Author Topic: Riding west to east along the northern tier  (Read 5219 times)

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Offline John Nelson

Re: Riding west to east along the northern tier
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2013, 03:48:36 pm »
My suggestions:
  • Consider flying into Bellingham WA to start your trip. It is served by one of the most bike-friendly airline around (Frontier) and it is an easy ride from there to the start of the NT.
  • If even remotely possible, schedule your trip so that Going To The Sun Road will be open when you get there. Going To The Sun Road is the absolute jewel of the Northern Tier. It would be criminal to have to go around it. Starting in mid-May will give you very little chance, but starting in mid-June will give you a very good chance of this road being open.
  • Starting in May will almost certainly you subject you to wet weather through Washington. Starting later would avoid at least some of this.
  • I second the praise for South Skagit Road between Sedro-Woolley and Concrete--absolutely lovely.
  • You don't have too many options for distance in Washington until you get over Sherman Pass. You're pretty much committed to one pass a day over Rainy/Washington, Loup Loup, Wauconda and Sherman.
  • Take a tour of Libby Dam just past Libby MT if you can. The visitor center is on the west side.
  • Campgrounds along the Northern Tier tend to be a bit more expensive than camping on the TransAm, especially as you get farther east. Not that big of an issue if you are sharing costs, but can be significant if you travel solo.
  • Spend a night at Cottonwood Campground in Theodore Roosevelt National Park if you can. It's cool.
  • Don't miss the stop at the Adventure Cyclists Bunkhouse in Dalbo, MN.
  • If you take the North Lakes route, plan at least several hours to explore Mackinac Island.
  • Stysh's Brown Barn Campground in Boonville NY is a real bargain camping for only $6.
  • Spend an hour and $20 to take the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. Lock your bike up within sight of the ticket booths.
  • It can be a challenge to arrange transportation home from Bar Harbor. I had the Bar Harbor Bike Shop ship my bike home and took the shuttle to the Bangor airport.