Transam 2018 / 2020
An epic ride across the United States – the greatest adventure!
The TransAmerica Trail is the most-travelled route crossing America. In the past 40 years, tens of thousands of cyclists have ridden it and it remains one of the truly great cycling adventures.
Our journey will cover just over 4000 miles at an average of 67 miles per day, with a rest day every 10 days or so. Florence, located on the Oregon Coast at the mouth of the Siuslaw River is the beginning-of-the-road. 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 Centre 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 to enter Montana where, wide valleys and mountain passes await you. The views in Yellowstone National Park and of the Grand Teton Range in Wyoming are incomparable, and memories will last a lifetime. Towns such as Dubois and Lander remind you that you’re in the west, with their historic architecture and western-style cooking.
The scenery quickly changes from dry, high desert to alpine as you reach Kremmling, Colorado. You begin a long climb to crest the Continental Divide at Hoosier Pass, 11,542 feet, up amongst snow-covered peaks. Pueblo offers bike shops and great places to eat; it also serves as the halfway point of the TransAm Trail (time to celebrate!). 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. You might have to do some early morning and early evening riding to escape the midday heat. 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, a fun college town. A ferry takes you across the Ohio River into Kentucky which offers rolling white-fenced farms and woodlands until reaching Berea, the gateway to the Appalachian Mountains. 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.
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