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Routes / USBRS Route 90 in SE Arizona
« on: February 24, 2017, 11:52:35 pm »
A description of USBRS Route 90 in SE Arizona between Tucson and Rodeo, NM, is posted in the “Corridor 90 Implementation” forum in the U.S. Bicycle Route System category.  The scenic route offers favorable year-round riding conditions through an area rich in history.  The description provides information on the route, road conditions, and services available in communities along the route.

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US Bicycle Route System’s Route 90 through southeastern Arizona showcases the area’s long and varied history and the cultures that formed it.  Native Americans inhabited the region for thousands of years before Spanish explorers, beginning with Coronado’s expedition in 1540, entered the area.  Cattle introduced by Spanish friars expanded into vast Mexican, then American, ranches, introducing the cowboy culture still evident in ranches in expansive grasslands in the Sonoita area and San Simone Valley.

After the U.S. acquired the area from Mexico through the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, incursions by miners and cattlemen into the territory of the native Chiricahua Apaches resulted in years of bloody conflicts with settlers and Army forces in present Cochise County.  Fort Huachuca, in Sierra Vista, is the only remaining Army fort in Arizona dating from the Indian Wars period. 

The silver-mining boomtown of Tombstone attracted notorious outlaws and lawmen and has been memorialized in many movies.  When the mines played out, the town settled into a time warp, retaining many of its original buildings and character.  Copper was the basis of the city of Bisbee, a former mining city whose free spirits and artists now exemplify the picturesque town.

Area Overview:
The 180 miles of USBRS Route 90 between Tucson and New Mexico traverses “range and basin” topography, characterized by numerous isolated mountain ranges separated by broad high desert valleys.  Fortunately for bike riders, the highways usually wind between mountain ranges.  Grades are generally quite mild, with only two significant climbs – between Tucson and Sonoita and over Mule Pass just north of Bisbee.  Several of the roads have little to no shoulders, but traffic is generally light.

Weather conditions offer favorable year-round riding conditions.  With elevations between 4,000 and 5,000 feet, summer temperatures are 10° to 15° cooler than the lower portions of Route 90 to the west.  Summer temperatures often reach into the 90s, but seldom reach 100°.  The daytime heat is tempered by cool nights.  The July through mid-September monsoon brings scattered thunderstorms, usually of short duration, and cooler temperatures.  Winter nighttime temperatures may fall below freezing, but daytime temperatures are usually in the 50s and 60s.  Winds in March and April may be challenging. 

Maps depicting Route 90 prepared by the Arizona Department of Transportation are available at www.azbikeped.org/PDF/USBR-90-turn-by-turn-111615.pdf .  An interactive map is available on the Adventure Cycling website: https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/us-bicycle-route-system/usbrs-interactive-map/.

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Bicycle Route 66 / Places of Interest along Route 66
« on: April 08, 2015, 11:39:11 pm »
With Route 66 maps now available, people planning to ride the route may like to hear from previous riders what they feel are worthwhile places to see along the Mother Road.  I'll kick off what could be a continuing thread describing "gems" along the route.

ILLINOIS
Pontiac:
The Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum (110 West Howard Street) is a good Mother Road museum, concentrating on the history of Route 66 in Illinois.   

The Livingston County War Museum (321 N. Main Street) contains artifacts, weapons, and uniforms worn by county residents from WWI to Afghanistan and Iraq.  The extensive collection and the stories of the veterans manning the museum vividly demonstrate the contribution of one small county to our nation.


OKLAHOMA
Afton:
 Afton Station, housed in an old 1930s D-X gas station downtown on Route 66, is a free, friendly, privately-owned Route 66 visitor's center with a wonderful collection of vintage Packards and Route 66 memorabilia.  Maps, guide books and a few trinkets with a Route 66 theme are available.


