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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Norfolk to San Antonio
« on: October 23, 2008, 05:12:28 am »
Norfolk is a reasonable starting point, but you might consider one of the Washington DC airports, Dulles maybe, or if you actually want to see Washington DC maybe one of the others.

A DC start would be a good way to go if you want to ride Skyline Drive and the Blueridge Parkway.  Coordinating places to stay is a bit tricky on the BRP unless you go off the parkway which will involve a steep climb back up.  If you go that route be prepared for the not so long, but very steep climbs in the Appalachians.

Routes / Norfolk to San Antonio
« on: October 21, 2008, 05:06:49 am »
I am sure that you can find suitable roads for that route, but don't know the route well enough to give specific advice.

If it was me, I think that if the most direct route was not the goal I would be inclined to go west sooner.  Maybe follow the Trans America to the Blue Ridge Parkway and take that south.  Or possibly go a bit farther west and down through Tennessee and Alabama.  The Appalachians in Virginia are tough, but pretty.  Tennessee and northwestern Alabama are nice rolling hills the way you would probably go.

Another possibility would be to go even farther west on the Trans America and then down the Mississippi valley.  It would be a good bit longer though.

Routes / Trans Am vs. Northern Tier
« on: November 01, 2008, 07:08:10 am »
We chose the TA and were happy with the choice.  It avoids larger cities.  The only big towns we passed through were Eugene, Missoula, and Pueblo.  All of those were quite bike friendly and a nice change of pace.

I have not done the NT, so I can't really compare though.

BTW, another option to consider is using the Lewis and Clark route for the part west of Missoula.

Routes / Atlantic Route distance
« on: September 23, 2008, 11:11:37 am »
I am not all that familiar with the AC Atlantic coast route, so take this for what it is worth...

You could probably find a route that was much shorter, but the AC routes are usually longer for a reason.  They tend to avoid big cities and favor more scenic choices with lighter traffic.  That necessitates a longer route.  Additionally many bridges and tunnels need to be avoided in some way since they do not allow bikes.  That too can add substantial mileage.

Routes / Pac coast help 2
« on: August 25, 2008, 06:11:46 am »
Don't let the rain get you down.  It can still be a great ride even in the rain.  I hope you get great weather for the rest of the trip.

Routes / Pac coast help 2
« on: August 24, 2008, 07:03:26 am »
I've only ridden a bit of the coast, but..  Based on the part of the coast that I have ridden, there are better views on the southbound side and the lanes/shoulders are wider too on at least some parts of the coast apparently because they know most of the cyclists are southbound.

Routes / PCH vs. Colo to Yellowstone (safer ride)
« on: August 29, 2008, 02:13:56 pm »
The PCH is a very scenic reasonably safe place to tour.  The road conditions vary.  I have only ridden a small part of it, but have driven a lot of it.  It is really pretty close to ideal touring.  For more details get the book:
Bicycling the Pacific Coast by Tom KirKendall and Vicky Spring

I rode the Colorado to Yellowstone section going the other way as part of our Cross country trip on the TA.  That section of the TransAmerica would be a godd choice if that is where you want to ride.  Colorado from Pueblo to Walden will be pretty nice.  Wyoming to the Tetons is desolate but we enjoyed it.

The Tetons were quite pretty and I liked Yellowstone.  Traffic was pretty heavy in Yellowstone, but doable.  Try to avoid the weekends until late Sunday when the park kind of empties out.

Check out our journal and other Trans America journals on CGOAB for more details about this area.

Given the choice between those two I would probably pick the PCH.  Or perhaps a loop in the Colorado Rockies, I loved the Rockies.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 8-29-08 @ 2:17 PM

Routes / TransAm Fairplay, CO to Ness City, KS
« on: August 13, 2008, 03:53:40 am »
This wasn't our favorite section for terrain or attractions.  There just isn't all that much there.  That said the local folks were warm and friendly and made it worthwhile.

I don't remember the names of the places in Canon City, but I would avoid the campground just past Jellystone on the right.  He tried to charge us more than if we had arrived by car and kept saying he had a bikers discount and implied we had to stay there be cause he was "on our map".  We told him to shove it and went a mile or a bit more to the next one on the right (the place with all of the carved wooden bears out front.  They were very nice and offered us a very good discount.

