Author Topic: Missoula to the Pacific  (Read 1562 times)

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Online SlowAndSlower

Missoula to the Pacific
« on: March 30, 2013, 07:02:09 pm »
I would appreciate opinions on these routes to the Pacific from Missoula.
  • Stay on the TransAm to Florence, OR.
  • Louis and Clark to Astoria.
  • MT 200 to Sandpoint and take the Northern Tier west to the Pacific.
Important to me is scenic and secondary is distance as I may be in a time crunch at that point.

Online staehpj1

Re: Missoula to the Pacific
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 08:42:20 am »
Of the two I have only ridden the TA so I can't compare.  I will say that the TA was nice there.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Missoula to the Pacific
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 10:31:09 am »
Once you get to Missoula, you can ask the pros. But the L&C is quite a bit shorter than the TA.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Missoula to the Pacific
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2013, 01:42:26 pm »
I think a lot more may have to do with where you want to end. All three routes get you to "the coast". But the L&C and TranAm get you to Astoria, Oregon, which is less than 10 miles from the actual Pacific. The NT ends in Anacortes, Washington, which is on the Puget Sound, not the actual Pacific Ocean. To get to the actual Pacific from there would require a ferry ride and a few more days of riding.

I've ridden the NT to Missoula, but went through Spokane and then used the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes to get to Missoula, so I can't speak on using MT 200.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Missoula to the Pacific
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2013, 09:39:22 am »
If you have the time, I would follow ACA's Great Parks from Misoula to Whitefish/Columbia Falls and pick up the Northern Tier there. If you have even more time, I would go east on the NT to Glacier National Park, spend a day riding up and back down the west side of Goint to Sun Road and then head back west on the NT. Once you get near Anacortes you can ride south to Seattle, which is, obviously, a major transportation hub.

The NT is different riding than thet TA west of Missoula. A lot of the OR mileage is through high desert.  It can get crispy critter hot with little shade. You will have more forest on the NT, although it can get very hot east of the Cascades, too.  The stretch between Winthrop, and Tonasket was very warm and arid even in early June.

Online SlowAndSlower

Re: Missoula to the Pacific
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2013, 12:22:02 pm »
The NT is different riding than thet TA west of Missoula. A lot of the OR mileage is through high desert.  It can get crispy critter hot with little shade. You will have more forest on the NT, although it can get very hot east of the Cascades, too.  The stretch between Winthrop, and Tonasket was very warm and arid even in early June.

I have the Going To Sun Road on my to do list, maybe next year.  Appreciate the comments on the differences between the TA and NT. I am leaning towards picking up the NT at Sandpoint.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Missoula to the Pacific
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2013, 10:50:19 am »
You will actually join up with the NT at the junction of 200 and 56. Bull River Campground just south of the junction was nice. From there to Sandpoint the route uses some back roads. The back way from 200 to Clark Fork is nice and quiet. Don't have my map in front of me, but I think it's Heron to Harker to Clark Fork which turns into River Rd. at the Idaho border.

I have a vivid memory of eating lunch by the old bridge just outside the center of Clark Fork. There was an Osprey nest on top of the bridge. The year before when I rode though there with a group of people we saw a wounded bird in a field along side River Rd. The bird was so desperate for help that it hopped over to us. A woman in our group determined that he had a broken wing. It was very sad, but there was nothing we could do. We put him in the grass on the other side of the road, free of fencing, and let nature take its course.

If you look at 200 on Street View it doesn't appear to be too bike friendly in several places. No to limited shoulder with gator strips. Wonder if Blue Slide Road on the other side of the river between Thompson Falls and Trout Creek would work. The photos available on Street View make it look very nice. You could ask the locals in Thompson Falls if it's paved the entire length.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Missoula to the Pacific
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2013, 11:20:11 am »
You will actually join up with the NT at the junction of 200 and 56. Bull River Campground just south of the junction was nice.
I camped at the Bull River Campground last summer. It was nice enough, but primitive. No electricity, no showers. For just $2 more, I could have stayed at the RV park right at the junction of 200 and 56. It has all the amenities and it doesn't require you to go down and back up the big hill to Bull River. I made the wrong call.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Missoula to the Pacific
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2013, 04:02:31 pm »
You will actually join up with the NT at the junction of 200 and 56. Bull River Campground just south of the junction was nice.
I camped at the Bull River Campground last summer. It was nice enough, but primitive. No electricity, no showers. For just $2 more, I could have stayed at the RV park right at the junction of 200 and 56. It has all the amenities and it doesn't require you to go down and back up the big hill to Bull River. I made the wrong call.

I stayed at that RV park the first time I rode through there. I was on ACA's organized NT tour. Most in our group were more "high maintenance" and liked showers, etc. After getting cleaned up, a couple of us rode back north on 200 to a roadhouse we passed. Had some Margaritas. At Bull River, I got to talk with the host--a widower who seemed lonely and bored. The place was nearly empty thanks to a stretch of bad weather. Indeed, it had been chilly and damp the entire day, so a shower wasn't something I was dying for.