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Routes / Re: Cross-US Trail-Based Route - Feedback Please!
« Last post by indyfabz on April 17, 2015, 08:31:11 am »
A lot to digest here, but I will note at this point that the Big Savage Tunnel on the GAP usually does not open until some time in April. As the official trail web site points out, there is no easy workaround.
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Routes / Re: Maryland to Maine route? (Breast Cancer Awareness Ride)
« Last post by kelso on April 17, 2015, 08:30:23 am »
I suggest you look at the East Coast Greenway web site (http://www.greenway.org/).
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Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Bike type and solo?
« Last post by rs7trout on April 17, 2015, 12:22:18 am »
Have you ridden any part of the route before?? First--I've only ridden different parts of the sections including some of the singe track before it became the Idaho Hot Springs Route. I had planned on doing the loop last year --when life kind of got in the way!! I too had the choice for both a cross and a full suspension and was going to ride the full suspension---Just think you'd be a heck of a lot more comfortable! I too would not do the single track on the route--it's one thing doing it without a loaded bike--but with--ay--more power to those that do! Although having said that there are a couple places where you could camp--take an extra day or part of a day and do a single track loop back to camp (if you road your full suspension--like Fisher Creek--which is really awesome!).

If the snow level is down--and it was possible to do it in first part of June--am considering it as I have the time--but thinking snow may get in the way of the plan!

Good luck with your plan- I'm sure there are those that have done the loop that will give a better response--but just thought I'd add my thoughts!

Ron
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Routes / Cross-US Trail-Based Route - Feedback Please!
« Last post by whitebirch on April 16, 2015, 10:18:04 pm »
Hi everyone!

First post in a long time! My wife and I have a daughter who is currently 8.  We're looking into a cross-country tour in 2017, when she'll be 10. We did a 3 1/2 month tour of Maine, Atlantic Canada, and Quebec when she was 5 (using a Weehoo) and it went great. Then a 2-week tour in Quebec last summer where she was on her own bike w/ a Follow Me attachment for hills/heat/moods.  We expect in two years she'll still be small enough to use a 20" bike and Follow Me, although there's a chance she would graduate to 24" tires in which case the Follow Me won't fit and she'd be completely on her own.

Now we're dreaming about the Big One, and I'd love any thoughts on our preliminary route.  Some background and context:

-- We take our time.  In 2012 we averaged 25 miles/day, five days a week.  Although that pace would be painfully slow for most, we found it just about right for a 5-year old.  For the 2017 trip we would aim for 30 miles/day, 5 days a week, or 150 miles per week.  I suspect that across the plains we'll do better than this, but in the mountains maybe slower.  This means that for a 3,500-mile crossing, we would need about 23 weeks.  We plan to have 6 months off, so that works out just about right.  We'll have 26 weeks or so from March 1 to the end of August, which includes getting back home to Maine.
-- We're especially slooooow on hills, and we have a history of knee problems.  So although we'll take a hilly route if it's a standout (such as the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, one of the highlights of our last trip), all else being equal or nearly so, we'll take a flat road over a hilly road.
-- We like trails, so our daughter can ride without as much supervision or caution.  We did Montreal to Quebec City last summer, almost all on trails, and we had a blast.  I know trails can slow us down, and be dispiriting in the rain, and sometimes you miss cool towns or areas and feel like you're in a green tunnel.  So if we're having those experiences we might switch to nearby roads.  But in general I like the idea of working in as many trails as possible.
-- We are heat-averse.  It's not that we like being cold, but we'd rather be a bit cold than bake in a heat wave.
-- We (I) are history buffs, and we're also birdwatchers and all-around naturalists.
-- If we're way behind, or in a long-term rut, we're keeping the option open of hopping on a bus or train to get across the plains.  Basically if our daughter isn't having fun, no one around her will be having fun.  So we won't punish her and ourselves with a forced march approach.

Ok, given those parameters, here's what I've laid out:

-- Start at Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware around March 1.  Ideally we'd start April 1, but in order to get back in time for school the following year, March 1 it is.  If it's a late winter and the nights are still cold, we'll keep camping to a minimum and try Warmshowers, friends, hotels.  If the days are still cold, then we'll just delay or hole up somewhere and wait it out.

-- Bike to DC.  Only drawback is that we have to take a bike shuttle over the Bay Bridge to Annapolis, but we really want to start at the ocean, not the Chesapeake Bay.  And we want to get to DC to pick up the...

