LA - SF via PCH

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by hk_rider, May 20, 2004.

  1. hk_rider

    hk_rider Urban Adventurer

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    I'm planning a trip to CA and might be able to borrow a very generous friend's Moto Guzzi V11 while I'm there. I'm thinking of taking it up to SF via PCH. I've lived in So.Cal for a number of years so I'm familiar with PCH up to around San Luis Obispo, but I've never been further north than that on PCH.

    Roughly how long would the ride take one way?

    I cross posted this in the Ride Reports forum...hope I don't incur the wrath of the forum gods.

    Thanks in advance.
    #1
  2. Dukegirl

    Dukegirl .

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    I'm glad you properly referred to us as gods! :rofl Yep, I deleted the thread in ride reports.

    Have a good trip! :):
    #2
  3. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    You could do it in a long day, but why? There is so much to see and do along the way.

    If you just want to do the ride and not stop except for the necessities, I would guess that you could do it in 12-14 hours, but the actual length of the trip will depend a great deal upon where you start from in the LA basin, time of day (rush hour in the morning in LA could easily add lots of time), time of year (lots of slow traffic on Hwy 1 in Big Sur in the Summer), etc. Under average conditions and avoiding major traffic jams, I would guesstimate that it would take you around 4 hours to get from Santa Monica to SLO, another 4 hours or so to get from SLO to the Monterey area, and another 3+ hours to get from Monterey to SF. Add time for meals, gas, etc and you are looking at a long (but amazing) day.

    If time permits, it would be much more fun if you made it a two or three day trip and stopped to see Hearst Castle in San Simeon, took your time driving up the Big Sur coast, spent a day on the Monterey Peninsula (do the 49 mile drive, visit the amazing aquarium in Monterey, shop in Carmel, hike in Point Lobos, etc.) and so on. This part of California is one of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world and it would be a shame to blast through it in a single long day.
    #3
  4. hk_rider

    hk_rider Urban Adventurer

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    sound advice, Kirkmoon. I plan to go during late-June. I'd start from Palos Verdes Penninsula in the South Bay so I can take PCH from the get-go and avoid the LA basin freeway traffic. I didn't think about PCH traffic though. I've seen most of the sights you've mentioned, but not on a bike. Maybe splitting it into 2 days would be a better idea. Thanks :thumb
    #4
  5. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    To get to the "non-urban" part of the PCH from Palos Verdes you will still need to cross through the urban jungle to Santa Monica and at anytime close to the morning rush hour that could take a while. I would suggest that you get an early start (6:30 am at the latest) if you want to do the trip in a single day.

    In the Big Sur area, Highway 1 is crowded with slow moving sightseers, some in RVs, particularly mid-day and even on weekdays during the Summer. This road is a major tourist draw for people from all over the world. Passing is difficult, even on a motorcycle, due to the density of traffic. So you are pretty much forced to take it slow and enjoy the scenery. If you stayed overnight in SLO (or Morro Bay or Pismo Beach or Cambria), you could get up early and have this beautiful road almost to yourself.
    #5
  6. Rubber Cow

    Rubber Cow GS Dork

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    I agree with all of what Kirkmoon said.
    Get our of LA early, like before 6 AM and head up 101 to San Louis Obispo.
    Then head West on Hwy 1/North Santa Rosa St and find a hotel in Cambria. Have dinner at Robin's. Relax. Visit Hearst's Castle. Get up early the next morning and take your time up to Carrmel, Monterey. See Point Lobos, see the MBRI Aquarium, spens the second night in Monterey or at the Roses Inn in Asilomar ( Jacuzzi tubs and VERY quiet). Wake up the next morning early and head down via Salinas if you're in a hurry or back down Hwy for more vistas from the other direction.
    This is one of my all time top ten scenic places to ride and it's not so bad in the summer if you get on the road early enough to avoid the Tourons.
    Cheers,
    Jorge
    #6
  7. Saddletramp

    Saddletramp a

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    [​IMG]


    Boogie on up 5 to Lebec on the Grapevine, go through Frazier Park, then 166 to Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo. There may be 10 photos of there and coast starting at:
    https://Saddletramp.smugmug.com/gallery/60720/1/2600114
    When you get to San Francisco, have your poo-poo in order. They drive harder than so cal. But then you know Hong Kong. Balinas and Pt Reyes are cool.
    Have fun.

    Saddletramp
    #7
  8. hk_rider

    hk_rider Urban Adventurer

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    thanks for all the great suggestions!

    Saddletramp: is that a map you've posted? It's showing up as a red X on my browser.

