Question on Ride from SF To San Diego

Discussion in 'Bay Area Bikers' started by rici1113, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. rici1113

    rici1113 Guest

    I'm thinking about taking a ride from San Francisco to San Diego on my
    2001 ZX6-R. It will do about 120 miles on a tank of gas. I'm
    considering taking Route 1 from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo then
    taking 101 to San Diego. My question / concern is about gas. Will
    there be enough gas stations spaced out appropriately between San
    Francisco and San Luis Obispo on Route 1? Are there any stretches I
    need to be aware of and have a full take before entering them?

    A few more questions that I think I know the answer to: I'm taking
    Route 5 back and I assume I won't have any trouble with gas there.
    Right? I've heard that CHP presence on 5 is oppressive. Is that true?
    What about 101 North?

    rici1113, Jun 1, 2007
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  2. rici1113

    Paul Elliot Guest

    You'll do just fine. Gas up at Carmel before you hit Big Sur and you can
    easily reach Moro Bay before you need gas again. There are several
    places along the way to get gas along the way, they are just expensive!
    I've ridden the route many times, even crashing once at Ragged Point.
    Took over half an hour for the paramedics to get there from Cambria...

    Heaven is where the police are British, the chefs Italian, the mechanics
    German, the lovers French and it is all organized by the Swiss.

    Hell is where the police are German, the chefs British, the mechanics
    French, the lovers Swiss and it is all organized by Italians.
    Paul Elliot, Jun 1, 2007
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  3. rici1113

    Albrecht Guest

    Highway 1 from Carmel to Morro Bay is quite scenic, but it can be
    annoying to get stuck behind long lines of gawking tourists. Last time
    I rode Hwy 1, I was afraid to pass an SUV with a police beacon on top
    of it/ When the guy pulled out to look over the cliff at the ocean, it
    turned out he was a rent-a-cop in the company truck...

    You can easily go to, and enter the various cities
    on your itinerary and then search for your favorite gas station. Then
    you can get driving directions. It's 100 miles from the Chevron
    station at Carmel valley Road to the Chevron station on Main St. in

    Morro Bay is 16 miles further along your route.

    As you ride down Hwy 101 from San Luis Obispo, past Pismo Beach and
    Santa Maria, watch for CHP parked by the pepper tree south of
    Betteravia Rd. They hang out by Cat Rd.

    The CHP's are always right there, that's where frustrated drivers have
    just gotten past the slow pokes who only want to drive 75 mph up the
    hill out of Santa Maria.

    The secret of avoiding urban congestion is to take the inland routes.

    You can avoid a lot of traffic congestion on Hwy 101 if you take the
    Hwy 154 San Marcos Pass cut off (that saves 15 miles right there) at
    Los Olivos (site of the Wonderland Ranch).

    San Marcos Pass takes you past a man made lake and up over the
    mountains where you can get stunning views of the Channel Islands on a
    clear day.

    SMP will take you back to Hwy 101 at Santa Barbara and you can
    continue south to Ventura. There is some traffic congestion from Santa
    Barbara to Carpenteria during rush hours. Then traffic slows again as
    you reach Oxnard.

    You can avoid the Hwy 101 congestion over the Conejo grade, past
    Thousand Oaks and through the San Fernando Valley by taking Hwy 126
    inland out of Ventura towards Santa Paula.

    Hwy 126 ends at Hwy 5, and you can get on the 210 Freeway towards
    Pasadena and avoid the
    Los Angeles/Orange County congestion. When you come to Hwy 57, take
    that to Hwy 60 to Riverside and then take Interstate 15 to San Diego.
    All inland, and far less crowded.
    Ummm, Hwy 101 does not go to San Diego. It ends in East Los Angeles,
    where it connects with Interstate 5. Who wants to ride through all
    that traffic congestion and over development?

    You can bypass Los Angeles by taking the 405 south through Orange
    County, but you may get caught in heavy traffic by LAX and again in
    Orange County.
    I have seen teams of six CHP cruisers pulling over six cars, in
    response to a report from the CHP airplane flying overhead.

