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  1. #1
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    Transam questions

    Hi folks,

    After lots of googling and asking a few questions on bikeforums, I finally figured out my route. I've also now got two friends coming along for the ride which should make it a very amusing ride.

    Current plan:
    Fly into Baltimore (June 25th - booked)
    Follow the ACA Atlantic Coast route down through Washington D.C. to meet up with the Transamerica Trail near Richmond, VA.
    Do the Transam (East to West).
    At the end of the Transam turn South and follow the ACA Pacific Coast route to San Francisco.
    Fly out from San Francisco (Sep 22nd - booked)


    I just noticed a slight problem with my maths however... I worked it out as about 5000 miles, but that included for the full length of the Transam - which turns North at the end to head up to Astoria, OR. If we were to follow that spur to the official endpoint, we would end up backtracking along the same route when returning via the Pacific Coast route. As much as we'd like to finish the Transamerica Trail route... we'd rather not backtrack over the same route if not strictly necessary.

    So... We have shaved off a few hundred miles and one of my friends would like to see if we could add that onto the East coast part of the ride so that we could touch the Atlantic. The problem with starting in Baltimore is that we never really get close to the ocean. I know that Yorktown, VA isn't really touching the ocean but at least it's not just a harbour.

    Can anyone think of an interesting way to get to the Atlantic from Baltimore before heading along the Transam? Ideally not adding TOO many miles and avoiding backtracking where possible. I am going to have a look at the option of reaching Richmond and heading along the Transam to the Atlantic and then back again along the same route but as I said - I'd rather not backtrack.

    Thanks

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    It sounds to me like your trip is long enough already. You'll need to average 57 miles a day for 88 consecutive days without a rest to get to 5000 miles in the time between your flights. That's enough. Any more and I don't think you'll have as much fun. Furthermore, it's best to build in some extra time to deal with illness, weather and breakdowns.

    Why not just end the TransAm at Florence and head south from there? That would avoid the backtrack and give you enough wiggle room to touch the Atlantic (although I have no route suggestions).

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    We probably will take the Florence route but it's nice to have options if we are making good time. Judging from all the journals I've read I was under the impression that 60 miles a day was taking it fairly easy? At the time of the ride I think we'll be pretty much at our peak in terms of fitness and age (early twenties) so I don't think we'll have too much trouble making the distance. Also I've noticed in training that with 3 of us going, we can chat more so our minds are off the riding and we don't really care about the daily distance... it just gets done somehow without really noticing it.

  4. #4
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    I think 60 is a pretty relaxed pace. 70 was really comfortable for me last summer. It will really boil down to your group. It will not take long to get a feel for what the group finds comfortable. I solo toured last summer cross country. If I was riding a pace line with two others and taking turns pulling I'm sure 80 miles a day would have been comfortable.

    I'm not in my 20's(early 40's for reference). Age really isn't much of a factor when touring. Being able to suffer for long hours is what's required. Some days are just going to be a big grind when it's raining or cold or big headwinds. I'm sure you'll have a blast and you will adjust your mileage based on the groups enthusiasm.

    Good luck and have a great trip. Take lots of pictures and journal. You will be glad you did when your trip is over.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisH120 View Post
    ...
    I worked it out as about 5000 miles, but that included for the full length of the Transam - which turns North at the end to head up to Astoria, OR. If we were to follow that spur to the official endpoint, we would end up backtracking along the same route when returning via the Pacific Coast route. As much as we'd like to finish the Transamerica Trail route... we'd rather not backtrack over the same route if not strictly necessary.
    ...
    Can anyone think of an interesting way to get to the Atlantic from Baltimore before heading along the Transam? Ideally not adding TOO many miles and avoiding backtracking where possible. I am going to have a look at the option of reaching Richmond and heading along the Transam to the Atlantic and then back again along the same route but as I said - I'd rather not backtrack.
    I think the suggestions here are good, but I like your idea of stretching the route from shore-to-shore. I hate to admit it, but this is what I talked my wife into last summer....

    We started off from DC, rode down the Atlantic Coast route for three days to Ashland. Then cut over to Williamsburg/Yorktown on Old Church Rd. This is a nice route, except for a stretch on Hwy 249, which sticks in our memory as about the worst 5 miles of the whole summer...... but then that was only 0.1% of the whole ride.

