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Messages - roadrunner

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Routes / Re: Tucson to San Antonio or Austin, TX
« on: February 24, 2019, 05:40:37 pm »
Hi Bethany,
It's been a while since I was on Adventure Cycling's website, so this reply to your inquiry is a bit late, but hopefully of some use.

I can provide information on bike routes between Tucson and Rodeo, NM, then on to El Paso.  US Bicycle Route System Route 90 connects Tucson, Sonoita, Sierra Vista, Tombstone, Bisbee, Douglas, and Rodeo.  The route and facilities along it are described in the "Route 90 Implementation" section of the "Routes" forum:

There are several alternatives to ride between Rodeo and El Paso. 
(1)  Rodeo to Lordsburg, NM, then picking up the Southern Tier route to Silver City and on to El Paso.  That involves a northerly detour, significant climbing, and likely cold weather around Silver City this time of year.

(2) Rodeo to Lordsburg (47 or 56 miles); Lordsburg to Deming (40 miles of riding the I-10 shoulder and 20 miles of paved frontage road); Deming to Columbus on NM-11 (23 miles); Columbus to El Paso (80 miles) or Santa Teresa, NM (64 miles) then El Paso on NM-9.  Many motels & restaurants in Lordsburg and Deming, a couple of motels & restaurants in Columbus.

(3) The shorter route with very few services and traffic: Rodeo to El Paso on NM-9.  Rodeo to Animas, which has a cafe (20 miles); Animas to Hachita: 30 miles (Hachita is essentially a ghost town, population about 50, Google Maps shows a gas station/food mart. water could be obtained from residents); Hachita to Columbus 32 miles, 2 motes & restaurants, an interesting Pancho Villa State Park; Columbus to Santa Teresa, motels and restaurants (64 miles) or El Paso (80) miles.

I've ridden all the roads involved in AZ and NM, except I-10 between Lordsburg and Deming.  All are good roads with little traffic.

I live in Sierra Vista.  If you have any questions, you can give me a call at 520-378-6353.

John Wettack

This response is a bit tardy, since I was off-line for the holidays.

I did a tour in 2014 that included the stretch from Spokane to Missoula, with the objective of maximizing riding on trails and avoiding interstates.  It included the Centenial trails between Spokane and Coeur d'Alene, the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene, the Route of the Hiawatha, and the Route of the Olympian from the east end of the Hiawatha to Saltese.  Rode the I-90 shoulder from Saltese to St. Regis, which was no problem.  From St. Regis, the route followed Montana Highways 135 and 200 to St. Ignatius (a beautiful ride along rivers), then Highway 200 to Missoula.  The whole route was a great ride.

The paved Spokane Centennial Trail and North Idaho Centennial Trail connect Spokane and Coeur d'Alene and are a great ride between those towns.  I don't have any experience or knowledge of routes between Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint.

Routes / Sierra Vista, Arizona Bike Camp
« on: February 28, 2017, 03:51:37 pm »
Touring cyclists riding USBRS Route 90 or other routes in southeast Arizona receive a warm welcome at Sierra Vista’s newly-opened indoor bike camp.  The camp provides space for sleeping and securing bikes and gear, 2 bathrooms with showers, a kitchen stocked with coffee and other essentials, and a clothes washer and dryer.  There is no charge for the camp; donations are accepted.  The bike camp is a 2-minute ride from USBRS Route 90.  More information about the bike camp and how to access it is in a an entry titled “Description of USBRS Route 90, Tucson, AZ to Rodeo, NM” in the Corridor 90 Implementation forum of the U.S. Bicycle Route System portion of the forums.

Routes / USBRS Route 90 Description Expanded
« on: February 28, 2017, 03:00:32 pm »
The original USBRS Route 90 description posted in the Corridor 90 Implementation forum showed only the introduction of the description.  Adventure Cycling's John Sieber corrected the posting so the entire description of the route is shown.  Thanks, John.

Routes / USBRS Route 90 in SE Arizona
« on: February 24, 2017, 11:52:35 pm »
A description of USBRS Route 90 in SE Arizona between Tucson and Rodeo, NM, is posted in the “Corridor 90 Implementation” forum in the U.S. Bicycle Route System category.  The scenic route offers favorable year-round riding conditions through an area rich in history.  The description provides information on the route, road conditions, and services available in communities along the route.

