Author Topic: Southern Tier in Winter  (Read 164 times)

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Offline horses60

Southern Tier in Winter
« on: November 21, 2021, 09:18:52 am »
Hello,
I would like to start in San Diego next January. Some suggestions?
I know that in NM I can find snow, but my doubt is abount campground. It's easy to find? They are open also in this season?
All informations are welcome, also some address and place where stay.
Thank you all.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Southern Tier in Winter
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2021, 10:34:03 am »
Hello,
I would like to start in San Diego next January. Some suggestions?
I know that in NM I can find snow, but my doubt is abount campground. It's easy to find? They are open also in this season?
All informations are welcome, also some address and place where stay.
Thank you all.
I started in mid February and had no problems.  I generally relied on the places listed on the AC maps where I followed their route.  At times I improvised the route a bit and generally found places to stay without much difficulty.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Southern Tier in Winter
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2021, 07:55:06 pm »
I cycled the southern tier five times, four in winter and one in summer. It was mostly stealth camping and some days in motels. The AC maps tell you where you can camp or rent. Stealthing in some areas is not as simple as it seems. So much land is fenced and posted. In the east there is so much undergrowth there is no room to pitch a tent. There may be space only to string up a tarp and sleep under it.

Offline Smudgy

Re: Southern Tier in Winter
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2021, 03:32:23 am »
I was looking at this too. Here are my concerns / questions.
1. Day length. The solstice (12/21) is the shortest day of the year and as you get away from the solstice the days get longer. Before the spring equinox (3/21) your getting less than 12 hours of daylight. So lets say you leave in Feb., you're probably looking at 10 hrs, or less of daylight. Is that enough time to get your miles in without rushing through the day?
2. Cold mornings. Even if the daytime high is in the 60's, morning lows might be in the 20's or 30's. So, it might hit 60 for only a couple of hours around the middle of the day. How uncomfortable are the early mornings and the early evenings?
3. Distance between services in the SW. I'm not interested in stealth camping at all. Camping in the desert in Feb. sounds cold. Are there enough motels close enough together in the SW where one could sleep indoors every night, or are there stretches where camping is a must? If I slept indoors every night, I wouldn't worry much about night time low temps. Those early morning (sunrise) temps. could be tough.
4. Am I crazy? You don't have to answer that. I think I already know the answer.   

Offline staehpj1

Re: Southern Tier in Winter
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2021, 08:23:15 am »
I was looking at this too. Here are my concerns / questions.
1. Day length. The solstice (12/21) is the shortest day of the year and as you get away from the solstice the days get longer. Before the spring equinox (3/21) your getting less than 12 hours of daylight. So lets say you leave in Feb., you're probably looking at 10 hrs, or less of daylight. Is that enough time to get your miles in without rushing through the day?
In mid February the days were about an hour longer than in the late Fall early Winter.  Remember that this is the south (closer to the equater) so the days and nights are closer to the same length than further north.  So while the days are short it isn't as bad as it would be along say the northern border.
 Still the late winter is much better than the early winter.  As far as whether it is enough daylight to get long mileage in...  I found that I generally knocked out longer mileage than I did on summer tours on other routes.  That probably had more to do with the rather boring scenery though.  I am pretty sure I did more 100 mile days on this trip than on any other and wasn't particularly making any effort to do so.  There were also plenty of 80 and 90 mile days.  I was packing very light so that helped, but the route lends itself to long days and late winter days are plenty long enough unless you hang out in camp all day.

2. Cold mornings. Even if the daytime high is in the 60's, morning lows might be in the 20's or 30's. So, it might hit 60 for only a couple of hours around the middle of the day. How uncomfortable are the early mornings and the early evenings?
I like cooler weather so that that into account, but only found a few mornings were actually very cold.  I rather enjoyed the weather and found it much preferrable to dealing with summer heat, but that is me.  There was frost quite a few nights, but it didn't dip far into the 20's often and it warmed up fast when the sun came up.  There was one night in the teens.  This was mid feb - mid mar.
3. Distance between services in the SW. I'm not interested in stealth camping at all. Camping in the desert in Feb. sounds cold. Are there enough motels close enough together in the SW where one could sleep indoors every night, or are there stretches where camping is a must? If I slept indoors every night, I wouldn't worry much about night time low temps. Those early morning (sunrise) temps. could be tough.
Not sure about sleeping indoors every night since I wasn't looking for motels all the time, but I'd guess it would be possible with some planning and some long days.  I did zero "stealth" camping, but some improvised camping in places like the ocasional Texas roadside picnic area or wild camping in plain sight.  The majority of the time I used camping sites listed on the ACA maps when I was on the route.  I did go off route some and found places easily enough.  I did get rooms here and there and managed to stay with hosts a few times.
4. Am I crazy? You don't have to answer that. I think I already know the answer.
You may be crazy, but not for riding the ST in winter.  Late winter to early spring is the best time in my opinion.

If you really hate chilly weather you may find my comments are not in line with your preferences, but even the hot weather loving south Florida kid who I rode with on and off on the ride managed okay.  He did think the weather sucked though, but his idea of a nice day is 100+F.

« Last Edit: November 25, 2021, 08:30:09 am by staehpj1 »