Author Topic: Amazing Transamerica Pictures And my Enlightened Terrible Verdict on the Route  (Read 4469 times)

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Offline Ryld

I completed the Transamerica from Yorktown, Virginia to Florence, Oregon in 57 days. I disliked the route in the Western states so much I was doing sets of century+ days in a row. Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and much of Missouri had palatable roads with low traffic that were NOT the main highway routes. On the other end Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon were often highly trafficked highways with constant streams of traffic going by at 80+ an hour. I wish I had taken a different route across America because the Western States roads were 60-80 percent horrible to travel on with a bicycle. This is due to: lack of a shoulder, fast moving traffic going by every half-minute, reckless trucks and RV drivers and often boring roads. I could recommend some of the backroads of Virginia-Missouri but overall the transamerica was a tedious constant passing bother in the western states. Yes- there were gaps in the western states where there was little traffic- but once into Colorado you may as well put a flattened road kill target on your back. The great thing about the route was all the fire stations, churches, private homes, and campgrounds along it. But, I only finished Kansas-Oregon because I am stubborn and there were some beautiful scenes.

I cut across Idaho and stopped in Florence because of my disillusionment with the tour.


https://www.instagram.com/p/BnCzTtuA22G/?hl=en&taken-by=bikecoasttocoast

Feel free to contact me for more experienced expert advice about the transamerica route or questions about touring overseas.

Offline jamawani

Oh, my.
Too bad you were not aware of AADT data and maps.

Offline John Nettles

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Sorry you didn't enjoy the TA.  Perhaps Rail Trails would suit you better???

Also, there really are not that many paved "back roads" in the west.  Not nearly the population of the eastern half so no need for that many paved roads so the roads that are paved are typically the "major" roads even though "major" is not the same volume as the eastern half.

I would also bet that the highways out west have significantly less traffic than the ones in the east.  To me, I find riding in the NE part of the country very trying as even the back roads seem to have a lot of traffic comparatively and the entire region is so built up.
Anyway, hope you find a tour you enjoy.  Best, John

Offline Pat Lamb

Well, OP's experience was diametrically opposed to my own.  Major roads through Kansas?  Maybe about 25 miles on U.S. highways from what I remember.  I titled one day's ride "More miles than cars" in my journal.  Colorado was busier west and north of Canon City, but even on July 4th we had little trouble.  Long distances in Wyoming made the excitement of seeing a car or truck go by welcome.

Anyways, I second John Nettles' suggestion of rails to trails if one cannot tolerate any other traffic on the road.  Yes, it's difficult to get across the U.S. in that fashion, but if you don't understand how to ride with traffic, it's surely safer and more pleasant.  Or perhaps you might want to take up mountain bike touring and try the Great Divide route.

Offline Ryld

 I too assumed roads in the west would have significantly less traffic then the east. However 20 miles from nowhere on the transanerica route from silverthorn/brekenenridge area to Eads Colorado I was getting passed every 20 seconds by traffic I assume lived in Eads or the ranches and commutes on the one highway passage to and fro. Likewise happened in the desolate deserts of Oregon and Wyoming. A Colorado convience store clerk said she was amazed by all the traffic at that time on July. There were sweet empty roads in the eastern states where I got passed less than once in ten minutes. I'd second your theory that out west there is more congestion in the middle of nowhere since there is no other paved route within 40+ miles on either side of the thoroughfare

Offline Ryld

 Hmm I am not sure when you went. I left about July 7 and finished September 5th of 2018 so just recently. Maybe there was more traffic on my trip then your timeframe. I will not be doing any pave.ent touring for a while in the USA you are right on about the limestone suggestion. Next time zi your in the USA I am going to go gravel and not get buzzed by trucks and RVs every day like when I rode on highways in the Western States.

Offline John Nettles

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However 20 miles from nowhere on the transanerica route from silverthorn/brekenenridge area to Eads Colorado I was getting passed every 20 seconds by traffic I assume lived in Eads or the ranches and commutes on the one highway passage to and fro.
I think you gave the wrong towns because Silverthorne and Eads are 200 miles apart and use a few different highways.  More than that by the route.  Perhaps you mean Kremmling????  If you meant those towns, I can't believe you got much traffic on CO-96 west of Eads or that much traffic on CO-9 between Canon City and Fairplay.

Another option is to consider routes from Bikepacking.com.  They are mostly for the off-road bikepacker/mountain biker but they may be more to your liking.

Out of curiosity, were are you from?  Best, John

Offline Ryld

Right it is all a blur now the city I meant was Silverthorn all the way to the next small town Kremmling. it was not pleasant at all. I was on a nice big wind shoulder the whole way ( with the exception of the semicircular around Heenley which was near zero yradfic) but on the shoulder every 20 seconds I was passed by a car 20+ miles from nowhere. A lot of the roads in the western states were like that. You are 10+ miles from any town yet every minute a car RV or truck blows by. I guess I may tour again if Iran locks up the straights of the Gulf and oil prices go sky high. I am not faulting the locals as they must have been going to work or the store but it was not very pleasurable. Even that amazing view where you come down into the valley that opens into huge big sky in Wyoming was kind of wrecked by a viechle passi g ar least every minute. And that was literally in the middle of nowhere until I got to Jeffery City Wyoming. It was a gorgeous one of a kind open expanse view but if someone asked if they should tour that route I am not sure I would advise it as I would say they ate going to be bothered by 80 mile an hour cars zooming by constantly coming and going to who knows where in the center of nothing.

