Author Topic: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper  (Read 1220 times)

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Offline Bry

Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« on: November 08, 2013, 04:21:00 pm »
I'm planning on the Northern Tier (May-July, 2014, East to West) starting from my home in RI though I might drive to Bar Harbor. Will likely include the Great Lakes loop to avoid Chicago, etc. I love traveling by bike and use my bike year round for transportation. Love touring but do not like camping and all "extras" that go with it. Is it reasonable to assume that I can motel, B&B, etc.. along this route even in the more remote areas of ND and MT?
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillion infidels.

Walt Whitman

Offline CMajernik

Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2013, 03:15:59 pm »
Yes, i think you'll be able to do it by motel/B&B, etc. You might have to plan for some long days, and reservations are a good idea in the area of western ND and eastern MT. Motels in that area are being used by the Bakken oil field workers between Dickinson, ND and Glendive, MT. In eastern ND there is a stretch of 110 miles between Enderlin and Napoleon where we don't list any motels. On the addenda there is Cyclists Only Lodging/Camping listed in Gackle, which is 72.5 mi. w. of Enderlin. You could contact the person offering lodging to see what his set-up is and if you can stay without having a sleeping bag, etc. Or you could do some online searching to see if you can find a B&B nearby or you might have to ride parallel to I-94 where there are motels.
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline Bry

Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2013, 05:05:19 pm »
Thanks, Carla!
The maps arrived the other day and I've been reviewing them (slowly!). It's all a bit overwhelming. Lots of details. I appreciate your advice. I think I need to chill a bit and look at each day rather than the whole which is kind of freaking me out. I have no doubt of my skills and ability but this is one LONG haul though unfamiliar land.
Thanks again!
Bryan
Barrington, RI
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillion infidels.

Walt Whitman

Offline canalligators

Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 12:55:22 pm »
I've looked into this, and the other place you might have trouble is Rainy/Washington Pass.  That's at least 75 miles and a tandem pair of mountain passes.  We considered riding from the west, bringing a cheap tent and sleeping bags, camping at Colonial Creek, then either giving the tent and bags away or seeing if someone would mail them out for us.

Offline Bry

Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 04:26:49 pm »
After a ton of constructive feed back on the Bicycle touring forum i have decided to "tough it out " ;-)


Ok, it's been decided. I will carry my tent, bag, and Thermarest. It's true, having them may add a bit of weight but will make for less stress if needed. Indeed, as some have pointed out, it may result in a memorable event if it means a beautiful site or the opportunity to spend time with new friends who just happen to be camping not to mention an emergency shelter!

I'm not a complete weight weenie, you know! ;-) I carried all this and much more fully loaded on the Great Divide Canada with ACA. It's just that I REALLY like carrying "nothing" and staying in hippy deluxe  B&Bs where they server home made granola with yogurt and fresh fruit, Celestial Seasons tea,....etc.. ;-))

Now that has been settled, on to bigger issues like whether to skip Niagara Falls (been there-crowds and expensive) or to take the ferry (Badger) across Lake Michigan (save milage) or go north to Mackinaw, UP, etc.(beautiful)?

Bryan
Barrington, RI
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillion infidels.

Walt Whitman

Offline canalligators

Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2013, 03:14:37 pm »
...to take the ferry (Badger) across Lake Michigan (save milage) or go north to Mackinaw, UP, etc.(beautiful)?
...

This could depends on how much you're into transportation history.  The Badger is the last coal-fired piston engine steam ship built for the Great Lakes, so she's got historic interest (and the scent of coal smoke).  I'd take that ride again in a nanosecond.

Offline Bry

Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2013, 03:40:24 pm »
Love history and shipping on inland waterways. Did not know that about the Badger! I'm sold. Thanks!
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillion infidels.

Walt Whitman

Offline John Nelson

Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2013, 10:34:17 am »
whether to skip Niagara Falls (been there-crowds and expensive) or to take the ferry (Badger) across Lake Michigan (save milage) or go north to Mackinaw, UP, etc.(beautiful)?
Niagara Falls: I stopped there on my Northern Tier ride last year. I'd been there several times, but I'd never taken the Maid of the Mist, so I wanted to do that. It only took $20 and 60 minutes, which I enjoyed thoroughly, and then I got out of town quickly because it's so crowded with tourists. Niagara Falls can be expensive, but there are cheap options available a few hours away by bicycle, so plan to stop there midday if you don't want the expense of spending the night there. Riding along the Erie Canalway Trail and the west side of the Niagara River in Ontario are very pleasant. I'd also suggest riding along the north shore of Lake Erie through Ontario.

Badger: Never taken it, so I don't know. But they keep threatening to stop running it (it's polluting Lake Michigan), so be sure to double-check its availability before you go there.

Mackinaw/Mackinac/UP: This route takes longer (about 215 miles longer), but you trade the expense of the Badger ($69 plus $6 for the bike) for the expense of the Mackinac ferry ($25 plus $8 for the bike). Mackinac Island is well worth a visit (be sure to ride around the island and buy some fudge). Straits State Park in St. Ignace on the shores of the Mackinac Strait is one of the most beautiful campsites I've ever stayed at. And the ride along the northern shore of Lake Michigan is very nice (although a lot of it is on US2). As a bonus, you get to eat a lot of pasties in the UP and call yourself a yooper for a few days.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2013, 10:38:32 am by John Nelson »

Offline indyfabz

Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2013, 01:25:37 pm »
It's just that I REALLY like carrying "nothing" and staying in hippy deluxe  B&Bs where they server home made granola with yogurt and fresh fruit, Celestial Seasons tea,....etc.. ;-))

You might like this HI hostal in Niagara Falls:

http://www.hostelz.com/hostel/2126-HI---Niagara-Falls-Rainbow-Hostel

When we stayed there back in '99 they actually had a Merry Prankster-style bus. For a fee, they took us on a tour of some non/less-touristy places in the area, including a brewery and winery. It's located in the old part of town, so you are not constantly durrounded by the throngs.

Don't confuse it with the motel of a similar name. That place has some bad reviews.

Offline CMajernik

Re: Northern Tier for the Non-Camper
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2013, 02:49:52 pm »
Here's a website to check for B&Bs. It shows our routes:

http://www.bbbiking.com/
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes