Author Topic: Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!  (Read 6360 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mudmin

Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!
« on: February 20, 2007, 07:13:16 pm »
Hi, I'm looking to shave some time and hills (if possible ) off of a southern tier trip (East to West) from March 2-May 2, 2007.  Does anyone have any advice? Especially route changes or suggestions for shortcuts.  I know the AC maps are mapped out of the way for a reason sometimes, but just wondering if anyone else has a second opinion. Thanks.

Offline litespeed

Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2007, 11:08:55 am »
Sure. You could save some time by riding the shoulders of Interstates 8 and 10 in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas (outside of major cities) but why bother? Two months is plenty of time for the trip. Also, you would be well advised to stick to the AC route through Louisiana as going through New Orleans or riding 190 is not advisable, to put it mildly.
The AC routes meander quite a bit in the east but out west are a lot easier to follow. I recommend US90 across Florida - not as scenic and with less facilities than coastal 98 but a better bicycling road.
Personally, I never use the AC maps. It takes an hour or two out of the day just puzzling them out. I actually met a touring cyclist in New England who lost it using them. People thought he was nuts and called the cops.

Offline mudmin

Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2007, 04:21:09 pm »
I was debating about taking 90 from Jacksonville instead of leaving from St. Augustine. It looks WAY out of the way to dip down in Florida like the route suggests.  I guess what I do out west depends on how I'm feeling and how much I'm itching to get done!  Hopefully, I won't WANT to finish!  Thanks for the info!

Offline rickshaw

Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2007, 12:45:56 pm »
I joined ACA's Southern Tier Expedition this fall, and left the tour to go
solo in West Texas.
One of the reasons for leaving the tour was the ACA route, and I rode
straight to Jacksonville.

Want to shave a few days/week off of your ACA route?
-Yes ride from JAX (good luck getting across one of the downtown
bridges - I did it on a Sunday) - because 90 is a sweet ride all the way
to New Orleans. (except around Mobile Bay - do Dauphin Island like
they do)

-Stay further South in Louisiana - like do New Orleans - Baton Rouge -
Port Charles (they go way north to catch a ferry across the Missisippii,
when you can get a cab across in Baton Rouge).

-Skip the Austin hills and do San Antonio - as it is flat all the way from
Louisiana to Del Rio. Take farm roads into San Ant., then 90 all the way
to El Paso.

-Skip the McDonald observatory near Van Horne, TX, as you can just
stay on 90 for that (10 more miles and a lot of climbing on an already
long day). Some of our riders lost sleep the night before worring about
the 90 mile ride with a mile of climb - and ended coming to Ft. Davis
way after dark, and our tour leader did not even advise people that
there was a shorter, flatter alternative.

-Skip Emory Pass in New Mexico - there is a flatter pass south of

Offline mudmin

Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2007, 10:46:35 pm »
Those all sound like great suggestions. I will probably have to leave from St. Augustine, but it seems like 90 might help me out a lot on this trip. How is 90 as far as services and hotels?  I have some places lined up to stay at (for free) along the way, so that might cause me to think twice about leaving the route in some areas, but I'm sure I'll make some of it up as I go. Thank you SO MUCH for your advice.

Do you have any other advice for someone going solo on his first extended tour?


Offline rickshaw

Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2007, 11:35:54 pm »
-Get a 40 spoke rear wheel and carry spokes (tape em to your frame).
-Get the 6X extra fat inner tubes (you may have to order them) - with
tire lines and good tires (fat ones).
-Do NOT take the availability of resources for grated on the Southern
tier, so carry plenty of water & snacks. In some parts of the Texas and
Arizona the economies have shrank recently and stores are closed.
Also, this part of the country can be closed on Sundays.
-In parts of Tex and Lou, TASTE the water before filling ya bottles.
-Carry the ACA maps.
-Bring bug spray w/deet.
-Be ready to be chased by dogs. I carry pepper spray WHICH I HAVE
NEVER HAD TO USE. Why, because a can of pepper spray gives you ALL
the confidence you need to face down the dogs. I stop and yell at
them. But you'll see some serious farm dogs who have little else to do
but chase you.
-2 Bridges are out (Katrina) on 90 in Miss. - Biloxi, and between Bay St.
Louis and Pass Christain.
-It was 104 in Phoenix, and 34 in Florida, so be ready for a 70 degree
temp range.
-Although I didn't use one, I suggest a '60 RV staffed with a medical
team, mechanics, coaches and chefs : )

Offline litespeed

Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2007, 11:58:18 pm »
Going through southern Louisiana might be all right if you can get through New Orleans with no problems. You could continue on US90 and parallel the interstate or take 14 through Abbeville. Roads that parallel interstates are generally pretty tame and have lots of facilities.
In 2004 I crossed Louisiana west-to-east. I rode US190 as far as Livonia where I cut north to the Mississippi River ferry at Fayetteville and on east on state 10. I was lucky to survive. 190 is about the worst cycling road I've ever been on - narrow two lane blacktop with no shoulders, even narrower (and long) bridges and fast, heavy traffic. Avoid 190 at all costs. It is even worse between Slidell and Covington.
Going through Orange and Beaumont is a busy pain in the butt but not unbearable.
I was strongly advised to avoid Houston so I went along the coast and through Galveston. I recommend this highly. Bopping along the Galveston waterfront was one of the highlights of my trip - miles and miles of beautiful esplanade.
You can continue on to San Antonio through Lake Jackson and Victoria.
Texas highways are among the best cycling roads in the country. You almost always have wide, paved shoulders or light traffic.

Offline Quahog03

Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2007, 10:08:23 am »
Hi Dan,
 I left last March and headed east from SD. We got off ACA route in
Safford Az. to avoid some hills. Leaving Safford we went south along
Rt.191. There's no  shoulder,however traffic is light. Then we got on
Interstate 10 east going thru Lordsburg and Deming and to Las Cruces.
It's ok to ride the Interstate in that area,however remember it will won't
be quiet with all the truck traffic. And I will give the truckers a thumbs
up,when they could move out into the passing lane to give us a break
they did.
Also we might meet up,myself and another rider are leaving St.
Francisville La. on 3/15/07 heading east.
Good luck,

Offline mudmin

Help! Southern Tier Advice/Shortcuts!
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2007, 09:15:47 pm »
Thank you guys so much for the advice. It's all well-noted. I've never done anything like this and I have been so impressed by the ACA community. Thank you!