Author Topic: Realistic time requirements  (Read 3700 times)

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Offline freightbike

Realistic time requirements
« on: January 14, 2013, 01:11:11 am »
I've got it in my head that I want to ride from the west coast to my home in St. Paul MN this summer. I'am thinking of flying to Seattle WA. Riding out to Cape Disapointment st. park, dip my wheels in the Pacific ocean and ride home in about thirty days. My route would be the lewis and clark, I 90 to Miles City and US 12 through Baker MT. Cross the Missouri at Mobridge SD. Am I in a state of personal delusion? The hwy miles between Seattle and Minneapolis are upwards of 1600. I've done bike trips out to Garrison ND and back by various routes with total miles over 1800, granted it was kind of flat.
May the wind at your back always smell like home.
                  MORG

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 02:03:52 am »
1600 miles in 30 days is just a little over 50 miles per day average.  That's very doable if  you're in shape and prepared.  In my 30+ years of touring, I have often averaged over 70 mpd, and I'm no special athlete, just a guy who's always been willing to gut it out as necessary.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline jamawani

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 08:12:46 am »
Oh, you Minnesotans - always so practical.
But it's not necessarily 1600 miles. 
From Cape Disappointment it's more than 1700.
And have you allowed for travel delays and/or weather?
And you did say "ride out" to Cape Disappointment, too?

Not to mention that US 12 coming into the Twin Cities is nasty.
There are better back roads - albeit with a few more miles.
Same goes for I-90/I-94 in Montana - way better routes.
So let's say 2000 miles in 28 days - 500 miles per week - 71.5 miles per day.

Very doable - with one travel delay day and one weather day.

Consider US 12 for large segments of this trip.
From Cape Disappointment you can follow Wash 4 to Longview along the Columbia
Then cut north on the Old Pacific Highway to US 12 and over the Cascades.
(Wash 14 is another possibility east of Vancouver - but traffic has really picked up in the last decade.)
There are really nice back roads in the Naches and Yakima Valleys.

From the Tri-Cities you can get back on US 12 thru the Idaho panhandle to Missoula.
Much of this is the TransAm route - but the stretch either side of Orofino is tricky.
From Missoula to Helena you can take Mont 200 and Mont 279 and avoid the interstate - very nice.
(Make sure to take Birdseye Road into Helena from Canyon Creek.)

Although a little further, the east side of Canyon Ferry Lake is far more sane - US 287 is crazy.
Then follow US 12 all the way across Montana - light traffic - small communities.
From Forsyth to Miles City you can use Old US 10 most of the way - only about 10 miles of interstate needed.
Then you can do the big US 12 run across the Dakotas - take time to see Marmarth, ND.

You know the back ways into the Twin Cities.

So let's say

Offline freightbike

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 04:03:36 pm »
Thanks for all your help, I feel a little bit more of the warrior spirit coming back to me. :) Yes I know it could be cutting it close with weather and other delays. I figure there's always the bus home if I get snagged up enroute. I was wondering if US 12 was terribly hilly between,say, Townsend and Forsyth. I have a co-worker at my job who worked on the airforce missle silos who said MT 200 was endless ups and downs out of Greatfalls. I love getting off the main roads as much as possible. A few years ago, I was riding west through SD towards the missouri when I stopped by a cityhall to inquire about a road. The clerk kept insisting that I not ride it because it was in terrible shape with potholes and such. She was of the impression that I was on a harley because I had told her about my bike ride out of Mpls. I'm glad I persisted because the road was fine for my needs and at the end of it was a herd of bison in a fenced off field that I could get practicaly nose to nose with. I'am thinking I'd take the ferry to Vashon island and by rainbow falls. Back in 83 I rode from Morton to rainbow falls to a beach st.park on the ocean with a slow girlfriend in two days. Should be able to do it in a day. We caught a ride over White pass into Morton. I'm thinking as much flat level riding as possible with paved shoulders as availiable. I don't much relish riding on the interstates. It's the pits with flat tires, no public interaction and the ever present danger of sleepy truckdrivers. (I drive concrete trucks) I got the last miles into the cities covered. Luce line trail from Cosmos!
May the wind at your back always smell like home.
                  MORG

Offline John Nelson

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 04:25:02 pm »
I was wondering if US 12 was terribly hilly between,say, Townsend and Forsyth. I have a co-worker at my job who worked on the airforce missle silos who said MT 200 was endless ups and downs out of Greatfalls.
So what. 80% of the country is endless ups and downs. It goes with the territory.

Offline jamawani

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 05:12:49 pm »
US 12 - You have a moderate climb up the Belt Mtns from Townsend - nothing too tough - campground at the summit.  Hot springs at White Sulphur Springs.  Last time thru we camped in the grassy area behind the motel for free just by paying the bathhouse fee.  You follow the Musselshell River valley for 100+ miles - Mennonite farms - a few have really deep wells with delicious water - if you see some Mennonite men out, don't hesitate to ask for water.  They have always been wonderful to me.  Roundup was really hit be the 2011 flooding.  Rolling and quite remote from there to Forsyth.  Bar/Cafe 1/2 miles off road in Ingomar is only service.  Funky, essential stop.

