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Messages - Norsman

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Routes / Underground Railroad or Great Rivers
« on: February 05, 2013, 02:29:44 am »
I plan to do a southeast to northwest crossing of the USA. To get from the Southern Tier route up to Cave-in-Rock and the TransAmerica route I plan to use the Underground Railroad route for most of the way.  However I noticed that the UR crosses the Great Rivers route twice before they join south of Cave-in-Rock.

My question is: Between the southern crossing point, near Tishomingo,  and the northern crossing, near Waverly, which is the better route to use? In particular ease of riding, traffic, food stops etc.

Routes / Re: USA Corner to Corner
« on: January 30, 2013, 08:18:26 pm »
It is likely that I will not do this trip this year.  But I think I will be ready for an early May start in 2014. If that is the case it will be a east to west ride. With that timing I hope that the first half of the trip will be not too hot.  I would likely be riding through the Rockies in late June, early July.

After some research I still intend to use Hwy 2 for parts of Washington state. I know that Hwy 20 is favored by many but I have already ridden it so I am looking for something new.

The proposed route would be Hwy 200 from Missoula to Sandpoint, south on Hwy 95 to Coeur d'Alene, and then a trail to Spokane.  Next I would use Hwy 2 until I can go north on Hwy 174 to Grand Coulee Dam, continue on to Brewster and then south to Chelan. Continue south on Hwy 97 to Wenatchee and then use Hwy 2 to get me through the Cascades. Then I would use a variety to back roads to get me to Mukilteo.  The finish would be at Cape Flattery.

I figure this should take me 80 to 90 days.

Routes / Re: Canada mortorists
« on: January 27, 2013, 05:30:32 pm »
I did a cross Canada ride last year and found the professional truck drivers, in particular long haul drivers to be fine. I was more worried about the large RVs.

The Sault Ste. Marie area was a bit of a problem on Highway 17. One section was particularly bad. However that was very short and then I got back to the usual narrow shoulder on the Trans Canada. A section of Hwy. 17 through SSM can be avoided by taking a trail (John Roswell Hub Trail) and then riding on alternate routes. On paper this route looks much better than Hwy 17 but I can't be sure because I used Hwy 17 through the whole area.

Once you get to Massey, about 135 miles (215km) east of SSM get off Hwy 17 and use Lee Valley Road to get you to Espanola.  From there the ride to and over Manitoulin Island is very nice. The top half of Hwy 6 on the Bruce Peninsula is newly paved and has a nice shoulder. South of Lion's Head the road reverts to poor shoulders but I didn't have any problems getting to Owen Sound. If you can avoid going down into Owen Sound do so.  Once you get to the old part of town any route out entails climbing a steep hill.

Routes / Re: USA Corner to Corner
« on: December 17, 2012, 06:55:22 pm »
You also mention you wanted to be done in 80 days @ 60mpd, or 4,800 miles.  Isn't your route closer to 5,500 miles or 69mpd?

Actually when I did my estimate it came out closer to 4400 miles. That still might be too far to get in 80 days but I am not restricted to doing it in 80 days. The only limits I have are what the travel insurance company will allow and my own willingness to live in a tent.

Routes / Re: USA Corner to Corner
« on: December 17, 2012, 02:50:13 am »
How you gonna do it in the fall?

If I decide to go northwest to southeast it would be a mid to late August start, with the remainder of the ride finished in the fall. A spring start would be in the opposite direction with the finish in June or early July.  I know the northwest and its weather quite well.  What I am not as certain of is what to expect on the TransAmerica route through the Rockies and the middle of the continent. Also what kind of weather would I likely face in Florida with a April or May start or an October finish?

What are the big issues with Highway 2 between Spokane and the coast?  Can some of those be avoided by taking some of the minor highways nearby?

Routes / Re: USA Corner to Corner
« on: December 16, 2012, 07:24:56 pm »
Some people don't mind riding on the interstate, but I prefer to avoid it like the plague. I don't like either of your two routes through Washington. I'd jump from the TA at Missoula, go up to Glacier NP and then stay on the Northern Tier to the coast.

I plan to end the ride on the Olympic Peninsula so I was looking for a route that gets me to the northwest part of Washington. I have already ridden the Northern Tier and Pacific Coast routes through the state so I was looking for a different route.

75-80 days is doable but a fairly tight schedule.

When I rode across Canada this summer I averaged 90 to 100 kilometres (55 to 60 miles) per day and did not take many rest days. So that is why I figured this timeline would work. However I will plan for something in the 90 day max range.

Are there any other alternatives for the ride through Washington?

Routes / Re: Route from California to Canada - WIND DIRECTION?!
« on: December 15, 2012, 11:17:45 pm »
We also thought about doing the route from North to South. However our favorite months are June and July (more daylight, no holiday time, less people) and we would like to combine the US and Canada. Starting in June in Canada might be very cold and still some snow in the mountains.

If you plan to start in Vancouver it will not be particularly cold in June.  It might however be wet.  There are no significant mountains in the northern section so there will be no snow worries. When I rode the route in the fall the wind was almost always from the north or northwest.

