Originally Posted by rufusswan
Sounds like a good first trip. As a Missouri boy I'm not gonna dis our state for some nice roads, but, if you take that particular route from Denver to Nashville you have successfully skipped the nicest riding between the coastal mountain ranges. Dip down somewhere in Ks. into the Ozark Mountains (SW Mo, NW Ark) thence to Memphis. Short trip from there to Nashville.
Any particular routes? On that note, I'm guessing I need to find something better than google maps to map this route. That and I need to get something to hold the smartphone up in front of me on the handlebars..
I was totally haphazard in choosing where to stop, and the routes are just google's fastest option. I'd like to avoid doing that on the actual trip since I know interstates skip a lot of the best scenery. It was pretty much "let me pick a bunch of cities that will take me on a circular path across the country and back." So there hasn't been that much thought into it. I'll definitively look into passing through arkansas.
I changed the route based on some of your suggestions.
Originally Posted by Eyes Shut
Hi chris7s -- It's a little hard to tell from your map, but it looks like you have routed from Los Angeles to Santa Cruz on what - I-5?? If you don't take Hiway 1 up the coast, you are truly missing out on one of the most scenic roads in the state, if not the country.
Here's my suggestion for a Los Angeles- Santa Cruz stretch: Not sure where you are starting from in the LA area, but get onto I-5 heading north. At Gorman, head west on 138 and then take 33 south to Ojai and then Ventura. From Ventura, take 101 north and then at Santa Barbara, take 154 north and meet up again on the 101 northwest of Los Olivos. Continue on the 101 until San Luis Obispo, and from there, get on Hiway 1 and take it all the way to Santa Cruz.
This stretch of Hiway 1 gets a fair amount of traffic, but if you get an early start (say, spend the night in the San Luis Obispo area), you can avoid much of the traffic. BUT you will also probably get lots of fog. Spring and early summer gets fog on the coast -- it's just the way it is.
If you could link your route, we all could get a better view of your proposed route and have more suggestions, too.
Also, get yourself a Parks Pass:
Definitively planning on riding up along the coast on that stretch. I hadn't planned to that much detail the specific routes I was going to take. Definitively going to take hwy1 then. I put up the route.
Originally Posted by Colemanfu
Don't over think it. Bikers have been doing this for years.
There is an even better collection of big trees in Arnold CA about 2 hours away (we went there first) and a great ride.
Big Trees State Park http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=551
You can get much closer and not a fraction of the people running from tree to tree like in Yosemite.
I did a funny loop thing to swing by there. Could you see if you think the route I zig zagged in the map is a good one?
Or in addition to for sure. I might start hitting up people closer to when I'd be there I guess? I don't really know the etiquette for something like that. Originally I was just going to rely on people I meet along the way or asking for a floor on craigslist or whatever.
Originally Posted by High Country Herb
Since you mentioned brews, you may want to make a stop at Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, CA. They have everything from light beers to their Vertical Epic series, which is close to mead. They are my second favorite brewer in California behind Lagunitas, which is another hour north of San Francisco in Petaluma. Petaluma is a cool spot, because they have the Lagunitas Brewery with a cheap motel 2 doors down, and are near Drake's Bay Oyster Company, which has the biggest and best oysters in the country, IMHO.
Santa Cruz will be a cool stop for a skater. I grew up just over the hill from there. When you leave Santa Cruz, consider taking the long way out: Highway 9. It leads up into the redwood rain forests, complete with banana slugs and salamanders. At the top of Hwy 9 you'll find Skyline Blvd., which is the sport bike mecca for the SF Bay Area. The famous Alice's Restaurant is up there.
Your timing is pretty good as far as the Sierra mountain passes opening. Tioga Pass (Hwy 120) is scheduled to open May 11. If there is still ice or bad conditions when you get there, just keep heading north until you find a clear pass. Each one is different. Hwy 120 is stark and rocky with huge cliffs; about as opposite from FL as you can get. Hwy 108 (Sonora Pass) is forested and rocky, with some great views of alpine meadows and lakes. Hwy 4 (Ebbets Pass) is a crazy one lane supermoto haven. That's where the redwoods are, and they have Snowshoe Brewery in Arnold. Further north, you'll find Highways 50 and 80, which are the main corridors, and pretty much open year round. Lake Tahoe is worth a look too. You can ride the tram to the top of Heavenly Ski Resort, but it is rather expensive.
I've been debating if I should dip down to san diego and then I'd be able to skate encinitas and then i'd be able to swing escondido. I think it might add too much to the trip since its so out of the way from las vegas. I guess I'm just gonna have to choose between san diego and yellowstone because I don't see myself making the trip in the time otherwise. The other thing is that I really want to avoid feeling like I'm in a rush to finish. I'll only have 6 weeks or so. I mapped the route to take hwy9 out of santa cruz though. It kind of works out perfect with the pass recommendations since I mapped zig zagging there to go through both of those.