Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: webm8 on July 28, 2011, 09:42:00 am

 
Title: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on July 28, 2011, 09:42:00 am
Hi there, just joined the group today as I'm starting to research the possibilities of doing the TransAmerica ride in 2012.  I'm guessing there is a huge resource of information on here somewhere?  I've read a few blogs and spoken to some guys who've done it in the past few years, they have provided some great information on their sites/blogs and in emails. 

I guess the first place to start is when best to do it, from what I've seen May or June is good, and I expect it to take around 3 months if I amble along enjoying the scenery.  I've found the maps for sale on the site here.  How did you guys start the process of?  Thanks

Simon in London
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: indyfabz on July 28, 2011, 10:10:03 am
Your direction (west to east or east to west) will likely affect your start date decision.

West-east too early and you might have to deal with snow, cold termperatures and closed passed. You may also mind yourself in the midwest and east during hotest portion of the summer. This summer it has routinely been 90-100+ degrees (F) with killer humidity up and down the mid-Atlantic region, which the TransAm passes through.

Personally, if I had the opportunity, I would go east to west starting in early to mid-May because I do not do well in extreme heat and humidity. I was on a portion of the TransAm route (heading east) a month ago (June 30th-July 2nd and then again on July 4th.) I met several people heading west who had started in mid to late-May. They said the timing worked out well.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on July 28, 2011, 11:08:49 am
hi there, yes I think East to West is the best option, and the one most of the people I've came across so far seem to do.  I've seen the news reports and it looks rather hot!  We were in NY, Philly and DC (not cycling), at the end of June, early July for two weeks.  We were lucky it was not as hot as it has been recently, even having some heavy thunder storms out in Lancaster way.  That's something I've noticed too, lots of thunder storms that time of year.  Thanks
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Shane on July 28, 2011, 12:00:32 pm
Hi Simon,

Here yet another trip blog  (http://coast2coast.tk/)for your to read ;D. The epilogue is a good read in my opinion :)

Have fun planning your trip, but dont plan too much, plans lead to expectations and expectations lead to disappointing. Just RIDE!

Shane
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on July 28, 2011, 12:12:06 pm
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.   ::)  odd request i know, but I just like that feeling of being free and light.  From the photo's on blogs, it looks amazing and I'm sure/hope I won't be disappointed.  Thanks Shane
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: staehpj1 on July 28, 2011, 12:27:26 pm
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.   ::)  odd request i know, but I just like that feeling of being free and light.  From the photo's on blogs, it looks amazing and I'm sure/hope I won't be disappointed.  Thanks Shane

My impression from my TA was that places to get a room were sometimes not conveniently spaced.  Others have managed though so it must be do-able.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on July 28, 2011, 12:31:54 pm
Hi there.  Yes that could be a problem and something I would have to look into more carefully once I get the maps and work out distances.  Expect more posts lol.  Is there a good resource section on here, maybe just follow in someone elses exact footsteps regarding distance and motels etc?  Really appreciate the help and advice.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Shane on July 28, 2011, 12:34:27 pm
Thanks, your one?  

www.shanecycles.com (http://www.shanecycles.com)  :)
www.shanecycles.com/coast2coast (http://www.shanecycles.com/coast2coast)  ;D

Coming soon:  www.shanecycles.com/africa (http://www.shanecycles.com/africa)

End of shameless plug....... :D :D
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on July 28, 2011, 12:38:29 pm
cool thanks, will check that out next week when back home.  Looks like you get about!
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: FredHiltz on July 28, 2011, 01:03:42 pm
Be sure to check out the wealth of very pertinent information in the How-To Department, linked from the home page at http://www.adventurecycling.org (http://www.adventurecycling.org). With this background, you can ask about the less obvious things that come to mind.

Fred
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on July 28, 2011, 01:07:10 pm
Cheers Fred
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Pat Lamb on July 28, 2011, 02:01:43 pm
Is there a good resource section on here, maybe just follow in someone elses exact footsteps regarding distance and motels etc?

Get the AC maps, and check out the addenda on-line.  They offer a great resource for planning, including exactly the motel and distance information you're looking for.

