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Messages - jimbo

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Routes / Re: Help planning from WI to Yellowstone
« on: February 19, 2010, 10:12:02 pm »
 We went west to east in 08 and stayed in Yellowstone ( after coming from Glacier via Anacortes and the NT). We also took in Devils Monument, Black Hills, Badlands... used SD#44 to NE Iowa to Lake Okobojie (sp) to Jackson MN and south of I90 to Root River Bike trail in SE Minn to LaCrosse WI  to Sparta-Elroy Trail ( with 3 tunnels..a BLAST) up to Green Lake WI and then ended up in Manitowac. 
Exact route on our blog "coast to coast for conservation" at (

General Discussion / Re: Which Erie Canal guide book "best"?
« on: February 19, 2010, 09:54:55 pm »
Also used the PTNY book from Buffalo to St Johnsville. It was good enough, though we had some confusion getting started on the "trail" after entering Buffalo from the Peace Bridge. You should not have that problem since you are ending in Buffalo. There are numerous sections that put you back on roads so you need to stay alert.  We found painted signage on the road surface (white circle with a directional line) a huge help. Those signs were from the annual 400 mile Erie Canal ride (

Hey most have pointed out..April can be a challenge in the east. Regarding route along the Erie Canal Path we used it in 2008 and found it worth it. We had 700x32 tires and did not find the fine stone on the path an issue..BUT we were not loaded. We did go thru Buffalo and used the Peace Bridge. For details go to and click on New York and Ontario. 

Routes / Re: Northern Tier-ish
« on: February 03, 2010, 09:40:51 pm »
We were heading east but regarding the Buffalo area we used the Peace Bridge and found our way somewhat quickly thru the maze after the Bridge to the Niagara River Trail. True, though the roads in one stretch of a few miles were crappy, but it did not last long. We used ACA map and the Erie Canal map and then found the painted signs of the NY Parks Buffalo to Albany bike route to guide us when we were confused. The River Trail was fun. I don't know if there is a perfect route.

General Discussion / Re: Your first long distance tour...
« on: January 24, 2010, 07:25:16 pm »
My first long tour which was my very first tour ever  was coast to coast in 2008 at age 62, and my first thoughts were "how will a 30 mile uphill in the Cascades feel"...and as the temps went to 105º+ my thoughts quickly changed to "can I ride in this heat for a week". I found living in the moment was all I wanted to do and it worked for me. At the end, the 3rd week of Oct. in Maine, it was a cold cold day with a NE wind and all I thought about was getting off the beach after the toast. Not very profound.  
I had some profound thoughts on the long long Hwy#44 in SD where the moments ran into days. My riding companion had lots of profound thoughts, but as the blog writer, and a writer by trade, (  he had to be thinking of profound discoveries along the route.
For me it doesn't have to be profound to be meaningful. Just be.  Ride and live.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier-ish
« on: January 12, 2010, 10:19:00 pm »
Dang..something happened to the text in my last reply. Anyhow....for the 2nd time.

MI DOT has bike maps by region and we used one to do the Luddington-Luther leg in 2008.  It took about  4 hours I think. Longer than it should as one road marked "paved" was soft sand and it was slow and we got lost due to some flooding and closed roads. The Erie Connector route was generally good, though  some roads were w/o shoulders and less than nice drivers.  We did get lost in Bay City. Be sure to stop in Fairview at the Catamore Zangalotti Flashback Cafe and have "martian nuts". Brown City..home to the first RV is a good stop as well. The ferry ride on the "Badger" is sure to play Bingo for that ultimate culture experience.
Read days 50-53 at our blog at and link to Michigan under categories.  Great time of year to plan a trip. We finished our coast-coast trip in S. Maine at Wells.
Enjoy yours.

Routes / Re: Northern Tier-ish
« on: January 12, 2010, 10:06:22 pm »
Just a note on the Luther to Luddington leg. MIchigan DOT has bicycle maps for the entire state by region. I regret I can't locate the section for Luther to Luddington, but we used that map in 2008. We left Luddington in the early AM; stopped for breakfast and still made it to Luther for lunch so it is not a long leg. BUT.. the map they had showed the roads we used as paved and one stretch was not. That would not be much of an issue, except that back road was soft sand. They were all for the most part void of traffic. Check out our blog for that day at

Routes / Re: Newport, Oregon to Portland, Maine via Northern Iowa
« on: January 11, 2010, 06:28:49 pm »

If you go to you will see our journal "Coast to Coast for Conservation" and each state is linked under "categories"

We loved the Elroy-Sparta- Lacrosse rail to trail ride and especially the tunnels. (ride, not walk,  through them for the best experience) WI will have some good options for coming into the state from IL. The Root River trail in SE MN was excellent. A stop at the Spam Museum in Austin is a must. Our Minn route south of I90 was not too exciting for several days but it was away from traffic. The route thru NW Iowa was mostly to re-live childhood memories. Also it was  away from traffic except for the most part, with  views of IA farming (oink oink). Rock Rapids IA was a fun town.
I think #44 along the edge of the Pine Ridge Reservation thru southern SD is a "must do" to fully experience the Dakota culture. The ride through eastern WY coming from Yellowstone to Devils Tower to the  Black Hills was remote and beautiful. Being from the Finger Lakes area of NY (HILLS) we did not mind going up the Big Horns the hard way. Burgess Junction and Granite Pass/Shell Canyon are exceptionally beautiful.

Let me know if  the blog does not answer all your questions.


