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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
in 2 weeks i'll be taking my 'new' Indian Chief Dark Horse from Austin, TX up the California coast and then wind my way back home. i've always dreamed of riding a bike along the coast up the Pacific Coast Highway. i've never even been west of Texas before. i'm not going to be sticking to any itinerary, but i plan on averaging about 500 miles a day and have picked out some of the top rated roads and routes in each state along my path for a round trip of 5,000 miles. i'm not one to stop and take a bunch of photos and do sight-seeing, but i want to make an exception this time since this is pretty much my bucket list bike trip. so i'll document my travels here as much as i can. below is the tentative route i'll be taking. Google Maps is real finicky when you put in too many destination points (i had to 'hack' 3 maps together) so it's not exact, but pretty close. and the specific destination points listed aren't important, that's just what i had to mark to choose certain roads i want to travel. i may have to alter my route on the fly since there are currently some wildfires raging and road closures in Northern California right in my way.

MAP ROUTE

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these are the main destination roads that i picked out that defined this route, mostly picked from :
Valley of Fire Loop, east of Las Vegas
Death Valley Run, through Death Valley National Park
Caliente to Kernville on County Road 483, east of Bakersfield
The Lost Highway 58, Bakersfield to San Luis Obispo
Hwy1 up the California coast from Morro Bay to Fortuna
Avenue Of The Giants
Rt. 36, 140 miles of twisties
431 Mt. Rose Hwy
Hwy50, "the loneliest road in America"
Hwy9, Zion Canyon Utah
The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
Mexican Hat to Bryce Canyon
San Juan Mountain Skyway
Unaweep Tabeguache Scenic Road - CO 141, dubbed "greatest road in America" by Car Trek youtube series

most of these were picked from motorcycleroads.com which has more information about each and which ranks the top roads in each state. i plan on mostly using my Beeline device to guide me along the way - Beeline - smart navigation for bikes | Beeline

not sure what i'm doing for sleeping accommodations each night. will probably just find the cheapest motel in any area when i'm tired of riding for that day, pretty much the strategy i used the last time i took a cross country bike trip. what do you guys do on long trips? find campsites? pull off on the side of the road somewhere? find a 4 star hotel? if any of you have any comments or tips or questions, feel free to share. i see some of you use this Relive app or whatever to share some of your rides. if it's not too much of a hassle for me to figure out and use, i might use that to share the trip.
 

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Sounds like a great trip. A similar ride is on my bucket list. Build in some shorter mile days. Trying to do 500 miles every day can be challenging with road conditions, weather, and the chance to just chill a little. Relive is a cool app that's pretty easy to use. Try it several times before your trip just running to work and back. Take some photos to see how you insert them. I use the free version. Don't remember you mentioning that you installed a phone charger, see phone holder in your pictures but no USB cable, if you did, hard to see. If you are going to be running Google maps and another GPS app, it's tough on phone battery life. On the hotel, when by myself, cheap, last minute ones work well. If I get tired, I stop, or keep going if everything is good. You know you will have to keep us updated daily like @Rachael did resently. Are you planning to video any of the ride?
 
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So jealous that the California coast is within reach of you :sick:

will probably just find the cheapest motel in any area when i'm tired of riding for that day, pretty much the strategy i used the last time i took a cross country bike trip.
It gives you a lot of freedom if you don't need to book accommodation. I booked some in advance, and sometimes it was a pain to get there each evening when there were places I wanted to spend more time in. But, they did keep me on track, otherwise I might have stopped in some places and not moved on.

Google maps is a PITA for a motorbike. I used calimoto for my pre-planned routes. It keeps going if you miss a way-point.

And yeah, sorry, photos photos photos. We want to ride along with you!
 

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Looks like an epic trip 👍, hopefully these fires die down by then. I spoke to my parents yesterday who live near Denver and they were getting tremendous amounts of smoke from the Northern California fires.
 

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Spend a little time around Big Sur especially Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park . Also Point Lo Bos and Carmel where the Pebble Beach golf tournament is played. This is some of the most beautiful coast line you will ever see. You won't regret it. Stop for a meal in Carmel it's one of the most beautiful quaint towns in the US and you might even run into ol Clint.