The city pool (free to cyclists) in Pueblo was nice and we stayed in the locked area the city provides for camping (call ahead to arrange for a key).

In Ordway, if it is hot take a cooling shower in the fountain in front of town.  Step on the blue circle to activate it.  I am not sure how things are going with Gillian Hogard and her rebuilding since the fire, but if she is accepting cyclists look her up.

We camped in the little city park in Eads.  It was nice.

I don't remember much about Leoti or Ness City, but I think we stayed in city parks.

Routes / pacific coast western express, trans am loop
« on: August 12, 2008, 04:02:35 am »
Inland first probably makes the most sense due to the prevailing winds on the coast.

What time of year are you going?  The the passes (snow), coast (rain, slides), and the WE (heat) can all be sensitive to time of year issues.  You probably won't hit them all at optimum times and time will probably necessarily be a compromise.

Edit: Forgot to say that the time it is very dependent on your preferred pace, but I would probably expect to take 70-75 days.  Still 50-90 days would be in what is considered the "normal" range.  I am basing this on my experience with a small portion of the coast and all of the TA (never been on the WE), so take it for what it is worth.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 8-12-08 @ 4:18 AM

Routes / Help: Route from Wash, D.C. to Charlottesville, VA
« on: August 06, 2008, 11:01:55 am »
If you decide to take the AC Atlantic Coast route, the route the TA uses between Richmond and Charlottesville was nice.

Routes / Are ACA Routes Marked?
« on: July 27, 2008, 02:21:32 pm »
My observation from last summer is that the TA was marked some of the way, but by no means everywhere.  The markings were actually pretty sparse, especially in the west.  I think we were nearly halfway across the country before we saw the first one between Fairplay Co and Canon City CO.  There were a  lot in Virginia, but even there they were not frequent enough to count on them.

Routes / VA Campsites
« on: July 15, 2008, 04:28:46 pm »
We were lucky enough to have friends and family on that section, so we didn't camp much.

Misty Mountain Campground west of Charlottesville was nice and fairly cheap for us since we split the cost three ways and they gave us a break for being cyclists.  It wasn't real cheap though if you are not splitting the cost.

I believe that the Cookie House is open, but there is a different contact person.  Check out the following thread:

Routes / eastward/east coast in September
« on: July 11, 2008, 07:36:26 am »
The BRP itself is very pleasant, but climbing up to it can be tough.  That was the hardest part of the TA or at least very close to it.  Nothing in the Rockies was even close IMO.  Unfortunately any detour for construction usually involves descending and climbing back up VERY steeply.  So double check for road closures at:

Also any marked detours don't take bikes into account and are likely to use interstate or other roads unsuitable for bikes.  You may be able to sneak through rather than use the detours.

I don't think any current closures should affect you, but it is a good idea to check.

Skyline drive is a nice ride.  I would disagree that it is harder than the BRP in general, but perhaps it is harder than the portion of the BRP that the TA uses.

If you decide to pass close to Baltimore and need a place to stay I am just inside the beltway on the north side and could probably provide a place to stay assuming we are home.  Let me know if that would help.

Routes / TransAm on Map 12, Christiansburg VA
« on: June 21, 2008, 07:41:57 am »
I would suggest trying to see if a one way car rental to Blacksburg or Christiansburg might work.  Some rental companies soak you for a huge fee for dropping off at a different location and others not.  It might depend on location as well.  We had good luck with Alamo on the west coast, but I don't know if they are in the area.

Routes / Western Virginia Route- route 80 quality
« on: July 10, 2008, 04:38:41 am »
Sorry that I don't remember all of the specifics. but...

I think that all of the VA roads on the TA had a reasonable surface.

There were long stretches of horrible surfaces because of road construction in the west.  I think the worst of it was Wyoming and maybe some in Montana.

Missouri had a long stretch of freshly applied tar with no chip yet on it that was pretty bad in the 100 degree heat.  What a mess that was!

Edit: I forgot to say that was in 2007, but the construction in the west was slated to go on for several years.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 7-10-08 @ 3:39 AM

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