Bicycle Travel > General Discussion

Bicycle Touring vs Backpacking

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--- Quote from: RussSeaton on February 12, 2013, 08:08:53 pm ---For paved roads, the east and midwest have the western states beat.  There are numerous county and state paved roads connecting all of the small towns in the east and midwest.  All of the farm towns up and down every river.  The west does not have many towns.  And the few roads connecting the few towns are main, highly traveled roads.  The west does have the advantage of every paved road being a scenic road through the mountains.

--- End quote ---

I find these claims to be kind of bizzare.  I've toured all over the West and never felt the need for more towns! And the West has, to my liking, much superior weather in the summer months.  There are many fairly cool places in the West and even the hot ones may be similar temps to the East but with much lower humidity.

You say, "To-MAY-to" and I say, "To-MAH-to".

Yes there are some lovely back roads in the East, South, and Midwest - -
And far fewer paved back roads in the West.
But the West has an abundance of public lands - -
Glorious natural landscapes that are rare east of the Rockies.

East or West, if you are willing to do a little dirt, the payoffs are big.
This is especially true if there is only a short dirt section in a route.
For example, the main highway is 30 miles with shoulders and moderate traffic.
The old road is 32 miles with a 6-mile dirt section and almost zero traffic.
For me, the choice is obvious.

Also, you have to be willing to ride extra miles in the West to discover the empty paved roads.
If you want the direct routes - it will usually have traffic, although often not that much.
But if you are willing to zig and zag some, you find the jewels.
For example, US 50 across Nevada - supposedly the "Loneliest Road" - ain't that lonely.
But US 6 to the south has half the traffic - profoundly empty.

Similarly, in Wyoming's Grand Teton N.P. back road options are there.
After riding the park loop, you can swing around Mormon Row, then use Spring Gulch Road into Jackson.

If you do the Appalachian Trail, you should read Bill Bryon's book, "A Walk in the Woods" before you go.

@Jama:  You're certainly right about going dirt.  It's especially nice, I noticed, that some through roads with dirt lose virtually all the traffic.  We experienced this in riding County Rd. 3  south from Sulphur Hot Springs to get to Ute Pass--great riding!  And the dirt was so good it practically qualified as pavement.


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