Author Topic: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica  (Read 2928 times)

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Offline slemdog

Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« on: July 17, 2017, 03:06:38 pm »
Hi All,

The plan as of right now is to start heading West, September 1st. I would love to use the ACA routes from NYC to Chicago (reversed) and then Bicycle Route 66.

My hope is to finish the first leg and arrive in Chicago by September 20th at the very latest. Seems reasonable enough.

My major concern though is whether this would be too late to start the Bicycle Route 66. If I kept the same pace, I'd hope to finish this leg by late October.

Here are the concerns. Don't mind heat at all. But, not really trying to contend with heavy snowfall. Weather is unpredictable, I know, and I'd make do with what happens. Just curious if anyone has knowledge of Route 66 this time of year.

TL;DR: is mid September too late to start bicycle Route 66 with regards to snowfall? any additional advice on my general westward approach is much appreciated!

Offline John Nelson

Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 03:25:48 pm »
I finished Route 66 in late September in Santa Monica. I think a late October finish would be fine, weather-wise. The California desert was still hot as blazes in September, so I think it would be better in October. The only reason I finished in September was to avoid the shorter days of October, since I really like long days to ride.

I would check the historical weather for the places you'll be on the days you'll be there. I always do this before a trip. I like weatherspark. I'm guessing that Flagstaff will be your coldest spot. The average low is about freezing for when you'll be there, but the average high is still a pleasant 60 degrees F.

https://weatherspark.com/m/2636/10/Average-Weather-in-October-in-Flagstaff-Arizona-United-States

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 04:47:08 pm »
Are you planning on doing high mileage?  Touring across the country in 6 weeks is pretty aggressive.  Definitely riding across is doable but it would need to be fairly high mileage with few or no rest days.  Remember, the daylight is less than in the summer so unless you are able to ride sunup to sundown, it could be tough.

Not trying to be negative, just give you some things to ponder.  Best, John

Offline jamawani

Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 05:10:02 pm »
3660 miles (BR66 + CHI/NYC) in 60 days means 61 miles per day.
With no days off for visiting, repairs, illness, and - most importantly - weather.
Let's say you have 1/2 day for each  of the first three and 1 /2 days for weather.
Which is closer to 64 miles per day - doable - but remember endpoints are not evenly spaced.
You will need to do a few days with more than 75 miles - esp. in the West.

In addition, you calculate a straight mileage average even though days get much shorter in October.
I have found during fall tours that daily mileage drops moderately by early October.
My first X-USA ride was in 1987 - Astoria to Cape Hatteras - 70 days with days off here and there.
Started Sept 1 as you plan - finished November 10 - diagonal, but west to east.
Had all of the above delays, including light snow in Nebraska.

You may encounter a few light to moderate snows in NM and AZ - esp. around Flagstaff.
I strongly recommend using Hwy 264 from Gallup to Tuba City if you want to visit the Grand Canyon.
WARNING - Westbound from Amarillo to Barstow you should expect to encounter headwinds.
Prevailing wind direction in fall in the Southwest is SSW with increasing intensity in the afternoon.
You cannot beat headwinds - they will beat you. Start super early and call it quits early.

It's possible to do this in 60 days, but tight with little leeway. I'd allocate 70 days.

PS - There are much shorter options than the ACA Chicago-New York route.
       There are better routes than BR66 - much of which is either right next to or on interstates.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 05:17:17 pm »
Guess I misread the time.  I thought 6 weeks but see it is 8 weeks.  Still, as you can see by the post above, not easy.  John

Offline John Nelson

Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 05:20:30 pm »
I loved BR66. The interstate wasn't that much of a problem. Not that much of it is close enough for it to be bothersome.

61 miles a day is doable. A bit more of a challenge as the days get shorter, but still doable.


Offline slemdog

Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 09:43:49 pm »
Hey y'all, just wanted to say a major thanks for all of the advice and input. The 2 month deadline is informal and I'll just take the time it has to take! But it's amazing to have more realistic expectations about what I'll be running into and what the intensity will have to be. Many thanks again! Feel free to leave more input or stories about similar rides!

