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Bicycle Route 66 / Arizona - New Mexico Route 66 Tour
« on: October 27, 2013, 11:35:55 pm »
Route 66 Tour from Holbrook, Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Hi – I’m John Wettack, 72 years old, living in southeast Arizona.   I enjoy touring historic routes, including the Oregon, Santa Fe, and Chisholm trails and for the past few years have toured parts of Route 66.  Here’s a report on my most recent Route 66 ride.

Three friends and I rode a 400-mile tour of Route 66 between Holbrook, AZ, and Santa Fe, NM, September 9-15, 2013.  Our objective was to ride Route 66 where present, with a couple of off-route detours.  Our overnight stops were Chambers, AZ, and, in NM: Gallup, Grants, the Sky City Casino hotel, Los Lunas, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. 
Day 1: From Holbrook: US-180 to the Petrified Forest Road to ride through that national park (a worthwhile detour), then I-40 to Chambers.  72 miles
Day 2: From Chambers: Frontier Road (Rt. 66) to Sanders; I-40 to Lupton; NM-118 (Rt. 66) to Gallup.  55 miles
Day 3: From Gallup: NM-118 (Rt. 66) to I-40 Exit 36; I-40 to Exit 47; NM-122 (Rt. 66) to Grants.  [The I-40 shoulder between Exit 36 and 38 has cracked pavement and some loose sand/small gravel, east of Exit 38 the shoulder was in good condition.  Our group, with 32mm to 38mm tires had no problem riding the 2-mile poor shoulder section, which for us did not warrant the 30-mile detour recommended on the New Mexico Touring Society website (and perhaps on Adventure Cycling’s route).  65 miles
Day 4: From Grants: NM-124 (Rt. 66) to the Sky City Casino Hotel, with a detour (15-miles one-way) on Indian Highway 38 from McCartys to Alcoma Pueblo (Sky City) and back to McCartys.  The pueblo, occupied since the 12th Century, is well worth the detour, with a modern visitors’ center, museum, and restaurant.  55 miles
Day 5:  From Sky City Casino Hotel: NM-124 (Rt. 66) to Mesita.  A rough 8-mile section of old Route 66 south of I-40 to Correo – the first couple of miles badly cracked pavement, the last couple of miles dirt which was muddy due to previous day’s rain.  [As an alternative, the shoulder of I-40 could be ridden between Mesita and Correo.]  NM-6 (Rt. 66) to Los Lunas.   The only services on the 60-mile day were 7 miles from the start.
Day 6: From Los Lunas: Isleta Blvd. (Rt. 66) to Albuquerque – 25 miles.  We rode the Rail Runner railroad service to Santa Fe, to ride the downgrade route back to Albuquerque the next day.
Day 7: From Santa Fe – Cerrillos Rd. (Rt.66) to I-25 Exit 278 southern frontage road, also Rt. 66, to I-25 Exit 267.  I-25 shoulder to Exit 264.  To avoid riding I-25 to Exit 248 (a section where I-25 eliminated Route 66), we rode NM-16 to NM-22 to Indian Service Road 84 to NM-313 (Rt. 66) at Exit 248.  Our route passed Pena Blanca, Santo Domingo Pueblo, and San Felipe Pueblo.  NM-313 to Alameda Blvd. to get on Albuquerque’s Paseo del  Bosque bike trail which runs along the Rio Grande through the city.

The tour was a good ride through mostly wide-open, scenic country, including several Indian reservations.  I’m estimating about 75% of the ride was on Route 66.  Much of Route 66 is along or near I-40 and I-25.  Food and water are generally readily available, except along NM-6.   Chambers’ one motel is the only lodging we noticed between Holbrook, AZ and Gallup, NM.  The Paseo del Bosque bike trail is a great ride through most of Albuquerque.

Previous Route 66 tours I’ve done have been Flagstaff to Kingman, Arizona; all of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Illinois; and Carthage, Missouri to the Kansas border.  Several websites provide directions for following Route 66 and the history of current and ghost towns and points of interest along the way. 

Anyone with any questions about the parts of Route 66 I’ve ridden can contact me at

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.

