Author Topic: Chicago to west coast?  (Read 1702 times)

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Offline Monk

Chicago to west coast?
« on: January 18, 2010, 12:18:02 pm »
This will be my first bike tour this summer and my friend and I are deciding between going to SanFran or to Seattle.  Which would be quicker, easier, and more scenic. Which routes should be taken.  We might only have 35 days tops to do this, I'm hoping my friend is able to get another 10-15 days off.  Thanks

Offline aggie

Re: Chicago to west coast?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2010, 01:23:50 pm »
35 days might be a bit ambitious.  If you use ACA maps your shortest route may be to connect to the Great Rivers going south and connect to the Trans Am going west.  Then take the Western Express to SF.  It looks to be the most direct and have the most variety of scenery.  I'd guess it to be about 3000 miles so if you take a few days off you will average close to 100 miles per day of riding.

You could also connect to the Norther Tier.  It may be about the same mileage.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Chicago to west coast?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2010, 01:42:25 pm »
AC's Northern Tier route passes through Odell, IL, about 100 miles from Chicago.  You could hop on their, take it to outside Anacortes, WA and then take their Pacific Coast route to Seattle.  But it would be a pretty tall order to do it in 35 days.  From Muscatine, IA to Anacortes alone is over 2,700 miles.  Odell to Muscatine is probably another 200 miles.  And it's another solid 2 days to Seattle from Anacortes.  Even if you could save a day or two buy skipping the trip into Canada from Cut Bank, MT, you would still need to average close to 90 miles.day with no rest days to make it in 35 days.  You could trim a few days off of that by taking the shorter alternative through MN--going from Dalbo, MN to Fargo, ND without going up north to Grand Rapids, MN, but then you would miss Lake Itasca, where the Mississippi River starts.  (If you look at the Norther Tier maps detail on the AC web site this will make more sense.)

To give you an idea, when I did Seattle to Maine using the Pacific Coast and Northern Tier routes, I started around May 27th.  Got to Fargo, ND on July 6th.  Taking the long way through MN took another 2 weeks.  Averaged about 60-65 miles/day with a day off every 6th or 7th day.

If it turns out you will be pressed for time, consider taking the train to Minneapolis and starting from there.  (Seattle is also convenient for taking the train back to Chicago.)

As for scenery, it all depends on what you consider scenic.  I happen to love the rolling farms of ND.  Others don't get excited about that. The Northern Tier route uses Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park.  You can't get much more scenic than that from a mountain perspective.  The ride along Lake Koocanusa between Eureka and Libby, MT and the North Cascades Highway in WA are also quite pretty, just to name a few.

Offline IDJoe

Re: Chicago to west coast?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2010, 01:27:05 pm »
I am new to all this but I have a stupid question.  Why are there no routes that go say from Chicago to Boise ID?  Why do all route go so far north or south?  I am looking to go from Chicago to Boise.  Is the Lewis and Clark trail the only option?  Just curious?  I guess before I try to create my own route I should understand why no one has already created one.

Thanks for the education.
Joe

Offline John Nelson

Re: Chicago to west coast?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2010, 03:47:13 pm »
I think the USBRS is the answer to your need, but we're not quite there yet.

http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/nbrn/usbrsFAQ.cfm
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 04:15:55 pm by John Nelson »

Offline JMilyko

Re: Chicago to west coast?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2010, 06:38:16 pm »
Hi Joe,

I am new to all this but I have a stupid question.  Why are there no routes that go say from Chicago to Boise ID?  Why do all route go so far north or south?  I am looking to go from Chicago to Boise.  Is the Lewis and Clark trail the only option?  Just curious?  I guess before I try to create my own route I should understand why no one has already created one.

Thanks for the education.
Joe

We have built our route network from a variety of reasons. Some historic (Lewis & Clark), some traditional (TransAm) and some to reduce miles (Western Express). Sorry this doesn't help you much for your trip. A good place to start your research is with the states you think you'd like to be biking through. You can contact them and their bicycle/pedestrian coordinators from links on the following web page:

http://www.walkinginfo.org/assistance/contacts.cfm

.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

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