Author Topic: Start date spring 2014  (Read 989 times)

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Offline fapembroke@gmail.com

Start date spring 2014
« on: November 22, 2013, 03:01:06 pm »
I am from New Zealand and we are planing a trip from Flat Head Lake, Montana to San Francisco. I know every spring is different but what would be the earliest we should plan to start this trip. Clear and cold is no problem but we would like a good chance of not too much rain.
Start date and route are 100% flexible so any advice on route or must sees will be greatly appreciated. I did the Southern Crossing with my son 3 years ago and can't wait to get back for another ride.
Cheers.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2013, 03:25:32 pm »
How are you planning to go, south and then west, or west and then south? I guess I'd recommend west (on the Northern Tier) and then south (on the Pacific Coast). In that case, I'd wait until mid-June to start to give you a good chance that the passes in the North Cascades will be open. That would also give you a good shot at doing Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park, which is not strictly on your route but well worth the small detour.

If you want to start earlier, then I'd go south and then west to try to avoid the Washington Passes when they might still be snowbound, and also to avoid the worst heat of the Nevada desert. I'm not sure how early you could start then, but I'm sure somebody who's more familiar with that territory can advise. Of course, that would rule out Going To The Sun Road.

Offline fapembroke@gmail.com

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2013, 12:05:58 am »
Thanks for your reply.
We are planning on heading south to the I90, then heading west. Looking at Google maps it looks like there is a road adjacent to the I90. Is this correct. If we go south then west what date would you recommend we start.
Cheers.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2013, 02:37:28 pm »
I would recommend the ACA Northern Tier greatly over the I-90 corridor. When I tour, I don't ride on interstates unless it's the only reasonable alternative, and I don't even like to parallel interstates unless I'm at least a mile or two away from it.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2013, 08:08:57 am »
What Josh said about the Northern Tier. Wet weather wise, I would wait until at least mid-June and possibly  later, especially if you go that route. The first two times I rode the NT it was chilly and damp in places like Sandoint, ID and Eureka, MT and Whitefish, MT in early to mid-June. In 2009 I rode from Whitefish through Eureka to the Canadian Border in the 3rd week of June. Same thing. Chilly and drizzly off and on.

Also, while frontage roads often exist, they don't always exist, so you might find yourself on the Interstate.  Sometimes the frontage road on one side of the Interstate abruptly ends with no way to enter the highway, requuring you to backtrack to a point where you can cross over the highway and continue on the frontage road on the other side. This can require careful planning to avoid such situations. Finally, not all frontage roads are paved.

« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 08:11:58 am by indyfabz »

Offline mathieu

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2013, 09:02:59 am »
Why not south-west-south, taking the TransAm between Missoula and Florence (OR)? My guess is that you can start late-May, as Lolo & Santiam Pass clear earlier than the Washington passes. Though, a bonus of starting later is that you can take the beautiful McKenzie Pass.

Offline pptouring

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2013, 12:24:56 pm »
is it legal to cycle on the Interstates out west?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2013, 12:44:56 pm »
is it legal to cycle on the Interstates out west?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no, mostly yes outside of large cities and mostly no within large cities.

Offline pptouring

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2013, 01:20:59 pm »
Sometimes yes, sometimes no, mostly yes outside of large cities and mostly no within large cities.

Interesting! Not that I would really ever want to cycle on the Interstate, but it could come in handy. Thanks for the tip!

Offline fapembroke@gmail.com

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2013, 01:19:55 am »
Thanks for the replies.
 I have discovered that flights from New Zealand are cheaper before May 20th. If we were to do the Western Express how early could we start that. We are limited to 3 or 4 weeks duration but route and start date are flexible so long as we start before May 20th. IamKiwi.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2013, 10:54:08 am »
So if you need to start before May 20, you're going to want to go pretty much straight south and avoid crossing any passes for the first part of your trip. Start as close to May 20 as you can. Avoid starting much earlier. You can take US 93 all the way to Nevada before turning west. Forget what I said about Glacier National Park and Going To The Sun Road--you'll be too early for that.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2013, 05:42:31 am »
Since the subject of riding on the interstates came up...
I may be in the minority, but I have found riding on the interstate can actually be pretty pleasant in some places.  I didn't care for the section of I 80 on the Trans America, but quite enjoyed riding I 25 in New Mexico.  I also rode a lot of interstate on the Southern Tier and thought it was good riding.  I intentionally used the interstate a lot more on the ST than the AC maps suggested.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Start date spring 2014
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2013, 11:53:39 pm »
If you want up to date info on the North Cascades Highway go to the Washingon DOT website and subscribe to the news letter. You can also get data on previous years opening times. I guess June is the earliest you can count on it being open.