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Messages - Norsman

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Connecting ACA Routes / UGRR to TransAm
« on: April 16, 2014, 03:15:38 pm »
As part of a cross USA trip next year I plan to use both the UGRR and the TransAm to get to the West Coast. I plan to go up the UGRR to at least the Shiloh National Military Park.  I can then continue on to Cave-in-Rock to connect with the TransAm but I can also set off in a northwest direction and connect to the TransAm south of Mark Twain National Forest. The latter route cuts off a fair amount of distance and a lot of elevation.  The main drawback may be that it also cuts off some nice areas to cycle through but I am not sure if that is the case.

The most direct route NW goes through Jackson and over the Caruthersville Bridge but I think this crossing of the Mississippi might be banned to cyclists.  A bit further north is the Dorena-Hickman Ferry which I believe runs everyday assuming the river is not in flood. Any suggestions about routes through this area would be greatly appreciated.

Routes / Re: Tenting on the Pacific Coast Route
« on: April 04, 2014, 01:15:07 pm »
You should have no problems finding state or county parks open at that time.  Many of them have hiker-biker sites and even if they don't you should be able to find fellow cyclists that you can share a regular site with to defray costs.  I think it is only in California that they have closed some of the sites and even there I think most of the closures are in Southern California.  But again you should be able to find someone to share a site with.  September/October is a very busy time for cyclists on the coast. 

Use the following links to the state parks to check on availability.  Remember there are also many county parks available as well.  I stayed in some great county parks when I cycled the coast.  There are even a few commercial sites, including KOAs, that offer hiker/biker sites.

For the Oregon part get the Oregon Coast Bike Route map (see link below).  It is a great help for both planning the route and checking on campgrounds.

The climb up Duffy Lake Road from Lillooet Lake is quite steep - I think over a 1000 metres of elevation gain in about 15km of riding.  Some sections have a 13% grade.  There are no sections approaching anywhere that steepness with the Fraser Canyon route.  Both routes have some great scenery but I still think the canyon route has more to offer in both scenery and facilities.

There are lots of bike shops in the Vancouver area right out to Chilliwack.  After that it is a bit more difficult.  The main bike shop in Hope closed a few years ago but the bike mechanic is still in town.  If you need something here just ask around.  North of Hope it is pretty sparse until you get to 100 Mile House which has a store.  After that I would assume you could get work done in Quesnel, Williams Lake and Prince George. After Prince George offerings are sparse.  I believe there is a store in Smithers but after that you probably won't find anything until you get into the Yukon.

I assume that Google maps routes you on the Coquihalla because of the tunnels between Yale and Boston Bar.  There is no other reason that I can think of.  There are seven tunnels through that section but only two of them are long enough to cause any concerns and those two have warning lights you can turn on.  I live in the area and would definitely choose the canyon route over the Coquihalla.  It is shorter by about 40km and, I think, much more scenic. According to Ride with GPS the canyon route to Spences Bridge has about 400m more of elevation gain but that is likely to be neutralized by a nice tail wind.  Any time I have ridden in the Fraser Canyon or along the Thompson River there have been strong west winds blowing. The same winds exist on the first part of the Coquihalla but are not as strong and not as long lasting.

If you decide to use the Coquihalla there are a couple of options you can consider.  First the Othello Tunnels trail near Hope.  This allows you to bypass a big climb out of Hope.  This is a decent rail trail but can be a little rough in a few spots and has a couple of gates that cause delays.  I would still use it because the views are fabulous and the elevation saved is significant. Check at the tourist office in Hope to make sure it is open.  There have been some rock slides the last couple of years so make sure you can get through before you go.  The second detour is the Coldwater Road at Exit 256 at the north side of  Larson Hill about 35km south of Merritt. This allows you to use a much quieter and much lower back route into Merritt.