Offline John Nelson

Silverthorne to Kremmling is the worst section of the TransAm, but there are few options there. It could be improved somewhat by going over Ute Pass, if you don’t mind 13 miles of good dirt.

Offline jamawani

I find it odd that in 30 years of North American touring I have never encountered such an assessment of the TransAm before.
Yes, there are segments of the route with higher than preferable traffic volumes, but those are a clear minority.

I know the TransAm well, I have 100,000 miles of riding, and I know the West as well as anyone here.
I suspect a number of things at play - overall fatigue, unease with the extreme empty spaces,
and perhaps, a hyperfocus on each and every car that passed as they became more central for you.

Kansas has many, many miles of very low traffic.
Hwy 96 in west Kansas has low to very low AADTs - 500 to 1000 most of the way.
The county roads thru the Flint Hills and Cassoday have almost no traffic.
US 54 is moderately busy, but from Toronto to Chanute to Girard is practically empty.

I will agree that there are some seriously sucky sections in Colorado.
The level of development in the Colorado Rockies over the past 25 years -
has made it extremely difficult to find lightly traveled roads there any more.
Also, Colorado state highways have some of the least shoulders - Denver getting all the $$$.

Wyoming does have fewer paved road options, but many stretches have low traffic.
Hwy 230 from the Colorado border to Saratoga has light traffic as does the old road thru Sinclair.
US 287 north of Rawlins is pretty gnarly, but west of Muddy Gap to Lander is open road.
Of course, as you get closer to Yellowstone, the traffic does pick up - you and the other 4 million visitors.

And Oregon? Most of the TransAm in eastern Oregon uses lightly traveled roads.
Hwy 86 from the Idaho border to Baker City has very little traffic.
Hwy 7 from Baker City to Austin Jct. has very little traffic.
US 26 has light traffic all the way to Prineville.

You may have faced unusually high traffic number on a day or two - but not for a month.
I know - because I have been on these roads, multiple times.
Yes, cars in the West usually go fast - it's 50 miles to the county seat and 200 miles to do any shopping.
But I find your assessment to be at odds with my experience and the experiences of many, many others.

https://www.ksdot.org/Assets/wwwksdotorg/bureaus/burTransPlan/maps/CountMaps/Districts/countmap2017.pdf
https://apps.wyoroad.info/itsm/map.html
https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Data/Documents/Flow_Map_2016.pdf

Offline TCS

Silverthorne to Kremmling is the worst section of the TransAm, but there are few options there. It could be improved somewhat by going over Ute Pass, if you don’t mind 13 miles of good dirt.

I wonder if between gravel grinding and a general movement to wider tires cycletourists are nowadays more amenable to riding unpaved roads than they were in 1974/75?

Certainly if one rides rail trails (or the UK's Sustrans routes) they should be used to some portion of unpaved routes on their touring menu.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2018, 01:01:28 pm by TCS »
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline John Nettles

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I wonder if between gravel grinding and a general movement to wider tires cycletourists are nowadays more amenable to riding unpaved roads than they were in 1974/75?

I think they are.  I would guess that ones that don't care about speed are more open to good unpaved roads, i.e. no deep gravel/sand, not much washboard, etc.


Offline TCS

In 40 years of routing cycletourists for various bike clubs I've found some riders love nothing better than tiny, meandering country lane tours and others' idea of nirvana is riding major highways with turns no closer together than 50km.  About all one can do is as accurately as possible describe expected conditions up front.

Quote
I will agree that there are some seriously sucky sections in Colorado.  The level of development in the Colorado Rockies over the past 25 years has made it extremely difficult to find lightly traveled roads there any more.

Time and past for AC to revisit the TransAm route, or do realities on the ground make it a fool's errand?
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline John Nettles

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TCS,
While I can not speak for them, I would say they continually review the routes for any needed changes.  For instance, on BR66, there have been several recent re-routes due to the original route becoming unsafe.  Same thing with the Northern Tier and the major re-route due to a major increase in truck traffic in North Dakota due to fracking.

Remember, they get lots of feedback from the various individuals, groups, etc. each year.  While a voice of 1 is not necessitate a change perhaps, when more and more start saying the same thing, they would probably review it.

Offline TCS

I know AC tweaks the maps based on inputs on an ongoing basis.  I also know that some of my own routes plotted decades ago have become unworkable/unenjoyable with time+human activity.

I suppose a major rework bypassing the Colorado Rockies with a route through the Black Hills 1) might or might not improve things much, and 2) isn't the TransAm any more.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."