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Discussion Starter #1
So guys I'm having a wedding next Septermber, 2015. I'm pretty stoked for the honeymoon, but really need some knowledge and advice. We're going to be doing a tour of the California coast, all along Rt. 1, from San Francisco to San Diego. The plan is to fly out to SF airport, get in touch with Eaglerider, and rent a bike to ride down south. We're thinking on flying out Thursday the 24th, and heading home Monday Oct. 5th. That would leave us 10 full days of riding and 2 days for logistical things such as flights, returning the bikes, rental car, etc.

So my first question is, is 10 days enough to fully enjoy the trip? I may be able to squeeze another 2 or 3 into it if it's really worth it. It looks like it's about 550-600 miles down the coast, depending which exact route you take. Ideally we would like to keep riding down to 100 miles or less per day.

Question two is, what are some of the overnight cities or towns that are a MUST? any that are worth staying multiple days? For overnight stays, the list so far is SF, Carmel, Big Sur, and Santa Barbara. We still need a few more.

Has anyone done a trip like this? What are your regrets, and what was a definite must-see or do. I'd love some of the veteran riders' input.
 

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THere are many touristy points along the way. Cambria, Morro Bay, etc. Lots to see a bit inland too. Like all the wineries near Paso Robles. 10 days to do 600 miles should leave time for activities. Check with your local Auto Club, if a member, for travel suggestions.
Since you are not limited to a weekend trip the traffic should be less irritation. You will be traveling after school is back in session so the will be a bonus...no vacationing families. Just bring a fat, paid up credit card, it ain't cheap.
 

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very much worth the trip. I have done this and all of it is beautiful. for bike rental you might try Dubbelju (spelling not guaranteed ) in S.F. they are located in almost downtown and were very good for me. if you have time Yosemite is worth it. just turn around before you get into L.A as there was nothing south worth the ride. just my opinion.
 

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As notacop stated, the cities mentioned are very expensive to stay in. If finances are a factor, consider overnighting in outlying cities. Yosemity NP is a must and traveling north through Sequoia NF to get there would be a preferred route. I've ridden Hwy 1 from the bay are to LA and back Hwy 5 in one day with no sight seeing, and think that a day in SF and Carmel and a half day in SB and big Sur would be plenty. Personally I would prefer to take in the spledure of our National Parks and Forrests here such as Yosemity and a Death Valley, and with a few additional miles per day and some planning, could be incorporated into your schedule. Either way, you will enjoy the diversity that Ca. has to offer.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
looked up Dubbelju, and I think that's going to be the way to go. Seems like it will be significantly cheaper, and they have a couple cool bikes that Eaglerider didn't have. I also like how they keep things simple. No "VIP" packages or confusing tiers of coverage. Our total budget for the trip is about $5000, but after breaking down the cost of things it looks like 10 days won't be possible. thinking about dropping the trip to 8 riding days, 2 travel and misc. days.

I'm starting to think keeping the ride a little more north is the way to go. Maybe start in SF, head up to Arcata and the redwoods, and then turn around and head south down the coast. I don't have a strong urge to visit LA, and now that you guys recommend avoiding the south it sounds even less appealing. SF-Arcata-Santa Barbara is what I'm thinking now, with overnight towns in between. Definitely don't care to stay in 5 star hotels the whole trip. Maybe ONE night would be fun, but the wife and I much prefer smaller, more genuine bed and breakfast type lodging. I'm glad I started this thread now, it seems there is still a lot I have to sort out lol.

As for bikes, what sounds appealing? Here's a link to Dubbelju's inventory. The Electra Glide is looking like the yacht of choice so far. Or there's the Wee, which would feel right at home...

http://www.dubbelju.com/Bikes-for-Rent.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #6
looked up Dubbelju, and I think that's going to be the way to go. Seems like it will be significantly cheaper, and they have a couple cool bikes that Eaglerider didn't have. I also like how they keep things simple. No "VIP" packages or confusing tiers of coverage. Our total budget for the trip is about $5000, but after breaking down the cost of things it looks like 10 days won't be possible. thinking about dropping the trip to 8 riding days, 2 travel and misc. days.

I'm starting to think keeping the ride a little more north is the way to go. Maybe start in SF, head up to Arcata and the redwoods, and then turn around and head south down the coast. I don't have a strong urge to visit LA, and now that you guys recommend avoiding the south it sounds even less appealing. SF-Arcata-Santa Barbara is what I'm thinking now, with overnight towns in between. Definitely don't care to stay in 5 star hotels the whole trip. Maybe ONE night would be fun, but the wife and I much prefer smaller, more genuine bed and breakfast type lodging. I'm glad I started this thread now, it seems there is still a lot I have to sort out lol.

As for bikes, what sounds appealing? Here's a link to Dubbelju's inventory. The Electra Glide is looking like the yacht of choice so far. Or there's the Wee, which would feel right at home...

