Author Topic: TransAmerican Route  (Read 1904 times)

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Offline kenwil

TransAmerican Route
« on: December 28, 2009, 05:47:38 am »
Having cycled the Pacific Coast in 2008 (and it was brilliant!) I am planning to cycle the TransAmerica route this year (2010). The Association maps suggest a main TransAm route starting in Oregan and there seems to be another option of starting on the Western Express Route from San Francisco and joining the TransAm in Colorado. I want to see as much as possible as I will be coming over from the UK for the trip.

Any advice or comments on the best route(s), best time to start and whether to go West to East (which seems the natural way to go but I don't know why !) or vice versa. Are there barren gaps in the route? Realistically,  how long will it take? What are the must see's etc. Any advice will be much appreciated. Thanks

Ken 

Offline staehpj1

Re: TransAmerican Route
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2009, 11:28:52 am »
Having cycled the Pacific Coast in 2008 (and it was brilliant!) I am planning to cycle the TransAmerica route this year (2010). The Association maps suggest a main TransAm route starting in Oregan and there seems to be another option of starting on the Western Express Route from San Francisco and joining the TransAm in Colorado. I want to see as much as possible as I will be coming over from the UK for the trip.

Any advice or comments on the best route(s), best time to start and whether to go West to East (which seems the natural way to go but I don't know why !) or vice versa. Are there barren gaps in the route? Realistically,  how long will it take? What are the must see's etc. Any advice will be much appreciated. Thanks

Ken 
We went with the regular full Trans America and would do it again.

As far as E-W vs W-E...  We went W-E and enjoyed it but there are good reasons to pick either.  The following are a few factors:
  • Wind - I found that for the TA in summer the winds favor W-E despite what folks will tell you about prevailing westerlies.  The place where the wind is the biggest factor is in the open flat middle of the country (Eastern Colorado and Kansas).  The winds there tend to come out of the SE in Summer and the TA heads generally SE.  All that said I don't think I would be inclined to make the winds the primary deciding factor.
  • Temperatures - You can probably get the best chance at good weather by going E-W and starting in the late spring to very early Summer.  That way you have the best chance of avoiding snow and cold in the Rockies and Cascades and heat and humidity in the East.  Starting in the west you hit the weather best by starting later in the season.  We started in the West pretty early (June 11) and were OK, but we had a good bit of 90-100F+ weather.  Starting in the West you would probably benefit from starting a month or more later and could have great weather.
  • Sun - Do you want the sun in your eyes in the morning or evening?
  • Mountains - The toughest climbing was in Virginia.  The climbs were much shorter, but also much steeper than those in the West.  We chose W-E mainly to save the steeper climbs for when we were more "road hardened".
  • Personal Preference - Do you want to go the direction of the early settlers?  Do you want to save the more spectacular scenery in the West for last?
  • Transportation to and from - For us since we live near the eastern end of the TA starting in the West had the advantage of getting air travel out of the way up front.  It also meant that family and friends were able to meet us at the end.

All in all either can work out great, but if I were going again I would be inclined to pick direction of travel based on the starting date to get the best weather possible.  That would mean either and early start in the East or a later start in the West.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 11:32:13 am by staehpj1 »

Offline John Nelson

Re: TransAmerican Route
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2009, 12:39:43 am »
In my opinon, the Western Express route is primarily intended for people who don't have the time to do the whole TransAm. If you have the time, I'd recommend the regular TransAm route.

I think Pete has a typo in his first bullet when he said what direction he thought the winds favored. But maybe I'm wrong. Pete?

The must-sees are different for different people. Some people would consider Disneyland a must-see, but I doubt that applies to most touring cyclists. Most touring cyclists just want to soak it all in and might find a particular tree or cow to be a must see, or talking to a particular local. Some would consider as must-sees the Cookie Lady in Rockfish Gap, Danger Hill in Christiansburg, pie at Cookie's in Golden City, the Dragon Lady outside Summersville, the springs at Alley Springs, Yodeling Katy in Chanute, Hoosier Pass, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, ACA headquarters in Missoula, fireworks on the fourth of July in Lander, the Oregon coast, the Twin Bridges bicycle campground, the Prariie Chicken capital of the world in Cassoday, Dusty Gilmore in Ash Grove, Schechter's hostel outside Guffy, Mammoth Cave, Gillian Hoggard in Ordway, etc. Simple stuff.

How long will it take? It can be done in as little as six weeks or as many as sixteen. The longer you take, the more memorable your trip will be.