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Topics - great_egret

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Routes / Gravel Roads/Alternative Routes along the Northern Tier
« on: March 31, 2017, 07:33:00 pm »
I'll be traveling along the Northern Tier in late May and early June. I'm headed west to east from Anacortes and ending at Glacier where I'll take the Amtrak to MSP.   This will be my second trip along this route, so I know I will want to explore some towns and campgrounds I didn't last time.  I'll also want to find some good alternative routes and gravel roads to ride.  Last time I took River Road near Cabinet  and rode the gravel road into Montana (I'm considering staying at the Amber Bear Inn this time). I also rode FR 228 on the west side of Lake Koocanusa.  That was one of the best rides in my trip.  I saw a lot of wildlife and only the only vehicle I saw was a motorcycle that past me with a friendly wave from the rider coming from the opposite direction. Last time I also planned an alternative route too stay off hwy 2 longer between Glacier and Whitefish. It added about five miles to my day, but I got to see a moose.   Hwy 93 between Eureka and Whitefish is pure cycling misery.  If the roads are open, this spring I am planning on taking the GDMBR from Eureka to Whitefish with a stop in Polebridge. 

With the understanding that there has been record snowfalls this year in Washington, could any of you seasoned NT route touring cyclists and bikepackers suggest any great gravel and/or forest roads to take as alternative routes along or near the Northern Tier? I know Indyfabz has some knowledge here.  You've given some good tips in the past on here.  Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks!  Looking forward to seeing some of you folks out there this spring.

Gear Talk / Gear Inches for the Northern Tier
« on: April 02, 2016, 07:50:28 pm »
I've been doing quite a bit of research for my Northern tier tour this summer.  I have everything I need.  I'm even in the process of swapping out part of my drive train to get lower gear inches for the Cascade and the passes around Glacier NP. 

I have a 2016 Specialized AWOL base model with Sora groupset 3x9.  50-39-30 chainrings and 11-32 cassette.  This sets the lowest gear inch with my 29er X 1.75 tires at 26.3.  Way to high with full panniers.  The least expensive option for me was to swap out the crankset for a 44-32-22 and keep everything else.  This puts me at 19.3 gear inches on the low end.  I'm pretty confident this will help me get over the mountains along the Northern Tier, but since I've never been in these mountains on a bike fully loaded, it will be a wait and find out experience.

For those that have done the Northern Tier, what gear inches/drive trains have you run?   Did what you have work for you, why did or didn't it?  Are there passes that you wished you had one more low gear?  If so, where?

I'm pretty excited for the journey and this post may be a symptom of overthinking while planning, but that's part of the fun, right? 

I'm cycling the Northern Tier Route this summer and I plan to start in Seattle.  I feel the best way to get my bike to Seattle is shipping it to a bike shop there. 

Does anyone know if there is a bike shop that would accept the shipment.  If so, do you know the best one?  I won't need them to reassemble the bike, just accept the shipment. 

this will be my first trans-continental tour.  I'm so excited! 

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