The journey takes shape

map_southerntierI’ve long been familiar with the rough contours of our bicycle trip across the United States. I’ve read the description of the Southern Tier Route on the Web site of the Adventure Cycling Association, and I’ve examined the ACA’s online maps of segments of the route, which are posted on the Route page of this blog.
Based on the description and the maps, I’ve made rough guesses about where we might be at certain times, usually in answer to friends and family who say they’d like to meet us at some point along the route.
But now we have from our guide a detailed itinerary for the journey — roughly 3,160 miles from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla., along the southern edge of the United States.

Point Loma Hostel

Point Loma Hostel

“Be aware that the schedule as shown is a good guideline, but we could be a day or two ahead or behind at any point in time due to weather, the group, or other factors,” our guide wrote in an e-mail. “The exception to the flexible schedule is that we won’t finish late!” That inflexible finish date is Nov. 21, the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
The 14 participants in our ride will gather for the first time on the evening of Sept. 18, a Friday, at the Point Loma Hostel in San Diego for an orientation session conducted by our guide. The next day, Saturday, we’ll do a fully loaded shakedown ride in the San Diego area to check the balance of our loads and determine whether we’ll really need on the ride everything that we brought to San Diego. Time to jettison that bulky inflatable mattress or the espresso machine.
The cross-country journey begins Sunday, Sept. 20, when we leave San Diego and climb 38 miles to Alpine, Calif., for our first overnight stay on the road. Eight riding days will bring us to Phoenix, our first layover/rest day, on Sept. 27.
austin-city-limitsThe other layovers are in Silver City, N.M., Oct. 4-5; El Paso, Oct. 9-10; Fort Davis in West Texas, Oct. 13-14; Austin, Oct. 23-24; Merryville, La., Oct. 30-31; Bogalusa, La./New Orleans, Nov. 6-7; and DeFuniak Springs, Fla., on Nov. 12-13. We reach St. Augustine, Fla., on the 65th day of the trip, Nov. 21.
I plan to post the full schedule, probably on the Route page, once I figure how best to format it.



Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Journeys

2 responses to “The journey takes shape

  1. Jim, looks like y’all might be in my home town on my birthday, 10/10. I’ve been thinking of things to see in El Paso. These 2 are important. Downtown/plaza & UTEP campus. Why?
    UTEP campus architecture is Tibetan-monastery-style. Looks perfect in barren mountains. Oh excuse me, it’s Bhutanese architecture. Good story there.
    Downtown’s centered by a plaza, a square, very Mexican. Some fab sculpture there by the late Luis Jimenez. Fifty years ago, the pond in the center had live alligators in it. And a little concrete railing to keep people out. Yeah. When you’re a kid it was pretty spectacular to see those beasts so close.
    And look at some pix on Google Earth.

    About a block away is the only hotel in town I’d stay in; Hotel Paso del Norte when I was growing up. They now call it…
    …the only one in the chain outside of Mexico, almost 100 years old.

    When you visit the site be sure to click the photo tour and look at pg 2, all the pix of the Tiffany dome in the bar. Yes, that Tiffany, and the dome’s 25 ft in diameter. You can see the skylight over the dome in Google Earth also.

    If you don’t stay in the hotel–and I realize the ethos of the ride may call for something more spartan–you must go into the bar in the afternoon sun to see the dome. Lit up.

    Here’s history on the building:
    If you’re standing at the elevators in the tower, midway up, you can look out the window in the morning and see all the cars from Mexico lined up and waiting to cross.

    Really consider staying there. Work a deal for the group. Hey, they’re a Mexican chain, they will respect negotiation. Y’all won’t need the parking garage! They have a weekend rate of $93 online. Ask for the government rate. Whatever.

    Vaya con dios, y’all.

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