Author Topic: Lengthy bike tour next year with dog  (Read 3575 times)

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Offline FlashWrogan

Lengthy bike tour next year with dog
« on: May 28, 2015, 12:01:07 am »
I am planning on doing a 9-12 month tour next year with my 10 lb dog on the back of my bike. I am starting in the Portland, OR area and have destinations in CA, AZ, TX, NY, and KY (and possibly WA). I have a tentative route and departure date, but I would love some input on revisions or alternate routes.

I plan to leave from Portland  in January (this is flexible, I am trying to time things based on weather overall) and heading south on the Pacific coast route to San Diego. I had considered taking the Sierra Cascade route, but the mountain passes would be a problem in the winter, whereas on the coast I would only have rains and flooding.

I would plan to leave on the southern tier March and probably go all the way to the Atlantic in March and April. From there I would head north on the Atlantic coast route to NY. I would either go back down the coast or take an alternate route to connect to the transam by the beginning of July, with the plan to hit the west coast by the end of September.

I am essentially planning two months for each coast, two months for the southern tier, and three months for the transam. I planned much of my timing around the ST, as I figured avoiding that heat would be priority. In trade I will hit crappy weather on the west coast and a lot of heat on the TA.

Any suggested revisions or alternative routes or times?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Lengthy bike tour next year with dog
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2015, 12:16:38 am »
Everybody is different, but I find that I tolerate heat pretty well, especially on a bike where you have a constant breeze. So I would rather try to avoid rain and wind than try to avoid heat.

Your allowed times are generous.

Offline JasmineReeseII

Re: Lengthy bike tour next year with dog
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2015, 09:29:29 am »
Kudos on taking your doggy.
Fiji and Jasmine Bike Across America = FiJaBAM

Offline ducksfan

Re: Lengthy bike tour next year with dog
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2015, 10:09:19 pm »
Too bad you couldn't take a car to So Cal to start, store it and take it back home at the end.

Southern Tier in the late winter, Atlantic Coast (or East Coast Greenway) in the spring, TransAm or Northern Tier in the summer, then down the Pacific Coast Bike Trail in the early fall. This is the ride I would want to do.

Offline FlashWrogan

Re: Lengthy bike tour next year with dog
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2015, 02:29:00 am »
While your suggestion of driving down to California first is tempting, there is something poetic about starting and ending at my front door. I think I should really only have to deal with about of month of bad weather, and I may get lucky and get through the Oregon coast during a dry(ish) spell.

I have a question about maps. I was looking at which ACA maps I would need for the entire trip, and the price tag came to $300 with membership prices. Is it just me, or does that seem awfully expensive (roughly $30 per month in maps)? Are there places (like on the Pacific Coast or out in the Arizona desert) where the route is fairly simply and I can make my own way? Is there much of a market to buy last years maps to cut my costs? It seems like the biggest risk of making my own route is that I would be more likely to have to deal with more traffic.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Lengthy bike tour next year with dog
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2015, 06:42:08 am »
I have a question about maps. I was looking at which ACA maps I would need for the entire trip, and the price tag came to $300 with membership prices. Is it just me, or does that seem awfully expensive (roughly $30 per month in maps)? Are there places (like on the Pacific Coast or out in the Arizona desert) where the route is fairly simply and I can make my own way? Is there much of a market to buy last years maps to cut my costs?

My suggestion is to start your trip using the free Oregon Coast Bike Route.  It is a very nice map, and in some ways actually nicer than the ACA ones.  It has less info on services available than the ACA maps, but that is less important on the coast than some places.

You can probably get by pretty well on the California coast with just a state map or maybe your smart phone for in town navigating.  Then I suggest buying some of the Southern Tier Maps and seeing what you think of them before buying all the maps for the trip.

I have usually found that the ACA maps have saved me more money than they have cost by listing a lot of services that I might not have known about otherwise, like free places to stay.  I suspect that is most true on well established ACA routes like the TA, NT, and ST.  I actually have found them to be a good value when they go places that I want to go.

If all you are after in the route itself, you can download the GPS data for the routes from AC, for free but the maps usefulness is really all the other info on them.  I really think that doing a few weeks using them on the ST portion of the trip will give you the best feel for whether the maps are for you.

BTW you mention the Arizona desert as a possible place to skip the maps.  I think you may find that the desert is the sort of place where knowing where all the services are is most important.  Info like which if any of the three tiny dots in the next 80 miles on the the state map have food or water available is one of the things the AC maps are most useful for.


Offline FlashWrogan

Re: Lengthy bike tour next year with dog
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2015, 12:06:39 am »
Thanks for the suggestion! I ended up just buying the Oregon coast one, but that was mostly due to the fact that a group of us are doing that section this summer. It will come in handy next year! I will take your advice otherwise and explore the California coast without the ACA maps and see how things go.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Lengthy bike tour next year with dog
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2015, 12:11:12 am »
I rode down the coast with another guy last year. I had the ACA maps. He did not. He missed all the best places to ride in Northern California. Don't just stay on 101!! The really cool places, like Trinidad Scenic Drive, are hard to find without help.