Author Topic: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier  (Read 3325 times)

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Offline DnD

Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« on: February 27, 2011, 04:54:14 pm »
Hi Everyone

I've just joined the Association and what a mine of information it is! A mate and myself are in the early stages of planning a trip to do the Southern Tier in Sept 2012. Has anyone any experience of shipping bikes to San Diego from the UK? I have the map pack but what are peoples experiences of this route? We will be self supporting and hope to do this in 33-35 days (would love to take longer but the boss has different ideas!) is this a realistic target? We have done other two week trips in Europe cycling 100 miles per day. Is Sept a good time to do this? Any information on this route will be gratefully received.

Many thanks  

D
« Last Edit: March 01, 2011, 08:43:50 am by DnD »

Offline JMilyko

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2011, 11:01:26 am »
I suppose it depends on what you're looking to experience. In the timeframe you mention, it will require 100 mile days on end, tough to do but even more so as the daylight will be getting shorter at that point. And you won't get to experience much off the bike or have any days for rest, checking out something intriguing, etc. You might want to consider starting somewhere mid-way across like Austin, Texas, or another route entirely. You could do much of the Pacific Coast in that time, see a lot of Florida (including the Keys). I'm others have suggestions, too.

Have fun with the planning!

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline B-52

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2011, 03:25:12 pm »
October is the greatest month along the Gulf Coast....Texas, Louisanna,Mississippi,Alabama and panhandle of Fl.

I live in Mobile Alabama....but have lived along I10 for 40 years....Sept is still very hot and humid especially the first two weeks....

If it is possible i would consider a depart in Mid Sept.....although the GC is in the peak of Hurricane season...it is really nice weather wise.

DG

PS give me a shout out when in Mobile.

Offline DnD

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2011, 04:10:39 pm »
Cheers DG will do

D

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2011, 04:52:31 am »
Doing the ST in 30-35 days fully loaded is somewhat doubtful. I just did it and more in 54 days total with 43 days of actual on-the-road E to W cycling at sixty years old. Doing 100 miles a day with no days off is within human capabilities, but you must consider the fact that E to W could possibly take you straight into the teeth of W to E winds that can keep you completely off the road for days. You could miss those winds, but if you do run into that out west, you can forget about 30-35 days. You could barely move againt such winds. I hit those kinds of winds as sidewinds going from Marfa and Van Horn one year, and believe me I got off the road, got a motel room, and stopped completely. I met two guys from Germany who had been riding those winds for days, and they were extremely happy with their good luck. However, those winds disappeared the very next day after I pulled in to Van Horn.

Also, extreme weather events can set you back now and again. I have been caught out in electrical storms with winds
that brought all traffic on interstates to a complete hault. There would be no way you could move against that for hours or all day for the most part. In fact, being out in those at all in any way would be very unwise. And then there are the torrential downpours too, not exactly lethal but extremely wet and persistent.

30-35 days for the ST fully loaded and camping etc. would IMO leave too little leeway for possible / expected setbacks, and setbacks can happen. But so what. Go for it. If you are unable to do the entire route it's no big deal.

Use the maps. I assure you they will keep you off the roads you should definitely avoid.

Offline DnD

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2011, 06:48:34 am »
Thanks Westinghouse

We are looking at doing this W to E - maybe I should pack a sail!! :D

D

Offline ahomerhilsen

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2011, 06:41:51 am »
Well, I certainly think that your goals are reachable. I am planning a ST crossing in July, and am currently on a training schedule to help me achieve my goal of 150 miles per day average! Yes, I know this is insane but I read somewhere that a goal is not really worthwhile if there is not a pretty good chance of not making it. Good luck and happy riding!

Offline DnD

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2011, 08:47:56 am »
Wow 150 a day? I thought I was pushing it at 100! Whats your training schedule? Also - do you have any info on the elevation on the Eastern side? Its not on the ACA maps.

