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Routes / Re: Great Parks South Sec. #1
« Last post by jmfrilett on April 25, 2016, 09:30:54 am »
I found this dated 2013 but the signs are still up as of June 2015 so not sure if one would encounter problems riding through Central City or not.
Because of signs I may have been a bit paranoid but I was watched by police all the time I sat outside a rather posh casino drinking coffee and using the WiFi. There were no friendly vibes in this town.
Routes / Re: Great Parks South Sec. #1
« Last post by John Nettles on April 24, 2016, 09:10:30 pm »
If I remember correct, the prohibition was recently lifted after a court battle.  Perhaps others can help answer if bikers are prohibited any long.
Routes / Re: Texas to DC
« Last post by John Nettles on April 24, 2016, 09:07:38 pm »
Since this is your first time touring, you might want to ride north to Kansas (I can help you with a route) then connect with the TransAm route in Girard, KS, and head east on it until the Blue Ridge Parkway.  From there, go north on the Skyline Road to Front Royal, over to Purcellville, VA, and take the bike path into DC.

The TransAm is the original route and probably a couple of thousand ride across it.  Since you are not overly experienced, you should avoid doing Route 66 to save a few miles as parts of it are a bit heavy traffic and/or no-shoulders.

Are you mostly camping, staying in motels, eating out, cooking your own food, traveling solo or with other buddies, etc.?  These answers can help with route suggestions.  Believe it or not, 74 is not uncommon when it comes to bike touring.  I regularly do tours with people in their mid to late 70s.  As long as you are in fair shape (but great shape helps!) and more importantly know your limits, you will do fine.

Best, John
Routes / Re: Great Parks South Sec. #1
« Last post by jmfrilett on April 24, 2016, 08:20:02 pm »
I rode this area last summer. Central City was confusing since the route I selected was closed to bicycle traffic which forced me off the roads I intended to use. Took me some time to figure it out. Central City seemed to be one big casino.  The rest of the area you intend to ride should cause you no problems.
Routes / Re: Texas to DC
« Last post by texbiker on April 24, 2016, 07:27:27 pm »
That is a great idea and goal. You can read how other people ride long distances at this website
Routes / Texas to DC
« Last post by on April 24, 2016, 06:35:42 pm »
I turn 74 in a couple of weeks and would like to ride from Sulphur Springs TX to DC to honor 74
 shipmates lost in Vietnam.
I am willing to take the entire summer to complete if necessary. I am new to cross country cycling
and would appreciate any assistance in route choice. I pulled up Google Bike and it suggests going
into PA and back down.
General Discussion / Re: Black Hills Mickelson Trail and 38C tires
« Last post by indyfabz on April 24, 2016, 03:59:20 pm »
and then down to Chadron, NE and then heading east on Hiway 20.   

If you want to try something really remote, take the trail to the end in Edgemont and then head south on SD 471 to SD 71 to NB 2 to Crawford and pick up U.S. 20 east to Chadron. I was supposed to do that as part of my trip but ended up bagging it for a couple of reasons. There is a municipal campground with showers in Edgemont. From there to Crawford there is nothing in the way f services. Even the state highway turns to gravel for a while. A guy I met at the campground in Edgemont said it's one of the most remote areas of Nebraska. I did ride a bit of it (maybe 10 miles out and then back) while in Edgemont. The only things I saw were trains and antelope.

Many of the trail sections are quite nice. You should really give it a go.  Here are some photos from my trip. The ones of/from the trail are obvious. (Note that the trail is paved in Deadwood and Custer.)
Pacific Northwest / Re: Weather related Norther Tier
« Last post by johnsondasw on April 24, 2016, 01:26:44 pm »
Jamawani is right.  The North Cascades of WA can get gnarly in late Sept and Oct.  By mid to late Oct you could have a storm dump considerable snow up there.  You could also have bluebird days with temps in the 60s  and even 70s.  I've been hiking up there for 45 years and and been snowed on in late June and know of similar storms in late Sept.  Such events are normally not sustained.  They can add to the "adventure", if you're so inclined. Late Oct, however....that could be more adventure than I'd be interested in.
General Discussion / Re: Black Hills Mickelson Trail and 38C tires
« Last post by Marlowe on April 23, 2016, 07:25:07 pm »
BTW...If you can swing an extra day in Custer, riding Needle's Highway (SD 87 south from SD 89) is well wort it. Fabulous scenery.

Definitely go clockwise unless you like torture. I stayed just a bit outside the center of town, but there is a campground in town that's right off the trail. Heavily shaded tenting area, but it looked like it could be a bit buggy, especially since it's near a creek. The upside is that you can walk to the main drag a few blocks away, yet it's still pretty quiet back there:

Thanks Indyfabz.    Boy I'm not real sure about any of the trail, i.e. where I will stay, where I will exit the trail, etc.   I'm coming from Montana, over to Bowman, ND and then south to the hills and then down to Chadron, NE and then heading east on Hiway 20.   My tires are great for the hiways but just wasn't sure about the Mickelson Trail.   I did call Acme Bike Shop in Rapid City and the fellow said I would be fine with my 38C tires.  So it will be a go if I do take the trail.   

