Author Topic: Trans Am Date Help?!  (Read 162 times)

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Offline CiderKnees

Trans Am Date Help?!
« on: October 08, 2019, 04:26:41 am »
Hi all!

I'm hoping to ride the transam next year, but I'm get married (at home, in the UK) on the 1st August.

As I understand it, riding E - W means you can have the earliest start. Based on previous touring experience, my plan is to allocate 70 days to the ride. Ideally I'd fly to Virgina on the 27th April, which would mean flying home on the 6th July, giving me three weeks back home pre-wedding.

Will I run into any issues with the weather starting late April? Or is this a bad idea, and would I be better off looking at the PCT or Southern Tier?


Thanks!


Offline staehpj1

Re: Trans Am Date Help?!
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2019, 06:43:40 am »
That sounds early to me.  There may be a good chance of snow in the mountains.  Hopefully someone with a better handle on the timing will weigh in.  My best guess is that you would be just a bit too early getting to the western mountains with that starting time and pace.

I see that Adventure Cycling does a van supported trip from May 07, 2020 to Jul 26, 2020 so they start just a little later, but they are taking longer as well.  I'd imagine they are allowing some room for error in their timing, but maybe not too much.  Can you cut it a little closer on getting back for the wedding?

I personally wouldn't want to do the ST that late.  I'd want to finish the ST by around your suggested start date.  I did it with a mid Feb. start date to avoid the heat in the southwest.  I did another ride and some other trips in the southwest and had 110F heat pretty early in the season.  It wasn't fun.

When you said PCT did you mean the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)?  If so it is a great ride, but I am not sure about the weather at that time of year.  I am guessing it will be a little wet in the spring, but you should check actual data as I am not sure of the actual numbers.  It is great in summer and better in the early fall.  September was awesome when I rode it.  I especially liked the Oregon and northern California portion.  It is shorter so you could start a little later.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 06:45:26 am by staehpj1 »

Offline jamawani

Re: Trans Am Date Help?!
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2019, 08:06:15 am »
Here is a gorgeous version of "Blackberry Winter" sung by Marlene VerPlanck.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-lQ_F2s7XU

You may want to add this to your song list -
Since a there is usually a cold snap in the first week of May.
Especially in the Appalachians.
Usually not snow, but cold and wet.

Similarly, June in the Rockies is hardly summer.
10 weeks; 420 miles per week
Would put you in Pueblo about June 1.
I can assure you that there are almost always late snows.

I know because I have lived in Wyoming for 30 years.
I have been out on skis many times in mid-June.
You would only be held up a few days,
But your schedule doesn't have a lot of leeway.

You will be too early for wildflower season in the Rockies,
but will probably have great flowers in Idaho & Oregon.
Still, you should plan on the possibility of cold weather
In the high country of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.

Doable with preparation, clothing, and prudence.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Trans Am Date Help?!
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2019, 08:29:22 am »
By the way...
The TA is a much nicer trip than the ST by a large margin.  It is a great sampling of what the rural US is all about.  I really enjoyed the route.  The ST was pretty boring scenery wise, to me at least. The people and the food redeemed it to some extent, but the scenery was pretty boring IMO, day after day of dry brown sage brush.

If you can manage it, the TA is a much better trip.  Based on what jamawani says (he is a wealth of knowledge) and what I already knew, I'd suggest going ahead with the TA, allowing a little extra time for weather delays in the mountains.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Trans Am Date Help?!
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2019, 08:53:10 am »
I would say it is "doable" but you very well may have a day or three of forced rest days due to snow and/or miserable riding, i.e. temps in the low 40s and rain. 

Another option is to consider doing the TransAm to Pueblo, CO, then take the Western Express.  Yes, you would have snow at the passes in Colorado but unless it is actually snowing or raining, they would be rideable.  Once over a few passes, you are "probably" in the clear weather-wise. 

 Once you get to San Francisco, if you have extra time, you could head south on the PCH taking in the stunning Big Sur area on your way to Los Angeles where you could get an easy flight home.  But if you are running late, once in San Franscisco (actually back track to Emeryville) and take Amtrak's Coast Starlight train to LA to catch your flight.  Or you could fly home out of San Francisco.

Regardless, if possible, I would start a week later but it would not be required.  The question is would you rather have more time between the ride and the wedding or have less chance of unpleasant weather.

Whatever you decide, enjoy the ride!  Tailwinds, John

Offline zzzz

Re: Trans Am Date Help?!
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2019, 06:37:15 pm »
+1 on picking up the western express route in Pueblo.

That’s the ride I took and I’ve done about 80% of the TransAm route from Pueblo to Oregon as parts of other rides and (fwiw) I liked southern Utah and crossing Nevada better.

Yes you’ll miss seeing the Tetons and Yellowstone and Mackenzie Pass and that hurts but you’ll be able to see Bryce (and w a small detour) Zion which will make up for it. And if your feeling really ambitious you can loop down and see the north rim of the Grand Canyon. And your mileage will still be less then the TransAm.

It also takes up to 500 miles+- off your route and keeps you further south for more benevolent weather.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 06:53:14 pm by zzzz »

Online John Nelson

Re: Trans Am Date Help?!
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2019, 03:23:56 am »
I think April 27 is fine. You’re only about 10 days earlier than the best start date. Those ten days might make things a bit chilly in spots, but it should be very doable. Have a great time! I’m sure you will!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Trans Am Date Help?!
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2019, 06:51:01 am »
I think April 27 is fine. You’re only about 10 days earlier than the best start date. Those ten days might make things a bit chilly in spots, but it should be very doable. Have a great time! I’m sure you will!
Chilly wouldn't worry me too much, you can dress/pack for that, but snow delays would.  I'd feel a lot better about an April 27 start if it wasn't for the flying home the 6th of July part.  If I didn't have a flexible finish date I'd be inclined to allow an extra 5-7 days with that early start date, but that is just me.  Then again maybe CiderKnees already has some cushion built into the 70 day number.

I really hate having fixed finish dates and have usually managed to avoid them in the past.  Sometimes I have flown stand by, ridden toward the coast that I live on, or otherwise managed to have flexible travel arrangements to get home at the end.  That is something that probably isn't as easy for someone who is traveling from another continent though.