Author Topic: Route across North America  (Read 2325 times)

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Offline Trek520

Route across North America
« on: January 20, 2018, 07:21:04 am »
Hi all,

I am looking for suggestions for a possible route across North America starting on the 1st of March.

I am wondering if New York to Chicago and down route 66 to LA might be possible?

I have cycled the Southern Tier already and would prefer to try another route, although I am open to recycling the western section.

I know weather is an issue so any recommendations would be greatly welcome.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Route across North America
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2018, 08:42:38 am »
Since your request is so out of the ordinary, please provide as much specific info about yourself as possible, i.e. is this hotel only, camping only, cooking/eating out, miles per day you ride, any time constraints (must be done by X date), what kind of gear & bike you have, etc. 

However, without that info, I will say that most routes (with detours due to winter closed passes) are possible if you are willing to get hotels when needed (12" of snow on an ordinary tent will collapse the tent and break the poles most likely), sometimes staying at same hotel for days at time as you wait for the roads/pass to clear.  You would also need to have the appropriate riding clothes for cold, wet weather, and if camping, have true 4-season camping gear based on the coldest areas you expect to encounter.  Expect to go slow overall due to increased time off the bike waiting out storms, etc.  Obviously, you will be cold.  A lot of services will be closed, especially out west.

Suggest you check out WeatherSpark.com for weather averages anywhere in the world.  Remember, to look carefully at the temperature bands (normal, extreme, etc.) and precipitation info.  Riding in 35*F wet weather would not be fun to me.  Doable, yes.  Enjoyable, no. Why ride if you are not enjoying it if you do not have to.

Honestly, I would suggest you go to S. America (or at least Mexico). They have some beautiful routes there and other than the cost getting to/from S. America, it is relatively inexpensive.  Another option is to head slowly north from Key West towards Bar Harbor, ME, then into Canada to the NE if you want to "cross the country".  The final option I would suggest is to go from Key West counter-clockwise along the Gulf Coast to Brownsville, TX.  Definitely more traffic between Panama City, FL, to around Corpus Christi, TX, (rest can have fairly quiet back roads) but also a lot warmer and more services.

Best, John

Offline Trek520

Re: Route across North America
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2018, 09:43:04 am »
The only issues I would have with South America would be the travel warnings about safety issues there, especially Mexico.

I was initially interested in cycling from Vancouver down the Pacific Coast route, crossing the border at Tijuana, down along the Baja peninsula, getting the ferry to mainland Mexico and cycling to Mexico city, but to be honest, I am VERY wary about mainland Mexico.

I also don't know any Spanish.

Offline John Nettles

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  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: Route across North America
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2018, 10:15:19 am »
I would actually be more worried about the Tiajuana to Baja Sur border along Highway 1 than the mainland.  Yes, I would avoid talk of drugs, immigration/law/legal,politics, etc. in smaller areas, especially up in northern departments (states) along the border.  If asked, say something like "I really don't care about those issues" or some other laid-back attitude but I have very rarely been asked.

Highway 5 (enter at Mexicali) is much more quiet and very remote in places and does have a long stretch (about 30 miles) that is rough road and/or sandy.  However, that was a few years ago and the road is/was being paved so it may be finished by now.  Read a bunch of journals over on CrazyGuyonaBike and see what it shows and if it is for you.  You can also ask the journal author questions via their guestbook page for more specifics/clarity.

I personally feel safe in central mainland Mexico than the coastal areas with a lot less traffic.  We have visited Mexico and C. America 2-4 times a year for decades.  Avoid the big cities (lots of traffic & pollution).  Hotels are quite cheap if you are not looking for a "American" type hotel.  A clean, basic hotel can be $20 or less but expect no services and/or amenities.  Hotels that are more upscale (think an older but nice Holiday Inn) is around $40-60.  Free camping (ask permission if possible as they almost always say yes) is almost always available in the countryside.

A good road map is the "Guia Rojo Por las Carreteras de Mexico" atlas. It is a coiled binder atlas so not super small, but shows most roads except for truly local roads.  Costs about US$10 in Mexico (at a lot of larger Petro or OXXO stations) but is about $30 in the US. Almost any village will have something available for sale at a tienda (small convenience store) but it may be just "snacks" like chips, cokes, etc.  Obviously, the larger the town, the more services.  Just ask around.

Best, John