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  1. #1
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Possible January Destinations

    I am retiring at the end of the year, but returning to work part time until June. I plan to take the first two weeks of January off. I am looking for ideas of how I might best take advantage of those two weeks without breaking the bank since I will not yet be opening the tap on my nest egg and will not yet be on social security. Buying airline tickets is OK, but I don't want to wind up spending a fortune either staying in $20-40 campsites or on higher priced airfare destinations. I am not completely averse to stealth camping, but I usually prefer to stay in plain sight when possible.

    A purely bike touring trip is one possibility and if I do that I might consider finishing one of my previously ridden routes. That would mean possibly either riding the remainder of the Southern Tier (Sarasota to St Augustine and maybe on to the keys) or the remainder of the Pacific Coast (Central California to the Mexican border and possibly beyond).

    Another possibility would be the Bryce and Zion National Park area. In that case it may be some biking mixed with some backpacking. It may also be backpacking with a rental car available to tie shorter trips together. In that case it might be day hikes and/or overnight backpacking, possibly with no bicycling or possibly with MTB day rides. I have not visited the area and do not have a feel for how best to see it. I'd really appreciate any feed back on that.

    Also I have not ruled out some xc skiing or snowshoeing in West Virginia assuming snow cover or maybe some car camping, mountain biking, and/or backpacking if there is no snow. That would be a car trip from home so no need for airfare.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I am retiring at the end of the year, but returning to work part time until June. I plan to take the first two weeks of January off. I am looking for ideas of how I might best take advantage of those two weeks without breaking the bank since I will not yet be opening the tap on my nest egg and will not yet be on social security. Buying airline tickets is OK, but I don't want to wind up spending a fortune either staying in $20-40 campsites or on higher priced airfare destinations. I am not completely averse to stealth camping, but I usually prefer to stay in plain sight when possible.

    A purely bike touring trip is one possibility and if I do that I might consider finishing one of my previously ridden routes. That would mean possibly either riding the remainder of the Southern Tier (Sarasota to St Augustine and maybe on to the keys) or the remainder of the Pacific Coast (Central California to the Mexican border and possibly beyond).

    Another possibility would be the Bryce and Zion National Park area. In that case it may be some biking mixed with some backpacking. It may also be backpacking with a rental car available to tie shorter trips together. In that case it might be day hikes and/or overnight backpacking, possibly with no bicycling or possibly with MTB day rides. I have not visited the area and do not have a feel for how best to see it. I'd really appreciate any feed back on that.

    Also I have not ruled out some xc skiing or snowshoeing in West Virginia assuming snow cover or maybe some car camping, mountain biking, and/or backpacking if there is no snow. That would be a car trip from home so no need for airfare.
    c
    Bryce and Zion are relatively high altitude and may experience winter storms. The southern california coas will be much warmer; though it's the rainy season, that's relative..usually there's more dry days than those with rain. This is also a nice time of year to explote the low desert in California and Arizona; I do know that the developed Palm Canyon campground in Borrego Springs offers hike and bike sites ($8 per person per night last year),

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Australia - high airfare, but low accommodation prices ... depending where you go, you could legally and openly free camp in the state forests. January is summer school holiday time so some areas might be busy, and it will be HOT.

    Lower Mainland BC - cool, possibly rainy, may encounter a day or two of snow, but very scenic and lots of good riding possibilities. We'll be there for the first two weeks of January, and will be doing as much cycling as possible. You could possibly get in some skiing or snowshoeing higher in the mountains.

    Taiwan - down the east coast.

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    It sounds like you don't want to leave the USA. If that's the case, the obvious choice for biking is Hawaii. There's a fairly good network of state and county campgrounds there. Unless the rules have changed, you do need to get permits ahead of time. I would expect that it can be done online these days.

    As stevepusser already noted, Bryce Canyon, in particular, is high altitude, at over 8,000 ft. There WILL be snow. It was cool when I biked to the park in mid-May.

    If you're willing to consider places outside of the USA, the Yucatan of Mexico usually has inexpensive airfares from the east coast. You don't have to bother with camping equipment there. The roads are pretty good, and the area remains safe.

    If you can delay your trip by one or two weeks, you'll find much cheaper airfares to practically everywhere.

