Author Topic: Newbie Advice / Western Express  (Read 4018 times)

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Offline scottskaja

Newbie Advice / Western Express
« on: August 27, 2012, 07:05:25 am »
Good Morning Riders,

I will be riding the Western Express, SF to Bryce Canyon, starting mid-September. This will also be my first solo/unsupported ride, so I currently have a healthy nervousness about my upcoming adventure. I have opted for hotels each night, for which I have made reservations. I will be averaging 75 miles/day. I've done several rides in the Rockies, so the climbs don't intimidate me too much. I have many questions, but the few that come to mind are:

Is there cell service from Fallon to Cedar City?
What is the shoulder situation on Lonely Highway 50?
Are drivers cordial on Highway 50?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated on the route and general solo touring.


Offline rabbitoh

Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 06:55:28 pm »
G'day Scott,

I recently rode the Western Express (Cedar City to San Francisco).

I wasn't carrying a cell phone so can't advise about cell service.

The shoulders on US50 are variable and many sections have rumble strips, although there are some sections that don't. The worst sections are the sections from the Lahontan Reservoir to Fallon (approx 20 miles) and then from Fallon to Sand Mountain (approx 20 miles). The shoulders on both these sections are all but unridable, and there was a large volume of heavy traffic along this section (between Sand Mountain and Fallon) when I rode it. Try to avoid the Fallon to Sand Mountain section on week-ends or public holidays.

Elsewhere, it is possible to ride to the inside of the rumble strips, along those sections which do have them. You will find a lovely, long flat section of newly surfaced road on the way into Eureka.

The grades of the climbs are not overly difficult, however, the wind is the greater factor.

In the main, I found the traffic along US50 to be very courteous and gave me as much room as possible.

I see that you have made reservations for your accommodation, which is a good idea. Motel accommodation can be a bit tricky otherwise.

It is magnificent country to ride through. Very challenging but equally very rewarding.

Hope this helps. Have a great ride.
Good Cycling

Offline irc

Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2012, 08:35:47 pm »
Most of the drivers on 50 are good. Use a mirror though. I had to ride off the road west of  Middlegate to avoid being hit by an overtaking RV which failed to slow down when oncoming traffic prevented it moving out.  This was a section with no shoulder.

Offline cgarch

Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2012, 11:27:57 am »
If you would like to 'see' what current road conditions are, take a look at this journal (June 2012) on CGOAB.


Offline scottskaja

Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2012, 08:31:49 am »

Thanks for the replies, this is very helpful and comforting.


Offline Bclayden

Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2012, 09:57:04 pm »
Hello Scott.

I agree with what has been posted. 

To add:  I rode the WE route solo from Sacramento to Baker, NV a couple of months ago...then went on to SLC.   Most of the traffic gives ample room as they pass...and most of them wave to you.  You might get tired of waving back...I did.  The good news is you can see them and sometimes hear them coming for miles.  The only problem I encountered was when 2 opposite direction trucks or RVs ( the worst) happened to meet at the same spot I was.  In this case they stay in their lane and leave little room for you.  Cars are OK but trucks and RVs generate a substantial wake and the blast of wind, particularly when there is a crosswind blowing from your left, is mighty.  This is where a mirror is very helpful to anticipate the "perfect storm" scenario and pull off the road to let the trucks pass.  Happened to me several times on the way to Salt Lake City and once I figured this out I learned to relax a lot more.

As others have said the shoulder on US 50 is for the most part good.  The comment about Carson City to Sand Mountain is accurate.  The shoulder and rumble strip configuration changes from county to county.  Some better than others. 

Biggest surprise?  The "Loneliest Road" really isn't very lonely any more. I began riding each day at sunrise and had the road to myself for the first couple of hours but once the day got cranked up had a car/truck/RV go by me about every 5 or 10 minutes.

My favorite bit? Between Austin, NV and Middlegate is route 722...the old highway.  Spent 5 hours on this road and counted 3 cars.  A beautiful ride.

Caution: no bike shops along US 50 in NV until you hit Carson City. 

I believe there was a 3 day stretch between about Fallon and Ely without cell phone service.

If you haven't already try searching this forum for other WE discussions. I found a lot of good stuff here before my ride specific to this route.

An excellent ride and great adventure. You will enjoy.  If you would like to see the daily blog I wrote during this ride contact me at and I will forward the link to you.


« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 10:06:43 pm by Bclayden »

Offline scottskaja

Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 06:12:17 pm »
Thanks a lot you guys. Myself (and my wife who will be at home) appreciate the info.

I've been looking at packing lists and some suggest animal spray. Do you feel it's necessary on this portion of the WE?

Offline Bclayden

Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2012, 12:19:18 am »
There is little in the way of mammals on this route...certainly nothing threatening.  You will see deer, bunnies and ground squirrels..that's about all I saw.  Most of the reptiles you encounter will be flattened on the road. Lots of birds about though.  The only spray you might need is bug spray and even that will probably not be used in the Basin and Range.

Offline scottskaja

Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2012, 02:15:07 pm »
what do you guys carry in terms of first aid?

Online John Nelson

Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2012, 03:03:13 pm »
I carry very little, a few band-aids in various sizes and some antiseptic wipes.

Offline Bclayden

Re: Newbie Advice / Western Express
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2012, 04:04:26 pm »
Sunscreen and ChapStick is all I carry...oh, and bandage tape in case there is a blister.  Not even sure if that qualifies as First Aid.  There is a store along the WE route at least once per day so you can provision as needed.  Beware of Sundays in Utah though.  Many stores..even some gas stations..are closed