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Messages - jamawani

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Hey Mike -

Riding west-to-east, late May is about as early as you would want to start.
I started one trip June 3rd and had significant snowfall in the Cascades - combined with lots of snow already there.
YMMV - but it's been a pretty snowy year in the Cascades already and it may hold on late.

If you are riding in Oregon on the TransAm, you should be a little better off than Washington.
It may be that you will need to take Santiam Pass over the Cascades.
Not to mention that mid-June can still be quite cold and snowy in Yellowstone.

Not sure as to your pace - but 400 miles a week is 5 full and 2 half days of 66 miles.
Also, are you planning to start in Astoria or further down the coast? Newport? Florence?
From Newport it would be 3 weeks to Yellowstone at 400mi/per. 3 1/2 weeks from Astoria.
If you leave May 24, you get to Yellowstone around June 15 - plenty early enough.

US 26 does not go to Lander - it goes to Riverton and Shoshoni.
US 287 goes south to Lander, then east to Muddy Gap to connect with WYO 220.

The Lander-Muddy Gap route is about 30 miles longer with some serious climbing at first.
Then it's gently downhill with a few big downhills to Casper. And it's more scenic.

Both routes are remote -
East of Lander, it's 40 miles to Sweetwater Station - with a rest stop.
Then another 20 miles to Jeffrey City - which used to have 4000 people, but now has 40.
I know Jeffrey City quite well.
Then another 23 to Muddy Gap.

From there's Independence Rock, Pathfinder Reservoir, and Alcova Reservoir.
With camping and services at the two reservoirs.There is a state rest area at Independence Rock
and you could always wild camp just east on the Oregon Trail Road on the Sweetwater River. Sweet.

You should have tailwinds with either route - but there are NO guarantees.
And if you have a headwind, there is zero cover.

There are 5 "communities" between Shoshoni and Casper. And "community" is a stretch.
BTW - Shoshoni has one of the most derelict Main Streets in Wyo.

1. Moneta - 21 mi - ghost town
2. Hiland - 41 mi - biker bar and one house
 (I'm sure you could camp out back if you asked.)
3. Waltman - 50 mi - I believe the store is now closed
4 Powder River - 62 mi - no stores, but you could ask at a house for water
 (Hell's Half Acre is nearby, but the store and campground have been closed and razed.)
5. Natrona - 72 - long-closed store and trailer

That's it.

PS - Don't random camp on the Wind River Reservation
You can camp most anywhere on BLM or USFS lands off the rez.


Mike -

I live in Wyoming and have cycled practically every mile of 2-lane pavement and a lot of dirt, too.
The cut-off for Casper is 30 miles west of Lander - using US 26.
But the 100 miles between Shoshoni and Casper is BORING and with a good deal of traffic.
(By Wyoming standards - but there is also an excellent shoulder)
((Wyoming has some of the best shoulder sin the U.S.))

If you are planning to hit the Black Hills from Casper, I would head up the service road to WYO 259.
Then connect with Midwest, Wright, and Newcastle.
WYO 387 has moderate traffic, WYO 450 is an empty road in the High Plains.

But - - -
If you are willing to do a few more miles and a chunk more climbing,
The Wind River Canyon between Shoshoni and Thermopolis is stunning.
Plus you would be heading downhill - probably with a tailwind.
The ride over the Bighorn Mountains to Buffalo isn't easy, but again stunning.
You are likely to hit peak wildflower season - miles of meadows with every color in the rainbow.
And you could hit Devils Tower and take a ride with aliens before finishing up your trip.

Just sayin'

-- Juan

Pic - Bighorns in June

General Discussion / Re: Estimating travel days to arrive on specific date
« on: February 29, 2016, 04:17:45 pm »
Ahem, ahem (clears throat)

You know - those appointed dates can act as a lead weight to your tour.
Do the best you can - and if you are late, you are late.

I did a major x-USA fundraiser back in 1988 for a non-profit with dozens of stops.
Started on the east coast with events and TV along the way.
In Spokane, WA, the chair of the local organization said, "You're a day late!"

Late July should be no problem to reach Bozeman - if you can do 60-ish miles per day.
With 1 1/2 days off per week that would be 333 miles per week - 1000 every 3 weeks.
The TransAm is 2900 miles from Virginia to West Yellowstone.
Thus - 3000 miles 9 weeks.

If you have to be there about July 26 - June and July give you 8 weeks. Plus a week in May.
So add a few days and think about May 20. Which is a Friday.
You should make sure to start on a weekday in case of bike shop or other needs.
(Some bike shops are closed Mondays - also fewer on Sunday or Tuesday)

Routes / Re: I-90 Lookout Pass - Idaho/Montana border 2016
« on: February 26, 2016, 03:08:12 pm »
The Thompson Falls route is SOOOOOOO much better than I-90 anyway.

There is a great bike/ped bridge over the falls at Thompson Falls.

And Murray, Idaho is the perfect Old West near-ghost town.

Routes / Re: TransAm Summer 2017
« on: February 24, 2016, 03:35:11 pm »
Profoundly unrealistic.

General Discussion / Re: camping on city parks
« on: February 15, 2016, 09:51:15 pm »
Preston -
I have found a general rule to be - "The smaller the town, the more likely to get permission."
If there is a KOA campground on the outskirts of a medium-sized town, they will expect you to stay there.
My favorite towns are those with a little park, a small grocery, and a cafe/bar.
Everything is right there and folks are usually really friendly.

Indy is right about the Northern Tier - but -
It can be a bear of a start for a relatively inexperienced tourer.
By the third day you are doing big climbs - up to Rainy Pass -
And, to add insult to injury, a steep drop and then up Washington Pass.
Plus there are four more passes before you reach Idaho.
It's a beautiful route, but lotza climbing right out of the gate.

