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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Wind-->TransAmerica
« on: January 18, 2008, 06:18:33 am »
Last year we found the opposite to be true.  We had a mix of headwinds and tailwinds most places and it was the luck of the draw, but across Eastern Colorado and Kansas the wind was out of the southeast and benefited the westbound rider.  I am told that this is quite typical.  The effects of wind can be minimized in most cases by starting and finishing as early as possible in Eastern Colorado and Kansas.  This helps to beat the heat too.

There are a lot of other factors besides the wind though.

The Appalachians are the toughest part of the trip and we didn't want to start with them.

The sun is going to be in your eyes either in the morning or in the evening if you ride early or late.  This is worth considering.

We liked the idea of having air travel and shipping of bikes out of the way first.

We liked the idea of it being hard to bail on the trip and flying out west made it tougher to bail out.

We originally wanted to have the west to look forward to and were concerned that there wouldn't be much that was new to look forward to in the east.  That didn't prove to be as big of a deal as I expected.  We actually found the east more beautiful and interesting than I imagined.

We didn't think about it ahead of time, but it was really nice to have family and friends following us the last day and we had a nice picnic with them in Yorktown.  I still get choked up when I think about the welcome we got.

Oh and your starting time... It is probably OK (if a bit more likely to be wet) for an east to west, but too early if you decide to start in the west.  In that case I wouldn't start any earlier than June.

You can find more info on our journal at:

There are lots of other folks TransAmerica journals there as well.  It is both educational and entertaining to read them.

Feel free to contact me directly if you have questions that I can assist with.  I don't claim to be an expert, but do still have the trip fairly fresh in my mind.

pete dot staehling at gmail dot com

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 1-18-08 @ 4:25 AM

Routes / trans am to western express
« on: January 17, 2008, 04:15:01 pm »
I haven't been on the TransAmerica at that time, but...  We found that folks were very helpful and we could always convince someone to let us camp.  Churches, firehouses, city parks, etc. were usually available if we asked.  I have the least experience in Virginia east of Charlottesville because we had family there and didn't need to look for campsites.  I don't think it will be an issue though.  Everywhere else I think you will be fine.

Hopefully someone who has been there in April will confirm that.

Routes / Allegheny Mountains loop
« on: December 10, 2007, 09:35:18 am »

Joe is the only person that I know of that has done this route.


Routes / Adirondack Loop
« on: November 16, 2007, 05:49:37 pm »
Thanks guys.  I did some canoeing in the general area many years ago.  I had forgotten about the black flies, but now that my memory is jogged...  I seem to remember that they disappear suddenly in late July and then early August is OK.  It that accurate and pretty reliable?  Or is it more variable from year to year?

Routes / Adirondack Loop
« on: November 13, 2007, 06:52:59 am »
Has anyone done the Adirondack Loop or toured the area that it is in?  I know that it was just officially released, but someone must have test ridden it.

I would be interested in folks opinion of this tour since it could be one of my choices for the coming year.  Things I would like to hear about are:
  Riding conditions
  Best time to go
  Points of interest
  Other stuff that I probably forgot to ask :)

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 11-13-07 @ 4:53 AM

Routes / West to East or East to West?
« on: December 19, 2007, 12:34:09 pm »
Check out the following for trips that connected to the TA via DC:

I will also plug my own TA journal (mine and my traveling companions' that is), but it has no DC connection:

Routes / West to East or East to West?
« on: December 19, 2007, 12:21:03 pm »
If you want to go on a well established route consider using the TransAmerica.  It allows you to just go and not worry much about route planning or finding the various services.

There are probably numerous options for getting from DC to the TA, but I haven't ridden them so I won't speculate too much other than to say it should be very do-able.  I am sure you can find journals from folks who started in DC and did the TA if you check out

Routes / West to East or East to West?
« on: December 18, 2007, 06:43:04 pm »

I don't follow what you mean.  Are you starting in Seattle?  If so you could use AC routes the whole way by taking the TransAmerica , the Atlantic Coast, and the Northern Tier.

When are you leaving, how long do you have, and how many miles do you ride per day?  That could change things entirely.

Routes / West to East or East to West?
« on: November 06, 2007, 12:39:12 pm »
After posting my previous reply I looked at the description for the Western Express and it sounds like April is kind of early.  The highest point is apparently over 11,000 feet and passes may not be open.  You are fairly likely to get snowed on too.

