On another note, I see you are going through Sheridan and Buffalo, Wyoming - I took another route in that area which you might find interesting, check out Day 29 here: http://bikingbrian.com/bicycling/touring/usa2001/updates.htm
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FWIW. The fact that it has hollow tubing rather than solid rod is a good thing in my opinion. Assuming the same alloy, tubing has most of the stiffness at a reduced weight Solid rod is actually a sign of a lesser made rack.I would agree only if the tubing is larger diameter to compensate. How much larger it would need to be, I don't know. Maybe that's why the struts are now 11mm, though the website says 9mm. Perhaps the 9mm on the website is dated.
Now if it has worse welds or a lesser alloy that is another matter.The weld in the back doesn't go as far across on the new rack. Can't speak to the quality of the welds or the alloy.
A little off topic... Is southern portion of SC passable in mid March? I am looking at, say from where it intersects Southern Tier, to where it gets close to LA, near San Bernadino or Burbank.
There is little to no chance of snow accumulation on the part of the route you describe. But I wouldn't characterize the scenery as particularly great either.
If you ride Route 66 in California, the stretch between Newberry Springs and Ludlow (66 is a kind of frontage road to I40 along here), you'll find the worst pavement on 66. This is pavement from hell. It's the anti-pavement. I rode it once and vowed never again. Twice, once going east and once west, I've scoffed at the no-bikes on I40 in this area and jumped on the interstate--aaaah! Smooth, wide, fast shoulders, moderate to light traffic. Very pleasant. No cops bothered me, but you only need to get on I40 for about 25 miles to dodge the worst of the 66 junk surface. After that, in either direction, the riding is pretty good. The stretch from Ludlow down into the sink around Amboy is grade-A classic desert riding.Ah, now that this thread is alive again, I just noticed this. Once I tried to ride 66 west out of Ludlow and noticed the same thing. I ended up entering I-40 at the next onramp and it all the way to Newberry Springs. http://www.bikingbrian.com/2010/03/18/route-66-bicycle-tour-day-5/