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Old 07-29-09, 07:59 PM   #1
tbdean
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Just laid off. Touring a bad idea?

So I was just laid off. No huge surprise, I've been working for a startup and that comes with an awful lot of risk. I've got some savings, I'll be okay for a couple months.

I've always wanted to do a coast to coast bike tour. The problem is my vacation is only 2 weeks a year and is always used for family obligations. I figured this was something that would happen when I retired. But now I find myself with quite a bit of free time.

But of course money is a HUGE concern right now. I've got a Trek 1000 with a rear rack (my daily commuter) but I imagine I'll need a bit more. Tent? Plus food. And a plane ticket to CA.

Anyone have any thoughts about this? I'd love to hear them.

Perhaps I could do a small tour instead, but honestly I've never researched anything except for a West > East coast to coast tour. I'm open to suggestions.

Also, semi-related... I may have a 1958 VW Deluxe (15 Window) Bus for sale to raise funds for this trip
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Old 07-29-09, 08:10 PM   #2
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There are many practical reasons why you shouldn't do this.
I think if you wanted to be talked out of C to C, you've come to the wrong place.
Go for it and be sure to post your travels on crazyguyonabike.
When you return, you'll be refreshed, focused, and your employability will on fire, with multiple job offers to consider.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:16 PM   #3
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No better time than now..........just make sure you have your unemployment insurance stuff in order.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:20 PM   #4
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For sure only you can decide if it's a good idea, long tour or short tour. A short round trip tour would let you avoid the high cost of transportation, but for most, not as much fun as a cross country.

Your Trek will be fine. A lower gear combo would make it much easier for tackling the mountains. You'll also need front and rear racks, panniers, and good tires. Goobs of info on here and at crazyguyonabike.com about gear.

Not counting transportation cost, I find that I can tour comfortably on about $25/day, mostly free camping. With discipline and ingenuity, it can be done for less.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:32 PM   #5
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My plans are to tour if I ever get laid-off.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:32 PM   #6
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I may have a 1958 VW Deluxe (15 Window) Bus for sale to raise funds for this trip

That's sweet. Post some pics?
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Old 07-29-09, 08:43 PM   #7
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Same boat! Well, sorta.

I'm quitting my job this week...am selling my 1969 C-10... and am going transam starting Aug 13.
Nix the flight to CA and just start in GA. Maybe I'll see you on the road.
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Old 07-29-09, 09:05 PM   #8
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We've had 2 layoffs this summer. If I had of been on either list, I was heading on a cross country tour. There was no doubt about it.
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Old 07-29-09, 09:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by runpasthefence View Post
Same boat! Well, sorta.

I'm quitting my job this week...am selling my 1969 C-10... and am going transam starting Aug 13.
Nix the flight to CA and just start in GA. Maybe I'll see you on the road.
If you are leaving in mid August to mid Sept - you should DEFINITELY go West to East.
(Since you will have to take a plane or train on one end or the other.)

Why?
The Rockies start cooling off in Sept with early snows at higher elevations -
While the East is still pretty hot in Sept, but lovely in October.
And this year is looking to be an early/cold fall in the West.
It is already snowing in Wyoming and Montana in late July.
(Just a little at 10,000 feet, but it is bizarre.)

Since it can still be blisteringly hot in Nevada and Utah,
I would suggest starting in Oregon/Washington
Rather than doing the Western Express -
Then heading southeast across the country.

If you do a pretty straight shot, you can probably do it in 8 to 10 weeks.
And as for money - the more time you spend on public land - the more free camping.
There's free camping all over the West - but it's rare in the East.
Best Eastern free camping - the C&O Trail from Cumberland to Washington, DC.
(Plus the trail is usually pretty dry by autumn.)

If I were to do a cross-country trip starting in mid to late August -
(And I have done six of them)
I'd start in the San Juan Islands and ride the Northern Tier to Glacier.
Then I cut down to Yellowstone in Wyoming and head east into the Black Hills.
From there I'd cross Nebraska and Iowa -
Maybe swing close enough to Chicago to get a look at Lake Michigan -
Then ride across the Midwest and swing just south of Pittsburgh -
So that I could get on the ATA and C&O Trails.

Best weather. Best chance for tailwinds.
And a lovely time of year, too.
Good luck to y'all.
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Old 07-29-09, 09:18 PM   #10
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If you've got the money in the bank, then just after losing a job is a perfect time to tour. As someone said, you can come back refreshed and ready to return to the rat race, but it's also an opportunity that may not come again for a while. If you start a new job right away, it will take a while to build up the vacation time you need (unless you take off on unpaid leave, which is pretty much what you have right now).
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Old 07-29-09, 09:25 PM   #11
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Ha, well I'm definitely in the right forum.

MNBikeguy, thanks for the CrazyGuyOnABike site. TONS of info there. I had no idea you could camp for free!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Airwick View Post
That's sweet. Post some pics?
Here you go. The bus:

http://picasaweb.google.com/TBradley...PicsFromJustin

A few pics of the road trip down from Chicago when I bought her:

http://picasaweb.google.com/TBradleyDean/1958VWBus
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Old 07-30-09, 07:39 AM   #12
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That bus might raise a lot more money than you'll need for a cross country, if you can convince yourself to part with it.
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Old 07-30-09, 08:09 AM   #13
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Drive your VW to the west coast and sell it there. It's worth a lot more money out west than you could ever sell it for in Georgia.
Then do your cross country tour.
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Old 07-30-09, 08:17 AM   #14
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I would suggest a set of one week tours. This will give you plenty of touring exsperiance, while allowing you to job search every other week.

