Highway 1: Time with least fog and people?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by tpulls, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. tpulls

    tpulls Been here awhile

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    Some time between May and September I'd like to ride up Highway 1 from LA to San Fransisco over the course of a few days. I'm looking for a time of year when the fog and tourists would be minimum. Does that rule out mid summer? When is the fog the worst? Or is it completely unpredictable?

    After getting to SF I'll be cutting east to go through Yosemite and down to Death Valley possibly.

    Any advice is appreciated, thanks!
    #1
  2. Campera

    Campera Adventurer

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    Overcast & fog can happen anytime along the coast. However summer months can be worse. The best weather is usually sometime from August through October. Unfortunately that is also a high tourist time on Hwy 1 South of San Francisco. :(:

    If your primary objective is a great Hwy 1 ride and you don't mind the extra miles. Take Hwy 101 North to San Francisco. Then pick-up Hwy 1 north from San Francisco. The traffic is much lighter there. I did some driving there in support of my son's Scout Troop in August about 8 or 9 years ago. The weather as usually overcast in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. You will miss Big Sur Carmel. However you'll get Mendocino and the Redwood Forests. :clap
    #2
  3. BikerBill

    BikerBill Motorcycle Addict

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    I rode Hwy 1 north from Cambria to San Francisco in June and the fog was present most of the distance. Traffic was bad most of the way. 20-30 mph max in many areas. Froze to death if not for my heated clothing. Don't pass a gas station if you're down to half tank.
    #3
  4. tpulls

    tpulls Been here awhile

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    I don't think time will permit me to go much further north of San Fransisco.
    Freezing in June? If that's the norm I don't think I'll want to attempt the trip in May. Perhaps I'll wait until September... Or just wing it, dress for it and hope for the best this spring.
    #4
  5. c-remedy@hotmail.com

    c-remedy@hotmail.com c-remedy

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    Hey man, i say wing it. The west coast fog is so unpredictable all throughout the year. Ive ridden to l.a. a few times from northern ca. One time in may, one time in July, and the third in november. All three rides, I never saw fog. Also, highway 1 before and after San Fran is bitchin riding. If your on a dual sport, there is a 20-30 mile dirt road thats off highway one about 30 miles south of Carmel.
    #5
  6. BikerBill

    BikerBill Motorcycle Addict

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    TPulls,

    Hey man, it was cold in June of '08. But the locals said the temps were 15-20F below normal. I experienced 40-50F with 20-30mph winds. I spent the previous night camped in the mountains a couple hours north of Bakersfield near a huge lake. I rode thru Oil Dale in temps over 100F for most of the day. I guess that made 50F feel like 20F! The ride itself was great. Get some good synthetic long johns and and touring outfit and wing it! I had Gerbings heated jacket and gloves so no danger of hypothermia, but man it was a cold, damp ride there for a few hours. I'd do it again in a minute!

    bill:clap
    #6
  7. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil Super Supporter

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    In my experience, spring and early summer are usually worse for fog. Fall is better (less chance of fog), and the kiddies are back in school after Labor Day, so there is somewhat less traffic.

    The best way to avoid the crowds is to start early in the day and go during the week instead of the weekend. Unfortunately, there's also more fog (if it's foggy) earlier in the day.

    As far as temps go, as others have mentioned, it can be chilly along the coast, so be prepared for that. Even if it's clear and sunny, it won't exactly be sweltering.

    Be sure to check out the Elephant seals just north of San Simeon!
    #7
  8. thevulture

    thevulture Been here awhile

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    June Gloom, avoid it. May or September are your best bests, especially if you wanna avoid traffic. I'd go with Campera's suggestion and go north of San Francisco, if you can. Much less traffic and quite a bit more scenic, although Big Sur is amazing.
    #8
  9. tpulls

    tpulls Been here awhile

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    Thanks guys! If i'm not ready by May it's looking like I'll be waiting until September.
    #9
  10. dmulk

    dmulk Been here awhile

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    Any day I'm not riding it... :lol3

    <D>
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  11. lvscrvs

    lvscrvs Long timer Supporter

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    september, although dv is still quite warm i believe... spend your time doing the sierra passes instead....:clap
    #11
  12. doublen

    doublen Been here awhile

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    Hmm...Never? It vary's per day and hour. I've been told August is the best time overall, but last time I was there was August, and it was cold, rainy and foggy the whole week.
    #12
  13. California

    California Motorcyclist

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    As a resident of Carmel for 56 years, and having ridden 1 south of Carmel to Cambria hundreds of times...

    Any weekday after Labor day is ideal. plus, the time of day makes a difference, too. If you're headed north from the Cambria/Pismo/Paso Robles/ San Luis Obispo area, leave late in the day. All the tourists have already made the drive and you'll run over very few RV's and such after about 4:00pm. Conversely, heading south from Carmel, you want to be on the road before the touristas and RVs have had breakfast!

    As far as fog goes, who cares? you've got your gear, and it's part of the beauty of the place.

    The reason there is fog along the coast, is that when the central valley heats up, the air rises and must be replaced by cooler air, which is pulled in off the ocean. In the September-October part of the year, the Central Valley doesn't get as warm, so there's less need for cool ocean air, consequently, less fog! The clearest days on the coast are the coolest days in the C.V.
    #13
  14. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    september has always good for me.
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  15. ulyist

    ulyist Black Gold Beemers

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    If you can the 1 north of San Fransisco is worth it. If its cold on the way north head inland and come back on the coast.
    #15