    The only way I would recommend taking Hwy 5 is if I was driving a car.
    I have made it from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about 5 hours on
    one tank of gas, but it will probably take you
    5 hours on the bike and you will get to know and love Lost Hills and

    Why stay on Interstate 5 past Buttonwillow, when you can ride the well
    known Hwy 58 to Santa Margarita on Hwy 101?

    For that matter, why ride as far as Buttonwillow, when you can ride
    the wickedly fast Hwy 166
    to Santa Maria and get on the 101 there?

    Cops. Watch for 'em on the road and in the air.

    Whenever I get on Hwy 5, my strategy is to look at every overpass I
    come to in order to see if a CHP is parked where I can see him. Then,
    as I pass the overpass, I turn my head to see if a CHP is parked on
    the on ramp.

    The CHP's respect alertness. If you are not paying attention and they
    sneak up on you, they are less likely to let you go than if you were
    riding 80 mph and suddenly slowed down when you saw them on the ramp.
    My biggest complaint about Hwy 101 from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles
    is the difference in speed between the 18 wheelers and the cars. The
    trucks are struggling to keep their speed up and avoid getting a
    ticket by going too much over the limit.

    And the cars aren't trying to control their speed at all, the drivers
    will be trying to go 80 or 90 mph on 101. The car driver is less
    likely to be stopped for speeding than a motorcycle rider.

    Heading north on the 101, after San Luis Obispo you climb the Cuesta
    Grade towards Paso Robles.

    There is another nice little inland road that bypasses the boring
    parts of Hwy 101. G14 heads north through rolling hills past Lake San
    Antonio and Lake Nacimiento. Then you get back to King City and you
    have a choice of going north on Hwy 101 to Greenfield and taking the
    west over beautiful Carmel Valley Rd through oak trees with hanging
    Spanish moss all the way back to Carmel.

    Or you can head northwest on the G13 and then north on Hwy 25 to
    Albrecht, Jun 2, 2007
  4. rici1113

    Rich Guest

    Gas should not be a problem with the kind of range you've got. Just
    fill up at Carmel.

    I haven't had a problem with cops, but then I find that outrunning the
    flow of traffic is exhausting. The coast route is one I presume you're
    considering for the scenery, though it's frustrating to have long
    stretches of viewing the tail lights of the slow moving SUV ahead of you.

    The big challenge for me is LA traffic. You can surrender and take PCH
    from Oxnard -- parts of it are scenic. Or you can suck it up and
    lanesplit the 405 past LAX (the rest of it has an HOV lane).

    Or head inland: San Diego is considerably east of LA.

    1. Take 166 east to 33. 33 South to Ojai is one of the best motorcycle
    roads in the country. Take 150 to Santa Paula and then 126 East to I-5
    to 210 to 57, which will get you back to "the 5" (you'll be in SoCal,
    and that's what we call it) just below Disneyland, where HOV lanes will
    guide you safely through the rest of Orange County.


    2. Take 58 east across Tehachapi Pass and US 395 to the 15.


    3. Find your way to Delano and take the 155 to Isabella Lake and then
    178 to the 14 and 58. The road across the southern Sierras is amazingly

    What brings you to San Diego and for how long?

    Rich, Urban Biker
    Rich, Jun 2, 2007
  5. rici1113

    Albrecht Guest

    That's actually a fair idea. He could take Hwy 46, which is straight
    and fast, pass the site of James Dean's Porsche wreck, and continue on
    over to Bakersfield and get onto Hwy 58 to Mojave and on to Hwy 395.

    It helps to like the desert, heat, and afternoon winds.

    Parts of Hwy 46 go through the *other* Antelope Valley where pronghorn
    antelope still live. it's not the same Antelope valley that Lancaster
    and Palmdale are in. The last time I rode through there, the wind was
    blowing so hard I stopped at Blackwell's Corners, the last place where
    James Dean was seen alive.
    Hwy 155 is very narrow and winding as you start to climb out of the
    San Joaquin Valley and go
    over the hill into Lake Isabella, and then it's about 40 miles over to
    Onyx and you still haven't
    reached Walker Pass.

