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Southern Tier in Feb/ March?

Old 11-02-16, 04:55 PM
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Southern Tier in Feb/ March?

Hi from New Zealand. I impulsively booked 6 weeks holiday arriving in Los Angeles late Jan next year. Now looking at my options. Did the Great Divide 3 years ago and loved it. Am tossing up between the new Baja Divide and part of the Southern Tier. Or open to other suggestions. I suspect the Baja Divide will be at the upper limit of my fitness/capability. Is it a bit early in the year for the Southern Tier - wondering if snow may be an issue on passes? Would gratefully appreciate some local knowledge.
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Old 11-02-16, 07:23 PM
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The San Diego County ranges can get snowstorms that time of year, but the roads are cleared as soon as the storm's over--they don't get blocked for months like some of the Sierra passes. The long-range outlook for our winter this year predicts it should be somewhat warmer and drier than normal, for whatever that's worth. Lots of people have started the west to east journey in February; you can check out some of their journals at crazyguyonabike.com. None that I have read have had any trouble with snow over the passes. Wind has been another story for some of the riders, though.
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Old 11-03-16, 04:49 AM
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I went mid February through mid March and thought it was a good time to go. I did have frost quite a few nights and one very cold night (18 F, -8 C). In the daytime I think it always got above 50. I saw a little light dusting of snow on the roadside on top of a couple passes, but never on the road surfaces. I much prefer cool weather and found it much more pleasant than I would have in the warmer months.

I guess there is a chance of a day or two of delay waiting for snowy roads to clear, but I had no problems the year I did it. I have a friend who started in the west in a February another year and he had a great trip as well.

A friend who grew up in south Florida and is used to and likes very hot weather rode with me on and off for the trip and he found the weather somewhat unpleasant at times. I thought it was great though.
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Old 11-04-16, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by denise1
Hi from New Zealand. I impulsively booked 6 weeks holiday arriving in Los Angeles late Jan next year. Now looking at my options. Did the Great Divide 3 years ago and loved it. Am tossing up between the new Baja Divide and part of the Southern Tier. Or open to other suggestions. I suspect the Baja Divide will be at the upper limit of my fitness/capability. Is it a bit early in the year for the Southern Tier - wondering if snow may be an issue on passes? Would gratefully appreciate some local knowledge.
I'm doing the Southern Tier next year too! Too bad you're not coming later. I leave in March.
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Old 11-04-16, 11:27 PM
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Thanks for those comments. I'll pack the winter sleeping bag. One more question regarding my limited time frame. If I have to bus a chunk of the route in order to get to Florida in 6 weeks is there a section you would pick out as being the least interesting?
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Old 11-05-16, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by denise1
Thanks for those comments. I'll pack the winter sleeping bag. One more question regarding my limited time frame. If I have to bus a chunk of the route in order to get to Florida in 6 weeks is there a section you would pick out as being the least interesting?
West Texas is pretty monotonous in my opinion, but just cutting off the end would be my choice. If you rode to Pensacola renting a car airport to airport is very easy and not terribly expensive, so skipping the section from there to the coast would be an option. Also that way you can decide at the last minute. Tallahassee would be another point where you could easily skip to the end. There are other options as well depending on how many days you need to skip

A friend skipped from Tallahassee to the end by Greyhound bus. I would think there would be Greyhound service from other points as well. If you need assistance in Tallahassee feel free to contact me.
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Old 11-05-16, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by denise1
Thanks for those comments. I'll pack the winter sleeping bag. One more question regarding my limited time frame. If I have to bus a chunk of the route in order to get to Florida in 6 weeks is there a section you would pick out as being the least interesting?
ok....you're planning 4000 miles in 40 days?

why going to florida? departure from orlando or jacksonville?

anything you especially want to see along that route?
cause in my opinion, anything east of san antonio is a waste of effort.

if i had six weeks and was worried about taking a bus to get past the
boring stuff, i'd avoid the boring stuff altogether.

i'd stick with arizona, new mexico, west texas, nevada, and southern utah
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Old 11-05-16, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
ok....you're planning 4000 miles in 40 days?

why going to florida? departure from orlando or jacksonville?

anything you especially want to see along that route?
cause in my opinion, anything east of san antonio is a waste of effort.

if i had six weeks and was worried about taking a bus to get past the
boring stuff, i'd avoid the boring stuff altogether.

i'd stick with arizona, new mexico, west texas, nevada, and southern utah
Isn't the Southern Tier just over 3,000?