    The loop from Ashland to Yorktown and back (going back on the TransAm) is definitely worth it, if you're looking for history and easy riding -- kind of a good weeklong training ride for the Appalachians. You could do the loop in three days, if you want to do the miles; or four if you like history tours.

    On the West coast, you could -- as said above -- hit Florence and turn south. But continuing on up to Astoria is possible with only a day of backtracking. The TransAm joins the coast route near Tillamook, which is a days' ride to Astoria. I doubt you'd be bored riding it both ways, since it has some of the best Oregon coast scenery (and state parks). In fact, the ACA route has you go inland from Garibaldi to Nehalem, for variety; on the way back south, just ride on Hwy 101 for a true beach experience.

    On the other hand, if by the time you get to the Pacific you're looking for a way to tack on an extra four days of riding, I gotta hand it to you. Keep your options open, you might just want to finish the TransAm at Florence and turn left. Doing all the extra legs on both coasts seems pretty ambitious for 3 months -- but you'll know by the time you reach Eugene if you're on schedule.

    Our ride was DC -> Yorktown -> Astoria -> Portland OR (with a bunch of diversions along the way). Clocked in at 5300 miles. We were headed to Portland anyway, so Astoria made sense. But I love that part of the Oregon coast.

    -- Mark

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    Amigo -

    You have the option of having the SWEETEST east coast riding possible.

    Rather than bike down to Richmond, take the Greyhound out to Ocean City? Then ride out to Assateague National Seashore and camp there and watch the sun rise over the Atlantic.

    Here's the bus info -
    Select Departure Schedule for Thursday, June 25, 2009
    Select Departs Arrives Duration Transfers Carrier Schedule
    11:30am 03:00pm 3h, 30m 0 GLI 0951
    05:00pm 08:25pm 3h, 25m 0 GLI 0971
    d=day h=hour m=minute GLI: GREYHOUND LINES, INC.

    Another option, depending on where your friend is coming from is to take Amtrak up to Philly and switch over to the Cape May bus. Then catch the Cape May to Lewes ferry. It gives you a nice "ocean" feel to the start of the trip and avoids having to take the "Greydog". The nice thing about Amtrak is that there are direct train stops at BWI station. It's only an hour and 15 minutes to Philly then three to Cape May.
    http://www.capemaytimes.com/travel/n...ey-transit.htm

    From Assateague I would ride across the Delmarva peninsula to Crisfield - then take the passenger ferries to Smith Island and Point Lookout State Park. The Smith Island Ferry is daily - the Point Lookout Ferry is Wed thru Sun. Call to confirm one-way and availability. Then ride up to Washington DC.

    From Cape Henlopen, you can ride across the Delmarva peninsula to the Bay Bridge - which does NOT allow bicycle and does not provide a shuttle. (I have been kvetching to Maryland DOT for some time.) They do list a shuttle number that charges $35 per person - while the toll for two people in a car is $2.50. (I want to get arrested for trying to bike on the bridge - then sue to hold up their federal funding under TEA-21.) The best way to get across is to stop at the pullout just before the bridge and hitch. Then head into DC on the Annapolis to DC route.

    From DC you can take either the C&O Canal Trail from Georgetown or the Washington & Old Dominion bike trail from Alexandria. The C&O Trail is fabulous - unbelievably parklike in the middle of a metro area. Plus there is free hiker/biker camping right on the river. It is, however, hard-packed dirt - that should be pretty hard by late June. The W&OD is paved - but runs right under a high-power transmission line. From Leesburg or Harper's Ferry, you can connect up with the TransAm by riding down to Front Royal and taking Skyline Drive along the Blue Ridge.



    If you want more info - let me know.

    John


    Really, the Delaware/Maryland shore is one of the nicest places to start.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    I don't think riding from Baltimore to Richmond sounds like much fun...

  8. #8
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
    I don't think riding from Baltimore to Richmond sounds like much fun...
    Me either. I live in Baltimore and would probably start Virginia Beach or Yorktown.

    If you want you could ride some of the Delmarva Peninsula. You could hitch a ride over the Chesapeake By Bridge Tunnel to the Norfolk Va Beach area or use Jamawani's suggestion of using the ferries to Smith Island and Point Lookout State Park, but I am not sure why you would ride up to DC from there if doing the TA unless you were crazy about doing the C&O (I would rather catch the VA part of the TA). From Point Lookout I would head down into Virginia to join the TA.

