I am looking to start a solo trip around America in May 2013, and because I'm not from the US I was wondering if anyone could share some tips on the best time of year/direction to travel to avoid the harshest of the weather/enjoy the most scenic seasons. Things like heading to Vermont for the fall, or avoiding hurricane season in Florida, to help me put together a rough route and timeline.
tips on direction and weather in USA?
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Fri, 2012-12-28 14:13#1
tips on direction and weather in USA?
Weather is such a difficult thing to predict, yes?
In general, the wind blows from the west to the east, mostly. If you're in the south along the Gulf Coast the wind will blow from the south, until a front comes along then it will shift to the northwest then gradually back to the south. You can count on the wind being in your face most of the time anyway. ;-)
Here's the big weather stuff:
- Hurricane season runs from June 01 through the end of November with the "busy" part in August and September. That doesn't mean much as we went 3 years without a hurricane in the Gulf then this year we got smacked 2 or 3 times. The good thing is a hurricane doesn't last long in any one location. Of course, the aftermath can last a very long time.
- Spring, anytime between March and May, can see very turbulent weather from Texas east and north. The late cold fronts sweep in from the northwest and push the warm, moist Gulf Flow in front of them. That means tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, north Alabama and Mississippi, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio - more or less. South Louisiana usually doesn't get tornadoes but things are changing.
- Summer is brutally hot and humid along the Gulf Coast and in the west, though it will dry out as you go west. Drink lots and lots of water and you'll be okay for the most part. Some people swear by pickle juice as a way to avoid cramping. Maybe have a shade shelter for taking a break in the midday heat if it proves to be too much.
- Fall is probably the "nicest" season with fewer storms and more pleasant weather. Can't say how that plays out in the Pacific Northwest. I always think of rain when I think of western Washington state, Oregon, and northern California along the coast.
- Winter is rather nice along the Gulf. Seldom cold and then usually only for a day or two. This winter has been way too mild; we still have mosquitoes out and hungry though way fewer than the rest of the year. Once you get above Louisiana on the eastern half of the country or west and north of Austin, Texas, you can expect real winter - snow, sleet, ice, you know, brrrrr!
What are you interested in seeing?
Thanks Mark, this is really helpful!
As I havent been to the states before everything is pretty much on my list of sites to see, so having to cut back and decide on just one route is proving difficult. Am thinking about doing the ACA Southern Tier and linking it up with the route up the east coast. Ideally I wanted to travel from west to east, LA through to Bar Harbor, but not sure if this is a good idea starting in May.
I just noticed you didn't say how long you have for this trip. That would have a bearing on things, I would think.
If you plan on 50 miles (80 km) / day you'll travel 1,000 miles (1,600 km) / month if you ride 5 of every 7 days. It's very roughly 4,300 miles (6,900 km) from LA to Bar Harbor following the Southern Tier then turning left.
If you don't mind heat and humidity that shouldn't be a problem. You will certainly get your fill of it.
You'll also get a chance to see some pretty amazing terrain and not a few interesting towns and cities. Side trips would eat up time but there's some really interesting natural sites along the way and some great national parks.
Of course, it would be somewhat cooler if you went north, crossed into Canada, then headed east. Less people, longer between places, cooler for the most part, and you get to practice your French in Quebec!
Too many options I suppose.
well as a rule of thumb...from May....always from west to east and better from south tier or the south side.
Maybe if you don't mind cold weather in times,you can make it by the north tier.
It depensds of your time to ride,your riding shape,etc.
bicycle tourist and life long resident/citizen of usa...dont know where you will be arriving in usa may 2013...bicycled from pennsylvania to arizona 2011 during july thru to december with my girlfriend, ex girlfriend now...traveled about 30 miles per day...took some time off because of the heat and usually one day off every week or 10 days...didnt use the camping stove during those summer months....used summer weight clothing then sent it home or gave it away, and bought warmer clothes and warmer sleeping bag when it got colder....traveled east to west but i believe no matter which direction you travel, the wind blowing is a crap shoot...check out the katy trail,(225 miles), the c&o canal tow path(184miles), the great allegheny passage(100miles ,or more) , the madison county bicycle routes around st louis, the bicycle routes around dayton ohio...these are routes other than adventure cyclist routes and will cover quite a few miles without having to bicycle on roads with automobiles...i did not stick exactly to adventure cyclist routes and relied much on local knowledge, preferably from a bicyclist...directions from pleasant folks with good and honorable intentions are not as reliable as directions from pleasant folks with good and honorable intentions, on a bicycle...in usa, there are interstate highways, usually marked with a blue sign and a number, most of these interstate highways are "motorized vehicles only", illegal for a bicycle, there are some interstate highways that allow non motorized vehicles and these are mostly in the western usa...when i was uncertain, i called the state police that patroled that area..carried tools for spoke replacement on the freewheel side of the rear wheel, replaced about 5 spokes, i was expecting this and was not surprised...mark your spokes because they may be different sizes depending on your wheels.. i am planning a trip from harrisburg pennsylvania to key west florida, shooting for april/may departure ...i have finally decided to upgrade my wheels to make them stronger and expect less spoke breakage...hope this was of some help...let me know if your curious about anything else...glad to lend a hand...michael j lewis