is it best to ride East to West or West to East?? (im in Kansas).....seems more people ride East to West
Either way is fine, but more ride East to West than West to East. Supposedly, the success rate is higher for those who ride East to West. As mentioned earlier, if you start in May, ride East to West. If you start in June, ride West to East. My recommendation would be to start in the first half of May in Yorktown.
I guess that i would UPS my bicycle to bike shop in same city that I fly in to........but how the heck do i get my bicycle and me to Yorktown or Florence?....from the airport city? bus service? rent car? taxi? ride my bicycle to the start and turn around?
There are many ways to do it. I prefer to take my bike on the plane if I can, but only if flying an airline that charges a reasonable amount for this (i.e., Frontier or Southwest). I flew to Newport News (a short hop from Yorktown) and shipped my bike FedEx to Yorktown because neither Frontier nor Southwest served the route. One-way car rental is also feasible. Of course if you take your bike on the plane, you can just ride your bike out of the airport.
should i carry canned foods in my pack.....for those times when there is no restaurant
Canned goods are heavy to carry for very far, but you can use them occasionally. I carry four energy bars as "emergency food" but plan never to use them. Your best bet is to plan ahead, studying the maps to see where the food sources are, and then having a "Plan B" in case those food sources are closed. The cheapest option is usually to cook. The second cheapest is to buy ready-to-eat foods from grocery stores. The most expensive is to eat in restaurants.
cooking seems like a big hassle if im traveling solo.
I agree, and I do not take a stove, but most cyclotourists do. In my observation, many of these do it primarily so that they can have coffee in camp in the morning. It also helps if the budget is tight or if you depend on hot meals in camp. Without a stove, dinner will often be a cold sandwich in camp, and breakfast a cold bagel. If that's okay with you, then you can skip the stove (and the fuel and the pots and pans and the spices). In any event, you will probably enjoy an occasionally meal in a cafe. It's a good way to interact with the locals.
Is it common to find other TransAM riders to ride with briefly.......or there are just too few riders??
On the TransAm at peak season, you will encounter many other cyclists to ride and/or camp with, for an hour, a day, a week, a month or the rest of the trip. There's a pretty good chance you will make a few life-long friends. On other routes, or on the TransAm off season, you will encounter fewer.
how many water bottles should i take?
Two is enough, but I take three because I never want to risk running out of water. If you pay attention, you can plan for the longer dry stretches (e.g., Wyoming) and put extra bottles or bladders in or on your panniers.
isn't it difficult keeping cell phone charged?.....hard to find plugins?
An external power pack is a great idea. It's easy to find outlets, but a power pack will save you from having to hang around them longer than you want to. Also, you may feel more comfortable leaving the power pack charging in the campground bathroom than leaving your phone charging there.
TransAM ride Definitely wlon't be a "walk in the park"....lol
It's a blast. It does, however, take a reasonable amount of persistence and good problem-solving skills.