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North America Topics specific to Canada and USA/Alaska only.
Photo by James Duncan, Universe Camp, Uyuni Salt Flats

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by James Duncan,
"Universe Camp"
Uyuni Salt Flats



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  #1  
Old 30 Oct 2014
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Riding from texas to la, then to seattle.

Hello from mexico, this coming december i got a bit of a free time, i was thinking of riding to the usa, my only concern is the season i will be doing it in and the capabilities of my bike, i have a rough idea i want to leave on december 7th and return around the same date on january 2015, so the total trip time will be about a month, now onto my biggest concern, how is the weather on winter along the west coast? will i encounter too much ice/snow? is this doable on a regular cruiser? my route would go, texas to la, then up to seattle and back! another option would be going to new york would appreciate any input, thanks!


c
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  #2  
Old 30 Oct 2014
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You realize that you're asking that someone predict the weather a couple of months from now, right? Ok, good....because none of us really knows the answer. At best, we're working with trends and degrees of probability.

Given that caveat, chances are very good you'll find some cold weather along your route. If you stick close to the Mexican border and close to the coast the entire way, you *might* not hit any snow, significant ice, or bitter cold. You probably *will* have periods of fog, rain, and other unpleasantness. You'll also face the shortest days of the year, which will make a real difference. And you very well might hit all of the above at one time or another: ice, snow, cold, fog, rain, not to mention wet leaves, washed sand and gravel, flooding, downed trees, landslides, de-railed freight trains....

The routes along the border and coast will take longer than you expect, and many people would find that a lot of riding in four weeks--round trip, don't forget, and short daylight hours. But the further you stray in search of faster routes like I-5 and I-10 or I-40, the more likely you are to hit serious snowfall or other impediments. That means being prepared to sit out a day or two or three, depending on the weather. It also means keeping a close and analytical eye on the forecasts--every day, without fail.

None of which is a bad thing, necessarily. Depending on where you are in Mexico, your trip might consist of four or five days of actual riding along the (boring) main highways. The problem is that it'll take longer on the more scenic routes, and longer still if you happen to hit a bad weather window.

Same goes for the trip to New York, except that the weather is likely to be colder for most of the trip. Plus: the scenery's not so nice.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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  #3  
Old 30 Oct 2014
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The elevation of the land you ride through will be the most significant factor affecting air temperature, precipitation, and the probability of encountering ice or snow.

I suggest you find a high-resolution topographic map of the US that covers the routes you plan to ride, and pay close attention to prospective routes and how close they come to mountain ranges and/or high elevation areas. Pay particular attention to the topography of New Mexico and Arizona - both of those states are mountainous, and you have a greater risk of getting snowed on going through there (right beside the Mexican border) than of getting snowed on 1,000 miles north of Mexico along the coast of California.

In theory, if you can avoid high elevations, you should be able to avoid ice and snow until just before you reach the northern border of California. Once you get north of California, you'll just have to 'take your chances' for the final portion of the route up to Seattle.

FYI I have been planning pretty much the same ride and same route (except, in my case, from Alabama to California) to take place in November and early December.

Michael
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  #4  
Old 30 Oct 2014
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thank you both for your replys, i will take all of that into consideration, i do not mind bad weather at all, if i didi woul ride car! the only thing that worries me is my bike not performing well on ice/snow since it has normal street tires, but yes my plan was, sticking to mexican border and then up along the coast. as for the actual trip i do not have to get to seattle to do anything at any given day if i arrive i arrive, i do not mind it taking me 15 days. or stopping somewhere i like for a while
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  #5  
Old 31 Oct 2014
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Good luck on your ride. As others have commented stay south until you turn north then stay west. Go until you hit your max days out then reverse looking at different routes if possible.
Keep it simple and ride safe.


ATGATT. Lee
" I never worry about getting lost.
I just change where I plan on going."
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  #6  
Old 2 Nov 2014
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Great route; sounds like part of Easyrider backwards! We just did LA to New Orleans. We already encountered some ice on the Colorado passes around Durango / Ouray. Stay south for as long as possible. Good luck
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Old 1 Dec 2014
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North of Portland you have very questionable weather conditions for riding, on the way up to Seattle. It is also a long (probably 4 hours) nothing-but-highway run with limited access to side trips during the winter time.

While Seattle can be moderate and doesn't see much snow, the I5 corridor between the Oregon border and Olympia can get crazy. The southern part, especially within an hour north of the Columbia River (Castle Rock to Centralia) gets strong wind, sudden icy conditions, and snow.

I live up here and ride that stretch, and have been caught in blizzard-like weather often enough to consider it a probability if it's cold and there's moisture around. And there's usually moisture around ;-)
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Old 1 Dec 2014
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Well....the whole I-5 corridor from around Redding northward is a giant question mark--it's not just Portland to Olympia. Again, the coastal routes are less likely to feature ice or snow, but the interstate is at least two to three times as fast when conditions are right.

This afternoon it warmed up a bit to around 35F/2C in Seattle. Yesterday's snow is mostly melted on the roads. The winds died out as well. If that sounds inviting, you'll love it here.

Mark

Last edited by markharf; 14 Dec 2014 at 00:17. Reason: spelling
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  #9  
Old 13 Dec 2014
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Portland is a cool town to visit as well. I have done washington to mexico in january but we took a side car down to california and on into mexico. We didn't hit ice on that trip but it was rainy and dark a lot. We did the oregon and california coast road and stayed off of I-5. I would recommend some very good raingear and electrically heated gear which goes a long ways making the trip much nicer. Hypthermia is not something you can just "tough it out".
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  #10  
Old 16 Dec 2014
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I just finished riding from Mobile, Alabama to Los Angeles (and back) along the southern edge of the USA. The ride was done in November.

It was extremely cold in west Texas, on several days it was below freezing, even though I was riding only 2 or 3 miles away from the border with Mexico.

What I said earlier in post #3 is very true: The land rises in Texas from east to west. It's sea level in Beaumont, but about 4,800 feet at the Texas / New Mexico border. It's also darn cold out in the desert.

The US Border Patrol has numerous checkpoints along the way where they stop all traffic and ask everyone for proof of citizenship. Be sure you have a passport with you, and if necessary, a valid visa for your visit. You WILL get stopped... I was stopped 6 times in total.

Michael
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