Author Topic: Reno into Denver/Boulder area  (Read 2300 times)

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Offline thom87

Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« on: January 09, 2011, 01:30:17 pm »
Hey folks! First time tourer, first time poster. The wealth of knowledge and experience within the forum is amazing! I haven't seen this topic discussed elsewhere, but if I'm incorrect let me know!

I'm planning to start in San Francisco and end up in the Providence area. I have a few logistical questions about getting from Reno, NV to the Boulder/Denver area (Broomfield to be exact). I plan to leave San Francisco in the middle of April, and due to a family wedding I need to be in Broomfield by May 13th. Currently, I plan to use the ACA Western Express route through Nevada, but need to divert afterward in an attempt to stay north enough to get into Broomfield. Here's the route I have so far;

1) ACA Western Express through Nevada, staying to 50E/6E up to Spanish Fork, UT.
2) From Spanish Fork, taking 6E to 191N to 40E all the way to Empire CO.
3) Around Empire, CO it looks like 40E turns into I70, which I assume will not work. I'm thinking of taking 6E to 93N to 128 E into Broomfield.

Here's a link, in case that helps;

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&doflg=ptm&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=203439400340453692122.0004996e0461d46e879a8&ll=39.729898,-105.570374&spn=0.230241,0.352936&z=11

Does anyone have experience with these roads? Is there a better route I should consider? I could also head up to Wyoming and then head south into Broomfield - though I don't know what the benefit would be. I'm aware I'll have the weather to contend with, but I'm comfortable with that. Any suggestions for this part of the trip would be appreciated. I'll also be heading through Nebraska/Iowa to get to Chicago to see some friends, and while I have the state maps of biking routes I'd be interested to know how other people have traveled through that part of the country.

Thanks!

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2011, 01:47:02 pm »
This is a different take, I suppose, but could you stay on the Western Express into Canon City, CO, and then take the TransAm up to Kremmling?  Maybe a smidgen less adventure, since you'd be sticking to a known AC route, but you get all the advantages of the maps.  Also, from Granby, you could head north on U.S. 34 to Estes Park and then down into Boulder.

I'm pretty sure there are multiple trip reports going through the Rocky Mountain NP on crazyguyonabike.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2011, 02:17:53 pm »
Check out the ACA Great Parks South route to get you from Poncha Springs (on both the Western Express and Great Parks South) to Boulder. Getting from Boulder to Broomfield is easy--I do it frequently.

Note that you're going to need some luck getting over some of the passes. I suggest you plan your daily mileages to give you a couple of weeks extra. That will allow you to wait out some storms if necessary. Or else be prepared to hitch a ride over some passes.

I suggest you plan you route to minimize the chance of the impact of spring snowstorms. Avoid high elevations and northern climates as much as feasible.

Note: Granby to Estes Park on US34 won't work--Trail Ridge Road will not be open (and will probably be covered with 15 feet of snow in early May).
« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 02:22:10 pm by John Nelson »

Offline thom87

Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2011, 04:22:23 pm »
Thanks for the input! A couple of follow up comments:

pdlamb: It looks like taking the TransAm up towards Kremmling would throw me into high elevations and some hit or miss riding days - is that right? I'll sacrifice some adventure (especially in the mountains!) if it means a better likelihood of being on my bike rather than waiting out a storm, but I'm unsure if the TransAm heading north would help me out in May. I'll check out some posts on CGOAB - thanks for that! Have you done the Western Express? Any reflections on what it's like in Utah - isolation, services, ability to ride it in early spring?

John: On your point of lower elevation/further south - does my proposed route seem too far north for early May? If for no other reason, is the Western Express through Utah a better choice as it will keep me south? The Great Parks South route looks like it would put me into some higher elevations - are you familiar with any routes to Boulder staying east of the Rockies if I take the W.E. into Canon City/Pueblo? Any experience on 87/85N?

Thanks again, pdlamba and John!

Offline John Nelson

Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2011, 08:47:34 pm »
I think you're going to need considerable luck no matter which route you take that early. But as long as you're willing to hitch a ride over some of the high passes if necessary, you'll come out okay. Just keep an eye on the weather forecast and be flexible.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 08:49:08 pm by John Nelson »

Offline valygrl

Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 09:11:07 am »
I agree with John Nelson, its just too early. It's too early in the Sierras, it's too early in Utah, and it's way to early in Colorado.  Western Express (which I have not yet done) is high in CA, NV and UT as well as CO - the St. George area in UT especially.

