Author Topic: My own Great Debate  (Read 4301 times)

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Offline shorecycler

My own Great Debate
« on: March 30, 2011, 11:53:06 pm »
WHERE TO START?!?!?!   ::)

So, as many of you, I plan on touring starting in June. This is a given and in the months passed, I had the idea to ride from my home in NJ, south to VA and then across eventually ending in 'Frisco. Within the past week, Ive really flirted with the idea of getting to the west coast by rail and then "taking the long way home" by bike. The latter idea, now, is especially tempting seeing as recent news of my sister having a baby boy thats due in late August has emerged. I would love to leave from my home on the east coast and ride into the sunset day in and day out but I would be eternally bummed if I were to say, NOT make it all the way to the west coast pre-baby. That is going to be the deciding factor on when I end my trip. So, I have 2 questions for all of you with more experience than I and I would love to hear what your opinions are...

"Am I just being ridiculous for wanting to see the Pacific Ocean and just enjoy the ride for what it brings or is riding along the west coast as breathtaking as I have imagined in my head?" (NJ IS FLAT ALONG THE WATER!)

"Where can I take a train into, to get somewhere above the Red Woods in NORCAL so I can ride the Pacific Coast to 'Frisco and then bear east?"

 
Enjoy the Ride!

Offline valygrl

Re: My own Great Debate
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2011, 01:37:30 am »
Hey shorecycler -

It's a little hard to tell what you are really asking, apart from "where can I get a train ride to."  You can figure that out by looking at the Amtrak web site.  I'd recommend not using the train unless the train itself is appealing to you - it's very slow and not cheap.  Flying is best, IMO. 

Here's my take on it: 

You should probably take some time and consider the weather conditions on the different routes you are thinking about.   July and August are much nicer further north or on the coast, rather than riding across the desert or the southern states.

The Pacific Coast is gorgeous, and if you did the whole thing, Canada to Mexico, that would be a great trip, well timed with the weather, and leaving you plenty of time to do it without feeling rushed and get back for the birth.  I think the Pacific Coast is absolutely a world-class touring route, probably better than the TransAm. 

Or you could do a NJ-OR northern crossing, (northern tier, lewis and clark, or combine with your own route) - you would have enough time if you didn't start out with the southern leg to VA, and it would put you in the northern states where the weather will be nicer that time of year.

Personally I think both of the routes you mention put you too far south for the season.

I can see how having a start/end point at home, riding to or from your door, or using the popular TransAm is appealing, but I think you should "think outside the box" on this one, and see if considering different start/end points might make for overall a more enjoyable trip.  Don't solve the problem/expense of the start/end travel at the cost of enjoying the actual trip.

Offline shorecycler

Re: My own Great Debate
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2011, 02:02:59 am »
Thinking outside of the box is great advice-Im just so torn on where to ride! I'd like to do it but thats just unreasonable. I think taking the train is my better bet just because I can still see the country(somewhat) that ill miss and wont be killed with the fees that go along with taking a bike on a plane. I really would like to ride into California and to the Pacific Ocean. Having grown up all my life, and still being only miles from the Atlantic, it has been a dream of mine. The thought of taking a train to Denver and riding the Western Express in its entirety and then turning north seems appealing, considering that youve stated how joyous riding on the Pacific is. You may be on to something here...  :)
Enjoy the Ride!

Offline shorecycler

Re: My own Great Debate
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2011, 02:35:15 am »
SCREW THAT! Im going coast to coast!!! Train from NJ to the start of the TransAm, take that to Co and then its the western express into the pacific!

Hahaha there are so many choices but I thought about it and why cheat my way and take a train across the country that I live and not learn anything about the peoples on the east or see any of the splendor these lands have to offer. This sounds like the best idea to me and I think that 2 months will provide more than enough time to accomplish this dream and be back with enough time to see my nephew be born. Its a done deal. (until tomorrow when I concoct another idea)
Enjoy the Ride!

Offline valygrl

Re: My own Great Debate
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2011, 08:40:11 am »
.... Its a done deal. (until tomorrow when I concoct another idea)


Hahahahahah awesome!  Sometimes I don't know what I'm going to do until I do it, as well.

Have fun with your decision making and your tour.  :)

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: My own Great Debate
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2011, 11:22:25 am »
SCREW THAT! Im going coast to coast!!! Train from NJ to the start of the TransAm, take that to Co and then its the western express into the pacific!

Looks like getting close to the start via Amtrak will not be difficult for you.  There are a couple of trains out of Philly that have checked baggage service and stop at the Staple's Mill Road station in Richmond Virginia, which also has cheked baggage service. (You can only take a boxed bike between statons that have checked baggage service.)  I recommend making a reservation early.

Boxing a bike for Amtrak travel is really easy.  The box, which is much larger than a standard bike box, is around $12, and I think the travel charge is around $15.  Remove the pedals, twist the bars and stem, ;ower the seat post if you bike is large and roll it right in.

Take plenty of water when you cross no man's land on the Western Express.  It's probably going to be scorching.

Offline shorecycler

Re: My own Great Debate
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2011, 02:16:15 am »
 Thanks for the advice on train travel IndyFabz, I was unaware of that information before right now. That helps alot and if I have to spend an extra day or two riding from Richmond to Yorktown and the actual start of a Trans-America tour then so be it.  It will all be worth it to say I rode, literally, from coast to coast. Thanks for the responses, it was very much appreciated.

PS from what ive read, the western express can be brutal but by then I'm thinking survival will be a given. Water and food will be in abundance. I dont like to go hungry nor do I like being thirsty so taking chances is the last thing that I have in mind.
Enjoy the Ride!

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: My own Great Debate
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2011, 01:45:11 pm »
No problem.  Richmond to Yorktown is about 70 miles.  If you don't feel like doing the extra miles, no one will be able to give you crap.

One description of a portion of the WE:

"The Western Express route through Nevada is Highway 50 from Carson City until it turns into route 487 turning to Baker, NV right on the Utah border...It is a desolate trip (no services for 78 miles into Ely and no services for 63 miles out of Ely)...I did the Western Express in 2001 and when they say Highway 50 is the loneliest Highway in America, they tend to mean it..."