Well I’m still without a bike, and so I used the time to complete the screenshots of the route I’ll take. It was a very repetitive task 🙂 3300 screenshots, 4x this number clicking on the map to move 2kms by 2 kms… Perhaps it can be seen as a good preparation for cycling thousands of time.
I followed the Adventure Cycling association roads as well as possible. Not all roads are mapped by Google, and I used the closest route when necessary. They avoid large cities as much as possible – on the east coast, it’s probably too much. Reaching New York or Philadelphia means going well around the city and then going straight into it. That’s also probably due to simplifying the maps and avoiding too many paths.
Sadly, there is no route from California to the Grand canyon. I will have to improvise going through Las Vegas.
The result is very interesting and a very good help for such a trip. I can prepare the places I will go through, where I could stop – and most notably, the deserted areas where nothing can be found ! Apart from Nevada and Utah, such areas are frequent in Kansas and Colorado. In California and on the east coast, on the other hand, there are always towns and services around.
I learned a lot about Google street view as well. They update theirs pics quite a lot, and the latest versions are very impressive HD photos. The comparison with older versions is clear. You can also see easily where they make the updates, and which areas are, well, secondary to say the least.
What else ? Utah seems very difficult, very desertic, few towns, lots of climbs… But it’s, by far, the most beautiful state there is. It’s worth the trip by itself. I thought maybe I would cut from the Grand canyon to Colorado, but I’ll go through this part even if I have to walk the climbs on foot.
As expected, Kansas is very, very flat. I’ll probably go this state pretty quickly. The Appalachians seem pretty difficult too, with steep climbs and narrow roads. And the east coast is a long line of cities – even if the maps avoid them as long as they can.
I used the time I had to plot the chain of Motel 6 on the maps themselves, as well as the Warm Showers hosts. Motel 6 has a discount for the Adv Cycling members. But… there are close to none on the route apart from California and the east coast. Those in the middle west are in larger cities and too far to be useful. Warm Shower hosts will be a very good fallback, even if they are scarce in the Rockies and the middle west as well. I only hope I’ll be able to take a shower every now and then 🙂