Routes / Re: West from Pittsburgh to Ohio
« on: November 27, 2015, 01:43:21 pm »
Hi Whitebirch,

I did a Chesapeake Bay to Mississippi River tour in 2006, with the objective of riding as many trails as practical.  Rode the C&O Canal and GAP trails to Pittsburgh, then the Montour Trail to the Panhandle Trail to Stubenville.  Both of those trails have been further developed since then.  The day riding west from Stubenville was the hilliest of the entire tour.

Much of northern Illinois can be crossed riding trails.  I rode the Kankakee River State Park Trail, the I&M Canal Trail, and Hennepin Canal Trail, finishing at Rock Island, Illinois.

You will likely be be able to ride some trails in Iowa.  I'm planning a tour next year across Iowa, following the American Discovery Trail, a 500-mile zigzag route which includes over 300 miles of rail trails.

Routes / Re: Southern Tier variant
« on: November 27, 2015, 12:58:49 pm »
Hi Grencove - US Bicycle Route 90 which was recently designated in Arizona follows the route you plan to travel.  This news release describes the route, which follows the Southern Tier from California to Phoenix, then goes south through Tucson, Sonoita, Tombstone, Bisbee, and Douglas to Rodeo,

I live in Sierra Vista, 17 miles from Tombstone, and would be glad to answer any specific questions you may have about the route from Tucson to Rodeo.  You can contact me at

Routes / Re: Cross-US Trail-Based Route - Feedback Please!
« on: April 19, 2015, 02:09:41 am »
Like you, whitebirch, I enjoy incorporating trails into tours and minimizing climbing when feasible.  I’ve done some tours which include some of the trails you mentioned and possible alternative routes. 

About 600 of a 1,200-mile tour from Baltimore, MD, to Davenport, IA, were on trails (BWI, Baltimore & Annapolis, and Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis trails in Maryland; the C&O and GAP to Pittsburgh, the Montour and Panhandle trails around Pittsburgh to Ohio; the Kokosing Trail in Ohio; and the Kankakee River, Illinois & Michigan Canal, and Hennepin Canal trails across almost all of Illinois.  That route goes north of the route you’re considering, but it avoids the hills of southern Ohio and Indiana (there was only one day of significant hills in eastern Ohio).  To avoid heavy traffic near D.C., we rode the Metro train from Bowie, MD, into D.C.  I could have continued across Iowa from Davenport to Council Bluffs, much of the way on rail trails.

A nice route west from Council Bluffs is to follow the Platte River to Kearney, NE, where the Oregon Trail route joins the river and follow the Oregon Trail to Portland, OR.  The 2,400-mile trail (I started in Kansas City) minimized hills by following rivers - the Platte and North Platte in NE, Sweetwater in WY, Snake across ID, and Colombia in OR. Numerous historic sites and landmarks line the trail.   Wyoming is the only state where towns are widely spaced.

If you go through Missoula, there are about 150 miles of rail trails between there and Spokane, which I rode last summer – Route of the Olympian, Hiawatha, Coeur d’Alenes, North Idaho Centennial, and Spokane Centennial.  Most of I-90 west of Missoula can be avoid by taking US-93, MT-200, and MT-135 to St. Regis, MT.

Some challenges on your proposed route:
The Katy Trail is a great ride, but from the trail north to Iowa is hill after hill after hill.
 Yellowstone is a terrific park, but has narrow roads, lack of shoulders, heavy traffic, and significant hills.
Journals from riders on the John Wayne/Ironhorse Trail state that much of it is loose ballast.

If you’re interested in details of the routes I mentioned riding, contact me at, and I can send you itineraries and journals of the tours.

Julie - I'm not particular about the shoes I use, just that they have a fairly stiff sole, are shaped to fit the Power Grip straps, and are comfortable for walking.  The most recent ones I got were Nike, more of a tennis shoe look, rather than an exotic running shoe look.  Sorry I can't be more specific, but with the setup I use, many shoes will work well.  For rides up to 25 miles, regular Teva sandals work fine.

After trying several different cycling touring shoes and finding none of them comfortable for off-the-bike use, I settled on relatively stiff soled running   shoes.  I use standard cage pedals on which I fasten (by wires) a piece of thin metal (from flashing) that forms a platform and makes it easy to get the shoe in and out of the Power Grip straps I use.  The combination is comfortable for riding all day and when off the bike after riding.

Also, I can use about any shoes or sandals with the pedals, avoiding the need to change shoes to go for a quick ride.

