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Messages - jamawani

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31
Routes / Re: Getting Across South Dakota
« on: February 20, 2017, 03:14:43 am »
PS - I was looking at your other posts. The Sawtooths will be cold. And snowed in.
I've biked across Idaho a number of times via the Sawtooths.
Here is one route from Ontario, OR to Teton Pass.

https://ridewithgps.com/users/132644/routes

The stretch on ID 55 is narrow and busy - esp. on weekends.
The little burg of Howe - which used to have cafes and a camping area - burned down a few years back.
From Howe, you can swing thru Dubois and Island Park if you want to head straight to Yellowstone. But.

Here is the WY DOT bike map of Wyoming -
http://www.dot.state.wy.us/files/live/sites/wydot/files/shared/Public%20Affairs/Maps/BikeMap_2013.pdf

The Northern Route from Yellowstone thru Cody and Buffalo to Devils Tower is quite nice.
(Except that I would take Nowood Road directly from Manderson to Tensleep.)
Wildflowers in the Bighorns will probably peak in late June rather than mid June this year.

32
Routes / Re: Getting Across South Dakota
« on: February 20, 2017, 02:59:36 am »
That suggests to me - a Wyoming boy - that you will be riding across the West from mid-May to mid-June.
You know we are having a kicker of a winter this year, right?
Since you mentioned ACA routes - I am almost certain Going to the Sun Road in Glacier will not be open yet.
Also, roads may be late opening in Yellowstone, too - - 200% of normal snow depth - - and normal is a lot.
Most services in Yellowstone do not open until after Memorial Day and may after mid-June.

Just sayin' - ya know?

Here is the SD DOT Traffic Count Map:
http://sddot.com/transportation/highways/traffic/docs/TrafficFlowMap.pdf
I've biked US 12, US 14, SD 34, and SD 44.

Do you want to dip into the Black Hills a bit from Spearfish? Spearfish Canyon is really sweet.

None of the roads in SD are terrible - traffic is generally light and there are pretty good shoulders on primary routes.
That said, US 14 has the most traffic and US 12 near Aberdeen is pretty darn busy.
But there are plenty of lightly-traveled highways to choose from.
There is a great combo of SD 34 and county roads from Pierre to Huron.
And the eastern counties do have some very empty, paved county roads.
And SD 44 is a straight shot south of I-90 that lets you visit Badlands N.P.

West of the Missouri, anything other than the county seat is often almost a ghost town.
I've biked on the rez in SD and I am a white boy - but things are definitely not good.
US 212 traverses the Cheyenne River Res., one of the poorest reservations in the U.S.
There is no excuse for Wounded Knee and much else - but a solo non-native cyclist assumes some risk.
I have seen horrible, fatal wrecks on the rez. I have seen wasted people driving.
I have always been treated well on the rez - but it is tough.

Hope that helps.

33
Routes / Re: Best/easiest route from the Pacific to Michigan
« on: February 19, 2017, 12:14:38 pm »
Two quick questions - -

1. How are you getting from Vermont out to the Pacific Coast?
Will you be driving all the way? Or flying and then renting a camper?
Obviously, if you drive - it will be more than 2 days getting started.

2. Are you planning to ride via the U.P and then down the L.P.?
If so then it would probably add a week to the 60 days I mentioned earlier.
There's the fast ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon.
But the SS Badger from Manitowoc to Ludington is so much nicer.
('Cause I prefer slow to fast.)

34
Routes / Re: Best/easiest route from the Pacific to Michigan
« on: February 18, 2017, 04:02:50 pm »
Denise -

Flesher Pass is a shorter and easier route than the ACA TransAm.
The ACA route is a bit more scenic - but everything in western Montana is scenic.
Also, you would run into lots more cyclists on the ACA - which has its benefits.

If you are going to Bozeman it may be a tough slog heading east.
Yes, the L&C southern options is available - but it has a lot of I-90 & service roads.

Bear in mind that by the time you reach Montana you and your son will have your cycling legs.
Starting with easier grades is prudent, but you will be surprised how quickly both of you get in synch.

<<<>>>

I mentioned the various Yakima options above.
Hwy 24 east of Vernita Bridge sux - major time.
There hasn't been a ferry at Hanford for 80 years - would would be perfect.
So you almost have to go via Richland & Pasco.

<<<>>>

The West is more than 1/3 of the distance but less than half, usually.
That would come out to about 23 or 24 days out of 56.
Not including 2 days to start and 2 days to end for 60 total.