Stroud:
Stroud Safety Apparel, on Route 66 downtown, manufactures high-visibility shirts, vests, and other safety clothing.  If you can use some high-viz items, with or without reflective stripes, this place will meet your needs.  While its business is fabricating thousands of items for shipment, the friendly staff is happy to provide just what you need.

Built in 1936, the Rock Cafe has been a popular Route 66 attraction for over 70 years.  Destroyed to just walls by a 2008 fire, the cafe was rebuilt and re-opened in 2009.
Rock Café proprietor Dawn Welch is the basis for animated character Sally Carrera in the Pixar film Cars.


Clinton:
The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum http://www.route66.org/ in Clinton is my pick for the best of many Route 66 museums along the route.   The museum’s galleries provide an exciting, well-displayed journey through the history of the Mother Road.  The museum is about ½ mile north of I-40 Exit 65 on Business I-40 (Gary Blvd.).




NEW MEXICO
To relive early Route 66 travelers’ experience of crossing mile after mile of seemingly endless, empty high desert, divert from Adventure Cycling’s route and ride New Mexico Highway 6 between Los Lunas and I-40 Exit 126.  This 40-mile stretch of road was Route 66 from 1926-1937, when the route from the east doglegged north to Santa Fe, then south through Albuquerque to Los Lunas, where it turned northeast towards Grants.  There are no services and almost no signs of civilization on NM-6, other than the highway and a railroad track – just miles and miles of wide-open scenic New Mexico.  The easiest way to get to Los Lunas from Albuquerque is to ride the Paseo Del Bosque bike trail along the east side of the Rio Grande south to its end at Bridge Boulevard SW.  Ride Bridge Boulevard west across the river.  About 4 blocks past the river, turn south on Isleta Boulevard (NM-134) and ride that road Los Lunas.

“Sky City” of Acoma Pueblo is well worth the scenic 15-mile side trip south of Route 66.  The pueblo, the longest continuously-inhabited community in North America (since 1150) sits atop a 357-foot-high mesa, with spectacular views overlooking a green valley circled by cliffs and mesas.  A new museum and visitor center has an extensive collection of art and artifacts, as well as information about the pueblo.  Tours of the pueblo (the only way visitors are permitted) are very informative.  The visitors’ center has a good restaurant.  Roads from I-40 Exits 96 and 108 lead to the pueblo.

If one is looking for lodging in the Acoma Pueblo area, the Sky City Casino & Hotel, at I-40 Exit 102 is convenient.  It’s a modern facility, with at least a couple of dining areas.  Room prices for 2 start at about $80 Sunday through Thursday; Friday and Saturday rates are significantly higher; perhaps that’s when weekend gamblers arrive.

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Bicycle Route 66 / Arizona - New Mexico Route 66 Tour
« on: October 27, 2013, 11:35:55 pm »
Route 66 Tour from Holbrook, Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Hi – I’m John Wettack, 72 years old, living in southeast Arizona.   I enjoy touring historic routes, including the Oregon, Santa Fe, and Chisholm trails and for the past few years have toured parts of Route 66.  Here’s a report on my most recent Route 66 ride.