Offline slemdog

Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 09:47:02 pm »
also @jamawani, thanks for the heads up about both routes. I'll take a look at other options.

I am hoping to go through the general covered by these two routes, but if there are better specific routes, I'd love to hear about them! Will also do my own research.

Offline jamawani

Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2017, 11:10:06 pm »
SD -

There are three superb sections of Historic Route 66 that should not be missed.
Westbound, they are:
1. The Peach Springs Loop - from Ash Fork, AZ to Kingman, AZ
2. Sitgreaves Pass & Oatman - from Kingman, AZ to Needles, CA
3. The Mojave Desert - from US 95 to Ludlow, CA
The last segment is profoundly remote, hot, and without water stops.
(Goffs Museum, Fenner Store - $$$, Amboy if anyone there)

You can continue west via the BR66 maps thru metro L.A.
Or you can go via Antelope Valley and Santa Clara River to the Pacific at Ventura. (Less urban)

<<<>>>

Further east ...

<<<>>>

The question is -
"Do you want to follow the exact route of US 66 or experience the wide-open Southwest as early motorists did?"
BTW - US 66 had many different alignments over the years of its existence. Much of US 66 is under I-40, now.

In eastern AZ and NM, BR66 is often chockablock against I-40. Plus you are distant from the Grand Canyon.
I know Santa Fe and Albuquerque well - my sister has lived there for 25 years and have biked a lot of the area.
I like to joke that the NM state mineral is broken glass - plus traffic is majorly intense.

By weaving your way among the towns on Roue 66, you can experience the roadside kitsch -
for example, Gallup, with its fabulous El Rancho Hotel and all the Navajo shops -
but then swing away and have much quieter and more scenic riding, too.

1. For eastern Arizona, from Gallup I would suggest:
Take AZ 118/Old Route 66 west to NM border and frontage roads to
IR 12 north to Window Rock, then AZ 264 all the way to Tuba City.
Window Rock is the admin center of the Navajo Rez.
You will also be traversing Hopi lands - photography highly restricted, please.
You can tour one of the ancient Hopi villages - esp. Walpi. Camping at Second Mesa.
From Tuba, continue on US 160, US 89 (busy), and AZ 64 to the Grand Canyon.
AZ 64 reconnects with BR66 at Williams - there are some dirt options to Ash Fork.

2. In New Mexico I might suggest a few alternatives.
Tucumcari is a must - filled with Route 66 motels, gas stations, cafes.
But I would take NM 104 to Las Vegas rather than follow I-40 and US 84.
NM 104 has almost zero traffic and is remote - but is seriously fine riding.

Then the choice is whether to do Santa Fe or Taos.
The Santa Fe option will put you on service roads most of the time.
Taos is what Santa Fe was 75 years ago -
Plus you have the Taos Pueblo and San Francisco de Asis church.
The square, bike shops, laid back.

For Taos, take NM 518 north over the Sangre de Cristos - be aware of weather.
Then you can ride west on US 64 over the Rio Grande Gorge bridge - super high.
I would then work my way down via Abiquiu, Gallina, and Cuba towards Gallup.
If you can do dirt - this option gets close to Chaco Canyon -the preeminent ancient ruins.
Mid-October is the perfect time to visit, too. It. Is. So. Worth. It.

Pic - Abiquiu Plaza Church



« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 11:11:53 pm by jamawani »

Offline slemdog

Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 12:00:12 am »
This is all amazing. Again, have to say a major thank you for taking the time. And the church looks beautiful. Looking forward to creating my own route with all this!

Offline jamawani

Re: Advice on route from NYC to Santa Monica
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2017, 01:36:31 pm »
PS -

Hey, SD -

You don't give us much info on you.
Various parameters like age, overall fitness, and cycling experience are not rigid measures -
But the do have relevance as to how far and how fast you can go - plus routes that might be too difficult.
Also money. Yes, you can do it on the cheap, but the later it is in the year, the more a motel comes in handy.

J