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Old 03-22-12, 07:51 PM   #1
Kengh
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Can I ride I-10 all the way through Texas?

Hey guys, I am currently doing the southern tier ACA route. Map two of the pack (which starts in Pheonix and ends in El Paso) I didn't use. I just rode down to Tucson and then caught I-10 and have been on it ever since (now in Lordsburg, NM). Looking at section 3 of the ACA map pack it looks like I will be going through some very desolate areas. Places to camp or get food and water are up to 90 miles apart at some points. My biggest ride so far has been 70, so I am no sure if I can do 90 or not, especially with big hills. I was wondering if it is legal and advisable to just take I-10 all the way through Texas until I get to Austin. It is a far more direct route, and being the interstate I would figure I am bound to find services closer together than following the ACA maps. Please correct me if I am wrong about that. El Paso to Austin would only be 576 miles if I rode I-10 the whole way, and it looks like it'd be 800 or 900 miles to do the same ride the ACA way. What am I missing here?

Edit: I realize that I-10 doesn't go through Austin, but what I propose to do is take I-10 from El Paso all the way to exit 477, at which point I will get off I-10 and take US-290 East the remaining 90 miles into Austin. I'd camp at rest stops and RV parks. Would this be legal?

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Old 03-23-12, 02:24 AM   #2
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I recently took a honeymoon out West and drove I-10 from New Orleans to Arizona and back. There was enough sketchy activity out that way that I would be pretty cautious. My wife was very nearly assaulted at a reststop by a Mexican woman and her daughter who didn't want to wait in the queue. (They tried to tear down the stall door while she was on the pot and there was much shouting in Spanish. My wife is deaf and had no freakin' idea what was going on. Total chaos ensues as you can imagine.) This was in West Texas at a stop off I-10. I've travelled all over, from the Eastern Caribbean to Russia, and it was a new one for me.

We saw a great many deer right next to the road and wandering across the road at night. We also saw what was either wolves or coyotes, but either way you'd want some kind of self defense weapon to deal with them.
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Old 03-23-12, 02:49 AM   #3
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Can I ride I-10 all the way through Texas?

Short answer: Maybe

You could push your luck and probably get away with it. The worse: "Sir, you see that exit up there? Take it." Most likely prompted by some busy bodies' 911 call.

Texas is one of those 'if there is no reasonable alternative' states. This seems to be liberally interpreted by the highway patrol.

El Paso, and probably Ft Stockton, would be off limits. So would any section with a service road or closely parallel highway. Google can be your friend for knowing in advance where those sections are.
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Last edited by Cyclebum; 03-23-12 at 04:52 AM. Reason: staehpj1's experience
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Old 03-23-12, 04:39 AM   #4
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Not sure what the actual law is there, but we were told by locals that you can ride the interstate anywhere in Texas. We rode the interstate a lot in Texas, even through Houston and other cities, and the cops just drove by,

Mostly it was decent riding IMO. The exception was Houston, due to closed shoulders (construction), and massive amounts of traffic. That is the one section I'd avoid.
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Old 03-23-12, 05:09 AM   #5
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staehpj1, interesting that you weren't ejected in the urban areas. I've been ejected from urban expressways twice. One was a designated interstate. I'd rate the danger of riding on an interstate through a busy urban area as high due to the many on/off ramps with high speed traffic. Otherwise, an interstate is one of the safest place to pedal due to the wide, usually clean shoulder.
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Old 03-23-12, 05:55 AM   #6
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"I realize that I-10 doesn't go through Austin, but what I propose to do is take I-10 from El Paso all the way to exit 477, at which point I will get off I-10 and take US-290 East the remaining 90 miles into Austin. I'd camp at rest stops and RV parks. Would this be legal?" --kengh

More than likely there won't be a problem on I-10 and US-290 is a nice highway (or was, I haven't been on that section in quite awhile). Where are you going after Austin (very cycling friendly)? Not to sound unfriendly, but stay away from Houston if using I-10.

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Old 03-23-12, 06:54 AM   #7
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As others have said, I wouldn't even think about taking I-10 through Houston. If anything think about I-90 or some other route, but not I-10.
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Old 03-23-12, 07:10 AM   #8
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i'd recommend getting off I-10 at van horn, then follow US-90 to san antonio.
small towns are nicely spaced. longest section would be sanderson to
del rio, about 120 miles. there's a border patrol station in comstock,
don't recall if there is a motel there. don't miss san antonio, visit the
alamo, check out the basement.
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Old 03-23-12, 07:16 AM   #9
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i'd recommend getting off I-10 at van horn, then follow US-90 to san antonio.
small towns are nicely spaced. longest section would be sanderson to
del rio, about 120 miles. there's a border patrol station in comstock,
don't recall if there is a motel there. don't miss san antonio, visit the
alamo, check out the basement.
Are we still looking for PeeWee's bike????

