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Is it too late to travel TransAm East to West?

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Is it too late to travel TransAm East to West?

Old 07-02-07, 03:48 PM
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barberj
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Is it too late to travel TransAm East to West?

I have been planning on riding the TransAm the whole way to Oregon or the TransAm/Western express to San Fran for a while. Unfortunatly, I am only now ready to hit the road but was wondering if I've already missed the boat (it's July 2nd now). It seems that in most peoples' journals I have read they leave late May or early June.

Besides the weather concerns high in the rockies, is it also possible that since I'm leaving late I would be much less likely to run into other cyclists that I could partner up with along the way? I'd be fine with riding through the midwest solo but was hoping to find other riders to ride with through the rockies or desert (depending on which way I end up going).

If I decide to delay my trip until next year, when is the ideal time to begin an east to west cross country journey?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-02-07, 04:13 PM
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jamawani 
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No - it's not too late.
I started my first x-USA ride on Sept 1.

Don't know your timeframe.
A July 15 start is perfect for the traditional TransAm -
Or to do the Northern Tier and cut down to Yellowstone and the TransAm.
Either would put you on the east coast end of Sept or early Oct.
Very nice for a west-to-east.
(Would definitely avoid Western Express on a west-to-east.)

An east-to-west will be brutally hot in the east -
with a chance of early snows in the western mountains.
Not impossible - but not as nice. Plus slightly more headwinds.
The Western Express is a possibility for an east-to-west
But will still be super hot in Utah/Nevada.

My pick:

San Juan Islands/Glacier on the Northern Tier
Then down to Yellowstone on US 89.
Then Yellowstone to Virginia on the Trans Am.
Perfect time to ride west-to-east on that route.
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Old 07-02-07, 04:24 PM
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My 1980 Livermore CA (near SF) to Washington DC trip started July 11, ended Sept. 8. I didn't use the Trans-Am trail, but lined up my own route. Total mileage was about 3600, and I took a total of about two weeks off the bike for day hikes, R&R, repairs, etc., including 5 or 6 days stopping over at my grandparents' home.

So no, I don't think you are too late yet.
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Old 07-02-07, 04:41 PM
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So are you guys saying that an east to west route could be unpleasant weather wise? I don't want to feel the need to rush through it to avoid early snowfall.

I guess I'd like to start from the east coast since I live here. Do you think it would be hard for me to meet people along the way?
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Old 07-02-07, 06:39 PM
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Not saying that at all. The odds of major road-closing snow in October is pretty unlikely, at least in California. Late afternoon thunderstorms are always a risk in the mountains, but you can deal with that.

My point is that leaving a little later than now was now problem west-to-east and I doubt iut would be a problem the other direction, either. I think that anything that has you finishing up by mid-October would be fine, and most likely by the end of October would be okay. Nights and mornings would be pretty chilly, though, but again, you can deal with that.
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Old 07-02-07, 06:50 PM
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Fall Touring -

No matter which direction you go, you will be dealing with shorter and shorter days - esp. after Sept 21. That said - the general slant of the TransAm is Northwest to Southeast. So you would have longer days starting in the west and not quite as short days ending in the east. The difference is about 15 minutes of daylight on both ends.

Two other factors argue for west-to-east - temperatures and winds. Starting in Virginia right now will be brutal. Kentucky and Missouri are dripping with humidity and heat. Plus all that rain in the midsection is going to produce a bumper crop of skeeters. Winds tend to be westerly or northwestly in the west - southerly or northerly in the Plains, but with a slight SW or NW vector - and southwesterly in Kentucky and Virginia.

If you stay on the Trans Am or Northern Tier you will likely meet folks. The Western Express has fewer riders - very few late in the season. Snow shouldn't be a problem if you are willing to wait a day if an early storm hits the high country. It will be gone in a day or two followed by gorgeous weather.
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Old 07-03-07, 09:02 AM
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Many moons ago, I started a 9,000 mile 3/4 perimeter tour in San Diego to Key West via Vancouver and Maine on July 4th. I left the San Juan Islands on August 2 but had to boogie across the country to beat the weather in Maine.

It is quite possible to do it, but you have not said how fast and far you ride in a day, i.e. 40 or 100 a day can make a huge difference on recommendations. Assuming a 55 mile/day overall average, I too would advise a Pacific Northwest start and finish in Virginia via Yellowstone. If you ride leisurely or take a lot of time off, i.e 5 months to cross, you could always break off the route and head southerly if it get too cool for you.

No matter what direction you go, I think you will be in the plains in August when it can get quite warm (100 degrees during day and 80 degrees at night is not at all uncommon). However, you would may have gotten used to it coming from the east by the time you got there. If you start in the PNW, you can cherry pick your routes heading east, i.e Lake Erie connector, Northern Tier, TransAm, etc. so you have more options regarding temps.

Another option is to wait until September/October and do the Southern Tier east to west or better yet, start in August head south along the Atantic Coast route or Blue Ridge then do the Southern Tier.
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