Author Topic: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?  (Read 10696 times)

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Offline Daveymac

Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« on: June 23, 2018, 04:10:49 pm »
Hi!
I hope you are all well.
Last summer I toured from Vancouver down to Imperial Beach in about 25 days.
I really enjoyed it.
This summer the plan is an ultra light tour around the coast of Ireland...

I have been following the Trans Am Bike Race at the moment and like the look of the route...
I have 6-8 weeks free next July and August....
Would this route be do- able in one tour next summer?
I generally do a minimum of 120 km each day and up to 200+ Kms every few days...

Thank you for reading,,

Dublin Dave.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2018, 06:50:29 pm »
Yes, most people do it in one tour. It typically takes 70 to 90 days. Some people break it up into segments, but that makes travel logistics more difficult because it's not so easy to leave or join the route.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2018, 07:15:15 pm »
Would this route be do- able in one tour next summer?
I generally do a minimum of 120 km each day and up to 200+ Kms every few days...

As John says, most people do this in 70-90 days. 

I'm a bit confused by your distance estimates, though.  At 120 km per day you'd be right on the edge of completing everything in 8 weeks, but 200 km "every few days"?  Do you plan to take off every third day or so?

For what it's worth, there's some riding on the TransAm that's arguably tougher than the Pacific Coast.  Notably the Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri stretches have some steep hills, and of course the Rockies (Colorado through Idaho, at least) are at fairly high elevation.  If you have to or want to split the route up to finish everything in 6-8 week chunks with room to spare, I'd suggest Wichita, Kansas as the roughly half way point with reasonably good airline access.  It's only a day's ride to either the eastern or western route.

Offline Daveymac

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2018, 06:05:53 am »
Morning! Thank you for your responses...
I appreciate it!
Yea... 70-90 days might be too long for me....
re the distance.. every day i did a minimum of 120kms... And then every few days i would do over 200kms... I mostly do the whole trip in one go.. i think last summer.. i just stopped for x1 day in San Francisco & then my next stop was in San Diego for a holiday at the end!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2018, 07:19:12 am »
I agree that 70-90 days is pretty typical, but some folks do it in a a good bit less than 70 days.  You would need to average 75 mile days (120 km) to finish in 8 weeks.  There are some days of steep ups and downs especially in Missouri, Kentucky, and Virginia, and some long less steep climbs with high altitude in the west, but there are also long stretches that lend themselves to high mileage.

Bottom line is that it definitely can be done in 8 weeks even by mere mortals committed to riding longish miles every day.  The question is does that kind of trip suit you.

If you start out and then don't make it in time you can always get on a bus, plane, train, or rent a car to skip a section.  If bragging rights for riding every mile aren't important that would be a pretty painless solution.  You would have been able to see most of the route even if you missed riding a portion of it.

Offline Daveymac

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2018, 03:22:26 pm »
Hi! Thanks again for the feedback...
Yea a x2 month tour sounds doable... it is longe4 than my previous tours which generally ranged from 2,500km - 4000kms...
I think I clocked up 3,400kms on the Pacific Coast last summer...

I like the idea of having the option of flying to the finish or bus// car rental// train... it is nice to have an out..If I took too long...

It’s the Trans Am route the best route across the US?

Are there other slightly shorter alternatives across continental US?

Thanks again!

Dublin Dave.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2018, 05:05:08 pm »
Officially, the TransAm is 4230 miles long. At 75 miles a day, that's only 56 days. exactly the 8 weeks you have. There are a few ways to cut off miles if you get behind. For one thing, you can end in Florence instead of Astoria. There are also numerous places where you can take a more major road and cut quite a few miles off the backroads. I wouldn't do it unless I needed to make up time because the backroads are much nicer.

You don't really need to take rest days. I've taken cross-country tours without any.

Yes, the TransAm is absolutely the best route across the US.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 05:07:35 pm by John Nelson »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2018, 06:46:11 pm »
The Southern Tier is shorter and also lends itself well to long mileage days.  The thing is that it is, IMO at least, a lot less interesting scenery wise and I would definitely not do it in Summer heat.  I did it in a mid Feb - March time frame and it was nice enough.  I found the weather nice, but I like cooler weather.  It's biggest selling point for me was that It was doable in late winter.

While I found the scenery to be an endless series view of dry brown scrub, the local food was interesting and there was an endless series of interesting misfits.  So for me the food and the people were definitely the highlights of the trip.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2018, 11:07:36 pm »
I think Pete would agree that since you want to do this is July/August, the Southern Tier is not a reasonable idea.

You can cut almost 500 miles off the TransAm by switching over to the Western Express in Pueblo. I wouldn’t do it, however, unless you need to. As a European, you might like the American West in Utah, but I wouldn’t want you to miss Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Montana, Idaho and the Cascades.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2018, 08:10:50 am »
I think Pete would agree that since you want to do this is July/August, the Southern Tier is not a reasonable idea.
Yes absolutely.  You couldn't pay me to do the ST in Summer or even late Spring or early Fall for that matter.  I have not checked on the weather there in Summer either but suspect the Western Express is likely to be pretty hot there as well.

