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Thread: First time tour advice please

  1. #1
    Kinda new round here
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    First time tour advice please

    Hi Everyone

    I am English and I am thinking about doing a tour of parts of Nevada and California. I only ride bikes I can't drive a car so i would have to rent a bike for the entire time i am in the usa. There are a few things i could do with help on, I have never done a tour anywhere before so advice about everything from start to finish would be good.

    I can't walk far because of a disability so i'd have to be sure that tours don't involve much walking. about a mile is what i can manage.

    I need to spend a couple of days in Ely Nevada, and a few days in califorina, this is to visit friends.

    I am not sure where to start with my plans, can anyone help me with advice on planning this and on what tour pashnit would be best for me.
    I know I want to see the house where Charmed is filmed i want to see alcatraz, the golden gate bridge, i am not sure what else i want to see.

    i hope some one can help with some advice
    thanks
    I will be traveling alone

  2. #2
    Senior Member hrlyman's Avatar
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    Re: First time tour advice please

    I Dont know too much about Nevada except that its wide open and desolate out that way towards Ely. Take Hwy 50 WEST into Fallon and then find your way into Virginia City most definately!. Also Carson City just for fun and then head towards South Lake Tahoe over Mount Rose. Ride around the entire lake if at all possible you will love the scenery from all angles. Depending on where youre headed in CA, you can take either HWY 80 out of NORTH LAKE TAHOE or HWY 50 out of SOUTH LAKE TAHOE to the west. Both routes will take you towards SACRAMENTO, CA.

    80 is large freeway and 50 is mostly two-lane road through many small towns. Both are typically kept open unless theres a storm brewing.

    Check out Pashnit tours and ride libraries for many many options from there.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Whiplash's Avatar
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    Re: First time tour advice please

    Quote Originally Posted by witchypoo View Post
    Hi Everyone

    I am English and I am thinking about doing a tour of parts of Nevada and California. I only ride bikes I can't drive a car so i would have to rent a bike for the entire time i am in the usa. There are a few things i could do with help on, I have never done a tour anywhere before so advice about everything from start to finish would be good.

    I can't walk far because of a disability so i'd have to be sure that tours don't involve much walking. about a mile is what i can manage.

    I need to spend a couple of days in Ely Nevada, and a few days in califorina, this is to visit friends.

    I am not sure where to start with my plans, can anyone help me with advice on planning this and on what tour pashnit would be best for me.
    I know I want to see the house where Charmed is filmed i want to see alcatraz, the golden gate bridge, i am not sure what else i want to see.

    i hope some one can help with some advice
    thanks
    I will be traveling alone
    Wow, so much to see here.... what time of year are you coming?

    Dana
    http://danapellerin.com - "You can only be young once. But you can always be immature." - Dave Barry

  4. #4
    The Lost Tourguide kluts's Avatar
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    Re: First time tour advice please

    Quote Originally Posted by witchypoo View Post
    ... I only ride bikes I can't drive a car so i would have to rent a bike for the entire time i am in the usa. ...I need to spend a couple of days in Ely Nevada, and a few days in califorina, this is to visit friends.
    .....
    I know I want to see the house where Charmed is filmed i want to see alcatraz, the golden gate bridge, i am not sure what else i want to see.
    Well now.... first, can you help us out?

    How much time do you plan? This might be dictated by motorcycle rental costs.

    For rental, figure around $700 per week, plus petrol, plus insurance, plus mileage in excess of weekly max. Try the rental websites. EagleRider is one, Street Eagle is another. There are, of course, more. Do you expect to rent a Harley-Davidson, or something smaller?

    What would you really want to see in addition to the Golden Gate, Alcatraz and a movie site?

    Are you ready to handle open desert? Ely is in Eastern Nevada. Be aware that after June things can be very hot and dry (over 100+ F, 37+ C) until the second week of September. See our many threads concerning desert riding and riding in heat. Ely is a Loooong way from everywhere else. You also didn't say where your California friends are located. California is the size of Scotland, England, Ireland and the Isle of Man combined.