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    You guys live there, so you know what you're talkin' about...

    But the ACA Atlantic Coast route from DC to Richmond is an all-around good touring route -- low traffic, bucolic countryside, springtime blossoms and songbirds for company. Except for a couple of unavoidable urban stretches. And except for a lack of camping. Other than that...

    I don't know about Baltimore-to-DC (I can imagine it's hell for cycling, but there should be a few options for local transportation). South of DC, the ACA route follows Virginia Bicycle Route 1, which is well laid out. DON'T ride on US Hwy 1, it would be suicidal.

    The tough part is around Fort Belvoir, from Mt. Vernon to Occoquan. Even from Ashland to Richmond, it's not bad -- some traffic in places, but also some good coffee shops/deli's/ice cream shops. A good tradeoff.

    Bicycle Route 1 goes 'way west around Quantico Marine Base, where there are no towns, no development, no traffic -- and no camping, no motels. That's a 60+ mile stretch, from Occoquan to Fredericksburg with essentially no options.

    So if the OP has limited time and wants to stick to the TransAm, I'd say this is a good choice. Otherwise, the other suggestions about starting around Chesapeake/Maryland/Delaware would have me breaking out the maps. Riding the ACA routes for first-time tourers makes sense, but there's a lot to be said for blazing your own trails.

    -- Mark

  10. #10
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmmCeeBee View Post
    You guys live there, so you know what you're talkin' about...
    Maybe maybe not

    But the ACA Atlantic Coast route from DC to Richmond is an all-around good touring route -- low traffic, bucolic countryside, springtime blossoms and songbirds for company. Except for a couple of unavoidable urban stretches. And except for a lack of camping. Other than that...
    I could be wrong in my comments. I live here, but have not actually ridden the AC Atlantic Coast Route. Further, living here I am likely to see it as less desirable than someone who wasn't from here. In the end it is likely to boil down to personal preference.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
    I think 60 is a pretty relaxed pace. 70 was really comfortable for me last summer. It will really boil down to your group. It will not take long to get a feel for what the group finds comfortable. I solo toured last summer cross country. If I was riding a pace line with two others and taking turns pulling I'm sure 80 miles a day would have been comfortable.

    I'm not in my 20's(early 40's for reference). Age really isn't much of a factor when touring. Being able to suffer for long hours is what's required. Some days are just going to be a big grind when it's raining or cold or big headwinds. I'm sure you'll have a blast and you will adjust your mileage based on the groups enthusiasm.

    Good luck and have a great trip. Take lots of pictures and journal. You will be glad you did when your trip is over.
    Thanks for the advice. For one thing I'm making both of my friends bring cameras. Normally if anyone has a camera, it's me, but I want lots of photos from different perspectives. It may sound strange but I don't like

    Quote Originally Posted by EmmCeeBee View Post
    I think the suggestions here are good, but I like your idea of stretching the route from shore-to-shore. I hate to admit it, but this is what I talked my wife into last summer....

    We started off from DC, rode down the Atlantic Coast route for three days to Ashland. Then cut over to Williamsburg/Yorktown on Old Church Rd. This is a nice route, except for a stretch on Hwy 249, which sticks in our memory as about the worst 5 miles of the whole summer...... but then that was only 0.1% of the whole ride.

    The loop from Ashland to Yorktown and back (going back on the TransAm) is definitely worth it, if you're looking for history and easy riding -- kind of a good weeklong training ride for the Appalachians. You could do the loop in three days, if you want to do the miles; or four if you like history tours.

    On the West coast, you could -- as said above -- hit Florence and turn south. But continuing on up to Astoria is possible with only a day of backtracking. The TransAm joins the coast route near Tillamook, which is a days' ride to Astoria. I doubt you'd be bored riding it both ways, since it has some of the best Oregon coast scenery (and state parks). In fact, the ACA route has you go inland from Garibaldi to Nehalem, for variety; on the way back south, just ride on Hwy 101 for a true beach experience.

    On the other hand, if by the time you get to the Pacific you're looking for a way to tack on an extra four days of riding, I gotta hand it to you. Keep your options open, you might just want to finish the TransAm at Florence and turn left. Doing all the extra legs on both coasts seems pretty ambitious for 3 months -- but you'll know by the time you reach Eugene if you're on schedule.

