Topic: Riding from San Francisco to LA  (Read 762 times)

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Offline Gone in 60

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Riding from San Francisco to LA
« on: 08/07/18 01:24PM »
Hi all,

I'm on the email list for Moto Quest, and get their "come ride with us in Nepal, Japan, Patagonia, etc" emails, showing beautiful motorcycle adventures. Might as well be a trip to the moon on my budget. But, every now and then they have "transport specials", where they invite people to ride their bikes between locations to get them where they need to be. I always sign up for the LA-San Francisco run, but have never been quick enough to get one.

Yesterday, I actually did, and will be riding a 1200GS from their shop on Treasure Island in San Francisco to their shop in Long Beach. I have two days.

I've always wanted to ride the coast, and heard that Hwy 1 finally reopened near Big Sur. The last time I drove from LA to San Francisco was about ten years ago.

If anyone has ridden this route more recently, and have any words of wisdom, I'm all ears. Thanks!
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Offline FastMoto

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #1 on: 08/07/18 02:14PM »
I did recently. I just missed the reopening of the landslide area, was in the area a couple weeks prior.

SF to LA can easily be done in 1 day on a bike but since you have 2 days, you can take your time and stop to enjoy the view a bit. Not sure your time frame, but if it's now, it's gonna be super busy with tour buses, RV, cars, trucks, cyclist, etc...so just expect that. There is plenty of places to eat, turnouts for scenic views and photo ops. Big Sur is worth a stop and to walk around for a bit if you have never been. Probably the most interesting parts is from Carmel to  Cambria. Gas will not be an issue since you can get 200 miles/tank. Use a travel app for hotel and restaurant suggestions....depending on your budget and diet. Enjoy it and every CA motorcyclist owes it to themselves to take a weekend and ride up and coast and back at least once.

Just a tip, from my experience, best time to go is late-September/early-Oct. Traffic is low, air is crisp but not too cold, and if you are a early riser and can hit the road by 7am....it's like you own it from a couple of hours and the morning coastal view is unbelievable.

Offline Gone in 60

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #2 on: 08/07/18 06:22PM »
Thanks, FastMoto. Going in two weeks - on their schedule, not mine, as they have dates that bikes need to be picked up and dropped off. Besides, coming up on too much work travel from September through the rest of the year, and I think my 10th anniversary and my wife's birthday is in there somewhere in the next few months, I dunno. I didn't think about all of the tourist traffic this time of year, very good point, but not much I can do about it. I'll be taking my time anyway.

Next question. I'm figuring the logistics. Their Long Beach location will hold my bike for me, so I'll have a ride home once I get there with the rental bike. I'm working in downtown on Saturday night, and was thinking of taking a Greyhound from LA to Oakland, which would theoretically give me time to sleep on the way, and put me within a few Uber miles of the pickup location for the bike (saving my money for that anniversary/birthday thing).
Anyone ever ride a Greyhound? Everyone at work thinks I'm crazy for even thinking about it.
« Last Edit: 08/07/18 10:57PM by Gone in 60 »
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Offline r0ckrat

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #3 on: 08/07/18 07:14PM »
Not sure about the Greyhound, but there is now a nicer option available that I don't recall being too expensive. Euro-style coach that makes a daily run up. Think business class airline (not quite 1st class, but with reclining seats and elbow room) with wifi.

Here's the article I was thinking of - $115 one way, travels at night.

http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-tr-los-angeles-san-francisco-cabin-bus-20170709-story.html

https://www.ridecabin.com/

They have trips as low as $79 listed at the moment.

EDIT - For your time-frame, it looks like $94...
« Last Edit: 08/07/18 07:22PM by r0ckrat »

Offline Gone in 60

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #4 on: 08/07/18 11:22PM »
Wow rOckrat, that looks pretty awesome. Thanks for the tip! I just booked it. Cheaper than a flight, and my wife can drop me off at the pick up point in Santa Monica after I get off work. Plus Iíll have plenty of sleep before I start the ride, and she wasnít too jazzed about the Greyhound idea either.
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Offline Parc Ferme

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Offline Gone in 60

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #6 on: 08/08/18 08:24AM »
Yeah, but I can't leave from LAX on a Tuesday. Already booked the "Dream Bus" rOckrat suggested. Looking forward to their "melatonin infused beverage to help induce sleep" and have downloaded their suggested meditation apps.
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Offline FastMoto

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #7 on: 08/08/18 01:06PM »
One last tip-

Due to the technical nature of the road, 90% of it is double-yellow. Well, we all know double-yellows do not apply to motorcyclist, especially when getting stuck behind a painfully slow RV. Well, we were reminded we were wrong and got dinged in Big Sur by park rangers for passing in a double-yellow (yes, we did it in a safe manner). Just check your six before passing slow vehicles.

You will have a good time and enjoy it, ride safe.

Offline Gone in 60

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #8 on: 08/08/18 05:31PM »
Thanks, FastMoto. I commute through Santiago Canyon every day, and with all of the construction going on, and being stuck behind dump trucks, tree trimming trucks etc, I'm painfully aware of the passing temptation of the twisty double yellow. Thankfully Johnny Law usually leaves the canyon alone during the morning commute.