-- C&O and GAP to Pittsburgh.  You all saw this one coming, right?  347 miles of off-road bliss?  I've read that the C&O can be muddy in the spring.  If so we'll consider a work-around.  Could also be cold in the Appalachians in March, but we'd rather be cold for a couple weeks in March than baking in July in the midwest.

-- Pittsburgh to Ohio Amish country, and then pick up the Ohio to Erie Trail (which I think is also the Underground Railroad Trail) to Cincinnati.  About half of this segment would be on trails.

-- Cincinnati to St. Louis across southern Indiana and Illinois.  Southern Indiana sounds pretty neat, although maybe a bit hilly in parts.  Southern Illinois sounds a bit more mundane, but flatter!  Any route suggestions in either state would be much appreciated!  I've done a fair amount of research (state bike maps, other trip journals, etc) and have some ideas, but welcome any thoughts.

-- 170 miles or so of the Katy Trail to New Franklin, MO.  From there, cut NW across Missouri to get to Iowa border at Blanchard, where we pick up the...

-- Wabash Trace Trail into Council Bluffs, Iowa.  63 more miles of trail!

-- Follow L&C up the Missouri to at least Sioux City.  Then either cut across northeast Nebraska to Valentine, or else stay on L&C into part of South Dakota and then drop down onto Route 12 in northern Nebraska.

-- Route 20 across northern Nebraska.  I keep reading all sorts of great things about cycling through Nebraska, and this route seems especially promising for low traffic.  We might have to go all day to get from town to town, but that's ok.

-- Wyoming.  This one's a bit of a puzzle still.  We'd cut through Lusk, Douglas and Casper to Shoshone.  Then I can't decide whether to (a) cut north through the Wind River Canyon and Thermopolis to hit Cody and enter Yellowstone from the east, or (b) pick up the Trans Am to go through Grand Tetons and enter Yellowstone from the south.  Anyone know about the first route?  I tried some searches but can't seem to find many reports of this route, although I read on a car-based site that it's a neat road and it doesn't look too bad on the Wyoming DOT Bike Map.  In any case, hoping to reach Yellowstone in early July, before it's too hot on the plains and the crowds are too thick at the park.

-- From Yellowstone NP, head out through the north and take 89 and other roads to Bozeman, then Helena, then maybe Missoula and eventually on to Mullan, Idaho, to pick up the...

-- Coeur d'Alenes Trail.  71 miles of trail bliss?  Really excited when I found out that this is more or less on our route.

-- Cross the Palouse in eastern Washington State, then get to Ellensburg, where we'd pick up the Iron Horse / John Wayne Frontier Trail for 100 miles or so.  Then combination of roads and trails to our endpoint in Seattle.  If we have time, we'd make it all the way to the Pacific at Olympia National Park. 

Ok, that's quite a bit to read through.  If you're still with me, I'd love any feedback!  Any parts of this route you've done and loved?  Done and regretted?  Anything obvious I'm missing? 

Thanks so much!

Rob
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Routes / Idaho Hot Springs Bike type and solo?
« Last post by ejworden10 on April 16, 2015, 03:24:12 pm »
Looking at riding from McCall to Ketchum to Boise (Clockwise) section of the route in July.  I have a full suspension mt bike and a cross bike and wondering which is better for the route.  I will not be doing any of the single track.  Looking at 50 to 70 a day.  Also, maps suggests not doing this route solo.  Any thoughts?
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Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Loop 2015
« Last post by rs7trout on April 16, 2015, 12:49:26 pm »
curious whether you found the info on the snow pack? Please reply if you found any info--thanks
Ron
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Routes / Re: Missoula to Anaconda via Rock Creek
« Last post by administrator on April 16, 2015, 11:35:12 am »
That is a great story. Glad you were able to make it around the slide on the pass the next time out.

You're welcome. Interesting back story as to why we did Rock Creek in '11. We were planning to ride Skalkaho from P'burg but the road washed out at the falls before we flew out there and it was unclear when it would open. Plan B was to continue to Drummond and head west from there to Ekstroms Stage Station. However, a few days into the trip we were at Elkhorn Hot Springs. I was wearing a bike-related t-shirt and cap when I was approached by your own Casey Greene, who asked me if we were touring. I told him of our plans, including the plan B if Skalkaho was not open by the time we got there. Casey told me about Rock Creek Road. Sometimes things just fall into place.

