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Messages - jimbo

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Routes / Re: Northern Tier - Without going into Canada
« on: April 18, 2011, 06:01:39 pm »
I was WRONG as noted that the NT does not cross into Canada at Buffalo...It does. The Canadian side is quite nice if you want to invest the time and $$ to get your passport/card.

BUT you "don't have to do that" if you don't want to.

As noted you can pick up the "Erie Canal Towpath" from the Peace Bridge in Buffalo and stay in the US the entire time. ( not well marked at the onset but with a bit of study you can get through the initial confusion. I have the Buffalo to Tonawanda route info if you need it)

And in Montana at Glacier NP there is a non-Canada option "Marias Alternate". My 2008 copy of the NT shows that option. You can avoid Canada if you desire and still be following NT maps.

Sorry for adding to your confusion. I used the ACA Erie Connector route through Michigan and Canada to the Peace Bridge and then was back on ACA NT for NY. Many ways to do it as you will learn from the ACA folks.

Jim K

Routes / Re: Northern Tier - Without going into Canada
« on: April 17, 2011, 09:57:59 pm »
Mike..if u follow the ACA "NT" route as it is described you would not go into Canada. When you get to Buffalo you will be on a north-northeast route from Ohio/Erie PA area. From Buffalo you will go east along the Erie Canal Towpath. 

General Discussion / Re: Need advice from you! (the pros)
« on: April 17, 2011, 09:38:26 pm » have a great sense of humor....keep that and you'll have a great time on your trek. Not taking your "tool bag" with you on your first outing was the best test of your ability to  bend with the wind. Good work.

Three weeks ago a father and 17 yr old son were killed by a drunk driver at 9AM on Sunday on "River Road" in Wilmington NC. The road has a bike lane and I am certain is part of the ACA route from the Southport Ferry at Fort Fisher and then through Wilmington.  I ride that route 12x yr when I visit my daughter.

General Discussion / Re: finishing
« on: February 04, 2011, 09:23:01 pm »
John Nelson's reply "to live in the moment" resonates with me as well. I rarely thought about how far I came or what was left. I was excited to wake up and start tomorrow every day. With 3700 miles down and 300 to go I finally started to anticipate the destination. Enjoy your moments.

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520
« on: June 09, 2010, 10:18:09 pm »
I was new to touring after 15 years of using a Trek 7000 mtb mostly as a road bike. Bought the 520 4 years ago and went coast to coast in 08. For me the bike is perfect. I am 6'2 and 210. I had to replace the rear wheel due to rim cracks at the spoke heads but the other components have been fine. It has been ridden just 8K so far so still a young bike. Ideally you could test drive both popular bikes for a week, but the reality is you will be lucky to get a 2-4 hour test ride.  Buy from an experienced shop where the staff ride to work daily.
They should mount the bike and you on their "fit" station and check you and it out for proper fit.
There is no one "best" bike out there. The 520 is among the "best" group.
Have fun with the decision.....and all the miles.

I did a west-east trip in 08 and we used the "towpath" et al from Buffalo to around Johnsburg and then back roads up to Saratoga Springs and east from there into VT, NH and landed at Wells. ME. The "canal towpath bike route" is a mixed bag of on/off the towpath. My sense was about 1/2 the time we were off the path on adjacent roads. Most of the towpath was fairly firm surface of stone dust.
Details at :  "coast to coast for conservation".  We used the NT route about 5 weeks and Erie Connector as well. There is a Erie Canal Towpath guide for cyclist that is available. It is not always 100% obvious how to access the off the canal routes, but we managed ok. ( I live in the Finger Lakes )

Good luck.

General Discussion / Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« on: June 08, 2010, 10:11:48 pm »
I am not a bike techy and I am sure you will get some well qualified is my less than techy unqualified reply ( I did the NT on a trek 520...standard steed for the job)

What size tires will you be using on the Madrone? I am trying to imagine a 700x25 pulling a trailer.

General Discussion / Re: cross country north teir 2011
« on: May 04, 2010, 09:25:30 pm »
VT....the ACA NT maps  point out the campgrounds along the route. We did a modified NT tour supported with a pop-up tent camper in 08 and had no problem finding sites. That did include the usual private and public sites, but also municipal parks with gracious Town Clerks, a motel backyard, fairgrounds, and  a few off the grid USFS sites etc. Depends how big the RV is I suppose.
Jim K

Routes / Re: Across Wisconsin- LaCrosse to Milwaukee
« on: April 17, 2010, 10:18:38 pm »
Hi Turk...I took a bike trail from LaCrosse to Sparta and then the Sparta-Elroy rail trail which goes thru 3 tunnels. They are a blast.  I assume it continues on to Madison..we left it at Elroy to get to Manitowac.  You should have a nice ride.  We rode in the tunnels as we were alone. ( you need some illumination)

General Discussion / Re: 25 years on....
« on: April 16, 2010, 10:40:57 pm »
Good learning curve took several months and two falls. It happens when you least expect it. ( Which is why it happens maybe)

hey'll get  varied opinions on this so here's view comes after only reading ACA and CGOAB forums for 3-4 years. Your question comes up every year... and what I recall is that "almost all"  forum participants responding to that issue do not support mixing raising funds for charity and paying for the trip. doesn't mean some people won't support you for both, but just not seen as a very good practice.
"warm" and ""  are sites that have members that offer free rooms for cyclist.  (one way to beat some costs and meet people)
good luck...

Routes / Re: East West Route starting in May
« on: March 15, 2010, 09:52:31 pm »
Stu; We did west to east in 10 weeks in 2008 and used about 6+ weeks of N Tier as well as Erie Connector and Great Lakes in Mich.
We did NT route from Anacortes WA to Glacier Park; then left NT to go to south to Yellowstone/Black Hills/Badlands; SD; southern MN; central WI; ferry across Lake Michigan and then picked up the Great Lakes, Erie Connector, Erie Canal +NT thru most of NY; VT, NH Southern ME. (3700 miles) Details at:  It was a relaxed pace with stops at all Parks etc.
No matter what route you decide will see rural USA.

Regarding leaving Yellowstone and picking up NT. In 08 we went from Glacier (NT) south on 83 (Swan River Valley..beautiful ride) to 200  to 279 (Flescher Pass) to Helena and 280/284 Canyon Ferry Rd to 12 to 89 which took us south to Mammoth Hot Springs/Yellowstone. We camped and had no problems with the route. The worst traffic using NT routes was in Whitefish-Glacier area. Survivable but ugly. The other roads were great.  Details at Coast to Coast for Conservation at:

Routes / Re: Help planning from WI to Yellowstone
« on: February 22, 2010, 08:37:51 pm »
Erik....I posted a few days ago buy the text went south.  I have done most of the trip you are planning..tho from west to east. Check out our 2008 blog "Coast to Coast for Conservation" at:

You would be further north being at Chippewa Falls ( we crossed into MN at LaCrosse and took the Root River Trail in SE Minn and then stayed south of I 90 across south MN.) But we felt that #44 across SD was a good road and showed the rural culture of small towns of SD very well and leads into  the Badlands and Black Hills. Try to include Devils Monument en route to Yellowstone. We liked 14/16 through much of WYO and loved Shell Canyon as the route over the Big Horns...but we loved climbs so were not looking for the least elevation over the Big Horns. Our trip was supported but we camped the entire route and had no issues with finding sites.


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