Many (most?) of us who've ridden it either carried some camping equipment, or had a support vehicle which could carry it.  We met a couple on the Northern Tier who'd planned their entire trip based on AC maps, with motel reservations for each and every night.  That's not a bad idea, especially in July and August in the west, as motels are few, far between, and often booked solid on weekends and in popular tourist locations.

There's a couple of spots on the TransAm I'd try to book really early, cross my fingers, and hope.  The first is the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.  Book spots early in January, as they fill up fast.  The second is the stretch through Jeffrey City; there's no lodging between Rawlins and Lander, if the reports of the Jeffrey City motel closing are true, and it's about 120 miles.  If you hit a bad headwind, like we did, you're going to be hurting.  I'd recommend you plan on two nights either side of that stretch to rest up before and after that ride.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: staehpj1 on July 28, 2011, 02:43:51 pm
Is there a good resource section on here, maybe just follow in someone elses exact footsteps regarding distance and motels etc?

Get the AC maps, and check out the addenda on-line.  They offer a great resource for planning, including exactly the motel and distance information you're looking for.

Many (most?) of us who've ridden it either carried some camping equipment, or had a support vehicle which could carry it.  We met a couple on the Northern Tier who'd planned their entire trip based on AC maps, with motel reservations for each and every night.  That's not a bad idea, especially in July and August in the west, as motels are few, far between, and often booked solid on weekends and in popular tourist locations.

There's a couple of spots on the TransAm I'd try to book really early, cross my fingers, and hope.  The first is the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.  Book spots early in January, as they fill up fast.  The second is the stretch through Jeffrey City; there's no lodging between Rawlins and Lander, if the reports of the Jeffrey City motel closing are true, and it's about 120 miles.  If you hit a bad headwind, like we did, you're going to be hurting.  I'd recommend you plan on two nights either side of that stretch to rest up before and after that ride.
I agree on the necessity for reservations and the difficulty getting them last minute in some places.  That said, having to plan daily destinations for all or even a major portion of the trip would be a definite bummer to me.  Different strokes though.

On the time to go...  There is a lot to be said for starting early in the East.  We started in June in the west and it was fine, but we would have had better weather going the other way and starting earlier in the season.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Pat Lamb on July 28, 2011, 10:19:54 pm
I agree on the necessity for reservations and the difficulty getting them last minute in some places.  That said, having to plan daily destinations for all or even a major portion of the trip would be a definite bummer to me.  Different strokes though.

Absolutely agree!  I think of the days we Just. Couldn't. Go. Any. Farther. and think of what it would be like to have to keep going, or make it up the next day, to keep all the rest of the reservations valid.  Rain, wind, bad food -- doesn't matter, got to keep going.  (One of the reasons preplanned supported trips don't have much appeal over a week or two for me.)  Recommend the OP carefully consider the profiles while planning -- 60 miles in eastern Kentucky is a lot harder, and feels a lot longer, than 60 miles in Kansas.

OTOH, the lady I alluded to who did that pre-planned trip was lightly loaded.  She mentioned she and her husband figured they could go up to 50% farther every day, which allowed them to fit their cross-country trip into a limited time.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: cdavey on July 29, 2011, 11:28:58 pm
webm8 -- you might also check out this journal by Marilyn Hedges and her husband Mike Sorenson on their TA trip in 2001. It was the first bike journal I ever read, and it still remains for me the best one I have ever read. There may not be a lot of overt literal nuts and bolts advice (though nuts and bolts are there at least by implication), but it will give you an excellent sense of what this trip will be/should be about for you.

http://www.biketrip2001.com/
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: happyriding 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.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 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.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: staehpj1 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.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 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.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Pat Lamb 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.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: indyfabz 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.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 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
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 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
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: staehpj1 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).
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 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?
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: yumadons 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

Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: PeteJack 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)
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: yumadons 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
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 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
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: staehpj1 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.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: yumadons on October 17, 2011, 02:22:03 pm
Yes, Yellowstone motels not only book up early and are hard to get, they will be the most expensive on the trip along with those in the adjoining Tetons ($160 range). Prices of everywhere we stayed are in our blog. "Bicycling the TransAm Trail" uses symbols of $,$$, & $$$ to give you an idea which are cheapest. I'm sure you can do it cheaper than us, we were more concerned with location (making each day's ride doable distance and hillwise) than cost. Especially if you're a strong rider (could do a big day if you have to) I don't see any problem with leaving camping stuff at home. If you're doing warmshowers, you'll need good phone /wireless service to make your contacts, Verizon works better in remote areas of the west than ATT. And an added perk of motels is most of them have good wireless / phone service even if the phone you bring does not.

