Author Topic: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West  (Read 9036 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline jamawani

Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« on: March 04, 2023, 10:52:02 am »
Hey y'all -

Just came in from clearing more snow.
A lot of us out West are pretty darn sick of shovelling.
And there's more coming in March - lots more.

Other than me trolling for sympathy, what does that have to do with anything?
Well, a lot of touring plans may need adjusting because of this winter's impacts.
Yosemite National Park has an all-time record - 15 feet in some places - and winter's not over.

Impacts:
1) Many mountain passes and highways will open much later this year.
2) Campgrounds and services will open even later - if at all.
3) There is likely to be damage that will delay things further.
4) Snowmelt will be massive this year with probable flooding.

Even in normal years, people in Atlanta and Dallas simply don't understand winters in the West.
If you have 5 feet of snow in Yellowstone, it doesn't melt out until the end of May or early June.
In normal years.

The deepest snows and biggest records are in the California Sierras.
Mountain ranges in Nevada and the Wasatch in Utah have near records, too.
The Colorado and Wyoming Rockies have above normal snowpacks.
The Cascades in the Northwest and the Northern Rockies in Montana and Idaho
have close to average snowpacks, but longer snow seasons with March storms lined up.

Routes Impacted by Snow:
1. Sierra-Cascades -
The segments in California will be unrideable until July and may be closed for resource protection.
2. Western Express -
Carson Pass has been closed more this season than ever before. May will be tough.
Expect snowbanks and no services all the way through June.
The desert in Nevada and Utah will be beautiful this year - esp. in late May and June.
3. TransAmerica - also Parks, Peaks, and Prairies
Stay tuned. Depending on the rest of winter, there is likely to be above normal snowpack.
Yellowstone is still recovering from last year's floods. Expect later openings.
4. Northern Tier -
Sherman Pass has about 200% of normal snowpack with more to come.
Glacier N.P. has slightly above normal totals - again - with a series of March storms predicted.
Expect late pass openings in Washington (June) and a late June opening of Going to the Sun.
5. Great Divide -
Still too early to tell, but trending later for anything north of New Mexico. Wet/muddy conditions likely.
Given the moisture levels, the Southwest monsoon is likely to be strong this year in New Mexico.

Other Weather Impacts -
1. Pacific Coast -
California has had record rainfall on the coast this winter with mudslides and washouts.
There is one full closure and multiple lane closures south of Monterrey.
2. Lewis & Clark -
Any route that follows western rivers is likely to be impacted by flooding.
Flooding will be especially bad if there is a rapid warm-up. Flooding will peak in June / early July.

<<<>>>

The moisture will mean beautiful - albeit late - wildflowers. (Also mosquitos in late summer.)
But everything will likely be a few weeks - or more - late.  YMMV

Jama

Pix -

Yosemite Valley & Half Dome Webcam
Sonora Pass on Memorial Day on a normal year


« Last Edit: March 04, 2023, 10:54:45 am by jamawani »

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1913
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2023, 11:31:38 am »
On the bright side, maybe the fire danger will be delayed/shortened if the snow lingers around.

Offline jamawani

Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2023, 11:41:05 am »
Unfortunately,
In California - it means the chaparral grasses flourish in early summer - then dry out.
It actually means greater fire danger come September/October.
Elsewhere in the interior West it still mean fast grass growth.
It will be great for all the cows on the public domain.
But also for the deer and antelope who are known to play.
But, come late summer and the fire risk will be high.

Pic - High Plains just east of the Bighorns

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1913
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2023, 11:46:49 am »
You are just so positively full of good news today  ;)

Offline eorogers

Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2023, 04:54:10 pm »
I think a quick melt with flooding is a major concern.  Not just high water, but road damage.

I'm looking at routes from the Oregon Coast to Missoula with a flexible June 1 start. 

I'm thinking Newport to Portland to Lewis & Clark for the Columbia River Gorge and Palouse, or the TransAm from Florence for McKenzie pass, Smith Rock, and John Day.  Have to see how things go. 

The Columbia is big enough I don't really expect much flooding, but...

Eric

Offline froze

Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2023, 05:59:54 pm »
You forgot to mention mudslides, and of course earthquakes.

