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Crossing Rockies in September/October?

Old 07-21-21, 01:36 PM
  #26  
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I crossed the country, East to West many years ago, and found September and October to be glorious, but there is no way to predict the weather now. Weather in New England can be as bad as anything out West, especially for a rear round commuter, which I was.


I don't know if the OP has left yet, but looking at the national weather maps, the West looks pretty hot; perhaps dangerously so. I'll take cold over killing heat anytime. I know how to keep warm outdoors, but not how to keep cool.
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Old 07-21-21, 02:42 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by apkramer2021 View Post
jamawani just wanted to follow up with a couple of questions ... were those estimates for TransAm specifically?

Based on all of the feedback on this thread, it sounds like as long as I'm prepared for a couple of cold nights and a day off or two for snow (and not being a hero, taking a transport as necessary), then the timing should be fine leaving from Astoria OR on August 17th ... It's still nearly 1500 miles to Colorado on the route, so probably ~25 days to get through the hardest / most variable parts.

Does that sound right?
Did you already say where youd be crossing the Rockies at?
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Old 07-21-21, 03:00 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
Did you already say where youd be crossing the Rockies at?
ACA’s Trans Am route, so ID, MT, WY and CO. The first crossing east to west is 11,500+’ Hoosier Pass outside of Breckinridge, CO.
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Old 07-21-21, 03:09 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
I don't understand this thread. I toured through the Rockies in Sept/Oct and thought it was great. Sure, the weather was occasionally chilly, especially the nights, but the traffic was much lighter.
Beceause everybody here is aware that at 10,000 ft over some passes, in Sept. and especially in October, you can get enough snow to close you down for a day or more. Maybe didn't happen to you, great.
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Old 07-21-21, 04:49 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Beceause everybody here is aware that at 10,000 ft over some passes, in Sept. and especially in October, you can get enough snow to close you down for a day or more. Maybe didn't happen to you, great.
Odds are, no problem. But snowstorms do occasionally strike that time of year in the CO Rockies. My sense is its well worth chancing it. But everybody's risk tolerance is different.
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Old 07-21-21, 07:43 PM
  #31  
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SW Colorado - Mesa Verde NP - El. 7100 ft.
94 yr. Averages
SEP - Hi 76.4F, Lo 48.7F, Snow 0.1 in.
OCT - Hi 64.5F, Lo 38.3F, Snow 1.3 in.

NW Wyoming - Yellowstone NP - El. 7300 ft.
112 yr. Averages
SEP - Hi 64.2F, Lo 29.4F, Snow 1.7 in.
OCT - HI 51.1F, Lo 22.2F, Snow 7.6 in.
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Old 07-22-21, 04:54 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
SW Colorado - Mesa Verde NP - El. 7100 ft.
94 yr. Averages
SEP - Hi 76.4F, Lo 48.7F, Snow 0.1 in.
OCT - Hi 64.5F, Lo 38.3F, Snow 1.3 in.

NW Wyoming - Yellowstone NP - El. 7300 ft.
112 yr. Averages
SEP - Hi 64.2F, Lo 29.4F, Snow 1.7 in.
OCT - HI 51.1F, Lo 22.2F, Snow 7.6 in.
These days it seems like we often get way worse than the averages and records seem to fall frequently. I like to plan for comfort in average conditions, but you also need to think about survival without too much hardship in record conditions.
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Old 07-22-21, 10:47 AM
  #33  
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As far as averages go, I like to use weatherspark.com which also gives 75% and 90% percentile bands for temperatures. In general, I look more at the 90% percentile band and make sure I am set for that. There still can be outliers beyond that of course, but when those situations happen, I resort to other fallback methods like waiting out worst weather, rerouting on the fly, etc.

With that said, weather in mountains can always be volatile, but I pay particular attention in shoulder seasons for early/late storms.
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Old 07-22-21, 11:50 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
In general, I look more at the 90% percentile band and make sure I am set for that.
I tend to use those as well. I don't necessarily plan for comfort at the 90 percentile numbers, but it is important to be at least safe at them. Survival and keeping all your fingers and toes at an absolute minimum
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Old 07-22-21, 11:04 PM
  #35  
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I would just ride if it's a nice day. 2 easy days to get used to the load, if going hwy 30 or 47. No idea of those road conditions myself.
I rode the Can/Am NW in 2018, was in Astoria on July 7. I then rode a short day to Seaside. There's a bugger steep climb going to Cannon Beach. I went up it with some walking and then said forget it to going down to the ocean and back to Seaside. LOL. From there to Forest Grove was 65 miles or so on hwy 26, 1 steep and 2 moderate climbs I think. Maybe 15 miles with slim or none shoulders, half is thru forest. Was pretty easy riding thru Portland, not counting the hills. LOL. I guess it's 45 miles from Forest grove to the airport. Not saying it's where you sould go.
Getting to CO mtn tops in late Sept. is iffy IMO.

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Old 07-23-21, 10:55 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by apkramer2021 View Post
I'm planning on biking across country fully self supported, starting mid-August (one of my childhood best friends is getting married so can't miss or start earlier =)

My current plan is to do the Transamerica route with some small modifications, going East to West (partly because of some wanderlust to reach the West).

I think I'll end up averaging 60-80+ miles a day, allowing me to hit the West coast in probably 60 or so days.

My biggest concern is crossing the Rockies in September. Do people think this is a terrible idea or worth the adventure? Any experiences about crossing the Rockies later in the fall would be super helpful!
That depends. As the month of September progresses, the chances of snow is greater. The chances of a paralyzing snow storm is next to zero. Even into October the amount of snow that might fall is rather low. This article gives some feeling to what to expect in Yellowstone. Here’s the same data for Breckenridge. That is a shorter term average than previously presented and reflects current conditions better. Bottom line: you’ll experience cold temperatures (32°F or lower) but probably not snow.

On a positive note, afternoon thunderstorm activity is significantly reduced in September. They can still happen (just like it can still snow) but they are less intense and less prevalent.
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Old 07-23-21, 12:47 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
...On a positive note, afternoon thunderstorm activity is significantly reduced in September. They can still happen (just like it can still snow) but they are less intense and less prevalent.
Yeah, on average I think Sept is better than high summer in CO for weather and for car traffic.
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