I went back out your way last year and did a very similar loop, but this time I was able to ride Skalkaho even though it was officially closed due to a slide. The slide area was not large, and getting through with a bike proved was not a problem. And I walked away from Gem Mountain with 16.25 karats of sapphires as a memento.
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I took this route last year and the amount of logging truck traffic on the road into Quincy was pretty astounding and I would never discourage anyone from taking Pirate's advice.

But I do have to say, that at least on the day I was there, every truck that passed me was driven professionally and responsibly and while there were times it was tight, I never felt in danger. When I stopped at the Quincy bike shop and was talking to the owner he claimed that there was a lot of political pressure on the guys who employ the truckers to keep them from endangering the cyclists on that stretch of road and that it had gotten much better in the last couple of years.

So if your thinking of doing this route, I'm going to disagree w Cyclesafe. Take the bus if you want for this short piece, or ride it (I would still ride it if I was to do it again), but don't be dissuaded from this route over this little stretch of road. It's a truly fantastic route.
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Routes / Re: Missoula to Anaconda via Rock Creek
« Last post by indyfabz on April 16, 2015, 08:44:48 am »
Great route information Indyfabz, thanks for sharing your experience!

Did it between P'Burg and I-90 in the opposite direction in 2011.

Heading in your direction, the first 10 miles or so of Rock Creek Road is paved. You will pass an outfitter called Trout Bum that has a coffee bar and snacks. It's the only place to get snacks until P'burg. (You will pass a couple of U.S.F.S. campgrounds that I believe have water.) Take a walk out onto the cable and plank bridge you will pass on your right. Then there is about 30 miles of dirt (IIRC) to the junction of MT 348 that takes you to P'burg. The road conditions car vary the father up you go due to the creek spilling its banks. I was riding 37c tires and did a bit of slipping and sliding in the dirt early on. Also, the U.S.F.S. puts down calcium chloride on part of the road to keep the dust down. This can create a slightly wet/muddy section. We stayed at Ekstrom Stage Station at the end of the day and had to wash off our bikes. There were also a few sections with rocks, but they weren't long. I have never toured on 28c tires so I don't want to discourage you, especially since it's a beautiful ride, but it might be tough going in spots.

Here are some photos I assembled for someone else who asked abut the road:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/sets/72157647572217733/

MT 348, which is paved, is going to involve a short but stiff in places climb to get over the ridge. Here is a route map with profile:

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/7503410

You will know you are there by the sign naming the bridge in honor of a local resident who died in Iraq. It's not far after you pass a B&B.

The campground/motel in P'burg is nice. There is a spot by an equipment shed that offers shade and has Adirondack style chairs and Purple Martin houses attached to a fence. The grocery store is basically right across the street from the entrance, and you can walk into the center of town. Don't miss the old ice cream parlor in town. I was there again last year. Good milkshakes.

The first 10 or so miles on MT 1 out of P'burg (up to the junction with MT 38) is pretty easy but then things get steep for a while. The latter part of the climb is exposed. Riding towards P'burg we stopped to talk to a couple of people riding up in the intense, afternoon sun. They were pretty knackered. Once you get up to Georgetown Lake it's flat and then, shortly after you pass Silver Lake, all down hill to Anaconda. If you need water as you are descending there is a plumbed spring just off MT 1 right before the interpretive sign for an old gold strike. You will see a paved road that bears down hill on the right. The spring is a short distance down there. You can leave you bike at the sign and walk down it's that close.

How do you plan to get back from Anaconda?

You're welcome. Interesting back story as to why we did Rock Creek in '11. We were planning to ride Skalkaho from P'burg but the road washed out at the falls before we flew out there and it was unclear when it would open. Plan B was to continue to Drummond and head west from there to Ekstroms Stage Station. However, a few days into the trip we were at Elkhorn Hot Springs. I was wearing a bike-related t-shirt and cap when I was approached by your own Casey Greene, who asked me if we were touring. I told him of our plans, including the plan B if Skalkaho was not open by the time we got there. Casey told me about Rock Creek Road. Sometimes things just fall into place.

I went back out your way last year and did a very similar loop, but this time I was able to ride Skalkaho even though it was officially closed due to a slide. The slide area was not large, and getting through with a bike proved was not a problem. And I walked away from Gem Mountain with 16.25 karats of sapphires as a memento.
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General Discussion / Re: New York to San Francisco Ride
« Last post by Mike Bosomworth on April 15, 2015, 08:39:30 pm »
Just picked up your post swimdean - sorry for the delay. I am in Lexington tonight, so some way from you I think. Just spent a hard day in the Blue Ridge Mountains - great scenery.
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