Author Topic: Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM  (Read 5968 times)

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Offline xairforcepj

Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM
« on: September 17, 2013, 06:19:47 pm »
I've never done a cross-country tour, but I'm considering this trip for Sept. 2014.  This will be one-way East to West and I will be travelling as light as possible with minimal gear for some overnight camping, but mainly motels.  My goal is to find as direct a route as possible with relatively safe roads.  I'm concerned about how much of a headwind from the west could really reduce my average speed, and about the distances between facilities in the open areas of OK, TX & NM.  Any advice or comments would be appreciated. 

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 10:35:01 pm »
As to the headwinds and speed, several people commented their average touring speed was about 10 mph.  I was sure I could beat that until I got out there.  Between hills and headwinds, I rarely average much above ...  10 mph.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 11:47:35 pm »
The headwind from the west will slow you down exactly as much as the tailwinds from the east speed you up. On a long tour almost anywhere and in any direction, you will get the same amount of headwinds as tailwinds. Of course, you will remember every headwind until the day you die and you won't notice the tailwinds even when they are occurring.

Offline jamawani

Re: Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2013, 12:28:57 am »
I beg to differ.
I have ridden from northern New Mexico to the Hickman Ferry.
I had some of the most incredible tailwinds day after day.
And it was October.

YMMV, but "prevailing" winds are westerly.
So you are likely to encounter some serious headwinds.
If this is to be your first tour, it may be a tough slog.
Which will color your perception of bicycle touring.

Does the trip have to be east to west?
How are you getting back?
What about flying out there and riding back??
Or there's Amtrak from Fulton, KY (no baggage service)
Or Carbondale, IL (baggage and/or bikes on board)
Connect in Chicago to Albuquerque

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 09:25:55 am »
I've posted the wind rose link before. also can give you an easy-to-read summary.

Study either carefully, and you'll discover that for most of the Plains, most of the year, most of the wind is out of the S or N.  Traveling E-W, it just feels like a headwind (

As to finding a route, you can generally ride a "big" road way out in the country, and you'll want a "small" road nearer bigger towns and cities.  So, if you're miles from the nearest small town, a U.S. highway or even interstate may be reasonable.  As you get closer to a town (say 20,000 or so population), you'll find state roads are often a better choice, while a county road may be your best bet in the suburbs.  Except in suburbs or near a mall, an old U.S. highway closely paralleled by a new interstate is a good bet.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 09:28:41 am by pdlamb »

Offline CMajernik

Re: Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 10:28:18 am »
To go directly as possible you can contact the state bike/pedestrian coordinators for the states you plan to go through. Some of these states publish state bike maps that may help you plan your route.
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline jamawani

Re: Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 11:03:58 am »
I've lived in Kansas and Wyoming and have biked the Great Plains from the Dakotas to Texas.

While what some others here have said about winds in generally true, it lacks in the specifics.  First, yes, winds in the Plains are generally either northerly or southerly, but they do vary by season and location.  Second, winds are lighter in the eastern plains - where there is a bit more tree cover - and stronger the further west you go - where trees become exceedingly rare.  Third, southerly winds predominate in the summer with a switchover to northerly during the fall.  Fourth, winds are slightly southeasterly in the eastern plains but become more pronounced southwesterly in the western plains.

If you want to check out wind roses, the most appropriate for your proposed trip are those from Amarillo, TX and Dodge City, KS.  Or course, these are only two stations - - winds vary, even in the Plains, according to local topography.  Note that Amarillo has a clear southwesterly vector in Sept, Oct & Nov.  The westerly component comes a bit later in Dodge City.

Having also driven frequently between Wyoming and northern New Mexico, I can attest that frequent, strong southwesterly winds are common in the stretch of I-25 between Santa Fe and Raton.  In dozens of trips, I can easily remember either bucking the wind southbound or sailing on it northbound - - driving - - in all seasons.  I would have hated life on a bicycle heading southwest.

Now, I am just one person, but I believe that if you were to ask people living in the High Plains - such as in Clayton, NM or Guymon, OK or La Junta, CO or Pampa, TX - you would find general agreement on southwesterly winds.

In sum, in the part of your proposed trip with the strongest winds and least cover, in the autumn the prevailing direction is southwesterly.  YMMV.

Offline jamawani

Re: Route from MS river (Hickman, KY -Ferry) to Albuquerque, NM
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 11:20:00 am »
Just so happens that today's winds illustrate the above.
Granted that on any one day they can vary considerably.
But it is interesting that - right now - winds are almost exactly as stated.

Streaming wind map site -

PS - Plus there is the basic diurnal trend of an easterly component in the predawn and early morning due to heating from sunrise to the east and a westerly component in the afternoon and evening during to heating.  Thus, a region with overall prevailing southerlies will still tend to have southwesterlies during much of the day - especially the afternoon -  and southeasterly at night and very early morning.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 12:44:02 pm by jamawani »