Australian VStrom Owner needs advice for Visit to California - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 26 Old 01-22-2010, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Australian VStrom Owner needs advice for Visit to California

Please excuse me if I posted this incorrectly as I am new.
I am visiting California for the first couple of weeks in March.
Staying in San Francisco for a week then got 8 days free.
Planning to hire a bike and maybe visit Grand Canyon area, Death Valley, Yosemite's. I am a bit concerned about the weather being cold and wet. Can anyone help with some advice on what weather I should expect, Motorcycle clothing sellers in San Francisco or any other advice.

Regards Glenn from Western Australia - DL650K7 owner
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 12:53 AM
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I live several hundred miles from Death Valley. As I recall my brother and I visited there a couple years ago around that time. It rained on us, go figure, pretty rare. The weather was nice after the rain passed, naturally a jacket is always a handy thing to have about. At the lowest point in DV it was about 90 though, and somewhere in the 70's during the day, elsewhere. It is a large national park so don't under estimate distances. Fuel can be found in the park for reasonable prices. We spent two days there, camped. It's a nice ride mostly on back roads to Las Vegas. Just don't return on a Sunday to anywhere south of Vegas. Traffic can be a nightmare.

I've been to Yosemite several times, it's about 8 hours from my house. I haven't been there at that time of the year though. The temps can get pretty cool in the evenings and I would expect rain as a just in case. Checking weather as the time gets closer is certainly worth your while.

I've only been to the Grand Canyon once, but as I checked the averages, it's cold at night and cool in the day. Freezing at night. I would prepare for rain to be safe. It's a desert but you could still get wet.

San Francisco is big, I can't imagine you wouldn't be able to find all you need there. However, I don't know the city so can't do much there. I'm guessing that a net search will help in locating dealers local to where your staying.

I'd be happy to help you in anything you might need being relatively close to your destinations. Well, relative is a loose term in this sense though, but close compared to Australia.

Ride safe,
Scott
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post #3 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 07:05 AM
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I doubt whether you will get into Yosemite on a motorcycle in March. The passes will most likely be still closed.
Why not stick near the coast. A couple of days travelling north and back will give excellent riding and then a couple of more days south through Big Sur and Carmel then back to SF.
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 07:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks to Scott and K1W1 for the good information about California and nearby areas. I might have to rethink my travel destinations on the bike. Out climate in Oz is not so cold. Rain is OK but not so good when it's very cold too. I will keep researching on the Internet..... Regardz from Glenn.
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 08:23 AM
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I'm a little late to this party, but I agree with K1W1 that March is pretty iffy for motorcycling in the Sierra. Certainly the high passes will be closed by snow, but it is possible that there would be a spell of good weather that would allow a visit to Yosemite if entering from the west side.

Grand Canyon? Again it's a bit of a crapshoot. I've been there in March and it was just fine -- but you never know. It's the high desert, after all. If you do include Grands Canyon, plan only on visiting the south rim because the north rim will almost certainly be closed by snow.

I'm not so sure about the coast, either. You could see a lot of wet weather over there, and when it's wet it's also pretty cold -- hell, it's sometimes pretty brisk even in the summer when the sun is shining.

Your safest bet by far is to plan for Death Valley/Las Vegas and environs. While lacking the scenery of the coast or high Sierra that area has its own unique charms -- and with all the rain we are currently getting there might be a very spectacular spring wildflower show in the desert just as there was a few years ago.

Feel free to PM me as your plans firm up, and I'll keep you updated on conditions -- or if you want more specific tourist-type advice before then.

I don't know much about cycle clothing stores in SF, as I live in the Sierra foothills near Sacramento. There are some very decent (and cheap) stores around here, but that might not fit into your plans. Are you going to rent a bike?

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post #6 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 05:27 PM
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Smile

The South Rim of Grand Canyon is about 300 miles from Las Vegas.
Weather can be a little iffy at that time of year if you decide to ride
to the South Rim. Also, helicopter tours from Las Vegas are available
to fly over Grand Canyon. The North Rim of Grand Canyon do not open
until May IIRC.

Check links from our local newspaper for info: www.lvrj.com

Enjoy your trip.

Paul

First comes the experience, then comes the lesson.
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to MikeB and Norstrom for the local advice. I was planning to hire a bike in San Francisco and ride for a week or so and return it to San Francisco. My plan was to hire a Harley Davidson because it's just something I wanted to try and they seem cheaper to hire. I will be entering and leaving the USA at San Francisco. I am committed to the early March trip because of a Seminar I am attending in San Francisco.
...Glenn...
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post #8 of 26 Old 01-23-2010, 09:57 PM
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Grand Canyon

I've done week long backpacking trips in the Grand Canyon, both times in early April. On the second trip the south rim got a significant amount of snow one day (rain for us a mile lower in the canyon) and even more snow on the north rim which is about 1500 higher than the south.
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post #9 of 26 Old 01-24-2010, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
I am committed to the early March trip because of a Seminar I am attending in San Francisco.
Glenn, as the date gets closer any of us in the area can give you a weather update and appropriate route suggestions. Early March, however, almost certainly dictates something in the desert SW rather than the high country. If you PM me while you are in SF I'll give you my phone # and we can discuss the latest conditions and route possibilities.

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post #10 of 26 Old 01-24-2010, 04:42 PM
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You can certainly do a nice loop south and west from San Francisco at that time of year. The Sierra's are definitely out as there will still be snow almost anywhere in the mountains north of Fresno. I highly recommend that from San Francisco you head straight south and take Rt 1, Pacific Coast highway all the way to San Diego.

Here are two places that I have rented from that were similar in price to renting a Harley. Rented a K1200GT from Pacific Cycle.

http://www.pacificcyclecompany.com/

Rented a ST1300 from CMA

http://www.californiamotorcycleadventures.com/

I have yet to find a place in California that rents V-Stroms. I'm not sure how far you are comfortable riding each day. Here is a suggested itinerary that might work for you. It will be 4-8 hours of riding each day but will allow you to see almost everything worth seeing and riding.

San Francisco to Cambria or Paso Robles
Cambria to Northern Los Angeles
LA to Palm Springs or Indio (and you have to ride the mountains around Idyllwild)
Palm Springs to Sedona AZ
Sedona to Las Vegas
Las Vegas to Ridgecrest (through Death Valley)
Ridgecrest to Visalia or Fresno(and Sequoia National Park even though maybe snow there)
Visalia to SF (though Coalinga and Hollister on Rt 129 and 25)
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