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Old 01-19-08, 10:36 PM   #1
graybeard
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south to warm weather

Howdy all, my wife (for 37yrs) and I are flying to Houston Tx , Feb4, 08 to ride our touring bikes for a month. Must come back home in Canada by March 1. I know that Houston is a S.O.B. to get into and out of, but that's where our airmiles fly us. We both are experienced cyclists and seasoned campers (tents, stoves and all). Both in our late 50's and ready for most challenges. We prefer not to stay in motels & eat in restraunts.. WE WILL DO THAT WHEN WE GET OLD . In our part of the world they call us MINIMALISTS. We have toured (self supported) a bit internationally, but usually with a small group of 6-8 cyclists. This is our first big bike trip by ourselves. Previous trip have been to South West USA, Costa Rica , Western Canada, Maritimes Canada, Hawaii & Parts of Europe..
My question is, where would locals ,or like minded Tourers, recommend we go for our above mentioned time frame? Bear in mind , we dont love the rain ( lots of that here at home) and we dont mind 40F-70 F temperatures. Much colder than 40F is rougher camping at night.
We expect to ride our loaded bike 50-60 miles per day. Local cycling knowledge will tell us to go ?? Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi..........or south toward Brownsville, Mexico etc etc .? Hill country??
Remember the weather.. don't be shy, we are looking for good advise, plus the odd sarcastic comment.

thanx Bob and Dorothy
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Old 01-19-08, 11:03 PM   #2
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Gad,I unleashed a terror on the net. I only helped you to sign up at noon and already you are up to eleven posts!
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Old 01-19-08, 11:10 PM   #3
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If it were me, I'd head west toward Hill Country. You can head west from the airport toward Austin. Do Austin, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, Johnson City, San Antonio. I've biked that area and love it. There are a number of clubs and commercial companies that tour that area so you can google around and find some interesting routes.

You have a month, so you could head toward the Big Bend area...there is supposed to be nice riding out around Davis, Alpine, etc....and maybe keep going toward El Paso and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Then you got to get yourself back to Houston.

Another area that's nice -- I've done by car, but I've never biked it -- is the Ozark Mountains of Northern Arkansas/Southern Missouri. You'd have time to ride up through the East Texas woods to make it there.

IMO, the Gulf Coast is boring. The route south to Brownsville from Houston is boring. The route east along the Gulf Coast is boring. In general the Gulf Coast is not as interesting as the coastline you're used to on Vancouver Island.

(My qualifications and biases: live and biked in Texas for 5 years...have traveled most of the routes you mentioned by car several times).

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Old 01-19-08, 11:54 PM   #4
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I had no problems getting into and out of Houston during my tour in 2005. I entered via US 90 then Navigation Blvd to downtown and left via US 290. US 290 was cool, they had an elevated highway for the fast traffic and rode the frontage highway along the road by all the businesses and strip malls.

Southern Missouri and Arkansas can get quite cold during the winter. So can west Texas, very common for it to drop well below freezing, even during the day. It will get colder than 40F at night in Texas, guaranteed.

Perhaps go south toward the border, then west maybe to Del Rio, then back to Houston via San Antonio... You're get everything Texas has to offer.
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Old 01-20-08, 12:17 PM   #5
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It may be best to have alternate routes, to adapt to the weather. In February, we have cold fronts sweeping in from the northwest, followed by several days of northwest wind, then a day or two of calm, then a return of breezes from the southeast to southwest. Southeast breezes from the Gulf of Mexico will up the temps and humidity; southwest breezes bring clouds and Pacific moisture. As the next cold front approaches, it will pull brisk Gulf breezes toward it for a a couple of days. On the coast, we don't have hills, but we have WIND. As for routes, to get to the Hill Country, the MS150 route to Austin is nice, and is posted at bolmanski.com. If a cold front has just blasted through, however, that may not be a pleasant direction in which to travel.
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Old 01-20-08, 12:20 PM   #6
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I you are flying into Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), that means you will be starting your trip well north of downtown, though still within the urban sprawl area.
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Old 01-20-08, 12:43 PM   #7
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Take a shuttle to College Station a nice college town with bike shops, cafes, etc.
Then head west on the Southern Tier route as far as you want to go.
The Southwest is dry - with winter being one of the driest seasons on top.

You can do incredible rides in Big Bend National Park -
Ride up to Guadalupe Mountain N.P. and into El Paso instead of on I-10.
Amtrak serves the Sunset Route three days per week.
They take bicycles at Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson, and Phoenix (Maricopa).

So you can ride as far as the road takes you -
Make sure to check the Amtrak schedule beforehand -
And Amtrak back to Houston for your flight back to the icebox, eh?
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Old 01-20-08, 10:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overthehillmedi View Post
Gad,I unleashed a terror on the net. I only helped you to sign up at noon and already you are up to eleven posts!

your lucky I'm not on your "case", plus you can tell its a quiet january day.
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Old 01-20-08, 10:34 PM   #9
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Hi, really appreciate your first hand info. especially considering that you now live in the N.W. I quess that the weather at the time will be the biggest factor. Once we leave Houston on day one, will really determine the trip route. Went to Canadian version of "REI" today and bought better sleeping bags. good to 10F.
that will help with the cool nights.
I am happy and familiar with the AMTRAK , it really expands your cycling horizons.

thanx Bob and Dorothy,
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