    Southern Arizona is a location which would work for combining driving with some biking in January.
    Last edited by axolotl; 11-14-12 at 10:00 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    A few clarifications:
    • Staying in the US... Not a necessity.
    • Mexico, particularly the Yucatan is tempting but I do have some anxiety about knowing very very little Spanish. I think that I would limit my choices to North America for this trip. Australia and Taiwan are definitely out for this trip. Lower Mainland BC, I would not have thought of that. I figured it was probably pretty wet then, but I'll look in to the climate stats a bit.
    • I hate hot weather and am quite tolerant of moderately cold weather. Overnight lows at or a bit below are no problem and colder is even OK if it warms up during the day.
    • Hawaii is out. My wife would leave me if I went there without her.
    • Axolotl mentioned airfare being better if I can postpone for a week or two. I am pretty much stuck with those dates with only a little wiggle room. That said I could probably leave at least a few days later (a week at very most), cut the trip a bit shorter, and most likely I could extend it a few days beyond January 14th. Anyway I'll keep that in mind when looking at fares.
    • Doing something other than bike touring is definitely not out of the question. In fact mountain biking sounds pretty attractive. I have already been to Moab (20 years ago), but wouldn't mind returning there or maybe seeing Fruita, CO.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 11-14-12 at 12:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Lower Mainland BC, I would not have thought of that. I figured it was probably pretty wet then, but I'll look in to the climate stats a bit.
    It's cold, it's very wet, and the days are short. Vancouver averages 23 days with precipitation in January. It's both the coldest and wettest month of the year there. Forget about coastal BC or the Pacific Northwest in the winter, unless you're a glutton for punishment.

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    Congrats on retiring before SS kicks in!
    Belize is English speaking and a bit south of Yucatan.

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    Junior Member TwoWheelTravel's Avatar
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    I can only speak from my own experience.
    Last January the Mrs. and I went to Israel and biked one end to the other and all points in between over a 3 week period. I would recommend the Southern part of the country as we got rained on several days in the north. It might not be everyone's cup o'tea but the desert and mediterranean climate is pretty hard to beat that time of year. Airfare is fairly reasonable after Christmas and El Al ( Israel's national airline) carry bikes for free!
    If you want route and lodging info I can point you to loads of stuff we found.
    Good luck and enjoy your trip where ever it may be.
    Last edited by TwoWheelTravel; 11-14-12 at 12:05 PM. Reason: I just kant spell :/

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
    It's cold, it's very wet, and the days are short. Vancouver averages 23 days with precipitation in January. It's both the coldest and wettest month of the year there. Forget about coastal BC or the Pacific Northwest in the winter, unless you're a glutton for punishment.
    I have a feeling that the temperature would be fine with me, but the amount and frequency of rain not.

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    I honestly don't think there is any cycling destination which will meet all of your criteria, which includes a reasonable airfare. I'd fall back on the x-country skiing or snowshoeing idea.

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    Death Valley? Cheap airfare, highs in the mid 60s...

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    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
    I honestly don't think there is any cycling destination which will meet all of your criteria, which includes a reasonable airfare. I'd fall back on the x-country skiing or snowshoeing idea.
    Agree.
    ...

  13. #13
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    If you are not a US citizen, Cuba might be a good ride.

  14. #14
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    Given your parameters and that you are already on east coast, I'd be inclined to drive down to FL and so some type of loop that got that missing Sarasota to St Augustine link as well as head out to the keys as well. FL can be some nice cycling in January - I prefer the center more than the coasts due to traffic. However otherwise keep it a somewhat mellow trip and be able to drive both ways.

    If I were looking for something more exotic, I'd be tempted to fly to Cuba by way of Mexico City.

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    Costa Rica and Panama? change of altitude is how you select for temperature ..

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I have a feeling that the temperature would be fine with me, but the amount and frequency of rain not.
    January is not the rainiest month in lower mainland BC, and it really depends. Some years are rainy ... some aren't. The average is about 18 days out of 31 with some sort of precipitation.
    http://www.climate.weatheroffice.gc....h1=0&month2=12

    Here's this year's information for Vancouver ... no guarantee that next January will be like that, of course ...
    http://www.climate.weatheroffice.gc....=0&timeframe=2


    You could also plan to head inland a little bit to the Kamloops area for a few days ... you wouldn't likely get much precipitation at all there:
    http://www.climate.weatheroffice.gc....h1=0&month2=12

    As for the length of days, as you know, you're not going to find long days anywhere in North America, but the day length is improving by then.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Big Bend area of Texas is an intersting bike and hike destination. Remote as you care to make it, cold nights, tepid days, no rain, lots of Texas chipseal for your riding pleasure. Big Bend State Park is perfect for mtb. I'll be returning to the area in January for a redo, partially along the ACA route that you did, but mostly south of 90. Link to friend's report on a recent ACA tour.