Offline jamawani

Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2023, 06:40:22 pm »
You forgot to mention mudslides, and of course earthquakes.
My friend quit the local Search & Rescue after 3 years -
because search and rescue too often became search and recovery.
The people were almost always easterners.
The interior West, especially off road, can be very unforgiving.
Just sayin' ...

https://www.louisvillecardinal.com/2017/10/university-professor-dies-wyoming/

Offline froze

Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2023, 08:32:41 am »
You forgot to mention mudslides, and of course earthquakes.
My friend quit the local Search & Rescue after 3 years -
because search and rescue too often became search and recovery.
The people were almost always easterners.
The interior West, especially off road, can be very unforgiving.
Just sayin' ...

https://www.louisvillecardinal.com/2017/10/university-professor-dies-wyoming/

So what exactly are you saying about how that relates to my comment?

Offline jamawani

Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2023, 12:46:18 pm »
So what exactly are you saying about how that relates to my comment?

The interior West, especially off road, can be very unforgiving.

Offline eorogers

Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2023, 01:28:49 pm »
I rode East last year along the borders of the Dismal Swamp and realized I probably knew just enough about swamps to get myself into real trouble should I venture deep into the interior on foot.

Similarly in 1969, after growing up in small town Colorado I went to graduate school at Illinois Tech on the south side of Chicago (32nd & Michigan).  They advertised walking distance to downtown, so I tried it - just once.  The white boy made it 4 blocks before 4 angry young men shouted something rude enough to scare my white ass back to school as quickly as possible.

It is always wise when traveling somewhere new to realize that you may not know as much about the hazards as you think you do, and checking with the locals is always a good idea.

Eric

Offline HikeBikeCook

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 497
  • Touring for over 50 years and still learning
Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2023, 04:40:28 pm »
Bike East young man (and woman). In Southern Massachusetts we have had snow on the ground once (last week) that lasted for a day. Reservoirs are at max capacity but bike paths have been pretty much open all winter. I imagine the mosquitos will be quite heavy but expect an early spring here. Of course March will go out like a lion.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline jamawani

Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2023, 01:03:50 pm »
This guy was lucky - -

A Minnesota snowmobiler was rescued from the Bighorn Mountains late last month after being stranded for three nights in sub-zero weather. David Madsen, 65, of Hawick, Minnesota, survived the unplanned outing by digging a snow cave under his snowmobile.

Madsen wasn’t reported missing because he had left his room at the Bear Lodge Resort at Burgess Junction atop the mountains for a solo day trip. It wasn’t until his motel bill went unpaid three days later that staff reported him missing. By then, Madsen had finally been located by snowmobilers T.J. Larsen, of Gillette, and Jordan Zink, of Sheridan, who just happened to find the stranded sledder.

"We really want people to have fun, but people don’t realize how extreme the conditions are up there this year,” said Ken Blackburn, Bighorn County Sheriff. As of this week, the snowpack at Burgess Junction was 42 inches deep.


Casper Star-Tribune

May and October are the most dangerous months for hikers - less so for cyclists.
But you can wake up to heavy snow crushing your tent when it was warm and sunny the day before.
Just sayin'.

Offline kd_ca

Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2023, 12:28:14 am »
2. Western Express -
Carson Pass has been closed more this season than ever before. May will be tough.
Expect snowbanks and no services all the way through June.


Thanks for the forecast.  I will be attempting Carson Pass in late April on my West Coast to East Coast cross country trip.

Offline vlicon

Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2023, 02:39:28 am »
Carson Pass will be fine as long as we get several days of sunny weather. Hopefully, by the end of April it should not be a problem. The biggest concern will be the condition of the road. The constant snow, rain and plowing this season has taken a toll. Keep a close watch for large cracks and pot holes. I drove over Carson Pass a few weeks ago, and regularly need to drive around the Tahoe - Truckee area. Unless there is some early season repair done potions of these roads will be downright treacherous. I suppose there will also be a lot of water on the road due to snow melt. If temperatures stay cold  there will be ice, and plenty of loose sand on roadways.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2023, 02:41:44 am by vlicon »

Offline hondo77

Re: Adjust Your Plans for Touring in the West
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2023, 03:35:22 pm »
Yeah, I'm toying with the idea of moving my tour around California from early May to after Labor Day. PCH won't be open all the way but the rest of the flooding recovery will be better than early May, I suspect.