Monday, June 30, 2014

Location: - Still Charleston SC Miles = 0, Ave MPH = 0, Cum. Miles = 0, Cum. Ave MPH = 0

The adventure cycle maps came yesterday!! So in this blog I'll talk a little bit about the route that is planned. Adventure cycle refers to it as the TransAmerica Trail and it was established in 1976 for the Bicentennial. On the Adventure Cycling Overview Map the Trans Am route is shown in an orange color that starts in Oregon and ends in Virginia. 

So I need to clear up some confusion I may have created with some that I have talked to - and that is that the actual starting point is not Seattle or even Portland for that matter, but rather is Astoria, Oregon.

Also I hope to take the route to it's end in Yorktown VA however the ultimate destination is Charleston (the South Carolina one vs. the oops we got chemicals in our drinking water one) so I eventually get back home. This may mean I peel off of the route somewhere near Kingsport TN and head through Asheville NC and on south to Charleston. This route will be approximately 4050 miles. Going to Yorktown and then down the Adventure Cycling recommended route back to Charleston will be about 4600 miles.

But even more specifically the final final destination destination will be Folly Beach, a suburb of Charleston although don't let the residents of FB know I called it a suburb as that would surely be something close to blasphemy. As many will know, the tradition for these rides is to dip your wheel in the Pacific Ocean and then upon finishing dip once more in the Atlantic. Because Folly Beach is such an eclectic and funky place I am hoping to do my Atlantic wheel dip at FB. Please do not think the fact that Ed the proprietor of Loggerheads Beach Grill promised me a party upon arrival and said that he had specifically expanded the deck just for this event had anything to do with my choice of Folly Beach:):) I think I am going to approach the management at the Tides Hotel to see if they will comp me a room - never hurts to try!!

A few training days are left...

Thanks to my Sawmill Branch Trail photographer - Jennifer D.

It appears that I will be having a companion on my ride and in my next blog or two I would like to make an introduction. I put an ad in at Adventure Cycling a while back for companion riders. Six people responded and it looks like a rider from Toronto Canada is committed to the tour. I think you may find the story of how this evolved a touch funny.  Some additional topics before we blast off will be; Supported vs Non-Supported touring and a bit about and I also have an official coffee supplier that you need to know about as well.

And finally please remember the cause -  I will go into this in more detail and perhaps some level of haranguing later on, but for now here is the link .... and an additional link for donation   SoldiersBestFriend - Donate Please :):)  As you donate please enter my name ("Neil G" will do just fine) in the appropriate spot so the folks at SBF can tally the results to encourage me and let me know WE are getting something done together. Oh and I would be a lot more comfortable if you use the "honorarium" option vs the "memoriam" option - you'll understand when you click on the link:):).     I will be inserting this call to action in all of my blogs so I hope you don't mind.


The total TransAmerica map set comes in 12 sections as per below. Each of the sections contains 10 - 12 mini-maps that help to break down the larger distance into maps of a scale that is very detailed (1 inch equals 2 miles). The back of the maps have details about sights, restaurants, lodging, stores, and bike shops encountered along the way. The maps are laminated to increase their durability.

TransAmerica Trail
Astoria, OR to Yorktown, VA
12 Map Set (4232.0 mi.)
GPS | Overview | Buy
1. Astoria, OR to Coburg, OR (234 mi.)Detail |Addenda
2. Coburg, OR to Baker City, OR (333 mi.)Detail |Addenda
3. Baker City, OR to Missoula, MT (419 mi.)Detail |Addenda
4. Missoula, MT to West Yellowstone, MT (328.5 mi.)Detail |Addenda
5. West Yellowstone, MT to Rawlins, WY (350.5 mi.)Detail |Addenda
6. Rawlins, WY to Pueblo, CO (387 mi.)Detail |Addenda
7. Pueblo, CO to Alexander, KS (288.5 mi.)Detail |Addenda
8. Alexander, KS to Girard, KS (330.5 mi.)Detail |Addenda
9. Girard, KS to Murphysboro, IL (408.5 mi.)Detail |Addenda
10. Murphysboro, IL to Berea, KY (405 mi.)Detail |Addenda
11. Berea, KY to Christiansburg, VA (375.5 mi.)Detail |Addenda
12. Christiansburg, VA to Yorktown, VA (368 mi.)Detail |Addenda

The classic route to cross America by bicycle.

