Author Topic: Route advice - Oregon to Maine  (Read 7640 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline jamawani

Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2017, 03:22:37 pm »
Brian -

I posted on your thread about algorithm errors in Google Maps.
Your previous section had some doozies - as does this one.
I have ridden forest roads in the Ochocos - they are lovely -
but you are also on a private ranch road with no public access.
That's the problem with Google - esp. the bicycle option.

On your route thru the Ochocos -
you have to zig NW towards Mitchell - then do a big climb up the grade again.
In 2015, I rode thru Big Summit Meadow and then took Buck Point Rd down - steep! - 6 miles east.


Offline Howard Levitt

Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2017, 03:36:24 pm »
Jama, all routes bear close scrutiny, as you point out.  Here's a challenge for you, based on your thousands of miles of touring:  If you were to design your dream route from the Pacific to the Atlantic (Maine), starting in early June of this year, what would it be?  Howard

Brian, thank you for the info on your routes - very, very helpful.  Unless Jama offers some other intriguing options,we will probably do a more or less similar route to yours to Buffalo, NY.  At that point, we may make our way to Maine via Montreal, vs going via NY, VT, and NH.   Howard

Offline jamawani

Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2017, 03:53:46 pm »
Ah, Howard -

Your dream and my dream might be quite different.
I love remote - camping in the middle of nowhere - a little town here and there.
Popular destination also mean more traffic on the roads - so I often choose out-of-the-way.

Also, of course, it depends on time of the year.
Quite a few people I have helped out have chosen to bike Wyoming far too late in the season.
I find them climbing the mountain, wet, shivering, and almost hypothermic.
But in late June it can be the most magical place on earth.

I've started/ended/ridden the Wash/Ore coast all the way from Cape Flattery in the north down to southern Oregon.
It's so hard to say what is better or worse. A couple of things do frame any route.
Because of wilderness areas, there are only a limited number of Cascade crossings.
Also, the Columbia and Snake rivers present issues of crossing - and crossing safely.
(I have hitched across rivers in many places - just showing up at a boat ramp - but you have to be willing to wait.)

June in the Pacific Northwest is going to mean snow still in higher elevations and green in the lowlands.
June is cherry and berry season - esp. on the east slope - like the Yakima Valley.
And June in the Palouse is like riding thru an emerald fairyland. I finally did it in June last year.

If you already know the Sawtooths well, I would suggest the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes further north.
Then crossing Thompson Pass to Thompson Falls. That way you could also do the Palouse.

And are you aware of the Missoula Floods? The spectacular coulees of eastern Washington?
Since you are not going to do much desert - why not take in something mind-boggling?
Frenchman's Coulee, Drumheller Channels, Palouse Falls.

The I-90 bridge over the Columbia is very dangerous - heavy, fast traffic and zero shoulders.
So, you are advised to catch a lift - either by car (easier) or by boat (harder).
But either one you should have them drop you at the bottom of Old Vantage Highway.
And the road up the coulee is empty. With a waterfall!

Notice that I am backing up from Idaho? Interested?


Pic - Frenchman's Coulee

Offline jamawani

Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2017, 03:59:18 pm »
PS - Howard?

Tell me again how you are framing the trip? Start date - early June? End date?
Touring experience? Expected miles per day? Camping or moteling? Sag wagon? Others riding with you?
Definite places you want to link? (After years, I now ask folks to meet me rather than ride into cites to meet them.)

Offline Howard Levitt

Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2017, 03:39:36 am »
John:  Fabulous info - thank you for sharing your expertise!  The Palouse sounds like cycling Nirvana.
Here's my story...
I retired last Oct and this ride is a longtime bucket list item.  I toured extensively in Europe may decades ago, but have been mostly a weekend warrior ever since.  I consider myself to be a moderate cyclist - okay in my age bracket (68), but not setting records.  By the time of the tour - first week of June - I will have worked myself into condition to ride approx 350-400 miles per week.  On the tour, I plan on averaging 70 miles per day - maybe a bit less up to and over the Continental Divide; maybe more across the Plains.  I plan on taking a rest day every 4-5 days, and will take extra days off for particularly wonderful layover locations, or unrelenting foul weather. 

I will generally be riding solo, unless I connect with others along the route, but my wife will be sagging the ride and will ride a bit with me each day, and then move our vehicle on to the evening's end point.  Our sons and their girlfriends and other friends my join us for some segments of the tour - TBD.  We plan to camp most nights, but will stay in motels probably one or two nights each week.  We hope to have some kind of vehicle (teardrop trailer, etc) we can sleep in.  We need to be back in California by the 3rd week in Sept, so we have approx 3.5 months to complete the tour, including the return road trip.

My dream is a very scenic route, lightly traveled roads and dedicated trails, lots of small towns, and moving in a fairly consistent direction, vs zigging and zagging north and south.   


