Author Topic: Cross Country Dream  (Read 2250 times)

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Offline karmelj

Cross Country Dream
« on: September 01, 2011, 12:15:59 pm »
I have dreamed of cycling across the country since i was a toddler, and this summer I'm really going to do it!  Three other guys and I plan to go west to east and end in NYC where we live.  We are all in good physical condition and are relativly fast riders (we woluld probobly average 75 miles a day, but certaintly are capable of riding around 130 when we want to.  The tour will be unsupported and we will have aproxamitly 11 weeks to get home.  All of us have toured in Nova Scotia and have cycled from Maine to Albany then to NYC (much of the time using ACA maps).  We have ruled out the souther teir as and option because of the heat, and are less inclined to do the norther Teir because we have alreday done the last 400 miles of it.  That leaves us with the TA,  Louis and Clark to St. Louis and then meet up with the TA and The wester express rout and then the TA.  Despite its difficulty and heat of july (both of which we will plan and prepare for) we would love to do the western express because of the beatiful national parks throughout the rout.  We would all really aprecate some thoughts on whitch of the three routs to take?

Thanks so much for the time you took to read that!


P.S.  Is it at all feasible to take the western express then to link up with the Louis and Clark so we could see south dakota (I would rather roll through the badlands than the feilds of Kansas)   

Offline Mhiro615

Re: Cross Country Dream
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2011, 09:30:34 pm »
 ;) ;) ;) I'll be with you the whole way kid...

Offline jamawani

Re: Cross Country Dream
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2011, 11:41:52 pm »
Lewis & Clark. Lewis & Clark.
Louis was the guy who lost his head over some cake.

Why restrict yourselves to ACA routes?
(Although, I grant you this is an ACA forum.)
The advantages of ACA routes are their excellent maps and meeting other riders.
But since you are riding with others, you won't be alone.

If you are riding west to east it all depends on when you are leaving.
A departure in May or early June should be from central Calif - probably the Western Express.
June is the best month to start from the Trans Am in Oregon. (Or the L&C along the Columbia)
If you are leaving as late as July you should consider the Northern Tier.

I've ridden across all of the Great Plains states.
You really don't need a lot of info. 
Traffic is generally light on back roads.
Most county seat towns permit camping in parks.
They all have libraries, small motels, cafes.

I prefer South Dakota and Nebraska to Kansas and North Dakota.
Why? Far more interesting terrain.
Nebraska has the Sandhills along Hwy 92 and Hwy 2.
South Dakota has the Black Hills and Badlands.

Check out some of the journals at Crazyguy.
The flats of west Kansas and North Dakota can be endless.
Wherever you are - you will get wind.  That's a given.

The further north you are in the Midwest - the cooler it will be in mid-summer.
Rough line - - Peoria to Ft. Wayne to Akron. 
Missouri and Kentucky are just plain hot amd muggy.

Take a look at some of the Penna DOT bike routes.
They have strip maps with them - maybe the northern Penna route?
11 weeks should allow you plenty of time - plenty.

Don't hurry.
Enjoy.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Cross Country Dream
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2011, 06:17:05 am »
Why restrict yourselves to ACA routes?
(Although, I grant you this is an ACA forum.)
The advantages of ACA routes are their excellent maps and meeting other riders.
But since you are riding with others, you won't be alone... Don't hurry.
Enjoy.

+1. That said, since this is your first tour, I'll suggest planning the first 1,000 miles or so on a mapped route. The ACA research eliminates so many hassles that take time each day, from locating services along the route to avoiding those bridge-out roads. And you will learn a lot from other riders on the road and in camp. Then you can head away on your own with experience.

Yes, take your time. I can guarantee that when you look back on the ride a year later, you will reminisce about the great museum, the corny county fair, and the side trip up a mountain, not the 130-mile days.

Fred

Offline staehpj1

Re: Cross Country Dream
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2011, 06:54:31 am »
Obviously it depends on what you want out of a tour, but I have found that I like the more traveled Adventure Cycling Routes.  I find meeting other tourists a big plus.  I also like the fact that the needed resources are listed on the map.

