USA Southern Tier Coast to Coast route

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  • Was looking for a longish distance bicycle route that will be warm in October/November and found out about this. Shortest route coast to coast across america, Florida to California.

    Anyone done it/know if the weather in those states will be as warm as i think? do i need to worry about bears etc?

    And if i need to spend a ridiculous amount on these maps:­and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network­/southern-tier/

  • Few bears thar far South although there are lots snakes that way. My thoughts

    1. Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas are basically deserts. You can die if unprepared.
    2. The stretch from Hunt, TX over to Navasota will be stunning. The Texas Hill Country is amazing.
    3. Streetmap those roads - those 2 lane blacktops will have 55mph limits which most drive at 65. You'll need to be visible. A flag is not a bad idea where the terrain is hilly.
    4. Weather will be variable. Expect anything from 5-42C and humidity will be anywhere between 15%-115%.
    5. You will want weather alerts. Flash floods will be you biggest worry. 3-4" of rain in 90 minutes are pretty common between Texas and Florida. Those weather alerts are aimed at locals and include the counties affected. If you don't know where you are that will be a challenge. Saying that, the US can forecast the shit out of the weather. They are very accurate.

    (More thoughts later. On phone ATM)

  • Awesome, thank you! that's some really useful advice

  • Also. $25 for the entire GPX/digital maps is pretty cheap for 3000 miles of cycling. The print version is a bit on the high side.

  • Setting off now from San Diego, adventure cycling association have just released an app for the route which is lucky and will hopefully help me not run out of water in the desert. Will try to update on here if I remember.

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  • Please give us an update - sounds good. Hope you prepared. Looks like you carrying enough. Have fun!

  • Wow.Ride safe! Looking forward to your updates.

  • Was just popping in to recommend the ACA maps based on my experience using them on the Pacific Coast route but looks like you've got it covered. Bon voyage!

  • I did the Northern Trans America route in 2012 with the wife and had the best time ever.... We left in August and completed it in November. I got sooooo bored of being told 'we'd left it a bit late'. We were still camping in late October!

    Will do the Southern Route one day, so will definitely follow your progress. The ACA maps were invaluable and worth the expense / weight.

    Good luck - it's going to be epic.

  • Finishes the first section of San diego to phoenix and staying with a lively couple from Warm Showers.
    First section from San diego is a bit of shock fully loaded with long drags uphill before it gets to flat flat desert.

    Everyone I've met has been absolutely lovely and really tried anyway to help out, giving advice or contacting friends further along the route that I might be able to stay with. Campground owners are so much friendlier than Europe and seem super interested in what you're doing (guess it's gets boring talking to old people in RVs)

    Definitely underestimated how much water I need in the desert sections and have had to be inventive in strapping extra bottles anywhere I can.

    Had an absolute tonne of punctures and might have to buy marathon pluses, the tyre wire that comes of trucks is no joke.

  • Pictures

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  • My people are lovely.

    (Avoid guns, politics, religion as convo topics)

    Looks amazing. Much sky. Very blue. Which reminds me - your definition of "epic landscape" will be permanently changed when this is done. In a good way.

  • Very envious....looks like an amazing experience!

  • Yeah this looks epic!

  • How'd this go @laner - ride report?

  • Oh yeah, as ever i am terrible at doing any write ups of my trips. Here's section two.

    Phoenix, AZ to Austin, TX

    After Phoenix I finally got to cactus country, travelling through Tonto national forest with what felt like a million saguaros (as well a loads of cacti i didn't know the name of. Still as empty as earlier desert but some green things to look at does help.

    Didn't get much of a feeling for New Mexico as i passed through in less than two days along just north of the Mexican border. Lots of signs talking about intense dust storms, but luckily all i got was one day where i had 25 mile an hour tailwind, that allowed me to do 120 miles at 18mph, which ain't bad on a tour laden fixed gear.

    After New Mexico, i entered Texas by way of El Paso (I'm told by the local its called Texas armpit) which was the worst city to enter of the trip, with the route taking me on a 8 lane road with rolling hills and no shoulder. I was going to just pass through El Paso and camp outside, but got drinking with some guys at the local bike shop, and ended up sticking around for halloween Critical Mass and being introduced to lots of Lone Star beer.

    Waking up with an atrocious hangover, i headed out of El Paso into Texas which was to be the biggest state of the whole trip, with over 1000 miles of riding. Encompassing desert, hills, ranches and a surprising amount of green later on.

    West Texas was one of my absolute favourite parts of the trip. People seemed to come to the small towns here to get away and let their freak flag fly, helped by the lax building codes and giant amout of space meaning people have built some weird homes.
    The town of Marfa known for it's art, Alpine for it's jaded hipsters and the massive decade long junk building project of La Loma del Chivo in Marathon we are all amazing and unique.

    After these sections it started to get all kinds of empty again, though now with hills. No place to get fresh food, and sometimes 80+ miles between gas stations, meant i had a few hairy moments running out of food and water, but lovely texans helped me out or offered water and i managed not to die despite my setup not really having enough space for the food and water i really needed to carry for this kind of tour.

    After Del Rio TX the landscape started to suddenly get all kinds of green and i came to Texas Hill Country (supposedly the Swiss Alps of Texas though this is a bit of an exaggeration).
    The temperature dropped dramatically at this point, and with headwind and light rain with the sudden steep hills made this section harder than expected, but was nice to be on curving roads after so long on the perfectly straight desert roads I had travelled so far.

    All of the hill country is covered with giant Ranches and hunting so i saw a tonne of deer as i rode along, as well as even some ibex looking animals which i guess are the exotic hunters choice. It's a shame it seemed all natural space was closed off with giant No Trepassing signs as it would have nice to have explored some of this beautiful area away from the road.

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  • My people are lovely. Shiner Bock > Lone Star.

    No Marfa Lights though? Sad.

  • Yeah all the texans i met were lovely (to be fair pretty much everyone i met on the whole trip was super nice, go southern hospitality!)

    Yeah sadly the marfa lights didn't seem to show up the night i was there.

  • Looking at something similar. What season sleeping bag did you take? Can't work out what would be best.

  • I used a 2 degrees C down sleeping bag with a silk liner. For almost the whole route it was overkill with it being 15+ at night, but in December the temperature dropped below 0 for almost a week so was glad i had it.

    If i was travelling a week later than i was I would have been caught in snow in Texas, so expect variable conditions if doing it in Winter.

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USA Southern Tier Coast to Coast route

Posted by Avatar for laner @laner