Routes / Re: Newport, Oregon to Portland, Maine via Northern Iowa
« on: January 10, 2010, 09:31:56 pm »
Sounds like a great graduation gift to yourself. 

I did a Northern Tier "sort of" west to east in 2008 and passed thru my hometown of Jackson MN and included the Spirit Lake IA area, having come from Northern Tier to Glacier to Yellowstone to Black Hills to Badlands and SD #44 to Rock Rapids Iowa to Spirit Lake to Jackson MN and across southern MN to Root River Trail in SE MN and across WI (Sparta-Elroy Tunnels were awesome) to Manitowac WI to ferry to Ludington MI and used the Lake Erie Connector from Luther to Marine City . From there used NT thru Ontario Canada and part of NY (Erie Canal mostly ) to VT, NH and ended at Wells Maine. 3700 miles and 10 weeks.  If interested I can provide more details on route. We routed oursleves (no ACA maps) thru central-eastern NY, VT, NH and Maine. Mostly backroads.


Routes / Re: Adirondack Loop - Help Needed
« on: March 30, 2009, 10:50:12 pm »
Mike....May is peak black fly season in the Adk's. Nasty stuff. As posted earlier most NYS/DEC camps are not open that early.  "Google" private RV/campgrounds along your route and you should find some RV parks open, but you are a month early and may need to guerilla camp. NYS  Parks and DEC Campgrounds are fairly well regulated and I doubt you will find many who would bend the rules to let you slip past the closed gates knowingly. Other than the bug issue what a great time to see the Park bud out.

General Discussion / Re: biking across america with diabetes
« on: March 30, 2009, 10:35:07 pm »
Good thread..very enlightening. Sometimes I wonder if some people who post must know each other off line and can't wait to pop each other in public.

In any case, the advise that made sense to me from the posts would be for Kemmett to hook up with a nutritionist. From the journals I read on CGOAB some touring cyclist make it across on junk food while others are highly selective. Cliff bars, grilled cheese, milkshakes and a carb dinner were my go to foods. 
Kemmett It's a great country to see at 10 mph. Do it.

Routes / Re: need northern short cut
« on: March 28, 2009, 10:23:23 pm »
Where in NY State are you starting from?  The Erie Canal towpath can take you from the Albany area to Buffalo. I used it last Fall from Buffalo to the Johnstown area before heading north towards Saratoga Springs. The Towpath is a great way to avoid traffic, but you still need to use roads about 1/3 of the time. We followed ACA map in Ontario Canada and Lake Connector in Michigan. There is a booklet of maps for using the Towpath.
I live in the Finger Lakes region..a great cycling region with many hills..a contrast to the flat Canal Towpath.

Routes / Re: cross-country WITHOUT ACA Maps
« on: March 13, 2009, 09:24:52 pm »
bb87..You should get a lot of advise on this one. 

I have only done one coast to coast trip ( 08) and 5 of the 10 weeks on the road we followed ACA Northern Tier and Lake Connector routes. I found ACA routes to be excellent 90% of the time and the other 10% there were no other choices available. ACA looks for the least travelled roads for their routes. We were delighted with their choices for the NT route to Glacier. The other 5 weeks of the trip we routed ourselves using all of the following: State/ County Bike Maps showing traffic density and shoulder availability; advise from area Cycle Clubs via E-mails; advise from ACA Forum and CGOAB touring cyclist; and occasionally on-site advise from locals. ACA and CGOAB riders via the Forums are an excellent resource if you let people know your general destinations.

In late Aug 08 I only rode on Rt 200 from the junction of #83 to # 279 (Ovando and Lincoln) but found it a good road and no traffic issues.  Good campground and restaurant in Lincoln.
Jim K

Thanks, Jim.  Just curious...Did you enter or exit Hwy 200 using Hwy 279?  Have you ridden #279 to Helena?

Corrado..yes we did exit 200 at 279 and went south over Fletcher's Pass ( a moderate grade) to Helena. (Great long downhill)
Because we were exiting the Helena area by taking 284 (?) on the east side of Canyon Ferry  south  to #12 and Townsend (look at day 16-18 at we cut across  north of Helena using  Custer Ave /Canyon Ferry Rd ( 430 I think) to camp at a BLM campground on a lake near Black Sandy State Park.  John Egan comments often on touring in Montana and I followed his guidance on the connection from 279 to Canyon Ferry Lake. I think I got the Custer/Canyon Ferry Rd/430 right but perhaps John can pick up on this thread and correct the details. We were heading to Yellowstone and took # 12 east to #89. ( Though I realize all of is leading you away from your Lewis & Clark trail)

General Discussion / Re: Cross Country for a Cause?
« on: March 05, 2009, 09:20:59 pm »
My fund-raising and touring experience is limited to "once" but we raised 40K for a non-profit land conservation organization in our home area. Our journal is at
What I learned: Be clear 100% of funds go to "the cause" and not a penny for trip expenses.
Find local stories that  faces on the cause.
Find donated print/internet media help for a brochure/website.
Raise the money locally for the most part. It is not easy to get substantial gifts on the road from strangers.
"Quietly" look for someone(s) that would put up a dollar for dollar matching gift(s). This is not an easy task but can yield much better dividends. (This starting gifts could be 25-50% of what your total goal amount is.)
Once you have that  "starting pot" go public with your pledge drive and use the matching dollar grant as an incentive.
Make sure checks are payable to a secure not for profit or some agency etc. and not to you or some individual.

Riding (and blogging) for a cause is a super incentive to stay focused on finishing the tour and also connecting to your donor base. Good luck.
Jim K

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