    Last time I was over there, I had to stop and wait out the wind that
    was blowing the bike around.
    Albrecht, Jun 2, 2007
  6. rici1113

    Rich Guest

    I made the trip going northwest. It was April and we took the
    convertible. There was snow on the side of the road at the summit. Had
    the top down and don't recall any wind problems at that time, but your
    anemometer may vary. The road felt like it would be fun on 2 wheels.

    We cut over to Coalinga and then up the San Miguel Valley through
    Hollister. The valley is still unspoiled, but Hollister had grown up a
    lot since I went through that way in '67.

    Rich, Urban Biker
    Rich, Jun 2, 2007
  7. rici1113

    Albrecht Guest

    The wind in California is solar powered. If you start off in the
    morning and the air isn't all that clear because of the humidity,
    there won't be any wind to push you around.

    But, after 2:00 PM or so, solar heat will have burned off the haze and
    the wind will start to pick up and will be gusting until it cools down
    well after dark.

    The temperature change in the desert is more extreme than in the
    valleys, so the change in wind velocity is greater.

    So, it's a good idea to pick the time of day when you're going to
    cross the desert by motorcycle, if your schedule allows it.

    I rode up through Kernville once, up to Kennedy Meadows and back down
    to the desert through Sherman Pass, before the road was paved. I
    reached Pearsonville in late afternoon.

    Then I had to fight gusty winds through Mojave, Lancaster, and
    Palmdale before I got into calm air near Acton.

    Another point about riding east of the Sierra Nevada range is that
    there is a wave of air that is forced up over the western slope, and
    it spills over the Sierra crest and gusty winds pour down the canyons
    into the Owens Valley.

    Then the wave richochets off the valley floor and heads up again.
    National Geographic had an article about "The Blue Wave" several years
    Albrecht, Jun 2, 2007
  8. rici1113

    barbz Guest

    Can't speak for 1 south of Mt. Tam, but I-5 has plenty of gas stations,
    nicely spaced. I don't know about oppressive CHP. Since my bike is the
    equivalent of a 1970s VW camper van, I averaged about 80 mph all the way
    up and back from SD to the bay area and never even got a notice from
    them. They were there, certainly. I saw them. They didn't care about me.

    I did see some jerks in SUVs get pulled over for driving fast and rude.

    Chaplain, ARSCC (wdne)

    "Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't forget to
    have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous,
    ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can

    --Molly Ivins
    barbz, Jun 2, 2007
  9. rici1113

    B. Peg Guest

    I-5 is hell on a bike. It's like a blast furnace during the day and boring
    as hell. Traffic will haul ass up to 90mph and I've been touching 100 but
    it wears you down quick, especially if you fight the crosswinds and truck
    turbulence. Seems like in one hour you haven't gone anywhere. I can
    tolerate it at night better, but the road debris may get you. Just be sure
    to keep an eye out for any plane or chopper paralleling the hwy. They can
    identify a bike really easy.

    I think your Hwy. 101 is a more scenic and cooler route overall. Maybe less
    patrolled too.

    B. Peg, Jun 3, 2007
  10. rici1113

    Rich Guest

    A third choice is Hwy 99. I took it north from LA on a Honda Ascot,
    when I-5 seemed just too crazy. It's faster than 101 and less boring
    than I-5.
    Rich, Jun 3, 2007
  11. rici1113

    Albrecht Guest

    99 gets a lot of truck traffic and the trucks have damaged the
    pavement. The officials have been
    talking about fixing it for the last few years. It has some long,
    boring straight stretches where
    the only things to see are trucks and food processing plants and more
    trucks and food processing plants, etc..

    Environmentalists have been trying to blame the dairy industry for the
    brownish haze hanging
    in the air on methane generated by cows.

    There are more cows in the San Joaquin Valley than there are in
    Wisconsin, and Land O Lakes cheese is made here.

    The scientists claim that every cow excretes six pounds of volatile
    materials every day, and that's down from thirteen pounds in an older

    A century ago, John Muir could see the snow capped Sierras as soon as
    he crossed the Diablo range. Now you usually can't see the Sierras
    from towns that are only 40 miles away.

