Must-see backroads, bars, historic sites, etc in California

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by LordMorgan, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. LordMorgan

    LordMorgan Adventurer

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    My best buddy and I are planning a 10 day Round the State trip at the end of the month, part camping, part hotel, all on road (my friend doesn't have dirt experience yet). This is a big deal for us as work and personal lives don't afford us much time for adventure, and we've never explored much outside of socal and san fran.

    What are some must-see scenic roads, biker bars, historic sites, tourist traps and any other cool stuff you can think of that we should incorporate into the trip?

    Our route so far is going to take us through lone pine, lake Tahoe, chico, hornbrook, legett, eureka, San fran, morro bay and back to socal, but we can change our stops if it's worth it
    #1
  2. avejoe

    avejoe Long timer

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    Ok, let’s just get this out of the way quickly and move on. There are only two ways to refer to the City of San Francisco: “The City” or “San Francisco”. That’s it. There are no other acceptable abbreviations. Thank you for your cooperation.

    If I were you i’d hit Bodie (a bit of very easy dirt), Avenue of the Giants, it’s all good except when you cross through the Central Valley. Do that in the morning. Highly recommend Hwy 36. Sonora Pass, Ft Bragg, Hwy 1, San Mateo Coast.

    If you like beer, there are many top notch breweries in Northern California. Russian River Brewery in Windsor is awesome. There is also Mad River, North Coast, Sierra Nevada, Bear River Breweries. Honestly, there are no bad beers.

    Have a great trip.
    #2
  3. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer Supporter

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    Lots of routes in Northern California... will pick it up at Hornbrook.

    Less adventurous route: Hornbrook go south and take 96 to Happy Camp
    More adventurous route: Hwy 3 to Ft Jones - Scott River Road - 96 - Happy Camp.
    Max adventurous route: 1) Gazelle - Callahan - Salmon River Road (Cecileville) - 96 - Happy Camp.
    2) Hwy 3 to Ft Jones - Etna - then Salmon River (Sawers) - 96 - Happy Camp.
    Take Greyback Road (Indian Creek) from Happy Camp to Hwy 199.
    Hwy 199 down to 101.
    Pebble Beach Drive (through loop) - Crescent City. Chart Room Lunch - Crescent City
    Newton B Drury drive best 'Northern Redwood Visit' (through loop off of 101 south).
    Snack Shack Burgers in Orick. Elk are common around there.
    Patricks Point turnoff... take the 'old road' down the coast. (through loop) to Trinidad.
    Eureka... visit Old Town... then pass on through to avoid bums/n/tweakers.
    Fortuna has a pretty good bar/motel on the Riverwalk.

    Less adventurous route... Take the 'Avenue of the Giants' (through loop off 101) Lot'sa redwoods.
    More adventurous route... 'Wildcat Road' from Ferndale-Petrolia-Honeydew-Ettersburg-Shelter Cove Rd.
    Shelter Cove road back to Redway.
    (Debbies in Redway has good burgers. 'Peg' house on 101 is good too.)

    Little ways south to Leggett. Hwy 1 to Fort Bragg.
    Hwy 128 to Cloverdale.
    Skaggs Springs Road... Asti back to Stewarts Point on Hwy 1.
    Hwy 1 South.

    <"There are only two ways to refer to the City of San Francisco: “The City” or “San Francisco”. That’s it. There are no other acceptable abbreviations. Thank you for your cooperation."

    Well, dammit, it you're f/n old you can refer to it as 'Frisco'.
    #3
  4. LordMorgan

    LordMorgan Adventurer

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    Thanks guys! It looks like there are a ton of good roads north of The 'Cisco :beer keep em comin!
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  5. FJKai

    FJKai Off Road Lurker

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    Frisco?
    #5
  6. aanichols

    aanichols Racer at heart

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    I think he means "San Fran":beer
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  7. melville

    melville Long timer

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    I concur with TZ's recommendations!

    I believe the Hell's Angels call it Frisco. I won't be correcting them.
    #7
  8. dino702

    dino702 OFF2BFE

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    So the “Bay Area” is no longer acceptable? :(
    #8
  9. FJKai

    FJKai Off Road Lurker

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    The "City by the Bay?" Oh wait, up north I don't think you use "the". It's "City by the Bay."
    #9
  10. Andrew

    Andrew Optimus Primer Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    They're all secret, you need to stumble onto them on your own.
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  11. dlock5

    dlock5 Been here awhile

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    While not in California, Genoa Nevada is a cool little town. If you're going to Lake Tahoe from 395 I assume, you could hit Genoa and then go up Kingsbury grade and it will drop you right by the casino's at the cal/nev State line. It's 20 mins from Tahoe.
    #11
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  12. CA Stu

    CA Stu Peace and love

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    It's going to be hot, make sure you stick to either the Sierras (elevation) or the coast in the south end of your loop to avoid the super-hot weather.

    I suggest incorporating the 49 through Downieville and Quincy-LaPorte Rd as part of your trip, get to see a bit of off the beaten path California. Chester, Lassen Nat'l park, Weed, Yreka, the 3.. It's hard to go wrong up there..

