Author Topic: Starting Trans America West to East in July ... ?  (Read 3752 times)

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Offline reboe1

Starting Trans America West to East in July ... ?
« on: March 26, 2014, 08:51:15 am »
West East starting in July????

Being a newbie with cycling in the USA (I live in Germany and have done lots of tours over here  :), I am in the planning phase for my  big adventure on the Trans America ACA tour in 2015. However, I won't be able to start from Seattle before the first week of July and I'm wondering, whether this is feasible. I'm planning to take three months to eventually reach the Atlantic and then Washington DC.
My question is: How are my chances with the weather if I reach the East Coast  end of September, beginning of October?
I assume the East West direction won't be any better because I might reach and cross the Rockies too late ... I'd be thankful for any observations  ....

thanks
René Boehme

 

Offline jamawani

Re: Starting Trans America West to East in July ... ?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2014, 09:39:22 am »
Starting from Seattle in early July is fine. Most people need no longer than 12 weeks, max. September in the east is pleasantly warm. If you are starting in Seattle - may I suggest Northern Tier to Glacier, then Glacier to Yellowstone, then TransAm?

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Starting Trans America West to East in July ... ?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2014, 09:48:20 am »
Four years out of five, September and early October are some of the best months out of the year to ride in the east.  The fifth year, a hurricane will either hit the east coast (Virginia) or blow up from the Gulf and rain all over Kentucky.  I'd go for it.  Youi might even want to drag it out another week or two and see if you can catch the autumn colors in the eastern mountains.

I'd suggest planning for a financial reserve, enough to let you ride out 3-4 days while holed up in a motel, in case rains or storms stop you.  You don't want to be camping when tornados were in the area.  Likewise, it'd be safer to wait out possible floods than to risk drowning.  Luckily, most of these will pass in a day or two, and things will settle down.

Offline reboe1

Re: Starting Trans America West to East in July ... ?
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2014, 10:50:14 am »
Thanks for the quick responses! Both answers are encouraging - and since I am thinking about seeing someone near Cleveland anyhow, I might  take jamawani's hint on the Northern Tier and just stick to it ;) and then go south to DC after Cleveland. I'll have a visa for more than the usual 90 days and will have enough time.
So I'll just order a new set of maps from Missoula  :D
René
 

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Starting Trans America West to East in July ... ?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2014, 10:50:50 am »
Four years out of five, September and early October are some of the best months out of the year to ride in the east.

+1. The oppressive heat and humidity are likely to be gone by mid-September. Should there be a hurricane, it can often be nice shortly thereafter. In '99 I was coming down the east coast got stuck outside of Port Jervis, NY by hurricane Floyd. Had to take refuge in a motel. The next day was absolutely gorgeous. One problem with big storms is that they can cause road and facility closures. After Floyd, I rode through the Delaware Water Gap. I had to slide my bike under two downed trees and wade across a stream that had come over its banks into the road. When I finally made it to my planned camping spot at a state park, I found it was closed due to flooding.
 

Offline jamawani

Re: Starting Trans America West to East in July ... ?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2014, 02:24:34 pm »
Fabz is right about the day after the hurricane - the sky is usually solid blue - often for a week.
August across Kansas on the TransAm is pretty darn brutal.
I'm from Wyoming, but did grad work in Kansas - dreaded returning in mid-August.

If you are comfortable outside the lines (i.e. ACA maps) would you consider S. Dak rather then N. Dak?
From Glacier you can head south roughly on US 89 to Yellowstone (or take a longer ACA route).
Then you can ride via the Bighorn Mtns, Devils Tower, and the Black Hills eastwards.
Hwy 12 in northern Nebraska in the Niobrara country is lovely and empty.
Iowa offers all sorts of cycling options and is bike friendly.
You can pick up the NT again in Muscatine. Then head to Cleveland.

A July departure via Glacier and Cleveland to DC will give you very nice weather throughout.

The reason I say this is that the NT has lots and lots and lots of plains after Glacier.
Heading to Yellowstone and then via S Dak gives you way more variety.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Starting Trans America West to East in July ... ?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2014, 02:56:12 pm »
That time and direction of travel should be fine, maybe almost optimum.  You will have some hot weather, but that is hard to avoid.  Have a great trip.

Offline reboe1

Re: Starting Trans America West to East in July ... ?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2014, 05:58:56 pm »


If you are comfortable outside the lines (i.e. ACA maps) would you consider S. Dak rather then N. Dak?
...
The reason I say this is that the NT has lots and lots and lots of plains after Glacier.
Heading to Yellowstone and then via S Dak gives you way more variety.

Now I see your point and I'll have a good look at the maps. Of course I won't give up the relative "security" of the ACA maps without a good reason. But thanks for the advice!