Author Topic: Western Express versus TransAmerica  (Read 2840 times)

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Offline John Nettles

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Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #30 on: September 02, 2022, 11:20:46 pm »
Cool.  It is like the week before and after the park officially opens and closes but with better weather! 
« Last Edit: September 03, 2022, 09:03:45 am by John Nettles »

Offline LouisB

Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2022, 04:09:35 am »
Missoula is far from a "must" jamawani. The free ice cream sounds tempting, but I'm more than happy to give it a miss in preference for a more spectacular route, particularly if it's 100s of miles shorter. The time saved will be put to good use! Perhaps cycling a little more slowly, taking in my surroundings a little more carefully, and no doubt stopping a little more frequently to take photos, relax and to just enjoy the moment.

I can see the route you suggested on the ACA interactive map, but any other info. you can provide would be most welcome.

Thank you for the suggestion. I'm very grateful for the advice of forum members like yourself who know the area / routes, and are able to provide such invaluable advice. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2022, 07:17:20 am »
Missoula is far from a "must" jamawani. The free ice cream sounds tempting, but I'm more than happy to give it a miss in preference for a more spectacular route, particularly if it's 100s of miles shorter. The time saved will be put to good use! Perhaps cycling a little more slowly, taking in my surroundings a little more carefully, and no doubt stopping a little more frequently to take photos, relax and to just enjoy the moment.

I can see the route you suggested on the ACA interactive map, but any other info. you can provide would be most welcome.

Thank you for the suggestion. I'm very grateful for the advice of forum members like yourself who know the area / routes, and are able to provide such invaluable advice.
I have not really looked into the route that jama suggested,but I will say that I regretted not getting to Glacier NP when we were that close.  We considered taking a detour or even a day and renting a car to go off route to go there, but didn't.  Also the stop in Missouls at AC headquarters was no big deal.  They took a polaroid (this was 2007) of us and there were regular cheap ice cream sandwiches.  It was pretty underwhelming.  We did wind up meeting some nice hosts in Missoula, so there was that, but on hind sight John's suggested detour would have been nice.

After a glance my only hesitation is that if you are into wanting to ride something as close to the original route as possible this may be a bigger departure (or not, I don't know).  I am kind of nostalgic over the original 1976 Bikecentennial "thing", but to be fair I never really bother to check whether the new route is anywhere close to the original one and whether I might deviate to be closer to it.  I have deviated to find a bike shop and found out after I was on an alternate for 50 miles or so that the route used to go that way.  In one place it was kind of cool that I detoured to find a bike shop.  At the bike sho I found that they had a wall that they asked me to sign.  It had lots of riders names going back to 1976 with not many recent ones since the route change.

Offline jamawani

Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #33 on: September 03, 2022, 10:36:07 am »
I can see the route you suggested on the ACA interactive map, but any other info. you can provide would be most welcome.

Here is a journal from a 2005 trip with the section from Yellowstone to Glacier -

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=3d2&page_id=26431&v=OE

The hiking out of Many Glacier is superb.
If you wanted to do a night in the backcountry (Yes, there are grizzlies and you need to camp wisely.)
it is easy to get an overnight permit to out-and-back sites like Cracker Lake.
Folks all want to hike th Highline Trail - which is sweet, but kinda busy.
You may see 3-4 people on the Cracker Lake Trail and be the only one camping.
(You can hike part of the Highline when you ride Going to the Sun.)

BTW - When are you planning to start / finish? Makes a difference, ya know.

Pic - Juanny at Cracker Lake

Offline LouisB

Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2022, 11:02:19 am »
Planning to start late April / early May, east to west.

I'll most likely fly to Washington DC from London, then take the train to somewhere on the TA route in Virginia. Wherever is easiest to get to from DC basically, unless of course it's worth cycling that particular leg of the journey?

I'll need to fly home from Seattle no later than 90 days after I arrive as my visa waiver is only valid for that long.

