Author Topic: TransAmerica 2012  (Read 16147 times)

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Offline happyriding

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2011, 07:01:15 am »
Thanks, your one?   I'm on this one at the moment:

http://cycleacrossamerica.co.uk/

Sounds like a good plan and that's something I want to do.  Get away from London and live a little. Although I'm not really a camping kinda guy, and am happy stay in motels and b&b's all the way.  Not really wanting to use panniers either, so trying to work out how I can do this.

Unless you have a support vehicle, you still have to carry camping stuff.  What are you going to do if you get a mechanical out in the middle of nowhere, or weather or fatigue prevents you from getting to that night's destination?  It's always more fun to ride unladen, but touring is touring.  The few tourists I've seen that were staying in motels every night all had camping gear.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 07:05:59 am by happyriding »

Offline webm8

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2011, 07:06:36 am »
Strange, I thought I replied to this but it's not come up.

Back from Swden after long weekend.  All info sounds good so far.

Got a few worries about how to do it, what to expect, but have plenty of time as plan to head out from the East on the first weekend of May 2012, all being well.  I don't want to camp and plan to hotel/motel/b&b it all the way.  Booking in advance will suck for sure, as like some of you said, what if your extra tired, ill, sunburnt, bike broken etc.

What is the average amount of time it takes to complete?  70days?  How much rest days do you need (i know everyone is different, but an average would be good)  I've read about some nasty coal roads where the truck drivers nearly squash you!  not good.

Offline staehpj1

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2011, 07:45:39 am »
Unless you have a support vehicle, you still have to carry camping stuff.
That is just not true.  Lots of people tour without camping gear.  Personally I prefer to camp, but if I did do a credit card tour the main reason would be to not have to carry camping gear.

Offline webm8

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2011, 07:55:10 am »
cool.  What if I carried a very light load and had packets sent to one of the hotels/motels I will visit along the route with top-ups of toiletries, kit etc?

If someone is going lite, then what would you say was the bare minimum kit you would need to take.  First aid kit I guess, map, basic bike repair kit.  Thanks a lot guys, your help is much appriciated.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2011, 09:29:24 am »
cool.  What if I carried a very light load and had packets sent to one of the hotels/motels I will visit along the route with top-ups of toiletries, kit etc?

If that's what you want to do...  But seriously, you'll be going through small towns every day.  Almost every small town has a store with some food (note I did NOT say groceries!) and basic toiletries.  They'll be there when you get there, you don't have to guess when the post office will get the package there, or what you'll need, or whether the night clerk threw it out night before last.  Save the mail for stuff that's hard to find.

Quote
If someone is going lite, then what would you say was the bare minimum kit you would need to take.  First aid kit I guess, map, basic bike repair kit.  Thanks a lot guys, your help is much appriciated.

My list would include map, first aid kit, spare tubes, patch kit, and pump (cables and a light spare tire, maybe; spare chain, no); sunscreen, enough energy bars to fake a meal, on and off bike clothes, rain jacket, tights or knee warmers, a fleece top (the cold weather stuff could be mailed across Kansas); billfold with ID, cash, credit card(s), and a debit card (to get more cash -- why pay the banks any extra?); water bottles, and a collapsible water jug for long, dry days.  And something to carry all that in!

Then on days when you'll be in the middle of nowhere, stop by the store before you leave town, or the night before and get something for lunch.

Offline indyfabz

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2011, 09:35:47 am »
What if I carried a very light load and had packets sent to one of the hotels/motels I will visit along the route with top-ups of toiletries, kit etc?

With respect to everyday items, why not just buy what you need along the way when you run out of something? That way you won't get to a place and have a package of stuff you don't happen to need at the moment and have to toss stuff or send it ahead. It's not as if you are going to be in the middle of nowhere for long periods of time.

Offline webm8

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2011, 09:49:00 am »
All that sounds good.  so I could just get cheap mini toiletries in most places.  I was thinking of having the hotels posting them on for me, but it could all go horribly wrong lol.  