    If you are indeed going to Ely, consider riding the Nevada Northern, a tourist railroad with authentic local equipment and lore. Great Basin National Park is nearby http://www.nps.gov/grba/, and its sheer desolate isolation is bigger than big. Utah's Sundance region is within striking distance, as is Salt Lake City and the beautiful surrounding Wasatch Mountains.

    West of Ely is Austin Nevada, and of course down the road apiece towards California are Dayton and Virginia City, Nevada. All three of these towns are authentic Wild West mining towns. They are the real deal, even if Virginia City is a bit tarted up nowadays. There's also Bodie, California, just east of Yosemite National Park.

    Of course there is Yosemite itself.

    Let us know what you seek. Check our a few threads to get a feeling for California (and Nevada!)

    Enjoy.
    "Not all those who wander are lost."
    --J.R.R. Tolkien

  5. #5
    Kinda new round here
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    Re: First time tour advice please

    Hi
    Thanks for the quick reply

    I am looking at spending around two weeks in the USA, My main reason for visiting is to see my pen pals, they are both on death row one in Ely and the other in san quentin, I would feel bad if i visited one and not the other.

    I didn't realize how big California was until yesterday

    I don't want a small bike, I have two suzuki V stroms both 1000cc, so for me to go to a small bike would be to strange. I think the only type of bike i have seen that would be what i am looking for is the BMW ranges, but i think they might just be to high ( i am going to sit on a few to make sure before i rent one )
    I cant organize anything just yet as i am having major surgery on thursday on my spine, so i will have to see what is comfortable when ive recovered a bit.

    I have never really thought about what I want to see while I am in the USA, its not like i can ride rollercosters anymore so disney is out of the question lol.

    Maybe I will buy a guide book this afternoon when i go out, I just know I want to go to alcatraz, I know i am being vague at the moment, but it doesnt take a lot for me to get confused

    Maybe you can tell me your favorite places and why? I will read through the threads later, i have to go out now but I will come back either tomorrow or tonight.

    Poo xxx ( my mates call me Poo , its not offensive it stands for witchypoo )
    Last edited by Sbyllek; 03-25-2008 at 06:54 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: First time tour advice please

    opps sorry, i am thinking of coming late october early november, ( whats the speed limit over there btw ? )
    I love nature, but find to many twisty roads physically tiring
    I want to do this with a tour guide, I am female and traveling alone, so with a guide i am not so likely to end up in Bad Lands.

    ok the shops are calling, thanks xxx
    Last edited by Sbyllek; 03-25-2008 at 06:55 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member hrlyman's Avatar
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    Re: First time tour advice please

    Hi Poo,

    Well you've got your work cut out for you and alot of riding...

    California is approximately 800 miles in length and about 200 miles wide and has every single type of weather and evironmental condition available on the entire planet. Many riders from other countries spend months here and still do not find their way to all the places that could be found. Im a native and in 46 years Im still finding new places to ride within this state! Its Amazing to say the least.

    Your proposed ride from Ely, Nevada to say South Lake Tahoe is about 350 road miles. Then from South Lake Tahoe into San Francisco Area will be about another 200 miles. San Quentin Prison is so large that is actually has its own city name and zip code, did you know that? You can map it on Google by using its name. Its actually in MArin County which is an awesome area, you can visit many coastal regions and yes of course Alcatraz Island from the City. Take ride down to Fishermans Wharf and spend an afternoon and you gotta have a bowl of Clam Choder and sourdough bread while your there.

    Enjoy

  8. #8
    The Lost Tourguide kluts's Avatar
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    Re: First time tour advice please

    It's easy to ride in both Nevada and California without hitting tight twisted country roads. Unless you want them! Our huge traffic volumes demand relatively direct through-ways. Thus, you can see Lake Tahoe in relative riding comfort, a four hour ride from San Francisco. San Quentin is a mere 35 minutes from downtown San Francisco. Santa Cruz and Monterey are within easy reach on easy highways. Alcatraz is at the end of the pier (and on a tour boat), just minutes into the Bay. Golden Gate is a doddle. All of the above mentioned places are within an easy ride from SF, the only overnight being Tahoe. Santa Cruz is a typical California coastal town complete with beach and funway with rides and rollercoaster. Monterey is serene with wonderous sights of the Pacific Coast, offering views from Carmel and Point Lobos that look like moving paintings. This area can easily be called one of the 7 most beautiful places in the world.