Willing to do any dirt between Forsyth and Miles City?

Offline freightbike

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 06:50:12 pm »
Jamawani, Your discription of Hwy 12 sounds really lovely, the kind of travel I live for. Actually, I was considering cutting across from Miles City through Ekalaka on to Camp Crook SD on dirt but I don't really know if it would be possible or feasible. I would be running on scwalbe 32c's but I can mount 45's on my 98 trek 7500 hybrid with the dead rocksox fork. I'd be a bit concerned about the bentonite in some areas. I did a sliding 360 on a mountain road in CO with my pickup on that shit. Had to change my undewear.:)
May the wind at your back always smell like home.
                  MORG

Offline freightbike

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 03:48:54 am »
I was wondering if US 12 was terribly hilly between,say, Townsend and Forsyth. I have a co-worker at my job who worked on the airforce missle silos who said MT 200 was endless ups and downs out of Greatfalls.
So what. 80% of the country is endless ups and downs. It goes with the territory.
I just remember doing RAGBRAI across the southern part of Iowa and the route was so hilly there was an equivalent elevation gain to bicycling up mt. Everest.
May the wind at your back always smell like home.
                  MORG

Offline staehpj1

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 07:16:09 am »
You time frame sounds doable, but daily mileage is certainly an individual preference.  I find that anywhere between 50 and 80 miles per day including rest days and half days works for me.

I will say that I always find that it is much more satisfying to not have a firm deadline though.  Much better to have more time and money that you think you will need.  That allows you to just take things as they come.  Whether you feel like riding consecutive 100+ mile days every day or taking a few days off to see a national park or whatever, it is nice if you schedule can accommodate your spur of the moment choices.

BTW another option that will allow flexibility with a fixed time deadline is to have a flexible end point.

Where possible I ride from the end of the tour that requires the most consideration in travel, ending in the location that require less advance notice for airline, bus, or train tickets.  If I can finish the tour close enough to home to either ride home or be picked up, so much the better.  If you have a friend or family member who is an airline employee willing to share a friends and family pass, flying standby on the trip home might be a good option that will allow finishing whenever you happen to get there and even from variable end points.

Offline freightbike

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 12:51:13 pm »
Thank you, Staehpj1, Yes it is definately better to have no end date. Unfortunately I have only four weeks vacation a year. I had thought of taking the northern tier route and ending in Minot or some place further west of that. I like taking the roads I haven't already biked on and some of the NT area I did back in 83 and on candisc trips. I will have to research what the options are for bus travel getting back if I find myself not wanting to or unable to keep up a grueling pace. With luck the west winds will be calling and I can do some days like my last candisc return, 340 miles in three days. :)
May the wind at your back always smell like home.
                  MORG

Offline John Nelson

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2013, 04:35:32 pm »
I had thought of taking the northern tier route and ending in Minot or some place further west of that.
The NT no longer goes through Minot, and for darn good reasons.

Offline freightbike

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 08:16:40 pm »
I had thought of taking the northern tier route and ending in Minot or some place further west of that.
The NT no longer goes through Minot, and for darn good reasons.
Amtrak still does. Oh and now I remember, "May all you endless ups and downs be between the sheets! LOL
May the wind at your back always smell like home.
                  MORG

Offline freightbike

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2013, 01:27:41 am »
I think I may set up Miles City as a go, no-go point where if I make it to there by a certain date, I'll continue on to MPLS and if I don't or don't want to I'll end there and bus it home. I really want to tour that part of the west away from the interstates and major towns. I think I'll take Hwy 12 like Jamawani suggested because I like the road less traveled and figuring things out without set expectations and locals not being used to seeing bikes all the time.
May the wind at your back always smell like home.
                  MORG

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2013, 06:44:23 pm »
Perhaps it is not a problem going 1800 miles in 30 days. I went from south Florida to Bangor, Maine in 22 days total and 20 days on the road. That was more than 1800 miles. If you run into a period of nasty weather or strong adverse winds, it could reduce your mileage significantly.

Offline freightbike

Re: Realistic time requirements
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2013, 10:43:39 pm »
As an epilogue to this post I flew into Seattle on the 15th of june and rode out to the pacific coast between Grayland and Cape Disapointment then to Astoria and Portland. At Portland, I came to the realization that my level of fitness and hill climbing ability was not sufficient to continue in the time allotted. I was improving a bit day to day but as the saying goes, "I saw the elephant", and took the train home from Portland on the 23rd of june. Now I know what I must do to be successful as I've not been this time. If I want to do this I must lose much more weight and be much stronger. I cannot rely on trying to achieve that strength while on the hilly side of the ride. Next year to Portland then off to the passes and the plains.
May the wind at your back always smell like home.
                  MORG