Whats the most important thing to worry about in the desert?

Where to sleep at night
7 (24.1%)
How cold the desert gets at night during the winter
6 (20.7%)
12 (41.4%)
2 (6.9%)
Bicycle maintenance
2 (6.9%)
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Author Topic: Desert Pedaling Southern Tier  (Read 3612 times)

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Offline OoI3OIVII3oO

Desert Pedaling Southern Tier
« on: November 13, 2010, 03:04:54 am »
I'm doing a tour of America using the "Southern Tier Route" and I'm going to be hitting the desert in west texas, new mexico, arizona, california what should I do for camping I've got a lightweight backpacking tent when i reach the end of my days should i just pull off the side of the road and pitch me tent?  will there be places to stay within a reasonable distance? How rough of terrain do I have ahead of me? is the wild life going to be an issue? how about elevation is that going to be an issue?

Offline aggie

Re: Desert Pedaling Southern Tier
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2010, 10:36:10 am »
If you're doing the Southern Tier in the winter time cold will be an issue at the higher elevations.  It may snow at some of the passes.  You shouldn't have any problem finding a place to camp.  If it gets late you can almost always find a spot to get about 50 feet away from the roadway to pitch a tent.   If you like to use campgrounds you will find the ACA maps list a lot of them.  They generally are well spaced but there are some areas where there is a bit of distance between them.  Also at higher elevations you may find campgrounds closed for the winter.  Wildlife is not an issue.  You will be climbing some mountains in NM, AZ, and CA but the roads are pretty good.  As long as you stop at the various markets and fill up with water you should be ok.  I use 4 water bottles and found I could make it to a store to fill up before I ran dry. 

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Desert Pedaling Southern Tier
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2010, 04:04:06 am »
Winter is a fine time to cycle the ST. I have done the ST a few times, not always ACA's route, but it was pretty good.
There are some roads of theirs you do want to use, and alternates you do want to avoid. The only wildlife you might want to be concerned about is the two-legged kind, and luckily, cycling cross-country does not put you in any particular
 danger except for the possibility of having an accidental collision with a car or truck. Folllowing good safety practices will take you a long way toward avoiding those possibilities.

 In fact even that far south the cold can get to deadly extremes. Weather appropriate gear and clothing are necessary.  Winter cycling beats summer cycling. ST winter weather can actually be very nice and cool and quite nice. You might run into a lot of rain in the southeast coastal states. The desert sections are OK. As long as you make allowances of water and such for those lengths of road apparently without sources you will be alright. There are no distances without sources that cannot be comfortably traversed by a cyclist making good mileage. Know your water/beverage mileage by keeping track of it. When you get to the desert you will know how far you can go on a certain quantity of whatever it is you are using for hydration. It's just common sense, I know, but it does not hurt to articulate it.

Out of economic necessity I am a free camper most of the time, about 65% of the nights. There is always some place to sleep for the night, so don't be concerned about that. It's all in what you are prepared to accept for comfort and lack of comfort in a night's rest.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2010, 04:06:56 am by Westinghouse »

Offline MrBent

Re: Desert Pedaling Southern Tier
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2010, 04:17:55 pm »
You're getting good advice.  The key question here is time of year.  Winter is a great time, but you must be prepared for sub-freezing temps, easily down into the teen's F. depending on elevation.  But even nights that are that cold can give way to very pleasant day time temps.  So having a good bag/pad/tent combo is crucial.  Personally, I'll take the cold over the heat anytime.  The big bonus of going during the cooler months is the ease of carrying enough water between access points.  The other big bonus is missing all the nasty humidity and bugs in the South.



Offline OoI3OIVII3oO

Re: Desert Pedaling Southern Tier
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2010, 02:57:34 am »
thanks for the tips if you have anymore keep them coming

what are the chances of me running into snow?

Offline aggie

Re: Desert Pedaling Southern Tier
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2010, 10:43:52 am »
It's hard to say if you'll hit any snow.  The weather is what it is.  Your biggest chances for snow will be in the mountains of New Mexico (Emory Pass) and Arizona (around Globe).  It is also possible to have snow in California.  It just depends on how cold it gets when a front goes through.