I am riding from Columbus Georgia to Mesa Arizona, starting at the end of November. I am from Canada, so do not know the area at all. I am planning a fairly straight route across...so the Southern Tier route is too low. I want to stay away from all cities. Are there any places or roads or sights that people would recommend on this route? Or any tips at all..places to avoid, things to look out for, etc, etc.... Thanks.
My brother-in-law works with FEMA and says to be careful going thru Louisiana and Mississippi--not fully restored yet, so supplies might be hard to find. Power still out in several areas and many businesses are gone/not open yet. Plus lots of trash on the roads. About all the advise I can give right now. I can have him give me more details if you like.
You'll be travelling late in the season - be especially careful in New Mexico and Arizona in the higher elevations. Plan for cold weather - esp. between Socorro and Safford. Weather data is available at: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/climsum.html
If the weather is really bad in New Mexico, I'd detour south thru Las Cruces and Silver City.
With average Dec lows in the low 20s (That's minus 6 for you Canadians), you should be prepared for some nights in the low teens (minus 12). You should also budget for motels. They should have cheap off-season rates in the small towns. Of course, you are from that "Igloo Country" up nawth - so it shouldn't be anything. Still, your sleeping bag should be 4-season.
This is just a guess - -
There are probably better county roads east of the Mississippi, but you would have to get county maps.
Go to the departments of transportation for each state and check traffic volume data:
AL - Co28, 169, 26, Co 2, 223, 29, 10
MS - 18, 540, 43, 28, 553
Natchez rhymes with "matches" not "sashay". Great place to cross the Mississippi. Bridge busy.
LA - 131, 15, 565, 84, 124, 459, 8 118, 171, 474, 191, 6.
TX - 21, 294, 287, 22, 6, 380
NM - 380, 1, 60, 12, 180, 78
AZ - 78, 191, 70, 60
Although this route roughly parallels US 84, I would avoid it as much as possible.
State parks and national forest campsites may be closed for the season. You can probably get away with camping anyway, but you could also be asked to leave - - I was in one late fall trip. Small West Texas towns are really friendly - they may think you are crazy - but you'll usually be able to camp in the town park - they may even put you up in the church basement.
Wow, thanks for all your help. I am aware that it may get a bit could in spots... but as I am not from the area, not sure where those spots may be. Thanks for your input. I have decided that I am not fully committed to biking the whole thing either (as I usually would be in summer) so if I need to hitch or catch a bus, so be it. Any additional info you can provide would be most appreciated. Any particular nice places to stop on the way?