crowded and Uncomfortable Cycling" award: Laguna Beach, hands down.
      Day 38: San Juan Capistrano to San Diego__ Relatively easy riding, with bike paths much of the way (and not too hard to find).
      Day 39: San Diego (downtown) to the US/Mexico border, and back to SD__ Check the times and plan ahead regarding Border Field State Park.
      Day 40: San Diego for an extra day__ We must come back here in the future. (And with the bike, for paths are abundant.)

Final Thoughts

      Appendix A - Riding Amtrak back home: It was our first time. Details from our experience riding from San Diego to Seattle, and then to Bellingham.
      Appendix B - Maps and Navigating: How did we find our way? Would a GPS have helped us?
      Appendix C - The Bike Friday Tandem: Mechanical issues, tires, etc. (Kudos to BF for great service during a very busy time for them.)
      Appendix D - Riding a Tandem: How it works for us riding a tandem.
      Appendix E - Trip Costs: Motels, food.
      Appendix F - Highlights of our tour, through the five senses: Memories of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.
      Appendix G - Outtakes


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