Author Topic: Northern Tier For Non Campers  (Read 1843 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Bry

Northern Tier For Non Campers
« on: November 08, 2013, 04:49:39 pm »
I posted this to "Routes" but now think it should be "General". New to this so sorry if I'm wrong.

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? I plan on 50-75 miles a day but more if wind and mind-set allow.
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillion infidels.

Walt Whitman

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2013, 09:41:03 pm »
We met a couple on a tandem doing the same thing, only west to east, in 2009.  As I recall, they were cranking out some big miles (80-100 per day) to meet their schedule.  Their light load (compared to us) allowed them to make those miles, at least as far as Montana.

That couple had motel reservations clear across the U.S.A.  In the east, I suspect that was overkill; in the west, not so much.  There's only so many places you can stay out west, and they get full on summer weekends.  For the most part you should be able to make it within 75 miles per day.  I think the Mazama to Concrete, WA day might be a bit longer than that, but you should be in really good shape by the time you hit Washington Pass going west.

Offline Somebuddy

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2013, 09:50:58 am »
In the areas where you cannot get a hotel / motel, why not consider www.warmshowers.org
This is an international group of people interested in meeting with cycle tourers who offer a bed in their home and sometimes a meal aswell. Worth a wee look to help you out if stuck for accomodation.
I'll be using their help next year when I cross the Northern Tier, west to east.

Offline yumadons

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2013, 02:59:43 pm »
Another place to look for accommodations is Craigslist - people rent out vacation cottages. trailers in RV parks, or even rooms in their homes. I was able to find Craigslist lodging in a few tight spots on our credit card TransAm last year.  With reservations for the western half made well in advance, we pulled off no camping averaging 43 miles per day. Don't know if you could motel the Northern Tier without doing century days, it's been too long ago since I've ridden it.






Offline Bry

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2013, 08:46:35 pm »
Thanks! I very much appreciate the responses.

I just got my ACA maps and plan to map-out the route in segments (50 miles +) and start looking from there making reservations as needed. I  want to remain somewhat of a "free spirit" but I'm not the type who feels comfortable without an advanced plan or two.

Some folks have recommend carrying a tent and sleeping bag "just in case". I have both (used on the Great Divide Canada) but then I'm not traveling as so light. I would really like to minimize on this tour.

I am familiar with warm showers and will look into that. The problem there lies with my wife who is not so keen on "strangers" in her house. Then again, where we live does not lend itself to many overnight tourists so...... Worth considering for my benefit.

And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillion infidels.

Walt Whitman

Offline yumadons

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2013, 09:05:47 pm »
Can't hurt to sign up but WarmShowers is least likely to turn up members in the remote areas where there aren't any motels.

Another thought on carrying a tent & sleeping bag just in case. If you discover a place where lodging will be too far between, buy cheap ones, Goodwill if you can, (maybe just bags & pray for no rain), in the town before & leave behind at campground with "free to good home" sign.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2013, 01:05:40 am »
Before I did the Northern Tier, I made a list of all Warm Showers host on the route. There are quite a few dead zones. For example, at the time, there was nothing between Anacortes and Mazama, and nothing in the very long stretch between Cut Bank and Bismarck, nothing again between Bismarck and Fargo, and again between Fargo and Bemidji, and nothing in the upper peninsula of Michigan.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2013, 01:08:00 am by John Nelson »

Offline zzzz

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2013, 10:04:46 pm »
Hi:

I've done 50 days of touring w/o doing any camping. None of my trips  were on the Northern Tier so I can't comment on what it will be like on your route but I can tell you what I lessons I took from my time credit card touring. I carry about 15 lbs total so I like to go pretty light. I've always stayed at hotels or B&B's, never used Warm Showers or churches, but thats just me and my neurosis about feeling like I might be imposing.

My first trip, 32 days west to east, I brought no back up in case I could not get to my hotel and things got pretty dicey a couple of times.

The next trip this last September was 18 days, I brought this item: http://www.adventurecycling.org/cyclosource-store/everything-else/sp/adventure-medical-kits-sol-escape-bivvy/ It's minimal in weight & size and it will keep you from hypothermia if you're stuck sleeping outside at altitude. I never used it but there was some piece of mind in having it.

For next years trip I'm giving a lot of thought to one of those ultra-light tents and sleeping bags. Four pounds total for both. I still have no plans to use it but on a long trip you can count on unexpected stuff happening.

Also, it's good to check out your prospective hotels from the comfort of your home on TripAdvisor . I'm not sure how ACA decides which hotels are to be listed on the maps, sometimes they're the best available, but not always.

FWIW:I just scanned my bills for last fall's trip and most of the hotels were in the 75-85 dollar range.

Pete

Offline indyfabz

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2013, 09:32:07 am »
I am familiar with warm showers and will look into that. The problem there lies with my wife who is not so keen on "strangers" in her house. Then again, where we live does not lend itself to many overnight tourists so...... Worth considering for my benefit.

I think the suggestion was to use it for places to stay, not for you hosting others. You don't have to host in order to be a guest.

As for hotels/motels, you will likely need to make advance reservations in Glacier National Park and its environs (e.g., Columbia Falls, Whitefish) and Waterton Village if you do the western Canadian portion. Another problem spot could be in the area of the North Cascades National Park.  IIRC, there are limited options from Mazama west to maybe Concrete. There are places after you descend from the pases, but I think their size is limited so there may be competition for space if you are there during high season.

If you find you can pack them, a light sleeping bag and/or mattress would give you the option of staying in campground cabins, such as those at the KOA in Winthrop, WA and the Adirondack shelters at Steelhead Park in Rockport, WA.

BTW...The NT is sufficently south of Chi that you are not influenced by it. In fact, the portion through IL was pretty rural much of the way.

Offline Bry

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2013, 10:37:35 am »
Good to know! I was under the impression that warm showers required reciprocation in that your home had to be available as well.

Still lots of planning to do but leaning toward packing my tent, bag and pad, "just in case".

Thanks!
Bryan

And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillion infidels.

Walt Whitman

Offline John Nelson

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2013, 10:40:41 am »
Although Warm Showers does not require reciprocation, it does encourage it. I think many people, myself included, started out as a guest and then started hosting when they saw how well and easily it worked, and as a way to pay back. So feel free to start out as a guest, and then you can decide whether or not you want to host later.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 11:31:31 am »
Quote
Still lots of planning to do but leaning toward packing my tent, bag and pad, "just in case".
+1 I took the same and used them a few times on an extended NT trip this year (ACA Atlantic Coast to Philly, across PA to Pittsburgh then Erie & NT, it's a long story) I also lugged a stove and pans which in OH I sent home. I hate cooking.

Ease up on the planning.

Offline Bry

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2013, 11:38:58 am »
"ease up on planning"
Good advice. Thanks
Bryan
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillion infidels.

Walt Whitman

Offline John Nelson

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2013, 01:30:01 pm »
How much planning you do is a very personal thing. Some people very much enjoy the planning and feel comfortable planning in detail. Others enjoy the spontaneity and surprise of very little planning and just heading out the door. For me, I agree with Dwight D. Eisenhower who said, "Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." I plan things out pretty thoroughly, but then I don't necessarily follow the plan. I just like to know that there is at least one feasible scenario. Plans get more important when the constraints (e.g., time, money, goals) are tight, and less necessary when the constraints are loose.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Northern Tier For Non Campers
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2013, 02:35:26 pm »
Point taken John. What I should have said was ease up on itinerary planning. Riding to a schedule can be miserable particularly if you are riding with someone else and you are not 100% in sync on where and when. These days I prefer riding solo in part because of this. Bah humbug.