Routes / Re: Need help mapping out DETAIL Route. San Juans to San Fran
« on: March 09, 2014, 01:54:40 pm »
I would take the ferry to Sydney and use the very nice Lochside Trail to get into downtown Victoria. All of this is a very easy ride. Victoria has some very nice trails if you want to stay around for a few days.  Next take the ferry to Port Angeles and onto Hwy 101. There may be some parts of the ODT that you can use to get to Crescent Lake and Hwy 101 but I have never ridden it so I can't tell you whether or not it works in this area.  Stay on 101 to Aberdeen and then choose either the quick route to Raymond via 101 or the more scenic route via 105. South of Raymond you can again use 101 to get you to Astoria.  You have a couple of options on this route but 101 is probably as good as any.  You don't really need any books or special maps for this whole section of the route.

The bridge across to Astoria can be a challenge but is not as difficult as people say.  Just take your time and ride when traffic gets lighter.  You don't really need to buy any special books or maps for Oregon either.  The very good Oregon Coast Bike Route Map is free and is all you will need. Go to the following site Click on the link to order your hard copy.  Or you could probably get the map at a tourist info center in Astoria.

Further down the coast the Coos Bay Bridge can be a bit of a problem but a local man has posted an alternate route you may want to look at. Check the following link.

For the California part of my trip down the coast I used the ACA maps and they were excellent.

General Discussion / Re: Best routes for newbies?
« on: February 17, 2014, 12:42:22 am »
I also agree that the Pacific Coast route is the best choice for a newbie.  If you go in September or October you will also miss the heavy summer traffic. Depending on how much time you have I would do at least all of Oregon and California down to Santa Barbara.

Routes / Re: Cross Canada Tour - looking for route advice
« on: January 17, 2014, 11:51:00 pm »
Cycling in Manitoba is terrible all around but if you take SK 13/MB 2 from Weyburn SK to Winnipeg, It would probably be one of the better routes with nice small towns . Many of Manitoba's highways have no shoulders, so get a good mirror and watch out for trucks.
I agree with most of the info in this post but on my cross Canada ride I found SK 13/MB 2 awful to ride.  The road surfaces were poor, the shoulders, in particular in Manitoba, non-existent or inadequate, and, to top it all off, there was a multitude of trucks on the highways.  I thought that if I was going to do it again I would look at going down to SK 13 at Gull Lake and then down to SK 18 before I got to Weyburn.  I also looked at using the TCH to Regina and then using SK 48 to head southeast. Through most of Manitoba I would use either MB 3 or 23. If I used either or these routes I would plan on bypassing Winnipeg and perhaps get back on the TCH near Ste. Anne or Richer. Unfortunately I only know these roads from what I can see on Google maps.  Perhaps someone else can comment on whether or not these are better routes.

General Discussion / Re: Olympic Discovery Trail
« on: January 14, 2014, 11:50:59 pm »
Thank you all for the up-to-date info.  It seems like a trail very much worth doing.  From my reading of the maps and posts the only area that looks suspect to me is getting from Port Townsend to and around the southern part of Discovery Bay.  Is that accurate? If so what route works best?  I have a fair amount of experience riding along busy highways so I am not afraid of them but I would prefer minimizing the time spent on highways without decent shoulders.

General Discussion / Olympic Discovery Trail
« on: January 13, 2014, 12:05:43 am »
I hope to use this trail as part of my route from Port Townsend to Cape Flattery. Unfortunately most of the information on the website ( appears to be several years old. Is it worthwhile trying to follow the trail or is it just better to stick to Hwy 101 and 112? My biggest concerns are whether or not the trail is properly marked and the route is paved or a has reasonably hard surface.  I will be riding a fully loaded touring bike so I am not interested in loose gravel surfaces. Thanks for any help.

Routes / Re: Jasper, Golden, Kamloops loop
« on: January 05, 2014, 01:19:39 am »
I did this route starting in Kamloops in 2011. Even with crappy weather for virtually the whole trip it was great.  The Icefield Parkway is fabulous. Even the route along the Trans Canada Highway in this area is beautiful.  I particularly love the stretch alongside Shuswap Lake. You may run into some headwinds riding towards Kamloops but overall your route should be wind neutral or better. I think your decision to ride this route clockwise is the right one.