Suzanne
Yuma, AZ
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on October 18, 2011, 11:43:55 am
I hope so Staehpj1.  I have been assing the cost up and it seems to be going crazy which is not so good.  Found my flights over, and that is going to be just over £1000, and I'm not sure if the airlines are going to charge extra for my bike.

Thanks Yumadons, trying to find your link to your blog, but can't at the moment, do you have it to hand?  Do you think it is possible to motel it at around $50 a night?  (clean, bug free places)  Yes the phone thing might be a problem and its another thing I am going to have to look into.  McD's is apparently great for wifi too.  Thanks
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: John Nelson on October 18, 2011, 12:01:10 pm
Quote from: webm8
I'm not sure if the airlines are going to charge extra for my bike.

The costs can be anywhere from nothing to a fortune. Find out before you book the flight, as it may affect your choice of airlines.

Quote from: webm8
Do you think it is possible to motel it at around $50 a night?

Yes, in some places, but I doubt that you'll be able to average $50 for motels. You'll sometimes stay other places for free or almost free, however, which should bring the overall average down.

Quote from: webm8
McD's is apparently great for wifi too.

Unless you go off the ACA TransAm route, you may find McDonalds few and far between. Most of the towns on the ACA TransAm are too small to justify even a McDonalds.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: yumadons on October 18, 2011, 02:45:24 pm
On the western half (Oregon coast to Pueblo, CO), I'd say motels averaged ~$75 including tax, but they'll be a bit cheaper on the eastern half. And as John says, some free warmshowers nites will bring that average down. There may also be stretches where you're cycling & moteling with another rider & can split the cost. Most US motels charge the same for one or two people. A room with 2 beds is the most common setup and doesn't necessarily cost anymore than a room with one bed. Motel front desks frequently gave us 2 bed rooms when cost was the same because there was more room for 2 bikes. Link to blog:

http://bicyclelife.topicwise.com/doc/yumadons1

Suzanne
Yuma, AZ
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: yumadons on October 18, 2011, 02:57:45 pm
Forgot to say that not just McD's, but many restaurants & cafes along the route have free wifi so if you don't need your daytime hours to ride, you can get quite a bit done at food stops. It took me forever to post pix to my blog so I was better off doing my internetting at nite & using rest days to make reservations (used both internet & phone for that). Hotels.com has good prices, lots of small towns won't have any listings with them. Momandpopmotels.com has listings in many tiny TransAm towns, most of their motels have phone numbers listed but many aren't big enough to have a website, so you have to call for prices. They don't keep the website up to date either, but it's still helpful.

Suzanne
Yuma, AZ
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on October 19, 2011, 11:40:15 am
Thanks John, hopefully it won’t be much.  The best flight for my times and the best price is BA,  but they operate AA on some of the flights I will be doing to get over to the U.S.  Hopefully they will be ok, but will check their site and email them if necessary.

Fingers crossed I would like to alternate my nights half in motels/hotels etc and the other half of the trip doing wamshowers/couchsurfing.  This should save some money and yes it would be great if I can bunk up with someone and split the cost.

