Reno to San Diego via Hwy 395? - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 2008, 3:59 pm Thread Starter
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Reno to San Diego via Hwy 395?

Doing a bit of travel planning. I would appreciate any input on Hwy 395 as a route to San Diego, I've never been on this road. This needs to be a one day ride from Reno. Is 395 a endless line of RV's, poor road surface, way to heavily patrolled for sportish riding or is it just what the doctor ordered?

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 2008, 4:15 pm
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Haven't ridden all the way down, but the parts up north are all the above - a mix of conditions. It will be a very long one day ride all the way to SD

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 2008, 4:36 pm
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I've ridden it from Lone Pine (just outside the west side of Death Valley) to Reno. This section is really nice. There will be plenty of RVs, but there are plenty of passing opportunities. It is patrolled more heavily than most roads I ride on, but its not too bad. Watch it near Yosemite / Lee Vining. The views are beautiful along this entire length, and you do get into some mild turns in Walker Canyon. You should make excellent time; there are some places where it becomes a four lane divided highway.

If you have time, take a few detours: head over Monitor Pass and then continue north on 88. This will take you back to 395 on the north side of Minden. Worth the detour. If you have a bit more time, stay on 88 and head over Luther Pass to South Lake Tahoe, ride around the lake and then back down Mt. Rose Highway into Reno. You will encounter traffic, but there's plenty to look at as you ride around the east side of the lake. Plus, you get to bypass the crappy 25MPH portion through downtown Carson City.

If you stay on 395 through Carson City, then another good detour is through Virginia City. Take Highway 50 east from Carson City, then head north to Virginia City. Descend back into Reno along the Geiger Grade. A great ride, but it is patrolled.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 2008, 4:56 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowflyn
Doing a bit of travel planning. I would appreciate any input on Hwy 395 as a route to San Diego, I've never been on this road. This needs to be a one day ride from Reno. Is 395 a endless line of RV's, poor road surface, way to heavily patrolled for sportish riding or is it just what the doctor ordered?

It's going to be a long day. Reno to San Diego will be just over 600mi. depending on your destination and the traffic will get worse as you get further south. You can figure about 10-11 hours travel time. When were you planing to ride??? Day, night, weekday, or weekend??? Each option makes a world of difference in the ride. Don't forget the commuter traffic is roughly between 3-7:30pm on weekdays in SoCal.

I normally ride it from the south to the north and leave SoCal at midnight. That puts me in Bishop just about dawn for early breakfast and in Reno at 8:00-9:00am.

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Last edited by brucecha; Jun 30th, 2008 at 5:06 pm.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 2008, 5:30 pm
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I use 395 quite a lot. Nice road and scenery from Bishop northward.

The CA Highway patrol operate pretty heavily from Bridgeport to the border. They "love to sit at the bottom of downhill runs and pick off people that gain speed going down them. They also use a few unmarked cars, mostly white, although I did spot one dark green pickup and a few 4 wheel SUV types (they have a faint CHP emblem on the door but hard to tell from head on or behind you). A good detector is a godsend out there.

Gas is "ridiculously high" at Bridgeport at their two stations, it may be over $5 per gallon for regular and $6 for diesel. Best fuel stops would be Lone Pine, Independence, or Big Pine which are about half way up the valley. Lee Vining has a nice Texaco with a restaurant (lots of bikes around it too) on the SE corner of 395 and 120 heading to Yosemite.

The climb around Mammoth Lakes summit can get cold, rainy, or snowy. I've hit snow there in June and September.

There was some construction (widening) going on north of Big Pine (?) but it wasn't bad. When you do see a zone and a flagman, watch for the CHP who may be at one end or the other. He pretty much stays with the construction site and looks for people who pass or do something silly. I had one tail me for what seemed forever before he turned around and went back to the site.

RV traffic is minimal now days (Wonder why?). I spoke to one guy gassing up his Coachman travel bus and he was saying it cost him $800 in gas to fill up. He said his consumption in it was $1 per mile (@ 5mpg).

You might want to look out for that greenish-yellow equestrian "smash" (ergo, crap) on the roadway too. Horses always seem to lose a load around that long horseshoe bend area and north above Mono Lake. It can slide you real quick.

The service station access roads south of Lone Pine around Pearsonville are not motorcycle friendly. They have widely spaced cattle guards and you can hang a tire if you don't cross them as perpendicular as needed. You need to shoot out onto 395 and then make your turn on the freeway to go on. There was a raked-out Sportster stuck in one several months ago with a traffic cone near it. Don't know where the rider was.

Roadways into businesses in the Owens Valley can be pretty bad as in dirt and ill-pavement areas. My current fall-down is due to one of those. Sandstorms leave debris all over the place and street cleaning isn't a priority. Oh, wind can be a problem too. I'd check that before you leave. If they say, "No high-profile vehicles" they also mean you.

A nice stop is the 10-15 minute road west of Lone Pine up to the store at the Mt. Whitney Portal. Sort of unreal area with little lakes and tall pine trees wedged between the two cliffs. Others are Convict Lake, and Mammoth Lakes (town for their bakery and sporting goods store). Some (Harleys) like the Virginia City and its back road as a back way into Reno-Sparks area from the eastern Carson City side.

