10 Reasons To Cycle TDA’s Great American Roadtrip
This September, TDA’s Great American Roadtrip will allow riders to pedal across the USA: from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, from California to Georgia. Over 2 months and 5800 kms, the riders will experience many unique and wonderful sights, sounds and tastes. Here are some of the most anticipated highlights along the way:
1. Mile Zero – the Santa Monica Pier
We kick off our journey at the iconic Santa Monica Pier with Pacific Ocean waves crashing in the backdrop. The Pier and adjacent Boardwalk – both of which have featured in many movies and TV shows – provide entertaining insight into the cultural melting pot that is greater L.A. and its hedonistic cast of characters, from Muscle Beach-ers to Movie Star wannabes to thong clad roller bladers. After dipping your wheels in the water its time to start pedalling across the Hollywood Hills and into the great beyond.
2. Joshua Tree National Park
The tour’s first rest day takes place here, where two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, meet. A fascinating variety of plants and animals make their homes in a land sculpted by strong winds and occasional torrents of rain. The park’s namesake, the Joshua tree, or Yucca brevifolia, is a twisted spiky succulent member of the Agave family straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. An other worldly respite indeed before it is time to jump back in the saddle.
…is a sun baked swath of the USA, whose many highlights include old wild west mining towns, psychedelic rock lands, and the 8th wonder of the world. Within a few days span you’ll explore the Red Rocks of Sedona, the Oak River Canyon, and Flagstaff, where a double rest day will provide lots of time for a side trip to and photographic extravaganza at the Grand Canyon itself.
A few days of spinning south-eastwards on secondary highways and remote forest roads with few human sightings and starry, starry nights might prove to be the catalyst for your very own ET encounter. After all, New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment. Your imagination will certainly roam at such eerie locales as Roswell, where “UFO-logy” reigns, and at Carlsbad Caverns which features North America’s largest cave. Any efforts to resist “capture” may have you facing the “Truth or Consequences”, in that non-descript town renamed after a TV game show in 1950.
5. Music City
Austin aka Music City, and the capital of the Lone Star state, is one place where you’ll truly want to “Mess with Texas”. Even its airport hosts 6 stages where bands – hip hop, indie, country, rock – play through your arrival or departure. Austin is home to a diverse population of cultures, and political leanings, proud of its unique heritage: “People hear the word Texas and they visualize a longhorn skull bleached by the sun, a spiny cactus and miles of sand. In Austin that couldn’t be further from the truth; only problem we have here is that we’re surrounded by Texas. There’s room for everyone so long as they obey the street signs to ‘drive (… or cycle …) friendly’.” (Source of quotes)
6. Southern Hospitality
A long distance cycling trip wouldn’t be complete without some local culinary delights. Texas is renowned for its local takes on the American tradition that is barbecue. In neighbouring Louisiana cajun and creole cuisines reign supreme, featuring such specialities as blackened meats and poultry, jambalaya, gumbo, and grits. And along the Gulf coast, plump boiled white shrimp and oysters on the half shell are sure to delight the palate. Cyclists can stuff themselves with all these regional delicacies, as any excess consumed will burn off quickly when they are back on the road.
7. The Big Easy
Founded in 1718 astride the murky Mississippi river, New Orleans was the territorial capital of French Louisiana before being acquired by the US in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The city’s festive spirit, dampened but not destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is embodied by Mardi Gras, the annual carnival famed for raucous costumed parades and street parties. The historic heart of the cultural melting pot is the French Quarter, known for its architecture and anything goes nightlife along Bourbon St.
8. Gulf Coast National Seashore
From N’awlins to Apalachicola Bay on the Florida Panhandle, the route hugs the Gulf Coast, spinning around lagoons and across a few of its Islands, avoiding the more built up areas, like Mobile Bay, whenever possible. A humid sub-tropical climate and white sand beaches make this prime vacation land for Americans during the spring and fall shadow seasons. It is an ideal place for our riders, nearing the end of their Great American Road Trip, to slow down and let the cares of the world pass by.
9. Destination Savannah
The port city of Savannah, Georgia is described by its tourist bureau as “a charming Southern escape where art, period architecture, trendy boutiques and ghost stories are all set under a veil of Spanish moss.” The stomping grounds of civil war General Sherman who recaptured Georgia and the Carolinas for the Union North, Savannah’s allure and former decadence were captured in the book and movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Here our tour comes to a celebratory conclusion amidst its acclaimed historic district of cobblestone squares, antebellum houses, and horse drawn carriages. Be sure to dip your wheels in the Savannah river which empties into the Atlantic a few miles south, before heading out for a last supper of seafood platters and cocktails, and a morning after of Eggs Benedict and beignets at the River Street Inn.
10. Another TDA Route Less Travelled
While TDA’s Great American Road Trip visits many of the Southwestern and Southern USAs “must sees,” much of this journey is deliberately away from more beaten Trans-USA cycling tracks. By venturing through such remoter locales as New Mexico’s ponderosa pine plateau, the West Texas Hill Country, and the cotton fields and pecan tree plantations of rural south Georgia, we believe participants will gain more insight into the complexities of this fascinating corner of the world, its rich culture and history, and its seemingly incompatible obsessions with politeness and guns.