Three friends and I rode a 400-mile tour of Route 66 between Holbrook, AZ, and Santa Fe, NM, September 9-15, 2013.  Our objective was to ride Route 66 where present, with a couple of off-route detours.  Our overnight stops were Chambers, AZ, and, in NM: Gallup, Grants, the Sky City Casino hotel, Los Lunas, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. 
Day 1: From Holbrook: US-180 to the Petrified Forest Road to ride through that national park (a worthwhile detour), then I-40 to Chambers.  72 miles
Day 2: From Chambers: Frontier Road (Rt. 66) to Sanders; I-40 to Lupton; NM-118 (Rt. 66) to Gallup.  55 miles
Day 3: From Gallup: NM-118 (Rt. 66) to I-40 Exit 36; I-40 to Exit 47; NM-122 (Rt. 66) to Grants.  [The I-40 shoulder between Exit 36 and 38 has cracked pavement and some loose sand/small gravel, east of Exit 38 the shoulder was in good condition.  Our group, with 32mm to 38mm tires had no problem riding the 2-mile poor shoulder section, which for us did not warrant the 30-mile detour recommended on the New Mexico Touring Society website (and perhaps on Adventure Cycling’s route).  65 miles
Day 4: From Grants: NM-124 (Rt. 66) to the Sky City Casino Hotel, with a detour (15-miles one-way) on Indian Highway 38 from McCartys to Alcoma Pueblo (Sky City) and back to McCartys.  The pueblo, occupied since the 12th Century, is well worth the detour, with a modern visitors’ center, museum, and restaurant.  55 miles
Day 5:  From Sky City Casino Hotel: NM-124 (Rt. 66) to Mesita.  A rough 8-mile section of old Route 66 south of I-40 to Correo – the first couple of miles badly cracked pavement, the last couple of miles dirt which was muddy due to previous day’s rain.  [As an alternative, the shoulder of I-40 could be ridden between Mesita and Correo.]  NM-6 (Rt. 66) to Los Lunas.   The only services on the 60-mile day were 7 miles from the start.
Day 6: From Los Lunas: Isleta Blvd. (Rt. 66) to Albuquerque – 25 miles.  We rode the Rail Runner railroad service to Santa Fe, to ride the downgrade route back to Albuquerque the next day.
Day 7: From Santa Fe – Cerrillos Rd. (Rt.66) to I-25 Exit 278 southern frontage road, also Rt. 66, to I-25 Exit 267.  I-25 shoulder to Exit 264.  To avoid riding I-25 to Exit 248 (a section where I-25 eliminated Route 66), we rode NM-16 to NM-22 to Indian Service Road 84 to NM-313 (Rt. 66) at Exit 248.  Our route passed Pena Blanca, Santo Domingo Pueblo, and San Felipe Pueblo.  NM-313 to Alameda Blvd. to get on Albuquerque’s Paseo del  Bosque bike trail which runs along the Rio Grande through the city.

The tour was a good ride through mostly wide-open, scenic country, including several Indian reservations.  I’m estimating about 75% of the ride was on Route 66.  Much of Route 66 is along or near I-40 and I-25.  Food and water are generally readily available, except along NM-6.   Chambers’ one motel is the only lodging we noticed between Holbrook, AZ and Gallup, NM.  The Paseo del Bosque bike trail is a great ride through most of Albuquerque.

Previous Route 66 tours I’ve done have been Flagstaff to Kingman, Arizona; all of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Illinois; and Carthage, Missouri to the Kansas border.  Several websites provide directions for following Route 66 and the history of current and ghost towns and points of interest along the way. 

Anyone with any questions about the parts of Route 66 I’ve ridden can contact me at jpwettack3@msn.com.

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Routes / Spokane - Missoula - Spokane Loop
« on: March 29, 2012, 02:02:52 am »
I'm planning a tour this summer of a loop from Spokane to Missoua, taking in the Spokane an North Idaho Centennial Trails, Trail of the Coeur d'Alene and Route of the Hiawatha, and back to Spokane including the Lewis & Clark Route to Lewiston.  I'm seeking information regarding traffic, terrain, services, etc. on the following portions of the route:
   a. Getting from the North Idaho Centennial Trail to the beginning of the Trail of the Couer d'Alene.  Alternatives appear to be US-95 west of the Lake of the Couer d'Alene or Highway 97 east of the lake.
   b. Between the east end of the Trail of the Hiawatha and St. Regis, MT., are frontage roads passable for touring bikes with 35 mm tires present or is riding the I-90 shoulder the way to go?
   c. Lewiston, ID, to Spokane -- US-195 through Colvax vs. US-95 and Highways 58 and 278 through Potlatch and Plummer. 

Thanks for any information and advice.

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