Author Topic: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring  (Read 2777 times)

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Offline gutenburgler

Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« on: January 28, 2021, 11:32:49 am »
I am planning an Eastbound ride across America, and due to a number of factors will need to start at roughly the beginning of May.

The route I have looked at is the Transamerica to West Yellowstone, then the PPP, then through Michigan, picking up the North Tier in Northern Ohio.

My question is, how feasible is it to start the Transamerica in early May? Snow in the Rockies is my concern. Is there a good re-route to avoid snow risk?

Online jamawani

Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2021, 12:23:22 pm »
Guten Tag, Herr Gutenburgler -

Generally speaking, it is better to start in late May from the West.
Most people start in early May from Virginia. (Maine would be difficult.)

I live in Wyoming and have cycled X-USA many times.
When I start in early May in the West, I start in California.
One year, I started on June 1 in Astoria, Oregon - -
And I had big snow in the Cascades a few days later.

If you were to start the Trans Am in early May -
you would get to Yellowstone in late May.
Some of the roads are not even open that early -
Most campgrounds campgrounds and services open mid-late June.

In Wyoming, the weather shifts to summer between early and mid June.
I have skiied on fresh snow in early June many times.
And I live at 1500m - snow is more likely at 2500m.

You might be lucky and have great weather in during May.
But it is highly unlikely.
If you are willing to stop for a few days in a motel -
then it is more doable, but many motels don't open that early.
It is a recipe for cold & wet & miserable.

<<<>>>

Options?

1. Start later from Oregon - which you said you can't.
2. Start further south - such as California.
3. Start on the East Coast and go west.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2021, 01:32:15 pm »
Beginning of May definitely favors an E-W ride probably starting in Virginia.  It is too early for a W-E ride on the Trans America Route in any normal year.

Offline gutenburgler

Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2021, 02:26:37 pm »
Thanks for the responses. I was scared that might be the answer. Living in Texas, I am a little out of touch with the seasons...

I hope to meet a friend in Minneapolis who will ride with me for a while. If I wanted to start in California, is there a good route up there? Looking at the official maps, maybe Western Express to Colorado then cut North?

If not, I may have to try to find a way to start in late May or early June so I can do my preferred route.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2021, 03:34:42 pm »
Detouring to Minneapolis from the TransAm is a hell of a detour.

If you start in early May in Oregon, take really good rain gear.

But the best option is to start in Yorktown.

Offline gutenburgler

Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2021, 03:50:01 pm »
Yeah I'm seeing that it would add 900 miles or so. You all are giving me a good reality check!

What I'm thinking is that the earliest I could start is after ~May 20th. Would risk rain in Oregon, and snow as well. I would have to take the bypass around McKenzie ("Santiam Alternate") as it wouldn't be open till early to mid June. This would put me in West Yellowstone around mid-June.

Detouring to Minneapolis from the TransAm is a hell of a detour.

If you start in early May in Oregon, take really good rain gear.

But the best option is to start in Yorktown.

Online jamawani

Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2021, 04:15:11 pm »
After 35 years of touring, let me give you a piece of advice on meeting friends.
You are on a bicycle - they have access to a car.

I don't know why it is, but people always say,
"Can you come through Sheboygan?"
I used to alter my route to meet them.
Now I say, "Can you meet me in St. Louis?"

Actually, it's usually a state park 2 hours drive from Sheboygan.
I'll spend a extra day and we sometimes ride a bit together.

But - - plan the trip YOU want to do.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2021, 04:32:54 pm »
In the hiking community there is a saying "Hike your own hike." Seems simple and even silly on the surface, but before you set out you need to understand why you are going. Trips like this are a huge personal undertaking and as selfish as it may sound it is more about you, or you and your riding mates, and not people not on the trip. I know, there are family and work obligations, but no one but the person in the saddle can tell what you feel like on any given day, sunshine or rain, or just feeling like sitting next to a brook on the side of the road for 2 hours in the middle of the day because it is such a beautiful spot it seems way more important then making to a hotel 50 miles down the road.