Good reference to the basement, I wonder how many got it????

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Old 03-23-12, 07:34 AM   #10
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru6a4l9Mcjs
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Old 03-23-12, 07:35 AM   #11
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If anything think about I-90...
That would be one hell of a detour.
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Old 03-23-12, 07:36 AM   #12
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don't miss san antonio, visit the
alamo, check out the basement.
I was in SA last week. The part I would highly recommend is Mission San Josť y San Miguel de Aguayo, aka the "Queen of the Missions."
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Old 03-23-12, 08:43 AM   #13
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I'd rate the danger of riding on an interstate through a busy urban area as high due to the many on/off ramps with high speed traffic.
Yeah, some places there were more than one lane of ramp to cross, and the traffic was heavy. I would not do that section again.

Edit: Forgot to mention that the drivers in Houston were more hostile than on the rest of the trip as well.

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Old 03-23-12, 08:51 AM   #14
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I recently took a honeymoon out West and drove I-10 from New Orleans to Arizona and back. There was enough sketchy activity out that way that I would be pretty cautious. My wife was very nearly assaulted at a reststop by a Mexican woman and her daughter who didn't want to wait in the queue. (They tried to tear down the stall door while she was on the pot and there was much shouting in Spanish. My wife is deaf and had no freakin' idea what was going on. Total chaos ensues as you can imagine.) This was in West Texas at a stop off I-10. I've travelled all over, from the Eastern Caribbean to Russia, and it was a new one for me.

We saw a great many deer right next to the road and wandering across the road at night. We also saw what was either wolves or coyotes, but either way you'd want some kind of self defense weapon to deal with them.
Not sure if I have just been lucky and you unlucky, but... I just rode through that area including a number of border towns and our trip was completely incident free.

As far as a weapon for the wolves and coyotes... I toured in a number of places with both and have not felt the need for a weapon. I have never heard of a touring cyclist have a problem with them.
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Old 03-23-12, 10:05 AM   #15
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I would imagine that 10 wheels has ridden that part of the state. Hopefully, he'll chime in shortly.
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Old 03-23-12, 05:36 PM   #16
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Thanks for the replies guys, still pondering what to do though. So far I've loved I-10 and don't mind the freeway ride at all. I think I would enjoy I-10 in Texas because of the rest stops, which in some portions of Texas are closer together than towns.
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Old 03-23-12, 05:56 PM   #17
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Hey guys, I am currently doing the southern tier ACA route. Map two of the pack (which starts in Pheonix and ends in El Paso) I didn't use. I just rode down to Tucson and then caught I-10 and have been on it ever since (now in Lordsburg, NM). Looking at section 3 of the ACA map pack it looks like I will be going through some very desolate areas. Places to camp or get food and water are up to 90 miles apart at some points. My biggest ride so far has been 70, so I am no sure if I can do 90 or not, especially with big hills. I was wondering if it is legal and advisable to just take I-10 all the way through Texas until I get to Austin.
I-10 east of El Paso is very desolate as well. But I would think it to be preferrable to the ACA route, which, on top of being desolate, runs uncomfortably close to the border, through an active drug trafficking corridor.

Google Maps says that El Paso to Austin is 576 miles via I-10 and 667 miles via the ACA route.

If I were doing this, I'd swing way north, through Midland and San Angelo (622 miles).
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Old 03-23-12, 06:18 PM   #18
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Thanks for the replies guys, still pondering what to do though. So far I've loved I-10 and don't mind the freeway ride at all. I think I would enjoy I-10 in Texas because of the rest stops, which in some portions of Texas are closer together than towns.
KenG, I've been following a CGOAB journal of a couple riding a tandem on the ST, they're in Lordsburg today also. They've mapped out their route to motel it the whole way, meaning it can't be too desolate. Here's the link to their journal

