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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: Great Parks Questions
« on: November 27, 2011, 11:01:18 pm »
A) The Icefields Parkway is open year-round - but there are often winter closures.
My best guesstimate is May 15th for the earliest departure.
Bear in mind that the limiting factor may well be lodging opening dates.

B) It is possible to do the route without camping.
The are fabulous hostels the lenght of the Canadian Parks -
but they are partially closed in winter/spring and may have full closures.
Check Hosteling Alberta's website.  Many are primitive - but wonderful.
Lodges midway along the parkway will not be open in the off seasons.

C) Remember, VIA Rail is struggling.
The train to Jasper only runs three days per week.
Make sure to check the specific date for availability.
The Jasper train station is very bike friendly.  Bike shops nearby.
Also - the hostel for Jasper is way out of town.
Many town residents offer inexpensive home lodging.
Check with the Parks Visitor Centre.

D) From Whitefish - you can take Amtrak back to Seattle/Vancouver.

Routes / Re: Milwaukee, WI to Jasper NP
« on: November 25, 2011, 03:32:33 pm »
Lindsey -

I live in Miles City on the Yellowstone River -
I've also toured oodles of miles in the West.
You know - the southern option for the L&C ain't that great.
The problem is that the old highway has been severed in lots of places.
What that means is that you have to ride on I-90 in numerous places - yuch.
Other places the road is pretty close to the interstate or the mainline RR tracks.

If you want to smell the roses in eastern Montana - take the norther option.
From Williston continue to Sidney, MT then hop on Hwy 200 all the way to Lewistown.
Fort Benton is really a great place on the Upper Missouri.
Great Falls has miles of riverfront paved trails.

From Great Falls it's a pretty straight shot to Missoula on Hwy 200.
Or you can take the Recreation Road along the Missouri to Wolf Creek -
Then zig back to Hwy 200 via Old Hwy 434.

Make sure to take in Fort Union at the mouth of the Yellowstone near Williston.


Connecting ACA Routes / Re: Connecting Transam and L&C
« on: November 20, 2011, 11:34:03 pm »
If you start on the Northern Tier - remember not to start too early.
The North Cascades Highway can be closed well into May.
And Going to the Sun Road in Glacier rarely opens before mid June.
Thus, Memorial Day is about as early as you would want to start.

That said - your proposed route in the Western U.S. is really the best.
There are a couplr of options connecting Glacier to Yellowstone.
I suggest US 89 on the east side of the Rockies rather than the AC route to the west.
Why? Views, lower traffic, plus you definitely want to ride Going to the Sun Road.
US 89 thru Great Falls (nice Riverfront Trail) is sweet.
There is a back road into Livingston north of the Yellowstone River.
Plus the Eastside Road south of Livingston is way, way better than US 89.

From Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone N.P. - take the East Entrance over Sylvan Pass.
Then follow US 14/16/20 to Cody - all services.  Stay on US 14/16/20 to Greybull.
From Greybull you can either take US 14 over the Bighorns to Sheridan -
Or you can go via Tensleep and take US 16 over the mountains to Buffalo.
Whichever way you go you should continue on US 14/16 via Clearmont to Gillette.

The Bighorns have the most beautiful wildflowers in the West.
Plan to stay on top - although it might be chilly.
Also plan for some killer climbs and white-knuckle descents.

From Gillette, take the back road (Wyo 51) to Moorcroft -
Then Take US 14 to Wyo 24 to Devil's Tower.
Stay on Wyo 24 becoming SD 34 to Belle Fourche.
Then take the back road to Spearfish and follow Spearfish Canyon into the Black Hills.

You should consider riding part of the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills -
Nice, plus the highways have a lot of cars.
Rapid City is busy - but you'll probably want to be on SD 44 to the Badlands.
The western extension of the Badlands Loop is unpaved hardpack.
(I really, really wouldn't ride I-90 from Rapid - bleah!)

From Interior, continue on SD 44 thru Wamblee to White River (camping at fairgrounds).
There are a number of ways to cut down into northern Nebraska.
Neb 12 is a really fine ride along the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers.
And that takes you to Sioux City - - - Sue.  (Which is on the L&C)

Routes / Re: Cross Country Dream
« on: November 07, 2011, 08:37:46 am »
Leaving the last week of June would be VERY hot for the route above.
Doable - but difficult and exhausting.  Water - always an issue on the WX -
would be even more of a consideration.

Here's the dope - and I have cycled extensively in every Western state -
There is spectacular riding all over the place in the West.
Why not choose a route where the weather is ideal for riding?
It makes the difference between a tough slog and a dance in the park.

If I were starting out in late June on the West coast -
I would start with the Northern Tier to Glacier National Park -
then head south on US 89 to Yellowstone.

