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  1. #1
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    Anyone ever cycled the RAAM route?

    Hey all,

    Getting closer and closer to my departure time. I think I've decided to follow the RAAM route. It is in the general direction of where I want to start and where I want to end. www.raceacrossamerica.org provides great maps with extra detailed directions to follow the route. Also, its completely free.

    I was hoping someone else on here has also followed the RAAM route and could offer some insight. Is it a biker friendly route as some of the other routes are? How is the RAAM route in terms of being scenic? I do read the www.crazyguyonabike.com website, but I hate the format of the site. I find it extremely difficult to find any information purposefully on there. I haven't found anything on people following the RAAM route.

    Really any information will be helpful. I'd like to know what I can expect from the route. Thanks. Matt

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by permanentjaun
    Hey all,

    Getting closer and closer to my departure time. I think I've decided to follow the RAAM route. It is in the general direction of where I want to start and where I want to end. www.raceacrossamerica.org provides great maps with extra detailed directions to follow the route. Also, its completely free.

    I was hoping someone else on here has also followed the RAAM route and could offer some insight. Is it a biker friendly route as some of the other routes are? How is the RAAM route in terms of being scenic? I do read the www.crazyguyonabike.com website, but I hate the format of the site. I find it extremely difficult to find any information purposefully on there. I haven't found anything on people following the RAAM route.

    Really any information will be helpful. I'd like to know what I can expect from the route. Thanks. Matt
    I crewed RAAM over the Summer. RAAM route is mostly pretty bike friendly, but you have to remember that it's planned around the assumption of vehicular support. Particular great scenic spots from the trip did include Monument Valley and Wolf Creek Pass.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  3. #3
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    Does that mean I should expect to not see a town for several days in some parts? Since the riders have to visit time stations which are typically gas stations or fast food spots I expected to be in some sort of a town every 30-80 miles. I'm going to be stealth camping so I don't have to concern myself with finding a motel/hotel. Matt

  4. #4
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by permanentjaun
    Does that mean I should expect to not see a town for several days in some parts? Since the riders have to visit time stations which are typically gas stations or fast food spots I expected to be in some sort of a town every 30-80 miles. I'm going to be stealth camping so I don't have to concern myself with finding a motel/hotel. Matt
    Mainly, have provision for water in the desert, and expect long stretches without reliable access to services or cellphones. It's definitely doable and not that difficult under non racing conditions, just plan for contingencies! Oh yes, and watch out for Yarnell grade climbing up out of the Salton Sea Basin in So Cal, it's a real pull and it gets HOT!

    Time stations were often a wide spot with an RV parked there, and others were at areas with services.

    All that said, go for it and have a ball doing it!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  5. #5
    jackrussellsonabicycle Airwick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by permanentjaun
    Hey all,

    I do read the www.crazyguyonabike.com website, but I hate the format of the site. I find it extremely difficult to find any information purposefully on there. I haven't found anything on people following the RAAM route.

    Thanks. Matt
    Hi Matt,
    I would say it depends on what you want from your tour. There's probably a reason the RAAM route doesn't get used much on the CGoaB site. You should do a search on a potential route, such as Southern Tier, and plenty of information and journals will be at your fingertips. (I'm partial to resource #19 myself)

    CGoaB is an excellent source.

    Here's more links that can help. U.S. Bicycle Routes Inventory Report

    Report and map. This way you can pick and choose and make your own routes.

    Airwick
    Last edited by Airwick; 02-11-07 at 10:46 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help!

    I should note I am in contact with the directors from RAAM. They haven't answered this specific question directly yet. They are very helpful though. I told them what I was doing and gave me a directions sheet on how to read the detailed maps on their site. They even recommended I use the 2000 route as they note it takes you through more "dramatic country." Here is a picture of that route. *Please note this route is completely different from the 2006 route*



    They didn't send me the maps and direction pdf's for that route, but said they could if I requested them.