Online John Nelson

Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2022, 05:59:37 pm »
I regretted not getting to Glacier NP when we were that close. 
Slippery slope. Most people just barely have enough time to ride across the country without visiting every spectacular site that they were “that close” to. The best piece of travel advice I ever heard is to always assume that you will be back and not kill yourself trying to see everything in one trip.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2022, 06:07:08 pm »
I regretted not getting to Glacier NP when we were that close. 
Slippery slope. Most people just barely have enough time to ride across the country without visiting every spectacular site that they were “that close” to. The best piece of travel advice I ever heard is to always assume that you will be back and not kill yourself trying to see everything in one trip.
Probably good advice in general, but I have not made it back to see Glacier NP these 15 years later and this is one and only place I was tempted to go out of my way for.  Generally I am more inclined to skip stuff that AC goes out of the way for.  In all my travels Glacier is my one regret in skipping after considering a stop.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2022, 06:44:32 am by staehpj1 »

Offline jamawani

Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #37 on: September 03, 2022, 07:31:53 pm »
As I said above -
I've had the misfortune of riding and hiking Glacier a dozen or more times.

Glacier National Park is simply stupendous beauty beyond compare.
And Going to the Sun Road, although busy, is the finest ride in the Lower 48.
If you are touring anywhere close to Glacier and have never been there,
it is sooooo worth the change in route. More so if you are from the U.K.

Anyhoo, Louis wants to end up in Vancouver, BC and will be cutting up to the NT.
So it even saves miles to cut north directly from Yellowstone.
Unless, of course, someone really wants to see Missoula.
And the US 89 route on the east side is really sweet, too.


« Last Edit: September 03, 2022, 07:38:39 pm by jamawani »

Online John Nelson

Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #38 on: September 03, 2022, 09:45:10 pm »
Going to the Sun Road, although busy, is the finest ride in the Lower 48.

I wholeheartedly agree!

Offline LouisB

Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2022, 02:09:58 am »
Ordinarily I would wholeheartedly agree John; less is often more. However, as jamawani pointed out, I plan to spend a few days in Vancouver, BC at the end of the journey, so at some point I'll need to head north. Looking at the various options available, I suppose I could do this on the Pacific Coast route, but this route doesn't seem to elicit the same positive reactions from people as the Northern Tier / Glacier NP option.

I have no overwhelming desire to visit Missoula, and perhaps because I'm from the UK, I feel no sense of nostalgia about the TA route itself. I'm much more interested in seeing some of the spectacular natural beauty the US has to offer.

Looking at the beautiful photos which jamawani has posted, it looks like the Glacier NP option will be well worth it.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #40 on: September 07, 2022, 01:56:53 pm »
FWIW, the Big Hole (Dillon to Wisdom to Sula) felt like the most remote part of the TransAm I remember.  Scenery is very nice (if you don't have smoke when you go through there) as well.  To be honest, I don't know what I missed through Idaho and Oregon on the original TransAm, as I went north to Glacier and then took the Northern Tier to the coast.  Glacier was worth the detour IMHO!

Speaking of which, the NT is a great way to go west.  Five passes in four days on WA Rte. 20, and all of them felt different.  Tough, yeah, but after you've ridden all the way from Virginia, it shouldn't be a big deal.

For LouisB specifically, you might not care about the Virginia tidewater and piedmont regions if you're not interested in American history and if you're in pretty good shape when you arrive.  Have you considered riding the W&OD rail trail/bike route out of Washington, then make your way to Front Royal, and take the Skyline Drive (Shenandoah N.P.) to the Blue Ridge Parkway above Waynesboro to pick up the TransAm there? 

As I said above -
I've had the misfortune of riding and hiking Glacier a dozen or more times.

You said that, and I can't quite figure out if "misfortune" is a sardonic introduction or whether you really don't like it but keep going back.

Offline LouisB

Re: Western Express versus TransAmerica
« Reply #41 on: September 08, 2022, 11:38:55 am »
I hadn't Pat, but I like the idea of cycling through Shenandoah NP.

I was thinking of taking the train to Charlottesville, VA anyway, so cycling to Waynesboro to pick up the TA works well.

Thank you for the suggestion.