Author Topic: Northern Tier - travel direction  (Read 3917 times)

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Offline knolltop

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Northern Tier - travel direction
« on: November 19, 2010, 06:31:24 pm »
I'll be including the "northern" portion of NT route in next year's x-country.

While Transam seems to be tossup as to wind bias, there seems to be definite w--->e bias for portion of NT through Montana & N Dakota.  Am making this judgement based on reading a number of CGOAB journals.

What is collective wisdom here on ACA Forum?

Thanks!
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Offline staehpj1

Re: Northern Tier - travel direction
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 07:00:26 pm »
My take is based solely on looking at a wind map and reading what others say online, since I have done the TA but not the NT.  So take this for what it is worth.

It looks to me as if there may be a slight edge in favor of W-E for the NT.  That said it seems to not be that pronounced or reliable to use it as a primary criteria when picking direction of travel.

BTW, I am of the opinion that there is a definite advantage of E-W on the TA wind wise, but again other factors are likely to be more important.

It isn't like the difference direction of travel makes on either is as big as it is on the pacific coast highway.

Personally, I like to ride toward home.  I like to have air travel out of the way in the beginning.  I like to have friends or family to meet at the end.  I like that starting far away makes it harder to wimp out.  I think things like that are bigger factors for both the TA and the NT.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Northern Tier - travel direction
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010, 10:32:48 pm »
Anecdotal evidence is very unreliable. Everybody thinks the winds were against them. You just notice headwinds more than you notice tailwinds. I'd try to find objective wind studies. And be sure you focus on the month you'll be in each area, since wind varies by time of year.

Offline danacf

Re: Northern Tier - travel direction
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2010, 11:11:23 am »
I can tell you there is definitely a west to east bias in the northeast.  I live in Albany, NY and the trees in this part of the country all lean toward the east.  High pressure systems usually originate in Canada, sweep through the Great Lakes, cross the northeast and go out to sea.  Those systems bring cooler, drier air and west to northwest winds.  The low pressure systems originate in the south and and bring warmer, moist air and south to southwest winds.  Sometimes as those systems move out to sea we'll get southeasterly winds.  Easterly and northeasterly winds are quite rare here.  Once in a while a system will back up and move west, but it's not very common.  I would definitely choose to ride the northeast section of the norther tier west to east, especially toward early spring or late fall when the temperature differentials create some pretty stiff breezes.

Offline livewombat

Re: Northern Tier - travel direction
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2010, 01:52:27 pm »
Searching on "Wind Rose" brings up some useful resources, such as this page with links to monthly wind rose diagrams for selected Wisconsin cities.  I was surprised to find that July and August bring more south and south-southeast winds than west winds (since it's the one day of really strong west winds when I was riding west that I remember).  Here's a site for South Dakota.  

(Edited to correct travel direction -- that was a headwind, not a tailwind on the memorable day)
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 11:52:26 am by livewombat »

Offline knolltop

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Re: Northern Tier - travel direction
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2010, 11:01:42 am »
Thanks to all!
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Offline rvklassen

Re: Northern Tier - travel direction
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2010, 05:29:56 pm »
Searching on "Wind Rose" brings up some useful resources, such as this page with links to monthly wind rose diagrams for selected Wisconsin cities.  
Wind rose diagrams are great since there are places where the wind is almost equally likely from all eight directions, but one has a slight edge.  Just because the wind comes from that direction 20% of the time, it gets labelled "prevailing".  Whereas in a place where the wind comes from its prevailing direction 80% of the time the rose looks much different.  Just looking at a prevailing wind map could make you think you'll have unrelenting tail/head winds depending in your direction.

indyfabz

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Re: Northern Tier - travel direction
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2010, 10:38:56 am »
East of Cut Bank, we had prevailing tailwinds in MT and ND.  However, I spent a week riding in ND during an organized event and the winds (which were fierce at times) were mostly out of the SE.

Based on experience and talking to locals, there are at least two isolated sections where the wind always blows in a certain direction absent some crazy set of circumstances.  One is between the road that takes you into Waterton Village in Alberta and the town of McGrath.  Tailwind going to McGrath.  The snow fences along the road tell the story.  The other is the section between St. Mary, MT and Chief Mountain Highway, which uses U.S. 89.  The wind will almost certtainly be at your back heading "east" (you actually head northeast).  It was when I went in that direction, and I had a killer headwind last year coming the other direction.  Fortunately, both of these sections are relatively short.

But as someone else wrote, I wouldn't base my decision on prevailing winds.  Other factors such as the chance of snow and Going to the Sun Road being open could be more important depending on your trip timing.