Many people get to do a major trip a few times (some only once ) in their lifetimes. Live for the trip and figure out what you want to have accomplished when you are done. Not too may people get home and say I wish I had ridden that section faster. As was mentioned, someone driving 100 miles in a car to meet you is a a lot easier than you biking 100 miles to meet them. Figure why you want to do this and make that the priority and resist anything else that gets in your way.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2021, 11:17:15 am by HikeBikeCook »
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline gutenburgler

Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2021, 11:08:10 am »
Thanks all for the responses, they have certainly been thought provoking.

My company is going out of business and I will be unemployed starting in April. This trip has always been a dream of mine and I'm looking at my unemployed time as an opportunity to realize it. My motivation for starting earlier was to minimize my time with no income. For whatever reason, I've thought of the trip as being west to east, so I will probably just delay my start until late May to do my preferred route.

To clarify on the Minneapolis stop, I have a friend here in Houston that wants to meet me there and ride through Michigan. The thought of having a defined date to meet him is a little stressful though...

Offline staehpj1

Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2021, 12:03:05 pm »
My company is going out of business and I will be unemployed starting in April. This trip has always been a dream of mine and I'm looking at my unemployed time as an opportunity to realize it. My motivation for starting earlier was to minimize my time with no income. For whatever reason, I've thought of the trip as being west to east, so I will probably just delay my start until late May to do my preferred route.
Only you can decide what factors are important to you, but...  East to west is a common way to go.  It is the direction the country was settled.  Many folks consider it the natural direction to go.  The winds contrary to popular belief may actually favor that direction since they tend to be out of the SE in the plains in the Summer and the TA runs SE-NW there, so don't let that be a reason to not go that way.

Quote
To clarify on the Minneapolis stop, I have a friend here in Houston that wants to meet me there and ride through Michigan. The thought of having a defined date to meet him is a little stressful though...

Again your decision and only you know what is important to you, but I'd avoid committing to a set date to meet someone like the plague.  I also avoid going off route to meet someone like the plague.  Both fixed schedules and imposed detours are things I avoid if at all possible.  Another topic, but fixed budgets suck too.  I don't spend much on tour, but don't like to have set limits.

Being already out of work in April would seem to be a strong incentive to change your plans and start in the east.  All this is coming from a guy who prefers ro ride W-E.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2021, 01:35:55 pm »
In the hiking community there is a saying "Hike your own hike." Seems simple and even silly on the surface, but before you set out you need to understand why you are going. Trips like this are a huge personal undertaking and as selfish as it may sound it is more about you, or you and your riding mates, and not people not on the trip. I know, there are family and work obligations, but no one but the person in the saddle can tell what you feel like on any given day, sunshine or rain, or just feeling like sitting next to a brook on the side of the road for 2 hours in the middle of the day because it is such a beautiful spot it seems way more important then making to a hotel 50 miles down the road.

Many people get to do a major trip a few times (some only once ) in their lifetimes. Live for the trip and figure out what you want to have accomplished when you are done. Not too may people get home and say I wish I had ridden that section faster. As was mentioned, someone driving 100 miles in a car to meet you is a a lot easier than you biking 100 miles to meet them. Figure why you want to do this and make that the priority and resist anything else that gets in your way.

A "poster child" for why this forum could use a like feature.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2021, 09:13:36 am »
BikeliciousBabe - I use Linked-In for work and use Facebook only for my Beekeepers Association page, and I am with you on this. I am constantly wanting to hit the Like, Love, Celebrate or Thumbs Up button on many posts. I think that addition would make the information here so much more relevant. We have some real experts online and if I saw a post with 10 likes all from the experienced users I would pay special attention.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline Nyimbo

Re: Eastbound Transamerica - Spring
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2021, 05:47:36 pm »
To clarify on the Minneapolis stop, I have a friend here in Houston that wants to meet me there and ride through Michigan. The thought of having a defined date to meet him is a little stressful though...
My suggestion is have your friend meet you in Missouri and ride the Katy Trail together.  It is much less a detour off the TA and even if your friend is not in touring shape he and you can ride together comfortably across the state following the Missouri River because the trail is flat.  Also their are routes to make the transition to and from the TA to the Katy trail that are already well mapped out.  Its not Michigan but it is a lovely ride.