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  1. #1
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    Less than two weeks away - Long tour - Where to go?

    This will likely sound foolish to most of you, but it's my current situation...and I'm ok with being foolish sometimes.

    I've been planning a hasty/late transcontinental tour for a couple of months now. I have all of my gear etc, but I've allowed myself to be somewhat talked out of my original plan.
    The original plan was to drive with a college buddy of mine to visit my former college roommate from home in Charleston to Atlanta. From there I planned to make my way to the Adventure Cycling TransAmerica route to OR. I would then travel south down the coast until San Diego.

    EVERYONE I've talked to has explained how terrible the weather will be once I get out of Colorado. I've been well aware of the weather I would likely encounter in Pacific Northwest, and being young, dumb, and bulletproof I didn't really think too much of it. I kind of look forward to hardships and challenges involved in a trip like this.
    Anyway, I'm opening myself up to some new ideas after all of the negative feedback.

    Here are some ideas I've come up with:
    Fly from ATL to Seattle and start transcon from there.
    Fly to BC and head south...possibly to Peru.
    Fly to Seattle, south via west coast, then southern tier back to Charleston SC
    Other ideas? I'm completely ok with simply jumping into something new without much foresight and am open to something abroad as well.

    Here are the limiting factors.
    Riding a Jamis Aurora with Bob Ibex. All gear has been acquired and paid for.
    $5000 budget.
    Would ideally be able to leave on August 19
    No time limitations aside from how long the money will last.
    Willing to stretch money out as much as possible. IE. camping everyday, minimal tourist expeditions, not afraid to pick up an odd job here or there.

    Where would you go, what would you do?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Senior Member ambrisdelighted's Avatar
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    this is such a crazy plan!! I'm excited to see what people have to say. Best of luck!!

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    If you're leaving on August 19th, and you want to cross the US, I'd suggest flying to San Diego and crossing to Atlanta, or wherever, from there ... as far south as possible. Or going from Atlanta straight across to San Diego.

    It sounds like you've got absolutely no idea about winter in the mountains. How much winter riding and camping experience do you have? I'm talking about a real winter ... not an Atlanta winter. One with lots of snow, bitterly cold temps, closed roads, closed campgrounds, etc.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    It takes about two months to cross the US. If you leave the 19th from the east coast, would put you in the Rockies about the third week in September. Be cold in the passes, and maybe some snow, but I'd think very doable for an adventuresome young man with a head on his shoulders.

    Your alternatives all sound better. Cooler to warmer. Fall is usually a very good time for touring, both for temps and precip.

    Nice "budget" you've got there. Far more than most seem to have. You won't have to live off peanut butter and oatmeal.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  5. #5
    Gordon P
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    Meander around Spain and Portugal – Algarve, Porto, Lisbon, Douro Valley, Trans-Andalusia, Sierra de Greados, Valencia, Catalonia, Pyrenees, Camino de Santiago, Picos de Europa, Canary Islands, Majorca …

  6. #6
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    Any of those 3 alternatives sounds better than starting in the east.
    I started a Lewis & CLark to whatever/northernish route on 8/1 a few years ago, and had great weather everywhere except Yellowstone, where it was pretty cold and stormy.

    I think your Stl - TA route could be just do-able, and if you make good decisions about waiting for good weather if needed in the mountains you'll be OK - but you will be cold in MT & WY & CO for sure.

    If you fly to the west coast and do a Pacific Coast to Southern Tier, you might want to figure out, based on your average milage, when you'll be where, and look at some weather averages. I honestly don't have any idea how the weather will be in the deep south in, say December & January. Probably still rather wintery, and the days will be very short. My gut feel is if you start in San Francisco and ride to San Diego and then get on the Southern Tier, you'll have OK weather and be done before it's really wintery.

    I have no comment about riding south of the border - it's not something I would do as a solo woman tourist, so I've never looked at conditions or weather or anything.

    Another possibility that you didn't mention is starting in San Francisco and doing a Western Express to Transam. You'll be in the rockies a bit sooner that way.

    Have a great tour!
    ...

