Author Topic: 2 General Questions  (Read 781 times)

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Offline ddel945

2 General Questions
« on: March 25, 2014, 02:34:33 am »
I plan on starting in Seaside, OR 6/11/2014 and following The Lewis & Clark Trail to the Northern Tier.  In order to get the latest version when is the best time to buy the ACA maps I will need?  Updates are posted on the ACA website but will the printed maps change from now to May/ June? 

Secondly:
I hope to mostly camp with a night or two per week in a motel.  I also have a pretty good idea where I'll be and stay for the first 3 nights of my tour.  After that there are too many variables to plan any further.  Generally speaking when do people on tour decide where they will be staying?  For instance say I am somewhere in Montana following my maps, enjoying my tour, how many days out should I have planned?  Or do folks wait till noon to see how they feel that day and decide how far and where they will stay that night?  Or do people stop at the end of the day then start looking for a place to stay?    Do the ACA maps provide enough detailed information for me to find a place to stay or will I need to rely on my smart phone or a combination of both?  How easy or difficult is it to find places to stay along my planned route?  I don't want to ride 65 miles then find out there is no place for me to stay. 

I know there is no correct answer for everybody but I am hoping to get a general idea.  Thanks for any help or advice you can give and for being patient. 
Dave
 

Offline staehpj1

Re: 2 General Questions
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2014, 04:14:51 am »
Mostly I don't pick stopping points ahead of time at all unless there is some specific reason to do so.  So I usually decide when I get there, but having an idea what options you have a few days out is a good idea.  That way you can avoid stopping at a point that severely limits your choices for the next day.  There are places where you want to stop at a specific spot because of a long stretch without services.  Another consideration might be major climbs that you might want to get done in the cool of the morning or maybe split between two days.

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: 2 General Questions
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2014, 07:19:59 am »
I've done that stretch.

1) Call ACA to see if they plan to issue a new map this year.
2) The maps are helpful, but you can't be certain that the facilities they describe are still there.   More info is better than less info.

Sure, generally plan your entire route taking into account the factors Pete mentions.  Be prepared, however, to be flexible depending on conditions - you, your bike, the weather, etc.
Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: 2 General Questions
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2014, 08:50:59 am »
On the western stretches, there's often only one town within riding distance of the previous town.  If you ride fast, maybe two; do you want a short day or a long day?  Weekends are the hardest to get a room, otherwise you might be able to roll into town and pick a motel or call a day ahead of time.  (And if you want a room in Glacier NP, pick a date you think you can make and start calling now.)

The further east you get, the shorter the distance between towns.  The AC maps (with addenda) are pretty good at identifying where lodging is available.  Here you can pick a destination at lunch and call ahead; if they're full, you may have to shorten or lengthen your ride an hour or two if you're going to motel it that night.

Offline JMilyko

Re: 2 General Questions
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2014, 09:18:52 am »
Dave,

For a trip beginning in June, you are safe to buy your maps now. It sounds like your other questions have been answered by your fellow traveling cyclists.

Have a great trip!

Best,
.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline indyfabz

Re: 2 General Questions
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2014, 10:03:33 am »
The AC maps (with addenda) are pretty good at identifying where lodging is available.  Here you can pick a destination at lunch and call ahead; if they're full, you may have to shorten or lengthen your ride an hour or two if you're going to motel it that night.

+1. The maps are pretty thorough when it comes to lodging.  If you are looking at a city/town park, you really don't need to call ahead. With places like some U.S.F.S. campgrounds, you cannot call ahead as they are not staffed. Even full private places will often find a place to stick you, such as on a lawn, although you might not get such ammenities as a picnic table and a fire ring that you would get if had a regular site. Hotels/motels may be a different story as many of them can be on the small side. Project activity in the area can also affect room availability. On the northern tier our group found at least two motels that were booked solid with long-term guests. One place was full of archaeology students working at a nearby site. The other was booked with construction crews working on a pipeline project.

+1 on what Cycle Safe says about facility SNAFUS. I was riding the Great Parks South one year and planned to get dinner supplies at a small grocery store near my planned campground. I decided instead to go a little off rote to a larger town with the hope of finding a larger selection of groceries. Good thing I did because the store where I had originally planned to shop had burned down a few weeks before. The event was so recent that it had not made it into the addenda. The experience taught me that it can be benneficial to hit up an area with greater resources and carry food for a while rather than count on that the grocery store in the small town 15 miles down the road where I plan to camp  still being in business and not closed for the evening by the time I arrive.

Later in the trip I got to a U.S.F.S. campground near Telluride to find it closed for renovations. Same thing happened a few years ago in Montana. I had checked the web page for the campground and there was no mention of it being closed for renovations. When I got home I emailed the Forest Service and suggested that they might want to note the temporary closure on the web site. I was surprised to get a quick response which read "Good idea." I was even more surpised that they quickly followed through withthe update.

It tends to all work out in the end if you remain flexible. Personally, I like to have a "Plan B" each day if it looks like I might need it.

BTW...If you will be taking the L&C route option through the Bitteroots to Dillon then north, consider staying at the Bike Camp in Twin Bridges. Great facility with plenty of room, and there are lots of services in town, including a good grocery store--assuming it hasn't burned down.  :)

Offline jamawani

Re: 2 General Questions
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2014, 01:55:17 pm »
General Grant and General Lee??

A couple of things -
The timing of your trip should be excellent for opened facilities in the Pacific NW.