Looks like I could throw all that in a rucksack.  Is it likely to be cold May-July? I'm reading a blog and have got to South Park, day 44 out of 73, the weather on his trip has been hot and wet from time to time, no cold spells yet.  He only took a few days off too, not sure how tired you would get on something like this.  Also, how do you keep your spirits up?  Thanks

Offline webm8

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2011, 09:50:49 am »
Thanks indyfabz, I could do that yes.  Trying to keep weight and space down as much as possible. I guess I wont be in the third world, so yes i could pick up bits where and when i need them.  Good thinking batman

Offline staehpj1

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2011, 10:47:06 am »
cool.  What if I carried a very light load and had packets sent to one of the hotels/motels I will visit along the route with top-ups of toiletries, kit etc?
Rather than mail stuff to a motel or hotel, sending stuff to a post office via general delivery works great and has the advantage that you can stop at any post office and arrange to have it forwarded if you miss the connection for any reason.  They just forward it to another post office that you specify.  We did that when we either, passed through the town when the post office was closed, weren't ready for the stuff yet, or had altered our route.  They do not charge extra for forwarding.  I think the limit for them to hold a package is 30 days.

That said for toiletries, I just buy as I go.  BTW, I also minimize what toiletries I use.  For example, I shave with just water, if I shave at all, and I use one kind of soap for body, dishes, and clothing.  Baby shampoo or camp suds will work for everything.

From the usps web site:
General Delivery

Get your mail even if you’re on the road, new to town, or between permanent addresses.
Mail addressed to you at General Delivery will be held at the area’s main Post Office for up to 30 days. All you have to do is pick it up.

General Delivery is a great choice if you don’t have a permanent address.
People can send you mail by using the town name and ZIP Code™, like this…

JOHN DOE
GENERAL DELIVERY
ANYTOWN NY 12345-9999

In medium to large cities with multiple ZIP Codes, you’ll want to make sure senders use the ZIP Code for the area’s main Post Office. The ZIP+4 extension 9999 indicates general delivery.

To find the main Post Office in an area, speak to any Post Office associate or call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

Offline webm8

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2011, 11:26:56 am »
oooo perfect!, thanks for that info!

working out the dates, i'm very roughly guessing i will need to allow 3months / 12weeks / possibility of a maximum of 83cycle days.  Would you know what the average ammount of days for doing it is?

Offline yumadons

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2011, 01:26:00 am »
Hi Simon,

There's a book you can buy from Adventure Cycling (on this website) called "Bicycling the TransAm" by Stephanie Kirz. It's written to go east to west without camping tho she and her husband brought camping stuff. I emailed to ask her if she ever used it but didn't hear back. Be sure to buy the third edition (most recent, 2009) but some things have changed so be sure to get the Adventure Cycling maps also and don't forget to read the addendums (addendums contain the most recent closed motels, new restaurants, etc that people out riding the route report back to AC). You could plan to go in her footsteps.

My husband and I just did the first half riding west to east (North Bend, OR to Pueblo, CO) and kept a blog listing daily mileage and motel name & cost. We were only averaging 40-50 miles a day, our 2 longest days were 71 miles:  http://bicyclelife.topicwise.com/doc/yumadons1

If you don't want to camp, you'll be glad you left your camping gear at home. We met a Londoner, Michael, who said he had intended to camp but it was so hot he ended up in lots of motels & wished he didn't have to carry so much stuff. His blog is:
www.transamerica2011.blogspot.com

Your crucial motel reservations will be in Yellowstone Park, Yellowstone Park lodges can book a year in advance. The lodges that are on route are Grant, Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Lodge, & Old Faithful Snow Lodge.  You'll have to estimate when you'll be there and make reservations (you can search for availability & make reservations online at www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com). You get a full refund with 24 hour cancellation so if you can't narrow it down to the day, you can always reserve multiple days and then cancel
the days you don't need once you figure out exactly when you'll be there. If you're a strong rider you could probably make it all the way from Flagg Ranch (only one hotel there so it will need a reservation too, www.flaggranch.com) to West Yellowstone (a town just outside the park with lots of motels, no worry about reservations). If you look at my blog, you can see where to stay in Jeffrey City where the motel has closed.

