Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Routes => Topic started by: Jdeviler88 on October 15, 2019, 11:29:59 am

 
Title: Need tips for southern tier in January!!!
Post by: Jdeviler88 on October 15, 2019, 11:29:59 am
Hey everyone, my brother and I want to do the southern tier cross country route in January. Our plan is to start January 2nd and finish sometime in February. I have a couple of questions and would love responses.
1. How comfortable will it be doing the southern tier in January l?
2. Anything specific we should bring for this ride?
3. Any tips along the way, places to stop along the way

Would love to be in touch with someone who has done the southern. Thanks everyone!
Title: Re: Need tips for southern tier in January!!!
Post by: John Nettles on October 15, 2019, 11:33:03 am
Remember to factor in much less daylight than summer so your available riding light will be greatly reduced.

Check out WeatherSpark.com for a very good climate almanac for most places in the world.  It provides temp, wind, rain, etc.  Then you can decide if it will be comfortable for you.

Tailwinds, John
Title: Re: Need tips for southern tier in January!!!
Post by: CMajernik on October 15, 2019, 11:40:16 am
You can go to crazyguyonabike.com which is a website for cycling journals. You'll find information there. Search Souther Tier.
Title: Re: Need tips for southern tier in January!!!
Post by: staehpj1 on October 16, 2019, 06:38:58 am
Hey everyone, my brother and I want to do the southern tier cross country route in January. Our plan is to start January 2nd and finish sometime in February. I have a couple of questions and would love responses.
1. How comfortable will it be doing the southern tier in January l?
2. Anything specific we should bring for this ride?
3. Any tips along the way, places to stop along the way

Would love to be in touch with someone who has done the southern. Thanks everyone!
I don't see any reason why you shouldn't.  I rode from San Diego to Pensacola starting in mid February my reason of choosing that time was that I figured the days were getting a bit longer by then.  I figured that was about the ideal time, but your time should be fine.

I found the scenery pretty uninspiring with many consecutive days of nothing but brown sage brush, but the people were interesting and the food was good with a variety of different local cuisines.

I deviated from the official route at times and if doing it again might consider riding US 90 from Van Horn TX part or all the way to the east coast.  I used US 90 some of the way and liked the ride most of the time when I did.

I might also consider a more coastal route in Florida, hugging the gulf (I stopped at Pensacola last time so I didn't have to make that choice).

I packed really light for the trip with a very small tarp and a hoop-less bivy (7 ounce).  Even with camping and cooking capability I had a base gear weight of 14 pounds.  It was really nice to travel so unencumbered.  That suited the trip for me allowing me to camp in places where a tent may have been a problem.  For example, I could throw the bivy on the ground at roadside picnic areas in Texas and the cops never bothered me.  I am told that they would have run me off if I had pitched a tent there (not sure if that is true).

On the other hand the route is the flattest coast to coast route so a heavier load is probably less of an issue than it might be on other routes.

I had frost a lot of nights and had one really cold night (18F on my thermometer).  There was a little snow on the roadsides on top of a couple passes.  I am told that snow delays of a couple days are possible, but I had none.  I used a 1 pound 1 ounce Mountain Hardwear Phantom 45 bag and wore all my clothes or piled them on top of me on the coldest nights.  I find that bag works for me in much colder temps than its rating suggests, but you need to be sure that what you take is comfy down to freezing and at least safe down to a good bit lower with all your extra clothes.  I sleep warm so you may need a warmer bag, most people apparently do.

The biggest problem I had with my bivy was at the end of the trip in the east when it got warm and the mosquitoes were out.  When it was warm and the bugs were biting I wished for a bug bivy (which I didn't own at the time) or a tent.  It was sticky sweaty in the bivy.  If I were doing it now I might have switched to a bug bivy at some point before Louisiana.  It would be easy enough to have it mailed to me via general delivery and mail the regular bivy home.  Heck the bug bivy only weighs 5.3 ounces so I could carry both I guess.  With your schedule you will likely be early enough to miss the bugs and if you are using a tent you won't have the same issues.

Expect to need to carry extra food and water for a 24 hour period now and then.  A real light little backpack is a good way to go for those once in a while needs of extra capacity.  I something like the the REI Flash 18 (10 or 12 ounces) or the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Packable Daypack (2.5 ounces).

Be prepared for LONG day after day miles in empty sagebrush country.  Texas goes on forever (like 1000 miles).  It can be enjoyable, but you have to be in the right kind of mindset.  If you expect a lot of attractions and frequent interesting stops the whole way this may not be the route for you.  You need to be able to get into the mindset of cranking out the miles.
Title: Re: Need tips for southern tier in January!!!
Post by: oldguybiker on October 16, 2019, 08:28:05 pm
Be careful crossing the Hwy 90 bridge over the Pecos River. There is no shoulder, and there can be a significant southerly wind intensifying as it comes up through the narrowing gorge. A morning crossing is the best bet to avoid the worst of the wind, as well as the 18 wheeler traffic which produces a lot of back draft and they don't have room to pull over to give you space if there is oncoming traffic. The bridge is also a pretty good incline rising from west to east, making a slow eastbound crossing especially scary if there are trucks and high winds.