Author Topic: Rte. 66 or Western Express  (Read 1875 times)

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Offline tjdale

Rte. 66 or Western Express
« on: March 28, 2019, 06:46:33 pm »
I am in the early stages of planning a cross country West to East.  The idea is to start in either San Francisco or LA and ride east to Iowa to do RAGBRAI, then continue to my home in Maryland.  I would have to time this right to be able to attend RAGBRAI at the end of July so I am not yet sure when I would start, but probably sometime in May.  I am wondering which route would be best at that time of year, Rte 66 or the Western Express.  I would like to stop at the Grand Canyon either way, then continue to the Lewis and Clark heading north to the western border of Iowa where RAGBRAI begins.  After RAGBRAI I plan to follow the Great Rivers to the Trans America, then east to Richmond Virginia where I would pick up the Atlantic Coast and Tidewater routes to the ferry and to Smith Island and Crisfield.  From there I would ride to Chincoteague Virgina before heading home about 65 miles NW. 
I have read some about Rte 66 and the reviews seem mixed.  I know nothing of the Western Express.  Crossing the Rockies does not worry me except for the risk of road closure due to snow.  Crossing the desert is more of a concern.  I plan to camp/stealth camp most of the way.  Time, except for getting to RAGBRAI on time, is not a concern.  Any light you can shed on this would be greatly appreciated. 

Offline zzzz

Re: Rte. 66 or Western Express
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2019, 05:22:11 pm »
Al I can comment on is to give you my opinion on the Western Express. I rode it in September 2012 as the first part of my cross country trip and picked up the Trans Am from Pueblo.

I loved the WE. It starts out a little slow but crossing Nevada on 50 was great, I felt like I was on another planet. The section thru southern Utah I consider the place with the most eye candy you're going to see per mile of anywhere on the planet. If your going to incorporate the Grand Canyon (North Rim) into your trip, you're going to be riding thru Zion to get there (which I consider to be even more extraordinary than the GC). Once you get back on route from the GC in quick succession comes Bryce/ Grand Staircase/ & Capital Reef. Hanksville to Blanding is very very tough and desolate but a good test if you're into that sort of thing. Most of the Colorado part of the route pales to Utah but it's still worthwhile.

Distance between towns in Nevada on 50 is typically 70± miles. Distance from Hanksville to Blanding is 125± miles. And when I say there is nothing between these town, I mean there is Nothing, not a house, not a ranch. That said, there's an ethic out west that if someone sees you in trouble they will help you out. That doesn't relieve you of the responsibility to pack enough food and water and mechanical parts to get you to the next stop but there will likely be someone to help if things really go south.

Depending on whether you leave in early or late May will affect how likely you'll get snowed on. Carson Pass in the Sierras is the most likely problem but there's several passes in Nevada at 7500'± and all of Nevada is at 5k or better. That said, I'd pack some warm clothes and go in May if that was my time window.


Offline tjdale

Re: Rte. 66 or Western Express
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2019, 05:28:22 pm »
Thanks.  The is the sort of information I am looking for.  With such long distances between towns, is it kosher to stealth camp midway?  Is this all desert? 

Offline zzzz

Re: Rte. 66 or Western Express
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2019, 06:20:43 pm »
In Nevada on 50 I did see some road pull offs where you could set up a tent. Whether that's legal or not, I don't know. And there will be nothing stealth about it, there's nothing but scrub for ground cover out there. You will not see a tree for that entire section of the route which is several hundred miles.

From Hanksville to Blanding there is camping at Hites Landing which will be open when you go thru (it closes later in the year due to low water). There is also Natural Bridges NM between Hites and Blanding and I think there is some camping available there.

About that stealth camping.....if I were you I would budget to camp where its allowed. Then if you find a little out of the nook to set up camp it's a bonus. If you're counting on stealth camping, your much more likely to make a bad decision as to where you set up. It would really suck to have your trip interrupted by a night or two in jail. IMHO