Cheers

D

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2011, 10:28:00 am »
Well, I was sixty. I left from about 200 miles south of St. Augustine. The rain set me back significantly during the first three weeks of the trip. I took the wrong roads at times, and got on grueling roller coaster rides. I was carrying a full complement of winter clothing and camping gear. The wind god was on my side this time, but the choose-the -right-roads god was against me. I reached San Diego in 43 days of cycling with 11 days more in motels and off the road. Total was 54 days. I also deliberately held back short a day approaching SD so I would be sure to get into the city early, and have plenty of time to get to my reserved room in daylight. Therefore, on cycling days I averaged about 75-80 a day.
 
Someone younger and stronger and more ambitious could do 100 miles a day loaded for 30-35 days straight, yes, but I would not want to push like that myself. I think I could do that even now on a bare bike with no load, but that's not gonna happen. I met a guy who did a transcon in 30 days.

Offline DnD

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2011, 03:34:48 pm »
Sounds quite a journey Westinghouse - what time of year did you do your trip?

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2011, 03:16:26 am »
Sounds quite a journey Westinghouse - what time of year did you do your trip?

That was from December 7, 2009 to January 30, 2010. I had significant rain setbacks pretty much all the way across Florida, and into AL and LA. It did not rain every day, but I had to start late and get off the road for hours daily which added up after a while. Finally, I got a cheap plastic rainsuit and just cycled through it realizing that if I did not just go through it, I would not be going anywhere. There was hardly any rain at all in and west of TX. However, in west TX I was sleeping out in the lowest ever recorded winter temperatures since 1977. I got to Van Horn, rented a room, cranked up the heaters, watched TV, and waited out that cold spell. In Van Horn I met David Holmes who had cycled up from South America and was headed east on the ST for FL and possibly to Key West. He was planning going south at Kent. I told him about Hwy. 190 west of Baton Rouge and that it was good for cycling. We went to the library in Van Horn and did some e-mailng. We had a meal at a Mexican-food restaurant.

I also got to Ocotillo early in the day and stopped over to visit. I also stopped cycling about 25 miles short of San Diego, getting in the city early the next day to have time to get to my room early and during daylight. I could have reached San Diego in 50 days with about 40 days on the road, so it is certainly possible to do it in 30-35 days loaded and touring. It's quite a pace and not a pace I would want to have to keep up with at my age. If you were to get those days-long, powerful, west to east  winds, you could do 100 miles a day like a walk in the park. However, I have done the ST a number of times E to W and was lucky enough not to have to contend with such winds head on. They do happen but not all the time. I would completely stop and wait. I did drive east out of San Diego / Los Angeles in the winter of 2000 and the winter winds were blowing like that west to east. I remember thinking how like hell it would be cycling against it. The weather is a matter of probabilities. One winter in Van Horn, TX the skies were clear and blue and the sun was shining. Another winter cycling through Van Horn I was completely snowed in at a motel for six consecutive days. This last tour in winter it go so record breakingly cold I just hauled it off the road and quit till it warmed up a bit. It's the same with the rain. One one summer crossing of the ST I got about 30 minutes of rain in Slidell, Louisiana, and that was all for the complete trip. On another summer crossing of the ST it rained day after day after day
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 03:34:10 am by Westinghouse »

Offline Island Girl

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2011, 04:15:21 pm »
Hi,
I too am planning my first Southern Tier but wondering when to go climate wise.  Would March,April,May be better than Sept., Oct., Nov.
The temperatures look much the same but perhaps more windy in the autumn.  I take it the route is prettier in the spring with flowers etc.
Any comments would be appreciated.

Offline DnD

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2011, 06:02:37 pm »
Hi Island Girl - Are you doing the ST next year?

D

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2011, 06:05:05 am »
Hi,
I too am planning my first Southern Tier but wondering when to go climate wise.  Would March,April,May be better than Sept., Oct., Nov.
The temperatures look much the same but perhaps more windy in the autumn.  I take it the route is prettier in the spring with flowers etc.
Any comments would be appreciated.


I'd suggest winter or about winter. The blistering summer heat can be hell. You can do it in summer, but, IMO, the winter cold that far south is much to be preferred over the summer heat.

Offline Island Girl

Re: Info Required for First Time Southern Tier
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2011, 04:11:31 pm »
Hi DnD,   Yep, hoping on 2012 but plan to do it with ACA.  Ideally, would love to do it solo, as that is how I like to cycle tour, but family would have a fit. Good luck with your plans.