From Atlanta you could tour the Smokies, the Atlantic coast, the Tennesee river valley. You might use a rental car to travel to a location 350 to 500 miles out and ride back over 5 to 10 days.

I would spend half the time job searching and half touring.

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Old 07-30-09, 09:35 AM   #15
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Drive your VW to the west coast and sell it there. It's worth a lot more money out west than you could ever sell it for in Georgia.
Then do your cross country tour.
+1.

No, wait. On second thought, sell the bus on ebay, offering "free delivery," and start your tour wherever you deliver the bus.

Nice bus, by the way. Back when I wanted a car, that was the one I wanted.
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Old 07-30-09, 10:43 AM   #16
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Yes, sell the bus. Sell it on SF craigslist. Deliver it to SF, and there you go.

Do it now!

Wait a few months, another year, who knows, you might fall down a flight of stairs, splash hot oil in your eyes, contract a horrible disease, or fall madly-dependently in love with a couch potato--and forever shelve your coast to coast tour.

Do it while you still can

Good riding!
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Old 07-30-09, 11:15 AM   #17
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Yes, sell the bus. Sell it on SF craigslist. Deliver it to SF, and there you go.

Do it now!

Wait a few months, another year, who knows, you might fall down a flight of stairs, splash hot oil in your eyes, contract a horrible disease, or fall madly-dependently in love with a couch potato--and forever shelve your coast to coast tour.

Do it while you still can

Good riding!
My thoughts exactly. Do it now and don't regret it!
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Old 07-30-09, 11:16 AM   #18
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A Trek 1000 on tour. Put some 25 or 28mm tires on, go light, and have fun!

P.S. It is easy to put a lower range rear cassette and a mtn bike rear derailleur on it if you need lower gearing. If yours is an 8 speed, you might have to look a little harder for an 11/12-34 rear cassette, but they can be found. I have had a Shimano Deore RD on my bike for about 5 years and it is still doing fine (@$30).
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/k7.html#8

The only other "problem" you might have is heelstrike, if you use rear panniers. You may aalready know this is not an issue, depending on how your commuting is configured. I made the panniers in the picture which have more taper on the "drivers side". If you decide to go and heel strike is a problem, I'd be glad to loan them to you for the trip. If you have small feet (< 10) it may not be a problem. If possible, try the panniers on the bike and rack before you buy.
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Old 07-30-09, 11:18 AM   #19
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PSS. I'm not sure how that little green guy got in the post!
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Old 07-30-09, 11:46 AM   #20
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You have a chance to leave the rat race for awhile and go tour. What are you waiting for?
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Old 07-30-09, 01:52 PM   #21
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Current Hiring Environment

I was recently laid off as well. The idea proposed by Barrettscv is a good one, the one week tour alternated with job search. My job search experience this summer is that the market is extremely slow. There are not very many slots to compete for, so this is an excellent time to do touring.

My hope is that things pick back up in September, when people have returned from vacation, and when businesses finally decide that they need to make a decision on staying put or moving forward.
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Old 07-30-09, 02:14 PM   #22
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Quote:
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+1.

No, wait. On second thought, sell the bus on ebay, offering "free delivery," and start your tour wherever you deliver the bus.

Nice bus, by the way. Back when I wanted a car, that was the one I wanted.
I'd agree with that. Get max dollar and see what happens next. There's nothing inherently more adventurous about following a coast to coast route than a random ride. How about drawing a question mark on the map and follow that?
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Old 07-30-09, 04:14 PM   #23
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If you're serious about selling that 15-window (good choice, by the way) try http://www.thesamba.com. It's a VW specific classifieds website. I used to love spending time there just looking around (I hold a fondness for Type 3's).
-Gene-
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Old 07-30-09, 04:19 PM   #24
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If you could camp I might give this a go.Do what you can afford./Kenneth
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Old 07-31-09, 12:29 AM   #25
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OK, so let's say you loose your job, and have money worries, should you go out and purchase every high priced brand name alternative for a perfectly good, possibly even better generic product, at twice the cost. A coast to coast cycle is just a marketing idea where one eliminates about 99.99999% of the route ideas in order to travel from a well promoted departure point to a well promoted destination, while traveling along the same route as tens of thousands of other people while consuming routes, product lists etc... developed by other people. That may or may not be the best option right at this point.

If I was choosing such a route, I wonder whether a wilderness route like the Great Divide trail, with many more options for free camping would be cheaper and possibly more rewarding (negative of getting to and from that route might be costly). Other options would be to do a long hike like the Appalacian trail or Pacific Crest. Less gear, and lots of wild camping alternatives. Less crowds and dives to spend money I am guessing.

I like the idea of selling you truck in SF as a precursor. I might consider ebay since those deals normally involve pre-payment, where the local lists are more based on tire kicking prior to handing over the money. So you could find you don't really have a deal when you get out there.
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