I done all the legal crossings of the Cascades in Washington -
(Plus one that was - maybe - illegal. Hiked/Portaged my bike, didn't ride.)
I have a posting over at Crazyguy on the Washington passes.

Chinook Pass on Hwy 410 is, by far, the most beautiful and has the least traffic.
From the summit at Tipsoo Lake you have wildflowers and a stunning view of Mt. Rainier.
The pass doesn't open until Memorial Day and is snowed in until July 4th.
(I did did June with snowbanks and fog.) But in early August it is heavenly.

NPS Photo

There are two ways to hit Chinook Pass from the west -
1) Using Hwy 410 thru Enumclaw or 2) US 12 / Hwy 123 thru Morton
East of the pass are the magnificent American and Naches valleys with riverside camping.

As for the other passes:
Stevens Pass / US 2 - Moderately heavy traffic with little to no shoulders at times; worst choice.
Snoqualmie Pass - Can use I-90 (Why?) or unpaved John Wayne Trail and old service roads; tricky but doable.
White Pass / US 12 - Moderately low traffic, good shoulders, nice east side - but why not Chinook if you are this close?
Columbia Gorge / Hwy 14 - Moderately busy, shoulders variable, some remote stretches.


Not sure if you want to start on the actual Pacific Ocean or just on salt water. (Different strokes)
As I said earlier, the San Juan Islands are really sweet as a starting point.
You can take a pricey catamaran ferry from Seattle and back.
Or you can take an airport shuttle straight to the Wash. State Ferry docks in Anacortes.

Or you can take a shuttle out to Aberdeen and start at the Westport Lighthouse.
There are a number of routes from the coast to Chinook or White Pass.
ACA has a good portion as part of their "Washington Parks" loop -
But a route with less traffic and climbing is via Raymond, Chehalis, and Morton.

If interested - send me a private message and I'll offer you any specifics I know.

Best - J

PS - The Prism climate site at Oregon State Uni. has excellent temp/precip maps of the U.S. by month.

Do it now - - as Patrick Stewart said in Star Trek TNG - -

The Tetons in September

My first X-USA trip was from Astoria to the Outer Banks back in 1987.
Started on Sept 1 and finished on Nov 10.
But I was going in the other direction.
And I did a far more direct route than 4400 miles.

An autumn trip is quite nice northwest to southeast - a booger the other way around.
By late October, the days are getting pretty short and temps are iffy - even in the east.

Can you do it the other way?
Leaving from the San Juan Islands in early August - you can take the WA State Ferries.
Have beautiful late summer / early fall in the West
Then take the NC State Ferry out to the Outer Banks to finish.

General Discussion / Re: September/October Boston to San Fransisco
« on: February 11, 2016, 06:45:50 pm »
On my fall tours, I have always run into a few folks - esp. in the West.
In the East, cyclists get pretty rare by October unless you are in Vermont or other fall locations.

Sept is really a lovely month in the West.
The Western Express is a tough slog across Nevada.
I love Nevada and have cycled it 7 or 8 times thru every county.
But many people find the remoteness and distances between services daunting.

Of course, there is no place like San Francisco - so that might be a requirement.
But you could also cut over to Yosemite - then into Nevada.
Can't believe Yosemite is not on the WX - but Tioga Pass is closed 6 months of the year.

Another option is to start on the Central Oregon coast and take the Trans Am across Oregon -
Save 400-500 miles by cutting across the Sawtooths of Idaho -
Then rejoin the TransAm in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Nevada and Utah are usually just scorched by late summer / early fall.
The more temperate northern regions have stunning river valleys and golden aspens.

There are lots of ways to do things.
If you time window is fixed - try for the very best tour within that window.

Best - J

Pic - September in the Tetons

General Discussion / Re: September/October Boston to San Fransisco
« on: February 11, 2016, 01:52:09 pm »
You are new here and I don't know how much experience you have - from the sound  of it, not much.

I did my first x-USA starting on Sept. 1 - but from the West coast.
The weather changes much sooner and unpredictably in the West than in the East.
Also - it should ideally be Northwest to Southeast.

I live in Wyoming now and have for 25 years.
October can be positively lovely in the Rockies, then quite nice.
But the possibility of real blizzards is there, for sure.
Not to mention that all park and national facilities are closed by then.

Do you have to do it east-to-west?


Routes / Re: Period to begin Great Divide Mountain Bike Road
« on: February 07, 2016, 05:35:38 pm »
Take it from someone who lives in Wyoming and has lived in Montana -
And have cycled paved and dirt roads all over.
September 1 is way too late.

Quite often the high country gets its first snowstorm right after Labor Day.
And there can be big snows by late September with blizzard conditions.
Yes, the weather can be glorious before and after but you can really get into trouble.

I am guessing that you are not from the U.S.
The Rocky Mountains - esp. the remote parts of the GDMBR - are not to be trifled with.

September 1 is a wonderful time to start a road trip in the Northwest -
And head southeast - ending in the Carolinas or Georgia.
You would usually have good weather the entire way. Early autumn.

Similarly, you could combine the Pacific Coast route with parts of the Cascades and Sierras.
The weather starts to change in Sept in the Cascades and Oct in the Sierras -
but nothing like trying to do the GDMBR in the Rockies.

The most concise answer I might give you is - - "98% no."

Pic - Early September Snow in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming
(Nota - The aspen trees still have leaves on them.)

General Discussion / Re: Juneau - Seattle
« on: February 06, 2016, 01:08:58 pm »
PS - You can ride the Canadian Rockies staying in hostels every 30 miles/50 km.

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