    Nevada is so open that there are few curves save for broad gentle ones that cross a series of low mountain ranges running north-south through the state like fence pickets. They're more like geological waves. Crossing these passes poses no problem, in fact at times other than noticing a gentle ramp and roadsigns telling you so, it's often hard to distinguish that you've gone through a summit.

    That isn't to mean Nevada is a barren waste like the Russian Steppes in winter. It's seemingly barren but you will notice soon enough that it's in fact full of color and life. The high mountains paralell or surround the highways and are beautiful in their own right, reflecting subtle changes in the northern desert light. Wildlife gets up close and personal to the point of having to dodge the animals and birds sometimes. Coyotes and jackrabbit abound, along with the occasional snake warming itself on the tarmac. Kangaroo rats can be found-- these are curious and wonderful rodents that don't exist in too many places, Nevada being one of last outposts. Hawk, Eagle, Raven, deer, even bobcat can be sighted from Hwy 50.

    November ISN'T a good time to be riding across Nevada. It's cold, and an early winter storm is capable of blowing you off the bike or just making progress downright miserable. Likewise, California can be iffy. October is a better bet, even with the occasional high altitude snow, October storms last no longer than a day or so.

    As for a guide, well, you might be able to cultivate some company, picking upp a buddy rider at different points along the way. When you have a more specific plan, you can post your interest in company/buddies on this and similar forums. Generally speaking solo women riders are rare but not exceptionally so, and they usually ride safe and unbothered.
    "Not all those who wander are lost."
    --J.R.R. Tolkien

  9. #9
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    Re: First time tour advice please

    I have bought a book about the national parks so will read that while im in hospital. thanks you for your advice

    Poo

  10. #10
    Quiet Pipes Save Rights JeffeVerde's Avatar
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    Re: First time tour advice please

    Pick up a Frommer's or similar travel guide and peruse it to see what might interest you in California. As others have said, you're talking about an area the size of the UK, and while two weeks of riding would let you tour much of the state, you'll probably want to spend a day here and a day there sightseeing.

    There's a pretty comprehensive list of bike rental outfits here on the Pashnit site. Eagle Rider is probably the biggest outfit, with offices in most large cities. But they primarily rent Harleys, with a smattering of BMW's and GoldWings. I don't have any personal experience with them, but AdMo-Tours has multiple locations in California and has a wider range of bikes - including V-Stroms and the BMW F650GS and F800GS. But given the miles you're looking at, if you want to travel in comfort, it's hard to beat a GoldWing or BMW LT

    While "Mass Transit" is kind of a foreign concept here in California's car culture, for sightseeing purposes you can get around San Francisco, L.A. and San Diego pretty well via bus and light-rail. There's also train service between San Francisco and San Diego via Amtrak's Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner trains, with much of the route running right along the beach. And there are literally dozens of flights each day between San Francisco and Los Angeles, with fares starting at around $80 one-way.

    Winter comes a bit later to Southern California than to the north half of the state, and L.A.'s version of "winter" would pass for summer in most of the UK. L.A. often has temps in the 80's in mid-October, and San Diego has more 72 degree days than anywhere else in the country . If you have to be here in November, bring rain gear, and consider focusing on the southern half of the state.

    If you want an organized tour, Pashnit Tours is your best bet for northern/central California. But it looks like Tim's only doing 2-3 day trips that late in the season. There's a group out of San Diego that's got one and two week tours running in late September. The one-week trip is up the coast from San Diego to San Francisco. The two-week trip is the same route up, and a return leg through the Sierra foothills.

    There are a number of woman riders (women riders?) here on Pashnit, and many of them think nothing of going on extended solo rides throughout the western states. You might want to post a thread with a title like "Seeking a woman's advice on solo touring California" to get their input. But all in all, California is a pretty safe place to ride (aside from the traffic in San Francisco and L.A. ) -- a cell phone and a credit card will cover pretty much any emergency you might happen on. And once you've set your general itinerary, you'll probably be flooded with offers of riding companions -- folks here on Pashnit love to show guests around their "backyards".
    Last edited by JeffeVerde; 03-26-2008 at 02:28 PM.
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