Bikes-for-Rent
 

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Guys are right, LA sucks as does the travel south to San Diego but there are a ton of interesting things along the way if you like museums and POI's.
There is a whale watching station at Palos Verdes but that is probably the wrong time of year. I've seen the whale cavort in Hawaii, they don't do dat along the So Cal
coast. They low ride past here.
Going North from SF will allow a visit to the Wine Country of Napa/Sonoma. Very scenic and romantic, especially with the special bottle of wine.
Going up to Eureka along 101 through the Redwoods would be good. Going South from there through Ferndale to the start of the Lost Coast is interesting.
Then you can drop down to the coast and Hwy1 and head back to SF. Heading further South from SF to San Luis Obispo is good too. One cool thing a bit further South is going out to Jalama beach for a burger. Neat beach. Great burgers. You can reserve the camping cabins but all else is first come/first served. There are a couple places, Solvand being one, at the Southern end that has some tourist appeal. Good wineries in the area too.
 

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North to the redwoods is a great idea. The roads are slow, so allow plenty of time, anywhere along the coast. South of SF is the Hurst Castle, which is worth a stop. Pretty interesting how the "other half" lived. There's a wonderful aquarium in Monterey, too. I honeymooned in Santa Barbara about 50 years ago. Major rainfall. You couldn't even find the swimming pool. Underwater. But I digress......
 

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Going to be Newlyweds? Awesome. :thumbup:

This is one of my most favorite drives in California...

Highway 1 from Santa Barbara to your destination in San Francisco (imo) is the best ride. Beautiful coastline to one side, rolling hills to the other, the great big Pacific Ocean that seems to go on forever. Highway 1 goes down near sea level in many areas, and climbs to elevations a few hundred feet above. Spectacular road.

If you do go this way make sure you stop in in the little town of Cambria. You and your wife will love it. Especially her. Lots of charming places to visit all up and down Main Street. Stop for lunch or dinner at the Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill on Moonstone Beach Drive. Grab a table that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The ocean is across the street and only a few steps from the restaurant. My wife and I visit Cambria often. It's one of our most favorite coastal towns. The noisiest it gets is hearing the waves crash on the shore.

Cambria Chamber of Commerce - Cambria California, USA

Welcome to See Cambria, photos, basic info and businesses | Cambria | California | Central Coast | Hearst Castle | Galleries | Gourmet Food | Unique Shopping Opportunities

:)
 

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Don't set a destination. Ride and stop at every place that interests you two. Plan your time to zip back for the return. The coast is great, but so are the Sierras, especially the east side. North is good, too. CA-1 north of SF has sections that would break a snake's back, and you'll always be stuck behind a Winnebego or a Prius at the fun parts.... The road from Crescent City to Grant's Pass is classic.
 

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From San Francisco I would head north rather than south for far less population. Though the pavement is old and rough the Lost Coast is a special place to see. Pashnit Motoroads has 'Intelligence on every good road in the state' (there is a $20 subscription)

And yes the Sierra Nevada are a must......especially the underdeveloped east side.

And while your on the east side Death Valley National Park is a must.

Lost Coast - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Avenue of the Giants :: Northern California :: US HWY 101

http://www.pashnit.com/motoroads.htm
 

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It depends on what you like...

I live in LA but I like north of San Fran much better.
That said the drive down the 1 from Santa Cruz through big sur is a pretty incredible ride. A nice way to do it is go down the coast and come back up through hunterligget and into Carmel valley road.

Lost coast is a whole other world as are the redwoods.
The Santa Cruz mountains have world class roads if you like tight twisty snarly second growth timber forests.

Frisco has great food and expensive everything.

LA has a ton of shops restaurant beaches and all the other reason people come here. If you like tv shows and movies there is that whole side of the tourism deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thought I'd throw in an update. The plane tickets are booked, as is the bike! We will be traveling on an Electra Glide. We shortened the trip from what we had originally planned. Both time and length, but I don't think it will make things any less special or fun. We're arriving in SanFran around 8am, so we have the whole day to explore all the sites before checking out the bike the following day. From SF we head north through Petaluma to stay hello to some family, and further to stay with my uncle in Ukiah. From there we journey on to Eureka, before finally beginning south. Ft. Bragg is the next stop, followed by Point Reyes. Then to Carmel, and on to Big Sur where we end the trip. The final riding day we will head north from Big Sur back to SF, and catch a flight the following evening, giving us one more chance to explore the Bay Area. All said, 9 days total with 7 being on a motorcycle. I have family in Sacramento, Petaluma, Ukiah, and Humboldt. It should be an absolute blast. I welcome all criticism or suggestions, this will definitely be my longest trip on a bike.
 