    I am also attaching the word document they sent me explaining how to read the 2006 route book just in case anyone else would like the resources to be able to tour the RAAM route instead of the adventure cycling routes. Enjoy!

    If anyone else has an experience with the 2006 RAAM route I'd love to hear from you about what else to expect. Matt
    Attached Files Attached Files

  7. #7
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airwick
    Hi Matt,
    I would say it depends on what you want from your tour. There's probably a reason the RAAM route doesn't get used much on the CGoaB site. You should do a search on a potential route, such as Southern Tier, and plenty of information and journals will be at your fingertips. (I'm partial to resource #19 myself)

    CGoaB is an excellent source.

    Here's more links that can help. U.S. Bicycle Routes Inventory Report

    Report and map. This way you can pick and choose and make your own routes.

    Airwick
    Thanks for the links. The problem with those routes is they are not really where I need to go. I'm going from Phoenix, AZ to Laguna Beach, CA. Then I'll head northeast till I get up to CT. From there I'll head south to NJ along the coast. The RAAM route is the closest to this route that I've found as it starts in S. California and heads up to PA. I'll break off from the route there. I can't even use the Atlantic Coast route from adventure cycling as it completely circumnavigates NJ and doesn't go down the coast. Pity, that would have made my routing easy. That seems to be the case with all the adventure cycling routes. To use them I would need to go several hundred miles out of my way. I already have enough miles planned, I'd rather not add more. Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    Oh yes, and watch out for Yarnell grade climbing up out of the Salton Sea Basin in So Cal, it's a real pull and it gets HOT!
    Tom, I agree with the you...the Yarnell grade--7-9% grade for 9 miles--is a killer! (It's actually south of Prescott, AR ). There's a small market in Congess, where you can re-water before the climb. At the top of the grade, there's a gas station mini-mart to re-fill.

    Matt, another mean climb is in the Cleveland Nat'l Forest, CA, on Hwy 76 going east to Lake Henshaw. (Also, that road gets VERY crowded because of the Indian Casinos along the way. No shoulder for much of the way...I would start out from Oceanside early in the morning)

    According to the RAAM chart, these two climbs have the most "net elevation" of the entire trip.

    FWIW...I followed most of the section from Oceanside, CA to Williams, AR. Stealth camping might be a little difficult in the desert. I can recommend some cheap campgrounds/RV parks along the way (PM me). Whatever you do, don't miss staying at the Fairhaven RV Park in Aquila, AR. An oasis for a weary bike tourist! Nicest people, green grass and trees (a rare occurance in the desert), clothes line, bookroom/laundryroom, all for $8.50. They even sent me a x-mas card.

    Edit: Sorry, I didn't realize you were going east to west and starting from Phoenix. (Beware the Montezuma Grade coming out of Anza Borrego!)
    Last edited by rnagaoka; 02-11-07 at 11:34 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    Yea I'm going to miss some of the climbs from Oceanside. I'll be starting in Phoenix, heading west to Laguna Beach, CA, and then trying to meet up with the RAAM route somewhere in Cali to ride it into PA. Then PA to CT, CT to NJ. I'm sure I'll still get some unavoidable climbs as you've mentioned the Montezuma Grade. Climbs are inevitable.

  10. #10
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    Just received another email from a director at RAAM. It seems RAAM does make it a little more challenging on the riders, as if 3000+ miles in less than two weeks wasn't hard enough.