    And, as long as we're discussing long straight roads, I might as well
    mention the long, lonesome straight stretches of Hwy 33 from Coalinga
    to Maricopa.

    Hwy 33 runs between Interstate 5 and the Diablo and Temblor ranges.
    There is a prison at Avenal and places like Devils Den and The
    Missouri Triangle.

    Motorcycling along in solitude along Hwy 33, I wondered if there were
    any gas stations
    along the road and usually wound up heading east to I-5 for

    There haven't been any hills at Lost Hills for millions of years, they
    eroded away long ago, the
    rivers dried up and western Tulare and Kern counties are Caliornia's
    version of the basin and range geology of New Mexico and Utah.

    Can you say say, "hot, dry, and desolate?"
    Albrecht, Jun 3, 2007
  12. rici1113

    Rich Guest

    There's a case to be made that the best route between SF and SD is UAL ;-}
    Rich, Jun 3, 2007
  13. rici1113

    Mike Nelson Guest

    No, no, no, Southwest Airlines. =8^P
    Ten flights a day from San Jose,
    twenty flights a day from Oakland
    (service from SFO starts 26 August),
    $59 each way.

    Cheaper than gas and tires on a motorcycle.
    Mike Nelson, Jun 3, 2007
  14. rici1113

    Rich Guest

    IIRC, the freeway goes right through King City without stopping now, and
    enforcement would therefore be in the hands of the CHP. Is it still a
    speed trap?
    Rich, Jun 4, 2007
  15. rici1113

    Albrecht Guest

    I would say that you're likely to encounter Smokey in the vicinity.

    CHP headquarters is in King City right next to Motel 6 after you cross
    the Salinas river.
    Albrecht, Jun 4, 2007
  16. rici1113

    muddy cat Guest

    And by Camp Roberts.
    muddy cat, Jun 4, 2007
  17. rici1113

    C. Deforrest Guest


    Done the Bay Area - San Diego trip several times, and take 101 every
    San Marcos pass is a great detour, too.. you miss some coastline, but
    its all windy & foggy anyway

    Hwy 1 from SF-SLO, I suppose you have to do it at least once, but the
    tourist traffic is unrelenting - it's really the only reason anyone
    would take 1 between Monterey & San Simeon, so be prepared for white-
    knuckled RV'ers & rental cars, tootling along the 'big scary cliffs'
    at a breakneck 35mph. If you've never been, though, I guess its worth
    it. The wind is really annoying too.. Try to avoid the weekends, at

    Also as others have stated I-5 is a boring blast furnace.. It's where
    I discovered that cruise control in my car doesn't work over 100mph.
    On a bike that trip would be downright miserable.

    Going thru LA isn't quite so bad with all the carpool lanes..takes a
    lot of the stress off lane-changers, though folks will cheat & cross
    over the quad-yellow lines, so watch out for that... The final ~100mi
    of I-5 isn't so bad - It's SoCal, the fwys can really only be so good.
    The stretch between Orange County & San Diego is reasonably decent -
    depending on the time of day.

    C. Deforrest, Jun 6, 2007
    Rob Kleinschmidt, Jun 7, 2007
  19. rici1113

    Paul Elliot Guest

    You should slow down there anyway to turn off to Solvang and the
    Motorcycle Museum.

    Heaven is where the police are British, the chefs Italian, the mechanics
    German, the lovers French and it is all organized by the Swiss.

    Hell is where the police are German, the chefs British, the mechanics
    French, the lovers Swiss and it is all organized by Italians.
    Paul Elliot, Jun 8, 2007
  20. It's nice to tootle around and explore little side roads when you have
    time to spare.

    Northern Santa Barbara county has lots of such roads.

    Heading south from Solvang on Alisal Rd. takes you through oak trees
    covered with Spanish moss to the little known Nojoqui Falls County
    Park. The highest waterfall in southern California is there.
    Two Wheels Good, Four Wheels Bad, Jun 8, 2007
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