Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Southern Tier scenery compared to N. Tier, Trans Am

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Southern Tier scenery compared to N. Tier, Trans Am

Old 04-16-16, 10:37 AM
  #1  
Cruise
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 28
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Southern Tier scenery compared to N. Tier, Trans Am

Hi everyone,

Sorry if this has been covered to death in earlier topics.

Thirty years ago I rode the Northern Tier route with a group from Bikecentennial (of course, now Adventure Cycling). This summer I want to do a cross country route with a group again. Iíd love to ride the Trans Am with Adventure Cycling, but due to my schedule and what dates they have available, the only trip I would be able to go on would be the Southern Tier.

Iím not overly excited at this point about riding the ST. The Northern Tier, as I remember it, had some amazing scenery. From what Iíve seen from researching the Southern Tier online and looking at photos from people who have done it, as well as comparing it to photos from the Trans Am, it doesnít seem to compete as far as scenery. Maybe it does in other aspects?

I like the idea of going with a group again. But now Iím thinking about perhaps doing the Trans Am solo.
Anyone out there have any experience or comments about the Southern Tier who would say that itís actually a good choice?

Thank you
Cruise is offline  
Old 04-16-16, 12:09 PM
  #2  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 19,635

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 169 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5542 Post(s)
Liked 2,508 Times in 1,612 Posts
I grew up in Louisiana. I don't know what time of year you plan on doing the trip but I wouldn't do the southern tier in the summer. I did the northern tier a little over 20 years ago in part to beat the heat (and in part because I thought the scenery would be better). The trans am sounds like the better ride. Can you find someone to ride with?
bikemig is offline  
Old 04-16-16, 12:53 PM
  #3  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 9,887

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2898 Post(s)
Liked 1,042 Times in 840 Posts
I have done neither.

A friend of mine did Northern Tier about a decade ago with Adventure Cycling. He said that during the hotter parts of the ride, they would usually start before sunup in the morning to try to beat the heat. He organized a vehicle supported Southern Tier ride last year with a group of about a half dozen friends, they started at the beginning of March and finished at beginning of May.

I usually try to do my touring when the temperature will be between freezing and mid 70s (F). I expect my tour this year will almost always be in the 40s and 50s (F). Scenery is nice, but I think weather is more important to my enjoyment of a trip.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 04-16-16, 02:11 PM
  #4  
jamawani 
Hooked on Touring
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,775
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 293 Post(s)
Liked 106 Times in 71 Posts
I would rate the Southern Tier the least scenic of the three.
In the east you just have the molehills of the Florida panhandle and Louisiana.
Then there are the endless miles of west Texas.
It's a long time before you hit the mountains of the Southwest.

The Northern Tier has spectacular scenery in the Northwest and the Northeast -
but the Great Plains and Midwest can be very, very long and repetitive. Towns are nice, tho.
The problem is that you are out of the Rockies in western Montana.

The Trans Am has the best overall variety of scenery in East and West.
Appalachians, Bluegrass, Ozarks, flat west Kansas, Rockies, John Day country, Cascades.
The Western Express option is shorter - quite scenic, but very remote at times.

US 90 near Del Rio, Texas

jamawani is offline  
Old 04-16-16, 02:28 PM
  #5  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 32,848

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1269 Post(s)
Liked 1,028 Times in 512 Posts
Did this in the Summer of 2009.




Get lights. Start early and be finished by 12N-1PM.
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Old 04-16-16, 03:13 PM
  #6  
Colannon
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i enjoyed the gulf of mexico beach, florida, and the atlantic ocean, crossing mobile bay on a ferry, and east and middle texas. i would not do the desert, because i have to buy more stuff. touring in the southeast is safe; its not too isolated. i tour ultra-light, because i can do that in the southeast.
Colannon is offline  
Old 04-16-16, 08:00 PM
  #7  
Cruise
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 28
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
"The trans am sounds like the better ride. Can you find someone to ride with?"

