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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Brits Tackle Transamerica
« on: March 11, 2008, 07:50:14 am »
To some extent it might be luck and to some it might be the route chosen, but people were generally very nice to us and drivers mostly courteous.  The exceptions to this were rare.  A very few times someone gave us "the finger" and once some redneck kids intentionally blasted us with diesel smoke as they passed.  OTOH we constantly got waves, thumbs up, and rock on gestures.

There are a lot of dogs that run loose and chase bikes in Missouri and Kentucky, but I didn't consider them a big problem.

People everywhere offered us food and cold water and were generally kind and generous.

As far as the 45-50 days... Some people do manage to do TA or NT that fast, but I think not too many.

The ST would seem like it might be a good bit quicker to finish, but plan to do it in cooler weather if you go that route.

As Valygrl says the Pacific Coast isn't coast to coast, but does cross the country north to south and is very nice and can easily be done in you time frame.  You won't see the whole country that way though.

Routes / Brits Tackle Transamerica
« on: March 10, 2008, 10:46:00 am »
Three of us did the transamerica last summer.  We took 73 days total.  I am sure it can be done in less, but we found that just right for us.  We trained as we went and took a fair number of short mileage days rather than take full rest days.  We took time to do some side hikes and tourist stuff.  How much time do you have?

I didn't find the drivers/traffic to be a major issue, but I am used to worse traffic at home than we found on the tour.  There are roads without shoulders but most are fairly light traffic.  Logging trucks and motor homes are a bit scary, but I never felt too endangered.

Routes / Aussie riding the USA
« on: March 10, 2008, 06:15:04 am »
The Pacific Coast is beautiful!  It is a wonderful place to ride.  Do you have all of August thru all of October?  If so that is probably way more time than you need to do the Pacific Coast route.  You can probably add lots of extra time by doing some side trips inland.  You could spend extra time in the San Juan Islands, the Williamette Valley, and maybe go up into the Cascades to name a few options if you have extra time.

If you have 10-12 weeks you could also consider a coast to coast trip.  You would get to see more varied terrain and towns, but would also have to travel across more monotonous areas too.  It would give you a picture of the whole country rather than just the coast though.

Routes / West to East Coast
« on: February 27, 2008, 07:21:55 am »
We started on June 11th 2007 from a day north of Florence on the coast.  Most years at that time McKenzie Pass is likely to but, may or may not be open.  If not Santiam Pass will be.  I would recommend either when we started or a bit later.

The history of opening and closing of McKenzie Pass is online at:
Be aware that they usually are open to pedestrians and bicycles a couple weeks before they open to cars.  That is a great time to ride it if you are lucky enough to get there then.

If you can be flexible with your start you can time it based on this years conditions by monitoring the ODOT web site for openings.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 2-27-08 @ 5:23 AM

Routes / Anacortes, WA to Sanfrancisco, CA
« on: February 26, 2008, 06:29:55 am »
I would want lower gearing if it was me.

Routes / Mckenzie Pass (oregon, Transamerica route)
« on: February 07, 2008, 10:14:38 am »
Can you say a bit more...  Specifically what don't you think is true?

The historical record of openings and closings is at:
But that lists the dates for cars, bikes are apparently different.

I would have guessed that they wouldn't plow McKenzie pass through the winter.  Is that true or no?

Routes / Mckenzie Pass (oregon, Transamerica route)
« on: February 03, 2008, 06:45:31 am »
I haven't done Santiam Pass, but based on comparing notes with others who did, I would recommend doing McKenzie if it is open.  It is a nice ride the view is great. and seeing the lava field was cool.  It is a big climb but it is very do-able.  Two of our group had almost no miles under their belts before this trip.  One wasn't a cyclist and started riding only a few weeks before the trip.  Their longest training ride was 31 miles.  They made it fine.

Routes / Mckenzie Pass (oregon, Transamerica route)
« on: February 02, 2008, 04:53:28 pm »
the historical info on the openings is at:
but remember that they open it to bikes before they open it to cars.  The ideal time to do it IMO is when there are no cars on the top part.

Routes / Mckenzie Pass (oregon, Transamerica route)
« on: February 02, 2008, 04:50:17 pm »
Last year we started June 11th and it had been open for weeks to bicycles.  That particular year it never opened to cars since there was road work that was to be done.

Actually it officially closed for the road work the day before we rode it, but there were lots of bikes and the work had not started yet.  I think that it is often open by early June and sometimes early May.

I would keep in touch with the ODOT website as the trip approaches to see what the deal is.  I am not sure if the work was finished last year, but I am sure ODOT will have that posted on their site.

