Author Topic: UGRR to TransAm  (Read 629 times)

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Offline Norsman

UGRR to TransAm
« on: April 16, 2014, 06:15:38 pm »
As part of a cross USA trip next year I plan to use both the UGRR and the TransAm to get to the West Coast. I plan to go up the UGRR to at least the Shiloh National Military Park.  I can then continue on to Cave-in-Rock to connect with the TransAm but I can also set off in a northwest direction and connect to the TransAm south of Mark Twain National Forest. The latter route cuts off a fair amount of distance and a lot of elevation.  The main drawback may be that it also cuts off some nice areas to cycle through but I am not sure if that is the case.

The most direct route NW goes through Jackson and over the Caruthersville Bridge but I think this crossing of the Mississippi might be banned to cyclists.  A bit further north is the Dorena-Hickman Ferry which I believe runs everyday assuming the river is not in flood. Any suggestions about routes through this area would be greatly appreciated.

Offline spininin

Re: UGRR to TransAm
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2014, 06:49:34 pm »
Just saw your post.  My trip to the TransAm from Birmingham, AL was interrupted in Union City, TN on 6/23 because of a family illness.  I'm hope to resume the ride on 7/15.  My original plan was to use the UGRR but I changed the route after reading blogs and forum posts about the character of the route north of Savannah, TN.  My current plan is to cross the Mississippi using the ferry at Hickman, KY and intersect the TransAm in Ellington, MO.  I used RidewithGPS to select the route. 
Have you learned anything since your post about riding in that general direction?
Thanks     

Offline Norsman

Re: UGRR to TransAm
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2014, 08:18:16 pm »
I will be leaving the UGRR at the Shiloh battle site.  From there I will go past Jackson and Dyersburg before taking the same ferry as you across the Mississippi. I would have crossed the Mississippi earlier, at the quite nice bridge on the I-115 near Dyersburg, but unfortunately cycling appears to be banned on that crossing.

Once off the ferry  I plan to weave my way to Van Buren and take US-60 west before taking a connecting road to arrive at the TransAm route just east of Alley Spring State Park.

Offline spininin

Re: UGRR to TransAm
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2014, 11:41:02 pm »
I was planning the same route after the ferry except for a turn onto Hwy 21 going to Ellington.  Your route to Alley Spring State Park looks like it may be more scenic.  I may go that way instead.  Will check it out.  Not yet sure about my departure date.  Still some family issues to take care of first.

BTW, highways 64 and 45 between Savannah and Jackson are great rides if you're trying to cover a lot of miles fast.  The shoulder is probably 10 or 12 feet wide so traffic is not an issue.  I assume this is an accommodation for the Amish community...you see a lot of buggies in the area.       

Offline Norsman

Re: UGRR to TransAm
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2014, 04:10:45 am »
Great to hear about Hwy 45.  I was feeling bad about using a busy hwy to get through this area but now I feel like a won a cycling lottery.  Thanks for the info.  By the way are you blogging your ride?  If so send me a link.

Offline spininin

Re: UGRR to TransAm
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2014, 12:37:00 pm »
I'm in Mountain View, MO.  Started from Union City, TN 3 days ago.  Took the ferry from Hickman, KY and then did a long, long ride over the levees and bottomland along the Mississippi.  Rode 50 miles and only saw one gas station.  Nothing but farm land.  Very, very few homes.  You can ride for an hour and not see a car.  I felt I was lucky to be riding this section with the temp in the 70's.  90's with no shade and no water stops would not be fun.  (But it sounds like that's typical out West.)  Be sure to have plenty of water when you leave Hickman.  The ferry is a very small operation.  I think it hangs out on the MO side until they have a car to carry or someone pushes a button on the KY side.  Both sides use boat ramps.  On the KY side there's a sign with instructions to push a button to call the ferry.  I waited about 20 minutes and was the only one riding back over to MO.  No cars.  Just me and the bike.  Call the ferry to be sure it's running before committing to that route (731-693-0201).
After an 85 mile day, I spent a night in Dexter, MO and I've been on Hwy 60, more or less, the rest of the time.  From Dexter you can ride about 50 miles to Pinewood Lake Campground near Elsinore.  A ranger told me it had just reopened and had a pit toilet and no drinking water.  Camping is free.  I camping on a mowed lawn next to the lake because the camping loop didn't look very inviting.  From there it's about 60 miles to Blue Spring Campground (near Mountain View on Hwy 00 about 5 miles off Hwy 60), another primitive camping area.
I've had several opportunities to go up to the TransAmerica Trail but chose to stay on 60 because it's the fastest way to cover the miles.  It's like riding on an interstate shoulder.  10 or 12 feet wide and mostly in very good condition.  And the route is straight and the elevation changes are not as extreme.  But, again, if the temp was in the 90's, no shade and not so much fun.  Gas stations about every 6 to 10 miles.
I'm planning to get off 60 in Diggins, MO and then hit the TransAmerica in Marshfield.
I know I've missed some beautiful scenery on the roads in the Ozarks and Current River area but I'm fighting a little bit of a time deadline so I needed to cover some miles.

Offline spininin

Re: UGRR to TransAm
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2014, 05:44:44 pm »
One last update on my Hwy 60 experience thru Missouri.  That shoulder is nice riding but I've had 2 flats from running over wires from truck tread belts!  This wasn't from running over the big chunks of tread you see on shoulders.  These were small pieces of wire I didn't see.  I stopped 4 times after hearing a wap-wap-wap from my tires and found small pieces of wire.  When I fixed the flats, I found small, needle-sized pieces of wire in my tire that made pin-hole punctures in my tubes.  I'm using Schwalbe Marathon Supremes (folding).

Offline Norsman

Re: UGRR to TransAm
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2014, 08:00:15 pm »
Thanks for the update.  I have been following your blog, you seem to be doing really well.  I noticed that you used Hwy 60 for a good portion of your ride through Missouri.  I will be doing the same but maybe going north from Dexter through Lake Wappapello State Park before joining Hwy 60 southeast of Van Buren.  After that I will check it on a daily basis depending on traffic and wind.  I may head up to the TransAm route a little earlier than you did just to get to a less busy road.