UPDATE Due to a tragic bicycle accident of my partner Donita, we will be saving this route to do together in a few years when she recovers 100%. The Route I take this trip on my own will be more of a no plan, no maps, kind of route. I will make it up as I go head back to home to SC. I plan on riding some in every state that I originally planned to ride with Donita, I just won’t ride the whole way back to the East coast. Read Blog for reasons.
Our route will take us from San Francisco to Nags Head, NC
(Click on the map to take you to an interactive map)
We will do the ceremonial tire dip on the Pacific side at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. From there to Pueblo, Colorado we’ll ride a route mostly based on the Adventure Cycling Western Express maps. In Pueblo we will then pick up the TransAmerican Trail (another Adventure Cycling route) taking us as far as Damascus, Virginia. From there we will pick up North Carolina’s bike route North Line Trace to end our journey in the Outer Banks around Kitty Hawk and Nags Head. We will dip our tires on the Atlantic side at Nags Head with family then head over to Max’s Pizza to celebrate!
This ride is the product of almost a year and a half of planning. We have allotted 7-8 weeks for the trip and plan to average 85 miles a day on the days we ride. Our rest days will be set aside for keeping up the journal, bike maintenance, sight seeing, laundry, and bad weather. I have plotted the daily routes on Ride With GPS so we can plug in the course for each day and follow our Garmins. We are also using the Adventure Cycling maps. We will do this tour as a “credit card tour” and pre-booked some of the hotels where there is a cancellation policy. Flexibility has to be part of the plan. We are both very excited about the this little adventure and are looking forward sharing it with you. We would love for you to follow our progress over at our Journal page as well as on instagram.
Here are some of the things we will be looking forward to in each state we cycle through.
“After the food and fun of San Francisco by the Bay, a relaxing ferry ride eliminates a hard day of urban cycling and deposits the cyclist in Vallejo. The route parallels an interstate and winds through suburbs to Fairfield and then passes through rolling, verdant agricultural areas before turning east. Urban riding conditions prevail along the section from Davis through Folsom. Separate bike paths, which start in Davis and extend through Sacramento and Folsom, provide welcome relief from busy surface streets. From there the route begins to climb the Sierra Nevada foothills to the 8,573 foot Carson Pass. It then descends into the historic mining region around Carson City, Nevada.” -Adventure Cycling Association
“Here the route joins U.S. Highway 50 into Fallon, where the challenging part really begins. A dozen climbs await the rider on “The Loneliest Road in America” as it traverses the roller-coaster range and basin country paralleling the route of the famous Pony Express. Nevadans are noted for their self-reliance, hospitality (as long as you are not a federal employee), and whimsical sense of humor as evidenced by such unique attractions as the “Post Impressionist ” (fence post) art between Baker and Lehman Cave in Great Basin National Park.” – Adventure Cycling Association
East of Cedar City, Utah, the route passes through some of the nation’s most isolated communities and several of its most spectacular scenic wonders. We hopefully will take some time to explore Cedar Breaks, Escalante, and Natural Bridges National Monuments; Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks; and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. These natural sculptures, spires, buttes, and canyons are no less than humbling. The Utah portion of the route is one state we are eager to ride. It will be a challenge in many areas from lack of service stations and not to mention the heat. –Adventure Cycling
“After passing through the bean-growing capital of the nation in southwestern Colorado, the route swings north and then east through the small tourist communities of the Rockies where one can always find an espresso and a ski hill, however modest. The route traverses forested mountains to Salida and from there into the narrow valley of the Arkansas River to Cotopaxi. Here the route leaves busy U.S. Highway 50 and winds through quiet wooded foothills until reaching Pueblo.” – Adventure Cycling Association
This is hot, barren country. Right around Haswell, Colorado, we’ll see our last hazy glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. We might have to do some early morning and early evening riding to escape the midday heat. We will expect to hit headwinds as we will be amongst the wheat fields and no mountains. Even though this is relatively flat riding, the Great Plains will not be easy.
The terrain of the Great Plains will change quickly into the roller-coaster riding of Missouri. Many riders welcome it as a break from the winds and the monotony of the flat-as-a-pancake Kansas. The Ozark mountains will be a challenge as will the ever increasing humidity as we inch our way east.
The route crosses the Mississippi River at Chester, Illinois, and heads into Carbondale. We will wind our way down to the Ohio River and follow her for a little bit. A ferry will take us across the Ohio River into Kentucky,
Kentucky will offer us rolling white-fenced farms and woodlands until reaching Berea, the gateway to the Appalachian Mountains. Past Berea, we will spend some time ascending and descending the mountains of the Appalachians, and riding part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. We will be climbing more and staying alert because the dogs on this route are not well behaved and don’t like cyclist. We are looking forward to the horse farms though of Kentucky.
Once in North Carolina we will have one more big climb to conquer and then it is all down hill from there… We will be enjoying the hot humidity and the gnats and Noseeums which come with it. The loud cicada bugs will help us keep our cadence as we finish up our tour. The riding will be relatively easy the last few days of our trip, however the tourist traffic our last two days will be the challenge.