Hi again Yum’.  $75 average is not too bad, that’s about £50 a night which is my max really, so if they are cheaper in the East, then it should balance it out.  Found the blog, although your link was not working for some reason:

http://bicyclelife.topicwise.com/doc/?o=1r4vFZo&doc_id=9261&v=23A

and on there you list the costs and what the hotel was like etc?  (at work at the moment so a bit hard to look too much at the moment).  That’s cool, thanks again for all that info.  Got a good 7 months before the off, so plenty of time to research and plan for all eventualities. 
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Jambi on October 25, 2011, 05:01:51 pm
£1000 for a flight to and from the UK is a bit steep. Try STA Travel, they are the cheapest for sure. I got flights from Heathrow to San Francisco and then back from Williamsburg this summer for £490 - £700 if you include the cost of taking the bike. BA is probably a more enjoyable journey but it really depends on whether you think it is £300 better. I suppose flights to the start of the TransAm might be more expensive but you could ride the WE from San Francisco and join up with the TransAm in Pueblo. Either way it will be a good ride.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: indyfabz on October 26, 2011, 12:06:10 pm
, so if they are cheaper in the East

I don't know if I would count on that.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: staehpj1 on October 26, 2011, 06:19:13 pm
, so if they are cheaper in the East

I don't know if I would count on that.
Yeah, that has not been my experience.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on November 01, 2011, 08:12:15 am
Hi again, yes £1000 is a bit steep, but its the best price I can find from all the airlines.  I say best price, I don't want to be stuck in cattle class on the way home from the West Coast all the way back to London, so that is bumping up the price too.  I'm not sure how much the bike will cost to travel with me yet.

Regarding hotels, oh well, I guess I will just have to take a nice wod of cash with me and a few CC's lol
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: mucknort on November 17, 2011, 08:30:10 am
On the western half (Oregon coast to Pueblo, CO), I'd say motels averaged ~$75 including tax, but they'll be a bit cheaper on the eastern half.

Doing a modified NT last year, we found the opposite pricing. Motels in the East were $80+, in the West $40+. We found best way to find a cheap price was to check hotels.com and hotwire.com. Warmshowers is great, too.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on November 22, 2011, 06:24:31 am
ok thanks.  I've been reading this blog:

http://bicyclelife.topicwise.com/doc/?o=1r4vFZo&doc_id=9261&v=23A

and they listed the prices of their hotels, which doesnt seem too bad at all, some pretty cheap ones.  Not sure if the prices listed are per person or per room though.  yumadons, is it per room or per person the prices listed on your blog?  Thanks all. 
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: yumadons on November 22, 2011, 10:28:11 am
Per room