    Our ride was DC -> Yorktown -> Astoria -> Portland OR (with a bunch of diversions along the way). Clocked in at 5300 miles. We were headed to Portland anyway, so Astoria made sense. But I love that part of the Oregon coast.

    -- Mark
    Very useful information there. Still undecided on the west coast part but I want to have info on all the options before we go, so we can just make the decision easily when we reach the coast.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    Amigo -

    You have the option of having the SWEETEST east coast riding possible.

    Rather than bike down to Richmond, take the Greyhound out to Ocean City? Then ride out to Assateague National Seashore and camp there and watch the sun rise over the Atlantic.

    Here's the bus info -
    Select Departure Schedule for Thursday, June 25, 2009
    Select Departs Arrives Duration Transfers Carrier Schedule
    11:30am 03:00pm 3h, 30m 0 GLI 0951
    05:00pm 08:25pm 3h, 25m 0 GLI 0971
    d=day h=hour m=minute GLI: GREYHOUND LINES, INC.

    Another option, depending on where your friend is coming from is to take Amtrak up to Philly and switch over to the Cape May bus. Then catch the Cape May to Lewes ferry. It gives you a nice "ocean" feel to the start of the trip and avoids having to take the "Greydog". The nice thing about Amtrak is that there are direct train stops at BWI station. It's only an hour and 15 minutes to Philly then three to Cape May.
    http://www.capemaytimes.com/travel/n...ey-transit.htm

    From Assateague I would ride across the Delmarva peninsula to Crisfield - then take the passenger ferries to Smith Island and Point Lookout State Park. The Smith Island Ferry is daily - the Point Lookout Ferry is Wed thru Sun. Call to confirm one-way and availability. Then ride up to Washington DC.

    From Cape Henlopen, you can ride across the Delmarva peninsula to the Bay Bridge - which does NOT allow bicycle and does not provide a shuttle. (I have been kvetching to Maryland DOT for some time.) They do list a shuttle number that charges $35 per person - while the toll for two people in a car is $2.50. (I want to get arrested for trying to bike on the bridge - then sue to hold up their federal funding under TEA-21.) The best way to get across is to stop at the pullout just before the bridge and hitch. Then head into DC on the Annapolis to DC route.

    From DC you can take either the C&O Canal Trail from Georgetown or the Washington & Old Dominion bike trail from Alexandria. The C&O Trail is fabulous - unbelievably parklike in the middle of a metro area. Plus there is free hiker/biker camping right on the river. It is, however, hard-packed dirt - that should be pretty hard by late June. The W&OD is paved - but runs right under a high-power transmission line. From Leesburg or Harper's Ferry, you can connect up with the TransAm by riding down to Front Royal and taking Skyline Drive along the Blue Ridge.



    If you want more info - let me know.

    John


    Really, the Delaware/Maryland shore is one of the nicest places to start.
    I've looked at Ocean City and the Assateague park looks fantastic for a night of camping. At the moment I'm thinking of cycling down to DC from Baltimore, spending a day there, then heading out to Ocean City on the greyhound before somehow working out a route to get us back to the Transam either at Yorktown or from somewhere else further along. Any suggestions on a route from Assateague park to the Transam?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
    I don't think riding from Baltimore to Richmond sounds like much fun...
    The ACA atlantic coast route passes through Baltimore and Washington DC in section 3:
    http://www.adventurecycling.org/rout...?pg=detail&s=3
    I just assumed that they'd have figured out some sort of half-decent route between them. I might have a look on CGOAB.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisH120 View Post
    I've looked at Ocean City and the Assateague park looks fantastic for a night of camping. At the moment I'm thinking of cycling down to DC from Baltimore, spending a day there, then heading out to Ocean City on the greyhound before somehow working out a route to get us back to the Transam either at Yorktown or from somewhere else further along. Any suggestions on a route from Assateague park to the Transam?
    Take a look at the ACA Tidewater Potomac route. They put you on a ferry across Chesapeake Bay to the Kilmarnock area. Looking at google maps, there are a few ferries in the Tangier Sound area that would get you back to the "mainland". I think these are mostly private passenger ferries, and they might only run in the summer.

    I've never cycled there, so this isn't first-hand knowledge. But there's nothing like a good ferry ride to round out a cycling tour.