  7. #7
    mev
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    If you're leaving on August 19th, and you want to cross the US, I'd suggest flying to San Diego and crossing to Atlanta, or wherever, from there ... as far south as possible. Or going from Atlanta straight across to San Diego.
    If starting from the west coast, at end of August, I'd probably pick San Francisco Bay area over San Diego. The reason is the Southern Tier crosses through some desert regions that still can be pretty hot (average high temps for Yuma AZ for September is 101F: http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Arizona/Yuma/). Going just a bit further north such as along US 50 will likely be a bit cooler (e.g. http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Nevada/Ely/). However, once you get past the desert regions I'd agree with swinging further south along the Gulf Coast.

    Alternately if you have some more time, I could see starting in Oregon and making a leisurely trip down to San Diego before cutting across at a time it would be a bit cooler.

  8. #8
    Bicycle Lifestyle AsanaCycles's Avatar
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    amtrak to the west coast
    ride down the coast.... end of story

    along the way down the coast you may end up wanting to hang out, get a job, etc...
    you never know, you might like one of the towns along the Cali coast, and hang out for a bit, job etc...
    then maybe ride to Panama

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    Lots of great advice here. Thanks a lot for your input, and I'm open to any other opinions if anyone is so inclined.

    While I don't have any cold weather touring experience (or any touring experience for that matter), I do have a good amount of cold weather camping experience from climbing. I've never spent an excessive amount of time on a bike in the cold, but I have a lot of experience working in intensely cold and wet situations for days on end without any place for recovery or warmth.

    -Cyclebum- That was my opinion. I figured if I made decent time, especially leaving from Atlanta, it'd be cold but very doable. Yeah, my budget is definitely a nice cushion, but I still plan on living quite meagerly. However, I do like to eat...we'll see.

    -Gordon- Very tempting. I think if I made it over there I'd have a hard time sticking to just that area. I've been doing my best to crunch the numbers and I'm trying to figure how far east I could make it from Spain on my budget...

    -Valygrl- Southern winters can be surprisingly bitter. I'm expecting to encounter some very cold weather regardless of where I am and when. I hadn't considered the Western Express option, I'll check that out. Thanks

    -mev- If I do start off on the west coast, I will likely start in Oregon. I'm not too concerned with the heat (Charleston summers are slightly cooler than 100s, but are famously humid); however, I'm concerned with the length of the trip. I think a simple Southern Tier trip will just be too short so I'm trying to find some othere interesting things to throw in there.

    -Asana- I like your style. I had really planned on seeing the Rockies and the Midwest, but there's always another tour. I like the idea of finding a cool area to hang in for a while, maybe picking up some random jobs along the way.

    I've got plans to make, tickets to buy. Just gotta figure out where to.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runpasthefence View Post
    Southern winters can be surprisingly bitter. I'm expecting to encounter some very cold weather regardless of where I am and when.
    And you define "surprisingly bitter" as .... ??

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    Defined as (despite the fashion faux pas) having to throw on some ankle socks on under my flip flops to curb the biting numbness of our blistering 65F chill and 5kt gusts. Heaven forbid I ever have to throw on some underwear under my board shorts...I just won't leave the comfort of barely-heated home.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    runpastthefence, that answer demands you journal your ride and let us know where to find it.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 08-02-09 at 10:07 PM.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runpasthefence View Post
    Defined as (despite the fashion faux pas) having to throw on some ankle socks on under my flip flops to curb the biting numbness of our blistering 65F chill and 5kt gusts. Heaven forbid I ever have to throw on some underwear under my board shorts...I just won't leave the comfort of barely-heated home.
    Yeah, OK. Well, if you leave Seattle on August 19 and get through the mountains really quickly, you'll likely encounter temperatures a tad cooler than that.

    http://countrystudies.us/united-stat...do/boulder.htm

    http://countrystudies.us/united-states/weather/

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jtgyk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    And you define "surprisingly bitter" as .... ??
    I moved to Texas from Colorado (Crested Butte) and I have to say I was completely taken by surprise at how cold it can get in Texas. When the wind whistles down across the panhandle from Canada parts of a man can just...disappear.

    Sometimes, in December, it has been in the 70's here in Dallas...but can just as easily be miserable with freezing rain and below freezing temps.

    Just sayin....

