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Preferred direction for cross-US tour?

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Preferred direction for cross-US tour?

Old 02-04-19, 01:46 PM
  #26  
indyfabz
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Originally Posted by Samcls04 View Post
Wouldn't the direction of the sun be more of an issue? I would prefer the sun illuminating the road in front of me than glaring in my face.
In summer, the sun doesn't rise in the east, It rises in the NE. It also travels a higher arc. So it's not really glaring in your face all day every day. That's more of a problem in the fall and spring.

Early morning start while crossing PA a week after Labor Day, 2017: Blinded by the light.

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Old 02-04-19, 01:51 PM
  #27  
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Want to confront the high desert west, early in the ride or later? when you have done a thousand + miles?
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Old 02-04-19, 01:58 PM
  #28  
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Another reason I liked going East to West is that it saves the most spectacular scenery for last. I remember a day in Wyoming after crossing the plains of Minnesota and South Dakota, when we came up over a slight rise and around a bend in the road, and there were the Big Horns in the first snow of the fall. It was relly awesome and we all stopped to appreciate it.

I think one of the great sights in America is seeing the Rockies rise out of the plains.
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Old 02-04-19, 03:34 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I think one of the great sights in America is seeing the Rockies rise out of the plains.
Agreed. I cried.

Firstview, Colorado is named for just such an emotion.


Last edited by JoeyBike; 02-04-19 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 02-04-19, 04:04 PM
  #30  
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Going east to west mimics the experience of the explorers, pioneers and 49ers, which is kind of cool.
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Old 02-04-19, 07:55 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Tornados tend to go west to east. However, the wind is in all directions within a tornado, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/
Sage advice.
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Old 02-05-19, 03:39 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I think one of the great sights in America is seeing the Rockies rise out of the plains.
One thing I learned early on in my touring is to always stop and look behind you. sometimes the views are spectacular!
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Old 02-05-19, 10:00 AM
  #33  
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I was just thinking about the transcountry biking direction today when looking at the new Great American Rail Trail initiative ... whether by choosing these rail trails to traverse across America one increases the percentage of wind protected exposure by stayin on these trails?
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Old 02-05-19, 10:29 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Going east to west mimics the experience of the explorers, pioneers and 49ers, which is kind of cool.

Good point! The Natchez Trace Parkway near my home was historically traveled South to North, so for the full experience it is recommended you bike/drive it that way. I have also cycled parallel to the Oregon Trail for a few states, and I was very conscious of my direction of travel being significant.

Prevailing winds across the Great Plains is West to East. And that wind can be a real headache, especially if you are a late riser. So there's that consideration.

Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
One thing I learned early on in my touring is to always stop and look behind you. sometimes the views are spectacular!
True that! And it helps to keep you from getting lost in the woods too! Many hikers get lost because they never look back during the hike, which of course looks COMPLETELY different than looking forward.

When I do bike tours, I stop A LOT to look around. My helmet mounted mirror can give me some good clues that the scene over my shoulder is worth stopping a minute.

Last edited by JoeyBike; 02-05-19 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 02-05-19, 10:51 AM
  #35  
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On History ...

Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Going east to west mimics the experience of the explorers, pioneers and 49ers, which is kind of cool.
Except that a lot of those on sailing ships , which rounded Cape Horn and were abandoned, left crew less in San Francisco bay, as they all went gold crazy..

and the Chinese & Russians , who crossed the Pacific..

then there was the Donner Party ..






....
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Old 02-05-19, 12:08 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour View Post
One thing I learned early on in my touring is to always stop and look behind you. sometimes the views are spectacular!
Hellz yes. Some of my nicest photos were taken looking back.
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Old 02-06-19, 10:24 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Prevailing winds across the Great Plains is West to East. And that wind can be a real headache, especially if you are a late riser. So there's that consideration.
Often repeated, despite the evidence to the contrary. For example, Wichita, KS wind in July are almost entirely out of the south:


So the wind doesn't really help you on most days either way you're travelling. The fact that there is wind that's not within 30 degrees or so of pushing you from behind hurts, but unless or until you turn north, you just have to deal with it.
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Old 02-06-19, 11:15 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Often repeated, despite the evidence to the contrary. For example, Wichita, KS wind in July are almost entirely out of the south:
Ah. Good to know. I biked across Kansas/E. Colorado in May. Wind was out of the South or West. HARD! I could barely make 60-80 miles using every ounce of daylight. I met two dudes going the other way one evening in a campground who left Canon City, Colorado and covered 230 miles in the same time. Downhill and with a howling wind to their backs.

DOWNHILL about 1-foot per mile cycling West to East never changes. So if the wind is in your face AND you are pedaling uphill (it is noticable) most people are in for a long day, or a very short one.
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Old 02-06-19, 11:38 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Agreed. I cried.

Firstview, Colorado is named for just such an emotion.

MAP
I cried too...for a different reason - I have to cross those F$@%ing things!!
Living on the East coast I chose the West to East route (HWY 50 mid May start). 1) Found that winds generally do run W>E however as others said crap shoot. (I was actually blown to a stop from gusts riding in a storm) 2) I liked the idea of traveling home to familiar surroundings - great mental trick "I'm getting closer" everyday. A con is losing time crossing a time zone - we rolled into a small town looking for something to eat and the stores were closed because we crossed a time zone 10 miles back - lol.

