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Messages - guydaho

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Routes / Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« on: July 16, 2014, 05:50:10 pm »
It's time for me to chime in on the Idaho Trans Am route topic.  First, I live right off of the "infamous" Hwy 12 in North Central Idaho at mile marker #44, right next to the Clearwater River, and along the ACA TransAm route.  I understand some of the concerns expressed about the stretch of Hwy 12 from Clarkston, WA to Kooskia, ID, but I believe touring cyclists are being unnecessarily "scared off" of Hwy 12, and being routed on, what I consider to be, an inferior alternative.  Yes, the shoulders can be very thin to non-existent on parts of Hwy 12, but there  has been some repaving and restriping activity this summer, and folks, it's just not that bad. I really see this as a route choice between 50 miles of "river grade" if you pedal down Highway 12 from the US95S/US12E split to Kamiah, ID, or 70 miles of a "mountain grade" loop (with a really healthy 8 mile climb up the Old Winchester Grade Road) if you pedal down Hwy 95 South out of Lewiston, ID and up the Winchester grade and back down ID162 to Kamiah.  I just don't think that the "avoidance loop" of 70 miles in worth the alternative.  Don't get me wrong - Winchester Lake State Park is a great place to camp while cycle touring (saw several TransAmers up there this weekend), but I just don't like the re-route, especially on days like today, when it is 100+ degrees outside.   Here are a couple of tips if you choose to ride Hwy 12 from Lewiston to Kamiah:

1)   Sunday is, without a doubt, the best day to cycle on Highway 12.  If it works for your schedule, the route decision is simple.  Saturday is almost as good, but both are better than a weekday.
2)  Get a very early start, and do not tempt this Highway at night.
3)  I find that the East bound direction is much less scary than the West bound direction, because you at least have some room to bail out.  My greatest fear of Hwy 12 is when you are pinned between the concrete barriers and the road, without a shoulder.  This is probably less than two miles total on the entire 50 mile section.
4)  They've done about the best they can do, given the sheer hardrock cliffs and the river as natural boundaries. 
5)  Please ride single file
6)  Be very attentive around the blind corners.
7)  I believe the RVs are much more of a threat than the logging trucks.

Really, it's just common sense.  I agree with several of the previous posts that Idaho is a tremendous part of the TransAm.  In fact, I adore the ride to Lolo up Highway 12.  No reason to loop around Hwy 12 in my opinion.  Ride on!

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