Author Topic: Seeking Advice for a Cross Country Route  (Read 386 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Zoesf

Seeking Advice for a Cross Country Route
« on: August 13, 2014, 06:34:08 pm »
I am currently biking eastbound on the Northern Tier and plan to bike back in the late winter/early spring along a different route. We are looking into the Southern Tier, the Transamerica and hybrids of the two. We like that the transamerica is well set-up for bikers however we are also interested in the history along the Southern Tier and so really see a different region from what we are seeing now.

I would love to hear folks' advice on the two routes and some of the connecters like the Underground Railroad or the Grand Canyon Connector. What are the highlights and drawbacks of the routes?

We can leave anytime from late January to March. I am curious about temperature but know it varies year to year so would especially love to hear which sections folks enjoyed and found to be interesting or beautiful. 

Thanks for your time!

Zoe
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 12:52:26 pm by Zoesf »

Offline indyfabz

Re: Seeking Advice for a Cross Country Route
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2014, 10:01:47 am »
Defining "late winter" and "early spring" and providing an idea of any expected timeframe heading west might produce more helpful responses.

Also, you wrote that you are planning to bike back in the fall but also write that you can "leave as early [as] late winter....". That has me confused.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 10:04:47 am by indyfabz »

Offline Zoesf

Re: Seeking Advice for a Cross Country Route
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2014, 12:53:25 pm »
Thanks for looking at the post and I made some clarifying edits. Hope this helps!

Offline indyfabz

Re: Seeking Advice for a Cross Country Route
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2014, 08:01:10 am »
I think January and February rules out the TA unless you enjoy riding in snow and ice and cold temperatures. That time frame would also likely put you out west too early weather-wise unless you are traveling at a snail's pace. Don't think you want to ride through MT in March or April. I was just there in mid-June and experienced a brief bit of wet snow at elevation. A few days before I arrived several inches of wet snow fell on one pass. A local told me she had a hard go of it in her car. And Yellowstone would be pretty darn cold. Nights in the teens or below cold. Same may be true for March unless you are talking the end of March and there is an abnormally warm and dry winter. Unless I am mistaken, most E-W riders start the TA in May.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Seeking Advice for a Cross Country Route
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2014, 11:09:20 am »
Your departure dates are February 1 to March 31.  Too early to be riding anywhere in the northern two thirds of the country.  I'm in the middle of the Midwest, and we can easily get snow and freezing temperatures through March.  Sometimes into April too.  And if you try to start riding in the northeast in Feb. or Mar., you will get snow and freezing temps too.  As already mentioned, the Rocky mountains will have snow and freezing temps into June.  But trying to cycle from the Atlantic to the Rockies before May or June would be so miserable you would likely give up cycling for the rest of your life.  Starting in Feb. or Mar., your only viable option is to ride the Southern Tier.  And if you are finishing up the Northern Tier now, you don't have too much time to get out of the NE and down south to the Southern Tier starting point before the bad weather hits the NE.  You will have bad weather and cold in the NE starting in October and November.  So don't hang around the NE too long.  Get south fast before winter hits.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Seeking Advice for a Cross Country Route
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2014, 11:19:58 am »
I'd want to start the ST in January or maybe February, to try to beat the heat in the western deserts.

Late March might be a viable, if a bit early, time to start the TransAm.  It'd likely be chilly in the Appalachians, but the snow should be gone (unless there's a late storm).  Late March should put you in the Rockies in early May, which might be passable by then.  Yellowstone would probably be open but practically empty.  It'd be a gamble, true, but who knows what the snowpack and weather will be next winter?

Given the choice and a late winter start, I'd wait until mid-April and take the TransAm.

Offline Zoesf

Re: Seeking Advice for a Cross Country Route
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2014, 11:08:19 am »
Thank you for all the replies! Adventure cycling has departure date recommendations as well so I am very curious to learn more about the routes themselves. We have time so can snake a bit between the two as well. I know the TA is most popular but also takes us to scenery a bit more like what we've seen on the NT. Aside from the weather, what are highlights or drawbacks of the TA and ST? Which sections of each route did folks especially like?

*we are biking to Maine, taking winter off, then can start again whenever.

Thanks again for everyone's time.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Seeking Advice for a Cross Country Route
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2014, 12:07:24 pm »
I liked much of the MT section of the TA, at least the part from Missoula to Ennis. It's even nicer if you take the Gibbons Pass and Old Darby Rd. unpaved alternatives. I did not like Yellowstone due to the crowds. I have done some of the route in OR, as well. McKenzie Pass, with its lava rock top and observatory, is terrific.