Author Topic: USA west coast to east coast  (Read 919 times)

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
USA west coast to east coast
« on: 03 April, 2021, 09:24:01 pm »
Has anybody here done this trip? Coming out of lockdown and hitting 60, I feel like I need to plan one decent (2-3 month) bike ride before I die and this has always appealed as a vague idea but I've no idea which route I would want to take. All insights appreciated.
Why should anybody steal a watch when they can steal a bicycle?

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #1 on: 03 April, 2021, 09:45:53 pm »
Google Adventure Cycling Association, they sell route maps and guide books. We bought the Great Divide route info for going down the divide to Denver.

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #2 on: 03 April, 2021, 09:48:35 pm »
Nope. Done Seattle to SF & a big 4 week loop in Arizona & Utah, but nowhere else.
Josie Dew writes of her trip in “ Travels In A Strange State”, and there will be lots of good info & advice on the Adventure Cycling forum .   https://www.adventurecycling.org/
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #3 on: 03 April, 2021, 11:06:12 pm »
I've done San Fran to LA via Tahoe and the mountains, and it's epic. But very often there's no choice but to ride the hard shoulder of a State Highway, and that can be a bit disconcerting - see several RAAMs passim for some scary stories! On the other hand, I find Americans to be much more tolerant of cyclists than Brits, and very much more welcoming.

robgul

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Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #4 on: 04 April, 2021, 08:02:39 am »
I've done San Fran to LA via Tahoe and the mountains, and it's epic. But very often there's no choice but to ride the hard shoulder of a State Highway, and that can be a bit disconcerting - see several RAAMs passim for some scary stories! On the other hand, I find Americans to be much more tolerant of cyclists than Brits, and very much more welcoming.

. . . except for the ones in check shirts driving a big pick-up with a rifle on the rack behind the seats!    My albeit brief experience was that they saw cyclists as being hunting sport!
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TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #5 on: 04 April, 2021, 11:06:54 am »
There are plenty of a similar breed in UK, and they all seem to drive German cars!

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #6 on: 04 April, 2021, 02:42:59 pm »
I've done East to West coast. Started in Washington DC (easy to get flights) then went south into Virginia. I picked up the TransAmerica Trail (see Adventure Cycling website). At the border between Kentucky & Missouri, that trail intersects with the Great Rivers South route to travel north to cross the Missouri river at Washington (Missouri). I then picked up the Lewis & Clarke trail to work north-westwards. This is lovely; along the river for hundreds of miles of Missouri, then Nebraska/Iowa border toward South Dakota. I freestyled it between Yankton (SD) and Cody (WY) so that I could see Badlands National Park and Yellowstone. Several of the Adventure Cycling routes join up in Missoula (Montana) as that is where the organisation is based.  I continued on the Lewis & Clarke trail through the Columbia Gorge to Portland. I stayed with my dad for a week or so and then took the mountain road over to Seaside and Astoria.

The thing with the Adventure Cycling maps is that each map is a short section of each route, so you can mix & match across your route choice. The overview map is here: https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/interactive-network-map/

The maps give a map (obviously), turn instructions, and info on places to stay, main towns etc. The routes are cycle friendly, so avoid dodgy roads. These generally don't involve riding on the hard shoulder of major highways. However, the Americans do have a tendency to have roadworks with closures that involve interesting diversions.


Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #7 on: 06 April, 2021, 10:15:27 am »
I've planned a route for this, as it's also something that grabbed me, although what with employment and such (a development since planning the thing...)

As a rough outline, Pacific Ocean - Vancouver - Yellowstone - Fairplay, CO - Pike's Peak - Dallas/Forth Worth - New Orleans - Miami - Key West, possibly.

Several hundred miles of riding on interstate shoulders may be involved.

gibbo

  • Riding for fun, cake and beer.
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Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #8 on: 07 April, 2021, 10:09:15 am »
I too have a dream of doing coast to coast. I did a bit of research after being inspired by  a friend who'd done a multi-month trip taking in parts of Route 66.

This link has some good info, IMO: https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/bicycle-route-66/

General consensus seems to be heading West to East i.e. going with the prevailing wind.

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #9 on: 07 April, 2021, 12:06:38 pm »
Route 66.  Pete Atkin has song about the road, Driving (cycling) through Mythical America 🇺🇸. Its been a cycle that i have thought about for ages.

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #10 on: 07 April, 2021, 12:19:58 pm »
Update its the album not a song  just looked it out to play😁

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #11 on: 07 April, 2021, 12:39:39 pm »
I've planned a route for this, as it's also something that grabbed me, although what with employment and such (a development since planning the thing...)

As a rough outline, Pacific Ocean - Vancouver - Yellowstone - Fairplay, CO - Pike's Peak - Dallas/Forth Worth - New Orleans - Miami - Key West, possibly.

