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Messages - Norsman

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1
Routes / Re: Great Parks North - Canadian Camping
« on: February 09, 2015, 04:16:34 am »
I did a loop that included the Icefield's Parkway in the middle of summer and only ran into camping issues at Lake Louise.  When told that the campground was full I asked if I could check if other cyclists wished to share a site and was given the OK.  The ranger even suggested where I was likely to find other cyclists. Within 10 minutes I was setting up my tent.

If I was to choose between your two dates I would take the earlier one.  Just less likely to snow. Just be aware that the Labour Day weekend (Sept. 4 to 7) tends to be very busy.  Thursday night, all day Friday and all day Monday can be horrifically busy on the roads; at least in Canada.  Probably another reason to take the earlier date.

2
Routes / Re: Crossing into Canada?
« on: December 28, 2014, 11:00:52 pm »
I strongly agree with the recommendation to go to Velorution in SSM.  As to the route east, I would stay off the Trans Canada Highway (TCH) as much as possible. Check with the Velorution people to figure out if their route works for you.  At the very least take a non-TCH route out of SSM.  If you are forced to go on the TCH get off at Massey and use  Lee Valley Road to Espanola. When I did a cross Canada ride I went down to Manitoulin Island and the Bruce Peninsula before I headed east.  That was much nicer than my TCH ride around Lake Superior.  I used the Waterfront Trail for much of my ride thru southern Ontario.  But sections of it were a bit of a pain, bumpy and on the non-water side of the road.  When that happened I used the quiet highways along the shore to get me to Quebec.  Hwys 2 and 33 if I remember correctly.

The Route Verte routes in Quebec are very good. I used the excellent Petit Temis bike path to get me from Riviere-du-Loup to New Brunswick.  If you want to go that far east it connects very nicely with upstate Maine. Otherwise go on their website and use the Maps section.  Use the From and To bike symbols in the top left corner to plan a good bike route.

3
Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Route - Florida
« on: November 21, 2014, 04:22:29 pm »
I had the same thing happen to me at one of their listed sites in Quebec a few years ago. Now I always check by website, email or phone. I also always contact allstays if I find a mistake. They have fixed all I have sent to them.

4
Routes / Re: Atlantic Coast Route - Florida
« on: October 13, 2014, 04:43:41 am »
I am planning to cycle this same route next spring.  I got a lot of my information from this site:  (http://www.allstays.com).

You can purchase their Pro version but it is very expensive.  I used the free version and was able to create a fairly long list of campgrounds along the Atlantic Coast. Simply go to their site, click on Florida under Campgrounds, then the Florida Campgrounds Map near the top left and on the next page whatever Map Filters fit (I used Tents Allowed) 

It is quite useful and often includes a Website link to the campgrounds. One caution. Double check their map locations.  I found several mistakes.

5
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: UGRR to TransAm
« on: July 28, 2014, 08:00:15 pm »
Thanks for the update.  I have been following your blog, you seem to be doing really well.  I noticed that you used Hwy 60 for a good portion of your ride through Missouri.  I will be doing the same but maybe going north from Dexter through Lake Wappapello State Park before joining Hwy 60 southeast of Van Buren.  After that I will check it on a daily basis depending on traffic and wind.  I may head up to the TransAm route a little earlier than you did just to get to a less busy road.

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Connecting ACA Routes / Re: UGRR to TransAm
« on: July 07, 2014, 04:10:45 am »
Great to hear about Hwy 45.  I was feeling bad about using a busy hwy to get through this area but now I feel like a won a cycling lottery.  Thanks for the info.  By the way are you blogging your ride?  If so send me a link.

7
Connecting ACA Routes / Re: UGRR to TransAm
« on: July 05, 2014, 08:18:16 pm »
I will be leaving the UGRR at the Shiloh battle site.  From there I will go past Jackson and Dyersburg before taking the same ferry as you across the Mississippi. I would have crossed the Mississippi earlier, at the quite nice bridge on the I-115 near Dyersburg, but unfortunately cycling appears to be banned on that crossing.

Once off the ferry  I plan to weave my way to Van Buren and take US-60 west before taking a connecting road to arrive at the TransAm route just east of Alley Spring State Park.

8
Routes / Re: Pacific Coast: Vancouver or Bellingham?
« on: April 30, 2014, 09:30:37 pm »
Another option would be to fly to Bellingham and take a shuttle bus to Vancouver directly from the airport.  Check the following link. http://www.quickcoach.com
It costs about $30. You would probably have to contact them to ask about transporting a bike.

9
Routes / Re: Pacific Coast: Vancouver or Bellingham?
« on: April 28, 2014, 10:03:53 pm »

One note: the ferry from Victoria (Black Ball/MV Coho) lands at Port Angeles, not Townsend. It's a day ride between the two, much of it on the Olympic Discovery Trail.
Oops! Now corrected.

10
Routes / Re: Pacific Coast: Vancouver or Bellingham?
« on: April 28, 2014, 09:00:30 pm »
I don't think there is any particular need to start the ride in Vancouver, although it is a great city and quite bike friendly.  When I did my Pacific Coast ride in 2009 I started at the Canada/US border crossing at Sumas, just north of Bellingham, and didn't in any way feel I had cheated.  If you do fly into Bellingham and feel that you have to start your ride in Canada you can do that one of three different ways. 1. Ride up to any of the four crossings north of Bellingham, cross the border and turn around and head south. 2. Ride to the border at Blaine, continue on to Tsawwassen, catch the ferry to Swartz Bay and take the very nice bike route, the Lochside Trail, to downtown Victoria where you can take a ferry across to Port Angeles and start the ride south. 3. Bike SW to Anacortes and catch a ferry to Sidney on Vancouver Island and then take the Lochside Trail to Victoria.

11
Connecting ACA Routes / UGRR to TransAm
« on: April 16, 2014, 06:15:38 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.

12
Routes / Re: Tenting on the Pacific Coast Route
« on: April 04, 2014, 04:15:07 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.

http://www.parks.wa.gov/
http://www.oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=visit.dsp_find
http://www.parks.ca.gov/
http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/Pages/maps.aspx#ODOT_Maps

13
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.

14
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.

15
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.

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