Author Topic: Western Express challenges?  (Read 3960 times)

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Offline tri45

Western Express challenges?
« on: October 02, 2010, 11:24:35 am »
Greetings All,  any insights into the current challenges facing one who rides the Western Exp. solo-self supported.  I am planning a West-East ride, April/May departure.  I will ride West Exp picking up the TransAm.  Thanks.

Offline cgarch

Re: Western Express challenges?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2010, 11:39:25 am »
There are a number of threads in the forums covering this route and numerous journals over on CGOAB. Here's one: and another Directory at CGOAB:  You might want to think about that April departure - could be mighty cold out in the open across Nevada.

Santa Rosa, CA

Offline staehpj1

Re: Western Express challenges?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2010, 12:43:36 pm »
I am planning a West-East ride, April/May departure.  I will ride West Exp picking up the TransAm.  Thanks.
I think you will be likely to have some cold and snow with that schedule.  Personally I would start in the east if I had to start then.  Also I'd probably do the whole TA and skip the WE.  But that is my preference.

Have a great trip whatever you decide.

Offline TarHeelTreeHugger

Re: Western Express challenges?
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2010, 10:16:54 pm »
Greetings!  I left Portland, OR on April 20th this spring for my solo, cross-country trip.  Took the Pacific Coast route south to SF, then the Western Express east to the TransAm.  I anticipated facing poor weather along the way due to the early departure.  I had plenty of cold, persistent rain crossing the coastal range in Oregon and then got hammered by a nasty storm in northern California (wind, cold, rain, etc) for 2 days.  When I got to SF ~1 wk out from Portland, Carson Pass was getting a fresh layer of snow.  I ended up waiting in SF for a couple days while that storm passed.  There was still tons of snow on the ground when I crossed - Sections had walls of snow rising right from the shoulder.  Slightly concerning!  Makes you push it a little more.  Up to that point, I don't think the night-time lows dropped under the upper 30s. 

Nevada consisted of high winds, but mostly sun.  Utah was a beast from a weather standpoint after a beautiful couple of days in Zion.  My night in Bryce Canyon consisted of lows in the 30s and some sleet.  I left a day early, b/c they were expecting snow and lows in the 20s.  Outside Escalante, I encountered some ridiculous, ride-in-the-middle-of-the-road-so-you're-not-blown-off winds just before the snow came.  Snowed the entire way up Boulder Mtn.  I got lucky in Colorado, as I only had some intermittent rain.  Apparently Monarch Pass was a complete nightmare a couple days before I went through.

The real pain for me began once I got out of the mountains and passed Pueblo.  Eastern Colorado and Kansas were just painful after cycling the Oregon and California coast, camping in the Redwoods, seeing the Sierras, going through great basin territory in Nevada, finally experiencing Abbey's country (Zion/Bryce/Glen Canyon), and cranking up and down Colorado.  I could put up w/ intermittent crappy weather in such amazing parts of the country, but getting stuck in hailstorms in the middle of Kansas was not fun!  And don't get me started about the dogs in Kentucky. 

So yeah, leaving early may increase your chances of finding yourself in some nasty weather.  In my case, I had a short time frame (only had 2 days off through Colorado) and it was likely a now-or-never chance to do the trip.  So I say leave as late as you can, but definitely leave!  Don't let the possibility of poor weather dissuade you.  Make sure you have legitimate rain gear and some cold protection (I had my down jacket and vest through Colorado).  I used the ACA maps, which were a blessing.  Let me know if you have any specific questions for me.  Despite some poor weather along the way, there were plenty of beautiful days and the trip overall went great.  Ride on! 



Offline valygrl

Re: Western Express challenges?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2010, 10:33:14 pm »
TarHeelTreeHugger, thanks so much for your post - really nice to hear such specific relevant experiences.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2010, 11:19:53 pm by valygrl »

Offline tri45

Re: Western Express challenges?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2010, 12:17:11 pm »
Greatly appreciate all the replies.  I have adjusted my plan.  Now going East to West.  May 15ish departure.  No BOB, just Panniers.  Hotels and hosts every stop.  Thanks again.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Western Express challenges?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2010, 05:29:39 am »
One of these days I will do the Transam. I have never done the WE, but  I have read about it. The one impression I got was that you had better make plans for staying hydrated.