    Last summer, I was curious about riding along the Tidewater route from DC to the Yorktown area. So I did some research... If you ended up in the Kilmarnock area, you'd have two main river crossings (the Rappahannock, and the York) to get to Yorktown. They don't have many options, and the bridges aren't bicycle-friendly. That -- plus the extra time -- made me stick to the Atlantic Coast route. But if we'd had the time, a week in Assateague would've been heaven.

    Jamawani's posted about this area before, if I remember, and he suggests good ferry routes, above. He's your best resource... I'd catch his attention somehow

    -- Mark
    Last edited by EmmCeeBee; 04-18-09 at 11:47 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member hodadmike's Avatar
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    From Cape Henlopen, you can ride across the Delmarva peninsula to the Bay Bridge - which does NOT allow bicycle and does not provide a shuttle. (I have been kvetching to Maryland DOT for some time.) They do list a shuttle number that charges $35 per person - while the toll for two people in a car is $2.50. (I want to get arrested for trying to bike on the bridge - then sue to hold up their federal funding under TEA-21.) The best way to get across is to stop at the pullout just before the bridge and hitch. Then head into DC on the Annapolis to DC route.

    From DC you can take either the C&O Canal Trail from Georgetown or the Washington & Old Dominion bike trail from Alexandria. The C&O Trail is fabulous - unbelievably parklike in the middle of a metro area. Plus there is free hiker/biker camping right on the river. It is, however, hard-packed dirt - that should be pretty hard by late June.
    Exactly what we chose to do last summer. We were in DC on day 3, rode the C&O/GAP, freestyled our way to the KATY trail, then blended into the TransAm in Kansas. No extra miles to speak of and no sharp turns required to rejoin the TA. Only hitch is you don't get to climb the Appalachians and the Ozarks. One must make sacrifices.

  14. #14
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    Unfortunately, once you unpack your bike, you'll have to box it up all over again to use Greyhound - aka "the Dog" for good reasons. And there is no direct bus out to Ocean City - instead you have to head back to Baltimore and change busses. For that reason, it might just be easier to take Amtrak to Philly, the NJ Transit bus down to Cape May, and the ferry over to Lewes/Cape Henlopen.

    Another option, often mentioned by another regular here, it to do a one-way car rental. If your friend is going to be with you, that might be the easiest and fastest. Don't know about the cost, but it could compare favorably with 2 Greyhound tickets and the extra baggage charges.

    I'm not sure about your time frame, but Assateague is, most definitely better than Ocean City.
    You have three options ranked in order of "quality":
    1. Assateague National Seashore - hike out to backcountry beach camping.
    2. Assateague National Seashore - tent camping loop.
    3. Assateague State Park - these guys have showers, but kinda pricey.

    From Assateague it is a 1-day ride to Crisfield.
    Then you cross Chesapeake Bay on passenger ferries with your bike.
    From Crisfield you can do either Smith Island or Tangier Island.
    Also, linking up with Reedville, Virginia is better for you than Point Lookout, Maryland.

    I suggest Smith Island, then on to Reedville.
    Here are the ferry schedules -
    http://www.visitsmithisland.com/gettinghere.html
    http://www.cruisetosmithisland.com/

    Call and verify dates, bicycle fees, and make sure to say one-way -
    Let them know you are crossing the bay on a bike tour and they may be more reasonable.

    <<<>>>

    I have been looking at the route from Sunnybank via Tappahannock to Bumpass.
    Out of time.




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    PS -

    Some route commentary:
    The center of Berlin is quite nice -
    Old brick buildings, clapboard houses.
    Snow Hill is a mile east of the route -
    You can have lunch at a park on the Pocomoke River.
    Do not miss Rehoboth Church (1706) -
    Turn left off Hwy 667 at the big bend.
    Plus, you can head down to the landing on the river - 100 yds past church.

    Camping available at Jane's Island State Park next to Crisfield.

  16. #16
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    Also, linking up with Reedville, Virginia is better for you than Point Lookout, Maryland.
    Good call. That sounds like a good way to go. I had forgotten about the Reedville Ferry. Probably a much better option than Point Lookout or the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodadmike View Post
    Exactly what we chose to do last summer. We were in DC on day 3, rode the C&O/GAP, freestyled our way to the KATY trail, then blended into the TransAm in Kansas. No extra miles to speak of and no sharp turns required to rejoin the TA. Only hitch is you don't get to climb the Appalachians and the Ozarks. One must make sacrifices.
    Call me a masochist if you like but I don't want to miss the Appalachians. I've heard that they are the toughest part of the route and I think it will be good for toughening us up. Also I like the idea that in the later parts we'll be able to go "at least it's not as bad as the Appalachians". I'm pretty sure I will regret this decision when I'm climbing some ridiculous hill with the sun beating down but hey! Should be fun!