With respect, I suggest you consider timing your bike trip to the seasons, and separating it from the trip to the family wedding.  You can leave your trip and come back to it for the wedding, or start afterwards.  Cool as it sounds to travel to the wedding by bike, and it does sound cool, you're setting yourself up for several months of unnecessary struggle with the elements, where you could just change the timing and have great weather all the way.

Offline thom87

Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 10:25:59 am »
valygrl: Thanks for your response! Though I'm really interested in what routes are out there, and what other people have done, I appreciate your input on the weather. I've talked with many different tourers about heading out this early in the season, and many responses align with your concerns, while others think it's do-able with the right luck, information and preparation. I have also considered amending my route and itinerary, but for now I'm going to try to be optimistic!   

Offline cgarch

Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 04:44:41 pm »
Not much to add other than yep, it is kind of early. I would have two observations on the proposed route from Baker to Delta and then from Delta to Helper. Baker to Delta is every bit as desolate as Baker to Milford with no services in between. You must be topped up as you leave the stateline (NV-UT) motel. My recollection is that you have some 60+ miles of pure unadulterated Utah desert - I've driven this twice. Second, I would question the route from Delta to Helper. By going north you should expect to encounter some heavy truck traffic on 6 from Spanish Fork, up and over Soldier Summit (elev. 7477) and down to Helper. I haven't ridden it, but I have driven both this and the alternate, around through Salina. If I were riding I would take the Salina route. Plus you'll be a little further south and possibly out of potential bad weather. Doesn't look to be much different mileage-wise. The fabulous red rock country on 50/70 would more than make up for riding in more of the bloody desert north of Delta.

Offline jamawani

Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 07:37:55 pm »
Tomás -

You're not from Colorado, eh?
You have a very early start and will likely encounter cold weather and snow.
Last May people got slammed by a full-scale blizzard in the Sierras in middle May.
The Mormon Trail section of the Western Express didn't open until Memorial Day.

Weather conditions are likely to be even worse in the Rockies.
You can EXPECT a snowstorm in May and get late storms some years into June.
Not to mention that almost all campgrounds and public facilities do not open until after Memorial Day.

Looking at your original post, I would strongly urge you to take a more southerly route.
Perhaps starting in Ventura and riding east via Old Route 66, the Grand Canyon,
then northern Arizona and New Mexico to Alamosa and Walsenburg.
(The Western Express route in Utah and Colorado has many high passes.)
Then from Walsenburg you can have someone meet you or catch a bus.
(Riding up to Denver is really tricky and urban)

One of the problems with all the technology out there is that it offers a false sense of security.
The reality of the West can come rudely crashing down - especially in the form of distance and cold.
You said you are not experienced.  Why push it?

sackcycle

  • Guest
Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 04:42:02 pm »
This is a different take, I suppose, but could you stay on the Western Express into Canon City, CO, and then take the TransAm up to Kremmling?  Maybe a smidgen less adventure, since you'd be sticking to a known AC route, but you get all the advantages of the maps.  Also, from Granby, you could head north on U.S. 34 to Estes Park and then down into Boulder.

I'm pretty sure there are multiple trip reports going through the Rocky Mountain NP on crazyguyonabike.
Please don't take this the wrong but, it's the wrong time of the year. I have lived in Colo. almost my whole life, you have my best wishes and you better be tough as nails,willing to frezze your nads off, you can't come through the RMNP this time year usally opens the end of May.

Offline BicycleNevada

Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2011, 07:26:03 pm »
It could be pretty chilly in May, although right now we are experiencing quite a warm spell across northern Nevada (highs in the upper 40s to 50s and sometimes the 60s).  Feel free to contact us if you have specific questions about your route through Nevada.  We'd be happy to send you our Bicycle Touring Map which has information on the traffic volumes, shoulder widths, etc..  Also our Division of State Parks has also instituted a formal "no turn away from campgrounds" policy for touring bicyclists.  Even on the 4th of July with campgrounds full they will always find you a spot.

Bill Story
State Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator
Nevada Department of Transportation
(775) 888-RIDE
bicycle@dot.state.nv.us

Offline aggie

Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2011, 11:45:57 am »
Wow.  If Nevada has instituted a NO TURN AWAY policy for touring cyclists that could be a start of a nation wide trend.  I wonder if ACA could approach other states to see if they have such a policy and/or could institute one.

 
  Also our Division of State Parks has also instituted a formal "no turn away from campgrounds" policy for touring bicyclists.  Even on the 4th of July with campgrounds full they will always find you a spot.

Offline kevink

Re: Reno into Denver/Boulder area
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2011, 12:49:32 pm »
Wisconsin has had this policy for a few years, it is pretty awesome!