Author Topic: Idaho - Trans Am  (Read 5572 times)

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Offline rondickinson

Idaho - Trans Am
« on: July 10, 2014, 10:23:50 pm »
We are riding the Trans AM east to west, and have just entered Mountana.

I have visited  with several east bound cyclist and they report that Idaho is terrible.

Bad roads, commercial traffic and angry drivers.

What strategies have others used to work through Idaho safely.
I thought Yellowstone was bad enough.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 12:24:10 am »
Well, it has been four years since I did it, but I found Idaho delightful. It's true that most of the roads have no shoulders, but I did not encounter much traffic. The long ride down the Lochsa River Valley was stunningly beautiful and I saw almost nobody for 77 miles. I noted in my journal that Idaho has a way of making you feel lonely. It was certainly the state where I saw the fewest number of people and cars.


  • Guest
Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 09:10:40 am »
Hate to break it to you, but you will be encountering some high speed stretches in MT with commercial traffic and little to no shoulder. Heading west to Sheridan and a section of road between Twin Bridges and Dillon are the two that come to mind. Also, between Sula and Conner Cutoff Rd. heading towards Darby. West from Darby, the Old Darby Rd. alternative affords a nice break from U.S. 93. The unpaved stretch is not bad as unpaved roads go, and it's very pretty back there.

In any event, getting an early start can often be helpful.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2014, 01:30:16 pm »
I am pretty traffic tolerant, but I don't remember Idaho as being anything but delightful other than the heat we hit when we were there (it was over 100 F for us some of the time).

As far as the roads, they definitely did not stand out in a negative way.  Traffic was lighter than many other places on the TA.  I remember Wyoming and Montana as both being worse than Idaho in that regard and they were OK IMO.

Offline rondickinson

Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2014, 01:36:44 pm »
Thanks everyone

We will stay calm and cycle on.

Typically we are on the road by 6AM or even earlier if we anticipate heat.  This will help us nail down some miles before the traffic picks up also.

Offline yumadons

Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2014, 04:36:05 pm »
I concur with what you've heard. This from my 2011 TransAm Journal, "Day 19: Cambridge to New Meadows, Idaho: A day of traffic"

"Simple steps to stay alive:
1. Ride together as much as possible, creating only one obstacle to go around instead of two.
2. Use a rear view mirror. If you see big trucks coming both ways at the same time, pull off to the side. Same goes for squirrely motorists.
3. If you see traffic backing up behind you on a long downhill, pull over and let them all go by. You don't want drivers getting edgy and impatient behind you."

Offline rondickinson

Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2014, 04:48:19 pm »
Good advice.  Thanks

Offline yumadons

Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2014, 04:58:24 pm »
Thanks. I've become a much safer/better cyclist after touring with my husband, a CDL (big rig) truck driver.

Good luck & Idaho IS beautiful with all its rivers. You just have to share a shoulderless road with the big trucks for a couple days.
And because those rivers are hugely popular with sportsmen / RVs towing boats, trailers, and every manner of everything on the weekends, try to schedule rides towards towns like Riggins (the rafting capital of Idaho) for weekdays.   

Offline guydaho

Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2014, 05:50:10 pm »
It's time for me to chime in on the Idaho Trans Am route topic.  First, I live right off of the "infamous" Hwy 12 in North Central Idaho at mile marker #44, right next to the Clearwater River, and along the ACA TransAm route.  I understand some of the concerns expressed about the stretch of Hwy 12 from Clarkston, WA to Kooskia, ID, but I believe touring cyclists are being unnecessarily "scared off" of Hwy 12, and being routed on, what I consider to be, an inferior alternative.  Yes, the shoulders can be very thin to non-existent on parts of Hwy 12, but there  has been some repaving and restriping activity this summer, and folks, it's just not that bad. I really see this as a route choice between 50 miles of "river grade" if you pedal down Highway 12 from the US95S/US12E split to Kamiah, ID, or 70 miles of a "mountain grade" loop (with a really healthy 8 mile climb up the Old Winchester Grade Road) if you pedal down Hwy 95 South out of Lewiston, ID and up the Winchester grade and back down ID162 to Kamiah.  I just don't think that the "avoidance loop" of 70 miles in worth the alternative.  Don't get me wrong - Winchester Lake State Park is a great place to camp while cycle touring (saw several TransAmers up there this weekend), but I just don't like the re-route, especially on days like today, when it is 100+ degrees outside.   Here are a couple of tips if you choose to ride Hwy 12 from Lewiston to Kamiah:

1)   Sunday is, without a doubt, the best day to cycle on Highway 12.  If it works for your schedule, the route decision is simple.  Saturday is almost as good, but both are better than a weekday.
2)  Get a very early start, and do not tempt this Highway at night.
3)  I find that the East bound direction is much less scary than the West bound direction, because you at least have some room to bail out.  My greatest fear of Hwy 12 is when you are pinned between the concrete barriers and the road, without a shoulder.  This is probably less than two miles total on the entire 50 mile section.
4)  They've done about the best they can do, given the sheer hardrock cliffs and the river as natural boundaries. 
5)  Please ride single file
6)  Be very attentive around the blind corners.
7)  I believe the RVs are much more of a threat than the logging trucks.

Really, it's just common sense.  I agree with several of the previous posts that Idaho is a tremendous part of the TransAm.  In fact, I adore the ride to Lolo up Highway 12.  No reason to loop around Hwy 12 in my opinion.  Ride on!

Offline rondickinson

Re: Idaho - Trans Am
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2014, 07:58:39 pm »
Good news.  The only difficulty in MT was the 20 miles coming into Ennis.  The rest was a piece of cake.  We are now two days into Idaho with now issues.