    Matthew,

    RAAM requires vehicle support and does include sections of challenging climbing. If you are not thrilled by the ideal of getting over some of the highest passes of the Rockies I might suggest the route we used in 2003-4 which stayed south of Colorado. The attached gives you some idea of where we went and how much climbing was involved. You'll also note that with time stations, all located where there is some sort of town, less than 100 miles apart you'd not be without services for as long as a full day unless you choose to be. I have a .pdf of the detail routing directions for 03 if you want it

    A similar route to 03-04 was used in 1992 and produced the shortest elapsed time of any RAAM by being short in miles and also as flat as one can get from ocean to ocean. It ended up in Savannah and even crossed the east coast mountains with as little climbing as possible. I don't have a data file of the details of that route but you can pretty well tell from the time station locations:

    NUM LOCATION NUM LOCATION

    1 BEAUMONT CA 18 MULESHOE TX
    2 DESERT CENTER CA 19 HEREFORD TX
    3 BRENDA AZ 20 CANYON TX
    4 PRESCOTT AZ 21 CLAUDE TX
    5 WILLIAMS AZ 22 MIAMI TX
    6 FLAGSTAFF AZ 23 SHAMROCK TX
    7 HOLBROOK AZ 24 CHILDRESS TX
    8 SAINT JOHNS AZ 25 VERNON TX
    9 SPRINGERVILLE AZ 26 WICHITA FALLS TX
    10 PIE TOWN NM 27 NOCONA TX
    11 SOCORRO NM 28 GAINESVILLE TX
    12 CARRIZOZO NM 29 LUELLA TX
    13 HONDO NM 30 WOLFE CITY TX
    14 ROSWELL NM 31 SULPHUR SPRINGS TX
    15 TATUM NM 32 MOUNT PLEASANT TX
    16 PLAINS TX 33 LONGVIEW TX
    17 MORTON TX 34 MARSHALL TX

    NUM LOCATION NUM LOCATION

    35 SHREVEPORT LA 52 BLITCHTON GA
    36 RUSTON LA 53 POOLER GA
    37 MONROE LA 54 Rousakis Plaza SAVANNAH
    38 HUNTER HEIGHTS LA
    39 CLINTON MS
    40 FOREST MS
    41 MERIDIAN MS
    42 LIVINGSTON AL
    43 DEMOPOLIS AL
    44 SELMA AL
    45 HOPE HULL AL
    46 UNION SPRINGS AL
    47 FLORENCE GA
    48 PLAINS GA
    49 VIENNA GA
    50 JACKSONVILLE GA
    51 REIDSVILLE GA

    Regards,
    Peter



    I'm attaching a photo of the 2003 route and the PDF he sent me detailing the climb in elevation over the route. I'll have to look more closely at it, but the 2006 route might still be better suited for me. Laguna is further north than Oceanside which is also more north than San Diego. Interesting thing about the 2003 route however is that the very first leg of the trek contains the most climbing of almost 5000 feet in 58 miles. From there it is a much easier trek than other routes. The 2006 route contains over 100,000 feet in climbing while the 2003 route is 'only' 82,350.

    I'm not afraid of the rockies. In fact I think it would be nice to climb the rockies in terms of a challenge and scenic. Anyways, enjoy!

    Attached Files Attached Files

  11. #11
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    permanentjaun, I think the info you provided will help other riders in the future (including me). Good luck with your adventure and don't forget to post your trip.

  12. #12
    Senior Member eliktronik's Avatar
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    Permanentjaun, If you ride into eastern PA and need a ride partner, definitely drop me a line. If you do find yourself here, I'd recommend you cross into northwestern NJ and ride north into NY state. The Delaware Water Gap might be a good place to camp. You probably don't want to be in northeastern NJ on a bike - unless you're into strip malls and traffic.

  13. #13
    Senior Member permanentjaun's Avatar
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    The only parts of my trip I need to plan right now are cycling from Phoenix to Laguna Beach and then on to the RAAM route as well as from where I leave the RAAM route in PA and head north to CT. I'm not sure if I'll need to head into Jersey just yet. If I get to more Northern PA I could cross from PA, NY, CT. I'm trying to save miles here and there. I'd rather take the straight shot.

    As far as Northeastern NJ, I'm not so concerned. I'm worried about finding a route through/around NYC to get south. I'd rather not have to ride through it. Still some time to think about it. Matt

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