Can you push the date back to mid-May?  If not maybe think about going east to west.  April in the east is likely to be wet, but at least you aren't too likely to be snowed on.

I have not done the route so please verify this information before completely trusting it.

You might also try posting on the touring section at  There are some folks who post there that know the area pretty well.

Maybe also try asking at in the forums section and also you will find lots of tour journals for the route.  Try the following link for some western express journals:

Routes / West to East or East to West?
« on: November 06, 2007, 11:14:17 am »
If you were riding the whole TransAmerica I would say that April was probably kind of early for the Rockies.  Some passes may be closed.  I do not know if it is likely to be a problem since you are opting for the Western Express option.

I wouldn't put too much stock in the theory that the winds will be more favorable.  We didn't find it to be the case.

Another reason to go west to east is that the Appalachians are STEEP in places. The climbs amy not be long compared to the Rockies, but they are a lot steeper.  I was happy to have lots of recent miles under my belt when we tackled them.

Which way are you going on the Atlantic Coast?  If you get near Baltimore Maryland let me know.  Maybe we can feed you or put you up for the night or assist in some other way.

Routes / Which Road Route has the least traffic?
« on: October 11, 2007, 10:51:46 am »
Probably not the TransAmerica.  We enjoyed the trip immensely, but there were lots of miles with traffic and no shoulders.

Routes / US Perimeter Tour?
« on: July 29, 2008, 12:34:25 pm »
You probably already saw in the other thread, but no.  It will probably be a few years before I can get enough time for that.  I hope to do another longish trip next year, but not six months.

Routes / US Perimeter Tour?
« on: October 02, 2007, 06:58:40 am »
I am thinking of the possibility of a US perimeter trip at some time in the future and have a number of questions. I have done the TransAmerica unsupported, so I have some idea of what a long tour involves, but wonder how much difference extending the trip will make.

Do you need to allow more rest days? On our TA we really didn't use rest days much. One day for rafting and one day for one of our party to recover from a crash were the only rest days. We preferred to take a low mileage day (30 or 40 miles) once in a while rather than stay in one place for a whole day. Does the extra length of a perimeter trip require a different strategy.

At the end of this post is a first attempt at a rough schedule. I would like to hear suggestions about whether it hits the various regions at a reasonable time.

Regarding pace, I think the 60 mile per day pace is conservative. The assumption is that a relaxed pace may be required to manage this long of a trip. I am basing the 60 miles per day on what we did on our TA, but we started that with two riders not really having trained and none of us having trained with a loaded bike. Our low mileage in the beginning kept our average down a bit. I am thinking that the length of a perimeter trip may require more frequent rest days and an easy pace. Is this reasonable or will it just keep getting easier to do long days back to back?

                           Miles   Days  Start      Finish
Baltimore to Bar Harbor     1000    16    05/01/08   05/17/08
Northern Tier               4295    71    05/17/08   07/27/08
Pacific Coast               1836    30    07/27/08   08/26/08
Southern Tier               3159    52    08/26/08   10/17/08
St. Augustine to Baltimore  1000    16    10/17/08   11/02/08

Miles per day ~60
Starting date 05/01/08

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 10-2-07 @ 6:16 AM

Routes / New Routes
« on: September 28, 2007, 05:10:45 am »
A recent email from AC soliciting donations mentioned the following...
"An Appalachian loop in Virginia and West Virginia. An Adirondack loop in upstate New York. A new spur off the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route from Lake Erie to Pittsburgh, PA. And the Northwest Quest, a collection of awesome rides in Washington State, including on the San Juan Islands, the Cascade mountain range, and the Olympic Peninsula!"

Are more details available about these routes anywhere?  I am especially interested in details for the Appalachian Loop, but interested in hearing about the others as well.

Routes / Which Route?
« on: September 28, 2007, 05:21:14 am »
On our recent transam we never found it to be a problem, but you may.  We found that stopping and having a snack or a break was still fine even if it was just by the side of the road.  There is nothing to prevent you from getting out the stove and making coffee or whatever.

There were places where we had to carry a lot of water though.  This seemed to be best accomplished my using a 2 liter Platypus bag, but strapping some recycled gatorade bottles of water on the rack worked well too.

There were also places where I wished that we had a way to quickly pitch the tent fly for some shade.  I think that next trip I may work out a way to easily and quickly do that.

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