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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going out to California in July 2015. I am currently debating towing or riding the bikes from Dallas, TX to Visalia, CA. From there it will be Hearst Castle to San Francisco to Eureka, CA. After that, we head up to Umpqua, OR, then over to Klamath Falls, OR before coming south into Reno. A loop around Lake Tahoe then through Yosemite on the way back to Visalia, CA where we will load up, hit Las Vegas for a night and then head back to Texas.

I have never been on a long ride like that with the bike yet, so I'm plan on using this as my idea/question area as I learn about planning such a trip, etc.

Some quick details that are probably needed for the future:

My Bike: 2015 H-D Road King (stock)
Her Bike: 2002 Honda Shadow 750 ACE (windshield and saddlebags, otherwise stock)

I have been using some road trip planning software, and I also own the Butler Maps for the regions involved. If anyone is curious about the exact route planned so far, I can post up some screenshots, and probably a kmz file if so curious. I have always GPS tracked all my motorcycle riding, so I will defiantly have kmz and gpx files of our route after the trip.

Anyway, I'm a total newb to overnight multi-day trips on a bike (though have done lots of camping/backpacking in general), so I'm all ears when it comes to ideas/suggestions/warnings/etc.

Here is the current itinerary:

Thur, July 9th - (6pm-ish) Leave Dallas, TX
Fri, July 10th - Arrive in Visalia, hang out with friends and rest before the main event road trip
Sat, July 11th - Leave Visalia, visit Hearst Castle, end up in San Francisco (accommodations not decided yet)
Sun, July 12th - SF to Eureka via the PCH (Eureka KOA campsite reserved)
Mon, July 13th - Camping in Eureka (Eureka KOA campsite reserved)
Tue, July 14th - Ride up to Umpqua State Lighthouse Park (cabin reserved)
Wed, July 15th - Umpqua Camping (cabin reserved)
Thur, July 16th - Upmqua to Klamath Falls (hotel reserved)
Fri, July 17th - Ride to Carson City, NV (staying with a friend)
Sat, July 18th - Ride through Yosemite back to Visalia, CA (staying with a friend)
Sun, July 19th - Leave for home
 

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It's over 1500 miles to Visalia. That's a lot of miles in two days and then your going to be traveling every day for several hours for 11 days andthen another 1500 plus going back home. If you've never done any long bike rides before, that's a pretty hectic schedule that won't leave you much time to really enjoy the ride. I suggest you trailer the bikes to Cali and then ride. It will be a lot nicer ride.
 

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I agree completely with jpr1968. To begin with if you intend to leave Dallas in the evening and make it to Visalia by the evening of next day (surely you can't mean that -- it's an Iron Butt and a half!!) you will have to travel overnight without a break. Fatigue, highway speed and the occasional animal running out in front of you from the darkness make that a very risky proposition. In a truck it's maybe possible by taking turns driving but physically impossible to ride a motorcycle that far that fast even for 99% of experienced long-distance riders, and you admit to being a newb. Can't be done. Seriously. Even two days is inadequate for that distance even if you have the endurance of a migratory bird.

The rest of the itinerary is doable in the allotted time frame -- but if grind yourselves down at the very beginning you won't enjoy it very much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I agree completely with jpr1968. To begin with if you intend to leave Dallas in the evening and make it to Visalia by the evening of next day (surely you can't mean that -- it's an Iron Butt and a half!!) you will have to travel overnight without a break. Fatigue, highway speed and the occasional animal running out in front of you from the darkness make that a very risky proposition. In a truck it's maybe possible by taking turns driving but physically impossible to ride a motorcycle that far that fast even for 99% of experienced long-distance riders, and you admit to being a newb. Can't be done. Seriously. Even two days is inadequate for that distance even if you have the endurance of a migratory bird.

The rest of the itinerary is doable in the allotted time frame -- but if grind yourselves down at the very beginning you won't enjoy it very much.
The original itinerary had us driving a truck, so straight through leaving in the evening was preferred. If we decide to ride it, we would leave early that morning, stop somewhere in the middle for the night, then continue the next day onto Visalia. Yeah, I wouldn't attempt a straight through on a motorcycle, I'm not nearly that brave/dumb, lol.
 

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Once you gat to Oregon, you should go to Crater Lake. Klamath Falls isn't that great, but CL is amazing and not too far from Crater Lake. Rt 138 into Crater Lake area is amazingly beautiful.
K Falls to Carson City is a very long day.

Send me a Private message if you'd like more advice about Oregon.
Bill
 

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Pch

I gotta hand it to your girlfriend, riding a 750 (chain drive?)in California wore me out! Not to mention my 750 ACE just did not have the gump to pass anyone going up the Sierra hill to Truckee. Over a 7,000 foot climb in less than 80 miles. Of course you are going to be going up the PCH which ain't nearly as tall, but there are some really steep climbs on some really twisty parts of that road above Frisco. By twisty, I mean 180 deg turns.
You and her will also be dealing with a ton of motor homes and travel trailers during that time of year. PCH is a favorite for vacationers during July. Oh yeah, it gets foggy along the coast in the summer time. Bowlbug can give ya more info about that. He lives on the coast.
OK, enough negativism! Now the good part. The PCH from southern California to Northern is awesome!
If you have nothing against Hostels the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel | Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel Is just outside of Frisco and right on the coast and really cheap. $78.00 a night for private rooms, $27 for dorm rooms. I would think your girlfriend would really appreciate a bed & bath after that ride up from Visalia.
I have lived in California pert near all my life and I always get lost in San Francisco! I need to get me one of those gps thingies. FYI almost all the stop signs and lights are at the top of very steep hills!
To bad you already made reservations at KOA in Eureka. The wife and I really enjoyed staying in the Redcrest cabins along the Avenue of the Giants. Redcrest Resort - Cabins and RV Park in the California Redwoods
Its always nice to have a picture of your bikes going through either of two drive through trees in norcal. Big Tree Drive-Thru, Avenue of the Giants, California
Why anyone would want to go to Oregon is beyond me! The one good thing, is they do not allow you to put gas in your own vehicle. State law of some kind. I wish California were that way.
 

