Author Topic: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?  (Read 13202 times)

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Offline John Nelson

Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2022, 04:23:56 pm »
My big complaints on the TA are the extra 800 miles because it wanders all over the northwest, and the previous remark on Virginia.  Why do we have to go to Missoula, it's not bloody Mecca.  Why do we have to zigzag south then north then south to traverse Hells Canyon?

There are many, many, many, many places on the TransAm where you can cut off miles or hills. If you ask Google maps for a route from Yorktown to Astoria, it will tell you that it's only 3012 miles. Why would anybody want to ride the extra 1200 miles?

I understand that many people have time constraints, work or family or something else. They really don't have enough time to comfortably do 4215 miles. Those people have to make compromises, but they get to choose the compromises. Compromises, however, have costs, and you have to decide whether or not you accept those costs.

Ask yourself why you want to ride across the country. If it's to check a box, then make all the compromises you need to, and get it done. But if it's to have fun, then try not to make too many compromises. Maybe you'd prefer to choose a route that is shorter but doesn't go all the way across the country. Or maybe wait until you do have enough time. Or maybe you decide that your constraints can be bent.

In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, if you have enough time, stay on the route. Yes, it's harder and longer and hillier, but it will be more fun. The shortest route is to just stay on the couch.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2022, 05:07:50 pm »
... but one could just avoid the 22 mile there-and-back jaunt to Missoula and continue onward.   Of course, you would miss the free ice cream...
That just begs the question of how far WOULD one ride out of the way for free ice cream?  Is it typical commercial ice cream or "gourmet"?  If we are talking a triple scoop then maybe 22 miles but for just 1 scoop then maybe 5 miles.  After all, for me, 22 miles would be two hours of riding. However, I do love huckleberry ice cream which we can not get in my neck of the woods so then yeah, maybe 22 miles if it were huckleberry.  Now I am just going to be dreaming about huckleberry ice cream for a few days.  Thanks  :-\

Offline John Nelson

Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« Reply #32 on: August 30, 2022, 05:29:26 pm »
I would not ride very far for free ice cream, but there's more than free ice cream at the ACA headquarters. You can meet some of the staff that you previously only knew their names, you get your picture on the wall and the website, you might get your picture in the ACA magazine, you meet other touring cyclists. It's an iconic experience of the TransAm, just like sleeping in a teepee is an iconic experience of Route 66 and crossing Logan Pass is on the Northern Tier.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« Reply #33 on: August 31, 2022, 10:54:47 am »
Why do we have to go to Missoula, it's not bloody Mecca. 
You don't have to go to Missoula. It's a spur option. Heading east, you can simply continue on to Hamilton via the path along U.S. 93 when you reach Lolo.  I have started several loop tours from Missoula.  It's a nice town.  Outdoor street happenings during the summer.  And if you stay at the KOA there is an REI right around the corner if you need supplies (e.g., camp fuel) and/or bike work.  That's part of what makes it a good place to start a trip.  The KOA is 3 miles from the airport. I shipped the bike to REI for assembly.  Cab from the airport to the KOA.  Check in at the campground and walk around the corner to pick up the bike and buy fuel.  The folks at REI gladly held my bike box and gear bag during my trips.

Offline canalligators

Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2022, 09:03:03 pm »
As for the mileage, I considered going straight west from Jackson WY towards the coast.  I didn’t investigate this idea in detail, but there are options in that general idea.

I’m not sure about easier options, generally.  In the west, there is often only one road.  In the east, a lot of the roads taken avoided heavily trafficked routes, and with motor vehicle operators getting less tolerant and more distracted, I’m not sure I’d use the highways.  I think I’ll just tour in states with adequate paved shoulders.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2022, 10:26:12 pm »
The "classic" Missoula bypass (W>E) from John Day, OR, is Ontario > Emmett > Horseshoe Bend > Banks > Lowman > Stanley > Challis > Arco > Rexburg > Tetonia > Jackson.  I haven't read about too many people doing it lately, perhaps because the stretch between Horseshoe Bend and Lowman has really increased in traffic, i.e. from around 2.5k to 6.5k AADT without an increase in road width/shoulders. If one is willing to do dirt/gravel, then a very nice route is Cambridge > Indian Valley > Cascade > Warm Lake > Stanely > etc.

Tailwinds, John
 

Offline lkowalski

Re: What is Your Favorite Cross Country Route and Why?
« Reply #36 on: September 04, 2022, 07:03:46 pm »
We have been riding the TransAm in sections due to work/time constraints.  We also wanted to include Pittsburgh in our route because my partner is from there and I did some of my medical training there.  Additionally,  we favor paths away from traffic so the Eastern Express is a nice alternative East of Walden, CO.  So this year, after riding from Dillon, MT Eastward on the Classic TA, we veered off at Walden, CO and picked up the Eastern Express to Fort Collins.  Next year we will pick up there to continue Eastward.  The section from Walden to Fort Collins was great.  We climbed the Cameron Pass over the Rockies which was wonderful.  There's a small well stocked grocery store in Gould right before the main climb.  The descent along the Poudre River for approximately 60 miles was beautiful, with many nice campgrounds and resorts to stay at along the way.  The Poudre River bike path into Fort Collins was also a welcome respite from traffic.  Would highly recommend visiting the Me Oh My Pie along the 287B for homemade pie and excellent lunch options.  Fort Collins is a happening town with many great restaurants and services. 
The TA section riding through Yellowstone and Grand Teton was the highlight of the trip for us.  Yes there was traffic, but we started very early in the morning and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Wouldn't have missed it for anything!