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Ride Across America in October?

Old 08-04-16, 07:27 AM
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Ride Across America in October?

I have a Japanese friend who's interested in crossing the US starting in October and into December, starting on the west coast.

I know there's southern routes, but I'm curious just how far north you can take things without worrying too much about the weather.

Anybody have experience with this? I've seen some routes done in early spring, but October seems a little too late.
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Old 08-04-16, 08:10 AM
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Starting in October, I'd be most worried about mountains, regardless of how south you were.

Past that, I certainly would not be planning a long range tour in Michigan anytime past mid-October without a lot of wiggle room on timing.
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Old 08-04-16, 08:17 AM
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you can research the local temperatures nation wide via noaa.gov, no?
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Old 08-04-16, 08:19 AM
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East to West starting in Sept would be much warmer.
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Old 08-04-16, 08:23 AM
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In Northern Kentucky, October can be fantastic, warm and sunny, or go cold and rainy in a day's time.

And we have periods of warm weather into mid November. Usually cold after that. And the days are short, too. Not the best time for a cross country trip, I think.

I guess it depends on just how much cold temps your friend is ready for.

~~~~~~~~~~
I've used the weatherspark.com averages pages to check on the typical weather for a city.

For example, for Nashville Tennessee:
The daily high and low ranges for the year is useful.

And the "Fraction of Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands" chart shows how much of the day is in each temperature range.

You can see that, around Dec 1, the yellow and light green bands are about 25% to 30% of the 24 hour day. So, on average, there's 6 or 7 hours between 50F and 75F, mostly in the 50F to 65F range. That sounds good for riding!

Of course, averages don't show how much variation to expect. One of the lower charts on the averages page shows about an 8% chance of snow on Dec 1.
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Old 08-04-16, 09:02 AM
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If you're looking at something like the Adventure Cycling routes, I'd cross the Northern Tier off. New England might be fantastic in early October, but it'd be hard to get south fast enough to dodge the coming cold.


Southern Tier would be a good choice either way, although it might be hot at the start either way.


You might start at the west end of the TransAm or Western Express and cross your fingers to get out of the mountains... I'd think you could start in the east on the TransAm and have a good chance of catching some fall colors. The western end would be problematic for either of those routes. You might pick up route 66 and head down to California that way, though you might have to wait a few days in the New Mexico mountains if the snows hit just right.
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Old 08-04-16, 09:22 AM
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The biggest problem is going to be the Rockies, from Colorado north.

By October you can almost plan on snow in the passes.

As well, even heading north from say New Mexico and heading thru Kansas towards Indiana and then towards New England, would see increasingly cold temps', but maybe not snow, as you/he heads north east.

The south, on the other hand, OK thru to Tennessee and NC would be very pleasant.
Thus the southern route may be the only option
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Old 08-04-16, 09:49 AM
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Mid November on the coast 2 guys from Sweden passed thru here. (a couple years ago)
They were going down the west coast across the southern Border area and the Gulf coast, to fly home from Florida.

They Had started from Anchorage Alaska.
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Old 08-04-16, 11:22 AM
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Has he been to the States before? He may want to see some tourist sites. I'd go LA, hiway15 to LasVegas, Hiway93 to Kingman, I40 to 64 up to see the Grand Canyon, exit the GC park thru the east gate and pick up 89 north to 160 and across Monument Valley to Mesa Verde Nat'l Park (cliff dwellings), into Durango, then 550 south to Santa Fe, then 25 east to Las Vegas NM, and drop down to I40 via 84. That would probably be the most scenic, but longer, route through the southern Rockies but if he's in a hurry, he'll probably want to just blast down I40. That would be a shame since 4 corners is so beautiful (I used to live there). Anyway, he'll get an easy pass into Durango thru the LaPlatas but avoid the bigger northern passes. IF the weather is good in Durango and he's up for a crank, he could try going east up over Wolf Creek. That's a real pass and worth the effort; *very* beautiful. So that route would be 160 east to Pagosa Springs (must stop in the Hot Springs for a soak) and then again, check the weather, and decide whether to bag Wolf Creek or head south on 84 to 285 and into Santa Fe. If the weather is good and he's feeling lucky, it's up over Wolf Creek, drop down into the San Luis Valley to pick up 285 south into Santa Fe. Once in Santa Fe he'd have the option of going south on 25 to southern NM. I thought White Sands was beautiful and worth seeing, plus, he'd be riding secondary roads east into Texas. Cranes are revered in Japanese culture and there populations of Sand Hill Cranes in southern Colorado and New Mexico so you might mention that to him. So, you can see there are lots of options here and I would encourage him to take the long way through the American southwest. It's gorgeous, just keep an eye on the weather.
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Old 08-06-16, 09:22 AM
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Bad. Idea.
Unless it's the Southern Tier.
Unless this person has international outdooring experience (which I doubt)
The Intermountain West is no place to be after October 1.
A friend quit search & rescue because he got tired of so many inexperienced hunters.
Sometimes it was rescue - - sometimes it was recovery.
I have lived and cycled in Wyoming for 25 years.
The number of inexperienced people who get into trouble is astonishing.
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Old 08-06-16, 11:18 PM
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I live in St. Louis, MO. October is generally our best cycling month of the year here. Nice temperatures and rather dry, but have warm clothes along and expect cool to cold mornings. The first three weeks of November are also usually pretty good, but you'll need your winter gear, and on rainy days, it's a cold rain. We frequently get our first snow right around Thanksgiving.
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Old 08-07-16, 06:46 AM
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Do check out when upon average when the mountain passes shut down.
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Old 08-07-16, 08:23 AM
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I find that studded tires are much slower than normal tires.

I have toured on several sub-freezing days, but those days were erratics, not continuous. For example a couple mornings when I did the Katy trail in late Oct and early Nov were below freezing, and the day I started Going to the Sun Road in Glacier started out below freezing, but it warmed up later in the day and was quite pleasant. BUT, I would not want to do very much touring past early November. By the time you get to Thanksgiving, in the northern half of the country there is a greater chance of being stranded for a few days here and there while waiting for the latest snowstorm to abate.
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