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Old Yesterday, 10:41 AM   #1
PushStart OP
Joined: Apr 2015
Location: Toronto, Canada
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Question 1 week to taste the best of California's roads and campsite

I'm planning a motocamping trip in California in mid-June. Starting in SF, I've got 7 days and was thinking I'd do a circuit of the state riding the coast and the mountains, both North and South.

I've heard the PCH, Humbolt and Tahoe are not to be missed.

What other roads, campsites and/or tips should I know about? I haven't been to California in over 15 years and that was just a weekend, so I'm mostly working in the dark.

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Old Yesterday, 03:16 PM   #2
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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I recommend starting in SF then Hwy 35 south (skyline)
then Hwy 9 towards Santa Cruz to Hwy 1 south along the coast
then continue south along the coast to Cambria area
then Hwy 46 east to Bakersfield
then Hwy 178 east past Lake Isabella
then Hwy 395 north through the scenic eastern sierras
side trip into Yosemite and then Lake Tahoe area
probably heading back to SF after that unless you are a very fast rider.

That would be a great route in my opinion, seeing a lot of the great California scenery.
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Old Yesterday, 03:46 PM   #3
High Country Herb
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Location: Western Sierras
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The route above is pretty good.

A slightly shorter version would cut off Lake Isabella, and instead enter Yosemite from the south/west. Go over Tioga Pass (Hwy 120), Hwy 395 north (side trip into ghost town Bodie) to Hwy 89 north into Lake Tahoe. If you have time at the end, you could swing through Napa and Sonoma counties via Hwy 128. Even if you don't like wine, it is a cool area. That will put you close to the oyster farms north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Camping: Near Bodie, I recommend Green Creek, Virginia Lakes, or Twin Lakes. You didn't say what you were riding, but if it is off road capable you might try Burnside Lake due south from the intersection of Hwys 88 & 89. If you are in National Forest, you can do "dispersed camping" just about anywhere.
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Old Yesterday, 10:07 PM   #4
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Mid-June will be high tourist season.

I'm partial to Northern California and it will be relatively less crowded. Mendocino, Ft. Bragg, Redwood National Park. Take Hwy 36 over to Red Bluff to Lassen, to Tahoe back to SF.

It's all good. Except Fresno. Avoid Fresno at all costs.
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Old Today, 10:10 AM   #5
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Joined: Sep 2004
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Originally Posted by avejoe View Post
It's all good. Except Fresno. Avoid Fresno at all costs.
It's all good indeed. But although Northern CA is beautiful and can indeed be less crowded, one aspect of motowest's route is the variety: the coast highway ( note that is NOT called the PCH much north of Cambria), redwoods around Santa Cruz, high Sierra and high desert. Do expect huge variations in temperature, easily 60 degree Fahrenheit swings on this route. And in some places, long distances between gas stations. Also, camping on the coast in summer is tough without reservations or a dirt-capable bike that can get into more isolated (usually dry, ie no water) sites.

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