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Discussion Starter #1
I am planing a trip next year to do the coast hiway with eagle rider.
The San Francisco tour goes down the coast to San Luis Obispo the back inland towards Yosemite.
What is the best time of the year to do this trip (warm but not hot)?
I was talking to a guy who had done the trip at the end of August and said it was good weather.
I think I'll take the Harley since I've never been on one and my wife likes the look of that comfy back seat.
 

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Calif is easy, skip the tour and rent a 1200gs and go on your own. You are going to be disappointed on a HD. The best time would be July or Aug. May and June might be foggy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Calif is easy, skip the tour and rent a 1200gs and go on your own. You are going to be disappointed on a HD. The best time would be July or Aug. May and June might be foggy.
The main reason for the Harley was for all the storage.
I'm sure the Beemer would be more fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
When do the kids go back to school- less vacation traffic

I would like to take this trip just after the kids go back to shool.
Anyone know when this typically happens in central California.
 

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The main reason for the Harley was for all the storage.
I'm sure the Beemer would be more fun.
I work for a motorcycle rental shop in SF that has BMWs with side- and topcases, including super-comfy R1200RTs. Just FYI. ;)

In terms of the best time of year: if you want to avoid hot or chilly weather completely, there isn't one. However, the period from mid-September to mid-October is usually very nice; the worst of the summer heat is usually gone in the deserts and valleys, and the summer fog is not as omnipresent along the coast. Even so, you can expect a 30- to 40-degree temperature range along that route.... 50s and 60s along the coast and in the Sierra, 90s and 100s in the Central Valley.

I ride from SF to Death Valley during Columbus Day weekend every year; this past year was perfect, but the previous two years we had unseasonably early SNOW in the mountain passes.

The kiddies go back to school at the end of August, as far as I know.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I work for a motorcycle rental shop in SF that has BMWs with side- and topcases, including super-comfy R1200RTs. Just FYI. ;)

In terms of the best time of year: if you want to avoid hot or chilly weather completely, there isn't one. However, the period from mid-September to mid-October is usually very nice; the worst of the summer heat is usually gone in the deserts and valleys, and the summer fog is not as omnipresent along the coast. Even so, you can expect a 30- to 40-degree temperature range along that route.... 50s and 60s along the coast and in the Sierra, 90s and 100s in the Central Valley.

I ride from SF to Death Valley during Columbus Day weekend every year; this past year was perfect, but the previous two years we had unseasonably early SNOW in the mountain passes.

The kiddies go back to school at the end of August, as far as I know.
Great advice! Thanks.:thumbup:
It looks like we are going to go the first week of September, from what Ive read so far it fits best for what we want from the trip.
Due to the extreme temp changes you mentioned we will plan on taking cloathing that layers well. I was suprised at how low the temps can get.
I still haven't decided on what bike to rent though I'm leaning more towards the BMW.
 

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I would like to take this trip just after the kids go back to shool.
Anyone know when this typically happens in central California.
Heh, well being a teacher in central California myself, I go back to school the first part of August. Most schools here go back mid-August but there are still some stragglers that don't go back until after Labor Day weekend. Avoid coming Labor Day weekend at all costs.

Late May/early June is an AWESOME time to see Yosemite Valley's waterfalls and the wildflowers in the hills leading up to it. The passes may still be closed, but depending on the snow season, they could be open... impossible to make long-term plans for that. But, Memorial Day weekend in Yosemite is the single busiest weekend of the year... cars lined up for a mile waiting for parking spaces is no fun!

There is a place in San Francisco that rents BMW's with full panniers and tail cases. Jugo something or other... the owner is a member here. I'll look it up later... I'm gonna be late for church! If you ever look at Road Runner magazine, the last two issues had trip writeups that used a 1200gs rented from those guys.
 

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Here it is... http://www.dubbelju.com/index.htm

They have a good selection of bikes, not just HD and BMW. You can rent Hondas and such too.

I've never rented from them, but I have heard quite a few good things about them.
 

