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Old 12-17-2012, 01:25 PM   #1
TheRoss OP
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CA Coast Question

I'll be in LA in the middle of January. What is the highway up to San Francisco like in winter?

How about 101 on up the coast?

Ice or snow issues right along the coast?

Thanks!
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Old 12-17-2012, 01:42 PM   #2
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There is Hwy 1 (Pacific Coast Highway aka:PCH) and Hwy 101, in some places they are one and the same, but mostly PCH sticks close to the coast and is at most 2 lanes in each direction. The 101 is mostly 2 lanes in each direction and is freeway or limited access highway. The 101 goes inland from the coast and is heavily traveled. Staying right on the coast you may see some frost in the early mornings but usually not more than that (mostly due to the ocean warmth). Inland on the 101 will see colder temps but besides some frost but agian it not that bad. Further north from SF you go it will get colder. Last January I rode up to Washington from Southern Calif. Way North of SF I went up Interstate 5 and got into real cold temps (mid 20's) and some freezing rain. Again way North of SF I came back south on PCH and it was low to mid 30's in the mornings, but by noon it was in the 50's.
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:15 PM   #3
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Early mornings in places on pch may be icy, but later in the a.m. it melts quick. PCH between San Francisco and L.A. a bitchen' ride with lots of coastal views and some technical areas. Highly reccomended, just watch for rvers, although they are fewer in the winter.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:01 PM   #4
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You won't have any trouble with either Hwy 1 or 101 as far as ice or snow. You could catch some rain in January so be prepared for that.

If for some reason you decided to go up I-5, there is a pass near the small town of Gorman that is a little over 4,000 feet. Occasionally a winter storm will drop snow up there, and the highway will actually be closed, though usually for not more than several hours. Just watch the weather reports.

The California Department of Transportation maintains a website where you can enter highway numbers, ie "1", "101" or "5" and it returns current road conditions including closures:

http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:07 PM   #5
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Best time to ride the PCH is in winter. A lot less traffic and the weather can be beautiful.

Now you have me thinking, I haven’t done the Nacimiento-Fergusson loop in a long time. The time is right, just need a break in the weather. We are having stormy weather but it will be wonderful in a few days
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:24 PM   #6
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PCH in Northern California? Isn't that like calling the City "Frisco"?
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:52 PM   #7
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PCH in Northern California? Isn't that like calling the City "Frisco"?
Why yes as a matter of fact it is. Funny thing about FRISCO is that people that live there all hate people from Southern California, but when asked about FRISCO, people in So Cal will say: "That's like up north some where...right???". San Francisco is actually closer to being in Central California than Northern California, but there is no way they could be associated with Stockton or Fresno..
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:49 PM   #8
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January along the coast will be rainy in the high 40s, low 50s during the day. However, sometimes you'll luck out and get some sun for a short stretch of days, where temps can get up into the low 60s. A light dusting of snow can happen once or twice at higher elevations (like the top of Mt. Tam), but is unusual enough to make the news (not just the weather report).
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by TheRoss View Post
I'll be in LA in the middle of January. What is the highway up to San Francisco like in winter?

How about 101 on up the coast?

Ice or snow issues right along the coast?

Thanks!
Will Rogers said, " the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." Lord have pity on ya' in January
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:46 AM   #10
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Will Rogers said, " the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." Lord have pity on ya' in January
That was Mark Twain not Will Rogers.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:46 AM   #11
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That was Mark Twain not Will Rogers.

Apparently according to the internet it Twain't him that said it either. But they don't seem to know who might have said it.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:07 AM   #12
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January along the coast will be rainy in the high 40s, low 50s during the day. ).
Huh? San Francico is like that.
I ride along the coast a lot in winter, I can be really nice.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:14 AM   #13
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PCH in Northern California? Isn't that like calling the City "Frisco"?
There's actually a difference I think .... people here don't call it Frisco, but at least they'll know what you're talking about. If you stray off your route and ask someone how to get back to the PCH, they may have no clue. Same with calling this state "Cali" ....

Anyway, rain and damp is likely, ice possible in shady areas of coastal hills (but not right along the ocean) and snow, as someone said, is a news story. But there's usually no fog in winter, so when it's dry it's CLEAR. I rode to Monterey and back a few days ago (a very boring stretch of Hwy 1) ... you could see to the horizon and the ocean was brilliant blue.

-dman (Bay Area native)
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:19 PM   #14
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This is what Herb Caen (a legendary SF columnist) said:

"Caress each Spanish syllable, salute our Italian Saint. Don't say Frisco and don't say San-Fran-Cis-Co. That's the way Easterners, like Larry King pronounce it. It's more like SanfrnSISco."

And those of us who live here don't generally call it San Francisco; we call it "The City."
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:23 PM   #15
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Apparently according to the internet it Twain't him that said it either. But they don't seem to know who might have said it.
Well, the internet said it WASN'T Mark Twain, but nowhere does it say it WASN'T Will Rogers-so I'm stickin' with it!
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