Author Topic: Florida to California or vice-versa  (Read 9773 times)

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Offline Pete

Florida to California or vice-versa
« on: August 20, 2004, 07:29:05 am »

I've been planning to do St Augustine to San Francisco starting mid-March 2005 over 15 weeks. However reading various trans-US accounts I'm now wondering if I should do the trip the other way around due to prevailing winds.
The disadvantage is the main highlights for me are SF & Yosemite which would then be right at the start.
Also if going East-West I had been planning to do some more of California should I arrive early, but I'll feel under pressure to crack on with the main route if I start there.
How bad are these headwinds? And what are the other weather implications of travelling in the opposite direction - i.e. being in Florida in June instead of March.
I'd like to hear from anyone who has personal experience.

The route will roughly be a combo of Western Express-Grand Canyon-Southern Tier.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Pete (Middlesex, UK)

Offline ATSFfan

Florida to California or vice-versa
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2004, 07:51:12 pm »
I completed the Southern Tier this year, leaving St. Augustine April 7th - just about your same time frame. I also read numerous accounts of west-east vs east-west and decided to go westward because of the stories I read of headwinds from El Paso to Del Rio (450 miles). Consequently, I had a tailwind through that section, but ended up fighting headwinds from about the New Mexico/Arizona border to San Diego (600 miles) due to the winds coming off the Pacific coast and heading east. Therefore, it's a tradeoff of where you want to deal with winds, the deserts of California and Arizona, or the deserts of West Texas.
One more slight reason to ride east to west - the eastbound riders I came in contact with that had left San Diego in March still hit cold weather and snow in Emory Pass in New Mexico in early April. Whereas by the time I got there, the weather (although I hit a nasty thunderstorm on my ascent) was in the 60s and 70s in the mountains.
I also rode east to west because I live in California and so each day I rode west I'd be one more day closer to home - kind of a psychological boost.


Offline rtwbikerider

Florida to California or vice-versa
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2004, 06:24:14 am »
It's possible to avoid the Emory Pass if, heading east, you leave the Souther Tier route outside of Safford, AZ and stay on US 70 to Lordsburg, NM. From Lordsburg you can stay on I-10 to Deming and Las Cruces. I successfully followed this route in 2002. I believe that it's legal to ride I-10 here, but if I'm wrong, please reply to this message. I don't want to be responsible for sending anyone down the wrong path. BTW, you'll cross the Continental Divide at 4585 feet using this route. That sure beats the Emory Pass at 8228 feet.

Offline Sxphn

Florida to California or vice-versa
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2004, 04:00:32 am »
I don't have personal experience riding across the U.S. but I have in my files an article from Bicycling Magazine by Tim and Jennifer Klingler concerning wind patterns in the U.S. (unfortunately my copy does not have the publication date but it must be from the early 90's when I had a subscription.) There were several interesting point in the article.  One is that while the prevailing winds are predominately from the west in the upper atmosphere (this explains the weather patterns we seen on T.V.,) that does not means that the surface winds are predominately from the west.  The article agreed with what one of the other writers replied in this forum, that in the mid-section of the U.S. the winds are more often from the east than the west while on both coasts the winds are more often from the west than the east.  Looking on the chart in the article, it appears that in a St. Augustine to San Franisco trip you would have a noticeable advantage with the winds if you started in the east and went west across the southern part of the U.S.  However, the authors make the point that their chart only takes in to consideration winds from the east and west.  The authors say that if all four wind directions are taken in to consideration, then the predominate surface wind direction in the U.S. is from the SOUTH!  Maybe you should consider a Sotuh to North crossing of the U.S.  Personally, this is one factor in my planning a New Orleans to Winnepeg trip next summer.

Offline Pete

Florida to California or vice-versa
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2004, 05:53:11 pm »
Many thanks for these responses. I have gone with my original plan and booked a flight to Jacksonville for 12th March.

Offline CA_Hwy_1

Florida to California or vice-versa
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2005, 10:38:18 pm »
Maybe we'll see you on the road, if you take your time. A friend and I are flying into Jacksonville on March 19th to start the Southern Tier, so we'll be a week behind you. Be sure to clear any debris off he roads for us. Look for two old guys on recumbents with silly grins.

Offline Pete

Florida to California or vice-versa
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2005, 07:34:36 am »
OK you may well catch up as I'll be making fairly leisurely progress at the start.


Offline GKeipinger

Florida to California or vice-versa
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2005, 12:12:33 pm »
Hi Pete,

if you are concerned about prevailing winds, you should check this out:




Guenter, Germany

Offline Sabrina

Florida to California or vice-versa
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2005, 12:28:59 am »
Thanks to all for your posts--you've helped me in my deliberation about which direction to go.

Hope to meet you out there (on the road) one of these days,