Author Topic: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier  (Read 747 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline scottskaja

Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« on: April 26, 2014, 12:07:02 pm »
I would like some route advice from you seasoned touring riders. Instead of finishing the Western Express in Pueblo, I have gone north to Denver. I now want to connect up with the Northern Tier in Iowa by way of Des Moines. If you've ridden across the great plains of northeastern CO and all of Nebraska, I would love to hear from you and your thoughts on route selection, good biking roads, etc. Thank you in advance.

Offline CMajernik

Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2014, 10:37:30 am »
You might want to go look at the crazyguy site to see any journals in the area:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline jamawani

Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2014, 01:25:42 pm »
Here are cycling maps for both states:

Iowa -
http://www.iowadot.gov/maps//msp/Bikemap/bikemap2012_front.pdf
Nebraska -
http://www.transportation.nebraska.gov/docs/bicycle-guide-current-2.pdf

I've ridden across Nebraska many times - way better than Kansas.
Too many people stay on US 30 or US 6/34 - - bleah!
Doable if you are in a hurry and just want to cover the miles.

Hwy 92 from Arthur to Broken Bow lets you see the Plains as they were 200 years ago.
Much of the Sandhills region has never been plowed up. Very light traffic.
Little towns every 30 miles or so - much easier than Western Express.

It's a stormy time of year and you'll need to use caution.

There are some wonderful county roads across the southern tier of Iowa -
But you indicate you want to hit Des Moines.

If you cross the Missouri at Plattsmouth,
you can zig on county roads up to Silver City and Griswold.
Traffic on Hwy 92 drops considerably east of Griswold to Winterset.
Then zig-zag to Cummings and take the rail trail into DM.
Back roads via Montezuma to Iowa City.

Very few roads in Iowa have shoulders - be careful -
Choose routes with as low of traffic as possible.
Iowa is very bike-friendly - but the roads aren't great.

Pic - Loup River in Nebraska

Offline scottskaja

Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2014, 01:31:32 pm »
Thank you both Carla and Jamawani. I appreciate any extra eyes I can get.

Offline jamawani

Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2014, 02:04:49 pm »
PS - Scott -

In northeast Colorado, US 6 from Fort Morgan to US 138 is a nice empty road to Julesburg.
It's a little tricky getting to Fort Morgan from Denver.

Did I mention Hwy 92 in Nebraska - - heh-heh
The longer route is from Ogallala to Arthur to Arnold
A shorter version (but morally questionable) is from North Platte via US 83.

Also, avoid US 34 in Iowa, period.

Offline scottskaja

Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2014, 02:14:52 pm »
Thank you, my 2-wheeled friend. I have riding friend in Denver that offered to route me to Ft Morgan as safe as possible. 92 looks like a good route.

Offline scottskaja

Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2014, 02:35:23 pm »
Jamwani… I am credit card touring. What sort of lodging options will I find on 92 through NE?

Offline jamawani

Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2014, 03:59:33 pm »
I wrote a long comment that disappeared.

There a lots of motels in Ogallala and Broken Bow.
There's the Bunkhouse in Arthur and two motels in Arnold.
I think the Longhorn in Tryon is closed. No motel in Stapleton.

But in Tryon and Stapleton -
Call the county clerk and ask who rents rooms overnight.
There is court business that may run overnight - and hunters -
So I suspect someone in town rents rooms.

Point of info - the three counties have a combined population of less than 2000.

Offline scottskaja

Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2014, 01:11:55 pm »
Just finished my ride from Denver to Des Moines. Word of caution to anyone reading this for advice, US30 from Grand Island to Missouri Vally IA had some very dangerous sections. I was eventually blown into a ditch by 3 semis. 65mph 2-way road with shoulder that narrows to 24" in spots. No good.

Offline jamawani

Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2014, 03:16:29 pm »
Scott -

Why did you take US 30 in eastern Nebraska?
The linked map above clearly shows it as red.
Sorry you had a tough time of it, but yeah, I know US 30 sucks.
The worse stretch, between North Bend and Fremont,
does have a parallel gravel road on the other side of the RR tracks -
the Old Lincoln Highway.

Crossing the Missouri River is tricky in the Nebraska/Iowa stretch.
The roads leading up to the Decatur bridge are pleasant, but the bridge is steel grate and narrow.
The US 30 bridge at Blair is great, but the road on the Iowa side sucks.
The new pedestrian bridge in Omaha is amazing, but getting to it thru Omaha is a total hassle.
The new Hwy 92 bridge is excellent with good approaches - still a lot of urban Omaha.
The Bellevue Bridge is ancient and narrow, but has a fabulous campground on the west side.
The Plattsmouth Bridge was redone and still narrow, but with low speed limit and good approaches
   (The new US 34 bridge to the north will make this bridge a backwater.)
The Hwy 2 bridge is wide and modern although Hwy 2 itself is too busy for my pleasure.

As with most things bike touring - there are always compromises that have to be made.

My vote? The Plattsmouth Bridge.


Offline scottskaja

Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2014, 09:54:56 am »
We had some adversity out there with routing and lodging that put us on US30. And I wasn't doing the routing, and I forgot to consult the traffic volume map, my bad.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Connector Advice: WE to Northern Tier
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2014, 12:17:56 pm »
FYI...If you are planning to ride Going to the Sun in Glacier National Park, sounds like you will have to do so before 9/22. According to the park's web site, acceleration of the road rehab project will result in part of the road being closed as of 7 a.m. on that date.