Another "quaint" stop is at the two mega-million dollar brothels about 10 miles east of Reno on I-80. The Wild Horse has a restaurant (reasonably priced too) and bar. The brothel is behind the green door. I think the bartender hits a secret button because you can get swamped with "working girls (ahem!). The World Famous Mustang Ranch is across the parking lot. I'd recommend you leave you wallet, credit cards, and cell phone on the bike (damhik!) and just ask for a facilities tour if they ask (it's free!). Pretty interesting and the rooms are pretty swanky. You can get a souvenir (menu, business card, matchbook, t-shirt, etc.) to have bragging rights - or just plain outright lies - back home.

You should be able to make it in 10-11 hours with short stops. Traffic once past 14/395 junction isn't bad. Some semi traffic but they space out pretty well.

The road into Nevada is ripe with their NV Highway Patrol and Sheriff's. There's all sorts of odd slow-down/speed-trap areas. You'll see signs in front yards saying, "The NHP is watching you!" Again, a detector is your best friend.

Oh, no lane splitting in Nevada. Don't think about it. They get their panties in a bunch and will phone you in. Their rush hour gets bad and you can wait forever it seems. Rooms have gotten a little cheaper now as tourist season isn't so hot from what I've heard. Around "Street Vibrations" in Sept. they get really high and scarce.


Oh heck! I just saw where you're heading south and I wrote it as north bound. Nevermind.

Enjoy!

Mack
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old Jun 30th, 2008, 9:26 pm
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Reno to San Diego

I did the run you are talking about 7 years or so ago. 395 is a combination of 2 and 4 lanes. Make sure you are going the speed limit thru ALL of the small towns as they make their living on your impatience. There is a pretty good LEO presence on 395. You will pick up I-15 at Hesperia. I-15 has gotten a lot busier with all of the development in the Hesperia, Corona, Temecula, and north S.D. county cities. It will be a long day but you can make it.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old Jul 1st, 2008, 1:39 pm Thread Starter
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Well looks like 395 it will be. Besides I can't seem to find a reasonable alternative that will let me maintain my time line. The plan will be leave WA on July 17 mostly using I-5 (ugh) to make time. Then around Shasta jog east over to CA 89 on to CA 44 and pick up US 395 around Susanville. Spend the night in Reno and visit my brother for a bit. On the morning of the 18th head down Hwy395 for San Diego. Looks like if I take a detour or 2 I will hit San Diego around 9 pm. Saturday is a birthday party and rest day. Sunday reverse course and head back the way I came. (Mack your advice will get used after all).

Come Sept I will be riding to Indianapolis for MotoGP. This should be a good trial run as the round trip distance is about the same as the ride to Indy.

Thanks everyone for the input.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old Jul 1st, 2008, 3:06 pm
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July 17th on 395 is going to be really hot!

I see Lone Pine is set to be over 101 degrees on the 15th, as is Bridgeport and Bishop.

I mention this because a friend at work just mentioned his brother did the 395 thing last week up to the Columbia Gorge on a V-Strom from San Diego and he about passed out and required medical attention from other riders near the Ridgecrest Hwy. 14/395 junction. They got him cooled down and functioning, but he later made a mistake of taking his jacket off thinking he'd be cooler and the windburn kicked in and he almost went down again and had to be nursed back. He was from San Diego and not used to the desert heat and has been riding dirt bikes for almost 40 years and never experienced anything like that.

Yesterday, Death Valley to the east was 121 degrees in the shade and 198 degrees nine-inches down in the sand.

I stop riding around 95 degrees and call it a day and check-in at a motel someplace with A/C. A lot of them will allow you to check-in early if you explain the heat issue and will ask their maid if she's got one room cleaned they can use for you.

I've got a phase-change vest and extra packs that are useful from 90-105 degrees, but it can get brutal after noontime until about 6-7pm if you aren't ready for it. I find leaving at 4-5am can get you pretty far and someplace out of the heat.

Option going back would be the 101 in CA which is slightly cooler than 395 and the I-5 which absolutely sucks for bikes in July-August. Coastal Hwy. 1 is closed due to fires and is really slow travel.

Mack

Last edited by GMack; Jul 1st, 2008 at 3:13 pm.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old Jul 2nd, 2008, 12:27 pm Thread Starter
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Mack, thanks for the weather forecast. I do a fair amount of riding over in the eastern side of WA where triple digit temps are common during summer. Wearing summer gear and drinking plenty of water is a must. I agree with the early start on the day, don't know about 4 - 5am though.

Any suggestions on how many mph over the posted limited is safe for CA and NV.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old Jul 2nd, 2008, 1:38 pm
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If you can find a faster/better way. 395 is 2 lane and somewhat fun for the 70 miles after Carson City, but below Yosemite it gets straight, flat and hot, and patrolled like crazy. Google suggests I-80 to I-5 as the quickest/most direct route at 638 miles, and that would be my recommendation if you have to do it in 1 day. The 395 route is shorter but will take more time.

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