Realize though that you can use Santiam Pass if McKenzie pass is closed.  Still I wouldn't start before early June.

Routes / Is April 15 to early to start the TA?
« on: January 29, 2008, 06:16:58 pm »
It might be a bit early.  You could be OK, but you might find cold and snow in the higher altitudes.  You are also more likely to have rain in the east.  You will miss the heat and humidity in the east though.

I wouldn't be too surprised if you got to Hoosier Pass a little faster than that either.  I think we took 33 days for that section (going the opposite direction).

I would be inclined to go a bit later if it was me.  Is that an option or is the start date hard to change for some reason?

Oh, one other thing.  Expect the Appalachians to be tough.  They were far and away the hardest part of the trip.  I say this so that you won't be thinking that the Rockies will be harder and obsessing over that.

Whenever you go, have a good time.  It is a great route.

Routes / Northern Tier Route Length - Days Wise
« on: January 29, 2008, 06:38:08 am »
A comment on days off...
We found it preferable to take a short day once in a while rather than full days off unless the full day off was required for some activity we wanted to do.  For example we took a day off to go whitewater rafting.  The short days may be 30 miles and stop to swim, read, or generally loaf around all afternoon.  You do need to allow some extra time either way though.

Another thing to consider is that towns and other places to stop are limited.  On the TA there were times when you had no choice but to take a short day unless you wanted to do a ridiculously long one.  I assume that will also often be the case on the NT as well.

Routes / Northern Tier Route Length - Days Wise
« on: January 28, 2008, 10:48:54 am »
The following is my experience and is based on being self supported.  If they will be sagged it will help some.  Will your riders be carrying their gear?  Will they have to do their own cooking and shopping?

It wouldn't be a reasonable pace for me, especially self supported.  That is 95.5 miles per day.  Certainly possible, but do you really want to ride pretty much a century a day?  I don't and I doubt that many do.  It would seem to prevent spending any time seeing the country as you go.  side hikes, time off to go rafting, rest days; any of that kind of stuff would seem to be minimized or completely eliminated.

We met some folks who thought they would maintain a pace like that on the TA, they fairly quickly decided that it wasn't reasonable.  They were self supported, but I think they would have come to the same conclusion if they weren't.

We did the TA (a similar distance) in 73 days and didn't feel like we were loafing.  We did start a bit slow and trained as we rode, but still I think that our mileage was reasonable.

If the NT is similar in difficulty to the TA...
I would see 8 weeks (56 days) as pushing very hard and 12 weeks (84 days) as taking it somewhat easy.  Longer isn't out of the question though.

Bottom line why make it a grueling ordeal?  It should be fun; it won't be for the average rider if done in 45 days.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 1-28-08 @ 8:51 AM

Routes / Start Dates: PC trail & Transamerica
« on: January 22, 2008, 07:05:37 am »
That is a little early for the TransAmerica.  McKenzie Pass may still be closed.  AC says it usually opens in July, but last year it was open in May I think. If it is closed you can take the Santiam Pass alternate.  They were working on McKenzie last Summer,check to see if it is open again before assuming.

It varies from year to year, but you are likely to have some cold weather and maybe snow at the higher elevations.  Snow is always a slim possibility even in July at high altitudes, but pretty likely in May.

We started June 11th on the TA last year and thought that it was probably the earliest that we would count on.

If it was me I would go a bit later than you are planning.  I guess if you can be flexible with your starting date you could see what kind of year it looked like it was shaping up to be and adjust the start as needed.

Routes / Wind-->TransAmerica
« on: February 11, 2008, 06:55:04 am »
> I actually found the appalachians easier than the
Rockies.  Yes, the grades are more spread out in the West, but in the East there is often the opportunity with the ups and downs to get momentum to make it up the grades a bit easier.

Interesting, that is so counter to my experience that I have a hard time imagining it.  What route did you do and in which direction?  Every rider is different so I don't doubt you, but I have a hard time imagining that for some one on the TA (we went W-E, so I can only guess about how it would be E-W).

I can't imagine that momentum could have much to do with it in places like the climb from Vesuvius to the Blue Ridge parkway or on any climb measured in miles.  In many places where there are rolling hills yes, but on longer climbs I don't see it.

I guess there were really only a few really hard days in the Appalachians as opposed to a steady grind for a much longer time in the West.

Routes / Wind-->TransAmerica
« on: February 07, 2008, 12:20:51 pm »
> mountains in virginia?

Everything we saw on the TransAmerica in the Cascades and Rockies was easy compared to the tougher climbs in Missouri and Virginia.  The highest we got in the East was probably only about 4000 feet or so, but the grades are much steeper.

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