One of the issues I will have is if I don't take the trail I think I will have to do some miles on the I90 north of Rapid City as there isn't a frontage road all the way from Sturgis to Rapid.   I don't like riding bikes on interstates. :-[   I did that last year from Forseth, Mt to Miles City.   Ugly is the best way to describe it.

Thanks for the links, I will study them.

Great Falls, MT
Gear Talk / Re: Gear Inches for the Northern Tier
« Last post by great_egret on April 23, 2016, 10:38:39 am »

Late May is when I started from Seattle both times. Three days up to the NT at Bay View, WA, a bit east of Anacortes. Don't know what the winter was like this year, but the winter of '98-'99 was really snowy. We got rained on then snowed on crossing Rainy and Washington Passes. Winthrop to Tonakset was quite warm. Then we woke to flurries in Republic and had more on the descent from Sherman Pass.

Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport, WA has Adirondack shelters. Nice amenity if it's cold and wet like it was when we were there. This spring, construction will start on biker sites at Whitefish Lake State Park. Don't know when they will be ready, and it's my understanding from people that the train noise at the park can be disturbing.

In '00 I went to Glacier, rode up the west slope of Going to the Sun then back down, then backtracked to Columbia Falls/Whitefish and took the Great Parks North to Missoula. I then continued on the TransAm to Yellowstone and eventually ended up on Cortez, CO via the Great Parks South. I prefer Sprague Creek Campground in Glacier. It's within walking distance of the Lake McDonald lodge. If you don't mind being dependent upon the shuttle, Avalanche Campground might make more sense. Shop for groceries in W. Glacier, before you enter the park. The selection at the store at the lodge is more along the lines of "junk food."

In '11 and '14 I did two loops out of Missoula on the TA as far east as Twin Bridges. I will actually be back in MSO on June 14th for another loop that will take me as far east as Ennis before I head north and then west back to MSO. If you don't mind some (about 6.5 miles) of pretty easy gravel, don't pass up the Old Darby Rd. Alternative between Hamilton and Darby, MT. Great views and quitter than U.S. 93. Shop in Darby as the grocery selection at the Sula Country Store & Campground is very limited (the breakfast is good), and the store portion closes at 5 p.m. When I got there in '14 at about 5:02 the store was dark and locked up tight. This year I plan to stay at Spring Gulch Campground (U.S.F.S.), which is a few miles west of there, just for something different. There is a cyclist-only site there.

If you want a real dirt challenge, take Gibbons Pass east of Sula if it's open. I did it in '11. The west slope is narrow and rough in places, but doable with sturdy, wide tires. (I ride 35c.) But it really is like being in the backcountry, and it's shorter that Lost Trail/Chief Jospeh Passes. While climbing the west slope I encountered one vehicle. The east side is a totally different experience. Wide, mostly gentle grade with a good dirt surface.

West slope:

East slope:

The mosquitoes in Wisdom will eat you alive. In fact, there is a little climb about 8 miles before town, as you pass a ranch, where they are really bad. Groceries are relatively limited, but The Crossings at Fetty's serves up great grub. Didn't check on the condition of the screened shelter in the American Legion park. I pitched my tent in there back in '00. In '11 we got a motel room in town. (The GF wanted no part of the bugs.) In '14 I pushed on to Jackson and camped at the hot springs resort. Pricey (close to $30, IIRC), but that comes with use of the hot springs pool and a large towel, which is a nice treat. The food there is good, and there is another place in town, but no grocery store.

I know people often like to stay in Dillon, MT because of the size and availability of services, but I highly recommend the Bike Camp in Twin Bridges. First class facility in a nice setting along the Beaverhead river, and it's free (donations strongly recommended). The town also has a very good grocery/liquor store, library with Internet access and a couple of restaurants. The fishing access campground just outside of the center of Ennis was tranquil when I was there in '00. Plan to stay there this year.

Send me a PM if you can handle dirt (some of it rough in places) and want a really sweet detour off the TransAm after Big Hole Pass east of Jackson that ultimately takes you to Twin Bridges. There is a way you can do it without the dirt, but that way passes through Dillon on the way to Twin Bridges and adds even more miles.

Those pictures of Gibbons Pass make me want to be out there now.  I have the desire, tires, and other equipment to make it work.  Adventure Cycling's Lewis & Clark map 5 has Gibbons Pass mapped out well.  How did you determine if it was open?  Did you ask around in Sula (possibly at the ranger station there?) or is there another resource?

Right now the plan is to take Gibbons Pass.  Thanks for the pics and other information.  It makes planning even more fun.   
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