I decided to start a new thread since we've change our mind and decided to go East to West. So, a similar question occurs to me, though I'm more knowledgeable than the last time I asked: Is this route reasonable? How would you improve it? How early could we start?
We're able to leave NYC as early as the beginning of April and need to be back by the end of August. I like the idea of having 4 months to do a 3 month ride, so that we can rest, visit people along the way, not have to push ourselves if it doesn't make sense...
We are hoping to visit people in Baltimore, Lexington, St.Louis, Vancouver, Seattle and Portland.
This would work way better for your timeframe and plans.
Three months is a liberal timeframe for a cross-country tour.
At 4000 miles, that's fewer than 50 miles per day -
Fewer than 60 with a day off per week.
Working backwards from the west coast:
Three weeks in August to visit and tour - so you arrive Aug 1.
The month of July to tour from Yellowstone to Glacier via US 89 to Anacortes via the Northern Tier.
(Possible loop down to Missoula - if Missoula is also a definite.)
Do not miss Glacier in early to mid July if you are heading to the Pacific Northwest.
Where do you want to cross the Great Plains? I suggest Nebraska over Kansas.
There is also the possibility of taking in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
That might suggest St Louis to Rulo,, Nebraska via the Lewis & Clark -
NE 2 west of Grand Island is pleasant, NE 92 has stunning grasslands landscapes.
Since you have plenty of time, I would suggest including the Black Hills and Bighorn Mtns.
Hot Springs, Spearfish, Devils Tower, Buffalo, Cody to Yellowstone.
Even if you spend a week each in St. Louis, Lexington and Baltimore -
I can't see how you would need to start before April 15 - - or want to.
By staying near the coast you have a few extra degrees.
How about the Cape May ferry - then cross the Chesapeake at the Lane Bridge?
(You would need a shuttle to get across the bridge - your friends?) Then ride up to Baltimore.
Crossing the Appalachians in late April/first of May will be chilly and wet.
Consider using the North Bend Trail in WV then following the Ohio River to Huntington.
I have biked from St Louis to Louisville to Lexington - some great back roads.
The weather should be ideal for much of this trip except at the beginning.
If you are flexible about the start date - i.e. willing to wait a few extra days -
You can minimize the possibility of a chilly, wet, nasty start to your adventure.
Wow. This sounds fantastic. Thanks for the details. So, maybe we'll start east around mid-May. My wife and I actually just rode to Baltimore in September going by way of the Jersey Shore, taking the Cape May ferry and crossing the Bay Bridge. It was beautiful and surprisingly easy, especially since we stayed in hotels. We'll be camping this time and have a lot to learn.
I guess I'll ask to specific routes as the time gets closer. It's sounds like we're on the right track now.
I support your idea of having 4 months to do a 3 month trip. I read posts of people planning high daily average miles - as high as 100. If I did that I wouldn't enjoy the tour at all. I understand the desire to "get somewhere", epecially if one has a long way to go and a limited time frame, but when I tour my objective is to enjoy the trip, including relaxing at a campground, and so I tend to average 50-55 miles a day. Often I do 35-40 mile days, but also some 60-70 mile days when I feel like "getting somewhere", or if that's how far it is between good places to spend the night.
You'll probably find what type of daily average suits you, but having the flexibility you describe sounds ideal.
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Originally Posted by eappleton1
Wow. This sounds fantastic. Thanks for the details. So, maybe we'll start east around mid-May. My wife and I actually just rode to Baltimore in September going by way of the Jersey Shore, taking the Cape May ferry and crossing the Bay Bridge.
If you hug the coast as closely as possible and want to camp south of Atlantic City, be prepared to pay through the nose unless you go a little inland to Belleplain State Forest, which is $25 for non-New Jersey residents. Most of the campgrounds are along the U.S. 9 corridor. Making reservations for Memorial Day weekend might be wise. Commercial campgrounds may require a two-day minimum for that weekend, so a day off might be in order.
Note that you can no longer cross the Great Egg Harbor on U.S. 9 south of Somers Point. The old private bridge is closed and the draw is in the upright position. You either have to ride the cost through Ocean City or go way inland to cross the Great Egg River. The good news is that the old 9th St. bridge and causeway between Somers Point and Ocean City (SR 52) has finally reopened and it's rideable. The old causeway was off limits to bikes.
If you hop on the Atlantic Highlands catamaran ferry in Midtown - late morning -
You can have lunch and spend the afternoon on Sandy Hook -
then take the Hudson Trail to Cheesequake State Park.
Not much riding, but a good way to focus energy on the start.
Plus you can ride before dawn the next day - maybe 2 miles -
And watch the sun rise over Raritan Bay - Old Bridge Beach.
May not be that important to y'all.
(You'll get a great sunrise if you stay at Cape Henlopen.)
Then again, it could be cloudy at Cape Henlopen.
Ya never know how many stunning sunrises you will get -
So my advice is to get as many as you can.
PS - There's a rental cabin at Hartshorne Park.
Moderately pricey, but you can have super privacy -
then head to the bluffs for sunrise.
Monmouth County Parks
PPS - Wharton State Forest is inland but has some really quiet roads.
Primitive camping is $5 per person.