Suzanne
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on November 23, 2011, 07:01:00 am
thanks very much Suz'.  Some are very cheap indeed, $30-$40 a night wow!  impressed.  Being a member of Adventure Cycling too, i see you get 10% off Super8 too.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Mark Manley on November 24, 2011, 01:57:32 am
My tuppence worth on lightweight camping, I have a Terranova one man tent which weighs less than 1 kg, a ultralight Thermarest and a light sleeping bag should add about another kg and all take up 1 pannier with poles strapped under the top frame tube. It is reassuring to know you have something if other plans don't work out and need to camp.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on November 24, 2011, 06:36:01 am
Thanks Mark.  Wondering also if I should buy the camping gear out there instead of lugging it from the UK, cheaper?
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: John Nelson on November 24, 2011, 10:40:20 am
I would recommend not only buying your camping gear well in advance, but using it at least a few times before your trip too. You want to have time to carefully consider the options, wait for sales, and work out any kinks. Once you get on the TransAm, your options for replacing gear that isn't working for you will be limited. Travel is hassle enough without trying to incorporate a shopping trip into it. Presumably you won't buy heavy camping gear, so it won't be a big deal to bring it with you.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on November 24, 2011, 11:25:40 am
Well I am cheating by doing the TransAm Van with Adventure Cycling, so they cart all your gear for you, while you enjoy the ride.  So in that respect, weight is not that much of an issue.   I'm not much of a camper and have pretty much no idea how to put up a tent at the best of times, so getting it in advance thing is a good idea.  I do want to stay in hotels/motels/couchsurf/warmshowers etc as much as poss though.  Being limited to one bag on the airlines, what with my bike too, this is why I'm thinking of buying the camping gear in the US and just getting easiest tent to put together.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: John Nelson on November 24, 2011, 09:33:49 pm
I'm not sure I understand how ACA trips work exactly, but don't you sleep where everybody else sleeps?
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on November 25, 2011, 04:10:20 am
well you can camp with those who are camping, but there is the option, paid for by yourself, to stay in motels etc when its possible.  IE not when your stuck in the middle of nowhere.  Personally, after a long ride I like nothing more then a nice shower and comfy bed, not a cold hard windy campsite  :)
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Jambi on December 01, 2011, 09:19:30 am
If your working on a tight budget you can pick up quite a lot of stuff cheaply when you get there (headlamps, sleeping bag etc. I ended up buying my tent the day before my trip for 60 dollars (about 38 quid) and it served me well for the full summer.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: U2bike on December 22, 2011, 02:06:22 pm
Last year I participated in an 8 day tour with camping in Europe (www.tourforlife.nl (http://www.tourforlife.nl)) . Average distance each day was above 100 miles with serious climbing. Within our group one person also preferred to stay in hotels and he also had little to no experience in camping. Result was that at his first night of camping he was wrestling with his tent for about an hour because he hadn't practiced and during the nights he stayed in a hotel he had to carry a day pack with luggage up and down to the hotel from the camping site. Average distance was about 5 km single way. With shared meals and cooking you have to be prepared to spend quite some extra time on travelling back and forth between the hotel and the campsite. I've no experience with camping in the US but I would guess that the distances between campsite and hotel can be much bigger. By the way, I also subscribed to the 2012 van supported TransAm so we will meet somewhere in 2012.  :)
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Scottybhoy on December 27, 2011, 06:00:18 pm
Hi guys, Im planning on going East to West starting Yorktown on 20 April and taking approx 9 weeks to complete.
Does anyone know estimated temperature ranges? Im about to buy sleeping bag but not sure how cold ..... or warm it gets.
Let me know if I can expect to see you on the Transamerica cycle route (Central)
Cheers
Scottybhoy
East Lothian, Scotland
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: John Nelson on December 27, 2011, 06:13:47 pm
If you buy a +32 or +35 bag, you should be fine. You could even buy a +40 or +45 bag assuming you have a good insulated sleeping mat and are willing to wear extra clothes on the coldest nights. Also, you usually have options of where you sleep, so if you plan to sleep in lower elevations as much as possible, you can avoid a lot of cold. Although it might be cold on top of Hoosier or McKenzie Pass, you're not going to be sleeping there. The coldest weather you'll see will probably be in Colorado (Guffy, Fairplay, Frisco) or in Yellowstone.

Of course it depends on the year, and who knows what the weather next year will be. Typically, people have more problems with heat on the TA than cold, but you're starting a bit earlier and traveling a bit faster than most, so you have a good chance of avoiding a lot of the heat.

It also depends on how cold you sleep. The temperature rating of a sleeping bag is only a rough guide. If experience tells you that you get colder on camping trips than your companions, you'll want a warmer bag.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: misterflask on December 27, 2011, 07:24:15 pm
I was planning to ride the TA W-E starting around mid-august.  I planned to use lightweight gear that could sustain me down to about 30degF and my theory was that I should be over the Rockies before temperatures started to drop that far.  Then the edge should be off of temperatures across the plains and on the east coast.  Any flaws in my theory?

tnx
bcs
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: John Nelson on December 27, 2011, 07:39:59 pm
misterflask, it depends on how many days you are planning to take. If you are fairly average, you'll be over the Rockies by the end of September, and you should finish in the first half of November. So I think you'll be okay.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: misterflask on December 27, 2011, 09:44:39 pm
I was planning to average 500miles per week, which would put me on the east coast at the end of october, which I'm pretty comfortable with.  That's pretty much all the time I have available.  I can generally make 500 miles/wk touring, but a major mechanical mishap or a long stretch of miserable weather could sure ball things up.  Anybody have tales of woe or encouragement on ambitious schedules?
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: John Nelson on December 27, 2011, 10:58:30 pm
500 miles a week is probably above average, but not overly ambitious. Start with your gear in good shape and your body well trained, and you should have no problem (barring unusual weather). Getting in good mileage will be a bit more challenging as the days get shorter--I prefer to tour when the days are long. I know a lot of people feel rest days are necessary, but I have never found them very beneficial. I'd rather stay on the move. I think I'd get bored on a rest day unless there was something very compelling there.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: PeteJack on December 28, 2011, 11:53:46 am
Quote
I think I'd get bored on a rest day unless there was something very compelling there.