The TCH has decent shoulders except for the short bridges where you have to pick your time and ride quickly. The trickiest part of the TCH is getting through the snowsheds/tunnels around Rogers Pass.  I made it through or around them without too many problems but they can be a bit intimidating. The Parkway road has decent shoulders but quite a few cracks in the surface. So get used to little speed bumps.  But the view makes it all worthwhile.  Highway 5 also has decent shoulders. There is a fair amount of truck traffic on Hwy 5 but it is not a huge issue.  Hwy 5 and Hwy 16 to Jasper is fairly easy cycling.

Check out my journal of the ride for more detailed info.

Contact me through that site or this one if you have any other questions.

General Discussion / Re: Advice or Feedback for Pacific Highway Cycle 2014
« on: November 08, 2013, 02:27:58 am »
Maybe I was lucky but my trip across the Astoria Bridge was much nicer than I thought it would be. The first part is flat, with not much of a shoulder, but not that difficult to ride safely as long as you are prepared to pull over when the traffic gets a little tight.  However I did not have to contend with high winds so that may change things. The last part is a bit more challenging. However traffic lights at the north end of the bridge seemed to create nice gaps in the traffic flow.  I simply stopped and took pictures when the traffic was heavier and then cycled like mad when the flow stopped. It took me a little longer to cross but it was much less stressful.

A much more stressful bridge to ride on this route is the bridge over Coos Bay further south in Oregon.  It is steep, long and windy.  And the locals do not seem to appreciate cyclists holding them up.  A much better idea is offered by Steve Greene, who lives north of the bridge. He has posted an article on the CGOAB site that shows how to bypass this bridge and the towns of North Bend and Coos Bay.

I would recommend using his route.  Both the book and the ACA maps have you going over the bridge and then taking the Seven Devils Road Scenic Route to eventually link back up with Hwy 101. The bridge was just scary and the route was quite steep in parts and definitely not scenic unless you like logging operations.

I agree with the others to not take the ACA route through Washington.  If the book you are planning on getting is "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" by Kirkendall and Spring they have two better routes - on either side of the Olympic Peninsula. Oregon puts out a pretty good pamphlet on cycling their coast which I used and found very useful.  For California I used ACA Pacific Coast route maps. I think they were better than the book for that state.

As for starting in Vancouver it really depends on whether or not you come into the city.  If you fly into the airport you will actually land in Richmond and can start heading south immediately. The most direct route will entail loading your bike on a bus to get through the George Massey tunnel.

If you decide to spend some time in Vancouver then I think you can't do better than Stanley Park as a starting point for your trip. If you have the time, a ride around the Park along the seawall would be a great way to start a tour of the west coast. Even if you decide not to do the full tour around the park the seawall bike path connects to routes to get you started south. There has been a great deal of work done in Vancouver over the last 4-5 years so it is now much easier and safer to get out of the downtown area. I doubt that either the book or ACA maps are fully updated on the newest routes in the city.

The following link shows most of the bike routes for the greater Vancouver area.

This link gets you info on cycling in Oregon.  Use the link to order a hard copy of the Oregon Coast Bike Route.

Routes / Re: Pacific coast
« on: October 01, 2013, 10:41:13 am »
I agree that the California section of the ride is more of a problem than Oregon. However I used the ACA maps and found them to be excellent. You are still going to have some issues but again this a a route that many cyclists have traveled safely.  They are going at the best time possible. The summer rush is over and generally speaking the weather should be pretty good. Tell them to check the California State parks website to make sure campgrounds they plan to go to are open. It is my understanding that some them close at the end of September.

Routes / Re: How do I get a copy Cycling British Columbia? Please help.
« on: September 30, 2013, 10:34:00 pm »
Chapters/Indigo bookstores appear to have some copies at $18.20.  But they say it will take 3 to 5 weeks to ship.  That seems like a long time to wait for a book.  If you check the following link you can also check on supplies in individual stores. There are stores in Vancouver and Victoria that have 1 or 2 copies each. If you know anyone in either of these cities perhaps you can get a copy a little earlier.

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