If you are into animals, A couple of overlook stops north of Morro bay you can feed the squirrels that live in the cliffs right out of your hand. Going north just before you hit San Simeon is Seal Beach where you can see ..... well a ton of seals on the beach.
 

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Hope this goes off well! My wife and I just had to cancel our planned trip to Yosemite and San Francisco for the second year in a row(!) due to the fire/smoke situation. I even had a Harley rental arranged for us to take a bit of a ride up the coast as well but looks like it's going to have to wait. I'll enjoy seeing those pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sounds like a great trip. A similar ride is on my bucket list. Build in some shorter mile days. Trying to do 500 miles every day can be challenging with road conditions, weather, and the chance to just chill a little. Relive is a cool app that's pretty easy to use. Try it several times before your trip just running to work and back. Take some photos to see how you insert them. I use the free version. Don't remember you mentioning that you installed a phone charger, see phone holder in your pictures but no USB cable, if you did, hard to see. If you are going to be running Google maps and another GPS app, it's tough on phone battery life. On the hotel, when by myself, cheap, last minute ones work well. If I get tired, I stop, or keep going if everything is good. You know you will have to keep us updated daily like @Rachael did resently. Are you planning to video any of the ride?
the 500 is just an average. i plan on getting about 700 miles on the first and last days when it's just going to be straight interstate travel, so it should iron out. and again, not going by any itinerary so i'll just ride as much as i feel like on any given day. i've got plenty of time off work so i've got plenty of extra days as a cushion if i decide to take it easy or if i get a breakdown. try to start at 8am and ride until dark which should give me about 12 hours of daylight riding each day.

i've installed a USB charger so that's taken care of.

i've got a couple oooold gopro cameras that i haven't used in years, and i know the battery is warped on one. wasn't planning on using them pretty much ever again. i've been tinkering with the idea of getting some short video with the phone while riding, but probably not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Spend a little time around Big Sur especially Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park .
the Nacimiento Road from Paso Robles, CA to Big Sur is rated one of the top roads in the state, but it would mean missing some pristine coastal riding if i do it, so i'm kind of torn. the main focus of this trip is to spend as much time riding up the coastline as possible. are you familiar with this pass? what would you do?


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@bevo1981 that looks like an awesome trip. Hopefully everything goes well and the fires and such don't impact thing. As @lesblank mentioned, take some pictures and us along with you on the ride. @Rachael did a great job doing just that on her adventure. It's a way for others to enjoy the experience through your eyes.

A few years back I was up in that northern California area and really wished I'd had a bike. Riding along the redwoods on a bike would be so cool.
 

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the Nacimiento Road from Paso Robles, CA to Big Sur is rated one of the top roads in the state, but it would mean missing some pristine coastal riding if i do it, so i'm kind of torn. the main focus of this trip is to spend as much time riding up the coastline as possible. are you familiar with this pass? what would you do?


View attachment 109397
I have not been that route.
I guess it's what is more important to you. That route may be more exciting to ride than the PCH.
However I will say the PCH is not boring at all. Once you get to morro bay it's right on the coast line all the way north. It's a lot of twisty road and lots of pull over overlooks.
It's not flat like most US coastline. You are high up looking down on the ocean most of the route. Traffic does move slower here.
 

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You're going to make epic memories. A few thoughts that pop up to me.

Wish you were coming closer to Los Angeles. We might get a day of riding together. But, if your goal is to see the best of the coastline, you are doing the right thing by starting a little north of here. It gets good from Santa Barbara and north.

I like your idea of not booking a bunch of motels in advance. It's too constricting. But I also suggest you plan a days ride in advance, and have a stopping point in mind the night before, then spend time on the phone booking a bed. Any kind of motels are heavily booked right now and you might be wandering around tired trying to find a crash. Either that, or carry an emergency tent and bag.

I hope you are aware of what the temperatures are going to be across Death Valley in September. Assuming you are aware, I am impressed by your big brass balls. And I hope those balls have cooling fins.