I think you'll have a way easier time going east to west cuz you can follow Stephanie Kirz's book. Since we went the opposite direction, I had to study the elevation sections of the AC maps VERY carefully to make sure we didn't bite off more than we could chew. The west is really the challenge motelwise because towns can be far apart and the route passes thru some highly desirable tourist areas that can book early (ie Yellowstone, Tetons, & the stretch along the McKenzie River in Oregon. I booked my reservation at The Caddisfly in McKenzie Bridge in Feb & they were already full but nice enough to give me a "park model" (tiny mobile home) that they use for their grandkids.

I made what I considered to be the critical reservations way ahead of time (the aforementioned places and weekend nites in places with just one or two motels). I had most of the daily destinations penciled out, but not necessarily the motel reservations made. On rest days, I'd lay out the maps and make phone calls a few days ahead. For the eastern half next year (Pueblo to the east coast), I don't anticipate making any
reservations way ahead of time. Midwest towns are closer together and not as touristed. Plus you can get some serious tailwinds in Kansas which I'd like to take advantage of  ;)

Look on Crazy Guy On A Bike website & check Fred Werda's journals, he did 3 TransAm crossings and
 mostly moteled it. Also look at Stefan Steen's journal. He didn't do the TransAm, he & his dad did another route from Washington state to New York with only seat bags! Don't worry about breaking down in the middle of nowhere, there is nowhere on the route so desolate that someone won't come along in a truck and give you a ride if you need it.

You will have a great trip!

Suzanne
Yuma, AZ

« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 01:54:52 am by yumadons »

Offline PeteJack

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2011, 06:59:04 pm »
Simon,

Be aware that B & Bs in the US are usually not a cheap alternatives to motels/hotels as they are in the UK. They are often middle class sort places meant to give their guests an experience and can cost up to $200 a night. Now if you really want an experience you can stay in a $36 a night motel in Yakima! Motel 6 takes some beating for cheap accommodation, Ive found them in California for $46 a night. There are one or two excellent hostels on the Transam but they are much fewer and further between than in Europe. It is out of the question cycling from hostel to hostel as you could in Europe. I'd take a tent and sleeping bag for backup; there can be some very long distances between towns over here. I've found about 50/50 camping/motels keeps the costs bearable. I long since gave up attempting to cook while camping: it's a bunch of extra weight and there's always somewhere to eat. Take your time and enjoy the trip. (You won't if you don't. If you see what I mean)

Offline yumadons

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2011, 01:25:18 am »
Another cheap (free) alternative to motels is www.warmshowers.org and www.couchsurfing.org. We didn't do it but ran into people who did, mostly warmshowers. Americans LOVE the Brits with their accents & I'll bet you'd get first dibs. Plus, traveling alone, the company / hospitality would be fun for you :)

Suzanne
Yuma, AZ

Offline webm8

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2011, 07:57:42 am »
Hi guys, thanks very much for your responses, it's great that everyone is willing to help with their knowledge.  I've joined the two bed surfing groups and hope there are lots along the route I can crash with.  It will certainly save money.  It would be great to meet the locals and find out some local history and facts along the route.  Will have to put on my Hugh Grant accent haha.

Not too keen on spending $200 a night! lol.  I guess that the Yakima experience is not a not experience?  Norman Bates style?  Motel6 sounds just fine, as long as they are clean, i can sleep without being eaten alive by bugs, and have a nice shower in the morning, that will do me :)  Your right about extra camping weight.  Def' want to enjoy the trip and do it at my pace.

I will check the book out on Amazon if I can, and thanks for the tip about checking the addenmdrums before leaving, as for reading some blogs recently, and expceting there to be a eatery or something, but its closed down even though its on the maps.  I've bookmarked Michales blog, and will check it out in the coming weeks with yours, thanks.  Yellowstone is a tourist hotbed I hear, and the hotels are VERY expensive too?  Ah yes, I was thinking that too about booking the most important places, but not researched which ones yet, sa I'm still planning that part.  Cool, will check Fred's blog too then.

Thanks so much guys, a wealth of info I have to add to my notes page.  I have asked for a 3month sabbatical from work, and still waiting to hear back.  Thanks again

Offline staehpj1

Re: TransAmerica 2012
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2011, 09:36:06 am »
Good luck with all of that and I hope your employer approves the sabbatical.  The Trans America is a great experience.