Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: Pat Lamb on January 23, 2012, 05:32:44 pm

 
Title: Most interesting states
Post by: Pat Lamb on January 23, 2012, 05:32:44 pm
Is it fair to use picture counts as a proxy for the most interesting states on a bike tour?  Messing around with picture counts from our Trans-Am plus Northern Tier, I came up with the following statistics, ranked from high to low:
Montana: 25%
Wyoming: 19%
Colorado: 15%
Virginia: 12%
Washington: 11%
Kentucky: 6%
Kansas: 5%
Missouri: 4%
Illinois: 2%
Idaho: 1%

(Disclaimers: Percentages rounded.  Montana likely skewed by time in state and day off in Glacier.  Colorado likely skewed by Royal Gorge train ride.  NT crosses Idaho in a day.  Other disclaimers not considered significant.)

Is this a fair comparison?  What would your counts look like?  How vehemently do you agree or disagree with these "ratings"?
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: John Nelson on January 23, 2012, 05:58:08 pm
First of all, where's Oregon? And although the NT crosses Idaho in a day, it will take you four or five days to cross Idaho on the TransAm. I found the Idaho portion of the TransAm worthy of quite a few pictures.

I suggest you normalize your data according to how many days you spent in each state. If you do that, I think it might yield more interesting results.
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: Pat Lamb on January 23, 2012, 10:28:22 pm
Normalization is an interesting idea.  I'll give it a whirl.

We went north from Missoula to the Northern Tier at Glacier, then west to the coast on the NT; thus, skipped Oregon in favor of Washington.  Lots of passes up there!
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: staehpj1 on January 24, 2012, 08:12:02 am
Is that count pictures taken or pictures that made the cut to be in a journal or something?  I agree that normalization would be interesting to see.
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: Pat Lamb on January 24, 2012, 09:08:46 am
That's just the raw count.  I'm not sure the blog count would be representative, since there were some days when I posted nearly all the pictures (think flood gauge), and some where I had so many I thought were good that I pared them down much more vigorously.

But what do you think?  For instance, is the Wyoming part of the TransAm (Yellowstone, Tetons, Wind River, etc.) more scenic than Colorado?  Is Missouri more boring than Kansas?
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: staehpj1 on January 24, 2012, 10:52:40 am
But what do you think?  For instance, is the Wyoming part of the TransAm (Yellowstone, Tetons, Wind River, etc.) more scenic than Colorado?  Is Missouri more boring than Kansas?
It is really hard to quantify that.  I guess my gut reaction is that western Colorado was more scenic that Wyoming, then again the geothermal features in Yellowstone were pretty amazing and the road along the Lochsha river was pretty nice.

If you had just asked with no context what my favorites states on the TA were I would have probably said, OR, CO, and VA, but would have maybe added that each of the rest had it's own special charm.

Eastern Colorado scenery was probably more boring than that of Kansas or Missouri, but the people were super nice in all three (with the edge on that probably going to Kansas).
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: indyfabz on January 24, 2012, 02:36:50 pm
From my collective experience riding some or all (and some parts more than once) of the Northern Tier, Trans Am, Great Parks, Attantic Coast and Great Divide (paved portion), as well as some of my own planned mileage in Montana, Montana has been my favorite for scenery, including diversity thereof, and lack of traffic. Lots of nice people, too. WY is probably second for scenery due to the parks and Wind River. WA is a strong third.  Except for Dallas Divide through Telluride and over Lizzard Head to Delores, didn't really enjoy Colorado all that much. IL, IN and OH were not all that interesting from a scenery perspective. One hidden gem is the Atlantic Coast route between Port Jervis, NY and Lambertville, NJ. Not what comes to mind when most think of eastern PA and anywhere in NJ.
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: John Nelson on January 24, 2012, 02:59:48 pm
I counted the 774 pictures from my TransAm, and then divided the number in each state by the number of days I was in that state. The results show less variation than you might think. There's something interesting everywhere. The only real standout was Wyoming, but that's where Grand Teton and Yellowstone are. You're probably wondering why Kansas came in second place and why Montana came in last. I'm wondering too.

Wyoming: 18
Kansas: 13
Illinois: 11
Virginia: 10
Colorado: 10
Idaho: 10
Missouri: 10
Kentucky: 9
Oregon: 9
Montana: 7
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: RussSeaton on January 24, 2012, 04:30:33 pm
Your rankings by picture count probably are similar to what most people end up with.  Mountains tend to get lots of pictures.  If for no other reason than a picture gives you an excuse to stop while climbing up the pass.  While riding across the midwest states you really don't need to stop until you come to a place you want to eat at.  One town every 20-30 miles.  But climbing the mountains you want to stop as often as possible.  And when you are stopped, you might as well rest awhile and take a picture.  Some of the states like Colorado, Montana, and maybe Wyoming really need to be split into eastern and western halves.  Those states are really two different states in one.  On your Colorado and Wyoming counts, how many pictures were taken in the western mountain portions?  And how many pictures were taken in the eastern rolling prairie portions?  They aren't really the same state.  Having lived and ridden in Kansas quite a bit, I can understand how the rolling prairies would warrant lots of pictures.
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: bogiesan on January 25, 2012, 07:58:57 am
The only way I'd be riding those routes would  be in the compay of my riding partner, Erich, who is, sadly, no longer with us. He'd be stopping all the time for photos. Without him, I'd be riding and looking but I don't do picutres much anymore, not even the conventional ops at state borders and summits. 

Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: VeloVeg on January 28, 2012, 01:44:20 pm
If we can venture off the Trans Am and Northern Tier, but still stay within the lower 48 states, then I'd have to add Utah into the mix of most interesting states. I have far more photos of Utah than anywhere else in the U.S. And Utah has interesting and amazing scenery in the north, south, east and west of the state. With Monument Valley in the SE, the La Salle Mts., Arches and Canyonland NP in the east, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Kodachrome Basin, Zion NP, beautiful Boulder Mt., Glen Canyon, Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs (shared with AZ), Lake Powell, etc. in the south and sw, and Dinasour NP (shared with CO), Flaming Gorge (shared with WY), and the lovely Wasatch-Cache NF to the north--Utah would have to get my vote for overall "most interesting state". Wyoming would probably be #2 on my list, with California ranking very high as well.

Ted
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: Pat Lamb on January 30, 2012, 10:30:57 am
FWIW, I played around with the numbers a bit.  Raw numbers of pictures, pictures per day, and pictures per mile were all pretty similar; the top 3 were Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado.  I took more pictures per day and per mile in Washington than in Virginia, but more total pictures in Virginia.

I suspect some of my "ratings" are based on how many different kinds of pictures can you take on the route.  Coming to the front range in CO, we had a couple of hazy days, so the impetus wasn't there to take lots of fuzzy pictures, as it might have been going to Colorado Springs after a cold front blew through.    South Park and North Park were beautiful, but the scenery from Breckenridge to Kremmling was dominated by the dead lodgepole pines -- not particularly scenic, IMHO.  How many pictures of snow covered mountains can a casual photographer (and dedicated bicyclist) take?

I don't know if the Wyoming tourist board could come up with a better route for sheer variety of scenery than the TransAm.  Wind River valley and mountains, Tetons, and Yellowstone.  OK, if WY were doing it, they'd route you up the east and north side of Yellowstone; the southwest side was kind of dreary, except for the geothermal sites.

As I noted in my origicnal post, Glacier skewed the results for Montana.  I thought the scenery was generally better north of Missoula than south, with a few exceptions.  And each of the four major passes in Washington had a different character.

Perhaps it's as much variety that leads to shooting more pictures.  Both variety within a state, and something different from what I routinely see, tend to make me stop and take a picture.  (And, as Russ notes, steep climbs!)

Ted, one of these days I hope to see more of Utah than the Delta hub in SLC.
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: mucknort on January 30, 2012, 04:19:33 pm
I counted the 774 pictures from my TransAm...

774!?
The reason I'm not chiming in on this conversation yet is that I'm still working on the state by state picture count from our Boston to Seattle trip. Between my son and I, we took over 26,000 photos!
How 'bout you, pdlamb? You posted percentages, but how many photos did you shoot?
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: staehpj1 on January 30, 2012, 05:47:53 pm
Between my son and I, we took over 26,000 photos!
How many days were you on the road?  I was so intrigued that I did the numbers and came up with how many that would be per day and per mile if we had taken than many on the Trans America.  Granted you route and schedule were probably different, but it works out to over 6 per mile and 356 per day!  The numbers absolutely boggle my mind.
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: Pat Lamb on January 30, 2012, 10:37:10 pm
My daughter and I took about 1,500 between us.  (I took about twice as many as she did.)
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: mucknort on January 31, 2012, 08:28:28 am
How many days were you on the road?
Well, the photo count does include the drive from Seattle to LA in a rental van, and LA back to New England in the vehicle we bought (which includes a ton of shots while we hung out for a week in the Grand Canyon and Sedona areas). Total trip time 140 days. My son and I each had our camera bags mounted on our handlebars and were constantly shooting stuff we found interesting as we were riding.
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: bogiesan on February 02, 2012, 08:20:24 am
The reason Idaho has such a low representation is the need for a passport at the borders. People coming in from Nevada or Wyoming are surprised to find the gates locked.
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: mucknort on February 06, 2012, 03:29:18 pm
The reason Idaho has such a low representation is the need for a passport at the borders.
That, and the fact that Idaho drivers showed us the least courtesy toward cyclists of any state we travelled through, and that the roads had the smallest shoulders and worst road conditions. At least, this was true on Hwy 200 along Lake Pend Orielle. Spectacular scenery, otherwise.


(http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n148/mucknort/lakesun-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: commuter on February 26, 2012, 09:17:37 pm
Hi
There is something special about heading out on a road the me and my bike have never been on before. So, that makes every state and every place interesting.

Steve
Title: Re: Most interesting states
Post by: nomad on March 05, 2012, 04:27:42 pm
I would think that there would be routes that ride well without being so photogenic.  Is aesthetic intrigue the only factor that makes a ride interesting?