    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    Unfortunately, once you unpack your bike, you'll have to box it up all over again to use Greyhound - aka "the Dog" for good reasons. And there is no direct bus out to Ocean City - instead you have to head back to Baltimore and change busses. For that reason, it might just be easier to take Amtrak to Philly, the NJ Transit bus down to Cape May, and the ferry over to Lewes/Cape Henlopen.

    Another option, often mentioned by another regular here, it to do a one-way car rental. If your friend is going to be with you, that might be the easiest and fastest. Don't know about the cost, but it could compare favorably with 2 Greyhound tickets and the extra baggage charges.

    I'm not sure about your time frame, but Assateague is, most definitely better than Ocean City.
    You have three options ranked in order of "quality":
    1. Assateague National Seashore - hike out to backcountry beach camping.
    2. Assateague National Seashore - tent camping loop.
    3. Assateague State Park - these guys have showers, but kinda pricey.

    From Assateague it is a 1-day ride to Crisfield.
    Then you cross Chesapeake Bay on passenger ferries with your bike.
    From Crisfield you can do either Smith Island or Tangier Island.
    Also, linking up with Reedville, Virginia is better for you than Point Lookout, Maryland.

    I suggest Smith Island, then on to Reedville.
    Here are the ferry schedules -
    http://www.visitsmithisland.com/gettinghere.html
    http://www.cruisetosmithisland.com/

    Call and verify dates, bicycle fees, and make sure to say one-way -
    Let them know you are crossing the bay on a bike tour and they may be more reasonable.

    <<<>>>

    I have been looking at the route from Sunnybank via Tappahannock to Bumpass.
    Out of time.
    Fantastic stuff! This sounds like a v. good plan. I'll leave aside any specifics about Assateague Island for the moment until I've sorted out a method of transport from DC and a route to connect back up with the TransAm.

    It's actually me and two friends so the car hire idea sounds very attractive. Just did some googling and avis can do a 4x4 from washington dc to Salisbury on the day we'd want to go. From there it's 30m to Assateague Island. I think I like this option because we cycle a little bit to the coast. Would feel a bit more satisfying than driving to Ocean City and just going down about 3 miles.

    I'd love to hear your opinions on how to get from Reedville to Bumpass (or anywhere along the TA). I've looked on google maps and streetview but I can't really get a good idea whether the roads are good and whether the US 360 bridge at Tappahannock is ridable.

  18. #18
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    Let me be perfectly frank - -
    It's been 20 years since I rode the Northern Neck.
    Back then it was a sleepy backwater - but it's been discovered since.
    Even then the big bridges over the sounds were tricky.

    Here's a connector option from Sunnybank to Bumpass -
    (Ya gotta love that name - I don't know if I'd want to live there - - )







    The biggest issue is getting across the Rappahannock River. The bridge at Tappahannock is more than a mile long, has no shoulders, and has pretty heavy traffic. Fortunately, it was built in the 1960s, not the 1930s, so the lanes should be wider than many of the older bridges across the Ohio and Mississippi. Also, there is the option of catching a ride across. On my first cross-country trip I stopped at a little filling station/store just before crossing the Mississippi - must ride it, right? The station owner said that a young woman had been killed cycling across the bridge and that he would give me a ride. I paused for a couple of seconds and then realized that sanity was better than purity.

    In general, you should avoid US 360 as much as possible - also US 17 and US 301. The routes I have highlighted (use Google Earth or Bikely for specific county numbers) generally have very low traffic volumes. You would start by taking a tiny, free ferry across the Wicomico River at Sunnybank, then there are empty back roads to Avalon. Zig south and follow the ridge line west from Horse Head to Farnham. From Farnham to Warsaw, Hwy 3 has moderate to moderate+ traffic. There is camping at a county park 4 miles northwest of Warsaw.