From Yellowstone you could take the TransAm to Colorado -
Then head east via Rocky Mountain N.P.
And an almost 12000 ft crossing of the Continental Divide -
Or east via Devils Tower and the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota.

Crossing the Great Plains in August is not for the light-hearted.
It can be hot anywhere - but less so the further north you are.
The average Aug high for Ness City, KS is 93.
For Broken Bow, NE - 87, for Mobridge, SD - 85.

Plus, doing the Black Hills breaks up the long stretch of the plains.

Routes / Re: Suitability mapping?
« on: November 06, 2011, 05:24:29 pm »
John -

Looks like we plan our tours very similarly.
I agree with all you have said.

What do you do with state DOTs like Oklahoma's?
If they would do anything when they were flush with cash -
What are they going to do, now that they are broke?

I have never been one to sing, "Kumbayah".
Our legal system is adversarial - and the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
(That has a multi-modal application - cars as well as bikes.)

You have to find a project under TEA-21 or other federal funding -
Where Oklahoma has failed to include bicycle planning.
Then you sue - and hold up future funding until it is corrected.
This is especially ideal in multi-stage widening projects.
If there's a 30-mile project over 5 years -
And they have no bike/ped component in the first stage -
Then hold up later stages until they do.

Of course, it will cost in time and moolah.
And they will hate you.


For example -
For the past 25 years Yellowstone N.P. has done practically nothing for cyclists.
Now, they even hand out a warning card that says cycling on Yellowstone's narrow roads is dangerous.
When asked why hey haven't done anything - they point to environmental limitations.
But they have paved over parking lots with pull-thru spaces for RVs.
And they built a friggin' cloverleaf at Old Faithful.
Go figure.

Routes / Re: Suitability mapping?
« on: November 06, 2011, 09:48:59 am »
In the meantime - - -

Here's the Oklahoma AADT page.
AADT is "Average Annual Daily Traffic" -
It's one of the key benchmarks for good cycling roads.

Nearly every state has a statewide AADT map.
Many states have county road info, too.
Of course, this doesn't say anything about shoulders.

Rough AADT rule of thumb:
Below 500  - Magical
500-1000 - Good
1000-2000 - O.K.
2000-4000 - Iffy, shoulder very useful
Over 4000 - Risky without shoulder
(An experienced cyclist can do short stretches of 4000+ - - but it ain't fun.)

Routes / Re: Suitability mapping?
« on: November 06, 2011, 09:42:59 am »
JN -

I'm sure Oklahoma has found some way to indicate they they are working "hard" to increase multi-modality.
Perhaps they are stenciling "Watch for Cyclists" on Okla DOT truck tailgates.

Here's the info on the Okla Bike/Ped Program:

Larry Willis
Bicycle/Pedestrian Program Coordinator

 phone: 405-522-4085
 fax: 405-522-7612
Web Site

 Project Management Division
 Oklahoma Department of Transportation
 200 NE 21st St
 Oklahoma City, OK   73105-3299

Ask him if he's full-time.
If there is a state bike map published.
("In preparation" can last a hundred years.)
And what actions have been taken to increase cycling opportunities in Okla.

Routes / Re: Suitability mapping?
« on: November 05, 2011, 11:12:54 pm »
The mapping varies considerable by state.
Federal highway legislation for the past 20 years has required multi-modal planning.
That means that states have included bicycle/pedestrian use in their DOTs.
(Sometimes that is 10% a a single person's job description - FWIW)

The results reflect as much.
Oregon's bike map is super - has been since well before the federal mandate.
Arizona's is iffy - their criteria for traffic volume is too high.
Also, states often only consider state highways -
when county roads are nearby which are far preferable.

Caveat emptor.
(Except that the maps are usually free)

Routes / Re: Cross Country Dream
« on: November 01, 2011, 11:41:52 pm »
Lewis & Clark. Lewis & Clark.
Louis was the guy who lost his head over some cake.

Why restrict yourselves to ACA routes?
(Although, I grant you this is an ACA forum.)
The advantages of ACA routes are their excellent maps and meeting other riders.
But since you are riding with others, you won't be alone.

If you are riding west to east it all depends on when you are leaving.
A departure in May or early June should be from central Calif - probably the Western Express.
June is the best month to start from the Trans Am in Oregon. (Or the L&C along the Columbia)
If you are leaving as late as July you should consider the Northern Tier.

I've ridden across all of the Great Plains states.
You really don't need a lot of info. 
Traffic is generally light on back roads.
Most county seat towns permit camping in parks.
They all have libraries, small motels, cafes.

I prefer South Dakota and Nebraska to Kansas and North Dakota.
Why? Far more interesting terrain.
Nebraska has the Sandhills along Hwy 92 and Hwy 2.
South Dakota has the Black Hills and Badlands.

Check out some of the journals at Crazyguy.
The flats of west Kansas and North Dakota can be endless.
Wherever you are - you will get wind.  That's a given.