General Discussion / Re: Touring Bicycle
« on: November 21, 2014, 12:00:48 am »
If you're still in the market for a touring bike, I just got a whale of a deal ($718) on a 2014 Novara Randonee two weeks ago at the Tucson REI.  The 2015 model is almost twice that cost.  Have only put a couple of hundred miles on it, but it's a solid winner.  The Novara Safari was even a better deal at $533; I was temped, but already have one. 

Any REI store check other stores for such closeout bikes, if it doesn't have them.

General Discussion / Re: Grand Canyon
« on: December 14, 2013, 06:07:28 pm »
Here's a little info about cycling the Grand Canyon's South Rim.  The elevation is about 7,000 feet, so if you'd be coming directly from Florida be prepared for the altitude change.  The road along the South Rim is about 30 miles long, so a rim tour is not a long one.  From Grand Canyon Village west to Hermit's Rest (about 9 miles along the rim), only shuttle busses and bikes are allowed durng the summer.  There is a multi-use trail along a relative short section of the rim.  There are 3 routes to the South Rim.  US-180 and AZ-64 from Flagstaff is about 80 miles, initially climbing, then decending to Valle, then climbing to the rim.  US-64 from Williams is 60 miles, decending gradually to Valle, then climbing to the rim.  AZ-64 from Cameron is 32 miles of serious climbing -- about 3,000 feet.  Except in the Flagstaff and rim areas, there is little vegetation.  Dogs are not permitted on trails in the park.

Thunderstorms during the July and August monsoon are usually in the afternoon, very scattered and generally of short duration.  They can be quite violent with lots of lightning.

Since the South Rim provides such a short ride, you might consider riding other routes in the vicinity.  Old Route 66 west from Flagstaff to the California border is a great tour.  The original road can be ridden except for 40 miles between Williams and just west of Ash Fork, where riding the I-40 shoulder (legal in Arizona) in required.  Another nice tour is riding southeast from Flagstaff on Lake Mary Road to AZ-87, west on AZ-87 and AZ-260 through Camp Verde to Cottonwood, then northeast on US-89 to Sedona.  US-89 south from Flagstaff through Sedona to Cottonwood includes a very steep and winding decent down Oak Creek Canyon.

Here are some thoughts for your K.C. to Austin ride.

In April 2005, I did a tour with two buddies near to your start and finish points -- we starting in Austin and finished in Abilene, Kansas.  The objective was to ride the routes of the old Texas cattle trails, primarily the Chisholm Trail, which ended at Abilene.  Our route, which was on low-trafficked highways, went west from Austin through the Texas Hill Country, taking in Johnson City to Fredericksburg.  From Fredericksburg, we turned north on Texas 16 to Comanche, US-67 to Stephenville, US-281 to Jacksboro, and Texas 59 to Bowie.  At Bowie, we got on US-81 and rode it into and across Oklahoma to Wichita, KS.  US-81 was built on the Chisholm Trail route.  From Wichita, we rode Kansas-15 to Abilene.  We camped about half the time and stayed in motels other nights.  Camping is often available in town parks.

The route has many interesting and historic sites -- the LBJ Ranch: Lukenbach, Texas (of the country music song fame); several Texas museums, including the Dr. Pepper Museum in Dublin, TX; Chisholm Trail museums (Ducan, OK, has a great one), Caldwell, KS, wild West history; and the Eisenhower Library and Museum in Abilene.

If taking this route, you might want to consider riding from Austin, since the winds are generally from the south.  A couple of days we had unplanned 100+ mile days due to strong south winds.

If you aren't interested in the above route, an alternative is to head southwest  from K.C., to Lawrence, Bladwin City, or Ottawa, KS, to ride the Prairie Spirit Trail from Ottawa south 59 miles to Humbolt, KS.  Continue on US-169 to Tulsa, OK., then follow state highways or 2-lane US highways on to Austin.  I rode that area on my first tour from the Texas gulf coast to Lake Superior, generally winging it as far as roads to take and it worked fine.
Whatever route you take, I'd suggest avoiding May and June -- prime thunderstorm and tornado season -- and mid-summer -- hot and humid.  April and September are prime times.

Don't worry about over-planning the ride.  I generally use state highway maps for determining routes and AAA guidebooks for lodging and campground information.  Preliminary itineraries I make usually change during the ride due to weather and information from locals on better routes or things to see.  Adventure Cycling's Companions Wanted site is a good place to advertise for people to join in the ride.

General Discussion / Re: Need week long parking, Hudson WI
« on: July 23, 2013, 04:27:22 pm »
I've had good luck in several small towns asking to park at the police department or fire station.  If you are staying at a local motel before starting your tour, it will likely let you park there.

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