    US 360 really sucks. As long as it's 4 lanes, you are O.K., but it ain't sweet riding in my book. The big bridge at Tappahannock is also the end of the tidewater region. From there it's back roads thru Desha and Newtown to Kidds Fork. Pretty remote. It used to be that every rural crossroads had a country store. If you look, you will see them still - usually by the gravel/dirt parking by the side of the road. Some are simply used for storage/garage - others are falling down. They still make nice stopping places - often with shade - and some neat, rusting Pepsi or Marlboro signs.

    There is a little store at Kino. There's a lovely mill pond at Indian Neck - you might ask to camp there since you would be in the right of way of the county road. From Kidds Fork. I've sent you via Ruthers Glen rather than Doswell - these are two possible crossings of I-95, the SCX Mainline RR, and US 1. The huge King's Dominion amusement park is next to the Doswell exit, so I believe that Ruthers Glen is better. You will only be on Hwy 207 for less than a mile, but you have mucho traffic and the Interstate exit to deal with. Have you biked through exit ramps before? You have to occupy the right 1/3 of the main travel lane early enough so that cars don't squeeze you from both sides. You'll be able to get every burger and Coke product you want here.

    From the intersection at US 1 to Bumpass, it is all back country roads - but they are narrow. And the closer you are to I-95, the more rural development and traffic. You connect with the Transam at Beaverdam.

    Here is the Virginia DOT website for county road traffic volume -
    http://www.virginiadot.org/info/ct-T...-Juris2007.asp

    Best - J

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    Wait- good news: Baltimore harbor is salt water. My friend dipped his bike in there.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sneekyjesus View Post
    Wait- good news: Baltimore harbor is salt water. My friend dipped his bike in there.
    Brackish at best. More Susquehanna River than Atlantic Ocean.
    None.

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    I've been discussing it with my fellow riders and at one point we decided to just drive to Virginia Beach instead to avoid the hassle of big river crossings, but looking at it, that option has some pretty complicated routing too.

    I've had a look back at the Assateague Island option and I'm starting to really like it.

    How about this for a plan:

    Rent a car in DC and drive to Salisbury. Cycle the extra 30 miles to Assateague Island. There are car rental drop-offs in Ocean City, but I think it would be quite nice to do a bit of cycling before reaching the ocean.

    After spending the night at Assateague sea shore, cycle over to catch the Crisfield ferry all the way across to Sunnybank.

    By looking at your route, the Tidewater Potomac ACA route, and bearing in mind your suggestions to avoid US-17, 301 and 360, I've come up with this route:

    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&so...,1.785278&z=10

    This route meets the TransAm at Mechanicsville so we can just follow the ACA directions to cross I-95 and not worry about it. Because google only routes on roads, I had to change a little bit in Tappahannock:
    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&so...=UTF8&t=h&z=17
    Your suggested route takes us over the runway! Would we get away with doing that or should we just loop round like in my google directions?

    The only other problem I can see is crossing the Rappahannock, but I'm sure we can figure this out when we get there. Hitchhike it, get a taxi, ride it if it looks survivable... whatever.

    Other than that can you see any problems with this route?
    Last edited by ChrisH120; 04-25-09 at 12:27 PM.

  22. #22
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    You only have one big river crossing - at Tappahannock.
    If you avoid the 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m windows, you should be O.K.
    Provided that you are cautious.

    Ont thing to consider - when you get off the Smith Island ferry it will be late afternoon.
    The ferry company also operates a campground right next to the dock.

    As for your route, I took a look - - -

    a) Why do you loop south from Sunnybank rather than take the little ferry.
    The route you show to Edwardsville is about 10 miles to the other's 7 miles.
    Plus you have a stretch of US 360 with 3000 AADT and two big hills.
    Still, there's nothing wrong with your Bikely route.
    (Red numbers are AADT - average annual daily traffic)



    b) I am less inclined to give a thumbs up on using US 360 into Warsaw.
    Here again there are different factors to consider.
    Hwy 3 has between 3500 and 7000 vehicles per day.
    US 360 has between 7000 and 14000 vehicles per day.
    Both get busier approaching Warsaw.
    US 360 is four lanes - Hwy 3 is four lanes in the busier stretch.
    Since US 360 has twice the traffic of Hwy 3, I'd go with Hwy 3.

    c) Tappahannock airport.
    Essex county opened a new airport last year and closed the town airport.
    I would double check to make sure you can get thru using the Marsh St.
    Airport Road is kinda busy - plus you often meet folks on back city streets.
    No big deal using Airport Rd.

    d) Why are you looping all the way to Mechanicsville?
    That's like adding 20 or 30 extra miles - and roads that are busy suburban ones, too.
    (Walnut Grove Rd has 4300-6400 AADT - impatient, suburban drivers, no shoulders.)
    If you don't want to cross I-95 at Hwy 207, you can head up to Penola and Athens -
    Then use Golansville Road to get to Cedar Fork. There is no I-95 exit.
    There are also very limited services. There is a store at Chilesburg.