    EDIT--
    Last year's winter in Dallas had remarkably similar tems as Denver and Montrose, Colorado.
    Last edited by Jtgyk; 08-02-09 at 11:01 PM.
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  15. #15
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runpasthefence View Post
    This will likely sound foolish to most of you, but it's my current situation...and I'm ok with being foolish sometimes.


    Where would you go, what would you do?

    Thanks in advance!

    My trip is not transcontinental, and its still preliminary and in the planning stages...but I am leaving western new england Sept 1st and

    (1) heading up the Mohawk Valley into the Adirondacks, wandering around till the foliage starts.....
    (2) crossing back into New England and following the foliage south
    (3) south with the foliage in the appalachians until I arrive in Georgia probably late in the fall....
    (4) spend early winter in the deep south and head west to NM and AZ after XMAS;
    (5) see much of the desert southwest and southern Cal (I have a buddy in San Diego) as winter turns to spring, then head north as the weather warms...

    This is an open ended tour, so I am not sure where I'll be going so many months ahead...but we'll play it by ear.

    roughstuff
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  16. #16
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jtgyk View Post
    I moved to Texas from Colorado (Crested Butte) and I have to say I was completely taken by surprise at how cold it can get in Texas. When the wind whistles down across the panhandle from Canada parts of a man can just...disappear.

    Sometimes, in December, it has been in the 70's here in Dallas...but can just as easily be miserable with freezing rain and below freezing temps.

    .......


    Yes, indeed. Are those what Texans refer to as 'blue northers?' Without any mountain ranges to hold back the cold air in winter, arctic air masses have a free ride to mexico. If the rockies were east/west on the Canadian border, instead of north south, the US would have a climate similar to India.

    roughstuff
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roughstuff View Post
    (1) heading up the Mohawk Valley into the Adirondacks, wandering around till the foliage starts.....
    (2) crossing back into New England and following the foliage south
    (3) south with the foliage in the appalachians until I arrive in Georgia probably late in the fall....
    (4) spend early winter in the deep south and head west to NM and AZ after XMAS;
    (5) see much of the desert southwest and southern Cal (I have a buddy in San Diego) as winter turns to spring, then head north as the weather warms...

    This is an open ended tour, so I am not sure where I'll be going so many months ahead...but we'll play it by ear.

    roughstuff

    That sounds like a sweet ride. Appalachia in Autumn is awesome. Mine is open-ended as well...at least until the money runs out. I'd been considering trying to make it to Shanghai once I hit the west coast, but I think the following plan is a little more reasonable while still being a fairly comprehensive tour.

    Atlanta - TransAm - Western Express - PacCoast north until weather goes to hell - PacCoast south - Southern Tier - Mexico (maybe further south depending on $$) - Southern Tier - Charleston

  18. #18
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    How about riding across the US from San Diego to the east coast of Florida and then down to Key West. Then make some more plans after a few sunsets and alcohol laden nights in Key West!! Enjoy - whatever your destination!
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  19. #19
    Senior Member ambrisdelighted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runpasthefence View Post
    That sounds like a sweet ride. Appalachia in Autumn is awesome. Mine is open-ended as well...at least until the money runs out. I'd been considering trying to make it to Shanghai once I hit the west coast, but I think the following plan is a little more reasonable while still being a fairly comprehensive tour.

    Atlanta - TransAm - Western Express - PacCoast north until weather goes to hell - PacCoast south - Southern Tier - Mexico (maybe further south depending on $$) - Southern Tier - Charleston
    China is fantastic! I've never been bicycling through there, but I went there last summer and it was just too cool. Love the country!
    Though, going through western china may be a bit dangerous...there is a lot of conflict there. I hear Taiwan has become very popular for cyclists though.

  20. #20
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    Uh-oh... I meant the Western Express starting in SF and heading east. I think you'll still have too much winter if you go the other way.

    I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic.
    ...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Uh-oh... I meant the Western Express starting in SF and heading east. I think you'll still have too much winter if you go the other way.

    I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic.

    Your advice was well-taken and appreciated. However, I'm trying to avoid flying if at all possible (at least in my initial leg). After estimating my pace and looking at some weather data, I don't really think it's too tall a hurdle to jump. I haven't made my final decision, but I'm pretty close.

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