Looking forward to tracking your progress and seeing lots of pics. Please start a thread (or continue this one) and post highlight photos every night. Like Boots did a couple of years ago on his ride to the wall. You'll need something to occupy your time at night anyway, right? Don't make me beg ... :)

I'm curious, and definitely not trying to steer you, but why did you choose hwy 58 between Lake Isabela and Bakersfield? Asking because I am planning a ride through that area and I think I will give preference to hwy 178. In my case probably will loop and ride them both, but if only doing one it would be 178 for me. Unless you know something about 58 that I don't.
 

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If you are planning a stopping point about 45 minutes south of Fortuna I would recommend Miranda Garden Cottages on the Avenue of the Giants. I might be in the area staying there what is your timeline to get to that area I can adjust mine between the 28th and the 3rd.
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In my mind, and if I want to stop often to actually 'take in' the views, then 500 mpd is way too much. It can be awfully exhausting, but that's just based on some 8-9,000 mile trips I've taken. Also, when I'm traveling along any coast roadway, I like to have the pulloffs in my lane, which means going south along Hwy. 1.

Many of the roads you've mentioned I've ridden and written up on motorcycleroads.com, along with many photos. There are often alternate routes, like Route 36 or 299 from Red Bluff, CA. Each is terrific but different. One area will slow you down will be South Lake Tahoe. Tourists galore, but 89 north from there is beautiful.
:cool:
--
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
But I also suggest you plan a days ride in advance, and have a stopping point in mind the night before, then spend time on the phone booking a bed. Any kind of motels are heavily booked right now and you might be wandering around tired trying to find a crash. Either that, or carry an emergency tent and bag.

I hope you are aware of what the temperatures are going to be across Death Valley in September. Assuming you are aware, I am impressed by your big brass balls. And I hope those balls have cooling fins.

I'm curious, and definitely not trying to steer you, but why did you choose hwy 58 between Lake Isabela and Bakersfield?
it's a good idea, but i have no idea how much mileage i'm going to put on in some areas, if there are slower speeds, re-routes, how i end up stopping or taking breaks, etc. to be able to plan where i'm going to stop that night. i plan on bringing a sleeping bag in case i do have to pull off somewhere. but i don't plan on continuing down the road any day after sunset (except exiting and entering back into TX) so hopefully that gives me enough buffer to find a bed.


I hope you are aware of what the temperatures are going to be across Death Valley in September. Assuming you are aware, I am impressed by your big brass balls. And I hope those balls have cooling fins.
maybe sweaty balls. i do live in Austin and spent my whole life in TX, so i'm about as prepared for Death Valley as i can be. Google says it hits 107° during the day even in September. and i'll be bringing my thermos with me and filling it up every morning.


I'm curious, and definitely not trying to steer you, but why did you choose hwy 58 between Lake Isabela and Bakersfield?


"Beginning about a dozen miles west of Bakersfield, Hwy 58 is a roller-coaster all the way to the coast. Giant sweepers with giddying changes in elevation run through pastoral farmland for more than an hour. Then suddenly the road tightens down into twisting loops as you dive into canyon country. Just as suddenly, it all stops and you find you've arrived at San Luis Obispo's back door. "

"In fact, except for the occasional farmhouse, you won't see much of anything. Near the western end, about 30 miles out, there is a campground in Calf Canyon. But it's so remote you may be the only one there. (Not for the faint of heart.) "

the reviews sold me on it
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If you are planning a stopping point about 45 minutes south of Fortuna I would recommend Miranda Garden Cottages on the Avenue of the Giants. I might be in the area staying there what is your timeline to get to that area I can adjust mine between the 28th and the 3rd.

i had someone on another forum also recommend this road as i didn't realize it ran parallel to 101. so i definitely am adding this. i'll probably be there around Sept 5-6.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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In my mind, and if I want to stop often to actually 'take in' the views, then 500 mpd is way too much. It can be awfully exhausting, but that's just based on some 8-9,000 mile trips I've taken. Also, when I'm traveling along any coast roadway, I like to have the pulloffs in my lane, which means going south along Hwy. 1.