    I didn't mean to scare you about crossing interstate exits. I do it all the time.
    It's no like having a chocolate milkshake, but it's O.K. You just have to be careful.
    My original route is a little busier, but you have services at the I-95 exit.
    The alternate lets you cross I-95 where there is no exit - zero - zilch.

    Best - J

    PS - If you are going all the way down to Mechanicsville in order to visit Civil War battlefields,
    I would suggest riding thru Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville rather than via Tappahannock.

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    I was just having a bout of nostalgia reading bits of my planning for our 2009 transam and thought I'd give a quick update on what we did and how it went. I was going to PM this to jamawani to say thanks for the advice because it was a great start to the trip, but figured it might be useful for other people as well. The reaction you get along the transam is amazing and people are always so intrigued, but this section isn't on the transam so the locals are even more intrigued. Such a great way to get speaking to people when they walk right up and start asking questions. It helped that I was wearing the British olympic cycling kit and another friend was wearing a jersey with a Scottish flag design.

    I can't recall the exact route, but we stayed in DC for a few days sightseeing with our bikes still boxed up, before sticking all 3 boxed bikes in the back of the rental car and heading to Salisbury.
    6372_583048900918_6546804_n.jpg
    We assembled our bikes and then rode to Assateague, with our first big hill of the trip being the ridiculous bridge that takes you onto the island.
    6372_583048975768_2027995_n.jpg
    We had an amazing first night, trying and failing to put up our tents with tent pegs not working in the sand.
    6372_583048910898_836846_n.jpg
    We got to watch the sunset overlooking the Atlantic ocean and later that evening we sat down on the beach with a family on vacation and they furnished us with beers and those marshmallow chocolate things (s'mores?).
    6372_583048950818_1779065_n.jpg
    The next day we headed over the peninsula to Crisfield and camped at Janes Island State Park where we made enquiries about the ferry we'd be taking the next day.
    6500_115571037347_8236845_n.jpg6372_583049000718_3218576_n.jpg
    Some of the locals didn't think it still ran, which got me some worried and angry looks from my two riding partners but I thought otherwise and kinda had to. It was on this day that we also developed an addiction for mountain dew because we were thirsty at the restaurant after our ride and we were unaccustomed to the free refills that are standard in the USA. We went crazy on it and would always be craving it at the end of a hot day's riding. On a seemingly unrelated note I started getting a really funny heartbeat in the evenings and I thought it was just my body adapting to the rigours of daily long distance cycling. Until one day I found out the mountain dew was caffeinated. I don't normally drink tea or coffee or coca cola so that explained the strange heartrate every evening as we downed 2 litres of caffeinated drink. I switched to the non-caffeinated version after that.
    The ferry turned out to be running fine and we headed across to Reedville via Tangier.
    6372_583049045628_2807823_n.jpg
    There was indeed a campsite right by the ferry port and we stayed there before heading across to Tappahannock.
    6372_583049115488_5139077_n.jpg
    What we INTENDED to do was stop at a campsite just before the bridge to Tappahannock, stay the night and cross very early the next morning before the traffic hit. What we DID do was miss the campsite and end up on the bridge before we knew it. There wasn't really a chance to turn around so we just thought "hammer it!!". Two of us made a paceline and got across as fast as we can. The other guy went a bit slower. By the time he got over to the other side, his hands hurt from gripping the handlebars so tight and there was a big line of traffic behind him, but he was fine:
    6372_583049120478_4534924_n.jpg6372_583049130458_4265985_n.jpg
    This is where we were invited in to 'Mayhew's Antiques' where the owner gave us a bunch of drinks and offered us a place to stay and everything. If you ever pass through here, stop in and say the 'Lads on tour from the UK' sent you.
    We also ended up drinking with some locals we met in Walmart, but I'm not going to post any photos of that!

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