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I was suprised at how low the temps can get.
You'll also be surprised at how high the temps can get. The first half of September is really the height of summer here. You can definitely expect temperatures over 104F (40C) in the inland valleys -- even within 20 miles of downtown San Francisco. It's a dry heat, but if you're overdressed and/or inadequately hydrated, it can be pretty miserable. When I'm touring in the summertime, I usually wear my Aerostich and a Camelbak, and carry a fleece liner and an extra pair of gloves for the colder areas.

Re: rentals, I believe Eagle Rider rents BMWs, but so -- as mentioned above -- does Dubbelju Motorcycle Rentals, where I work part-time during the summer. If you're taking the Eagle Rider tour, you should be able to rent from Dubbelju if ER doesn't have the bike you want. Best thing to do is to give Dubbelju a call (see the above-linked website for the phone number), ask for Wolfgang or Cherie, and tell 'em Peter sent you.

I should also mention that there's another shop in town where you can rent Wee-Stroms. http://www.wildwestcyclerent.com . I think they can also provide cases. Dubbelju doesn't have any Wees, although we do have a couple of sweet (and FAST!) Tiger 1050s available.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Heh, well being a teacher in central California myself, I go back to school the first part of August. Most schools here go back mid-August but there are still some stragglers that don't go back until after Labor Day weekend. Avoid coming Labor Day weekend at all costs.

Late May/early June is an AWESOME time to see Yosemite Valley's waterfalls and the wildflowers in the hills leading up to it. The passes may still be closed, but depending on the snow season, they could be open... impossible to make long-term plans for that. But, Memorial Day weekend in Yosemite is the single busiest weekend of the year... cars lined up for a mile waiting for parking spaces is no fun!

There is a place in San Francisco that rents BMW's with full panniers and tail cases. Jugo something or other... the owner is a member here. I'll look it up later... I'm gonna be late for church! If you ever look at Road Runner magazine, the last two issues had trip writeups that used a 1200gs rented from those guys.
Thanks for the heads up on labor day weekend.
I'll push it back another week. I'm not real good at waiting in lines.
I checked the Eagle Riders site and they have BMW touring bikes.
 

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Thanks for the heads up on labor day weekend.
I'll push it back another week. I'm not real good at waiting in lines.
I checked the Eagle Riders site and they have BMW touring bikes.
You could come the week or two before Labor Day. As long as you hit the park on a Tuesday through Thursday, the crowds will be minimal.

If you have the time, make sure you leave the park via Tioga Pass (hwy 120) heading east and come back into the Central Valley headed west via Sonora Pass (hwy 108). You will NOT be sorry that you did. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You could come the week or two before Labor Day. As long as you hit the park on a Tuesday through Thursday, the crowds will be minimal.

If you have the time, make sure you leave the park via Tioga Pass (hwy 120) heading east and come back into the Central Valley headed west via Sonora Pass (hwy 108). You will NOT be sorry that you did. :thumbup:

I'm thinking that if I leave before labor day weekend there may still be a lot of family vacationers on the roads since school may still be out.

Tioga pass to sonora pass fits perfectlty in our plans. Day 4 we will be in Oakhurst heading to Modesto. We can make the loop you suggested which then sends on course back to Medesto.:thumbup:
 

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So you are going to go over Sonora Pass to 395, then over Tioga Pass and into Yosemite Valley then south to Oakhurst?

From Oakhurst to Modesto, the route I suggest is to take hwy 49 and hit a stretch of road on 49 we affectionately call "The Little Dragon" and then to hwy 132 at Coulterville into Modesto. That's a very nice route. It will be dry and brown that time of year but it still has its beauty. In the late spring that ride is amazing... green and all kinds of wildflowers everywhere. 132 into Modesto follows the river into town.

If your next destination is back to the bay area, then consider taking Del Puerto Canyon road out of Patterson/I-5 over Mt Hamilton to the Lick Observatory and then down into San Jose. That is an amazing trip and a favorite road of both central valley folk and bay area folk.

Don't get too excited about Modesto though... it's good for a warm bed at night but that's about it. lol... I can say that because I live 14 miles from there in Turlock and the same can be said for us too!
 