    Check out Spirit Airlines for cheap flights(no financial interest.) I flew with them recently to Phx for <$200, round trip. All went well. $75 for a bicycle. They won't get you close to BB, but might work for some other destination to your liking, if there's a departure gate near you.
    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

  18. #18
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mev View Post
    Given your parameters and that you are already on east coast, I'd be inclined to drive down to FL and so some type of loop that got that missing Sarasota to St Augustine link as well as head out to the keys as well. FL can be some nice cycling in January - I prefer the center more than the coasts due to traffic. However otherwise keep it a somewhat mellow trip and be able to drive both ways.

    If I were looking for something more exotic, I'd be tempted to fly to Cuba by way of Mexico City.
    The Florida option is definitely still alive, but I am not completely decided. I am not sure I can drive there enough cheaper than flying to make it worth taking the extra time. 2000+ miles of driving puts a pretty good dent in a two week trip and it would be something like $200+ in gas (assuming 30 mpg and not counting any wear and tear on the car). I am actually more concerned about the daily expenses on tour than the airfare in the case of Florida.

    Florida does have the advantage of the fact that I left a bike at my daughter's house at the end of my ST tour and that I would be finishing the ST that I already rode most of.

    I have always wanted to visit Cuba, but as a US citizen it is kind of off limits. Additionally I work for a defense research lab that requires foreign travel be approved and on a list of acceptable countries. I am not sure if my part time status will end that requirement or not but it is probably better to hold off on Cuba until I have completely severed ties with my employer.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 11-15-12 at 06:02 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Big Bend area of Texas is an intersting bike and hike destination. Remote as you care to make it, cold nights, tepid days, no rain, lots of Texas chipseal for your riding pleasure. Big Bend State Park is perfect for mtb. I'll be returning to the area in January for a redo, partially along the ACA route that you did, but mostly south of 90.
    I was pretty underwhelmed by the scenery in Texas on the Southern Tier, but looking at the pictures of the Big Bend area, it looks interesting and I think the weather would suit me pretty well. I'll check out possible logistics for getting to and from there. If I can find reasonable transportation, it might be a possibility. I know that on the ST in Texas it was easy to camp for free and eat pretty cheaply. Is that true in the Big Bend area as well? If so I could splurge a bit more on the air transportation.

  20. #20
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    I know this comes up often enough, but have you done the Baja before? It would be a fairly cheap flight over to San Diego and then pop down. You can get by with pretty minimal Spanish just because there's so little there, and your daily costs would definitely be pretty low as well. South of San Vicente the entire peninsula is pretty much yours for camping, so stealth camping doesn't require a whole lot of 'stealth', and there are still a few options of paid accommodation around. Two weeks is about right to get you down to La Paz, especially a bit easier if you bussed the first section to around Rosarito, and then cycled from there. Beautiful, cheap, and the weather should still be pretty decent in January - dry, warm during the day and a bit cool and night.

  21. #21
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keenancook View Post
    I know this comes up often enough, but have you done the Baja before? It would be a fairly cheap flight over to San Diego and then pop down. You can get by with pretty minimal Spanish just because there's so little there, and your daily costs would definitely be pretty low as well. South of San Vicente the entire peninsula is pretty much yours for camping, so stealth camping doesn't require a whole lot of 'stealth', and there are still a few options of paid accommodation around. Two weeks is about right to get you down to La Paz, especially a bit easier if you bussed the first section to around Rosarito, and then cycled from there. Beautiful, cheap, and the weather should still be pretty decent in January - dry, warm during the day and a bit cool and night.
    Thanks, I will consider that.

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    Here's one that looks doable on a budget. Nights might be a tad chilly in january, but days could be perfect riding temps!

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=6163&v=kw

    I'm going to do this one with the kids.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  23. #23
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    Oh... forgot to say ... CONGRATULATIONS on your imminent retirement!!!!
    ...

  24. #24
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Oh... forgot to say ... CONGRATULATIONS on your imminent retirement!!!!
    Thanks. I am getting pretty excited about having time to pursue a lot of things that I have not had time for lately.

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