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Why anyone would want to go to Oregon is beyond me! The one good thing, is they do not allow you to put gas in your own vehicle. State law of some kind. I wish California were that way.
I'm glad you think that about Oregon. We don't want/need any more Californisns up here. I escaped from CA 12 years ago and think Oregon is heaven.
To each his own.
 

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Before starting, you might seriously consider some better than stock seats - Corbin or Russell. Sounds like you are planning some really long riding days - your backside will thank you if you upgrade the seats.. ;)
 

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(I posted a longer response earlier, but it timed out...)
I've done much of the ride you're talking about. I'm concerned that you're not allowing enough time, or that possibly both of you haven't done multiple days of 300+ riding enough to really know what that is like. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but I hope you get a chance to take some multi-day rides with gear first before setting out on your long summer trip.

Don't get me wrong, the SF bay, Hwy 1, Redwood highway, Crater Lake, Carson, Yosemite, can all be fun rides, but there are serious fatigue and patience factors with that whole trip. It's not at all like riding in an SUV with a/c and leather seats. Remember to plan for longer stops, and that you may run into foul weather, traffic, road construction, etc. and possibly have maintenance items to address (flat tire etc.). It looks like you're counting on smooth riding the whole way in order to meet your schedule.

At least take your bike and gear out for a couple of long two-day rides and see how everything feels.

Great ride, just seems like a lot of generous riding days if you haven't done it before.

Please at least take one whole day to ride through Yosemite and not have to be on schedule that day. I'd leave the truck in Sacramento so you can be done riding at that point. You're not missing anything once on the CA freeway from there.
 

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That is a lot of riding. I suggest you take a 1 day 500 mile trip with just your bikes stopping only to get gas and eat. Think about that for a couple of weeks then plan a 900 mile 3 day round trip and pack your bikes with all you think you will need. This will teach what you really need, what you forgot and what you don't need. It will also give you an idea what it is like to keep a trip schedule over several days and whether or not you need to alter your schedule for the long trip you are planning. Good luck and enjoy your adventure.
 

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Howdy! I recommend you forego Visalia. Visalia is much like Texas....hot, dry, isolated....but, it is the gateway to Yosemite. It's far enough from the Bay Area to make for a long drive. I would suggest instead, that perhaps go as far as Monterey, and embark on the bikes from there. Riding the Coast north of San Francisco is breath taking. I've ridden it several times. There are so many places to stop and take it in, and portions of Hwy 1 are very twisty. In fact I recall a few areas where you see your own tail lights! Hearst Castle in San Simeon is just sort of the beginning. Areas like Manchester Beach and Point Arena are fantastic as is the journey there. By traveling up Hwy 101, leaving the Bay Area to the Russian River and then following the river to Jenner and the Coast is beautiful. But, keep in mind, these are basically Country back roads that encourage Cruising. Your schedule seems rigid and optimistic. On Hwy 1 (not 101) you'll ride through places like Big Sur, Sea Ranch and some places you're likely to sidetrack a bit to see....Ferndale is great.

I've stayed in one of the KOA campgrounds in the Eureka area and it was pretty nice. It had a laundry room and a store, however, Eureka is about as big a city as you'll find on the coast. There are lots of restaurants and stores. Lots of B&B's and Motels. Once in Oregon, as you head North on the Coast, there used to be a coin car wash in Brookings. Great place to stop, stretch your legs and spray the bugs and grime off the bikes. And I'd agree with another poster. I've lived in Oregon and actually moved back to the bay area a few years ago from there. As was mentioned, you can't pour your own gas, and there's no sales tax. Fred Meyer stores are all over the place and will have most of your needs like groceries and lots of camping and traveling related gear. They also have about the best price on gasoline throughout the state. And, I'd also agree with foregoing Klamath Falls, and going up to Crater Lake instead. It's beautiful up there, the water is extremely pure and the lake is super super deep. The road up to the lake goes for miles and miles with trees so thick you can't get your arms between them, and they're all the same size! It's a gorgeous ride! Also, pack a jacket because in Sourthern OR during the summer it's likely to be in the 90's, but up at the lake it might be 20-30 degrees cooler. If you choose to stay on the Coast, there is lighthouse after lighthouse. All completely different and all exceptional.

If you take the fast route to OR which is I-5 rather than the coast, it's good traveling and scenic. The road is good. You'll ride by Lake Shasta and Mt. Shasta. Mt. Shasta is part of twin peaks and the sister peak is a Volcano. Other Volcanoes in the area include Mt. Hood in Or, and Mt. St. Helens in WA. You'll also go by Castle Crags, California's version of Colorado's Garden of the Gods.

Also, summertime temps along I-5 can be 100 degrees +, and coastal temps can be downright cold and uncomfortable. I traveled for several months, two up, with another couple. We camped in campgrounds and on the side of the road. We zig-zagged back and forth due to the drastic temperature changes. We found some really great motorcycle roads that I'll probably never find again. I've always said that someday, I'm going to do that ride again.

Oh, by the way, there are some great places to tour by motorcycle in Southern OR too. Dead Indian Memorial Highway, the Applegate etc. I would suggest you and your wife stay alert throughout Northern CA and OR. Deer and Elk, Bobcats, Cattle, Bear, Coyotes and snakes are likely to be in the road at some point.

Photos below include:
Golden Gate
Castle Crags -Thanksgiving 2016
Mt. Shasta - Thanksgiving 2016
 

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