I've posted this in ADVRider Group but just wanted to my friends over here to see too in case they don't visit that forum...
Even though now I am on a GSA, after all I discovered most of these routes on an RT first...
Well let me begin with answering the obvious question at everybody has in mind first:
- Yes my butt and my calves were sore.... What else you can expect at age 61.
I've had 3 days free time and decided to make a quick exploratory trip. I say exploratory because I tried to see the first time the Northern portion of Highway 1.
Those of you may already been on or heard of Highway 1 is one of the most scenic routes in the US mostly runs right on the Pacific Coast between San Diego and almost to Seattle.
Well, in the past I've been on San Diego to Los Angeles portion of it which is crowded, noisy and simply "yikes"!
Then comes to Los Angeles to San Francisco portion where you find the beautiful Big Sur coastline in addition to the interesting small towns like Solvang, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Monterey, Santa Cruz along the route.
Then San Francisco to Oregon Border section comes which is my favorite route. From Stinson Beach all the way to Crescent City. But the road goes too much inland and away from the ocean for my taste right after you pass few miles North of tiny town of Westport, I always skipped Eureka and Crescent City portions until this past few days.
So I thought how can I fit almost 1600 miles in 3 days and see all the portions of Highway 1 that I never saw before?
Day 1: I've left home at 8:00am and head for Astoria, OR on 5 Freeway passing thru Stockton, Sacramento, Red Bluff, Redding, Mt. Shasta, Grant Pass, Eugene, Salem, Portland and by 8:15 pm I parked in front of my Best Western in Astoria. It was 798 miles and took me 12,5 hrs. Not bad...
The bad news was the weather. It was overcast, cold and wet, wet, wet.... It looked like it was raining and after first 11 hrs in temperatures of 90+ last hr and a half at 50s were awakening and torturous.
Day 2: As my genius plan, I've left my hotel at 7:00 am to cover the coastal route all the way down to Eureka/Fortuna area and see these mysterious part of the Highway 1.
Long story short my final assessment for this portion of the Highway 1 is "meh"... Not bad but nothing to compare to L.A. to San Francisco portion of the route and doesn't even compare to SF to Westport portion of the route.
I've found OR to be an odd state in many way. Don't know why but it is what it is!
What makes this portion of the Highway 1 "meh" is because most of the route you can't see the ocean due to scenery either blocked by giant and dense trees or buildings of residents of these small towns or due to road being just enough distance away from the ocean and ducted behind a small hill all along the way.
Unlike Big Sur coast or SF to Westport portion of the route OR coast is filled with tiny little communities at every few miles and here's the magical part; almost all of these tiny towns speed limit is 20mph and cops were hunting the cars, bikes, RVs like swatting flies. I came a few close "wheeeeewww" moments but escaped that nightmare scenario thankfully.
The other point is between Astoria and California border highway one has a really heavy traffic due to these many little towns spread along the route and single lane roads are heavily used by timber loaded 18 wheelers and regular residence who seemed really enjoying their head spinning 20mph speed limit.
Almost every town I passed something was there impossible to miss... Each one of these tiny communities had a very delightfully lighted with colorful neons and huge signs had a "CANNABIS" business!!! "Best Cannabis", "Ocean Cannabis" "High-Way Cannabis" etc... No wonder 20 mph must be feeling like a warp speed to some residents probably.
Any who, by 6:30 pm I stopped at my hotel for night 2 and odometer showed 464 miles.
This morning I was tired and lazy. So I left my Fortuna hotel at 9:00 am and thru Ukiah, Petaluma, Benicia, Dublin, Gustine aaaand Home! Odometer added another 364 miles.
Total of 1626 miles... Ride time 28 hrs. including the fuel, bathroom and snack stops...
Along the last day's route first 100 miles were some nice scenery with Giant Sequoia trees and nice wide good surfaced roads with very light traffic. But that was it!
So if I have to grade the sections of Highway 1 , it should go as follows:
San Diego to Los Angeles... Actually this one doesn't even count as a bike route but still since a part of Highway 1 = *
Los Angeles to San Francisco... Specifically between Pismo Beach - Monterey = *****
San Francisco to CA/ OR border... Specifically between Stinson Beach - Westport = *****
Oregon Coast from CA/OR border to Astoria, OR (all the way) = **
So, my idea of what I could be missing by not experiencing the Highway 1 by Oregon Coast ended up being "not much"...
I was expecting to be amazed like I do every time I ride thru Big Sur or Mendocino coastline routes but it didn't happen.
Oh well, still 3 days on the bike beats any other alternative I could've been doing during that time.
Ride safe friends,
P.S. One more thought just flashed back to me that I think I am right on my assessment because at this time of the year no matter what day you ride at Big Sur or Mendocino routes you come across ton of bikers. Groups, couples, individuals.... At every vista point, cafe, gas station you see ton of bikes loaded with bags and goodies as an indication that they are on a road trip. But, on my OR route throughout that 464 miles I think I saw not more than a dozen of bikers and half of them were local guys riding choppers in sleeveless shirts look like going to the local weed shop