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Old 11-03-12, 06:59 PM   #1
cpodest
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Touring USA / Weather Dec to Feb

Dear Guys, please I need some help and advices.


For a long time I have been planing to travel across USA with my touringbike. Finally, I have the time and the money to do it. Sadly as you know, "you never get all that you want"ˇ

The time frame that I have is from dicember to february, as i know, the worst season to do my tripˇ

Can you please recomend me any or some possible routes? would be the weather an impassable barrier?
I can consider routes in the south, but i don't want to go very deep in the south.
I really appreciate every opinion or advice

thanks a lot in advance
Carlos
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Old 11-03-12, 08:12 PM   #2
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I just don't think you would want to try it unless you stayed far south, something like this. http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/southerntier.cfm

I live near Interstate 40 in Oklahoma and I would not even consider attempting to ride across this far north in the winter time. Good luck.
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Old 11-03-12, 10:09 PM   #3
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The ACA Southern Tier is the only reasonable crossing to consider during Dec-Feb. That should take a couple of months. You could plan a do it yourself route as much as 300 miles north of the ACA route and be ok, but not recommended. Best to stick with the ACA routing for lots of reasons, not the least of which is your unfamilarity with the US. The ACA maps are worth their weight in gold for a first timer in the US. They will likely save you more money than they cost, and greatly reduce the stress factor.

On the other hand, if you're the really tough, adventuresome sort, you can cross at any latitude if you've got the motivation, cold weather gear, money, and time.

Are you a member of www.warmshowers.com? It's a site for touring cyclists who want to overnight with other cyclists during their ride. Great way to meet people. If you can be a host in Chile, you can sign up.
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Old 11-03-12, 10:23 PM   #4
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weatherspark.com has weather averages for many U.S. cities. But temperatures can change a lot from day to day.

For instance: Columbia SC (map)

Weatherspark averages. At top right, click F or C to change the temperature units.

Or look at last year's history charts (but last winter was unusually warm in many places)

Or even browse previous months or years in detail (but navigating these charts takes a little practice. You can zoom in or out to see one day, or even years at a time.)

Last edited by rm -rf; 11-03-12 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 11-04-12, 05:12 AM   #5
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weatherspark.com has weather averages for many U.S. cities. But temperatures can change a lot from day to day.

For instance: Columbia SC (map)

Weatherspark averages. At top right, click F or C to change the temperature units.

Or look at last year's history charts (but last winter was unusually warm in many places)

Or even browse previous months or years in detail (but navigating these charts takes a little practice. You can zoom in or out to see one day, or even years at a time.)
Outstanding data. I was unaware of this site. Thanks for posting.
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Old 11-04-12, 06:58 AM   #6
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Outstanding data. I was unaware of this site. Thanks for posting.
It's very useful.

I posted about the interesting wind speed and direction charts in another thread. That's useful for touring decisions, too.

And the weather radar is really good. I can drag the map, and zoom in and out. I use the 'replay X hours' feature a lot, to see where rain storms have been over the last few hours.

Their forecasts can switch between 3 or 4 different sources. But the NOAA one tends to be a few hours out of date compared to the noaa.gov site, and the others seem to less accurate.

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Old 11-04-12, 08:18 AM   #7
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The ACA Southern Tier is the only reasonable crossing to consider during Dec-Feb.
Yeah that isn't a bad time to do the ST or something close to it. February might be a better starting time than December because the days are longer then, but lots of folks do the ST starting in December. If you like brown treeless open country, the scenery may suit you, but I found it mostly kind of dreary. The people and the food (great Mexican food, cajun food, and barbecue) made up for the scenery and there were even a few places I found to be scenic on the route.
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Old 11-04-12, 09:46 AM   #8
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If you like brown treeless open country, the scenery may suit you, but I found it mostly kind of dreary. The people and the food (great Mexican food, cajun food, and barbecue) made up for the scenery and there were even a few places I found to be scenic on the route.
Yep, the ST is no scenery bonanza. Both ends aren't bad though. BTW op, if you do the ST, check out the Pecan House in Los Cruces, NM. Be a good overnight experience. Pete knows. I'd also divert to New Orleans for an interesting cultural experience and continue eastward through far south Louisiana before rejoining the ST.
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Old 11-04-12, 10:25 AM   #9
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Dear Guys, please I need some help and advices.