A nice route you could take most of the way is US-89.  It is somewhat out of a direct line between Salt Lake City and Cedar City, but south of Provo it's a very nice route to tour.  You could finish by taking UT-14 from Long Valley Junction to Cedar City.  Highway 89 has nice scenery, not much traffic, and many small towns along the way.  I rode it about 10 years ago.  The Salt Lake City to Provo portion wasn't real nice, but from Provo south it was great.

Routes / Re: A Brit in New Mexico
« on: May 25, 2013, 08:33:59 pm »
Chris,  One thing I neglected to mention in the previous post.  Early July is the beginning of the summer monsoon season (which normally lasts through early September).  Expect short-duration, very scattered thunderstorms.  Mornings are usually clear; clouds form around noon; the storms hit in the afternoon; then the sky clears.  The storms are very locaized; one area may get drenched, while 1/4 mile away no rain falls.  If you do get caught in a storm, it will likely last maybe 15 minutes and drops the temperature nicely. The storms often create a lot of lightning, so don't take cover under an isolated tree (trees are few and far between anyway).

Routes / Re: A Brit in New Mexico
« on: May 24, 2013, 01:28:53 am »
I assume you will generally be following the Rio Grande until you get very near Santa Fe.  Your route will approximate the old Spanish El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Royal Road of the Interior), which has a facinating history.  There is a lot of information about that historic route in the internet.  Here's one site

I did a bike tour from Las Cruces to Santa Fe about 5 years go.  Interstate Highway 25 follows the Rio Grande to Santa Fe.  It is legal (and safe due to wide shoulders) to ride on the interstate, but noisy and not real pleasant.  Most of the route there are paved highways parallel and not far from the interstate, some east and some west.  These roads are much more pleasant riding.  A detailed New Mexico map will show those roads.  If you're not camping, towns with motels are spaced near enough for reasonable daily rides.  There is very little civilization between Truth or Consequences and Socorro, so load up with water and snacks for that stretch.

New Mexico Highway 28 north from El Paso goes through La Mesilla, an interesting and attractive little town just south of Las Cruces.  Of course, you will find many, many good Mexican food restaurants along the entire route.

Between a bit south of Albuquerque and Santa Fe are several Indian pueblos (towns) that are interesting to visit.  In Albuquerque, a 15-mile bike trail runs along the Rio Grande.

As others have said, it will be hot; along with water, sunscreen is a must.  Long sleeved shirts may be advisable to avoid sunscreen. Just for information: Las Cruces elevation is 3,900 feet, Santa Fe elevation is 7,200 feet.

Have a great ride.

I did a tour last month from Charleston, SC, to Norfolk, VA.  The intent was to stay a near the coast as possible.  Generally, US-17 is not very bike friendly, usually no shoulder.  There was quite a bit of traffic in April; I imagine as the summer tourist season approaches, the traffic would be much heavie.  A tourer we talked to said US-17 between Savannah and Charleston was terrible for riding -- lots of traffic and no shoulder.

Unfortunately, because of many rivers and inlets along the coast, we didn't have many options to US-17 until it went inland at Jacksonville, NC, and we stayed along the coast to get to the Outer Banks.

There are some stretches to avoid US-17 for a while -- Myrtle Beach & North Myrtle Beach, SC; NC-211 and US-421 south of Wilmington, NC; and NC-210 and NC-172 south of Jacksonville, NC.

If you aren't tied to the Adventure Cycleing route, the NC's Outer Banks make for great riding. 

Routes / Re: El Paso to San Diego via Tucson
« on: March 29, 2013, 11:44:14 pm »
Here's a route generally on low-traffic roads which is not as direct as taking I-10 from El Paso to Casa Grande, but is a lot more interesting and enjoyable than riding the shoulder of the interstate.  West of El Paso, ride NM Highway 9 all the way across southern NM.  That road is scenic and very lightly-traveled, and the towns (Columbus, Hachita, and Animas) range from small to tiny.  At the Arizon border, take Highway 80 through Douglas, Bisbee, and (for the atmosphere and history) Tombstone.  Take Charleston Road from Tombstone to Sierra Vista; Highway 90 and Highway 83 to Sonoita; and Highway 83 to I-10 east of Tucson.  Shortly thereafter, frontage roads lead into Tucson.  Bicycles are prohibited on I-10 from the east side to Tucson north thrugh Casa Grande to north of Phoenix.