If Washington is 8 days - 8 x 60 mi = 480 mi -
And Idaho is an easy 3 days - the climb is gradual.
Then that gives you 12 days to do Montana Wyoming.

I love Going to the Sun Road in Glacier NP - but in mid/late June -
With all the snow we have been having, it might still be closed.

Yellowstone does have lots of visitor - a bit less in June -
But is is awesome to cycle through if you use some planning.
And heading east out of Yellowstone to Cody is one of the finest rides there is.

Just some ideas to further confuse you.

Pic - Soda Butte Creek in Yellowstone

35
Routes / Re: Best/easiest route from the Pacific to Michigan
« on: February 18, 2017, 11:09:33 am »
Oh, and about those two route options east of Yakima? Actually three.

You can look at my journal from this past summer - I took the direct route on WA 24 to Othello.
Once you cross the Vernita Bridge it gets really hairy.
It is brutal - it is very remote - it is very exposed - it has no shoulder - and it has heavy, fast traffic.
Even with all my experience, I found it nerve-wracking.

The southerly dip thru the Yakima Valley has the most services and shade.
Yes, it is longer.

Another option that would save about 10 miles is to head east on WA 24 and southeast on WA 240.
There is a cafe/bar at the junction of WA 24/WA 241 - but nothing else.
Traffic drop on WA 24 after Moxie, but is moderate to moderate+ on WA 240 - but with shoulders.

If you were to stay in Yakima either at a motel/Airbnb/ or the state park - it would be two days to Palouse Falls.
If you were to take the WA 24 / WA 240 route (which is not terribly scenic on WA 240) you might aim for Richland

If you were to do it in 2 1/2 days - with lots of time for Palouse Falls -
You could take the WA 24/WA 241  route to Horn Rapids Park at the junction of WA 240 & WA 225.
Then Pasco Kahlotus Road and down Burr Canyon Road to Winddust campground on the Snake River - little hidaway.
Then up thru the spectacular Missoula Floods era Devils Canyon to Kahlotus.
The views will erase any thought of the climb.
Kahlotus is barely holding on - but you get get the absolute essentials - food/water.
But since you have a vehicle - you can stock up in Pasco.

One thing to remember -
Many of these tiny towns are really struggling.
If they charge more - remember that there is no delivery truck - they drive to Costco to pick up their own supplies.
Dropping a few bucks in the last remaining business is a nice way to offer support.

J

36
Routes / Re: Best/easiest route from the Pacific to Michigan
« on: February 18, 2017, 10:41:08 am »
Denise -

Thank you for your kinds words.
I have ridden the Missoula-Lincoln-Helena route a number of times.
Did it on my 1st x-c ride in 1987 - and did it again last sumer.
Journal on Crazyguyonabike - https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=tS&doc_id=17976&v=UU
Flesher Pass is a pretty easy crossing of the continental divide with low traffic.

Traffic mellows out a few iles east of Missoula and there is a shoulder.
The Blackfoot River is a "Blue Ribbon" trout stream - gorgeous mile after mile.
Nice cafe at the top of the climb at Potomac - and a good spot for a break.
You must include Ovando - general store, cafe, camping - magical.
There is a narrow stretch thru Blackfoot Canyon before Lincoln - camping/services.

There are two back ways into Helena from Silver City - Birdseye Road and Green Meadow Rd.
Birdseye is harder, but very scenic. Green Meadow is pretty level with more traffic.

Helena is a marvelous town -
There's camping out at the fairgrounds - a ways out - but if you have vehicle support, no big deal.
Last Chance Gulch downtown has amazing Western history.
The Algerian Temple, the Cathedral, great bike shops, restaurants, museums.

BTW - Here's a cycling map of Montana with summer traffic counts:
https://mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/docs/bike_map.pdf

Best - Jama

PS - June is the perfect time to cross eastern Washington and to see Palouse Falls roaring.
PPS - US 12 is a gentle, low-traffic ride across eastern Montana.

37
Routes / Re: How to get home. Anacortes to NJ
« on: February 13, 2017, 04:16:38 pm »
Take the Wash State Ferry out to the San Juan Islands - San Juan/Friday Harbor has a county park on the west side (sunset) but is the busiest. Lopez has a county and a state park and is laid bach - a small village with store and cafe.