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?..._id=10191&v=3B
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Old 03-23-12, 06:21 PM   #19
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P.S. The dates in their journal are not correct. They delayed their trip start and never changed the date in the journal So their journal says they were in Lordsburg March 12 but that post just appeared this morning, March 23.
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Old 03-23-12, 06:55 PM   #20
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Heh, ive run into said tandem.couple two days in a row now. We talked about texas today over lunch and they told me they were riding mostly I-10, straying ocasionally only for motels. Ill have.to.check out their route in detail. At this point Im comfortable with riding I10 through all the way, my only concern is camping at rest stops and being confronted by a trafficer/immigrant. I love how you run imto other cyclists during tours.
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Old 03-23-12, 07:32 PM   #21
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At this point Im comfortable with riding I10 through all the way, my only concern is camping at rest stops and being confronted by a trafficer/immigrant. I love how you run imto other cyclists during tours.
Texas is not rest stop camping friendly. I'm pretty sure it's illegal. Pretty stupid, but that's the LAW. Ok for an 18 wheeler to park all night with the engine running. Again, you can try your luck. I do know they do their best to eliminate any place to hide. I successfully pulled it off one time at a major rest stop by thowing my pad down between some shrubs and a wall. Wasn't a particularly pleasant night.
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Old 03-24-12, 07:18 AM   #22
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KenG, I've been following a CGOAB journal of a couple riding a tandem on the ST, they're in Lordsburg today also. They've mapped out their route to motel it the whole way, meaning it can't be too desolate. Here's the link to their journal

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?..._id=10191&v=3B
I agree. On my recent ST (part AC ST and part improvised) we were never all day with no resources at all. It seemed to me that there were a couple stretches on the TA that had more widely spaced resources. The ST really is not all that bad in this regard whether you stay with the AC route or take I-10.
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Old 03-24-12, 07:32 AM   #23
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You can ride Interstate 10 through Texas. You'll miss the mountains, the canyons, the Hill Country, the forests of maples and pines, numerous historic sites - pretty much every reason to tour the southern half of the state, but you can ride the interstate.

"Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything." Charles Kuralt

BTW, and I can't believe no one has mentioned this: the legal speed limit on I-10 in the western half of Texas is 80mph/130kph. People being people, some portion of the traffic will be running between 85 and 90. The semis will pretty much be running flat out, as fast as the trucks will go.

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We also saw what was either wolves or coyotes...
Wild wolves have been extinct in Texas for over four decades.

Say, can someone point me to a journal that documents cycle tourists having trouble uniquely and specifically due to riding through the "active drug trafficking corridor" of the southern US border? That sounds like interesting reading.

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Old 03-24-12, 07:37 AM   #24
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Texas is not rest stop camping friendly. I'm pretty sure it's illegal. Pretty stupid, but that's the LAW. Ok for an 18 wheeler to park all night with the engine running. Again, you can try your luck. I do know they do their best to eliminate any place to hide. I successfully pulled it off one time at a major rest stop by thowing my pad down between some shrubs and a wall. Wasn't a particularly pleasant night.
Really? I got the impression you could throw down a sleeping bag just about anywhere. Maybe I was just lucky. I guess I never stayed at any of the big rest stops, but I camped in plain sight at roadside picnic sites several times and the cops rode by without batting an eye. I think one even waved. I didn't pitch a tent or anything, but it had to be pretty clear to them that I was there for the night. I also slept at the Marfa Mystery Light Viewing Site and another time under a bridge. Under the bridge state police, park rangers, local police, and maybe natural resources police all rode by and waved to me. My friend Travis was there that night and even pitched a tent. The cops used that spot as a turn around and passed by all night.

I did see one picnic area that was posted, but even it only said "No sleeping on tables". I took that as an indication that sleeping on the concrete floor was OK. Also in several cases the locals recommended staying at the picnic areas, I took that to mean that they had seen others sleeping there, but never specifically asked if they did so I might be wrong.

As far as the bigger rest stops (the ones with bathrooms), while I didn't stay at any I did scope them out and looked for signage prohibiting overnight stays. I saw no such signs. I kind of figured that pitching a tent might get me thrown out, but sleeping on the floor of a picnic pavilion wouldn't. I never tested that theory because none of those stops were ever at a point I wanted to stop for the day. So again I may be wrong.
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Old 03-24-12, 08:23 AM   #25
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From a Texas Rest Stop regulations page: Remaining in a rest area for more than 24 hours or erecting any kind of structure is prohibited by law.

So, as long as you don't put up a tent or try to homestead the place, you'll be ok. Probably. Your bivy would likely have passed the test. New Mexico is tent camping friendly at their stops.
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