You can get a bike route map of Tucson which shows bike paths and routes through most of the city.   Take Oracle Road (Highway 77) north out of Tucson to Highway 79 to Florence, then Highway 287 from Florence to Casa Grande.  Then take Highway 238 to Gila Bend.  There are frontage roads along much of I-8 west of Gila Bend; where they aren't present, ride the interstate shoulder.  At I-8 Exit 54, take the paved road to Tacna, Wellton, etc. to Yuma -- the road avoids a mountain range that I-8 crosses east of Yuma.

This routing from El Paso to Yuma is high desert and desert that get very hot in the summer, with long stretches between water sources and other civilization.  I've ridden virtually all of it and it's wonderful riding, but be prepared.

I haven't ridden from Yuma to San Diego, but you could likely find journals on of that portion.  Not too far west of Yuma, you can pick up the Southen Tour route.

Routes / Re: running route 66
« on: February 24, 2013, 01:55:08 pm »
A thought I didn't mention in the previouse post.  If Steve isn't wedded to Route 66, a more enjoyable alternate route across much of Missouri would be to go north from a bit west of Springfiled to Clinton, Mo, and pick up the Katy Trail.  The trail extends 225 miles from Clinton to St. Charles, about 30 miles from St. Louis.  The Katy Trail ( is a level, traffic-free route mostly along the Missouri River that would avoid the hills and I-40 of central Missouri.

Routes / Re: running route 66
« on: February 24, 2013, 01:34:07 pm »
There are several Route 66 websites and books that provide information on where Route 66 roads still exist and points of interest along the way.  In many locations different allignments were use at different times, so there are choices of routes.

In a nutshell, here are my experiences bike touring portions of Route 66: 
California - I haven't ridden any of the route. 
Arizona - the old road is present across about half the state, mostly east of Flagstaff, with long stretches between "civilization." 
New Mexico - portions of 66 are present, separated by stretches where I-40 eliminated 66.  Originally 66 went north (through Santa Fe) and south of Albuquerque; later straight east-west through Albuquerque.  Long distances between towns. 
Texas - 66 is present about 3/4 of the way across the panhandle, mostly as frontage roads to I-10.  Flat and pretty boring.
Oklahoma - 66 exists all the way across the state; west of Oklahoma City much is I-40 frontage roads.
Kansas - all 13 miles still exist!
Missouri - 66 from the west border to Springfield is present as minor highways.  East Springfield, I-40 eliminated some portions.  Very hilly in center of state.
Illinois - essentially all of old 66 is present, about half as I-55 frontage roads.  Generally flat as a pancake.

Check bike journals of Route 66 tours on this site and CrazyGuyonaBike for much greater detail.

Take time to enjoy the many interesting places along the route.

I'll second (or third) the recommendation for southeast Arizona, starting in Tucson.  The weather is generally fine; scenery is great; and traffic usually light.  A couple of days could be added to the Adventure Cycling tour mentioned above by riding riding to south to Nogales (on the Mexican border) from Tucson, then northeast to Patagonia to get on the A.C. route. 

I live in Sierra Vist in about the center of the tour route area.  If you select this area for your tour, contact me at  I can give you details of area roads and potential side trips and could put you up for a night.

Bicycle Route 66 / Re: Skeptical about Bike Route 66
« on: September 24, 2012, 06:43:57 pm »
I just finished riding Route 66 in Illinois from the Chain of Rocks bridge across the Mississippi near St. Louis to Joliet.  I skipped the northernmost 50 miles or so into Chicago and rode Highway 4 around Springfield to avoid the urban traffic.  Most of Route 66 provides an enjoyable ride; in a very few areas traffic can be a bit "intense." 

The Illinois Depart of Natural Resources has published a guide to the Route 66 Trail which was produced by the League of Illionois Bicyclists and the DNR.  The guide is available from the DNR and on-line.  The guide's "Main Route" deviates a lot from Route 66 onto nearby roads, requiring many turns and adding significantly to the riding distance.  Generally, I found riding on Route 66 in sections the guide notes as "Advanced Shortcuts" or doesn't list at all to be reasonabe riding.  Some of that was 4-lane or 2-lane roads with no shoulders, but traffic was generally light and drivers gave wide clearance.  The guide lists services available in many of the towns along the route.