We already had hotter weather than I like on the Trans America.  We adapted to the heat, but it was about as hot as I want to ride in.  It was a record or near record breaking hot Summer for much of our TA though and I am really not a fan of hot weather.  I guess I really have not experienced typical weather on the TA.

Having been caught in a very early heat wave on a Sierras tour with 110F weather too much of the time I am a little gun shy.

BTW, I do recommend using Florence as an end point to save a little time.  Also there were many places where the route seems to go out of the way for no apparent reason.  ACA routes tend to do that.  The mapped route was said to be more scenic, but it looked to us as if they fairly often went out of the way to climb another big hill with nothing much in the way of better scenery.  We took shorter (and usually flatter) detours here and there and generally never regretted the choice.  We sometimes decided not to take what looked like a good detour and often did think the detour would have been better.



« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 07:01:52 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2018, 10:01:28 am »
Let me add one more vote for the TransAm as a darned good route across the U.S.  Best?  I don't know, there may be better routes out there if you want to make your own, but it's scenic, historic, interesting, laid out well, and well documented.

I'd caution that if you decide to bail mid-way, it's likely not as easy as riding to the next town and hopping a train or bus.  Plan on 2-3 days to a week to get to a place that has public transportation, just in case.  As an example, my daughter came down with a fever in a small town in Wyoming.  Fearing the worst, we checked into a motel and I checked out possible ways home from there: no railroad (300 miles and a couple passes away), no bus service (at least 150 miles away, off route over a pass), no airline (100 miles away over a high pass), and the rental car places in the phone book were 100+ miles away.  (Fortunately she recovered with a day off, and we made our longest ride of the trip the following day.)

Offline Daveymac

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2018, 12:00:03 pm »
Hello again!

Thank you for the feedback ...
I take your point on the heat... on a couple of days last July, I had to cut inland north of the Big Sur...
The temp went up to 43 degrees Celsius... only for a few days and then when I cycled back towards the coast the temp dropped by about 20 degrees C!! It is incredible!

I stayed in a campsite beside Lake Nacimiento... I hid from the heat and my tent was like a sauna & stayed inside in the ac of the restaurant drinking Dr Pepper!

Then on a bike trip down through France two years ago.... a heatwave hit with temps again up into the low  to mid 40 degree celcius.. I made two mistakes... i wore all black gear which seemed to absorb the heat and I didn’t cool my body down in the evening or drink enough water. When I reached Valencia Spain, I was dehydrated and had mild heat stroke...
I have learned since ....


Pat, I also take your point about needing 2/3 days to get back to civilization....

September would be a great time to do this trip I imagine...but being a school teacher July and August are the holidays!!

How are accommodation options on the Trans Am compared with the Pacific coast?
And last question... if I did this alone would I meet other riders or would it be lots of me time?!

Thank you guys!

Dublin Dave
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 12:03:28 pm by Daveymac »

Offline John Nelson

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2018, 01:45:27 pm »
How are accommodation options on the Trans Am compared with the Pacific coast?
And last question... if I did this alone would I meet other riders or would it be lots of me time?!
What kind of accommodations are you looking for? Campgrounds? Motels? Churches? Warm Showers? There are quite a few of all. Campgrounds are plentiful along the Pacific Coast; not quite so much on the TransAm, but many towns will let you camp in the town park (for free!). There are a few places on the TransAm where motels might be a bit hard to come by, especially in the West.

The TransAm is probably the best route to meet other riders, although July/August will be just a bit past the sweet spot with the most riders.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2018, 03:54:50 pm »
How are accommodation options on the Trans Am compared with the Pacific coast?
And last question... if I did this alone would I meet other riders or would it be lots of me time?!

On the TransAm, a lot of the town camping will be "civilized wild" campsites -- you're allowed to camp, restrooms may or may not be nearby (hit the convenience store in town before it closes), and get to the small towns while the swimming pool's open for a shower.  Motels are generally available in the east, but you will need reservations on weekends in the west.  From Colorado across Wyoming to West Yellowstone there are some long stretches with few if any motels/B&Bs.

If you're riding west, you'll probably meet eastbound riders 1-3 times per day, sometimes at overnights.  Most westbound riders leave in May, and I'd say most eastbound riders leave in June, so you'll be riding alone most of the time.

Offline Daveymac

Re: Entire Trans Am Route in one tour?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2018, 04:15:36 pm »
Hi! This summer i am ultra light/ credit card touring.. so it will be all b n b, hotel or hostel...

Next summer.. ideally i would like to credit card tour again.. but i have experience of camping and appreciated the many State Paeks down the West Coast...

I suppose the cons are the extra weight and the energy required to set up and dismantle the tent, pack everything up & also not necessarily getting a great nights sleep...versus a comfy bed indoors!
But there are pros and cons to both!😉😉