  • Guest
Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2017, 08:00:21 am »

Here's my route from Newport to SV. You could continue through the Sawtooths for what is probably the quickest route to Yellowstone. The TA is your other option but as I mentioned above it will add a decent amount of miles because it heads up to Missoula.

If you are a glutton for punishment, ride this alternative east of Prairie City, OR back to U.S. 26, only in reverse:

It's from Cycle Oregon in 2002, where we crossed the entire state in 6 days of riding. That section between U.S. 26 and Prairie City was magnificent and all paved.

Offline canalligators

Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2017, 12:23:46 pm »
More info on the Erie Canalway corridor:

Offline Howard Levitt

Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2017, 12:44:03 pm »
Thanks, Indyfabz and Canalligators - more good input into the expanding database of route ideas.  Keep 'em coming.  Howard

Offline jamawani

Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2017, 04:49:41 pm »
Howard -

Will do.
Sound like we have similar touring styles - -
Except that I always have to lug all my stuff wiff me.
You will have plenty of time to have a relaxing pace.

I hear you when you say "fairly consistent direction" -
But "fairly" should be the operative word.
If the empty back road is 30 miles and the highway is only 25 - do the back road.


Offline jamawani

Re: Route advice - Oregon to Maine
« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2017, 10:37:28 am »
Hi Howard -

I've been thinking about Westport, Washington. I started my x-USA trip in 2016 there.
Never had been there before, but had always wanted to.  It was magical.
It had everything, but was out-of-the-way, laid-back - almost like a 1970s beach town.
There's a historic Coast Guard Station and a lighthouse - a great harbor filled with fishing boats.
If you are lucky, on a clear afternoon you can see across Grays Harbor to the snow-capped Olympics.

Downtown, along the harbor, has little one-story shops and cafes - no mega commercial.
There are motels, a grocery, a library, a hardware store. And two nearby state parks.
Best of all - there's a 2-mile paved bike trail along the dunes at ocean's edge.
A memorable way to start a trip.

I've started/ended trips from Cape Flattery down to southern Oregon.
Neah Bay has a great museum and Shi Shi Beach.
Cape Disappointment has great views.
Astoria is easiest to get to with every amenity.
Tillamook is funky and fun. With a cheese factory and bike shops.
Coos Bay has the feel of an old fishing & lumber town.

But Westport has the entire package - plus two great routes inland.
It's one drawback is that it is somewhat tricky to get to.
But a combination of public train/bus routes will do it - albeit slowly.


FWIW - I know your topic title says, "Oregon to Maine". Heh-heh.
But if you are willing to start a little further north.


Two constraints on planning a start/finish on the coast in the Pac NW are:
1. Where are you going to cross the Cascades/Gorge?
2. How are you going to get thru I-5 population corridor?

Cascade Crossings -
WA 20 is stunning, but remote - with big climbs early on.
US 2 is beautiful, but has heavy traffic and iffy shoulders on the west side.
I-90 permits cycling - but why? Old US 10 is not continuous.
The Iron Horse Trail is unpaved - pretty smooth - but puts you in the Seattle metro.
WA 410 is the loveliest of all - but extremely narrow - and Chinook Pass opens late.
US 12 is hard to beat - fairly low traffic, services, and nice views of Mount Rainier.
There are a series of paved forest roads in S. Wash, but the route is complicated and remote.
WA 14 was on my first x-USA trip - but it has way too much traffic now.

I-84 - Why again?
The Old Columbia Highway is great but means the Portland metro and puts you onto WA 14 or I-84.
US 26 has nice shoulders and Mount Hood Views - but has really heavy traffic.
Paved forest roads via Timothy Lake are pretty darn nice - access via OR 224.
US 20 Santiam Pass - O.K. shoulders, but again, heavy traffic kills the buzz.
OR 242 - McKenzie Pass is a really sweet crossing, but not dependable for early June.

The I-5 Corridor -
Mount Vernon - Crossing from the San Juan Islands to WA 20 is pretty easy.
Seattle Metro - Great, bikeable city - but just not worth it on a tour.
Centralia/Chehalis - Very easy crossing from coastal routes into the Cascades.
Longview - Tough. WA 4 scenic, but narrow. I-5 riding south. Dangerous Columbia bridge.

Portland Metro - Again great, very bike friendly - but just not worth it on a tour.
Salem - Not too difficult, the Willamette ferry and state park are nice.
Corvallis - Definitely a bike friendly college town. Some high traffic sections with shoulders.
Eugene - Again, bike friendly college town, but bigger. Paved bike trails and mostly wide streets.


I like Westport because if combines the best of the coast, an easy I-5 traverse, and a great Cascade crossing.

Pic - Westport Harbor with Olympics in the Distance