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I live in Canada and just bought a 2003 Gold Wing. Want to get away from winter and eager to try out the new bike for a couple of weeks. We are going to trailer our bikes to Redding California the first week of February unload and head off.

I am not familiar with the roads and passes in California and would appreciate some guidance on what rides would be good. Snow and ice do not make for a happy trip experience when on a motorcycle so we are looking to make our way to Southern California and Arizona.

I was looking on the Motorcycle Roads website and they list some nice looking rides but they do not indicate if they are suitable for all times of the year.

1) I am wondering what it would be like going from Redding to Eureka and down the coast. Is it the wrong time of year to go down the coast? (too much rain?)
2) What about the route from Chico to Reno? (snow?)
3) Should we just stay in the central California Valley until we hit Southern California?(any suggested roads and routes?)
4) What about Death Valley? Is it a good time of year? It looks like there may be a mountain pass to get to it, is there a route that does not involve a mountain pass?

Are we NUTS to go at this time of year on this route?

Any suggestions, route information, things to see would be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards
Bruce
 

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If you are that far south, you will be good to go most of the winter.

Northern Arizona can be problematic for a few days at a time, just keep in touch with the weather websites.

Southern Arizona is nearly always good bike weather, I seldom ever had to take a car in to/from work the 20 years I was there in Mesa & Phoenix area.
 

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For California Road Conditions you can call Cal-Trans @ 1-800-427-7623. At the prompt you put the hiway number in & the gal on the other end will give you all the info you need to know....

For extended weather forecasts I use:

http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/eureka-ca/95501/january-weather/327130

FYI, California Hiway 36 going west out of Red Bluff is 140 miles of twisties & rolling hills exiting on the California coast. Ride south on Hiway 101 & you can find Avenue of the Giants,

http://avenueofthegiants.net/ ....-Rich
 

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Having ridden in quite a bit of Northern California and having lived in Penticton, I'd stick to the central valleys until in Southern California. The passes over the Sierras can get snow bound. (Think Connector here) Ever heard of the Donner Party fiasco? That happened along I80, between Reno and Chico! Temps can get quite low overnight, so you'd have to watch for snow melt that has frozen in the shady spots at higher elevations. A lot of the passes over the Sierra Nevada's are closed for the winter in Northern/Central parts of the state.Same rules apply south of the border, regarding elevation andsnow/temps, as they do in the OK! ;)
 

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Highway 1 from it's Northernmost beginning (N. of Fort Bragg) to San Francisco is a must-do. It may be drizzly in spots (Especially at it's Southern end) but it'll be okay.

Interstate 5 is your friend for just chewing miles mindlessly. Any other road will show you more/give you a better trip.
 

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beecas wrote:
I live in Canada and just bought a 2003 Gold Wing. Want to get away from winter and eager to try out the new bike for a couple of weeks. We are going to trailer our bikes to Redding California the first week of February unload and head off.

I am not familiar with the roads and passes in California and would appreciate some guidance on what rides would be good. Snow and ice do not make for a happy trip experience when on a motorcycle so we are looking to make our way to Southern California and Arizona.

I was looking on the Motorcycle Roads website and they list some nice looking rides but they do not indicate if they are suitable for all times of the year.

1) I am wondering what it would be like going from Redding to Eureka and down the coast. Is it the wrong time of year to go down the coast? (too much rain?)
2) What about the route from Chico to Reno? (snow?)
3) Should we just stay in the central California Valley until we hit Southern California?(any suggested roads and routes?)
4) What about Death Valley? Is it a good time of year? It looks like there may be a mountain pass to get to it, is there a route that does not involve a mountain pass?

Are we NUTS to go at this time of year on this route?

Any suggestions, route information, things to see would be greatly appreciated.

Best Regards
Bruce
Congrats on your wing,
Are you nuts? Not if you don't mind dressing for cool weather riding, just be prepared.
Watch the weather closely where ever you are if you are going to ride that time of year, the weather can change quickly, especially in the Mtn areas, valleys get hit too. You can check road conditions on each states website.
#1- Good if no storm coming down from gulf of Alaska, some storms drop a lot of rain, some the temps drop even down here in San Diego to snow in the foothills, snow on the beach in 1967 in Oceanside from what I have heard. I would ride the coast if the weather is clear or rain, great ride on sunny days, ok on cloudy day, even rain if not a pineapple express, or winter storm downpour. Watch for rocks in the road. Rain has a way of dislodging rocks and mud slides, there was a section that was closed last winter, might still be.
#2- Snow. Donner Pass some years gets hammered, Read up on the Donner party cannibals. Then from Reno you have the US95 south to Vegas, again mtns all around, you will be in the valleys mostly but can be cold if there is a winter storm happening and snows on the 95.
#3&4- I rode from the Bay area in late Jan 1980 on my way to Daytona down the 99, lousy road, many trucks, to Delano, on over the 178 pass, it was cold, maybe 35 deg F over the pass, maybe 50 deg F in Death Valley. Didn't get warm till I got into Vegas that evening. Death Valley can be nice, sometimes Hot, sometimes cold. There are Mtn passes on all sides into Death Valley so watch the weather close.
Next day I made it down to Tucson where it was in the 70's. Stayed 2 days at a campground at Picacio Peak State park for $2(1980) a night with hot showers! Best place I had found ever. Right off I-10 so of Phoenix and I-8 intersection @ 1/2 way to Tucson.

Plan and keep checking the road and weather conditions.
Give a holler if you are coming down here to San Diego. Lots of great rides around here.
Happy New Year.
Stu
:waving:
 

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the sierras are cold this time of year and can get a lot of snow. that being said there are times when you can take a motorcycle over those mountain passes if you catch the weather just right. many times truckee ca. has the coldest temperature in the us. the deserts of california, death valley, palm springs are best visited in the winter. the north cost can get a lot of fog and rain. the central valley would be the best bet to work your way south. i live 150 miles north of san francisco and i get to ride in the winter more than most. my riding is day rides with a good weather window. any way you take its going to be cold at night even the desert. not my cup of tea but it can be done. regards walkabout :smiler:
 

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Redeye is certainly right about Hwy 36 Red Bluff opposed to 299 Redding..

But February, you can expect the worst weather along the coast until you get way south.. All the pass will be closed except Hwy80/50 and maybe 88.. They be icy or slushy and cold as heck.. In fact your whole trip we be more than likely wet and cold..
 

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The coast, even if rainy, is infinitely better than the Central Valley. The valley in winter is covered with a dense low overcast, haze and often Tule fog that keeps visibility down to 20 feet or so. Even when clear, the valley is flat and straight. The coast is spectacular.
 

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I agree w/ateamer for the coast rode.

ateamer
Your profile doesn't show what your ride is?
I have a cousin in Soquel and my uncle is in Belmont. I might be up that way come spring for a visit.
 

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The Donner party should have had cell phones!

;)
 

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Good one. Maybe GPS too
 

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Newday777, I finally filled in my profile. I'm actually in Soquel.
 
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