The "Mother Road" is essentially intact and generally makes for fine riding.  Much of old Route 66 is now frontage roads to I-55; in other areas it about 1 to 3 miles from the interstate (either way, the interstate carries almost all the traffic).  The pavement is generally good, with a few areas with rough surfaces.  Off-the-route trails from the Chain of Rocks bridge to Staunton, into and through Blooming/Normal, and at a few other places provide pleasant traffic-free breaks.   There are small towns at about 5 to 10 mile intervals, so services are readily available.  The towns are all viable, a switch from the ghost towns and abandoned buildings along Route 66 in the western states.  Pontiac has an interesting Route 66 Museum which is a worthwhile stop.

I combined the Katy Trail in Missouri and Illinois Route 66 into one tour.  A nice benefit of the entire route (in my view) is the lack of hills the entire tour.  Crossing bridges were the biggest climbs of the trip.

Bicycle Route 66 / Re: Skeptical about Bike Route 66
« on: August 28, 2012, 11:34:46 pm »
I've enjoyed riding historic trails, including the Oregon Trail, Santa Fe, and Chislom trails, using paved and unpave roads that adjacent to the original routes.  Now I'm picking up feasible parts of Route 66 to experience the allure of the "Mother Road."   In Arizona, the old road exists and makes for a great riding between Kingman and Flagstaff, except for a 30-mile stretch between Williams and Ash Fork where riding the I-40 shoulder is needed.  In Oklahoma, various "editions" of Route 66 are present and good riding across the entire state, as is the short Kansas portion. 

Next month, I'll be riding Route 66 Illinois, using the Illinois Route 66 Trail Users Guide, produced by the League of Illinois Bicyclists.  The guide highlights both original Route 66 roads and lower-traffic alternatives.

Most of the original Route 66 roads I've ridden are relatively near the interstate highways that replaced them (from service roads to a few miles away), so only local traffic uses the old roads.  Route 66 passes through small towns every few miles in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, providing bikers many options for services while discouraging drivers from using the road.

Gear Talk / Re: Pannier J-Hook too Long. Any fixes?
« on: August 03, 2012, 01:11:54 am »
I had a similar problem with my panniers and rack.   I solved it by removing the hook from the pannier strap and replacing it with a strong split key ring; the ring is higher than the rod on the bottom of the rack.  I attached a bungie cord to the ring, passed it below the bottom of the rack and hooked the other end of the bungie cord to the top of the rack behind the pannier.

Routes / Re: Arizona 288 --Globe-Young Hwy?
« on: August 02, 2012, 09:02:14 pm »
I live in Arizona and have ridden many of the following areas.  There are reasonable alternatives to Route 288 to get to the Mogollon Rim from Silver City.  One would be to take US-70 to Globe, AZ-88 to Roosevelt, AZ-188 to AZ-87 to Payson.  From Payson, you could ride AZ-87 to the Rim Road.   From that point, you could go west through Camp Verde to Prescott (which involves a LOT of climbing), then north to Ash Fork and ride I-40 or much of old Route 66 to the California border.   I'd recommend riding from Strawberry to the Lake Mary Road which goes north to Flagstaff.  From Flagstaff, you can ride most of the way to the CA border on old Route 66.  Several websites identify parts of Route 66 that exist but are not shown on most maps.

An alternative route to the Rim Road through scenic backcountry is on US-180 from Silver City to Eagar, AZ, then AZ-260 though Show Low to the Rim Road.  There are few services, other that some at Glenwood, between Silver City and Alpine.

Routes / Re: route suggestions for a beginner
« on: August 02, 2012, 07:32:45 pm »
The Natchez Trace, with the north end in Nashville, is a relatively nearby route to you that makes for a nice tour.  It has little traffic (no commercial vehicles) and a 45-mph speed limit.  The north end of the 440-mile route has some significant hills (nothing compared to eastern TN), the southern portion is very flat.

The GAP Trail and C&O Canal trail combine to make a very interesting and scenic tour.

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