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  1. #1
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    Southern Tier in Winter?

    So I want to do the Southern Tier (East to West, Florida to Cali) this winter. I'm talking dead of winter, like starting in January. Is this ok or is it a bad idea? Know of potential areas that will bring about issues? Anyone done the route at this time? Thanks for the help folks.

  2. #2
    MB1
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    Some issues to think about.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveD
    So I want to do the Southern Tier (East to West, Florida to Cali) this winter. I'm talking dead of winter, like starting in January. Is this ok or is it a bad idea? Know of potential areas that will bring about issues? Anyone done the route at this time? Thanks for the help folks.
    You are going to have to carry a lot of extra clothing compared to doing in in the spring or fall. For a ride of that length unsupported 2 months would be fairly fast. Lots of bad weather in January and February.

    You are going to need a really good light system as you are really likely to get caught out after darkness since these are the days with the least daylight.

    If you are a really, really experienced cycle tourists any time of the year is ok, if not you are going to have a very steep learning curve.

    BTW don't forget a camera and your laptop so you can post ride reports for us.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  3. #3
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    Weather check

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveD
    So I want to do the Southern Tier (East to West, Florida to Cali) this winter. I'm talking dead of winter, like starting in January. Is this ok or is it a bad idea? Know of potential areas that will bring about issues? Anyone done the route at this time? Thanks for the help folks.
    If it were me, I would be checking the weather in key locations to see what kind of conditions I might encounter. Weather.com lists daily average high and low, plus record high and low, for every day of the year. That, plus average rainfall, would tell me a lot about the kind of conditions I might encounter in Jan/Feb/Mar and then I would have a lot better idea about the clothing and equipment issues.

  4. #4
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    And when crossing the southwest, stay well south. Albuquerque is a mile high and cold in winter and Flagstaff is over 7000 ft. Pick Las Cruces-Tucson corridor
    "When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am the friend of its happiness: when these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and its government." -Thomas Paine

  5. #5
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    Dave, what kind of experience are you looking for? This doesn't sound like a tour that would be fun, due to weather and lack of daylight, but maybe that's not what you're after.

  6. #6
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    Hmmm...

    Thanks for the response so far folks. These are all good ideas to think about. Basically, this winter is when the timing works out that I can do a big tour, and the Southern Tier seemed like the most plausible choice of routes for the US. I'm looking for an epic tour, and don't mind suffering a bit. But if I aint into being cold and rained on for the entire trip. Have you guys done this tour before? Keep the ideas coming.

    Dave

  7. #7
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    One of the biggest problems is winter is winter and especially in the months of January and February when you see snow all the way to the Mexican border. You might consider a desert tour starting in either Palm Springs or San Diego. I have seen a few Europeans do this in the dead of winter. They start out in San Diego and bike to Tucson. Then they loop up to Phoenix and head back to California hittting the high desert, maybe Joshua Tree. It can be cold there. From there its back to Palm Springs and if they Started in San Diego they might venture down to Salton Sea cross into Borrego Springs and then over the mountains. Not really too long maybe 600 miles at most but you wont freeze.

  8. #8
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    Well Dave your question peaked my curiosity.

    I live in Minnesota and know almost nothing of the Southwest. I took a little time this evening and did the research Kerry suggested. I picked a few cities off Adventure Cyclings southern tier and grabbed their weather stats for Jan, Feb, and Mar 15th. I pasted it into a JPG and it's below.

    I certainly never expected New Mexico to be this cold. That section could be a challenging crossing. On average, it climbs above freezing everyday but it might be noon before that happens. Snow would certainly be possible. If it toyed with the record temps durring your ride it'd be time for SAG (for me anyway).

    We used Amtrak for our summer vacation this year. It was a decent experience and I read all about their bike policies and they were fairly accomodating on most routes. You might think of getting to Yuma and grabbing the Sunset Limited to El Paso. From there I think you'd avoid to worst and could wait out anything that came your way in Texas or elsewhere.

    Are you planning on fully loaded/self supported or some degree of Credit Card touring or support vehicle?

    Good luck with the planning.

    Scot
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Southern Tier in Winter?-ststat.jpg  
    Scot Gore, Minneapolis

  9. #9
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    Peaking curiousity

    Quote Originally Posted by Scot_Gore
    Well Dave your question peaked my curiosity.
    It may well have, but did it pique your interest?

  10. #10
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    I rode from New Orleans to Key West in Jan & Feb

    Had plenty of use for leg warmers. Many mornings were cold enough that shorts and short sleeves weren't enough. There were two days on the Florida pan handle where I had to wear running shoes in stead of cycling shoes to keep the feet warm. Had I packed warmer sox this might not have been an issue, but you get the idea that even the easy part of the south takes some planning in winter.
    We have nothing to lube but our chains.

  11. #11
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    Wow

    You guys are awesome! Yes, I've been thinking alot about NM lately as that seems to be the biggest trouble area. The train idea is great. Also, could I maybe drop down into Mexico around somewhere like Austin, TX to delay time and get to warmer areas of the rockies? I'm sure the logistics would become WAY more difficult by doing this, but I do have some time to play around with. Or this may be just wishful thinking.

    Scot, your weather info helped a TON. I'm gonna go through every state and do the same. I'll be sure to post it when I get done.

    Rusa, your reply gives me hope that at least part of this may be possible. Long sleeves are fine with me. Thanks.

    BTW, I plan to do this self supported with the credit card handy whenever needed. Keep the ideas coming! Particularly thoughts on a Mexico spur or any other options to avoid the Harsh New Mexico passes on the bike.

    This is great folks.

  12. #12
    Dropout
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    I lived in Atlanta GA for many years. An average winter day might be low 28, high 50. And as someone stated, it might not warm much till noon, but you could get 4 hours of riding in on those days, easy. The cold rainy days might be a day to sit and read.

    If you can afford motels I wouldn't even bother with camping gear. What are going to do sitting around a cold campsite for 4 or 5 hours after dark? A lot of campgrounds might be closed for winter.

    If you can ride in sub-40 weather, stay in motels, and be prepared not to ride if weather is too awful, you could get some touring done. I'd be impressed.

    Mark G.
    Longmont, CO

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