I have toured on a couple well used routes and a couple where I didn't meet other tourists.  Both were fun, but the experience of meeting and camping with others traveling the same route is very nice.  It is also nice to pick your own route part of the way.  So my favorite option is to take an AC route and improvise some sections if/when you feel like it.

I really liked the Trans America a lot and highly recommend it.  If you want to branch off from it, I'd suggest detouring on a side trip to Glacier NP.  If you have 11 weeks you should have time for that.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Cross Country Dream
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2011, 11:29:22 am »
I really liked the Trans America a lot and highly recommend it.  If you want to branch off from it, I'd suggest detouring on a side trip to Glacier NP.  If you have 11 weeks you should have time for that.

It's quite possible to start on the Northern Tier into Glacier National Park, take the Great Parks south to Missoula, and then hook up with your choice of Lewis and Clark or Trans Am.  Glacier was stunning, and if they're still running the shuttle bus, you can see the Going to the Sun road without any effort.  The passes in Washington are, erm, also memorable.

On the AC routes question, once you have a general route, the AC maps are perhaps most useful to locate services in the west.  There's only one road from the Dubois to Rawlins, WY, for example; but knowing where there's a store, or a campground, or motel, isn't so easy.  Further east, you don't usually have so many miles between services, but it's useful to have the route selected from a maze of twisty little roads, all different.  That's why Fred's suggestion is so good (stay on an AC route for 1,000 miles) -- the midwest is a good place to start picking your own route.

Offline karmelj

Re: Cross Country Dream
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2011, 05:45:01 pm »
Thanks so much for the awesome feedback everyone! We are going to be leaving the last week in June and would actually have a 10 weeks to enjoy the ride.  The main thing motivating us to do the Western Express is this guys journal...
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=RrzKj&doc_id=7318&v=1V0
we would try to take a bunch of side trips to the parks like he did!
were just concerned that it would be too hot to enjoy and opinions?

Offline karmelj

Re: Cross Country Dream
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2011, 06:44:53 pm »
*any opinions?

Offline jamawani

Re: Cross Country Dream
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2011, 08:37:46 am »
Leaving the last week of June would be VERY hot for the route above.
Doable - but difficult and exhausting.  Water - always an issue on the WX -
would be even more of a consideration.

Here's the dope - and I have cycled extensively in every Western state -
There is spectacular riding all over the place in the West.
Why not choose a route where the weather is ideal for riding?
It makes the difference between a tough slog and a dance in the park.

If I were starting out in late June on the West coast -
I would start with the Northern Tier to Glacier National Park -
then head south on US 89 to Yellowstone.

From Yellowstone you could take the TransAm to Colorado -
Then head east via Rocky Mountain N.P.
And an almost 12000 ft crossing of the Continental Divide -
Or east via Devils Tower and the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota.

Crossing the Great Plains in August is not for the light-hearted.
It can be hot anywhere - but less so the further north you are.
The average Aug high for Ness City, KS is 93.
For Broken Bow, NE - 87, for Mobridge, SD - 85.

Plus, doing the Black Hills breaks up the long stretch of the plains.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Cross Country Dream
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2011, 09:01:23 am »
Thanks so much for the awesome feedback everyone! We are going to be leaving the last week in June and would actually have a 10 weeks to enjoy the ride.  The main thing motivating us to do the Western Express is this guys journal...
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=RrzKj&doc_id=7318&v=1V0
we would try to take a bunch of side trips to the parks like he did!
were just concerned that it would be too hot to enjoy and opinions?
Why not just ask Wayne directly.  Use the Guestbook section of the journal.  Wayne is a good guy and I would be surprised if he didn't answer your question.  Just be prepared for an answer you don't want to hear.
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John

Offline bbarrettx

Re: Cross Country Dream
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2012, 10:29:30 pm »
considering time of year i'd do the TA. i grew up on the north jersey shore and did this back in 87 finishing in my home town. you cut off the TA in the charlottsville area and continue up to southern pa and follow the blue highways into philly. cross into camden and hook up with 537 just east of camden. that will get take you up to monmouth county where you can finish at the beach in sea bright or sandy hook. ferry will get you from highlands to lower manhattan without dealing with northern nj congestion. 537 is a nice quiet road through farm and horse country. enjoy - brian