Author Topic: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon  (Read 1095 times)

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Offline Rebeccadr119

Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« on: February 25, 2014, 06:27:18 pm »
Hello everyone,

I am going to be biking across the U.S. starting May 1st. I will be taking the northern route. I have never cycled this distance before (not even close). I will be camping and couchsurfing most of the way and I would like your advice and tips as to what I should take, what I should be aware of, routes, and things to see.

I have an interest in Martial arts, sustainability, organic farming, art, and local cuisine. The one thing on the trip that I have to do is stop into Chicago, so I cannot bypass the windy city. I am open to just about anything else. I am also open to people joining in on the trip even if only for a tiny portion of it.

Thank you for your responses looking to hear from you.


Rebecca

Offline John Nelson

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 06:30:21 pm »
Are you considering the ACA Northern Tier? How much time do you have?

Offline Rebeccadr119

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2014, 12:09:17 pm »
Hey John,

I have not decided on a route yet. This northern route sounds interesting though.

I am going to take about three to four months to cross the country. If I took this route do you have any suggestions along the way?

Rebecca

Offline John Nelson

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2014, 01:27:18 pm »
The Northern Tier does start near Portland Maine and go near Chicago, so it fits those constraints, and there are reasonable ways to branch off to get to Portland Oregon at the end. I found cheap camping easier to come by on the TransAm than on the Northern Tier, but I still camped almost every night on the NT. I'm not sure about leaving as early as May 1, weather wise. It might be better to leave a bit later if you can.

Using ACA routes simplifies the planning a lot, so I find it more stress free. No matter which way you go, there's plenty to see, interesting people to interact with, and new foods to explore. It's hard to go wrong.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2014, 07:39:27 pm »
Rebecca, sounds like fun! Are you heading east to west?

Offline Rebeccadr119

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2014, 08:54:32 pm »
Yes I am going to be going east to west, however, we are going to be stopping on the west coast portland and seattle before we actually go to the east coast.

Thanks John for the tips I think most of the trail we will be hitting will be in the Northern Teir.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2014, 08:16:20 am »
If you do end up taking the Northern Tier, I highly recommend taking the option from Cut Bank, MT into Alberta and then to Waterton Village. Some of the more striking mountain scenery of the route next to Going to the Sun Rd. There is a great campground right in town and an opportunity to go on a boat ride/hike combo if you take a day off there.

View from the town campground:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/3675812975/in/set-72157620763740044

Leaving the village:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2007/3676630222/in/set-72157620763740044

Offline Rebeccadr119

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2014, 09:54:46 am »
Thanks indyfabz for sharing those beautiful pictures and for the suggestion. We love it and going to check it out. Out of curiosity what time of year did you visit?

Offline indyfabz

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2014, 10:54:39 am »
Thiose photos were taken during a clockwise loop from/to Whitefish, MT. I think we were in Waterton Village around June 21st.  Rode to St. Mary, MT the next day. Going to the Sun was not yet fully openned so we had to ride around Glacier N.P. to get to the west entrace in order ot have time to ride up and back down the west side of Going to the Sun.

Don't let the bundled up look fool you. While it was cold and very windy the night we were there, the next day was quite nice. It was just a tad cool in the morning. Once the sun got a little higher in the sky, it warmed up. The hills going towards the border corssing at Chief Mountain also warmed us up nicely.

Offline Rebeccadr119

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2014, 11:50:06 am »
Thanks indyfabz.


___________________________________________________________________________________
I haave run into an unusual problem that I could use some advice on. I have really tiny feet. I can wear a kids shoe  size 10-12 depending on brand and for adult women about 4-5. Does anyone have any advice for a shoe that I can use to cycle across country if in the event I am unable to find a bike shoe? I appriciate any advice I can get. Thank you.

Offline zzzz

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2014, 08:57:35 pm »
Hi Rebecca:

Strangely enough, even though I am not a woman and I have normal size feet, I have something for you.

The only bicycling related item I don't buy at my local bike store is shoes. The selection and size availability is alway pretty weak. I have bought a couple of pairs of shoes from Competitive Cyclist and was really happy with their service. I went online to see if they had any women's size "tiny" and they did :

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/womens-road-bike-shoes?p=size%3A4.0

They also have a NQA return policy. I once used it when some shoes I bought from them started bothering my feet 2 weeks after I got them. No problem w/ returning them.

