Author Topic: If you only had a couple of weeks?  (Read 3656 times)

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Offline mgholson

If you only had a couple of weeks?
« on: May 03, 2016, 05:22:21 pm »
Unless something changes I will return to teaching next year after 4 years of various jobs and erratic time off.  In 10 years of teaching with summers mostly free I did a supported week long tour almost every year; all rides with acronyms usually starting with BR, but never toured self supported, kind of wimped out I guess.  I've planned a short 3 days tour in a couple weeks from my home in Southern Illinois very close to the TransAM to Mammoth Cave where my wife will meet me for some caving. 

So if I enjoy the 3 day adventure and want more, which I'm expecting, then I'm strongly considering quitting my current job in July.  I'll start teaching in mid August.  My wife has said she could only bare to be apart from me for a couple weeks max, unless I left her with significantly more money then I'm able to. (I think she was joking)  Her going is out of the question really, she's got health issues that keep her from "roughing it" 

So if you had 2 weeks to go ride somewhere what would you do?  I'm fairly capable of 75-100 mile days if they are not mountains.   Honestly what I'd like to do is ride the Northern Tier from the West Coast, but don't have that kind of time. 

One other question, is it cool to connect up with other cyclist you meet on route?  I know that it would be all about social interaction and seeing if a individual or group would like a tag along.  I guess my question is does that happen much?

« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 05:24:56 pm by mgholson »

Offline Iowagriz

Re: If you only had a couple of weeks?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2016, 07:26:17 pm »
I keep looking at routes that I could create using Amtrak. Depending on your location, take the train towards Denver and the maybe the Lewis and Clark route back home (riding north to connect). If you haven't looked yet, go to the interactive map for Adventure Cycling. You can "turn on" the Amtrak routes.

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Offline RussSeaton

Re: If you only had a couple of weeks?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2016, 09:18:36 pm »
I've ridden in Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, northern Missouri.  If I was you in southern Illinois, I'd just take off either east or west and ride for two weeks.  Loop ride.  Decent state, county roads in these states.  Good riding.  And if you looked up some books on Illinois itself, you would find many historic and scenic places in the state.  Could also ride north for a few weeks in your own state.  Ride to Chicago and back.  Visit the Lincoln historic sites.

Offline mgholson

Re: If you only had a couple of weeks?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2016, 08:06:03 am »
Amtrak has been a consideration.  A ticket from nearby Carbondale to Seattle is only 220 dollars, but an amazing 48 hour train ride in coach.  St. Louis which is a 2 hour drive from me can get me to Colorado and Flagstaff for 100 something. 

Russ thanks for your input.   I'm going ready to take off for a few days East, but if I'm going to do a longer tour I want to actually be somewhere I haven't been.  I've driven the 5 hours to Chicago many times and I don't think riding North in Illinois would be very interesting.  I know I'd see things I haven't seen before but it would be hard to see over the corn. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: If you only had a couple of weeks?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2016, 08:10:57 am »
For the amount of time you have, I'd consider the Oregon Coast N-S.  It is great riding, pleasant weather, beautiful scenery, and far and away the most suited place for meeting other cyclists that I have found.  I fell in with an impromptu group that camped together every night much of the way.  I typically don't ride with others, but you probably could on that route.

On other routes I met and made friends with others, but not to the same extent.  I did make a few longer lasting after the tour acquaintances on the Trans America, but on the PC hung out with others most days.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2016, 08:14:19 am by staehpj1 »


  • Guest
Re: If you only had a couple of weeks?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2016, 09:52:30 am »
I'll be doing my third loop tour from/to Missoula, MT starting on June 14. Ten days of riding with the opportunity for a rest day or breaking one day into two shorter days. All camping except for one night in a motel in Butte, but even there you can camp if you don't mind a KOA near I-90. Some relatively short days. Some long days. (IIRC, the longest day is 80 miles but with little elevation gain.) Thing is, there are some mountains. There is also some dirt riding. Most of the dirt is benign, and there are workarounds for all of it. However, there is one 20 miles stretch that has some climbing and descending and washboards in places. The only workaround for that stretch adds some noticeable miles. Eliminating another 30 mile (but slightly down hill) stretch diminishes the beauty of the route.

Logistically, Missoula is an easy place to start a tour for me. I can fly to MSO from the east coast and take a short taxi ride to the pretty quiet KOA on the west end of town. I ship my bike to REI, which is a two block walk from the KOA, and it's ready to ride when I arrive. REI holds my bike box and duffle bag and I pick up fuel for the stove and any last minute items I may need. The next morning I shove off. When I finish, I drop the bike off at REI, give them the shipping documents, pick up my duffel bag and go have a beer.

In terms of meeting people, the first two days and some of day three follow the popular Trans Am route. After a detour off that route you rejoin it at Twin Bridges and take it for another day to Ennis before leaving it for good. From there, you end up on the L&C for a bit. Last time I rode out that way I encountered at least a dozen people doing the Trans Am or L&C and I didn't do the mileage to Ennis that year. This year my penultimate night on the road will be spent in a town where ACA's Cycle Montana supported tour will be staying.

Send me a PM if would like details, including a route map with elevation profile.

Offline zzzz

Re: If you only had a couple of weeks?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2016, 11:27:26 am »

I won't disagree w/ both indyfabz or staehpj's answers, they're both good, but you said you can take the train to Flagstaff and that got my attention. Two weeks out of Flagstaff would allow you to ride up and thru the Grand Canyon, over to Moab for Arches and Canyonlands, up to Green River and then down to Hanksville to pick up the Western Express route which takes you thru Grand Staircase, Capital Reef, and Bryce Canyon, then drop down to Zion and back to Flagstaff. Your time slot is early August so it will likely be hot, maybe too hot, but it's an extraordinary loop.

As for meeting fellow riders I'll make a generic statement about the 4 solo 30 day trips I've taken. I like to ride alone but opinions on that vary and if one is more comfortable riding with others I make no judgement. But when I'm on a tour I never feel alone. Almost every time I go into a store or eat at a restaurant or check into a hotel or pull over at a rest stop somebody strikes up a conversation and many of these encounters have been among the most pleasant memories I take away from the trip. They have also led to invitations to spend the night at their place, or join them for dinner, or get a personal tour of their car museum (you never know who you're going to meet). I can't prove it but I believe this happens much more often when traveling alone that when you're in a group.


Offline mgholson

Re: If you only had a couple of weeks?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2016, 09:01:54 pm »
Had a wonderful time on my 3 day mini tour.

I think I'm going to have a week in July to go somewhere.  Just don't know where yet.