    Will definitely be careful up in SF, I've been bike-less since September so my spidey-sense in city dicing is a bit rusty.

    cheers :1drink
    #8
  9. GSRUFFIAN

    GSRUFFIAN n00b

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    Just did that ride this weekend more or less. I live in L.A. and have been up and down the one countless times and it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful it is. If it is your first ride you will for sure want to stop and drool many times at all the incredible scenery. To give you an idea of time...if you went straight through with little traffic (which is unlikely) it's about 6 and 1/2 hours to Santa Cruz maybe 7...so add the add'l time to S.F and it is a good day. Not worth crushing all into one, unless you absolutely had to. I agree with the others...take your time. There is a great spot called the River Inn, which is in Big Sur...very cool to stop and spend the night. That also offers a fairly good day of riding if you are more into the mileage and less into the scenery, but Cambria is also a great stop with much to see. Have fun...take your camera...The 1 is truly one of the most amazing rides out there. :D
    #9
  10. pierce

    pierce Ex Tourer

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    on the big sur coast, DO stop at Julia Pheiffer Burns State Park, and take the little stroll through the tunnel out to the 'waterfall overlook' and stare in amazement...

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. ncfitton

    ncfitton Summit Adventurer

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    hk,

    i like saddletramps suggestion of the 166, except i would take the 33 up to 166. a bit more interesting than the 101 between ventura and san luis obispo.

    are you planning to camp? finding a weekend camp site is tough along the big sur coast in summer. i know a usually vacant camp site between SLO and morro bay.

    lime kiln state park is my favourite area in big sur.
    #11
  12. fish

    fish Banned

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    hey hk_rider...

    Some good suggestions so far. Highway 1 (we don't call in PCH in norcal) starts to get interesting north of San Simeon. As far as I'm concerned, the road south of San Simeon is just another highway. Once north of ragged point, it's fantastic! One of my favorite roads I've ever ridden. When I was in college at Cal Poly, we used to see how fast we could make it from Cambria to Carmel Highlands and back. I got to know that bit of the road pretty well. Unfortunately, most of the time (especially on weekends) it's jammed with tourists and RVs. If you like to squid, it's a lot of fun passing on the inside over the DY, but the CHP hates that. A lot. And it's kinda dangerous. Bottom line, it may take six hours or it may take eight. Best not to have a fixed schedule. There are some great camping spots around Big Sur, if yer into that sort of thing, and there are also some cool B&B's, if yer with a horny.

    Once you get to Carmel Highlands, it's trafficky up to about Monterey, then it opens up into just another highway through Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, and into SF. No big deal. Highway 1 doesn't get interesting again until just north of the Golden Gate Bridge through the Marin Headlands and all the way up the coast. In fact, the north coast is the best part of the entire highway, imho. When you get to Rockport (it's called the Shoreline Highway there), it cuts inland to the East to Leggett and merges with 101. That stretch from Rockport (there's a park up there, but I can't recall the name) to Leggett is like a racetrack through the redwoods. They just resurfaced it a couple of years ago, and it's in fantastic shape with very little traffic. Zoom Zoom.



    You didn't mention the timeframe. Make sure you let us know when you're planning on passing through...try to arrange an overnight stop somewhere in Santa Cruz area and some of us can try to get together.
    #12
  13. ncfitton

    ncfitton Summit Adventurer

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    were you once a penguin ?
    #13
  14. Greg Minor

    Greg Minor The Trespasser

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    This is the way Costa Noestra(spelling) rd is the shit!!!!!
    #14
  15. fish

    fish Banned

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    Of course. 1984-1988, but I didn't do many club rides. I generally just rode with a couple of other guys.


    And you?
    #15
  16. ncfitton

    ncfitton Summit Adventurer

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    nah, i'm an ex-pat aussie, lived in SLO for almost 3 years now.

    but i did the penguins high mountain dual sport this year and my work colleague was a penguin in the '80s.

    my neighbour was a penguin in the 50's (-60's?) and raced against steve mcqueen in the high mountain enduro a few times. that race has a very colourful history.

    great place to live, apart from all the yanks :thumb
    #16
  17. Sam Buca

    Sam Buca a.k.a. Daniel

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    #17
  18. ian408

    ian408 Administrator Administrator Super Moderator

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    I'd do North to South as well. Aside from having better views, the wind
    blows from the NNW in the summer and you'll have it at your back for most
    of the ride.

    Pierce has posted one of the nicer stops along the way. There are others.
    Including San Luis Obispo, Hearst Castle (if you're into that sort of thing),
    Big Sur Area and many others. You can find some pictures (generally North
    to South starting in Monterey and ending in SLO) here. And some general
    San Mateo County Coastline stuff here and here.

    Just be careful and keep your eyes on the road. No sense joining the
    "West of 1" club :eek1

    Ian
    #18