From Anacortes there is scheduled airporter service to SeaTac - a bit expensive but easiest. You can also take public transit with a few changes down to SeaTac. The cheapest way is to take Transit to Everett and catch Amtrak all the way across - - if you have the time. You bike only costs something like $10 extra and they have bike boxes at the station. Empire Builder to Chicago then Lakeshore to NYC-Penn.

I caught Amtrak from Penn Station to Seattle after I finished an X-C last summer. Three days - but time to unwind.

38
Routes / Re: Best/easiest route from the Pacific to Michigan
« on: February 11, 2017, 10:35:21 pm »
Not knowing the physical shape of Denise or her 14 year old son, I'd suggest adding another couple weeks to this estimate.  Of course, if he's already a starting linebacker for his high school football team (some kids physically mature much younger than others), and if you're both in shape, 60 days might work.

"Direct" - meaning 3200 miles. 400 miles per week. 66 mi per day with 1 day off.
Having a support vehicle means you will be carrying minimal extra weight.
Should be no problem. But you should be prepared beforehand.

39
Routes / Re: Best/easiest route from the Pacific to Michigan
« on: February 11, 2017, 10:31:13 pm »
Denise -

Maybe way more than you want - but here goes.

Here are traffic count maps for:
Oregon -
http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TDATA/tsm/docs/Flow_Map_2015.pdf
Washington -
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/mapsdata/tools/trafficplanningtrends.htm

Possible initial segments:
US 30 - South side of Columbia - 77 mi; +3680 elevation
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/18958632
WA 4 - North side of Columbia - 80 mi; +3750 elevation
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/18960513
WA 8 - Willapa Hills - 78 mi; +2820 elevation
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/10737575
US 12 - Chehalis Valley backroads - 76 mi; +1000 elevation
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/10724974

Look at the elevation profiles - way different. The Columbia River routes have lots of ups and downs. The Willapa route has a single gradual climb. The Chehalis route is level.

Western Washington / Oregon

Oregon -
US 30 traffic volume is often 10,000 vehicles per day and 20,000 as you get close to Portland. For me that is insane. Yes, there is a wide shoulder and it is “technically” safe, but it sure isn’t pleasant. Plus a couple of moderate climbs.
The Historic Columbia Highway east of Portland is lovely and is used by many Portland cyclists, but it is narrow, with many steep ups and downs, and has a good deal of tourist car traffic.

Washington -
WA 4 west of Cathlamet is lovely with low traffic and near-perfect vistas of farms and rivers. The camping park at Skamokawa has the most stunning view of the Lower Columbia. There are some good climbs. Traffic picks up east of Cathlamet, but the views remain great.
WA 14 has heavy traffic in the Vancouver metro area and a good deal all the way through the Columbia Gorge. And it isn’t flat. East of Maryhill it gets pretty remote, arid, and breezy. I rode this on my first X-USA trip back in 1987. Lots more traffic now.
WA 8 has low traffic and a parallel bike trail from Pe Ell to Chehalis. There is a gradual climb to the summit of the Willapa Hills. Rainbow Falls Park has great camping.
US 12 west of I-5 is a busy 4-lane highway, but there are quiet, parallel back roads all the way. The is the easiest route from the coast with almost no elevation gain. Moderate scenery.
US 12 east of I-5 is a great route through the Cascades. The main highway has only moderate traffic and good shoulders, but there are excellent back road sections with almost no traffic. There are a couple of views of Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams and lots of views of snow-capped Mount Rainier.

Even though White Pass on US 12 is at 4500 ft., there is more overall climbing on the L&C route through the Columbia Gorge.

Eastern Washington / Oregon

WA 14 is O.K. Light traffic and you should have tailwinds, but pretty barren with the views behind you. You cross back into Oregon and hit US 730 with moderate traffic and some nice river views. US 12 from the river to Walla Walla is pretty busy, but with safe shoulders.

US 12 on the east side is one of the finest rides in Washington state. Big vistas, canyons, and the rushing Tieton River. Back roads thru the Naches Valley orchards - cherry season in June. Two options to the Tri-Cities - the Old Inland Empire Highway thru the Yakima Valley or WA 24 / WA 240 which is more direct, but pretty empty. Pasco-Kahlotus Road is an empty, paved, road through dry country. What the L&C route misses is the most spectacular scenery in southeast Washington - Palouse Falls - which should be huge in June. A fantabulous overnight.

