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Messages - jamawani

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Routes / Re: Lewis & Clark
« on: December 20, 2011, 02:45:01 am »
John -

From Sydney, MT - MT 23 becomes ND 68.
The first dirt segment begins when ND 68 turns north.
I would advise you to check with TRNP staff to see
if it is still legit to use this gate.
NPS is increasingly iffy with such things.

Routes / Re: Lewis & Clark
« on: December 19, 2011, 11:49:25 pm »
The "backdoor" of Theodore Roosevelt N.P. (North Unit) is a great option if you are willing to do 10 miles of dirt roads.  (From ND 68 eastbound stay straight onto county road 7 miles; turn right/south 4 miles on paved county road; then left 3 miles with zigs to park) It's easier to find heading east to west than vice versa.  Also the gate is usually locked - which means lifting your bike over - usually easier to remove panniers, first.  Most importantly, you better have a map and know your directions - esp. in hot or cold weather.

Routes / Re: Lewis & Clark
« on: December 16, 2011, 07:23:51 pm »
And a 2010 North Dakota traffic count map.

Routes / Re: Lewis & Clark
« on: December 16, 2011, 07:02:41 pm »
There is a MAJOR oil and gas play going on in the Williston Basin based on reserves in the Bakken geologic formation.  Gophers driving stuff to camps in pick-ups are making $25 an hour.  Skilled workers are making $50 an hour and more.  Big money everywhere - drugs, hookers, you name it.  Motels easily go for $200 a night - if you can find one.  Campgrounds are filled with semi-permanent workers.  Roads are clogged with trucks in a hurry to get to various job sites. Not ideal.

Also, Minot got hit bad by flooding last year and lacks housing, some businesses, and overall services.

The boom is centered in Williston - but stretches over much of western North Dakota and easternmost Montana.  People are commuting from as far away as Bismarck and sleeping in man camps.  (The name says it all.)

I've always disagreed with the Northern Tier route in North Dakota anyway.  It should have been vis Hwy 200 through the Knife River Indian Villages and Mandan Villages historic sites - crossing the Missouri at Washburn.  There will be some traffic on Hwy 200 related to the energy boom - just not as much as around Williston.  The only other alternative (Not using I-94) is way south on US 12 crossing th Missouri at Mobridge, SD.

Here's a map of drilling activity:

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country with a 13 year old boy
« on: December 05, 2011, 09:25:21 am »
I looked at your website pic.
I see you are both redheads - so am I.
That means extra precautions - clothing and sunscreen.

Can you do the trip unsupported? Of course.
Should you consider the ST?  Probably not.
The Western Express also has some long, remote stretches.

I'm guessing you have early June to late August.
12 weeks max. Biking and travel time.
60 miles per day - starting more slowly.
Plus one day off per week - for fun or to chill.
That adds up to about 4200 miles.
So you could do the traditional TransAm.

The advantages of the TransAm are excellent maps and meeting others.
I would suggest an east to west ride starting in early June.
Still using mostly Adventure Cycling routes -
You could do a Combo Northern Tier & TransAm -
Maybe cutting across Iowa and Nebraska to the Grand Tetons.

I think camping would be an important part of the fun.
But you should allow yourself funds for motels, as needed.
You meet a lot more people camping -
Plus the grandmas and grampas in RVs -
Will take good care of you.

Have fun! - - J

Routes / Re: Late start to ST
« on: December 04, 2011, 06:46:02 pm »
Check out info at the Western Regional Climate Center:

The Mojave is 10 or more degrees cooler than the Imperial Valley.
The Colorado Plateau is 20 or more degrees cooler than the Sonoran.

Click on the states and compare Barstow with Imperial.
(Yes, Needles is almost as hot as Yuma or Blythe.)
But once you climb - Kingman is 10+ degrees cooler than Salome -
And Flagstaff is 20+ cooler than Phoenix.

If you are planning on motelling it mostly, then is is relatively easy to do your own route.
Once you are out of the desert Southwest, most county seats have a motel in Kansas, Missouri, etc.

PS - This guy did the Southern Tier with his son.
Same dates - - same timeframe.
He didn't drop dead - but it was 110 in the desert -
And he got really sick towards the end.

Routes / Re: Late start to ST
« on: December 04, 2011, 12:25:55 pm »
PS - Camping or motels?

If you motel it, you carry less weight -
But motels are not conveniently located in remote areas.

Routes / Re: Late start to ST
« on: December 04, 2011, 11:39:18 am »
I don't think it is a great idea.
I've ridden the Southern Tier in late winter.
I wouldn't want to consider it in mid summer.

Since it's your first post there's not much to go on.
Here's what I am guessing:
You want to ride cross-country - -
But you only have 45 days to do it.
And it has to be in the May 20 to July 4 window.
Plus you are not familiar with desert Southwest conditions.

Now, that is not an ideal combination if you step back.
Yes, you could probably get through it.
But is that what you want - simply to get through it?

Heading west to east on the ST -
You are in the Imperial and Sonoran Deserts by Day 2.
Plus June is the hottest month in much of the Southwest.
Then you add highest temps and humidities of the Southeast.
It borders on the danerous - plus you leave yourself no leeway.

I agree with my colleague that the TransAm/Western Express combo is better.
A fast westbound trip starting in Yorktown would be in good weather, mostly.
YMMV - weather normals are long-term averages.
But the TA/WE is 3800 miles vs the ST at 3000. (Let's say 43 days.)
That's the difference between 70 miles/day and 88 miles/day.
(Frankly, 70 mpd on the ST in summer will be pushing it.)

I see a number of possible options.
First, you could add a week and do the TA/WE fast, but reasonably.
Second, you could map your own more direct route - say LAX to DC.
That would be perhaps only 3200 miles.
(See Tzuo Han Law's route -

I helped him with his route - he got up to 100 miles per day.
It includes an easy start with gradual climbs out of Ventura.
Then involves stretches of Historic Route 66 and the Grand Canyon.
You pick up the TransAm in Colorado and stay on it until SW Virginia.
Then take the Blue Ridge Parkway / Skyline Drive towards DC.

But the Southern Tier for those dates?
There's better riding out there.

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.)

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