Author Topic: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?  (Read 912 times)

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Offline cheesehawk

NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« on: March 03, 2014, 02:30:03 pm »
I'm starting route planning for May 2015 - my first "Big Crossing." Rough outline - DC to Pittsburgh via C&O and GAP. Pittsburgh to Madison WI (home) via Lake Michigan shore. Madison to Yankton SD via parents' home in Iowa. Yankton to Pine Ridge Ind. Res./Black Hills via 12/northern NE. From the Black Hills over the Big Horns to Cody/YSNP. I've been to Glacier, so I'm basically swapping the Big Horns for Glacier in terms of scenic value. Not the same, but I hope to see the Big Horns when the flowers are in bloom (third week of June). I'd rather save Going-To-the-Sun-Road for an east-bound trip.

I'm still trying to conceptualize the final stage - YSNP to finish. I'm thinking of taking the TA to Missoula, then either L&C to Seaside Oregon OR Hwy 200 to Sandpoint ID to hook up with the NT. So basically it is NT v. L&C between Missoula MT and the Pacific. Any thoughts? Other options I should consider? I'll probably hit Yellowstone sometime around the 4th of July, if it matters.

Offline indyfabz

Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 10:56:26 am »
Having ridden through some of the Columbia Rver Gorge and the section of the Northern Tier east to Glacier N.P. twice, I personally would pick the latter, although I cannot comment on suitability of MT 200 to the junction with the Northern Tier since I took the Great Parks North Route between Whitefish/Columbia Falls to Missoula. Just keep in mind that picking up the Northern Tier that way (you would join the route at the junction of MT 200 and MT 56, and it leaves MT 200 for a while heading towards Clark Fork, ID.) will ultimately send you over four mountain passes in a row in WA, culminating with an epic and long downhill from Rainy Pass on the North Cascades Highway.

Another option is to simply stay on the Trans Am to the coast. I did much of the OR section of the route during Cycle Oregon 2002. While I fond some of eastern and central OR somewhat borning (and hot and dry even in early September), McKenzie Pass east of Sisters is a terrific ride. It's an old volcano that blew a long time ago. At the pass, there is nothing but black lava rock. There is an observatory built out of the stuff. It looks like a place Skeletor would call home. The climb up the east side is not that bad. The west side has a cool section of tight switchbacks through forest. Descend with caution.

Offline cheesehawk

Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 02:27:54 pm »
Just keep in mind that picking up the Northern Tier that way will ultimately send you over four mountain passes in a row in WA.

Another option is to simply stay on the Trans Am to the coast. I fond some of eastern and central OR somewhat borning (and hot and dry even in early September)

Thanks for the response Indy. I think my sister will be joining me for the last 1/3 of the ride, and the four passes on the NT route might result in me being pushed in front of a logging truck. I think I subconsciously overlooked the Trans Am because I assumed it would be worse, and I also assumed that central Oregon would be dry and boring. It probalby makes more sense to take the TransAm, especially since I hope to go back and do the NT from at least the coast to Glacier one day.

If anyone else wants to chime in I'd love to hear it. I seem to recall Jamawani/John Egan may have mentioned that he had an alternate route through the Sawtooth mountains, but I don't recall reading it anywhere. Looking at the West, I think I'm reconciled to the notion that it is not the mid-west or South, and I may have to carry at least a minimal amount of cooking gear and food at times.

Offline staehpj1

Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 04:31:59 pm »
We liked the TA in that section, but have not done the other options that you mention so I can't compare.

Offline cheesehawk

Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 04:54:34 pm »
We liked the TA in that section.

Thanks! Opinions will vary, and I'm glad to hear positive opinions.

Offline PeteJack

Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2014, 12:40:18 pm »
Quote
the four passes on the NT route might result in me being pushed in front of a logging truck.
??? I did it last summer and didn't particularly notice logging trucks. It's a long way from Kettle Falls to Sherman Pass, make sure you have plenty of water because there's none on the way.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2014, 03:48:08 pm »
Quote
the four passes on the NT route might result in me being pushed in front of a logging truck.
??? I did it last summer and didn't particularly notice logging trucks. It's a long way from Kettle Falls to Sherman Pass, make sure you have plenty of water because there's none on the way.

Sherman Pass is big but a steady grade.  Wauconda is pretty easy coming west from Republic.  Loup Loup I remember as pretty rugged, but cheesehawk can take comfort in the lack of cell coverage climbing Washington Pass the fourth day; his sister won't be able to get a signal to arrange for a friend of a friend to meet him with a lumber truck.

;)

Offline indyfabz

Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2014, 12:57:43 pm »
Sherman Pass is big but a steady grade.  Wauconda is pretty easy coming west from Republic.  Loup Loup I remember as pretty rugged,[/quote]

Even though I went east twice, I think that's pretty accurate. I recall signs on Loup Loup warning people heading west of steep grades. And I remember feeling cheated out of a fast descent heading down the east slope of Wauconda to Republic. Sherman was a good, steady descent heading east except for that short section where it ticks back up again before the final run into Kettle Falls.

Offline cheesehawk

Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 10:33:10 pm »
I think I'm going to take the TransAm across Oregon instead of the NT or L&C. I appreciate all of the input. My reasoning is I'd like to "save" the NT from Washington to Glacier for a future trip. I'd still be interested in looking at options through the Sawtooth connecting through to the NT from Yellowstone if anyone has any suggestions.

Offline PeteJack

Re: NT or L&C Going West from Missoula?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2014, 12:10:28 pm »
I was in Minnesota and met two brothers who had rode the NT from Anacortes. They had set of with their dad and when they go to the summit of Washington Pass he refused to go any further. And the whole trip was his idea!