+1

Believe it. I made the mistake of taking a day off in Packwood WA when doing the Sierra-Cascade route. I was bored to distraction. There's absolutely nothing there, I couldn't even find anything to read. What I found to be better than a rest day is a short day, say 20-30 miles, I even had a day of just 12 miles! You can relax, have a late breakfast, see the museum or whatever and set off early to mid afternoon. This way you satisfy the urge to keep riding, there's no chance of stiffening up and the next day you're ready for that 70 miler.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Pat Lamb on December 28, 2011, 02:01:42 pm
Hi guys, Im planning on going East to West starting Yorktown on 20 April and taking approx 9 weeks to complete.
Does anyone know estimated temperature ranges? Im about to buy sleeping bag but not sure how cold ..... or warm it gets.

As John said, you can expect temperatures down to around freezing.  (Although we had a killing frost the first of May a few years ago!) 

Highs can exceed 100F.  After drinking a over a gallon per day for a week, and hiding out in air-conditioned libraries, restaurants, and grocery stores in the afternoons,  I found it hard to sleep when the temperature "dropped" to 85F after 11:00 p.m.  Motels made it possible to continue.

Of course, you'll have to wait until next summer to see what the weather is like then!
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: staehpj1 on December 28, 2011, 02:15:16 pm
Quote
I think I'd get bored on a rest day unless there was something very compelling there.

+1

Believe it. I made the mistake of taking a day off in Packwood WA when doing the Sierra-Cascade route. I was bored to distraction. There's absolutely nothing there, I couldn't even find anything to read. What I found to be better than a rest day is a short day, say 20-30 miles, I even had a day of just 12 miles! You can relax, have a late breakfast, see the museum or whatever and set off early to mid afternoon. This way you satisfy the urge to keep riding, there's no chance of stiffening up and the next day you're ready for that 70 miler.

+1 only I usually ride my half day in the morning and take the afternoon off.

I like to take easy days once in a while rather than rest days in most places.  I call them half days.  On the Trans America we only took one day off to go white water rafting and even on that day rode a few miles down the road to camp in a different location.  That said there are places worth stopping.  We actually stopped for the better part of a week in Yosemite Valley on the SC route.  On the Pacific Coast I found a day in Harris Beach State Park worth the stop.

Bottom line...If I need a rest I take a shorter day; if I really want to see or do something interesting that takes a day or longer I might stop for that.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: indyfabz on December 29, 2011, 10:49:52 am
Hi guys, Im planning on going East to West starting Yorktown on 20 April and taking approx 9 weeks to complete.
Does anyone know estimated temperature ranges? Im about to buy sleeping bag but not sure how cold ..... or warm it gets.
Let me know if I can expect to see you on the Transamerica cycle route (Central)
Cheers
Scottybhoy
East Lothian, Scotland

I would "err" on the side of extra warmth in case things are like last year. This summer I rode the portion of the TransAm between Missoula, MT and the east slope of Big Hole Pass (west of Dillon). Got down to slightly below 40 in Darby and Wisdom. That was June 29 & 30. Just outside of Missoula we ran into a Scott who had started from Yorktown at the beginning of May. He had to deal with snow and cold. While this guy had some nice weather out west, he also had to deal with snow in WY and MT in late May/early June:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=190494&v=6T
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: PeteJack on December 29, 2011, 11:07:59 am
Quote
+1 only I usually ride my half day in the morning and take the afternoon off.

That's probably a better way to do it but it is is nice to lie in bed sometimes....
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on January 04, 2012, 09:18:41 am
ok thanks for the info so far.  Hopefully the organised trip will have some great days off.  I see on the maps that we get kinda close to Little Big Horn and Devils Peak which would be great to see on a day off.  It's a bit of a shame the Civil War stuff is all at the beginning of the ride.

