Author Topic: route 66 and southern tier  (Read 1926 times)

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Offline chefjnelson03

route 66 and southern tier
« on: September 18, 2020, 07:58:43 pm »
Hello all,

Was wondering what kind of weather I can expect and what weather i should prepare for if I were to ride route 66 from chicago to california or the sourthern tier in same direction. Planning on leaving before end of October if my knee is finished with rehab by then.

Is this feasible or a bad idea?


Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
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  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: route 66 and southern tier
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2020, 08:09:46 pm »
I would suggest you check out as it has an excellent climate database.  Check various spots along the route so you decide if it is best for YOU as others may have a significantly different tolerance for cool weather and miles per day (which you do not indicate).

That said, I would probably do the Southern Tier (west>east) at that time as I personally do not like cool weather.  Or even maybe Chicago to Sullivan, MO, along BR66 then south to the Southern Tier along the Great Rivers Route (GRR).  From St Francisville, you can decide if you want to head east (warmer) or west (longer) to the coast.

If you feel comfortable riding off-route you could go directly to, say Cave-in-Rock, IL, to access the GRR to save some miles.

Tailwinds, John

Offline staehpj1

Re: route 66 and southern tier
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2020, 06:39:05 am »
I can't speak to the weather on Route 66 at that time of year based on personal experience, but is well outside of the time the ACA recommends in their description which probably makes the risk of snow high.

John's idea of going W-E on the ST has some merit if you are cool weather averse, but consider the status of any remaining forest fires.  Riding in the residual smoke wouldn't be fun and you don't have to be close to the fire for it to impact the ride.  Smoke has ruined a few bike and backpacking trips for me.

Personally I didn't mind the cooler temps I encountered starting in San Diego in mid February so I personally would not worry too much about the cold when weighing it against any risk of dealing with riding in forest fire smoke, even mild smoke from a distant fire.  Maybe I was lucky, but while I had overnight frost often and a hard freeze here and there at night (18F one night), I think it probably hit at least 50F every day.  I did see snow, but snow covered roads were not a problem.

Another thing to factor in especially on the ST is the length of the days if you get into late Fall.  They get really short then.  I know that when I compared mid Feb- mid March with a time that temps would be similar in the fall I found the days would be MUCH longer in late winter.   I went late Winter for that reason.

Given all of that riding the ST going E-W might be worth considering.  I will say I found the scenery pretty dreary though.  I did enjoy sampling the variety of cuisines and meeting a lot of interesting people along the way.