Routes / USA Corner to Corner
« on: December 15, 2012, 09:11:24 pm »
In the fall of 2013 or spring of 2014 I plan to do a corner to corner crossing of the USA. Most of the ride will be on the following ACA routes: Atlantic Coast, Southern Tier, Underground Railway, TransAmerica and either Highway 2 or I 90 through Washington. Time is not an issue, I am retired, but I would like to know which direction is the most wind friendly and what time of the year is best to start.  Also, is either one of these two routes through Washington better than the other.

I figure a max of 75 to 80 days should do.

Routes / Best Route St. Louis to Missoula
« on: January 18, 2012, 06:17:43 pm »
As part of a self supported trans US trip I will be going through this  section.  I will be going through the St. Louis area, not specifically through the city. I have looked at both the Lewis and Clark Route and the TransAmerica Route and can see positives in both.  At the moment I favor the TA route but am open to other ideas.  I am more interested in scenery than difficulty but if one is dramatically more difficult it could make a difference.  I will be riding southeast to northwest, from late spring to early summer.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route
« on: December 29, 2011, 07:07:21 pm »
I did the route in Sept/Oct 2009 and loved it.  There were only three or four days of rain but foggy much more often.  I used three sources of information for route planning, a book, Bicycling the Pacific Coast by Kirkendall and Spring, a pamphlet, the Oregon Department of Transport map for cycling the coast, and the ACA maps.  I only purchased the ACA maps for California because I was not impressed with the route ACA chose through Washington and the ODOT map for the Oregon Coast gave me all the information I needed.  For California I found the ACA maps more detailed and more up to date than the book and would highly recommend them.

Kirkendall and Spring state in their book that they averaged 53 miles (85km) per day to do the trip from Vancouver to San Diego, which worked out to 35 days of cycling.  That should give you an idea of how long it should take you.  The route is not particularly difficult.  There are very few serious hills, most in Northern California, but there is a lot of short up and down hills that can be a bit of a challenge over a full day, mostly in Northern California and Oregon.

Below I have listed some useful links for planning purposes.

ACA Maps online:

ODOT Maps:

Washington State Parks by Region:

Oregon State Parks by Region:

California Parks by Region:

On the ODOT site there is a link to Greg Current to get a hard copy of the maps.  Try and see if you can get them sent to you.  They sent them to me in Canada so they will probably send them to the UK as well.  The coast map is very useful and I would recommend most of the alternate routes with the exception of the Seven Devils route that I took and was not impressed with and the Three Capes route which just looked too difficult. Maybe on another trip I will try it.

There shouldn't be too much problem getting into a park in Washington or Oregon but some of the California parks may be closed when you are planning to travel.  Some of the California parks also seem to be eliminating their hiker/biker sites so it may help to travel with others through some sections. There are also many county parks along the coast so if there is not a state park check county web sites.  I stayed in two county parks that were good.  Both had hiker/biker sections.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route
« on: July 31, 2011, 12:22:35 am »
Definitely go north to south.  I did the trip from border to border in about six weeks in September/October 2009 and could not have had more than three days of headwind, and only once was it strong.  I had many days of tail wind, often quite strong.

I remember one day in particular.  I had already set up camp at San Simeon State Park but decided to ride into Cambria, about five kilometres down the road, to get my bike checked and do laundry etc.  All day I had had a nice tail wind pushing me down the road.  When I left Cambria to return to the state park I had to ride into this wind.  It was horrific. With virtually no weight on the bike I struggled to get as high as 10km/hr.

There is a very good bike path from Ventura to Ojai.  I believe it is an old rail line so the elevation gain is gradual.  Look at the following link.

Routes / Re: Good news about CA coast!
« on: April 14, 2011, 08:13:40 pm »
When I cycled the coast two years ago this was by far the worst section.  (The bridge across the Columbia was a distant second). Unfortunately I had to go through during rush hour and absolutely hated it.  I saw that they were working on improvements and assumed that they would work on the bottom section once the tunnel was nearing completion.  If they don't widen the bottom section then it will still be a terrible ride for cyclists.

Routes / Re: Resupply on road to Bella Coola, BC
« on: April 14, 2011, 04:34:00 am »
I have never ridden this route either by bike or by car but there are only small communities along this route once you leave Williams Lake.  It is 450 km to Bella Coola.  You will find small stores in some of the First Nations communities along the route.  Alexis Creek for instance is about 115km from William's Lake and has a small store, a restaurant and other services.

I googled "services along Highway 20, BC" and got the following link.  Hope it helps.

Routes / Re: Best Pacific Route
« on: April 14, 2011, 04:00:19 am »
I road the coast from BC to San Diego two years ago and loved the whole route.  If I had one month to ride I would start in Astoria or a bit further south in Oregon and try to get as far as Santa Barbara.  It is certainly easily doable and it takes in all of the best parts of the route.  To lessen the traffic problem, do as I did, start in September.  The traffic volume is much lower and the weather is still very nice.  I finished in mid-October and only had two days of serious rain for the whole ride.  The Oregon Parks were a bit nicer but I liked the California Coast more.  Mostly I think because once you get on Highway 1 you have constant views of the ocean.  Oregon's 101 is a bit more inland but when you pop out to the ocean it is spectacular.  The one must is to ride north to south.

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