<<<>>>

If you have a vehicle at Portland airport, I might suggest starting in Westport, Washington or at the Tokeland Hotel.
http://www.tokelandhotel.com/home.html

A suggested route across Washington:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/18965206


Photo - Willapa Bay



40
Routes / Re: Best/easiest route from the Pacific to Michigan
« on: February 11, 2017, 05:30:23 pm »
Denise -

I've got more than 100,000 miles experience - - bad habit - - and am working on some specific ideas/maps, but want to share a few quick thoughts with you. The flight to Portland is fine. PDX is an easier airport than SEA/TAC. Being able to do the initial staging with a camper-van will make starting the trip easier. I started my first X-USA trip from Astoria - the shipwreck on the coast is a favorite photo op. But with a van you can opt for a few place in Washington, too - like Ilwaco or Tokeland or Westport.

I think 60 days is a reasonable estimate for a direct X-USA trip. 2 days to stage, 56 days/8 weeks to ride, and 2 days to return.

About visiting folks. I have had many people over the years say, "If you're going to be near Atlanta, drop by and stay with us." Usually that is not a good idea. Hitting a city on a bike is tough - even if they come and pick you up, it breaks the touring rhythm. So, if someone asks for you to ride thru Lansing and it really isn't on your route, tell them to meet you in Ionia. Anyhoo, 30 miles is 3 hours on the bike, but only 1/2 hour driving.

The gist - plan a route that works for you and have other folks meet y'all along the way. Many state parks have cabins. Small towns have inexpensive mom & pop motels. They can pack up the car with apple pies and girl scout cookies.

41
Routes / Re: Best/easiest route from the Pacific to Michigan
« on: February 10, 2017, 04:02:20 pm »
Denise -

You don't provide a lot of info, so I am forced to guess.
I sense that you haven't done major touring before - will this be a first tour?
Also, not sure of your touring style - camping v. motels - and time frame.

If you are fairly new and take the most direct route - 8 weeks minimum. 10 weeks with days off.
Camping saves money, but there are fewer places to camp and not as nice as you get east.
Motels are sparse in some sections of the west - and pricey during peak season.

You don't necessarily have to train like a marathon runner - but some training is essential.
Plus, you should plan on your first few days to be light - work out the kinks, mechanical adjustments.

Do you want ocean waves to ocean waves - or will Puget Sound and/or Chesapeake Bay suffice?
If you want to include Michigan, you will probably need to cross Lake Michigan on one of the ferries.
Do you need to stick with ACA maps or are you comfortable doing part of your own route.
(It sounds like you will have to do, at least, some of your own route no matter what.)

The Lewis & Clark is the easiest way to head east from Astoria - and Astoria is easy to get to.
Frankly, I think there are better choices for scenery and lower traffic. US 30 and Wash 14 are not great.

US 12 in Idaho has some dicey, narrow sections, but along the Lochsa River and over Lolo Pass is great.
The southern leg of the L&C is more interesting than the northern leg, but puts you on or next to I-90 a lot.
The Northern Tier across the Great Plains in mind-numbingly boring at times. Much better options if you wish.

In Wisconsin, you can ride rail trails all the way from LaCrosse to Milwaukee and catch the ferry.
Lacrosse River Trail, Elroy-Sparta Trail (One of the oldest in the nation), and the 400 Trail.
Then a combination of trails from Madison to Milwaukee.

Best - J

42
These curiosities are what make bike touring so much fun.

43
Since the guardrail shadow is on the road, yes, you are heading east.
US 12 in Idaho is 174 miles long. The sign is most like a milepost.
You are 133.60 miles east of the western terminus.
It may mark a pipeline or other feature - thus, the decimal.
Were you near the Lochsa Ranger Station?

44
This is Sonora Pass on Memorial Day - end of May - during an average snow year.
People who want to bike across the Rockies in March or thru Death Valley in July -
Deserve what they encounter.

45
Routes / Re: West to East - Indiana and Ohio
« on: January 30, 2017, 08:27:51 pm »
The center of Amish culture is around Lancaster, Penna -  on Route S
http://www.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/bikes/state_mapS.pdf
Each of the sections is clickable.

I would take the ATA Trail all the way down from Pittsburgh.
It's a delightful experience - lovely, carless riding in the East. (Connecting on Section 4)
The Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece Falling Water is a bit off trail and uphill - but worth it.

Here's the link to Route V
http://www.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/bikes/state_mapV.pdf
It traverses a more remote areas of the state.

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