A few weeks ago, I was working at Laguna Seca, and was toying with the idea of driving home along highway 1. But, I was hauling a long trailer, and didn't want to be one of those guys slowing everyone else down. Blasted down the 5 instead. It was in the '70s in Monterey, and hot as blazes inland.
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Offline Parc Ferme

Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #9 on: 08/13/18 07:07AM »
Yeah, but I can't leave from LAX on a Tuesday. Already booked the "Dream Bus" rOckrat suggested. Looking forward to their "melatonin infused beverage to help induce sleep" and have downloaded their suggested meditation apps.

kinda don't understand what you mean by "Tues"... the prices are 7 days a week - $50 one way from LA to SF for a 90 min flight versus $120 for a 8-12hr(!!!) bus ride.  heck even if you paid $120 (or more) for the flight, it's a better deal cuz you aren't stuck on a bus for literally half a day.
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Offline The Cycle Guy

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #10 on: 08/13/18 10:20AM »
Also keep an eye out for rocks on Highway 1.  Years ago on the way home from Laguna a buddy passed a car on a double yellow, didn't see the bowling-ball-sized rock in the road and hit it square on.  He was OK, but his bike was totaled.

Offline Gone in 60

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #11 on: 08/13/18 12:42PM »
Rocks are a good point! Hate those, and see plenty of them on Chapman near Orange Hill restaurant. They seem to sneak past the rock fencing they put up. Playing devil's advocate, I took out the full insurance on the bike...

Parc, what I meant by Tuesday is that if you take that Google Flight link, and change the flight from a Tuesday to a Sunday, and leave from SNA rather than LAX, the price goes up quite a bit.

The Cabin Bus is more of a convenience. It's $94, travels overnight, and will be picking up near where and when I'll be getting off work and having dinner the night before. Get to SF at 7am all nice and rested, and have some time to check out the sights before I pick up the bike. Plus, the website makes it look really cool. Heck, I spend half my life on planes for work. This will be something fun and different.

Of course, if the bus ends up being terrible, I'll remember that it was rOckrat's suggestion...  ::)
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Offline Gone in 60

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #12 on: 08/22/18 12:11PM »
Just got back from a wonderful, albeit brief trip, and thanks to everyone who chimed in with advice on my ride down the coast from SF to LA. First, the bus ride that rOckrat found. It was pretty interesting, and not a bad way to use your sleeping time for travel. After work and dinner with friends Saturday night. I boarded in Santa Monica, climbed into a 2' wide, 6' long cubicle, imbibed the sleep aid, and dozed off. Woke up in the cold foggy parking lot of AT&T stadium in SF at 6:30 Sunday morning, and stumbled off into the city. Ditched my bags at a hotel and took a walk all around SF until it was time to Uber to Treasure Island to pick up the R1200GS.

MotoQuest's SF location is shared with the Moto Guild, which is a repurposed warehouse now used as a community shop for self motorcycle repair. Figuring that many SF residents don't have garages or places to work on their bikes, this was a cool place. Everyone was working on their bikes with music playing.

Made it to Monterey the first night, and although the Monterey Historics doesn't start until tomorrow, there were plenty of cars already in the pits at Laguna Seca to check out. Headed further down, and saw the extent of the landslides that closed Hwy 1 south of Big Sur. There were still a few places where they were digging out, and traffic was one way at a time. I'm just happy the road was open all the way.

Did a tour of Hearst Castle, and stayed in Solvang the second night. Unfortunately the motorcycle museum wasn't open. Cruised the rest of the way to LA, and had a few hours to kill, so I flogged the big bike around Mulholland, Latigo and Piuma. The Rock Store was closed, but stopped to grab a bite and drink from my stash. Chatted with a guy on an FZ-09 with three big bags strapped to the back, who had ridden from Indianapolis to LA, was on his way up the coast, and then back home. He was spending three weeks on that bike, and said it was his second trip doing it. Kudos!

MotoQuest Long Beach was holding my R1200R so I could ride home when I brought their bike in, and despite my bike having the same basic architecture, it felt like a toy after riding the GS. I had to cruise around for a few minutes to get reacquainted before battling the 405 home.
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Offline FastMoto

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #13 on: 08/22/18 05:00PM »
How did you like the GS-LC? Never got around to test ride one.

I had a 2008 GSA for several years. I liked it alot, sometimes miss it.

Glad to see you had a good time and made it back safe.

Offline Gone in 60

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Re: Riding from San Francisco to LA
« Reply #14 on: 08/23/18 08:46AM »
The bike was a conversation starter... it had an Alaska plate, 48,000 miles, and most of those miles looked like they were done through a dense forest. So, everywhere I stopped, I looked like a grizzled old dude who lived on a motorcycle. It was actually a blessing - I figured if I dumped it, there would be no added visible evidence. The guy at Long Beach said that bike was about due to be cycled out of their fleet.

It rode perfectly, however, and there was a bit more oomph than my Hex Head. The biggest difference to me, having ridden my '07 for so long, was the controls and display. BMW has gone back to "conventional" starter switch, turn signals, etc, which at first I thought I'd like, but it was a bit of a stretch for the thumb to get to the signals. I rode through a wide variety of temps, and the grip heater button was a bit more of a reach than my big rocker switch, and needed multiple presses to cycle hot/warm/off. The display is a lot "busier", and it took a while to search around to see where everything was. Unlike my bike, it had ride modes and suspension modes, so I played with different combinations.

I got so used to it, that when I got back, and got on my bike, with the old style kill switch, it took me a minute... I thought I had a dead battery at first, until I realized that the kill switch was clicked over to one side.
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