Author Topic: Best Time to Leave  (Read 262 times)

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Offline Roger

Best Time to Leave
« on: December 15, 2014, 09:59:58 pm »
I plan to take the transam route this coming year going from the west coast to the east coast.  When would you recommend I depart from a weather perspective?  Early May, middle of May, late May? Other?

Offline jamawani

Re: Best Time to Leave
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2014, 03:31:42 am »
May is a better month for east to west - June is a better month for west to east.
I've been caught in a snowstorm in the Cascades with a June 1 departure.
And this year is already looking pretty snowy for the Cascades.

I'm guessing you are from somewhere without heavy snowfall.
It takes a while for all that winter snow to melt out.
Quite often, recreation sites in the West don't open until Memorial Day.
(Even later in some high altitude locations)

Offline staehpj1

Re: Best Time to Leave
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2014, 06:04:34 am »
Starting in the West, I'd base my start time on when McKenzie Pass looks like it will open the year you plan to go.  That varies from year to year, but I definitely wouldn't figure on earlier than June unless you know that it is a light snow year and the pass will be open.  It isn't too unusual for the opening date to be in July, sometimes even late July.

It is generally open to bicycles a couple weeks before it is open to cars and that is a great time to do it.  They plow out 1 lane and let melting take care of the other to save money.  Once 1 lane is open it can be ridden by bike.

Santiam Pass is a plowed year round alternate, but it would be a shame to miss McKenzie Pass.  It is a nice ride with great views and the lava fields and observatory on the top are pretty interesting.

As John said, if you must go early go E-W.

To get a better idea of what is likely check out past opening and closing dates at:
http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION4/pages/mckenziehighwayclosure.aspx


Offline John Nelson

Re: Best Time to Leave
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2014, 09:51:10 am »
I agree with John and Pete. If you want to start in the West and your departure date is flexible, wait until the middle of June. Any earlier carries with it a much higher risk of both cold and wet.

Starting in May in the East is even better.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Best Time to Leave
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2014, 09:59:25 am »
I would definitely try to not miss McKenzie Pass if at all possible.

Something else to keep in mind is that W-E starting June could put you in some very hot and humid areas during the peak of the misery. Then again, maybe that weather suits you.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Best Time to Leave
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2014, 01:45:10 pm »
You could start in June and avoid those aforementioned Oregon passes by riding through the Columbia River gorge.  That's a great ride but would necessitate hooking up with your route to the east of the Cascades.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline BobG

Re: Best Time to Leave
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2014, 01:57:30 pm »
As noted above by staehpj1, even traveling East to West it's possible to be too early to ride McKenzie Pass. It was still closed on July 31, 2009 when our Westbound ACA TransAm group came through. We had to ride Santiam Pass. In 1999 McKenzie Pass was open for bikes only in late July. Still closed to cars, we got to ride it traffic free!
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 08:08:25 pm by BobG »

Offline Roger

Re: Best Time to Leave
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2014, 08:54:33 pm »
Thanks to everyone for your responses. Very helpful!

Offline indyfabz

Re: Best Time to Leave
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2014, 10:27:28 am »