Grand parks along the TransAmerica Trail include Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, among the best in the United States. One additional treat: because this route has been ridden by cyclists for years, many of the cafes, restaurants, and overnight accommodations along the route have kept journals consisting of entries written by cross-country riders from previous years, providing you with a cyclist's history of the route. Plan on around three months (give or take) for the crossing. Some traverse the route quicker, but this leaves less time for sightseeing.

Astoria, Oregon, with the hills of a miniature San Francisco, is the official beginning-of-the-road. The view from atop the Astoria Column is well worth the uphill pedal. Stretches of beaches, outstanding state parks, steep ascents and descents, and great seafood abound during your first days of riding before you turn inland to the Willamette River Valley. Eugene is the largest city along the route. Other sizable cities along the way are Missoula, Montana; Pueblo, Colorado; and Carbondale, Illinois. The lush, green western side of the Cascade Mountains is a startling contrast to the dry terrain you'll be riding into after McKenzie Pass. The road over McKenzie Pass literally cuts through an ancient lava field and offers spectacular views of the Three Sisters and other snow-capped volcanic peaks of the Cascades. Central and eastern Oregon is made up of dry, mountainous terrain and is good place to carry extra water. The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center outside of Baker City is a must-see, and after completing your trip crossing the country, you'll have no trouble relating to the experiences of the early pioneers.

Idaho offers a wonderful ride along the Salmon River, and some interesting Native American historic sites to visit. The route then follows the winding, scenic Lochsa River for the longest gradual ascent of the trip (around 70 miles). You'll climb up and over Lolo Pass, enter Montana, and soon reach the spur into Missoula. Missoula, a college town, provides one of the highlights of the route, featuring Adventure Cycling headquarters with its "cyclist's lounge" and other amenities, along with whatever services you may require in town. Beautiful panoramas, wide valleys and mountain passes await you in Montana.
The views in Yellowstone National Park and of the Grand Teton Range in Wyoming are incomparable, and memories will last a lifetime. It's worth an extra day or two off the bike to experience as much as you can of these two phenomenal national parks. Towns such as Dubois and Lander remind you that you're in the west, with their historic architecture and western-style cooking. Lamont is an oasis in the windy, desolate Great Divide Basin, and serves up a mean bowl of chili.

The scenery quickly changes from dry, high desert to alpine as you reach Kremmling, Colorado. Touristy Breckenridge in Summit County is another great place for a layover day. You begin a long climb to crest the Continental Divide at Hoosier Pass, 11,542 feet, up amongst snow-covered peaks. As the route leaves the Rockies, Royal Gorge Park offers a fun layover day, either for hanging out at the Arkansas River bridge or taking a helicopter ride over or a raft trip through the gorge. Pueblo offers bike shops and great places to eat; it also serves as the halfway point of the TransAm Trail (time to celebrate!). It's a good place to stock up - it's the largest city you'll pass through until Carbondale, Illinois.

Things start to dry out as you get into the eastern part of Colorado and cross into western Kansas. Carrying extra water is a good idea here - this is hot, barren country. Right around Haswell, Colorado, you'll see your last hazy glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. Overnights at city parks in Kansas are usually accompanied by cool dips in the city swimming pools. You might have to do some early morning and early evening riding to escape the midday heat. Don't miss the pies at Cooky's in Golden City, Missouri! The flat-as-a-pool-table terrain of the Great Plains will change quickly into the roller-coaster riding of Missouri. You'll find Missouri offers Civil War history, terrific canoeing at Eminence, and an excellent swimming hole at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park.

The route crosses the Mississippi River at Chester, Illinois, and heads into Carbondale, another fun college town. A ferry takes you across the Ohio River into Kentucky, where you'll enjoy the evening fireflies at your campsites. Kentucky offers rolling white-fenced farms and woodlands until reaching Berea, the gateway to the Appalachian Mountains. A loop south of the route will take you to see Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest cave system in the world. Past Berea, you'll spend some time ascending and descending the mountains of the Appalachians, and riding part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. The mountains turn to rolling hills and then flat riding through lush plantations and farmlands. The last stretch of the route is rich in the history of the American Revolution, with Colonial Williamsburg as the highlight. Yorktown, situated on the Chesapeake Bay, is the route's end


  1. Wow! Brings back some memories. I road this route as the first group to go West to East in 1976. We blazed this trail and many of the small towns were surprised to see us. I will enjoy seeing how the world has changed in the past 30 plus years. Please don't skimp on the pictures. And do take the time to see the Shut-Ins in Missouri.

  2. Thanks for the tip on the Shut-Ins park. I looked it up and it looks like a must visit place