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Cross Country in March - weather etc

Discussion in 'Americas' started by nickfromdc, Mar 2, 2020.

  1. nickfromdc

    nickfromdc Adventurer

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    Hello gang!

    Been around here for a while, always reading, rarely posting.

    Im getting ready to do my first proper long haul, pretty straightforward cross country from DC to LA. Im giving myself two weeks or so, but I have some time flexibility on either end. See the planned route below.

    Heres the question, Im planning on leaving on or about March 20th and Im wondering what type of weather to expect along the route. Ive looked up the weather in most of the areas and I gather it will mostly be in 30-50s and maybe wet. But the internet can be only so helpful in these matters.

    Im hoping some boots on the ground and/or people that have ridden along this route at this time of year can chime in with some input.

    Thank you so much in advance,
    Nick

    Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 9.36.55 AM (2).png
    #1
  2. tlub

    tlub Long timer Supporter

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    I've been in some pretty thick fog and rain along the Blue Ridge that time of year. I changed my plans because of it and did the coast route instead. These days, the weather patterns seem to include lots of rain in TN, northern MS, AL and GA. But you might get lucky. Have a plan B for every day, and keep an eye on the weather. Heck, it was 57 in southern WI on Sunday. So you really need to be flexible.
    #2
  3. nickfromdc

    nickfromdc Adventurer

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    Thank you- I think flexibility will be key. Weather is pretty hard to predict these days.
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  4. BUZZARD II

    BUZZARD II Old Geezer

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    Looks like you picked Skyline and the BRP. I've done it myself and have been lucky. I've also seen a surprise 12" of snow close the BRP north of Asheville in April. Ya never know until you go.

    You do have electric heated gear right?
    #4
  5. nickfromdc

    nickfromdc Adventurer

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    Ya, I’m little worried about random snow storms.

    I don’t have heated gear. I have winter gear and layers. I would think as long as it stays above 30 I should be fine. I used to live on east coast and never had heated gear.
    #5
  6. AK2ID

    AK2ID Been here awhile

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    Just get a heated jacket. You will be glad you did. Also watch for the wind advisories going across NM, AZ and UT. Very dangerous in the spring.

    have fun.
    #6
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  7. BUZZARD II

    BUZZARD II Old Geezer

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    I retired from NJ to VA and even in the summer pack my electric vest. All three bikes have heated grips. In NC the BRP hits 6,000'. It can get pretty dame cold in the rain.

    Which brings up a March riding question. What's colder? 38 degrees and rain or 28 degrees and sun. And think about doing it for 300 miles.
    #7
  8. AwDang

    AwDang Enabler

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    You’re looking at 2-3 days to Chattanooga. Just watch the weather carefully and be flexible. I’d be more concerned about cold out west at altitude.
    #8
  9. nickfromdc

    nickfromdc Adventurer

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    Thanks for all input gang.

    Good point about altitude and length of exposure. Maybe a heated vest not a bad idea.
    Any recommendations?
    #9
  10. tlub

    tlub Long timer Supporter

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    +10 on the heated jacket liner, NOT just a vest! Heated sleeves keep the blood flowing to your hands warm, which helps your hands stay warm too. I have a Gerbings; others have liked Warm n Safe. Jackets do differ. Some have just hot spots; some (like mine) just warm you evenly. I did layers for decades. Then I bought my first electric vest. I never looked back, except to up the ante to a heated jacket liner. There is life before electrics and the much better life after you get electrics.
    A few reviews. Some of these include battery pack powered jackets or vest, which I cannot for the life of me understand why you would do this. When you need it the most, the battery runs down quickly. Be sure you get the type that you wire to the bike's electrical system. Yes, it's more complicated, but well worth it when you need the heat on max for more than a few hours.
    https://www.webbikeworld.com/heated-motorcycle-clothing/
    https://www.thedrive.com/reviews/30284/best-heated-motorcycle-gear
    https://www.haulnride.com/heated-motorcycle-jacket-review-product-comparison
    #10
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  11. nickfromdc

    nickfromdc Adventurer

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    Awesome. This is very helpful. Thank you.
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  12. nickfromdc

    nickfromdc Adventurer

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    What does everyone think about Firstgear products?
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  13. nickfromdc

    nickfromdc Adventurer

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    Also, Im on a R1150GS, it should generate more than enough power for a jacket correct?
    #13
  14. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    I had a first gear that worked well and am now wearing a warm and safe which also works well (any modern jacket will be tons better than no jacket - put up a want to buy add here in the flea market if you don’t want to spend for new). Remember that you want it snug, and put additional layers OVER the jacket if needed. Only a base layer under it.

    Your bike will put our plenty of juice - no worries!
    #14
  15. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    As for your route, it’s doable as long as you are flexible to accommodate the weather and willing to change your route. Utah will likely be very cold then, but maybe not ;)
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  16. tlub

    tlub Long timer Supporter

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    Absolutely. My airheads (280W) generate enough for a 90W Gerbings at full power, at least when running above 3000 or so. They have voltmeters so I can see what is going on.
    #16
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  17. nickfromdc

    nickfromdc Adventurer

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    Thanks again. Route is super flexible. I need to get down New Orleans and then over to LA and I have 2 weeks or so to do it. I figured taking BRP down would be pretty excellent and I want to go screw around in all the National Parks in Utah. That’s all that’s really informing the route.

    Are there a bunch of easy-ish fire roads through Utah? I definitely want to play around on some dirt out there, but I’m not great on the big GS in anything super gnarly.
    #17
  18. KevinP65

    KevinP65 Been here awhile

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    I live North end of BRP and 67 today! We are about 3 wks ahead this year according to US govt numbers. Latest snow I have seen in last 20 yrs April 15 but gone next day. I always tell people that rain usually means fog and fog can be darn thick and the real deal breaker as others have said. It is not unusual for me not to be able to even see the hills and they are right out the window. Plan on being able to drop down and use other roads and there are plenty of good ones although getting on and off options are not frequent especially on SLD. Plenty of info on BRP/SLD out there. Have fun.
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  19. nickfromdc

    nickfromdc Adventurer

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    Thanks man. Yeah, it looks like there are tons of nice twisty roads running along the same route but a little closer to sea level. At least according to the map.

    I guess the name of game is really just 'be flexible'
    I think I can handle that!
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  20. BUZZARD II

    BUZZARD II Old Geezer

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    I can see the northern ridge of Skyline from my front porch. I ride it and the BRP all year long, when open. About that fog. It can be a solid white wall that you might only see the fog line on the road and not the trees twenty feet away. I have been delayed or detoured many times more from fog than any other event.

    When you have just a little be ready when there's an elevation change or poping out of the tunnels.
    #20
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