Several hundred miles of riding on interstate shoulders may be involved.
This book might interest you.  https://www.worldofbooks.com/en-gb/books/t-e-trimbath/just-keep-pedaling/9780595221004?msclkid=84c58f274bf7117b18b6ef4ad386d901&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=SP%20-%20Books%20-%20Desktop%20-%20%C2%A39.00%20-%20%C2%A39.99%20-%20Bing%20Only&utm_term=4575411482260513&utm_content=%C2%A39.00%20-%20%C2%A39.99  A Seattle local who rode that diagonal in 2000.  He writes about the horrors of road works on the interstates.  His idea of  finding accommodation is quite alien to us, but I suppose it is useful when touring in your home country.  I am pretty sure I rode with him on club rides when I lived out there towards the end of the last century.

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #12 on: 07 April, 2021, 09:47:10 pm »
Thanks everyone. Lots of helpful stuff here. I had been looking at the Adventure Cycling routes (I've even signed up!) and thinking about combining the Route 66 and the Chicago-NY routes, withy a few diversions, e.g. to Memphis and Nashville, but the big question for me is about accommodation. I'm not a great fan of camping so would prefer to be able to put together a route that has real beds and warm showers at the end of each day.

Regardless of route, I'll probably start from Santa Monica as I have friends living there and finish in Manhattan for the same reason.  Everything in-between is negotiable  ;)
Why should anybody steal a watch when they can steal a bicycle?

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #13 on: 07 April, 2021, 09:49:22 pm »
America is the land of the drive in motel  ;D

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #14 on: 07 April, 2021, 09:56:07 pm »
One US motel I stayed in (Kayenta), I had to wait for an hour while they finished filming something in the room......    and then cleaned it up......  :jurek:
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #15 on: 08 April, 2021, 08:48:27 am »
America is the land of the drive in motel  ;D

It certainly was 30 years ago but whether that's still the case is less certain. On my last trip, three years ago, I noticed an awful lot of boarded up motels and gas stations, even on major routes. That was up in Montana/Wyoming, but I suspect the midwest generally has been hit hard by successive economic downturns and a lot of places will have gone out of business. Trouble is, if the motel in town A has gone, it can often be a very long ride to town B!
Why should anybody steal a watch when they can steal a bicycle?

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #16 on: 08 April, 2021, 09:09:08 am »
I've planned a route for this, as it's also something that grabbed me, although what with employment and such (a development since planning the thing...)

As a rough outline, Pacific Ocean - Vancouver - Yellowstone - Fairplay, CO - Pike's Peak - Dallas/Forth Worth - New Orleans - Miami - Key West, possibly.

Several hundred miles of riding on interstate shoulders may be involved.
This book might interest you.  https://www.worldofbooks.com/en-gb/books/t-e-trimbath/just-keep-pedaling/9780595221004?msclkid=84c58f274bf7117b18b6ef4ad386d901&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=SP%20-%20Books%20-%20Desktop%20-%20%C2%A39.00%20-%20%C2%A39.99%20-%20Bing%20Only&utm_term=4575411482260513&utm_content=%C2%A39.00%20-%20%C2%A39.99  A Seattle local who rode that diagonal in 2000.  He writes about the horrors of road works on the interstates.  His idea of  finding accommodation is quite alien to us, but I suppose it is useful when touring in your home country.  I am pretty sure I rode with him on club rides when I lived out there towards the end of the last century.
Looks interesting, I've actually gone and bought a copy!

America is the land of the drive in motel  ;D

It certainly was 30 years ago but whether that's still the case is less certain. On my last trip, three years ago, I noticed an awful lot of boarded up motels and gas stations, even on major routes. That was up in Montana/Wyoming, but I suspect the midwest generally has been hit hard by successive economic downturns and a lot of places will have gone out of business. Trouble is, if the motel in town A has gone, it can often be a very long ride to town B!
My vague plan was to do this in summer, so camping out west would be viable. Once reaching the Southeast, civilization is plentiful, before the temperatures rise to make camping... uncomfortable. Another option is that you could do this as a roadtrip with family who aren't inclined to cycle across the continent, so bring a convenient car.

N.b. the two different routes through Colorado are because I'd initially identified a hunting lodge as a night's stop.  :facepalm:

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #17 on: 08 April, 2021, 09:23:31 am »
I enjoyed this after someone here suggested it to me: https://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Gold-Rush-Bicycle-American/dp/0907123406

I'm not sure to what extent it overlaps with your planned route, and it's East to West, but some insight into what the experience of cycling on American roads might be like and maybe some inspiration for places to stop by at if you like a bit of history spodding with your pedalling.

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #18 on: 08 April, 2021, 09:30:40 am »
I enjoyed this after someone here suggested it to me: https://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Gold-Rush-Bicycle-American/dp/0907123406

Funnily enough, I'm just re-reading that, having bought it when it was first published.  :)  I do recall that my first thought was: he's riding east to west???
Why should anybody steal a watch when they can steal a bicycle?