Now, these are road shoes, but I think the majority of tourers use either touring shoes or MTB shoes. I got nothing for you on those. Also, make sure whatever shoe you buy works with whatever pedals you have (or intend to buy).

If you don't know the difference; road shoes have a very stiff sole and are pretty awkward to walk around in, they are for riding only. MTB shoes have some flexibility and a recessed cleat and touring shoes have more flexibility yet and are closest to a street shoe.

Even when I'm touring I still use road shoes, they provide the most efficient transfer of energy. Then when I get to the store / restaurant / hotel I keep a pair of running shoes handy & I put them on. I can then blend  inconspicuously with the locals....well, except for the lycra shorts.

Pete

Offline Rebeccadr119

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2014, 02:40:21 pm »
Thank you so much pete. I checked out the site and it helped so much. Having kid sized feet can be a pain sometimes. I didn't think I could find one pair out there.

Offline cheesehawk

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 05:13:30 pm »
If you are going to Chicago you could consider deviating from the NT route by taking the rail-trails through Wisconsin. Active trans sells a Chicago cycling map here: http://www.activetrans.org/shop

If you are going to downtown Chicago you could take the Lakeshore path towards Milwaukee. There is a lengthy trail running from Waukesha (just west of Milwaukee), WI to Cottage Grove, WI (just east of Madison). If you are heading to the western suburubs of Chicago then you could make your way towards the Jane Adams Trial, which joins up with the Badger State Trail in Wisconsin, and takes you into Madison. These are generally crushed limestone trails, unless you are near a major urban area, then they are paved.

Heading out of Madison I know a back-roads route to Devil's Lake State Park, and from there it is a short ride to pick up a network of trails that will take to La Crosse, where you could rejoin the Northern Tier route. There are also more miles of bike paths on the Wisconsin side of the Missippi (again, generally crushed limestone), so you could continue north and rejoin the NT route at a later point if you chose. Options would be the bridge at Winona, MN, or you could stay on the east side of the Missippi and rejoin the route just north of Red Wing, MN.

Madison has a large Farmer's Market on the Capitol square every Saturday morning, and smaller markets elsewhere in the city on Wednesdays, Sundays and Saturdays. There are many organic suppliers and farms, and I believe some of them are within an easy ride of the route I've described above. I'd have to do more specific research. There is also a local/organic specialty grocery store in tiny Paoli, which is near the Badger State trail a few miles south of Madison.

I'm an advocate for Wisconsin cycling, obviously. Compared to Illinois and Iowa you will generally find a lot more trees, hills and bike trails. I grew up in Iowa, so I'm only biased against Illinois.  ;D The scenery in western Wisconsin near La Crosse is truly stunning.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 05:18:05 pm by cheesehawk »

Offline indyfabz

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2014, 10:49:28 am »
Thanks indyfabz.


___________________________________________________________________________________
I haave run into an unusual problem that I could use some advice on. I have really tiny feet. I can wear a kids shoe  size 10-12 depending on brand and for adult women about 4-5. Does anyone have any advice for a shoe that I can use to cycle across country if in the event I am unable to find a bike shoe? I appriciate any advice I can get. Thank you.

You might consider a MTB shoe like this:

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/mavic-zoya-shoe-womens?ti=UExQIENhdDpXb21lblwncyBNb3VudGFpbiBCaWtlIFNob2VzOjE6MjpjY0NhdDEwMDM2NA

Something tougher that is designed to be walked in more. Recessed SPD cleats are also handy as they don't wear as quickly as plastic road cleats.

My GF is a size 5. She has ordered shoes through a good shop here in Philly. Last time she picked up 3 pairs of Sidis because good stuff in her size is so hard to find. I will ask her of she had success with other sources.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Portland Maine to Portland Oregon
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2014, 12:36:52 pm »
I'm not sure about leaving as early as May 1, weather wise. It might be better to leave a bit later if you can.
+1 I left Bar Harbor on the NT in May last year and ran into a lot of heavy rain on the E coast.