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Messages - siden420

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Routes / Re: East to West TransAm to Southern Tier
« on: February 19, 2012, 01:36:08 pm »
I did this trip from Yorktown to San Diego in the summer of 2008.  Starting late in the year is a better idea than doing it in July and August when I went, so you're good there.  I too connected to the Southern Tier.  I took the TransAm from Yorktown to Owensboro, KY but then went off-route thru Sebree, Marion and Grand Rivers to hook back into the Trace and the Great Rivers Route.  One memorable road that I used was SR 295: beware of ticks!  Anyways, I took Great Rivers into the Underground Railroad Route, at Waverly, TN.  From there, I mostly went with UGRR, but did not use the UGRR between Waveryly and Parsons in Tennessee.   Instead, I took 70 West into 644/691 South and traded steep, poor condition two lane roads with no shoulders for well graded, perfect condition, four lane roads with a bike lane practically the entire way.  And it saved 11 miles to boot.  The next day I went off-route to Pickwick Landing which had the best motel of my entire trip, a Hampton Inn.  I then hooked up with the Great Rivers route at Tishomingo, MS and did almost all of the Mississippi mileage on-route on the Natchez Trace.  I promise you it will be some of the best mileage of your trip.  Instead of riding the Great Rivers route to its linkup point with the Southern Tier at St. Francisville, LA I was looking to 'cut the corner', meaning to go diagonally northeast to southwest as opposed to going due south, then due west.  My 'intel' told me that the roads I selected to make this savings of 135 miles were fine.  The idea was to link up to the Southern Tier in Deridder, LA by taking US 84 West across the Mississippi River (make the exception and use eastbound side; wider shoulder and safer), go thru Alexandria and then use SR28 and US171 to get to Deridder.  Once on the Southern Tier, I stayed on route almost entirely until Mountain Home, about 20 miles west of Kerrville where I used I-10 most of the way to El Paso for several reasons: I was told to avoid the Mexican border which can be violent, I-10 is in superior condition to the ST roads in this stretch, traffic is fairly light on I-10, there is good cellphone service on the Interstate in case of emergency, there are more motels to pick from and you are actually safer, protected in the breakdown lane by a rumble strip.  I chose a more direct route to San Diego by going off the ST in Glendale, AZ via 59th Street south to Buckeye Rd. into SR85 to Gila Bend.  Just make sure you have plenty of water once you get on SR85.  There's nothing in those 30 miles but Lewis Prison and no intersecting roads.  From Gila Bend, I took I-8 into Yuma.  Riding the Interstate is legal, by the way, in Texas and Arizona.  It is not legal in all sections in California and just west of the AZ border on I-8 is not one of them.  Unfortunately to connect back to the Southern Tier in El Centro, CA I had no choice but to ride the Evan Hewes Highway, one of the worst maintained roads out there!  The piece around Plaster City and Ocatillo has to be experienced to be believed.  There were tall plants growing in the road in some places!  Perhaps it has been resurfaced since I was there.  One can only hope.  This should give you a few options.  Good luck!

General Discussion / Re: Bike security when touring in the USA
« on: May 21, 2010, 11:37:40 pm »
I traveled cross country in 2008, did not take a lock, and was fine.  I didn't want the extra weight and there were only a handful of times where it would have afforded extra security.  Many places will accommodate bringing the bike in which is the best option.  If this is impossible, put it where you can keep an eye on it. If you are in a place where that still isn't good enough, remove the front wheel and bring it inside with you.  This will make the bike alot less attractive.  An easier target is your gear.  Always remove your wallet (I use a fanny pack stored in the handlebar bag which I always take with me) and in unsavory areas, remove easy targets like the bike computer and lights if that will ease your mind.  Or just bring your gear in with you too.  No approach is fool proof, but I found these methods to be effective.

Connecting ACA Routes / Crossing Ohio (east-west): US 224 or US 30??
« on: March 01, 2010, 03:00:57 pm »
As part of a cross-country bike trip in the summer of 2010, I will be crossing Ohio from east to west and looking to connect to the Northern Tier in Monroeville, IN.  I am picking from two options to cross Ohio: US 224 and US 30.  I would very much appreciate any feedback about the cycle worthiness of these two roads.

Routes / Re: Texas and Eastern 1/2 of Souther Tier in Summer?
« on: February 15, 2010, 12:07:37 am »
I did the Southern Tier across Texas into Kerrville in late July and the first part of August in 2008 going east-west when I was 59.  The biggest problem was West Texas (west of Junction - I departed from the Southern Tier and mainly used I-10 from Junction to El Paso) but it seems you will avoid this section.  You will encounter higher humidity in east Texas but at 49, you should have no problem.  Just slow up when you're feeling the strain.

Urban Cycling / Re: top bicycle-friendly cities and towns
« on: February 12, 2010, 04:28:12 pm »
Consideration must be given to Damascus, VA on the TransAmerica trail.  It's a town of about 1,000 people with 4 bike shops, all of which were open at 8.  Locals were very friendly to cyclists as well.

Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Connecting Natchez, MS to Southern Tier
« on: February 11, 2010, 07:14:23 pm »
In riding cross country in the summer of 2008, I was faced with this situation.  I decided to take a more direct route from Natchez, MS to Deridder, LA to make the connection from the Great Rivers South to the Southern Tier, instead of proceeding south to St. Francisville.  "Cutting the corner" in this way saved 135 miles!
I found this route safe, with reasonable traffic and, with the exception of about 3 miles south of Leesville on US 171 (which may since have been repaved), well-paved.
1) Cross the bridge from Natchez to Vidalia on the eastbound span.  I was told that despite it being against traffic, it has a substantially wider shoulder, so it is the safer side.  I was fine on it.
2) Take US 84 West to just past Archie into SR 28 West into Alexandria
3) Ride 50 miles more on SR 28 West into Leesburg.  Be careful to have enough water and food in this stretch - once you get west of Alexandria, there is almost nothing until Leesville, which is where you pick up US 171 South for 21 miles into Deridder.  This will intersect US 190 West on the Southern Tier.

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