Anyone here ever done a cross-country bike tour? I'm contemplating doing a self-supported tour this summer with some parts solo and some parts with friends. I envision a mix of camping, motels, and stays at friends' houses along the way. I'm not planning on cooking along the way, so most meals would be eaten out (and supplemented with snacks, sandwiches, energy bars, etc. purchased from grocery stores along the way).
My first question (for those with any experience doing so) is this: panniers or a trailer? I'd need to purchase a new or used touring bike if I went with panniers, but with a trailer, I'm thinking I could probably use my existing road bike (after getting a more sturdy wheelset). Any thoughts on the pros and cons or doing so?
I'm also leaning towards following my own route (rather than the TransAmerica route mapped out by Adventure Cycling). I'd likely start in San Francisco, CA or Portland, OR beginning in mid- to late-June and then work my way back to DC (ideally coordinating the timing to coincide with RAGBRAI). I've looked at Google Maps 'walking directions' for the approximately 3200 mile route, but I'm wondering if there's a better way or other resources to determine how bike friendly a given road is. Some states have highway maps produced by the state DOT that are color coordinated to reflect just that, but it doesn't appear that every state does this.
In any case, it's fun thinking about such a trip, and I'd appreciate any advice from any experienced bike tourers here in the club.
Two friends of mine kept a detailed journal of their East to West Coast tour a few years back:
I have a buddy who also did a cross country trip and you can read more about it here: http://43hundredmiles.blogspot.com/
keep me in the loop with your plans and itinerary. I'm shooting for June of next year, though.
clcohen at gmail
Appreciate the links and will do on the plans and itinerary!