    [​IMG]

    Yreka:

    [​IMG]

    10 days is plenty of time to explore, The Avenue of the Giants is not to be missed, nor is the start of the 1 at Liggett.
    Arcata is a trip, if you make it that far north...

    Have fun!
    #12
  13. SenorCollin

    SenorCollin Adventurer

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    You could camp out/motel in Kernville and check out lot of good riding around there like Avenue of the Giants

    If you end up in Mammoth, there is a fantastic breakfast spot called "The Stove" that has a great prime rib hash

    Montana de Oro state park outside of San Luis Obisbo is a bit south of Morro Bay and has nice camping and typically cooler weather, might be welcome after spending time in the heat

    Lastly there is a cool old tavern in the Santa Barbara mountains near Lake Cachuma that would be a great last stop on your way home, off of 154. It is called Cold Springs Tavern, I stumbled on it while exploring on my way home from camping in Montana de Oro but didn't have time to stay and eat there, which I regret.
    https://www.coldspringtavern.com/

    The bartender informed me that it is a pretty popular motorcycle spot on weekends, so try and make it happen midweek unless you're into that sort of thing!

    Oh, and if you weren't already planning this... when you head to Lone Pine area from Corona don't go 15 to 395. Take the 5 to highway 14. It's a nicer drive, and when you get to Mojave there is a restaurant called Bills Burgers that has one of the best breakfast burritos that I have ever had
    #13
  14. CA Stu

    CA Stu Peace and love

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    Were you on the Douglas Motorcycles Triumph shop ride to Maricopa, Yosemite, and Mammoth last September?
    Because we ate at The Stove, and it was excellent.

    Instead of 5 to 14, why not 15 to 138 to Lone Pine Canyon Rd to 2 to Big Pines Highway to 138 to 14? Same escape route, but with a bunch of interesting, empty asphalt in place of the super-slab. :D
    #14
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  15. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    OR Wrightwood then highway 2 all the way through...stop at Newcombs on the weekend. 9 miles after Newcombs go down Upper Big Tujunga (also known as 9 mile) then right on Angeles FOREST highway all the way down to the 14 and Palmcaster.
    #15
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  16. SenorCollin

    SenorCollin Adventurer

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    I wasn't on that ride, just spend a good chunk of my free time in Mammoth over winter and love good food!

    As far as the route you outlined, it likely is better but I have never gone that way so wouldn't know to recommend it... I'll have to try it myself sometime. But I enjoy 14 in between Mojave and where it hits 395, especially riding around Red Rock. And that burrito in Mojave, I think about it regularly when I get hungry.
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  17. Mike Yanagita

    Mike Yanagita Gurgling bloody mess

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    Call it Frisco for more better street cred.

    Did this last week on a sportbike. Sierra Vista Scenic Byway was one of the best roads I've seen, but it ends at Beasore Road, which required 9-10 miles of riding on dirt and bad asphalt. Not a big deal if you budget extra time for it.

    If you're starting in SoCal and want to stop at Lone Pine, a couple of good options:
    1) Take 5 / 99 / 178 / 14 / 395. The 178 has some really nice canyons, but will suck on the weekend cause it's twisty but infested with pickups hauling trailers.
    2) Take 5 / 99 / 178 / 155 / 99 / Sherman Pass Road / 395. Sherman Pass Road is great, but care required. Patches of fine sand will catch you out if you push the speed.

    Angeles Crest Highway is closed near Mt Wilson Road till around October. Big slide is being cleared. You can take a detour, but it won't be as nice.
    #17
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  18. dyvking

    dyvking ahead of his flamin star

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    Find Hwy 166 and go West out of Maricopa. About 9.5 miles West turn left on to Hudson Ranch Road. Ride 20 + miles to Pine Mountain Club. Find lunch and gas (even if you think you don’t need it. From Pine Mtn, go South 5 miles to Lockwood Valley Road and hang a right. Go another 23 miles and find Camp Scheideck Road aka Forest Rt 7N11 and hang a left. 1 mile in to Camp Scheideck and Reyes Creek Campground (forest svc camp). Water, potties no shower or power. Stumbling distance to and from the bar and grill. Ask for ‘Jerry’, and tell him the Adventure Riders sent you. Look for Vance and Walt on the wall. “Quaint” doesn’t quite cut it, but you’ll get a story out of it.
    From there..take hwy 33 over to Ojai. YOYO from there.
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  19. dyvking

    dyvking ahead of his flamin star

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    Also..Morro Bay is my turf. I’m going to be away from home a lot of this month, but p.m. me if you get to the area and we can hook up. The Pozo Saloon out of Santa Margarita is not to be missed if you are in the area, but they’re only open Fri-Sun 11-6
    http://pozosaloon.com/
    #19
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  20. BoomerE30

    BoomerE30 Been here awhile

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    Gents, when are you in the San Fran aka Teh 'Cisco area? Would love to join for a day or so if you happen to hit the area on a weekend.

    Just moved here from Texas and looking to join some radical offroad rides on my Tiger 800
    #20