Author Topic: Looking for info on Southern Tier Scn 1, unsupported - not camping  (Read 4642 times)

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Offline Rideon!

Hi,

My husband and I have done a few multiday trips around FL, NY and MD.  We were interested to try the southwest next.  We want to go San Diego to Tuscon (or vice-versa).   So many questions... is one or the other direction recommended?  New GPX route or older paper map route?  We typically do, 50 or so miles per day.  I've seen warnings about areas with limited facilities (even for camping), can it be done without camping?  I don't mind carrying plenty of food and water but tents, bags, pans, etc are not appealing.

How are the roads? 

Many thanks,
Peggy

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Looking for info on Southern Tier Scn 1, unsupported - not camping
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2023, 07:45:32 am »
Peggy, welcome to the ACA Forums!

About 5 or 6 years ago, I and 3 others did a westbound tour from Tucson area to San Diego mostly following the old (original) ACA ST route.  We did it this direction for personal reasons and did not have issues with headwinds until coming into Imperial, CA, that would be expected.  Check out WeatherSpark.com as a great resource for climate data.

We did not camp as the hotels were only like $5-$10 more per night (that was then).  Some days were short.  The longest was between near Palo Verde (south of Blythe) to Brawley, around 70 miles IIRC.  The problem for you is that it was a WarmShowers that is no longer listed.  If you are strong riders, then you could do the 91 miles between Blythe and Brawley but it is a bit hilly at times, especially if east bound. 

If you do the newer route, you will definitely need to be a strong rider as I think a mandatory 87+ mile day is required to get between the hotels in Wellton, AZ and Gila Bend. 

The old route is fine except for the stretch between Brawley and Blythe which is a bit narrow and has lots of smaller dips and climbs limiting site lines for the trucks.  If you ride this route, I highly recommend you do not ride it on Friday to Sundays (or any 3-day weekend) as there is a lot of RV traffic pulling dune buggies to get to Glamis.  I don't worry too much about professional truck drivers but a bunch of people driving a large RV with a trailer swaying behind is not too appealing to me.

The new route extensively uses I-8 extensively. I personally prefer the old route but would be willing to ride the newer route.  Just not a super fan of interstates as they are more miles than smiles which is the opposite of how I like to tour.  Of course, we all have to do the miles not smiles on some days.

Hope you have a great tour.  Tailwinds, John

Offline Rideon!

Re: Looking for info on Southern Tier Scn 1, unsupported - not camping
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2023, 08:41:28 am »
Thanks John! 

That's exactly the kind of information I was wanted.   90 miles is just not in our pedals so I will continue to research sleeping accommodations before we but plane tix.  I've never used the warm showers group, I thought you still needed tents and gear for that?

Kind regards,
Peggy

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Looking for info on Southern Tier Scn 1, unsupported - not camping
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2023, 08:50:58 am »
Peggy,
Regarding WarmShowers, it depends.  Some hosts only allow tent camping maybe due to indoor space limitations, others (like me) only allow indoor accommodations as there is no grass for the tent, others say you can do either.  Guests of course have their preferences. 

The members (hosts/guests) of WarmShowers are general very nice and welcoming.  In my opinion, the admin for WarmShowers sucks.  It used to be totally free, easy to use, responsive to questions, etc.  Then they hired a "consultant" to run it and the running of it has gone way down in my opinion.

Again, the hosts/guests are usually great.  Just be sure to actually read the profiles and feedback of the hosts and guests to ensure you are a good fit, i.e. if you require an indoor accommodation, and the host only allows tent camping, then you need to look elsewhere.

You might look into riding from say New Orleans to Key West (or vice versa) in the winter. Lot more services.

Tailwinds, John

Offline Rideon!

Re: Looking for info on Southern Tier Scn 1, unsupported - not camping
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2023, 10:02:00 am »

John,

Interesting to know.  I will keep looking into the western route.  We did New Orleans to San Destin last year and the east coast ride from Jax to Key Largo.  We are looking to explore another area this time. 

Cheers,
Peggy

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Looking for info on Southern Tier Scn 1, unsupported - not camping
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2023, 10:09:59 am »
Totally understand.  Have you considered riding Baja California from say Mexicali to Cabo San Lucus?
BTW, you might want to change your user name so it doesn't show an email as ACA's Forums seem to attract spamming bots at times and you might find you are suddenly getting a bunch of spam. 

Tailwinds, John 

Offline UncaBuddha

Re: Looking for info on Southern Tier Scn 1, unsupported - not camping
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2023, 11:43:40 am »

John,

Interesting to know.  I will keep looking into the western route.  We did New Orleans to San Destin last year and the east coast ride from Jax to Key Largo.  We are looking to explore another area this time. 

Cheers,
Peggy

Peggy, I'd be interested in your route from NOLA to Destin. I am trying to get myself psyched to do part of the ST but just can't get excited about tenting it...

Thanks,
Mark

Offline Rideon!

Re: Looking for info on Southern Tier Scn 1, unsupported - not camping
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2023, 04:05:20 pm »
Hi,

I've attached the ride as planned for NOLA to Jax, pretty much followed Adventure cycling's route.  We stopped in San Destin because the road across (rt 10?) was pretty hairy with lots of trucks, a rumble strip and no appreciable shoulder. 

Be sure to check for road closures etc.  We didn't and also had a multi mile bridge crossing without a bike lane (it was closed because of hurricane damage the year before). Many cranky drivers on that route.  Hopefully there is an available detour.  I think it was the Dauphin Island to Gulf Breeze section.

Cheers,
Peggy

Offline UncaBuddha

Re: Looking for info on Southern Tier Scn 1, unsupported - not camping
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2023, 05:13:50 pm »
Thanks! I'll give it a look. I have the ST maps so I'm just gathering more data points!

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Looking for info on Southern Tier Scn 1, unsupported - not camping
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2023, 06:14:44 pm »
Unca & Peggy,

Here is the reverse route I did several years ago.  We did a mix of camping and hotel but the services were plentiful so hotels should not be a problem but could be a bit pricey.

https://ridewithgps.com/collections/1836687?privacy_code=jTwp2CVN6ssMhzFZ

NOTE:  The above collection is not complete but only has the routes you needed.  A couple of cautions: 
* Follow Route NOWK-E out of New Orleans.  Do not try taking US-90 as a short cut as the bridge has no shoulder and very heavy traffic.
* The bridges east of White Kitchen are closed but supposedly cyclists have gotten through (see other threads re: the bridge).
* The area around Gulfport uses a "Multi-Use Path" but the MUP is basically an slightly wider sidewalk.  It was fine overall though.
* Some routes are similar to ACA's official Southern Tier but my routes tend to zig and zag a bit more than ACA's as I prefer lower traffic counts when available.
* The section between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach is absolutely wonderful but you may get a strong headwind.
* The section between Navarre and Mary Ester is on US-90 and there is no alternative.  Avoid during rush hours.

If you are going east of Destin, let me know and I can try to add the other routes.

Tailwinds, John