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The point about individual cold tolerance is well taken but most people are better served with a sleeping bag a bit too warm than a bit too cold.
A lot depends on the bag, the rider, and how the bag is used. The TA, the ST (winter), half of the SC, and a bunch of other routes with my 40 F bag. I have also done some high altitude backpacking with it I have used it comfortably down to the mid to upper teens F with a layer or two of clothing. Others who camped right next to me were cold in much warmer bags at times I was comfy. My point is that blanket statements don't work. So saying something is or isn't overkill would need to take in a few of the specifics of the bag and the person using it.In my experience, a 20 degree sleeping bag is overkill.No, a true 20 bag is not overkill even in the summer unless you are staying in the deep south and at low altitude. I've experienced low 30's temperatures in mid-June in Ohio and high altitude can produce low temperatures any time of year.
However, there are 20 degree bags and 20 degree bags with expensive ones being a lot lighter and easier to compress than cheap ones.
My bag is rated for 20degrees. I did a forum search for recommendations on temp rating of bag for the transAm and that seemed to be the consensus so I ordered that rating
ask the locals (although they rarely know anything about their own area!)That reminds me... It is kind of amazing how often local folks have no idea of distances. Ditto for elevation changes and whether on not there is a ride-able shoulder.
Is it always necessary to do this ?No it isn't always necessary. I think there were a couple times that we did and way more where we didn't. More often the town parks were in small enough towns that there were no police to ask even if we had wanted to. I think we did ask a few times, but mostly only where the AC map specifically said to do so.
IMHO, Yosemite is striking, but after two days in the valley and perhaps a day going over the pass, I would think you'd have seen it all. (Unless you're taking lots of pictures, and want to capture five different features/angles each at sunset or sunrise.)
Yellowstone has a day or two of geothermal features, but the north and northeast quadrants are much more scenic than the southwest leg the TransAm takes you on. You'll be so close to the Tetons it'd be a shame to miss that. A week's sightseeing in Yellowstone and the Tetons seems reasonable, with short day hikes and different scenery every day. The tough part is getting out of there; the Jackson airport is perhaps the best choice up to Bozeman or Billings to catch a bus a distant second choice.
To reply to staehpj1 - from the Oregon Department of Transportation website regarding McKenzie Pass.Thanks. I looked and found it there since you mentioned it. I will add that when they said that the road was scheduled to open June 20th, they also said "weather permitting". To me that makes it sound like it won't be any earlier, but might be later depending on the amount of snow in late winter and spring.
McKenzie Pass is currently expected to be open to traffic the third Monday in June.I am curious where that date came from. It would seem to be hard to predict accurately with the rest of the Winter and Spring still ahead of us. I'd agree that is a fairly likely opening date, but wouldn't count on it being at all accurate though.