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2014 FJR
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Small group of us are planning on a ride from San Jose, CA to Vancouver. I am writing to seek advice on route and how-tos.
Here are some of our wants:
  • Use coastal roads like US-1 as much as possible
  • Avoid boring freeways if possible
  • Use paved roads,
  • We can change oil but can not rebuild an engine (i.e keep me close to civilization)
  • We have done 500 miles / day with a very sore bottom at the end of the day
  • Not sure about sleeping arrangement (camp ground, tent under stars, hotel, ABB)
  • When = most likely May 2023.
  • Bike types = FJR1300, R1250 RT, Bandit 1200
Looks like its about 1000 miles each way.
As I am sure many have done this, I am seeking advice on routes and perhaps even comments like "don't do this, but do that" sort of things.
As a bonus question: should we take sport touring bikes or mid size adventure ? I guess depends on the route....

Thanks
 

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622 Posts
US97 north then go over the Cascades west on US2 to I5 then north a short way to the border and Vancouver, BC. This adds a few miles but imo the scenery and overall less traffic is worth it. Western OR and WA just aren't worth it anymore. Again just my humble opinion. I absolutely won't ride or drive from Eugene to Portland on I5 anymore and I5 thru Seattle is just not a fun experience either. The coast up US101 is also a zoo and I should know having lived on the OR coast since '81. Don't know how you get from your location to US97 because I never ever venture south into CA. Probably the best way to get to US97 north for you would be I5 north then cut over to US97 in way northern CA just before the OR border and through Klamath Falls, OR. Lot of fast truck traffic on US97. I really like US395 but probably is out of the way for you but it is my favorite north south through OR and WA. On the other hand if you just stayed on US101 it would probably beat anything west of the Cascade Mts. in OR and WA.
 

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2014 FJR
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks JamesW ....
US-97 is way up north and east of San Jose, CA. Most likely we will be crawling US-1 on the most west side of the country. To get to US-97, we'll need to go east, pass I-5 and then seems like we'll have to back west.
Ecoregion Map World Atlas Parallel

Here is another option which uses US-1 and US-101 all the way up...
Map World Atlas Parallel Circle
 

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Versys 1000, VFR800
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It depends on how much time you have.... if it were me, I'd angle east from either Eureka or Crescent City and hit up Crater Lake, Mt. Hood. Back over to 5, up to Mt. St. Helens, on up, across 12 to 123 to 410 (Chinook Pass), Enumclaw and up 203, up Hwy 9........
 

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I did most of the route in early November. If you have already done the coast. You might consider this. Take the coast hwy up to Fort Bragg then head over to I-5 using 20 (great road)out of Fort Bragg. Its just a short Hwy Ride up to Redding where the Hwy gets scenic . I would definitely do 97. Oregon 1 is so so in my opinion. I would take 97 into Oregon and catch Crater Lake. I like 97 and would take that all the way up through Bend and up to 197 and to the Dalles. Then you can see the Columbia river gorge as you head back west taking the Oregon side or the Washington side. There are nermerous waterfalls on the Oregon side but the Washington side will be a little less traffic. If your in Vancouver and depending on time you could take 5 up to 12 over to Rainier Nat Park. You could do a combination of this and Rayzermans route on your way back then head back to the coast to go through the redwoods. Just to many ways to go
 

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2016 FJR1300 ES
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614 Posts
If you are considering 97 I would highly recommend hwy 20 rather than 2 for crossing the cascades. So much more beautiful.
 

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If you go up the coast, ride the "Avenue of the Giants" in the Redwoods, it is amazing. If you eat lunch or dinner in Eureka, try the Samoan Smokehouse. Very unique restaurant with a cool museum focusing on Redwood logging. Cape Blanco, just south f Bandon, ORE is a great place to camp and if you are there during low tide, you can check out the natural tide pools. Cape Perpetua in Yachats, ORE is also amazing. So much to see on the NorCal and Oregon coast.
 

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2009 x 2 FJR, 2004 Concours, 2017 XR650L
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Having made the trip from Vancouver Island to LA about 10x, I would agree: Avoid I5 from Portland to the border at all costs. In fact, I'd avoid Portland and Seattle too.
Here are a few of the highlights I'd recommend going from memory:
Washington State is one of the most under-rated States. You can go from lush orchard farm land, to high mountain tops to desert like views to rolling agricultural fields all in one day. It would be ideal if you could get as far East as the Grand Coulee dam and head south from there but if too much out of the way because you want to stick near the coast you can head coastline in one directions and the other side of I5 going the other.
Coast side I'd plan to spend time in Lincoln City, Crescent City, Cannon Beach, Dunes of Oregon, Valley of the Giants and take the BlackBall ferry to Vancouver Island, spend some time in Victoria and drive the coastal highway to Campbell River before returning to Nanaimo and crossing the ferry to Vancouver. Do Stanley Park while there and Grandville Market.
Cross at the Sumas border crossing and stay on the back roads (no traffic, no shoulders, lots of scenery) that parallel I5. If you can head East, Do take Hwy 20 over the Cascades to Twisp (Montana - like terrain) before making your way back westward. You can also do the Snoqualimie pass and hit Mt Rainier and the tourist town of Leavenworth( both are a must).
Peronally, I was awestruck with Mt. St Helens but you have to spend time at the visitor's centers and it's a one-way in. one-way out deal too.
All that sets you up perfectly for taking #138 through Crater Lake. YOu can then Take #3 through Shasta and the rest of the way home.
I live on Vancouver Island a few hours from Victoria. Let me know when you come through. I may even have a couple of empty rooms.
 
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