I don't think I could find someone to ride with the whole trip for the Trans Am, but maybe people for a few days or so here and there.
Cruise is offline  
Old 04-16-16, 08:41 PM
  #8  
saddlesores
Senior Member
 
saddlesores's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Thailand..........Nakhon Nowhere
Posts: 3,503

Bikes: inferior steel....and....noodly aluminium

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 983 Post(s)
Liked 257 Times in 173 Posts
Originally Posted by Cruise View Post
Iím not overly excited at this point about riding the ST.
umm....then why do it?
you have limited time, so why not find a route you'll enjoy?

if'n it was me, i'd fly/train/bus to some place in the gravimetric center
of awesomeness, like salt lake city or phoenix, and plan a circuit taking
in the best of the national parks.
saddlesores is offline  
Old 04-16-16, 08:45 PM
  #9  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 19,635

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 169 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5542 Post(s)
Liked 2,508 Times in 1,612 Posts
Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
umm....then why do it?
you have limited time, so why not find a route you'll enjoy?

if'n it was me, i'd fly/train/bus to some place in the gravimetric center
of awesomeness, like salt lake city or phoenix, and plan a circuit taking
in the best of the national parks.
I like this idea. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to ride across the US. But after doing it once, it's not a huge deal if I did it again. But I'd do a long tour in the West in a heartbeat.
bikemig is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 05:37 AM
  #10  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,123
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 954 Post(s)
Liked 422 Times in 325 Posts
I found the scenery on the ST pretty bland the large majority of the way. I found the TA much nicer in that regard. The ST had the same brown nothingness a lot of the trip.

On the plus side it is really the only coast to coast trip that you can do in the winter. It is also the shortest and flattest, so it is a smaller commitment in both time and effort. I enjoyed the variety of local foods; tex mex, barbecue, seafood, Cajun, and so on. Also there seemed to be a variety of misfits that I found to be good company. There were definitely some interesting characters to talk to, most were either transplants from the north (a lot from Alaska) and some from south of the border.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 06:28 AM
  #11  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 36,005
Mentioned: 204 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16546 Post(s)
Liked 11,476 Times in 5,544 Posts
Originally Posted by Cruise View Post
but due to my schedule and what dates they have available, the only trip I would be able to go on would be the Southern Tier.
So you are thinking of doing the TA or NT when?
indyfabz is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 06:35 AM
  #12  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,594

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 599 Post(s)
Liked 477 Times in 314 Posts
I've cycled the TA and NT self-supported. I've lived in SoCal and AZ for many years and have cycled the best of those areas. The ST route has no appeal at all to me. That's a sore point because my wife wants to ride it and she wants my company/support. So it looks like I'll be riding the ST soon!
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 06:52 AM
  #13  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,123
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 954 Post(s)
Liked 422 Times in 325 Posts
Originally Posted by Cruise View Post
"The trans am sounds like the better ride. Can you find someone to ride with?"

I don't think I could find someone to ride with the whole trip for the Trans Am, but maybe people for a few days or so here and there.
If you do the TA at a normal time of year, you will meet quite a few other riders along the way.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 07:01 AM
  #14  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,123
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 954 Post(s)
Liked 422 Times in 325 Posts
Originally Posted by Colannon View Post
i enjoyed the gulf of mexico beach, florida, and the atlantic ocean, crossing mobile bay on a ferry, and east and middle texas. i would not do the desert, because i have to buy more stuff. touring in the southeast is safe; its not too isolated. i tour ultra-light, because i can do that in the southeast.
I am curious why you say that. What other stuff would you need? I carry the same stuff for both and have not found I needed to buy anything extra for the desert. I have toured fairly fully loaded (as much as 45 pounds), with 14 pounds of gear of UL gear, and a number of in between choices. I was self supported, camping and cooking, in all cases.