Last edited by fork crown; 02-06-19 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 02-06-19, 11:59 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by fork crown View Post
I cried too...for a different reason - I have to cross those F$@%ing things!!
That was my destination! I love the Rockies. I entered at Pueblo / Canon City, CO and followed the Rocky Mountains all the way to Alberta, Canada before hooking a left and crossing several other mountain ranges to Vancouver, BC. I am at my best in those mountains. Mountain weather in the Spring/Early Summer can be very wet but hey, nothing is perfect.

I was actually blown to a stop from gusts riding in a storm
Me too, between Hutchinson and Larned, Kansas. With a TRIPLE chainring in the easiest gear. Ridiculous.

I liked the idea of traveling home to familiar surroundings - great mental trick "I'm getting closer" everyday.
Just the opposite for me. The day my front wheel points toward the house, I'm looking for a train. Except once, i rode from New Orleans to Maine and back. I hated the feeling of going home.

A con is losing time crossing a time zone - we rolled into a small town looking for something to eat and the stores were closed because we crossed a time zone 10 miles back - lol.
I have a great time zone story but it is long and not really bike related.
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Old 02-06-19, 12:16 PM
  #41  
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1) The "Which Direction?" discussion has been going on since 1492.

2) Although surface winds roughly even out over the course of a cross-country bike tour,
there is a slight advantage with a west-to-east trip - especially, because of a few regions with serious, prevailing west winds.

For ex. -

Rawlins, Wyoming on the TransAm has strong, southwesterlies all summer.
Havre, Montana on the Northern Tier has moderate westerlies in the daytime with return easterly flow in the early morning hours.
Hood River, Oregon on the Lewis & Clark has moderate westerlies all summer - thus, the wind surfers on the river.
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Old 02-06-19, 12:39 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post

Rawlins, Wyoming on the TransAm has strong, southwesterlies all summer.
Havre, Montana on the Northern Tier has moderate westerlies in the daytime with return easterly flow in the early morning hours.
Heh. At one point between Lander and Jeffrey City I was leaning sideways to counteract and amazingly strong SW wind. Walking west from the motel to the café I swear I was bent at a 45 degree angle. When I headed to Rawlins the next day I made sure to get a very early start. Leaving Rawlins I rode with a local headed to work at Sinclair east of town. He told me how his ride home takes so much longer thanks to the wind.

Above I described a day where I sustained 32.5 mph before having to drop back to 28 mph. That was between Harlem and Malta, which are not all that far from Havre.
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Old 02-06-19, 01:24 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Heh. At one point between Lander and Jeffrey City I was leaning sideways to counteract and amazingly strong SW wind. Walking west from the motel to the café I swear I was bent at a 45 degree angle. When I headed to Rawlins the next day I made sure to get a very early start. Leaving Rawlins I rode with a local headed to work at Sinclair east of town. He told me how his ride home takes so much longer thanks to the wind.

Above I described a day where I sustained 32.5 mph before having to drop back to 28 mph. That was between Harlem and Malta, which are not all that far from Havre.
Ha! I was taking a rest break about 15 miles east of Rawlins under an I-80 overpass, catching some lunch I packed. (i still remember what I ate in 1989). I was just about to take the I-80 shoulder directly into the wind for a stay in Rawlins. Been fighting the wind all day. Anyway a pickup truck pulls up with a loaded touring bike in the back. Dude and bike get dropped off, he sees me and of course comes over to chat. My first questions: "You OK? Is the bike broken?" He replied "Nah, i just needed a break from the wind." My response: "Get the HELL away from me." Which he did.

FYI...I don't go on bike tours to hitch-hike. I am not judging others, I just don't want that energy around me. Only three ways I catch a ride on a bike tour: 1. Bicycle or I am broken. 2. Water ferries. 3. Bridge does not allow bikes and enforced. Oh yeah, #4 - ambulance.
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Old 02-06-19, 01:53 PM
  #44  
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Even though weather systems often go west to east, for much of the middle of the USA, winds are more often from the south than the west.

This Wind History Map shows wind frequency by direction, for each month. Each pie slice is the percentage of wind from that direction.

Click the month slice at the top right. If you then click another month, it displays the average of all selected months--a bit confusing at first.
Click a station to see it's wind directions in blue and wind intensity in red.
You can drag and zoom the map, then bookmark that view.

For example, Des Moines IA in July.
East is actually more likely than west! S, SE and SW are the most common that month.

And SW and N winds are somewhat stronger than E or W winds, and all are in the 10 knot range.



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Old 02-06-19, 02:08 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Often repeated, despite the evidence to the contrary. For example, Wichita, KS wind in July are almost entirely out of the south:


So the wind doesn't really help you on most days either way you're travelling. The fact that there is wind that's not within 30 degrees or so of pushing you from behind hurts, but unless or until you turn north, you just have to deal with it.
The Wind History map I linked above shows the same data for Wichita in July. map station link. Click the July button. Huh, it's very interesting how unlikely SW,W,NW winds are! And summer winds aren't quite as strong as other seasons.
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Old 02-06-19, 04:29 PM
  #46  
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Westerly winds are more important the further north you are in the USA. The northern tier or crossing Canada is better west to east, for example. If you need an excuse to go eastbound, you could finish in New England in October for the fall colors. Wind is usually weaker in the morning if it's a concern, so leave early.
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Old 02-06-19, 05:23 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
Wind is usually weaker in the morning if it's a concern, so leave early.
^^This is KEY!
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