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Old 02-06-08, 08:43 PM   #1
StuckInMud
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Southern tier, Northern or TransAm

Hi All,

I'm the planning stages for my upcoming trip across America. I'm coming from Australia and would like opinions on which would be the most mind-blowing tour. I realise that each of them in their own right would be excellent but which would be the best for a once in a lifetime trip. I'm heavily leaning towards
the TransAm.
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Old 02-06-08, 10:22 PM   #2
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I believe the Southern Tier is the flattest. I also hear it has some desert roads that are miserable (and dangerously hot) to ride on from June to September summer months.

Last edited by hockeyteeth; 02-07-08 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 02-07-08, 12:53 AM   #3
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You'll find the Southern Tier, in the Western Half, looks a whole lot like central Oz.

I'd do the Northern Tier, myself.
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Old 02-07-08, 04:23 AM   #4
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You'll find the Southern Tier, in the Western Half, looks a whole lot like central Oz.

I'd do the Northern Tier, myself.

+1
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Old 02-07-08, 06:44 AM   #5
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I have only done the TransAmerica, but have seen small parts of the other two.

Since you are coming from Australia, I would rule out the ST and go for something more different in climate and terrain from home.

Between the TA and the NT, I chose the TA. Part of my reason was sentimental, because I wanted to do the TA back in 1976 and it didn't happen. I like to travel where there are lots of other bike tourists and enjoy making friends with them along the way. I think the TA probably has more touring cyclists so that was a plus for me. The local people along the way are used to seeing cyclists. I found that to be a plus too, but it could go either way I guess.

I really liked the TA, but I am sure either the TA or NT would be a great trip for you.

BTW: Some choose to combine various routes. I know people who started on either the NT or the Lewis and Clark and finished up on the TA.
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Old 02-07-08, 09:25 AM   #6
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What months are you considering for this ride?
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Old 02-07-08, 09:54 AM   #7
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What months are you considering for this ride?
That was what I was gonna say. Southern Tier = fall or spring (maybe winter, but... short days!). TA or NT = summer. Don't forget the Lewis & Clark to join either of those other two, I did the L&C to Missoula and loved it. Haven't done the other two. Personally would choose the NT instead of the TA because I'm biased against the Southeast US, sorry southerners, because of the reputation for having a lot of dog issues in those areas.

Also, consider, just for a moment, NOT doing a cross country - take a look at the Great Parks. Personally, I would start in Phoenix on the Grand Canyon Connector, hang an East on the Western Express and then North on the Great Parks all the way to Jasper, Canada. I realize there is something compelling about sea-to-shining-sea, but there's a lot of prairie between colorado and pennsylvania. Think central Victoria, but without the kangaroos.

If you do the round I am mentioning you will see
- grand canyon national park
- zion n.p.
- bryce n.p.
- glenn canyon
- canyonlands & arches n.p. (I think you need to detour to Moab, north from Monticello on West. Exp. map 3, 1 day, but so worth it)
- rocky Mountain NP
- Grand Teton NP
- Yellowstone NP
- Glacier NP
and in canada, the Icefields Parkway, which is 3 canadian provincial parks (someone correct me on this if I have the terminology wrong)

But I'm biased towards mountains. Where are you from?
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Old 02-07-08, 11:02 AM   #8
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Since Valygrl brought it up... Yes there are loose dogs in Missouri and Kentucky and they will chase you. I didn't find them to be a huge problem, but if you are afraid of dogs it could be unpleasant.
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Old 02-07-08, 11:56 AM   #9
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When I get around to doing mine, I plan to do the northern, east to west, until Muscatine Iowa, then south along the great rivers to Hartford, Il, then pick up the trans am for the rest of the journey. Want to get to see the northeast..., and the yellowstone area.
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Old 02-07-08, 04:47 PM   #10
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Northern Tier hands down.
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Old 02-08-08, 06:58 AM   #11
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Northern Tier hands down.
Care to elaborate? I haven't ridden the NT and would like to hear the reasons you prefer it, particularly if you have ridden the other two.

