Author Topic: Getting Across The Desert  (Read 19537 times)

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Offline staehpj1

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2011, 07:29:10 am »
Personally, I think east/west USA crossings are over-rated, because there's that big prairie in the middle that is so un-interesting.  It's one of those things that's super-cool to SAY but not that awesome to DO.   But I'm weird that way, I think many would not agree.
I don't think that is weird at all, but...

It depends of what you want from an east-west (or vice versa) tour.  If the goal is to experience a sampling of what US is like crossing the prairie is part of it.  Also I will add that while it isn't my favorite riding terrain, quite a few of my fond memories of the TA are from the great plains.  Most were the result of the people there rather than the terrain, but still I fondly remember the time riding across eastern Colorado and Kansas.  Overall I thought it was well worth experiencing.

While I definitely won't go that far, I know a few who found the prairie to be their favorite terrain on the TA.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2011, 09:48:03 am »
I loved riding across Kansas--the small towns, beautiful parks, swimming pools, golden prairie grasses, friendly people, homey cafes, nice churches ... plus a nice break from the hilly terrain on either side. There's even a wildlife refuge right in the middle.

Offline Stevenp

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2011, 03:01:19 pm »
This is like Disneyland for my planning. I love these forums!

I live here in Minnesota. Part of my journey across the country is to get a sampling of different areas as part of my consideration on where to live next, being I am wanting to leave Minnesota.

I hear you on the deserts. I am strongly second guessing the desert Idea. Now, I do plan on studying the path to take very closely and determine what to do. I have considered the idea of leaving from MN and starting my trip that way, but not sure because I really do want to go to California and I really do want to end up in S. Carolina where my parents live.

I guess I need to study where the deserts begin and end, and that will be a good start. I also like the mountains! I want to be inspired by my trip, more than anything. I am planning on 4-5 thousand miles before I am done. I'd say that's a good figure for 3-4 months of travel with enjoying the scenery, wouldn't you say?

Do any of you know of some good sites that will help show me the terrain of the USA? Something that will help me plan out the months of travel. I would even consider riding over and then heading back to catch things i missed in my first pass.

Stevenp

Offline popeyespal

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2011, 03:21:36 pm »
www.mapmyride.com

www.googlemaps.com  

With google you want to make sure you are in BIKE mode.

Offline valygrl

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2011, 04:29:03 pm »
www.mapmyride.com

www.googlemaps.com  

With google you want to make sure you are in BIKE mode.


Oh no, please do not plan a route using google maps bike mode, it will lead you astray.

Offline popeyespal

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2011, 06:57:29 pm »
Oh no, please do not plan a route using google maps bike mode, it will lead you astray.

Please explain?

I have yet to have an issue with using google maps. In fact, it has worked out so well that I sold off the ACA maps I had bought. When I planned my first leg to Las Vegas from Massachusetts the route Google provided was exactly the route that forum members had suggested and automatically incorporated available trails and bike paths.

The only caution I would toss out concerning bike mode is to plan your route in small sections. If you just ask it to route you from VA to CA of course you're going to have issues. I asked it to map out a day or two of riding at a time and it worked just fine.

Another plus in Google's favor is that it is constantly updated. Static maps like the ACA ones can not possibly be as up to date as Google. Even considering the addendum and the forums here.


Google has partnered with several biking organizations to provide mapping info.

Offline Joseph Anderson

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2011, 07:14:49 pm »

I have yet to have an issue with using google maps. In fact, it has worked out so well that I sold off the ACA maps I had bought. When I planned my first leg to Las Vegas from Massachusetts the route Google provided was exactly the route that forum members had suggested and automatically incorporated available trails and bike paths.


Yes, Google's bike mapping is useful, but can lead you astray, especially on less traveled routes. For instance, in eastern Washington, Google's bike route would have had me crossing not only the US Army's Yakima Firing Range (artillery and bombs, oh my!) but also the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

I've submitted corrections to Google for similar issues and they've been incorporated into the maps, so this sort of problems should decrease over time.

Offline Stevenp

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2011, 07:20:24 pm »
Now THAT would be an interesting ride! :)

Anyone try using Google Earth to find routes?

Offline valygrl

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2011, 08:19:16 pm »
I've seen google maps route where there is really only a hiking trail or no way through.  I wouldn't trust it.

Offline popeyespal

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2011, 09:32:25 pm »
I've seen google maps route where there is really only a hiking trail or no way through.  I wouldn't trust it.

Do you have an example of what you're referring to? If I'm using a tool I shouldn't I would love to be educated.

Has anyone else experienced Google sending them where there are no roads or trails? This is important to me as I am primarily using Google maps as my routing tool.

Offline tonythomson

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2011, 10:17:02 pm »
I've seen google maps route where there is really only a hiking trail or no way through.  I wouldn't trust it.
Has anyone else experienced Google sending them where there are no roads or trails? This is important to me as I am primarily using Google maps as my routing tool.

Yep, using the bicycle option it took me not too far out of the way last year in Florida.  Total dead end at a farm.  Fortunately one of the Mexican workers showed me a route through the trees on a sandy track,  I would not have found the way plus it was private property. But on the whole I find Google fantastic and use it all the time, especially the street view.
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline popeyespal

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2011, 08:47:38 am »
Valygrl and someone else sent me examples of what they considered to be "failures" on the part of Google maps.

All of the examples presented seemed to be where a road became a track or trail on Google maps and in reality had fallen into disuse and was impassable, was no longer there or had become private property. Sure...these are problems... but they are problems that you get with static maps as well. That's why maps have addendum and occasionally new additions. Changes happen.

This is not a reason to dismiss online maps as a planning tool.

Updates and changes happen quicker online.
You can zoom and scroll while planning which is much more useful than having only one scale to work from.

So.... I stick by my initial statement with one caveat. Due diligence!
« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 06:54:44 pm by popeyespal »

Offline coreyd

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2011, 06:42:14 pm »
Stevenp,
I used to live in Minnesota, but moved to Vegas over 6 years ago.  I have to tell you...despite the crappy winters MN is one of the best places I've ever lived and can't wait to someday go back!  You didn't say how long your trip was going to be or when you were going to leave, but at that time of the year, I'd spend as much time in the northern part of the country as possible and make my way south in the fall.  I ride out here in Vegas all the time, and once June comes, my bike goes into hibernation until the temps are out of the 100's in late September.  Beyond those few months, riding here the rest of the year is actually very pleasant. 

Desert temps in July and Aug are extreme, even for a local Las Vegan.  Nighttime temps often hover around 100 degrees in Aug, so even night riding will be extremely hot.  Don't forget all the fun little critters that thrive in the desert summers...scorpions, black widow spiders, rattlesnakes...If you plan on any stealth camping make sure you do some homework about where those critters tend to live and how to deal with them if you do come across them.  Nothing worse than a black widow bite when you all alone in the middle of the night and the middle of nowhere! 

All that said, follow others' advice about hydration, terrain education and advanced planning.  There is some really good advice in this thread! 

And when you do finally make it to Vegas, I am happy to show you around some of the best riding areas the country has to offer!  People only think of the "strip" when they think Vegas, but there is some spectacular riding out on this side of the world!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2011, 07:03:15 pm »
So.... I stick by my initial statement with one caveat. Due diligence!
I tend to agree that Google maps is a great tool if you realize it's limitations.  No way that I would trust it to pick a route without verifying though.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Getting Across The Desert
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2011, 08:56:16 pm »
StevenP, Through another thread you created it appears that you are doing this trip supported?
Where did you see that?