I never felt that it wasn't safe when I did the ST with 14 pounds of gear and clothing. Also, not sure I consider the SE safer. I always figured that traffic was the biggest risk on any of my tours and there is typically more of it in the SE than in the desert.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 07:59 AM
  #15  
Cruise
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 28
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I found the scenery on the ST pretty bland the large majority of the way. I found the TA much nicer in that regard. The ST had the same brown nothingness a lot of the trip.

On the plus side it is really the only coast to coast trip that you can do in the winter. It is also the shortest and flattest, so it is a smaller commitment in both time and effort. I enjoyed the variety of local foods; tex mex, barbecue, seafood, Cajun, and so on. Also there seemed to be a variety of misfits that I found to be good company. There were definitely some interesting characters to talk to, most were either transplants from the north (a lot from Alaska) and some from south of the border.
Thanks. That helps.
Cruise is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 08:01 AM
  #16  
Cruise
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 28
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
So you are thinking of doing the TA or NT when?
If I did the TA solo I would begin around August 10. --I've done the NT before so would not do that one again.
Cruise is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 08:02 AM
  #17  
Cruise
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 28
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
I've cycled the TA and NT self-supported. I've lived in SoCal and AZ for many years and have cycled the best of those areas. The ST route has no appeal at all to me. That's a sore point because my wife wants to ride it and she wants my company/support. So it looks like I'll be riding the ST soon!
Haha... enjoy it!
Cruise is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 08:15 AM
  #18  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 36,005
Mentioned: 204 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16546 Post(s)
Liked 11,476 Times in 5,544 Posts
Originally Posted by Cruise View Post
If I did the TA solo I would begin around August 10.
So west to east then? Note that some services in Yellowstone start shutting down not long after Labor Day. Also, I don't know how things work in that part of the east, but here in PA and in NJ, many private campgrounds close at the end of October.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 12:50 PM
  #19  
Colannon
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I am curious why you say that. What other stuff would you need? I carry the same stuff for both and have not found I needed to buy anything extra for the desert. I have toured fairly fully loaded (as much as 45 pounds), with 14 pounds of gear of UL gear, and a number of in between choices. I was self supported, camping and cooking, in all cases.

I never felt that it wasn't safe when I did the ST with 14 pounds of gear and clothing. Also, not sure I consider the SE safer. I always figured that traffic was the biggest risk on any of my tours and there is typically more of it in the SE than in the desert.
i would have to buy stuff to be safe, and stuff to have water. i would not feel safe in the desert with nothing to hide behind. i would want to have lots of water and food, so i would have to buy stuff for that. (i don't have racks on my bicycle. i use a seat bag and handlebar bag.) also, weather is bad. hail and wind is bad. (i use a sil-nylon tarp and bug net.)
Colannon is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 01:11 PM
  #20  
jamawani 
Hooked on Touring
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,775
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 293 Post(s)
Liked 106 Times in 71 Posts
Originally Posted by Cruise View Post
If I did the TA solo I would begin around August 10. --I've done the NT before so would not do that one again.
Cruise -

I did my first X-USA starting in Astoria on Sept. 1.
Did a combination of the Lewis & Clark and TransAm and ended at the Outer Banks of NC.
Shorter than the Trans Am - took 10 weeks - generally great, but by early Nov. days were pretty short.

August 10 should be an ideal starting time.
You should be hitting Yellowstone in early Sept - which should still include most services.
You could hit a little snow in late Sept in the Colorado Rockies - but it would melt out fast.
(Today's snow in the Rockies is gonna be there a whole lot longer - - )

You will miss the worst of the heat in the Great Plains - in fact you should have the best weather possible.
And in Kentucky and Virginia you will have early to mid fall - may a few crisp mornings is all.

Not a bad plan at all - - maybe 11 weeks - - 400 miles per week - - done by late Oct.

September in Grand Teton N.P.

jamawani is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 01:13 PM
  #21  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,123
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 954 Post(s)
Liked 422 Times in 325 Posts
Originally Posted by Colannon View Post
i would have to buy stuff to be safe, and stuff to have water. i would not feel safe in the desert with nothing to hide behind. i would want to have lots of water and food, so i would have to buy stuff for that. (i don't have racks on my bicycle. i use a seat bag and handlebar bag.) also, weather is bad. hail and wind is bad. (i use a sil-nylon tarp and bug net.)
Different strokes... I am not trying to be critical, but I still don't get it. To be safe from what? What do you mean about stuff to have water?