Also, can you bring a bike on Greyhound without boxing it? I'd recommend Amtrak if it exist in that part of the country. Up here you just roll on and roll off. Usually $5-$10 extra for a bike.

If you'd like to ride or grab lunch near Tallahassee message me!
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Old 11-05-16, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
ok....
anything you especially want to see along that route?

if i had six weeks and was worried about taking a bus to get past the
boring stuff, i'd avoid the boring stuff altogether.

i'd stick with arizona, new mexico, and southern utah
If you feel the need to go to Florida consider using Amtrak from El Passo to San Antonio, to avoid the West Texas wind. Or perhaps through Louisiana, as they have the most mosquitos. Perhaps make a loop through Arizona New Mexico, and Utah, then back to LA.

Me, I have riden both the Southern tier and the back roads of Baja. I will be rideing down the Baja again this winter. No plans to ride the Southern tier again.
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Old 11-05-16, 02:08 PM
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Start from the Gulf Coast , it does not get that cold with that Caribbean water. Then the west coast has time to be warmer
by the time you arrive .. try to not gain altitude , as that is where it snows, Even in New Mexico..



Far end of the Gulf Stream , Co Kerry Ireland was warmer than I planned for, end of Feb, beginning of March, there,

a lot further North. Mailed some cooler weather Gear Home right away.





Last edited by fietsbob; 11-05-16 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 11-05-16, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
ok....you're planning 4000 miles in 40 days?
It is just over 3000 miles. Also it is the kind of ride that lends itself to knocking out long daily mileage. So the approximately 76 miles per day seems reasonable. I am an old guy and wasn't in a super hurry and averaged a little better than that.

Originally Posted by saddlesores
cause in my opinion, anything east of san antonio is a waste of effort.

if i had six weeks and was worried about taking a bus to get past the
boring stuff, i'd avoid the boring stuff altogether.

i'd stick with arizona, new mexico, west texas, nevada, and southern utah
Different strokes... I found pretty much all of Texas monotonous as heck. The people and the food were nice, but day after day of dry brown scrub as far as the eye can see isn't all that interesting to me. It is nice if you want to just zone out and knock out big mileage.

I found riding along the gulf pretty nice, a lot of Florida not so much, but it was still nicer than major portions of Texas .
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Old 11-05-16, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
ok....you're planning 4000 miles in 40 days?
oops. that was actual straight-line driving distance..... ....in kilometers.
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Old 11-06-16, 01:39 AM
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Yes I am coming around to the idea that I don't need to get to the east coast. I guess the idea of at least getting to Louisiana appealed because I imagine it is a different cultural, culinary and wildlife experience. It may be better to just ride from the west until I run out of time then bus back to Los Angeles. I may be tempted to take offroad detours along the way such as the Sierra Vista btw Los Cruces and El Paso. This will no doubt also slow my progress eastwards.


Originally Posted by saddlesores
ok....you're planning 4000 miles in 40 days?

why going to florida? departure from orlando or jacksonville?

anything you especially want to see along that route?
cause in my opinion, anything east of san antonio is a waste of effort.

if i had six weeks and was worried about taking a bus to get past the
boring stuff, i'd avoid the boring stuff altogether.

i'd stick with arizona, new mexico, west texas, nevada, and southern utah
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Old 11-10-16, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by denise1
Yes I am coming around to the idea that I don't need to get to the east coast. I guess the idea of at least getting to Louisiana appealed because I imagine it is a different cultural, culinary and wildlife experience. It may be better to just ride from the west until I run out of time then bus back to Los Angeles. I may be tempted to take offroad detours along the way such as the Sierra Vista btw Los Cruces and El Paso. This will no doubt also slow my progress eastwards.
The train is better for transporting a bike, and more comfortable.
There are a lot of trails to ride, why not choose some a little further from the border?
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Old 11-11-16, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by chrisx
The train is better for transporting a bike, and more comfortable.
There are a lot of trails to ride, why not choose some a little further from the border?
No doubt because of possible winter weather issues further north.
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Old 11-12-16, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser
No doubt because of possible winter weather issues further north.
Choose trails either in Mexico or the US. But not right next to the border, on either side. For personal safety.
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