Bicycle Travel > Routes

USA Corner to Corner

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Norsman:
In the fall of 2013 or spring of 2014 I plan to do a corner to corner crossing of the USA. Most of the ride will be on the following ACA routes: Atlantic Coast, Southern Tier, Underground Railway, TransAmerica and either Highway 2 or I 90 through Washington. Time is not an issue, I am retired, but I would like to know which direction is the most wind friendly and what time of the year is best to start.  Also, is either one of these two routes through Washington better than the other.

I figure a max of 75 to 80 days should do.

John Nelson:
There is insufficient wind bias to justify using it to pick a direction. I've been across the U.S. in both directions, and, no matter which way you go, the wind is sometimes in your face, sometimes at your back, and sometimes at your side.

You can start whenever you want, but I like lots of daylight, so, all other things being equal, I prefer to center my trip around the summer solstice. Also, some people hate the heat more than the cold, and others hate the cold more than the heat, so your bias might influence your start. I'm not sure how far north you're starting, but I'd probably start heading south on the Atlantic Coast in the mid to late spring as soon as the weather gets warm enough.

Some people don't mind riding on the interstate, but I prefer to avoid it like the plague. I don't like either of your two routes through Washington. I'd jump from the TA at Missoula, go up to Glacier NP and then stay on the Northern Tier to the coast.

In my opinion, 75-80 days is tight for the trip your plan, especially for someone who says time is no issue. Take a bit more time and enjoy yourself.

staehpj1:
For the route you propose I would expect surface winds to slightly favor E-W travel.  The reason is that there are fairly reliable winds out of the SE in the plains in the Summer.  I would not pick my direction or travel based on winds though.  I consider them to not be a major factor for a coast to coast trip in the US.

There are a lot of other factors, but one that trumps the rest for me is ease of transportation to and from the tour.  I find it much easier to arrange air travel at the beginning of the tour.  I really do not usually have more than a rough idea of when I will reach my destination so it is hard to book tickets ahead of time.  It is easy to pick a start day though.  So if you live near one end or the other of the tour I would fly to the distant end and ride toward home.  If you have friends and family that want to meet you at the end of the tour that is a plus as well.  At the end of the TA we had a great time at a picnic that family and friends threw for us.

75-80 days is doable but a fairly tight schedule.  When we did the TA we took 73 days and I didn't feel like we were dallying.  Given that your route is a good bit longer I would allow more time.  Of course everyone has a different preferred pace, so it will vary from person to person, but I think our time was fairly typical.  The very best is to just forget about the finish date and plan for an open ended schedule.  The same applies to budget.  Either a tight budget or a tight schedule can be a real joy killer.  This isn't to say you can't go fast or cheap, but merely that it is nice to have more time and money available than you need.




Pat Lamb:

--- Quote from: John Nelson on December 16, 2012, 01:09:47 am ---Some people don't mind riding on the interstate, but I prefer to avoid it like the plague. I don't like either of your two routes through Washington. I'd jump from the TA at Missoula, go up to Glacier NP and then stay on the Northern Tier to the coast.
--- End quote ---

I've never ridden either of I-90 or US 2, but WA 20 (aka NT across Washington) was a good road, lightly trafficed, and quite scenic.  There's a couple of tough days in there, but it's worthwhile.

Norsman:

--- Quote ---Some people don't mind riding on the interstate, but I prefer to avoid it like the plague. I don't like either of your two routes through Washington. I'd jump from the TA at Missoula, go up to Glacier NP and then stay on the Northern Tier to the coast.
--- End quote ---

I plan to end the ride on the Olympic Peninsula so I was looking for a route that gets me to the northwest part of Washington. I have already ridden the Northern Tier and Pacific Coast routes through the state so I was looking for a different route.


--- Quote ---75-80 days is doable but a fairly tight schedule.
--- End quote ---

When I rode across Canada this summer I averaged 90 to 100 kilometres (55 to 60 miles) per day and did not take many rest days. So that is why I figured this timeline would work. However I will plan for something in the 90 day max range.

Are there any other alternatives for the ride through Washington?

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