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From Oakhurst to Modesto, the route I suggest is to take hwy 49 and hit a stretch of road on 49 we affectionately call "The Little Dragon" and then to hwy 132 at Coulterville into Modesto. That's a very nice route. It will be dry and brown that time of year but it still has its beauty. In the late spring that ride is amazing... green and all kinds of wildflowers everywhere. 132 into Modesto follows the river into town.

If your next destination is back to the bay area, then consider taking Del Puerto Canyon road out of Patterson/I-5 over Mt Hamilton to the Lick Observatory and then down into San Jose. That is an amazing trip and a favorite road of both central valley folk and bay area folk.
Great suggestions! :hurray: 132 from Modesto over to I-5 isn't exactly pleasant, but it's over with quickly.

Re: the passes, Tioga Pass is amazing (especially the eastern part, from the entrance station to 395) but there's usually quite a bit of traffic, and it costs $10 to get in -- though since you're going to Yosemite anyway, I suppose that's a bit of a moot point. Sonora Pass (108 ) and Ebbetts Pass (4) are my favorites by far.

Definitely buy a copy of "Destination Highways Northern California." It contains painstakingly detailed information about all of the best roads here in NorCal. It's a bit quirky (there's the understatement of the decade) but lots of fun to read.

http://norcal.destinationhighways.com/
 

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I would tend to agree with DTP on the time of year. In the early spring all the hills are green with new growth. Yes, you may get fog along the coast but travel later in the summer or fall and much of California is brown or olive drab at best.

I ran up from Los Angeles to Monterey the middle of last May and it was great. Brisk days (overpants weather) but clear. By July anything inland is in the 90s.
 

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I would tend to agree with DTP on the time of year. In the early spring all the hills are green with new growth. Yes, you may get fog along the coast but travel later in the summer or fall and much of California is brown or olive drab at best.
However, the high Sierra passes are usually closed till mid-April at least. This past year I rode over Sonora Pass two days after it re-opened -- May 16. Tioga Pass sometimes stays closed until the end of June.
 

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However, the high Sierra passes are usually closed till mid-April at least. This past year I rode over Sonora Pass two days after it re-opened -- May 16. Tioga Pass sometimes stays closed until the end of June.
Yep, I went over the same day and May 16 is an early day for the passes opening. So far, we are getting dumped-on with the rain and the snow this El Nino season. If it continues like this we may be in for late dates for the passes.

However, Yosemite Valley and the surrounding foothills are much more attractive in late May/Early June and there is still plenty of awesome riding to be had in the middle part of the state even without the passes.

A nice early alternative to Ebbets/Sonora/Tioga passes would be a trip up US50 to see South Lake Tahoe which I think is a pretty darn close 2nd to Yosemite for the most beautiful scenery on earth.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So you are going to go over Sonora Pass to 395, then over Tioga Pass and into Yosemite Valley then south to Oakhurst?

From Oakhurst to Modesto, the route I suggest is to take hwy 49 and hit a stretch of road on 49 we affectionately call "The Little Dragon" and then to hwy 132 at Coulterville into Modesto. That's a very nice route. It will be dry and brown that time of year but it still has its beauty. In the late spring that ride is amazing... green and all kinds of wildflowers everywhere. 132 into Modesto follows the river into town.

If your next destination is back to the bay area, then consider taking Del Puerto Canyon road out of Patterson/I-5 over Mt Hamilton to the Lick Observatory and then down into San Jose. That is an amazing trip and a favorite road of both central valley folk and bay area folk.

Don't get too excited about Modesto though... it's good for a warm bed at night but that's about it. lol... I can say that because I live 14 miles from there in Turlock and the same can be said for us too!

This is great info!

I'll actually be going the reverse, Starting at Oakhurst, then spend some time in Yomsemite. From there I will go east on 129, north on 395, back west through somoma pass towards Medesto. After Medesto we will be heading back to San Franciso which will mark the end of the tour.
It may be a long day so the only thing I will need to get excited about at Medesto is a cold drink and a warm bed.
 
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