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Advice on roads/route California, Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas

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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Advice on roads/route California, Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas

Old 10-09-13, 11:35 AM
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Advice on roads/route California, Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas

I have a tread going on the Touring Forum but I am not getting much action so I thought I would try this one too. I am interested to see if anyone has experience with any of the roads chosen on these maps and would like to comment on their suitability to cycling.

Cross Country Western segment map
Western Segment California map
2014 Trans America Tour thread

Regards,
Mike
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Old 10-11-13, 09:05 PM
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Really? No one has been on these roads?
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Old 10-11-13, 09:23 PM
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I can speak a little to New Mexico. The couple segments of interstate are going to be a bit of a challenge. Less than ideal shoulders and 80MPH traffic. But it shouldn't be too bad. The other roads are mostly back roads and should be nice riding. Looks like a fun route.
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Old 10-11-13, 10:50 PM
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i've been on the kansas, oklahoma, texas, new mexico, arizona and some of the california part. not the part from L.A. to S.F. though.

i saw it through the eyes of a motorcyclist. although i am an experienced bicycling tourer. don't remember it as too ambitious as far as climbing is concerned and much of it through N.M and AZ. had decent berms as far as i can recall.

traffic was low for the most part. although i've seen some routes through kansas and oklahoma that can carry a lot of semi traffic even though they are not interstate routes. i remember a particularly busy section in the panhandle of oklahoma that seemed to have an inordinate amount of truck traffic. and stay clear of the road from barstow california to the town of mohave california.

i would spend a LOT of time on google maps checking out the berms.

all in all as has been said the route through N.M, Arizona and parts of California should be great. lots of lightly traveled roads, beautiful scenery and not too difficult terrain to negotiate.

have fun.
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Old 10-12-13, 01:24 AM
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Gorman to Frazier Park and Lake of the Woods can be chilly, and the last time I was there (about 5 years ago), the road was fine. Hollister to Gilroy is just rural road, though I remember it being more congested that I would have thought.
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Old 10-12-13, 01:51 AM
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I've ridden parts, specifically Payson, AZ to Socorro, NM in summer 2012. From what I can remember, very quiet roads. There will be some chip seal, but nothing that I can recall as terrible. Lots of sections with ample shoulder, and even there wasn't a shoulder, it was quiet. I've included links to my Garmin-recorded rides for these sections.

Payson to Show Low: starts off with some good terrain for the first 30 mi, then it's sort of downhill/flatter from there. https://ridewithgps.com/trips/710086
Show Low to Quemado, NM: was a pretty ride, with a great downhill into Quemado, which is a very small town. Be sure to stop by Pie Town, NM about 15-20 mi after it and eat some pie! https://ridewithgps.com/trips/715374
Quemado to Socorro: It was a VERY chilly morning, even in June. You go through some nice national forest, then you ride the straightest, flattest 23 miles EVER. https://ridewithgps.com/trips/715373

I've ridden SF to LA, but along the PCH, so I can't add much about that part of your route. If you go through Morgan Hill though, maybe you could check out Specialized HQ!

Last edited by Kuotient; 10-12-13 at 01:57 AM.
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Old 10-12-13, 07:06 AM
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I've been on Soccoro to Show Low, but that was 30+ years ago. High chaparral with very little traffic, and you go right through the Very Large Array radio telescope. Very cool. Up in the San Jose area you're on some major thoroughfares going through the middle of a very busy urban area, which is OK if that's your intent. Same for your route from there up to San Francisco. You can go further west on more suburban/rural roads and have nicer riding IMO.
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Old 10-12-13, 08:08 PM
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First I would like to thank you all for sharing your information. I sincerely appreciate your input. I hope to be in a position to do the same for others once I complete the trip.

palesaint - You say a few of the Interstates will be a challenge. I assume you are talking about the section of I-25 north and the jaunt on I-40 east. I am not crazy about those either but I have studied this every way to Sunday and I just cannot bring myself to route 150-200 miles out of my way to avoid them. At least not in the desert. What is not shown on the map for that section are some of the frontage roads and side roads that I think I can take that will cut at least some of the actual Interstate travel off. I will work up more detailed and accurate maps, like I did for California, shortly and post them. Come back later and opine if you are interested at all.

Hueyhoolihan – I appreciate the applicability of the motorcycle reference. I too am a motorcyclist and understand how we process the information about the road more critically than a car driver might. I suppose my point is - I get what you’re saying and respect your comments. The observation about the heavy truck volume on the Oklahoma panhandle is duly noted. On the other thread I have going in the Touring forum one member advised me to route off of Highway 54 and further north to 56 for just that reason. Perhaps your experience was with 54 as well. Anyway, if 56 proves to scary I will make a game time decision and take some other route that is less direct. As for “stay clear of the road from barstow california to the town of mohave california” I intend to use highway 26 from Victorville to Parker. I don’t know what else to do. Travel through that section of Arizona blows. And as for Google Maps, I have ridden this entire route, click by click.

mrvrsick – Funny you should mention the cold on the Frazier Park section. As I clicked along the entire length of this road in street view there were a few areas where you can see small snow patches along the side of the road. If you look as the lower left of the map is says something like “Source - Google Maps – May 2010” Yikes…