For a long time I have been planing to travel across USA with my touringbike. Finally, I have the time and the money to do it. Sadly as you know, "you never get all that you want"ˇ

The time frame that I have is from dicember to february, as i know, the worst season to do my tripˇ

Can you please recomend me any or some possible routes? would be the weather an impassable barrier?
I can consider routes in the south, but i don't want to go very deep in the south.
I really appreciate every opinion or advice

thanks a lot in advance
Carlos
Are you set on riding all the way across the US, from coast to coast? Or would you also be open to spending your time here seeing the most beautiful areas?

You can see more natural beauty by making a series of trips and loops in California and the Southwest.

Central and Southern California have an abundance of good weather during these months, in many areas. There are storms intermittently, but most of the time the weather is very fine.

One of the best tips (from Dennis Coello): 'Be ready for anything, and enjoy it all.'

If you are ready for a little cold, there are additional beautiful areas in the Southwest that become possible.

Yosemite Valley is worth seeing in winter, especially during a stretch of good weather. (If you watch the weather forecasts, you can avoid the storms. There are stretches of good weather between the storms.)

The inland desert areas of Central and Southern Califoria and Western Arizona have very little rain, and a lot of sunshine and mild temperatures during these months.
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Old 11-04-12, 11:39 AM   #10
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Go thru Puerto Rico, and Hawaii, that time of year. maybe Cuba,
swap time off with someone who likes winter , there, june thru august.

Note: Extreme right wing politics will key, negatively, on spanish speakers ,
So Cal NM, AZ, Texas La Miss Fla..

and they moved there .. for the warmer weather,
then hate the peoples that have been there for centuries.

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Old 11-04-12, 05:36 PM   #11
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Note: Extreme right wing politics will key, negatively, on spanish speakers ,
So Cal NM, AZ, Texas La Miss Fla..
Say what? That is just not so for a Chilian touring on a bicycle. Besides, the ability to speak Spanish in those areas could come in real handy. Sure, there might be an occasional negative vibe, but that happens to most crazy enough to cycle x-country. Part of the territory.
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Old 11-04-12, 08:30 PM   #12
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Say what? That is just not so for a Chilian touring on a bicycle. Besides, the ability to speak Spanish in those areas could come in real handy. Sure, there might be an occasional negative vibe, but that happens to most crazy enough to cycle x-country. Part of the territory.
I know we're veering towards P&R here, but to deny the anti-Hispanic racism of the southwest is a bit surprising to me. I still remember the chills that ran down my spine when I took a position at Texas Tech and one of my fellow faculty members referred to someone as a ******* on day one. (I left that job in less than a month.) The racial tension in Lubbock was thick enough to cut with a knife. That was twenty years ago, so things may have changed and I hope they have.
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Old 11-04-12, 09:24 PM   #13
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Hey Carlos, personally, I would not tour the USA in winter. Days are too short. Even if you have good weather, you will have a LOT of time to kill in the dark, sitting in your tent. If you plan on staying indoors a lot, that might be better.

New Zealand and Australia would be good destinations, that time of year. Save the US of A for longer days / better weather. Especially if you are not interested in the south. South would be your only real option for a coast-to-coast trip.
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Old 11-05-12, 01:32 AM   #14
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The Southern Tier can be frigid in the winter, very cold in fact, especially western Texas. The average low in Van Horn is 28 in winter, but can drop to below 0 F during a cold snap. Then throw in the high winds the Texas plains has. Tallahassee FL has quite a few days below freezing also.