Hey "U2bike", sound good!  looks like you've done some routes around Europe already.  Have you got your flights sorted yet?  Not sure on how to get the bike out there yet.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: U2bike on January 06, 2012, 01:31:39 pm
I will fly out of Amsterdam to Washington with KLM (May 17) and return from Portland (also direct flight). In Washington I will rent a car and drive to the start and from the finish I plan to do the same. The bike will go with the same flights. Shipping it earlier is pretty expensive and I'm allowed to take extra luggage for free.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: John Nelson on January 06, 2012, 06:00:36 pm
I will fly out of Amsterdam to Washington with KLM (May 17) and return from Portland (also direct flight). In Washington I will rent a car and drive to the start and from the finish I plan to do the same. The bike will go with the same flights. Shipping it earlier is pretty expensive and I'm allowed to take extra luggage for free.
I'm not sure where you are finishing, but if you finish in Astoria, there is very nice bus service to Portland, and you can take light rail directly from the Portland bus station to the Portland airport. The light rail even has hooks for bicycles. It's all very easy.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Scottybhoy on January 08, 2012, 03:36:55 am
I will fly out of Amsterdam to Washington with KLM (May 17) and return from Portland (also direct flight). In Washington I will rent a car and drive to the start and from the finish I plan to do the same.
I am flying from the UK to either Washington DC or Atlanta. Which of these would you guys recommend in terms of ease in transporting to Yorktown?
1. Washington is closer and I could hire a car (as is U2bike) and all my stuff goes direct to Yorktown but need to drop off hire car somewhere.
2. Washington to Yorktown by cab. Could be expensive but gets me and my gear to Yorktown without any logistical hassles.
3. I could get an internal flight from Atlanta to Newport News (which looks a stones through from Yorktown) but may unnecessarily blow the budget.




I acknowledge Washington is closer but I can get a connecting flight from Atlanta to Newport News
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: U2bike on January 08, 2012, 05:25:19 am
I've chosen for Washington as it prevents any hassle with stop-overs and make the trip the most efficient also with respect to time. The car can easily be dropped off at a local Hertz or other major rental agency. Sharing is of course also an option if you fly on the same date. Other options closer by than Washington are Norfolk and Richmond. I didn't check the options.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: BikeFreak on January 08, 2012, 07:25:20 am
I will also arrive in Washington Dulles going West on the Transam. Like you, I had many thoughts on how to get to Yorktown. I checked on all types of airports in the vicinity, renting cars, greyhound busses, Amtrak etc. At the end I realized getting to Yorktown is way too complicated and I decided to discard all the above options. I decided on this option:

Leaving Washington Dulles I will ride my bike straight to Front Royal, VA (approx 60 mi), connect with the Skyline Drive (the extension of the Blue Ridge Parkway) and connect with the Transam in Waynesboro, VA.

Lucas
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: John Nelson on January 08, 2012, 02:09:55 pm
I flew into Newport News. Worked well.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Pat Lamb on January 08, 2012, 04:41:18 pm
I expect taking a cab from Washington (Dulles or Baltimore-Washington) would be far more expensive than a connecting flight from any transcontinental hub to Newport News.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: askmeaboutmybeard on January 08, 2012, 09:29:35 pm
WOW! What great information!

I am planning the ride this summer with my 13 year old son. We are planning east to west as well. We will be flying from Boise...what is the best way to get bikes, gear etc. to the start location? With a youngster along I have some added challenges and the transportation issue to Yorktown has me concerned.

Any suggestions for doing the ride with a 13 year old boy are most appreciated.

We will be leaving in late May and plan on being gone all of June, July and part of August. Having never done a cross country tour...I was wondering are there a lot of other cyclists on the route during this period?

Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on January 09, 2012, 06:36:46 am
Great! loads of help.  Glad to hear there is good transport connections on the West coast to Portland airport.  Flying into Richmond airport, but not sure what connections there are or where exactly we are starting lol
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: John Nelson on January 09, 2012, 09:43:56 am
what is the best way to get bikes, gear etc. to the start location?
There are a lot of options, and you really need to check them all out one by one to see which one works the best for you. Taking the bikes and gear on the flight with you may be the most convenient option, but (depending on airline) it is probably not the cheapest, nor likely the least risk of damage. Shipping the bikes via UPS or FedEx is a very common option--you can likely find a bike shop or other host in your destination town to ship to. Bus and rail sometimes offer reasonable bike shipping too. There's always a one-way car rental, which is convenient and economical if multiple bikes are involved, and you have the time. A bike shop can do a pack-and-ship for you as well.

Unless I can find a non-stop flight (i.e., fewer chances for the luggage handlers to damage your bike) on Frontier or Southwest (i.e., a luggage-friendly airline), I prefer the UPS/FedEx option. If by some strange chance, Amtrak had a direct train from where I was to where I was going, and both stops had baggage service, I would consider that too. But that's not often going to be an option. For the trip back home, the bike shop pack-and-ship option works best for me, since I don't have all the resources at a distant location that I have at home.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on January 09, 2012, 01:47:40 pm
Yep def taking bike on plane, BA, mainly so that I can train for longer.  Only problem with this, is that its not a direct flight.   If I post it over, I could loose a month training and not be able to cycle to work.  I've ordered a clear CTC cycle bag, which I will bubble-wrap to heck.  Thanks
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: PeteJack on January 09, 2012, 03:07:53 pm
I've had good luck with BA and a boxed up bike, from Seattle to the UK and back three times. I'm hoping to use them again this spring.

The baggage rules have changed: only one checked bag is allowed these days so I'm hoping to keep extra bag fees down by putting my paniers and bar bag in a big cheap (disposable) duffel bag so I only have one extra bag.

I've worked on baggage handling systems at my local airport (SEA) and they are brutal. It's not so much careless people but the devices known as 'diverters' that shove bags from one conveyor to another that really clobber bags. Also anything a bit loose and flapping like a plastic bike bag is just asking to get caught in conveyor rollers. I don't know how they handle bikes in bags, it would be a major hassle for them to not use the conveyor system. Because of this I think it safer to box a bike with plenty of pipe foam insulation. The only problem I have had was one time when the security people opened the box, they resealed it just fine, but managed to lose my front skewer which was in the bar bag. This video is very good http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2jCN2nVnNY (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2jCN2nVnNY)
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: mcmoonter on January 11, 2012, 04:34:24 pm
Scottybhoy, I rode the  TransAm in 2011  http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/8912

I'm over the Forth near Kirkcaldy. If you need any advice, email me or phone. My mobile is 07834  555 728.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: Scottybhoy on January 11, 2012, 05:43:56 pm
Hey MCMOONTER, as a fellow Scot sporting blue skin I'll definitely be in touch for your tips. I'm in East Lothian so I'll give you a shout when I'm going to be in the Kingdom. Cheers Scottybhoy
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on January 12, 2012, 12:20:55 pm
Great photos on the blog

what camera did you use?
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: mcmoonter on January 16, 2012, 05:49:20 pm
Quote
Great photos on the blog

what camera did you use?   

Thanks, just a cheap £100 Panasonic Lumix compact.
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: webm8 on January 17, 2012, 06:17:19 am
Really? Wow, loved the photos
Title: Re: TransAmerica 2012
Post by: merzperson on January 23, 2012, 02:05:48 am
...there's no lodging between Rawlins and Lander, if the reports of the Jeffrey City motel closing are true, and it's about 120 miles.  If you hit a bad headwind, like we did, you're going to be hurting.  I'd recommend you plan on two nights either side of that stretch to rest up before and after that ride.

I didn't read the entire thread, so if this has already been mentioned then please disregard. I rode the opposite direction (west to east), and stealth camped every night, but if you don't mind 'roughing it' for a night (it was a luxury for me) you can stay for free in the Sweetwater Station rest stop. There's drinking water, restrooms, picnic tables, etc. However this obviously isn't an option if you don't have a sleeping bag and aren't interested in camping, but I think it would be a shame to ride the TransAm without camping at least a couple times. The places I camped are some of the most memorable parts of my trip!

However you end up doing it I hope you have an amazing time and I wish you the best of luck!