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #19 on: 08 April, 2021, 09:38:42 am »
We stayed in a couple of motels, the Americans we teamed up with on a few sections cycled round town to check for the cheapest. Doesn't Adventure Cycling have updates on routes and accommodation online?

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #20 on: 08 April, 2021, 11:23:33 am »
I'm also a non-camper. What I did was to have a plan A, but to be flexible. This involved setting out what I thought I would likely do every day of the trip, with stop locations. I would book motels 5 days in advance on a rolling basis in case it started to become clear that I couldn't make the schedule (using something like bookingdotcom*). This allowed me to know if I needed to split a stage into 2 for 2 easy days, and so book an extra motel, or to re-route by reducing distance one day, but increasing the next.

Having the overall plan also helped me to understand which areas are pinch points. Re-routing and finding a different motel in Kentucky is no problem at all. Doing it in Wyoming or South Dakota is much more difficult. There were some areas where towns are 50 miles apart. You either stop, or you carry on to the next. Some of these places had fairly low availability, but booking a few days in advance was fine, except Rapid City in August (Sturgis Motorcycle Rally). You can also consider AirBnB for rooms in houses, or WarmShowers. Rather than ride from motel to motel, just sit in McD's for 30 mins on the Wifi to look online.

Also consider staying at National Park lodges. They can be a bit expensive if you are solo, but they are in some spectacular locations.


Quote
Another option is that you could do this as a roadtrip with family who aren't inclined to cycle across the continent, so bring a convenient car.

Or you could hire a car yourself if you get into problems. It is possible to hire a car in location 1 and drop off at location 2. You could use this if you've fallen massively behind schedule, or if you are struggling for whatever reason. Again, you could sit in a McD (free wifi and free refills) to find options online.


*If using booking websites, beware of towns with the same name as another town 30 miles away. This happens in the US more frequently than you might think.

Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #21 on: 08 April, 2021, 11:53:23 am »
I'm also a non-camper. What I did was to have a plan A, but to be flexible. This involved setting out what I thought I would likely do every day of the trip, with stop locations. I would book motels 5 days in advance on a rolling basis in case it started to become clear that I couldn't make the schedule (using something like bookingdotcom*). This allowed me to know if I needed to split a stage into 2 for 2 easy days, and so book an extra motel, or to re-route by reducing distance one day, but increasing the next.

Having the overall plan also helped me to understand which areas are pinch points. Re-routing and finding a different motel in Kentucky is no problem at all. Doing it in Wyoming or South Dakota is much more difficult. There were some areas where towns are 50 miles apart. You either stop, or you carry on to the next. Some of these places had fairly low availability, but booking a few days in advance was fine, except Rapid City in August (Sturgis Motorcycle Rally). You can also consider AirBnB for rooms in houses, or WarmShowers. Rather than ride from motel to motel, just sit in McD's for 30 mins on the Wifi to look online.

Also consider staying at National Park lodges. They can be a bit expensive if you are solo, but they are in some spectacular locations.


Quote
Another option is that you could do this as a roadtrip with family who aren't inclined to cycle across the continent, so bring a convenient car.

Or you could hire a car yourself if you get into problems. It is possible to hire a car in location 1 and drop off at location 2. You could use this if you've fallen massively behind schedule, or if you are struggling for whatever reason. Again, you could sit in a McD (free wifi and free refills) to find options online.


*If using booking websites, beware of towns with the same name as another town 30 miles away. This happens in the US more frequently than you might think.
True, but I was thinking more of a rendezvous at the end of the day's riding, meet up for sightseeing type of thing... and it means that you can't easily get stuck 50 miles from the nearest motel, or indeed car hire site. Also means you don't have to carry all the luggage! Depends if you're in a supported/unsupported mood I guess.

Jack_P

  • It's just dicking about on bikes
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Re: USA west coast to east coast
« Reply #22 on: 08 April, 2021, 11:53:51 am »
I have done the Transam cycle race which follows the adventure cycling route from Astoria o the West coast to Yorktown on the East.
Ok it wasn't a tour but it gave me an amazing insight into the country through 10 states and the route is really good.
Astoria, Yellowstone, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia, all great places and I hope to go back one day more sedately.

I met many touring cyclists coming the other way and always stopped to chat about their experiences. Places to stay seem plentiful and motels are definately easy to find, although some of the distances between can be big. The recurring story was the amount of free hospitality from fire stations and churches and just nice people. One 18 year old guy (great to see) had been on the road for a month and had never unpacked his tent due to the generosity.

Go for it, its a great journey and if you want to read my long ramblings although race based
https://burlycross.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/transam-bike-race-getting-to-the-start-portland-to-astoria/

Some friends tried to follow the Route 66 and found it both frustrating and on the West coast just too urban.