Author Topic: USA Corner to Corner  (Read 3629 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Norsman

USA Corner to Corner
« on: December 15, 2012, 09:11:24 pm »
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.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 10:38:12 pm by Norsman »

Offline John Nelson

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2012, 01:09:47 am »
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.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 01:12:16 am by John Nelson »

Offline staehpj1

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2012, 08:49:46 am »
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.




« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 08:54:43 am by staehpj1 »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2012, 01:05:33 pm »
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.

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.

Offline Norsman

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2012, 07:24:56 pm »
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.

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.

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?

Offline jamawani

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2012, 10:31:33 pm »
Norsman -

How you gonna do it in the fall?
A fall trip begs a northwest to southeast orientation - but not the reverse.
To get to the Northwest before the snow flies,
you'd have to cycle through the Southeast in July and August.

Actually, leaving from Cape Flattery in Washington on Aug 1 is ideal. (Up to Sept 1)
One of the finest trips weather-wise - albeit with shortening days.
Southeast to northwest asks for a spring trip - perhaps May thru July.
Any earlier and you will encounter tough late spring weather in the Rockies.

Wind tends to be highly favorable for fall NW to SE ride.
Wind tends to be slightly unfavorable for spring SE to NW ride.
The real issue for a spring ride will be storms in the Great Plains.
50% of Plains precip comes in May-June - and the storms can be doozies.

I-90 sucks - the Vantage bridge is a death trap.  Google map it.
US 2 is O.K. in eastern Wash but gets dicey over the Cascades - not too scenic.
From late May to early October - Hwy 20 is the far better option.  Closed in winter.
If you don't want to do the whole NT in Washington -
take US 2 from Spokane to Wilbur and then via Grand Coulee to Methow Valley.
Riding out all the way to Neah Bay and Shi Shi Beach is worth it.

Offline John Nelson

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2012, 11:22:10 pm »
the Vantage bridge is a death trap
Wow, you're right!
http://goo.gl/maps/hfWPE

Offline Norsman

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 02:50:13 am »
Quote
How you gonna do it in the fall?

If I decide to go northwest to southeast it would be a mid to late August start, with the remainder of the ride finished in the fall. A spring start would be in the opposite direction with the finish in June or early July.  I know the northwest and its weather quite well.  What I am not as certain of is what to expect on the TransAmerica route through the Rockies and the middle of the continent. Also what kind of weather would I likely face in Florida with a April or May start or an October finish?

What are the big issues with Highway 2 between Spokane and the coast?  Can some of those be avoided by taking some of the minor highways nearby?

Offline John Nettles

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2012, 08:56:46 am »
If you hit Kansas between early-May and mid-June, you could have some fairly violent storms (50+mph winds, 1.5+" hail, tornados, etc.), not like the gentle rains the NW & NE have.  That said, just pay attention to what the locals says.  If it is going to be had, they will assist.  Listen to a local radio station or ask a farmer.  If sky is a pale green, take cover as hail is in the immediate area.

As far as your mileage goes, it is fairly high.  I have crossed the country 5 times plus tons of other tours.  For me personally, I have found anything over 65 miles per day (overall average, not riding average) makes for "all riding, no play" and drops the enjoyment factor noticeably.  If you have not done tours with that high of mileage, the extra 10-15 miles per day (AVERAGE) really add to the riding days mileage.

You also mention you wanted to be done in 80 days @ 60mpd, or 4,800 miles.  Isn't your route closer to 5,500 miles or 69mpd?

Overall, start as early in the spring as you can tolerate and enjoy a pace so if you want to stop and/or not do high mileage you can.  After all, you are retired so enjoy the time. :D
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John

Offline jamawani

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2012, 10:13:52 am »
I have done a diagonal tour NW to SE in the fall and it was wonderful.
Started in Astoria after Labor Day - but mid-August for Neah Bay is very doable.
I hit the Plains by late September - Wyoming into Nebraska.
If you head all the way down the TA into Colorado, expect early snows.

There are very few diagonal roads in the Great Plains -
and those that do exist tend to have heavy traffic.
A glorious route would be heading east in the Nebraska Sandhills -
then connecting to Hwy 99 thru the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Much of these areas remain in natural grass cover.

The major drawback of a fall trip is the shortening days.
By mid/late October this was really noticeable.
You will be heading further south than I did -
Warmer and slightly longer days the further south you are.

PS - November is the driest month in S. Ala, S Ga, and N. Fla.

Offline John Nelson

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2012, 11:31:52 am »
If you hit Kansas between early-May and mid-June, you could have some fairly violent storms (50+mph winds, 1.5+" hail, tornadoes, etc.), not like the gentle rains the NW & NE have.  That said, just pay attention to what the locals says.  If it is going to be had, they will assist.  Listen to a local radio station or ask a farmer.  If sky is a pale green, take cover as hail is in the immediate area.
You could, and caution is certainly advised, but I wouldn't schedule my trip around it. There's also a good chance that you'll have nothing but gorgeous weather in Kansas.

Offline John Nettles

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2012, 11:46:55 am »
Oh I am not saying schedule around it.  I was just showing what the weather in the middle of the country is like as Norsman indicated he did not now what to expect on the TransAm.  To me, May is a great month to bike in Kansas.  Just be knowledgeable about the weather.
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John

Offline Norsman

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2012, 06:55:22 pm »
Quote
You also mention you wanted to be done in 80 days @ 60mpd, or 4,800 miles.  Isn't your route closer to 5,500 miles or 69mpd?

Actually when I did my estimate it came out closer to 4400 miles. That still might be too far to get in 80 days but I am not restricted to doing it in 80 days. The only limits I have are what the travel insurance company will allow and my own willingness to live in a tent.

Offline gubbool

  • Tourist
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • Is something witty supposed to go here?
Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2012, 07:23:56 pm »


No one ever says anything good about the Lewis & Clark.  I did a good bit of the US in '10 double-crossing the US -  @10,000 miles, 27 states in 207 days.  The many many roadside attractions and kiosks made the L&C the best of days.  I know more about L&C than anyone would ever need to know and I learned that we Americans are pretty soft. 

Weather?  Well, anyone can ride in the park - WEATHER brings adventure and that's what I leave home to find.  er... fire?  Now, that's to worry about.

"To be nobody but yourself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

Offline RussSeaton

Re: USA Corner to Corner
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2012, 02:14:01 am »
If I decide to go northwest to southeast it would be a mid to late August start, with the remainder of the ride finished in the fall. A spring start would be in the opposite direction with the finish in June or early July.  What I am not as certain of is what to expect on the TransAmerica route through the Rockies and the middle of the continent.

Can't say too much about the Rockies.  Other than I went over Loveland pass in early July a few years ago and had snow and rain on the pass.  Lot of snow.  Cold.  So any weather is possible at any time in the Rockies.  For the midwest states, May is good.  Can be cool to cold and rainy but not usually.  Its almost always windy March through August.  Really windy.  June is good but can be cool a few days.  Rarely hot in June.  July and August can be hot as he--.  Dry in July and August.