« on: March 10, 2016, 08:39:10 pm »
Which one I enjoyed most is kind of a tough question to answer. They were both great routes that I thoroughly enjoyed but my head was in a very different place for the two of them.
When I started the trip that included the WE it was not only my first tour, a week before I left I had never even had a rack on a bike. I was also on a very aggressive schedule and more than a little concerned that I had bitten off more than I could chew. Everything was completely new to me and it felt like sensory overload for the entire trip. Two years later when I left on the SC route, I was a little concerned because of the shear amount of climbing but other than that I was comfortable that I knew what to expect and that I could handle whatever came my way.
I thought crossing Nevada was very, very, very cool. There is something about a place being so uninhabited and uninhabitable that makes you feel like you're on another planet. I think Southern Utah has more eye candy per square mile than anyplace on the planet. The route skirts Zion and there's a ten mile detour to go see Bryce. I skipped them both on my WE trip but on this years trip I passed thru that area again and spent a day at Bryce and 3 days ay Zion. If you have the time, and particularly if you haven't seen them before, I strongly recommend you make those detours. After Bryce it stays beautiful until Hanksville then from there to Blanding is the worst stretch of the trip. The Colorado section is nice but not as special as Utah. I enjoyed the climb up Monarch Pass and the town of Westcliffe and the drop into Pueblo was very nice.
The SC has a lot of iconic stuff all along the way. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens & Hood, Makenzie Pass (it's off-route but easy to incorporate), Crater Lake, Lassen, Yosemite, and Giant Sequoia (the big trees almost made me cry). There are some amazing roads on the ride and some really crappy roads on it as well. Sometimes the bad roads are major highways, sometimes they are 2 lane roads w a lot of heavy truck traffic, and occasionally they were little dinky roads that didn't look like they had been paved since the 50's.
All that said, I can absolutely reccomend them both without reservation.
Let me give you a couple of tips for your WE trip:
- Make sure you at least stop and grab a meal at Middlegate. It's a piece of americana you won't find anywhere else
- Take the Carroll Summit alternate outside of Middlegate. 59 miles and I was passed by 3 cars
- When you get to Baker, get your hotel room and drop off your panniers and take the ride into Great Basin NP