Author Topic: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts  (Read 493 times)

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Offline Jblizard

Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« on: August 15, 2014, 07:59:00 am »
Hi everyone,

Long time lurker first time poster here. My friend and I are most of the way done with our cross courry tour! We took the western express from San Fran and are now following the trans am to Yorktown. We stayed last night in the fire house in Utica, ky (which is where I'm posting this). Unfortunately, we may have slightly under budgeted, time wise, and we're starting to worry about getting to yen town in time! We both start school at the beginning of September, ad we'd love to finish by the 28th of August.

Because of this time crunch, I'm asking if anyone knows any shortcuts in Kentucky or va that might shave some miles/days off our trip. I know I'll probably get some responses saying it's about the journey, not the the destination, and we should just do what we can and enjoy it, but I am very determined to get to the ocean at this point. I also live in va, and will have ample opportunity to ride there in my life.

We were successful in our last attempted shortcut, which was from Chester, il to sebree, ky via  Illinois highway 13, which had a lovely shoulder. We were looking at taking 460 for much of the time from christiansburg to Yorktown in va, which I have driven and know is busy, but can't remember about the shoulder. If anyone has insight on whether it's rideable or any other shortcut ideas, I'd love to hear them. Here's hoping we make it to the coast!

Thanks,
Jacob

Offline indyfabz

Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2014, 08:15:39 am »
I just took a quick look using Goggle Street View. There appeared to be many sections of 460 with little or no shoulder.

Offline Jblizard

Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2014, 08:22:37 am »
Oh yikes, maybe it isn't such a good idea then. Did the sections you saw without good shoulders still look like busy sections? It's too bad I can't look at street view on my phone.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2014, 08:25:12 am »
Not sure where I would trim, but you probably have enough time to make it without short cuts.  We weren't against a deadline and did that section in 12 days, so it should be doable with a little time to spare.

Our 12 day time was to the Yorktown, not to the ocean, but if you skip Williamsburg and Yorktown I think you can make easily.   From my notes of a ride that went to the ocean from the TA:

"We started with a ferry ride on the free Jamestown Scotland Ferry, and rode the nice rural Virginia roads until we got to Portsmouth. Some of the ride through Portsmouth as kind of seedy, but OK.

We rode the Elizabeth River Ferry across to Norfolk and proceeded through downtown Norfolk toward Virginia Beach. It was getting dark by then. Traffic was heavy and the roads pretty bad. We wished we had more/brighter lights as the cars whizzed by fast and close. We were a bit "white knuckled" until we got back to Lauren's house where we had a great dinner.

In the morning we rode to Sandbridge."


You would likely pick a different end point than Sandbridge.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2014, 09:04:39 am »
I know how you feel as I have had several trip where I am time-crunched at the end.  It makes for a much less enjoyable trip.

I think you had the right idea, but the wrong route.  Perhaps if you cut the corner by going from Elkhorn City, KY to Christianburg, VA, you would cut about two days off by following the route.  Go to Google Maps and drag the "Yellow Man" over so you can see what roads are paved.  There are a lot of smaller state highways and county roads (not 460) which you can take.  By using streetview, you can spot check the road to see if you like it.

You could do the same from Christianburg to Richmond.  A quick glance makes VA-24 to Rustburg, VA (heck of a name for a town) a bit promising.  Again, just look for roads you like.  You can try the "bike route" mode but be sure to check the route via Streetview and/or satellite view as it likes to route onto busy roads then onto gravel roads.  Just spot check the route, make adjustments, and keep pedaling.

Best wishes on a successful (and quick) ending. 
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2014, 11:31:20 am »
We took over 20 days to go from Yorktown to Utica, but that included the beginning of our trip.  You're probably in better shape after 3,000 miles than we were starting out.

One of the options google maps shows for Utica, KY to Norfolk is basically U.S. 58.  Though I haven't driven the whole thing, I've heard this is a great road for retired motorists to take across southern Virginia when they're tired of interstates.  There are a couple of cautions, though. 

58 west of Damascus is mostly 4-lane divided highway, with occasional shoulders.  Traffic isn't too bad except "rush hours."  This stretch is probably like most of 460.  I'd suggest the Virginia Creeper rail-trail from Abingdon to Damascus, where the road hasn't grown as much as the traffic.

Martinsville would be a good place to find those back roads.  Danville, as I recall, is fairly decent downtown (except for some rough streets), with a suburban sprawl girdle.

And of course, the whole Norfolk/Chesapeake/VIrginia Beach is an urban area.

Damascus to Independence is a nice mountain road.  There's enough twists and turns to keep the traffic slow.  It's pretty rural from there on, with the exceptions noted above.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2014, 12:52:27 am »
We weren't against a deadline and did that section in 12 days, so it should be doable with a little time to spare.
Are you sure you counted right Pete? I just took a look at your journal, and you left Sebree (25 miles west of Utica) on August 8 and arrived in Yorktown on August 22. Isn't that 15 days? Jacob seems to have 13 days available to do the same distance (less 25 miles). I do agree with you that it should be possible to do it in 13 days if he can do about 75 miles a day.

Anyway, my general advice is that changing the route is risky. Be sure to find roads with good shoulders if you do, because changing the route will almost certainly result in higher traffic, and on high-traffic roads, you're going to want a shoulder. MY preference, however, would be to stick to the route and up your daily mileage.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2014, 06:53:41 am »
Are you sure you counted right Pete?

 I figured the OP had moved on by a day or so by the time I read and posted.  I was counting from Burgin (perhaps incorrectly).  Also we did quite a bit of visiting with family and friends on that section and could have pushed harder, although some of the section was the hardest riding of the tour IMO.

Also I forgot that we were riding without baggage a few of those days, so that made a few days easier.

I still think it would be pretty doable.  I do hate a deadline or rigid schedule though.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Kentucky and Virginia trans am shortcuts
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2014, 12:19:23 pm »
Oh yikes, maybe it isn't such a good idea then. Did the sections you saw without good shoulders still look like busy sections?

Yes. Several of them did look busy.