The fact is, it's warmer to do a tour from Baltimore to Key West in the winter then it is to ride from San Diego to Jacksonville in the winter.
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Old 11-05-12, 05:03 AM   #15
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Summer, in The southern hemisphere,? , why not New Zealand, Australia,
South Africa

rather than Winter in the north? ... Why?
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Old 11-05-12, 06:09 AM   #16
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The Southern Tier can be frigid in the winter, very cold in fact, especially western Texas. The average low in Van Horn is 28 in winter, but can drop to below 0 F during a cold snap. Then throw in the high winds the Texas plains has. Tallahassee FL has quite a few days below freezing also.
I am sure it varies from year to year and everyone's weather preferences are different, but... I found the temperatures quite pleasant last year when I rode the ST. There was frost quite a few nights and even an overnight low of 18 F or so, but I don't think there was a day it didn't get into at least the mid 50's F. I did see some snow, but only on two passes and the roads were pretty much clear. I much prefer that to hot weather myself. To my way of thinking the worst weather of the tour was the last day when it got into the 90s F. There were some things I didn't like about my February-March ST ride, but the weather was just fine as far as I was concerned.
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Old 11-05-12, 08:52 AM   #17
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Instead of going west/east you could consider going north/south with this route. https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...cificcoast.cfm

The weather will be much more mild and you do not have to deal with many of the plains states which are boring going through even in a car a a much faster rate.

Are you in an area of Chile that gets you pretty experienced with cold weather? This trip is more than doable but if you already know how to stay warm in cold temps that will be a big help.
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Old 11-05-12, 09:34 AM   #18
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Instead of going west/east you could consider going north/south with this route. https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...cificcoast.cfm
It is likely to be very wet on much of the Pacific Coast during winter. Adventure Cycling in their description of the Pacific Coast route says, " This route can be ridden from early spring to late fall. Heavy winter rains can cause flooding and mud slides and may close roads, especially along the coast in the spring." My limited experience there in winter tends to reinforce that.
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Old 11-05-12, 10:57 AM   #19
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Hey Carlos, personally, I would not tour the USA in winter. Days are too short. Even if you have good weather, you will have a LOT of time to kill in the dark, sitting in your tent.
+1, long cold nights will get old. Stay in the southern hemisphere during these months.
Maximize enjoyment!!!
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Old 11-05-12, 04:33 PM   #20
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What about starting in the southern USA and heading south towards Mexico instead? Its a nice time of year.
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Old 11-06-12, 03:34 AM   #21
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True, the Pacific Coast is Moderate in temperature, but rather wet, and
once the summer High breaks up the winds come up from the SW,
and other directions .. not the fairly consistent NW winds of the mid to late summer..
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Old 11-07-12, 07:36 AM   #22
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Thanks everybodyˇˇˇ

Dear Guys.... First all thanks a lot for all your opinions and help..

Due your comments and opinions I decided to stay in the south hemisphere for a couple of months... Australia could be a good start or maybe the Asia's south... or ... even the Chilean south and the Patagonia. I did some routes there ..but i want more

On the other hand, I definitely want to bike USA...crossing from west to east ˇ Doing maybe the Lewis & Clark or the Transamerica route....
The question for you guys is, can be the middle or end of february a good time to start?

Thanks a lot for your help
Carlos
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Old 11-07-12, 07:58 AM   #23
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DOn the other hand, I definitely want to bike USA...crossing from west to east ˇ Doing maybe the Lewis & Clark or the Transamerica route....
The question for you guys is, can be the middle or end of february a good time to start?
The L&C and/or TA west to east? They are great routes, but no way I would start them in February. Personally I think February is a good time to start the Southern Tier though.

For the TA W-E, I'd advise waiting until June.
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Old 11-07-12, 08:03 AM   #24
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L&C or TA good time to start in the west is no earlier than mid-May, mid-June would be better.

The Rocky Mountains are still wintery in May. Yellowstone roads are closed well into May. THe mountains in Colorado are still ski areas in March and April.
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Old 11-07-12, 09:24 AM   #25
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Its better if you can get a winter break, to flip hemispheres..

I met a fellow in Scotland, on a break between his annual, summer job months,
as a back country guide out of Usuaia, Argentina.
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