My Route

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PROLOGUE #2: Logistics, Part One

How far do I plan cycling each day? I spent quite a lot of time obsessing over this, starting with choosing my route and calculating the total distance. The classic TransAmerica is 4,262 miles. The Northern Tier is 4,322. Mine, a combination of those two with a linking section on the Lewis & Clark Trail, is (as best as I can figure without the detailed maps) 4,307.

Based on recent cycling, the idea of 52 miles a day seems reasonable, but that’s not enough: my 4-month leisurely meander has been cut down by the US 90-day Visa waiver program. So, 90 days it is. This is how I worked it out:

TOTAL DISTANCE 4,307 miles
At 63 miles per day, that’s 68.5 days
With one rest day per week, that’s 9.5 rest days
Add 6 days start / finish and 6 days for stops mid-route
GRAND TOTAL 90 days.

Can I do 63 miles a day? Seems a lot, but then some do a lot more. The Adventure Cycle Association’s own road group tours average 60 miles per day. So, 63 is in the ballpark.

By the way, discovering the ACA was a major breakthrough in organising this trip. Not only with their obviously well-researched cycle routes across the States, but with the maps and online resource of information they provide. It all makes it real, and calms fears of being stuck on endless interstates. I emailed them a few times with questions, and here’s the first:

From: John
To: Adventure Cycling Association (ACA)
Sent: 16 October 2006
Subject: Map & route-related questions

I’m a cyclist from the UK and I’m at the early stages of planning a TransAmerica cycle trip using a hybrid of three ACA bicycle routes. I propose to do the trip East to West, starting on the Northern Tier from Maine to North Dakota then switching over to the Lewis & Clark for Montana into Yellowstone then finally joining the TransAm for Idaho to Oregon.
I have a rather basic question: are there any problems with this route that immediately spring to mind? For example, do the different routes actually connect? (it’s hard to tell for sure without detailed maps).
John Henderson

From: Richard Darne (ACA)
To: John
Sent: 18 October 2006
Subject: Map & route-related questions

Thanks for your interest in the ACA. All of our routes are split into sections, so yes; you can use a combination of these routes. At different points, these routes intersect each other.
The Northern Tier and the Lewis & Clark intersect in Parshall, North Dakota. The Lewis & Clark and TransAm intersect in a few different points. You may want to take the Lewis & Clark all the way to Missoula and our headquarters. You can then take the TransAm all the way to Oregon. If this sounds like what you are looking for, here are the sections you will need:

Northern Tier: Sections 3-11 Bar Harbor, Maine to Cut Bank, Montana
Lewis & Clark: Sections 3-5 Pierre, South Dakota to Missoula, Montana
TransAm: Sections 1-4 Missoula, Montana to Astoria, Oregon

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Richard Darne