Kuotient - Thank you so much for sharing the Garmin links. Very generous of you. Poring over them now. Glad to hear the Show Low, Quemado, etc. section is decent. I was concerned about that given that most of the climbing is in that area. Pie Town is on the to-do list for sure. I had no idea that Specialized was in Morgan Hill. What great idea. I may take my 1992 Sequoia that I will be doing this trip on for a photo op in front of the corporate signage and see if anyone strikes up a conversation. You know, some old timer comes out and says “wow that’s cool, I remember back when Bill and Tony yada, yada…” Although it will probably more like “We get dozens of clowns like you coming by here every year, we don’t have time to talk and could care less about your old bike. In fact why don’t you drop $3,000 a new one to keep us in business.”


Looigi – Regarding your comments on the Bay Area section. I have extensive knowledge of that area and used to commute on my bike all over the Silicon Valley back in the day. If truth be told I will probably blast down some other roads I know right through the valley but it was too much trouble to do on Google maps so I just copped out and drew the route you see. In fact I am probably going to do the SF to Gilroy leg with a few old cycling buddies that still live there and just let them steer. Where I intend to stick closer to what I have drawn is from about San Jose on. Agreed there are better roads in some sections.


Again, thank you all.

Kind regards,
Mike

Last edited by mgreen3691; 10-12-13 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 10-12-13, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Kuotient
I've ridden parts, specifically Payson, AZ to Socorro, NM in summer 2012. From what I can remember, very quiet roads. There will be some chip seal, but nothing that I can recall as terrible. Lots of sections with ample shoulder, and even there wasn't a shoulder, it was quiet. I've included links to my Garmin-recorded rides for these sections.

Payson to Show Low: starts off with some good terrain for the first 30 mi, then it's sort of downhill/flatter from there. https://ridewithgps.com/trips/710086
Show Low to Quemado, NM: was a pretty ride, with a great downhill into Quemado, which is a very small town. Be sure to stop by Pie Town, NM about 15-20 mi after it and eat some pie! https://ridewithgps.com/trips/715374
Quemado to Socorro: It was a VERY chilly morning, even in June. You go through some nice national forest, then you ride the straightest, flattest 23 miles EVER. https://ridewithgps.com/trips/715373

I've ridden SF to LA, but along the PCH, so I can't add much about that part of your route. If you go through Morgan Hill though, maybe you could check out Specialized HQ!
Kuotient - Just out of curiosity. Did you knock these three sections you link to above in back to back days? I am slowly improving my distance but I am curious how much distance others cover.
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Old 10-12-13, 10:04 PM
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Yes I did, but I should note that I was on a supported cross-country tour. We had a van+trailer carry our stuff and food/water.
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Old 10-12-13, 10:19 PM
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CA sections look a lot like moto roads... nice if you're motorin through, but definitely calls for 'company' if you're on pedal power.
The section from taft, north to Gilroy is gonna be quite 'rural, to where you won;t see any services for 80-100 miles. SO plan on campin out.
It's quite interesting (once out of the real desert and oil fields), but generally a sameness for the stretch to Gilroy.
Unless you're in a hurry, I'd try to get to the 'coast' around Ventura and make your way north from there - worth the extra miles.
I would also go up from Santa Cruz either coast side or straight up the ridge, Ben Lomond and points north, and miss the inland route - just my preference.
The roads from CA state line all the way to Palmdale are high speed rural roads, expect traffic in the 60 to 75 mph range, except for the occassional 'burg' lower limits. Section from Palmdale to Frazier Pk is maybe 55-65, dependin. Taft and up it can speed up again until the curvy sections. And there is a significant amount of large vehicle traffic on them. They drive very fast because it's boring **** at 65 mph...
IMO

EDIT: section from Frazier Pk to Pine Mtn is nice, section from Pine Mtn to the 166 is incredible! But expect a lot of up and down and a small road, no shoulder, but lots of elevation. On a clear day the view from Cerro Noroeste can take the eye all the way to the Sierras... Cerro Noroeste, no services, no bldgs, no nothin, so when you leave Pine Mtn, be sure you have everything until you get down to Maricopa. 166 to Maricopa - high speed vehicles all the way. Down the Elkhorn, most will be in the 70's. Spectacular country, but very scary if you're on a loaded touring bike and only doin 35-40ish... There is a little know cutoff before you hit the 166, right turn on Klipstein Cyn, a little rough on the surface but NO auto traffic, very occassional dualie motorcyclists - takes you to the bottom of the elkhorm without having to brave the metal behemoths, and very secluded, so don;t breakdown...

Last edited by cyclezen; 10-12-13 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 10-13-13, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mgreen3691
...In fact I am probably going to do the SF to Gilroy leg with a few old cycling buddies...
If you were a local, you probably already sampled the garlic ice cream.
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Old 10-16-13, 03:24 PM
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Does anyone have any experience with California Highway 33 from Coalinga to Taft?
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Old 10-16-13, 09:32 PM
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yes
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Old 10-17-13, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen
yes
ok.
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