The further north you are in the Midwest - the cooler it will be in mid-summer.
Rough line - - Peoria to Ft. Wayne to Akron. 
Missouri and Kentucky are just plain hot amd muggy.

Take a look at some of the Penna DOT bike routes.
They have strip maps with them - maybe the northern Penna route?
11 weeks should allow you plenty of time - plenty.

Don't hurry.

Routes / Re: Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?
« on: October 25, 2011, 07:47:13 pm »
Yes, you should avoid US 34 in Iowa - there is no need to take it.
There are sections with new highway and old highway - but they are only segments.
Otherwise, you are forced out on a busy highway - usually with little to no shoulder.

From Plattsmouth, you can take mostly county roads to Des Moines:
Via Henderson, Griswold, (use caution on Hwy 92) Greenfield, and Winterset.
(There's a nice paved rail trail from Cumming into Des Moines.)

From Des Moines, you can take back roads to Iowa City:
Via Monroe, Lynnville, Montezuma, and Millersburg.

Iowa City to Davenport is a little trickier - more traffic as you head east:
Little longer - via West Branch, Tipton, Maysville Rd, 110th, to Telegraph.


Iowa is very bike friendly in many ways - trails, shops, welcome - -
But its roads are not that bike friendly because there are so few shoulders.
And because most county roads are gravel - paved through roads tend to be collectors.
Still, Iowa drivers are some of the most courteous - esp. on count roads.
State, county, and town parks abound with inexpensive camping.
And the county seats often have lovely B&Bs in old victorian houses.

Routes / Re: Boulder, CO to New York City. Northern route suggestions?
« on: October 24, 2011, 10:24:58 pm »
Karin -

Congrats to you and your work for others.

Yes, you can take a more northerly route - you just have to do more homework.
State Dept of Transportation website usually have traffic volume maps -
These give you a good idea about which roads are busier or quieter.
AADT - Average Annual Daily Traffic

Rough rule of thumb for me:
Under 500 - Serene
500 to 1000 - Nice
1000 to 2000 - OK but more caution used
2000 to 4000 - Getting busy, shoulder useful
Over 4000 - Really busy, shoulder essential

If you take COLO 52 east from Boulder almost to Wiggins -
You can pick up Avenue Q (paved) to Fort Morgan rather then the I-76 service road.
From there, US 6 makes for a nice ride all the way to Lincoln (bike friendly town)
[There are more remote and scenic routes - a little longer, using more back roads]

There is a spectacular, new bike/ped bridge across the Missouri in Omaha
But getting into Omaha can be a hassle.
An easier crossing is at Plattsmouth - narrow, but refurbished surface, and 25mph.

Iowa does not have many roads with shoulders.
They have a great cycling map which shows traffic on county roads.
You can take in the Bridges of Madison County and the college town of Iowa City.
[I will be glad to provide assistance]

The nicest bridge to cross the Mississippi is at Davenport/Rock Island - Centennial Bridge.
(Gotta use the north side sidewalk - south walk is blocked.)
Then you can ride 20 or so miles along a bike trail on the river.

More later.


Routes / Re: route over Susquehanna
« on: October 23, 2011, 08:23:28 pm »
Maryland really sucks when it comes to getting across bridges.

Bikes on I-95 and US 40 are banned.
But US 1 is really narrow and dicey.

Here are links to MDOT bike maps:

You can cross the Susquehanna just over the Penna line.

Routes / Re: Trans America/Western Express - Best time to leave VA
« on: October 23, 2011, 08:13:27 pm »
You do realize that May/June is the peak of the rainy season in the central U.S.?
Also, you would have to pedal real slowly to take three months on the TA/WX.
I suspect it will take more like 10 weeks. (6 days x 65 mi - with one day off per week)
Trust me, you will be clipping the miles off in Kansas.

I've hit some pretty cool snaps in the Appalachian Mountains in May.
April can be downright cold and wet.  Probably not snowy, but bone chilling wet.
A May 1 departure will get you to Calif by about July 15.
But you will still have to use caution in the Colorado Rockies in mid-late June.

If it were me, I wouldn't leave much before May 1.

General Discussion / Re: Banff to San Francisco
« on: October 20, 2011, 09:03:47 am »
PS -
April is really ideal in the American Southwest.
Have you thought about STARTING in San Francisco -
Riding down the coast and into the deserts - which are blooming then -
Then heading north in the valley regions of the Rockies?

General Discussion / Re: Banff to San Francisco
« on: October 20, 2011, 08:44:19 am »
Ditto to Valygrl - insane and unrealistic.
Not to be mean, but April is no time to be out in the Canadian & Northern Rockies -
Unless you are prepared for brutal winter conditions.

For the route you suggested - a 60-mile day is moderate, 80 is good, 100 is serious.

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