As for your questions about lodging -
Campgrounds are usually good about making sure you have a place as others have said -
The National Parks and many Oregon/Washington state parks also have hiker/biker campsites.
Motels along the way shouldn't be too much of a problem, but - -
Lodging near national parks - Glacier, Yellowstone - is often booked and expensive.
(Anyhoo, camping in the national parks is so nice - why do lodges there?)

I would strongly recommend Cape Disappointment at the beginning of your trip unless weather is bad.
Despite its name - it is a stunning place - with lighthouses and magnificent vistas.
If you are squeamish about cycling the Astoria Bridge - you can catch a bus across.

The riding on the Washington side of the Columbia River is sooooo much nicer.
Hwy 4 has very light traffic - US 30 is pretty darn busy - I've done both, multiple times.
Hwy 401 to Naselle follows the river for about 5 miles - fabulous if you are heading east.
Hwy 4 has a few climbs, but follows river valleys thru farming country.
Skamokawa has a lovely campground on the river where it is 4 miles wide.
Then there is the refuge road to Cathlamet.
From Cathlamet you can take the ferry back across to Oregon.
(And you will do a big "Ugghh!" after getting back on US 30.)

There really is no good way to bypass Portland on the L&C Route.
Portland is extremely bike friendly - but it is a big city, nevertheless.
Since you will be going thru St Helens - it might be worth it to stop by the marina downtown.
I have hitched a ride across a half-dozen major rivers - and who knows? - someone may take you across.
There are nice back road that swing north and east of Vancouver if you do this option.

Finally, I rode Hwy 14 on my first X-USA trip in 1987.  It has way more traffic now.
I've ridden Hwy 14 a couple of time since and have driven it, too.
Frankly, I find US 12 over White Pass and back roads in the Yakima Valley more appealing.
(Not to mention that it will be cherry season with lots of ripe cherry stands in the Yak Valley.)

Just a few suggestions.
Have a good trip!  J



« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 02:24:48 pm by jamawani »

Offline BikePacker

Re: 2 General Questions
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2014, 02:03:30 pm »
Reply to Q. No. 2:
1.   Regarding how far in advance to arrange for motels (can not speak to campsites), when I was riding thru eastern Montana and western N. Dakota, which I did in the earlier/beginning days of the oil/gas boom, I could find no/zero motel openings even 4 days in advance.  Now that the 'boom' has grown.... hopefully the motel capacity has as well.  Some days I would just knowingly go to the fully booked motel and be there at the front desk at the time that non-guaranteed reservation rooms were released cause the people did not show by that designated time, and I was, thereby, successful in getting a room.  Elsewhere in the USA I would consistently call ahead to a motel 1 day ahead & book a guaranteed reservation ... I found it valuable to ask if the guaranteed reservation was cancellable, and if so, by exactly when!!!  I had several cases where I had to cancel guaranteed reservation due to 'unanticipated circumstances.'  And, while having to mess with cancelling (and not always having the cell reception to do so) for me, I preferred the certainty of k-n-o-w-i-n-g that I had a motel room awaiting me at days end  :D
2.  Regarding ACA map accuracy & adequate detail, only in the above section of the country did I find a need for a backup set of maps (I used DeLorme software at the time cause 'smart phones' were not as info rich, nor was reception/towers as unbiquitous).... everywhere else the ACA maps worked adequately to nearly perfectly.  One of the factors causing the maps to be inaccurate was due to the fast changing conditions due to the economic growth of the oil/gas fields area(s).
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 02:05:43 pm by BikePacker »

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: 2 General Questions
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2014, 11:31:06 pm »
There really is no good way to bypass Portland on the L&C Route.
Portland is extremely bike friendly - but it is a big city, nevertheless.

The Lewis and Clark route bypasses most of Portland, even when in Portland. The only city neighborhoods that it goes through is St Johns and portions of North Portland, which has plenty of services, including bike shops and groceries. But they are mostly residential "streetcar suburb" neighborhoods and not really "big city" like. The rest of the way through the metro area is along Marine Drive, which is nice because it's pretty straight and flat and much of it is separated bike path. But you'll see very little of actual Portland unless you detour from the route. If you don't detour, you may wonder why everyone makes such a big deal about Portland.  ;)

Finally, I rode Hwy 14 on my first X-USA trip in 1987.  It has way more traffic now.
I've ridden Hwy 14 a couple of time since and have driven it, too.

Definitely agree on the "more traffic". Quite a bit of semis, not too much shoulder either, at least from the Camas to Bingen section. East of there, not as bad. And if you ride 14 the whole way through the Columbia River Gorge, you miss most of the scenic attractions.

Offline PeteJack

Re: 2 General Questions
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2014, 10:57:40 am »
   Regarding how far in advance to arrange for motels[/b] (can not speak to campsites), when I was riding thru eastern Montana and western N. Dakota, which I did in the earlier/beginning days of the oil/gas boom, I could find no/zero motel openings even 4 days in advance.  Now that the 'boom' has grown.... hopefully the motel capacity has as well.
Last summer (July) I rode the new ACA route through ND and MT that avoids the oil/gas nightmare, didn't book ahead, and had no trouble finding accommodation. Big chunks of Section 4 of this route are on I94, the ACA route offers alternatives, some people prefer to stay on the freeeway thinking it's quicker but I don't recommend it. On one frontage road I did 18 miles and saw one car and a lot of cows, far nicer than navigating freeway rumble strips and debris.