Many of the roads you've mentioned I've ridden and written up on motorcycleroads.com, along with many photos. There are often alternate routes, like Route 36 or 299 from Red Bluff, CA. Each is terrific but different. One area will slow you down will be South Lake Tahoe. Tourists galore, but 89 north from there is beautiful.
:cool:
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as mentioned before, the 500/day is just an overall average because i'm hitting the beginning and end of the trip hard on the interstate to chew up as many miles/day as possible so i can slow it down a tad for the 'meat' of the trip. it feels like i can hit 5,000 miles in about a week and a half. i've done 4,000 in a week before. i just don't know how slow i'm gonna have to go in a bunch of places. maybe it's more accurate to just say i want to average 8-10 hours in the saddle each day.

it makes good sense, and i'll consider reversing my route. but for now, it makes sense to me because i plan on visiting some friends and family in TX on my way home which makes the current direction better as it is. even with the water on my left, i'd imagine i can still pull over to that side as well when i want, right? what is traffic like down that road?

i've probably read some of your reviews then since that's the site i've mostly been using to plan this trip. i think i'm gonna skip South lake Tahoe and try to hit the 431 Mt. Rose Hwy north of Tahoe.
 

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@bevo1981 looks like you have a good plan and since you have done a long trip before, it makes this one easier as you have a benchmark to go on.

Since you are going near Carson City, NV, you may want to veer off into the hills and go to Virginia City too. It is very much a tourist trap today but has some really cool history and you can see the 100 mile view. This is up the valley where the storekeepers would see the wagon trains coming a week in advance of their arrival. Food is quite good wherever I ate there in the past. If you need relaxation from the road, there are three ranches that provide such for you there: Sagebrush, Kit Kat and Love Ranch. Being that it a tourist area, their services are a little higher than other places, I hear...

Since you are on an Indian, you should try the Indian tacos somewhere along the way in Nevada or Utah for that matter. I love that hot flat bread.

I retired out of the Navy in Fallon, NV and looks like you will ride right through there. The Mexican food seems to be usually good here. Very different than what you may be accustomed to in south central Texas, but good none-the-less. Out east of town, you will ass by a singing mountain called "Sand Mountain. There are only three of these in the world. It is called a singing mountain due to the shifting sand causes a low frequency droning sound when the environmental conditions are right; it is pretty darn cool if you are there during a concert. You will get a little bit of dust on that Indian though.

There is an old Pony Express station in ruin right by the highway as it a place called Salt Wells. Lots of truckers stop here for refreshments and a massage to relax with, and the beer is cheap, so I've been told...

If you stop in Ely, NV I can recommend a good place to eat and see some history, The Jailhouse: Jailhouse Motel, Hotel, Casino, and Dining - Ely, Nevada (jailhousecasino.com). I had a surprisingly good steak there two years ago and I enjoy seeing the old photos of an area I am visiting.

And, not that you would need a relaxing 'massage' by now, but the Stardust Ranch and the Big 4 Ranch have such things for travelers and bikers. The Big 4 has better beer prices and prettier girls (so I heard)...

Please do show us your trip via those GoPros and other pictures, (maybe not from inside of any those before mentioned ranches) but the places along your route are indeed awesome to see.

Ride safe brother!
 

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"Beginning about a dozen miles west of Bakersfield, Hwy 58 is a roller-coaster all the way to the coast. Giant sweepers with giddying changes in elevation run through pastoral farmland for more than an hour. Then suddenly the road tightens down into twisting loops as you dive into canyon country. Just as suddenly, it all stops and you find you've arrived at San Luis Obispo's back door. "

"In fact, except for the occasional farmhouse, you won't see much of anything. Near the western end, about 30 miles out, there is a campground in Calf Canyon. But it's so remote you may be the only one there. (Not for the faint of heart.) "

the reviews sold me on it
That's the portion of 58 west of Bakersfield. I was referring to the ride between where you leave the 14 onto the 178 toward Lake Isabella. Just southwest of Lake Isabella you are jumping over to the 58 all the way to Bakersfield. You could stay on the 178 all the way from the 14 to Bakersfield, and 178 actually becomes 58 there in town. The thing that section of 178 (between Lake Isabella and Bakersfield) offers is that much of it runs along the Kern River. (Any Merle Haggard fans here?) On the other hand, 58 along there goes through Bodfish and Silver City Ghosttown. But those are both barely past the intersection and you could easily backtrack just a few miles to see those.

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