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Some of my favorites in N. Cal
Café Aquatica in Jenner. Great food and ambience, on the mouth of the Russian River
Black Lightning Motorcycle Café in Eureka.
Tomales Bakery in Tomales, biker hangout, say hello to the baker, Randall
Bones Roadhouse in Gualala, BBQ with a view
Samoa Cookhouse, cheap plentiful food, logging museum, since 1890
Lost Coast Brewery, Ferndale, good beer, decent grub
Phil's Fish Market and Eatery, Moss Landing, south of SF. on the beach. Best Cioppino in the world, I kid you not. Also great seafood.
Nicks Cove on Tomales Bay, Dungeness crab mac and cheese-not much more to say about that.
Hog Island Oysters on Tomales Bay

After your visit in Ukiah, take the Ukiah-Comptche Rd west to Mendocino on Hwy 1. Stop in Mendocino and take your bride shopping, eat at the Mendocino Cafe or spend the night. Many hotels and B&B's. You can thank me later.
 

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Sounds like a fantastic way to honeymoon. Enjoy
 

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Sounds like a great loop to make, I agree that Norcal is great riding, but often a little more laid back, curvy, shady, etc. There are really nice canyon and runs through the Chapperel landscape south of San Jose to San Luis Obisbo, faster, straighter, desolate, it has its own value, and really nice on a large touring bike. Coastal riding in many spots takes twice as long as you think so keeping that to lower mileage is the way to go because being in a rush on Big Sur or on many parts of the PCH will only get you into trouble. Riding in the redwood areas is phenomenal, the little towns have their own uniqueness (ie hippy/wine/smoke culture). Russian River is a great area, renting a house there amongst the trees is very romantic and relaxing. Marin and Mendocino counties have great roads through farmlands as well as wooded areas. If you can't get far enough north to the Avenue of the Giants (an amazing place to ride), at least see Muir Woods just north of SF.

As for San Fran....I live in the Bay Area......its a great place, yes expensive, but most major cities are, but you get access to some very cool stuff and upper scale/trendy stuff. But park the bike and use a taxi, uber or the mass transit system. Unless you are used to it, and on a dirt bike, you do not want to learn how to ride the hills on a large bike two up in SF. Plus, the traffic and worse, the pedestrians will kill you. I take the train into the city, cabs and BART and have a wonderful day without worrying about parking ($$$).

Heading south from SF toward Carmel, you can do the PCH, but you might want to do Skyline Drive, have breakfast at Alice's Restaurant, major biker hangout, and then I would actually go into San Jose and south through Uvas Canyon to Watsonville/San Juan Bautista (great Spanish Mission there to visit) and then Moss Creek for lunch (as another poster mentioned) or straight into Monterey and then Carmel. The reason for this is that from Santa Cruz south for a ways, you are not on the coast and US1 is just busy, crowded and boring.

The coast from Pacifica to Santa Cruz is really nice, and much easier to drive than Big Sur, pretty much 55 mph, and during the week the traffic is light. You can eat in Half Moon Bay, Pescadero, or in Santa Cruz. You can actually do Alice's and then head for the PCH so you get a little bit of mountain and coastal riding south of Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz (folks call this the Slow Coast, farming, artists, and really nice views without having to worry about driving off a cliff).

One thing about California (Norcal) in general........prepare for all types of weather, you must have layers on you at all times, the coast can go from sunny to fogged out, hot and cold all within ten miles. San Francisco in general is always cool, valleys can be 90 and the coast can be 50, gearing up and down is what we do, you have to carry versatile gear for this.

Have fun.

Pashmit is a great resource for roads in Norcal for sure, research it.

Send me a PM if you want more detailed routes through or feedback on specific roads in the Santa Cruz mountains, south of San Jose to Hollister, etc.
 

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As notacop stated, the cities mentioned are very expensive to stay in. If finances are a factor, consider overnighting in outlying cities. Yosemity NP is a must and traveling north through Sequoia NF to get there would be a preferred route. I've ridden Hwy 1 from the bay are to LA and back Hwy 5 in one day with no sight seeing, and think that a day in SF and Carmel and a half day in SB and big Sur would be plenty. Personally I would prefer to take in the spledure of our National Parks and Forrests here such as Yosemity and a Death Valley, and with a few additional miles per day and some planning, could be incorporated into your schedule. Either way, you will enjoy the diversity that Ca. has to offer.
Absolutely. 10 days is WAY too long just for that portion of the CA coast, which is more of a "look at the scenery as you pass by" thing than something you will want to stop for -- except for photos, of course. Hearst Castle and Monterey Bay Aquarium are about the only specific sites I can think of that are worth visiting along that route. Definitely get over to Yosemite (preferably not on a weekend) and Kings Canyon/Sequoia.

Personally I would go north from SF rather than south, but that's just me.

Edit: Oops! Wrote this without reading all of the preceding posts. At least we are all in general agreement.
 
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