I have done the TA and hope to do the NT and the ST at some point and am always interested in the impressions of folks who have done more than one of the XC routes.
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Old 02-08-08, 10:52 AM   #12
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Trans Am
All of the other reasons + includes greatest sample of American landscape and culture. Also in a more subtile way gives a historical perspective on American Expansion/history. Also you WILL meet other long distance riders and have more chances to get to know us
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Old 02-08-08, 11:31 AM   #13
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Trans Am...

...Also you WILL meet other long distance riders and have more chances to get to know us
This was a big plus for us this Summer on the TA, but I have no experience with the NT to say to what extent this is the case. Can anyone who has ridden both TA and the NT comment on the comparative number of other tourists you encountered on both routes?

BTW: It would be nice if folks would disclose which of the three they have ridden when they express an opinion.
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Old 02-08-08, 01:39 PM   #14
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Jusy my personal preference for the northern part of this country.



Quote:
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Care to elaborate? I haven't ridden the NT and would like to hear the reasons you prefer it, particularly if you have ridden the other two.

I have done the TA and hope to do the NT and the ST at some point and am always interested in the impressions of folks who have done more than one of the XC routes.
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Old 02-09-08, 05:44 PM   #15
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I'd recommend doing the Pacific Coast. Sure it doesn't have the cachet of going from coast to coast, but it includes some of the most spectacular scenery and the most enjoyable riding in the entire country. It is also much shorter than a cross country route, but you could include a partial Northern Tier route, along with the Pacific Coast. That's what I did in 2003, going from Michigan to Northern Washington, and then down the coast to Southern California. Any touring that you do in the middle of the country simply can't measure up to waking up every morning on the beach, and going to sleep every night with the back drop of an ocean sunset, and doing some reasonable, but tough climbs over rugged and beautiful terrain during the day's riding.
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Old 02-10-08, 11:35 PM   #16
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I did the TA in 79 and 88
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Old 02-11-08, 12:37 AM   #17
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This June I intend to fly to St. Augustine Fl. and take the ST until I meet the Underground Railroad, then take it to the Transam and ride west from there. This way I get three major areas covered, and the important part first.

So, I agree with others here that you can mix paths to custom fit your tour. Check out Adventure Cycle's site and you can see all the maps they offer. They have done a lot of your work for you.

Steven
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Old 02-11-08, 11:28 AM   #18
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Each route has advantages. I'd do them in this order:

1. TransAm
2. NT
3. ST
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Old 02-11-08, 12:34 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
Also, consider, just for a moment, NOT doing a cross country - take a look at the Great Parks. Personally, I would start in Phoenix on the Grand Canyon Connector, hang an East on the Western Express and then North on the Great Parks all the way to Jasper, Canada. I realize there is something compelling about sea-to-shining-sea, but there's a lot of prairie between colorado and pennsylvania. Think central Victoria, but without the kangaroos.

If you do the round I am mentioning you will see
- grand canyon national park
- zion n.p.
- bryce n.p.
- glenn canyon
- canyonlands & arches n.p. (I think you need to detour to Moab, north from Monticello on West. Exp. map 3, 1 day, but so worth it)
- rocky Mountain NP
- Grand Teton NP
- Yellowstone NP
- Glacier NP
and in canada, the Icefields Parkway, which is 3 canadian provincial parks (someone correct me on this if I have the terminology wrong)

But I'm biased towards mountains. Where are you from?
StuckInMud,
If you want to see what this tour would be like, I rode this exact route and have lots of pics:
www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2391

It's a pretty mind-blowing route!
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Old 02-11-08, 01:42 PM   #20
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StuckInMud,
If you want to see what this tour would be like, I rode this exact route and have lots of pics:
www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2391

It's a pretty mind-blowing route!
That is one of my very favorite journals!
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