Author Topic: Weather on the TransAm  (Read 1414 times)

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Offline cyclingacrossmaerica

Weather on the TransAm
« on: April 10, 2013, 10:51:43 am »
Hi All,

I am from the UK, having never been to America. I am thinking of riding the TransAm cycle route, but I note that this website says that it should be cycled between May through September.

I was thinking of cyling the route August through October, East to West, and was wondering whether this is a major issue? What will the weather be like?

Thanks in advance, 

Offline John Nelson

Re: Weather on the TransAm
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 11:05:08 am »
Riding East to West in the more typical May through September is usually chilly to pleasant in the East, hot through the Midwest, and pleasant to hot in the Northwest. Riding August through October is more likely to be pleasant in the East, pleasant in the Midwest, and chilly to cold in the Northwest. McKenzie Pass in Oregon usually closes for the season in late October or early November. The high and low in Sisters Oregon from last October was 81F and 19F, with an average high of 62F and an average low of 30F.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Weather on the TransAm
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2013, 11:19:02 am »
Given your proposed time frame, I'd consider going West to East.  You might even hit the Appalachians for the Fall colors, although especially at higher elevations they may be done or at least past their peak depending on how late in October you are there.  If you were a bit late for the colors in the Appalachians you would probably hit them in the Ozarks.

I am not sure how likely it is but I would think there would be a pretty good chance of snow if going East to West at that time.  Going West to East snow would be unlikely, but not impossible and would typically melt in a day or so if there was any.

Offline cyclingacrossmaerica

Re: Weather on the TransAm
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2013, 11:28:13 am »
That's really helpful advice - thank you both. I am relieved that it is still possible to achieve in that time frame. If it is likely to make a significant difference (i.e. less cold weather) I will consider going West to East.

I would like to go from July through September, but that simply won't be possible with work.

On a separate note, what are day-to-day expenses like if I camp along the route, and to what extent do I need to plan accommodation / camp sites in advance?


Offline staehpj1

Re: Weather on the TransAm
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2013, 01:12:51 pm »
On a separate note, what are day-to-day expenses like if I camp along the route, and to what extent do I need to plan accommodation / camp sites in advance?
I hesitate to say on expenses because they can vary so widely depending on your choices.

I will say that we averaged less than $5 per person per day for mostly campsites, one night in a motel, one in a yurt, and one night in a tee-pee.  That was with three of us sharing a tent, but you could do as well solo if careful.  We probably stayed for free more than half the time.  We camped in town parks a lot, stayed with a few hosts, and slept in a few churches.  Listings for a lot of that is on the TA maps, but we also improvised if asked.  We never really stealth camped on that trip and just didn't find stealth necessary in order to find free places most of the time.

Food can vary widely between individuals.  If eating in restaurants as frequently as we did and cooking some as well, I would say $10 per day is possible without going crazy frugal, $15 is comfortable, and $20 is generous.  It helps if you mostly drink water with any meals.  We did drink quite a few sport drinks at breaks and they were a significant portion of our budget.

All that said, folks have done it on $5 or less for food while others spend $50 or more.

If you drink alcohol frequently the numbers would go up a good bit.

EDIT: I forgot to mention reservations.  I typically never plan ahead more than a day or two if even that and typically do not make any reservations even then.  I don't think we ever made a reservation on the TA.  There are times when towns are spaced widely enough that you need to have an idea of where you will stop a couple days out, but most of the time that isn't even necessary.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 04:39:57 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Weather on the TransAm
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2013, 01:25:15 pm »
On a separate note, what are day-to-day expenses like if I camp along the route, and to what extent do I need to plan accommodation / camp sites in advance?

If you're starting early August in the west, it might be a good idea to plan at least the weekends for the first month.  August is prime vacation time, and with the sparse population in the west, there's not a whole lot of places to stay; they can fill up pretty fast.  After Labor Day (first Monday in September), everybody goes back to work or school. 

Also, as you work your way east, there's usually another town within 15-20 miles, vs. 50-75 miles between towns on the TA west of Kansas.  The only problem you might have is with home football games around university towns in Virginia (Christiansburg is close to Virginia Tech, and Virginia is in Charlottesville).  Aim for 25 miles either side of those on Friday and Saturday, and you should be good.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Weather on the TransAm
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2013, 03:56:02 pm »
I went East to West, May through July. I planned zero nights in advance. Out of 70 nights, I paid to sleep only nine times: $45 for one motel (Lexington VA), $10 for one cabin (Guffey CO), and $75 for seven campgrounds (five National Park campgrounds, one state campground and one Forest Service campground). I averaged $14 a day for food, one third of that spent in grocery stores and two thirds in restaurants. I took no stove.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 03:58:46 pm by John Nelson »

Offline matthewjsteger

Re: Weather on the TransAm
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2013, 06:53:34 pm »
I rode West to East in September through October of last year.  I would highly recommend doing it that way because of the weather issues AND because you'll get to see the most awe-inspiring fall colors of your life.  Trust me.  If you'd like additional information about my ride, send me a message.

Offline matthewjsteger

Re: Weather on the TransAm
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2013, 06:58:36 pm »
PS- My average weekly expenditure was between $200 and $300.  I stayed in no hotels or motels.  The only "advanced" planning I did was having to call 24 hours in advance for some of the cyclist only lodging options listed on the ACA maps.

Offline cyclingacrossmaerica

Re: Weather on the TransAm
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2013, 07:11:20 am »
Thank you for the helpful replies. You have all convinced me that a) I should go West to East; b) That this is something I need to do!

I am in the process of looking at flights and bikes etc... I am sure that there will be many more questions to come!

Thanks again,