On the water issue, I just carry more water, I don't need to buy anything to do that. I add capacity by reusing sport drink or bottled water bottles and discard them where I need less capacity. I have never felt the need to carry much more than enough for 24 hours and minimize usage for anything other than drinking and cooking when I am far between water sources.

I too use a silnylon tarp with either a ~5 ounce bug bivy or a ~7 ounce bivy. They work fine for me in the desert. I don't bivouac wout in the middle of nowhere much when in the desert. I ususally make what mileage it takes to get to the next small town. I have stayed in roadside picnic areas a good bit in west Texas.

I don't understand the comment about something to hide behind. Hide from what?

As far as hail and wind... those can be an issue in the plains, on the coast, or in the mountains as well. I have actually not found them to be worse in the desert especially on the ST. Of course I don't tour west Texas in the Summer.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 09:08 PM
  #22  
Cruise
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 28
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
So west to east then? Note that some services in Yellowstone start shutting down not long after Labor Day. Also, I don't know how things work in that part of the east, but here in PA and in NJ, many private campgrounds close at the end of October.
Thanks indyfabz. Yes, west to east.
Cruise is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 09:09 PM
  #23  
Cruise
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 28
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
[QUOTE=jamawani;18697481]Cruise -

I did my first X-USA starting in Astoria on Sept. 1.
Did a combination of the Lewis & Clark and TransAm and ended at the Outer Banks of NC.
Shorter than the Trans Am - took 10 weeks - generally great, but by early Nov. days were pretty short.

August 10 should be an ideal starting time.
You should be hitting Yellowstone in early Sept - which should still include most services.
You could hit a little snow in late Sept in the Colorado Rockies - but it would melt out fast.
(Today's snow in the Rockies is gonna be there a whole lot longer - - )

You will miss the worst of the heat in the Great Plains - in fact you should have the best weather possible.
And in Kentucky and Virginia you will have early to mid fall - may a few crisp mornings is all.

Not a bad plan at all - - maybe 11 weeks - - 400 miles per week - - done by late Oct.


Thanks jamawani. That's great information. Nice photo!
Cruise is offline  
Old 04-17-16, 09:38 PM
  #24  
saddlesores
Senior Member
 
saddlesores's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Thailand..........Nakhon Nowhere
Posts: 3,503

Bikes: inferior steel....and....noodly aluminium

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 983 Post(s)
Liked 257 Times in 173 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I don't understand the comment about something to hide behind. Hide from what?.
assume that means nowhere to stealth camp.

not to worry, it's not the sahara, with endless miles of trackless sand.
we gots mesquite! miles and miles and miles of mesquite!




careful with the thorns, they'll go right through tires/tubes/mr tuffys!

Attached Images
File Type: jpg
ALB-LV30xxx.jpg (100.7 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg
ALB-LV25xxx.jpg (84.5 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg
IMG_0395.jpg (98.2 KB, 31 views)
saddlesores is offline  
Old 04-19-16, 05:42 PM
  #25  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,123
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 954 Post(s)
Liked 422 Times in 325 Posts
Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
assume that means nowhere to stealth camp.

not to worry, it's not the sahara, with endless miles of trackless sand.
we gots mesquite! miles and miles and miles of mesquite!
Yeah if that is what he means then as you say there is plenty of mesquite. Not a problem at all. Then again, on the ST in the desert, I camped in plain sight more often than not. If I wanted to it would have been easy enough to hide though.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
trek520bikefan
Touring
19
01-24-18 01:55 PM
bmach25
Touring
9
05-19-14 10:55 PM
BigBlueToe
Fifty Plus (50+)
17
11-23-10 09:06 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.