Author Topic: BEST Route across USA  (Read 3148 times)

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Offline Muz

BEST Route across USA
« on: May 10, 2011, 06:48:54 am »
I'm keen to tour USA for around 3 months. I 'm travelling from Australian, so want to make it a cracker tour and have limited knowledge of this country.

I love wild mountains/rivers, fall colour, small historical villages, farming areas. I'm up for camping wild /self sufficiency, staying in backpackers and cooking mostly myself.

I dont like large sprawling cities, freeways.

My questions are as follows:

1. What route would you recommend?
2. Are the months of Sept through to November getting to late to touring, I suppose for the mtn regions it is?
3. What sort of budget per day would you say?


« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 07:44:00 am by Muz »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: BEST Route across USA
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2011, 11:42:44 am »
Adventure Cycling's Trans-America route is a good start; you'll see plenty of the mountains, scenery, and small towns.

I'll let the Rocky residents chime in about your schedule.  You'd probably want to start in the west and come east.  You might be able to clear the Rockies by the end of September, if the weather cooperates.  I wouldn't expect a snow delay east of Pueblo, and if a freak snow storm comes through early, it shouldn't last more than a day or two through the end of November.

Peak color season in the east is usually October; by November, most of the leaves are gone.  Many of the campgrounds in the east close by the end of October, if they haven't closed in September.  I understand many of the Kansas towns on the TransAm close their city parks to cyclist campers after school starts, so you may have to look harder for camping spots after August.

If you can swing it, I'd suggest moving your schedule up by a month.  Start on the west coast in August, ride through October. 

Offline valygrl

Re: BEST Route across USA
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 01:01:00 pm »
FYI, I live in Boulder, CO.

Starting on a coast-to-coast in September is pretty late for the mountains.  I've been snowed on in Yellowstone the first week in September.  Starting beginning of August would be good. 

Otherwise, with your "likes & dislikes", if you don't have your heart set on going coast-to-coast, I would start in Denver (easy to fly here), head up to WY thru Yellowstone, follow the Adventure Cycling "Lewis & Clark" route to the west coast (this is only if you are starting at the beginning of Sept - otherwise you are too late) 

OR take the Western Express across Colorado-utah-nevada-California. 

Either way, when you get to the coast hang a left and ride the Pacific Coast to San Diego, hang another left and ride the southern tier until you run out of time.

Or if you must go coast to coast, you could ride the Western Express starting in San Francisco, then at some point (maybe around Moab or Durango) head south and pick up the southern tier the rest of the way across.

Or you could ride the Sierra Cascades route, if you like mountains.  That's what I'm doing, starting mid-september.  All mountains all the time.

FYI, in the USA "backpackers" = "Hostel" and "backpacking" means taking your pack hiking in the wilderness. 

I personally think coast to coast is over rated, you constrain yourself to a lot of not-that-awesome riding in order to achieve something that's easy to describe.

Offline staehpj1

Re: BEST Route across USA
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 01:12:28 pm »
The Trans America Route is great, but I wouldn't do it that late.  If possible I'd do the TA, but start earlier.  Barring that a more southerly route in the west would be in order.

Offline Muz

Re: BEST Route across USA
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2011, 11:44:59 pm »
Hi ! Thanks heaps for all of your suggestions.

I'll see if i can start trip in August and finish in October. My hearts not set on coast to coast, though i thought i 'd see changes in states cultures and the east in fall sounds great  / historical towns.

The Lewis and Clarke option sounds wicked, following rivers and out of the way areas. I'm up for mtn  such as the Sierrra cascades suggestion also, just to many funky routes.

Another option i was thinking of was visiting friends in Vancouver then heading south throught the USA.

What is safety like for a solo cyclist?

Offline IrishRover

Re: BEST Route across USA
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2011, 12:29:45 pm »
Hi Muz,

Solo biking in the US is great fun and I found it very safe - I was a solo female bicyclist. Last summer I travelled from Vancouver to the Mexican border by myself and never had a day where I felt unsafe. I camped the whole way too. On your own you'll find lots of people will chat to you - both bikers and locals. The only thing I didn't do was camp off-road (i.e. not in a campsite) as I felt this would end in one of those "don't do it" horror-type movies!! Very few big cities along this route aside from SF, LA and San Diego.

I can't recommend the Highway 1/101 route highly enough - I'd a great time! I took about 3 months to cycle it and, at that, did it at a leisurely pace. I took some side trips too - into Portland, OR and some much needed time in wine country north of San Fran. Just to note, from a timing perspective, once you get to southern CA, they'll rarely let you stay longer than 1 day in a hiker/biker site because of the problem with vagrants. So, the southern end of this trip went by really quick.

Budget-wise....well, here's my 2 cents worth! Campsites ranged from $20 (very rarely) to $10 (more frequently than I'd like) to $3 (and it' was here I usually stayed an extra night!). Lunch + coffee was my main cost of the day as I usually cooked for myself for breakfast and dinner.

If you decide on this route, feel free to get back to me with any questions you've got.

Best of luck!