Author Topic: Solo Trip Across America  (Read 2304 times)

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Offline LucyM

Solo Trip Across America
« on: January 14, 2017, 05:48:02 pm »
Hi folks
I'm planning my bike ride across America - it's going to be a bit of a convoluted route - apart from a couple of weeks in San Fran area never been to America before so want to see as much as possible and not just the shortest route across - but got only got just under 3 months to do it in.
At the moment I'm trying to plan my route from Cody,  Wyoming to Crazy Horse and then Mount Rushmore - from Mount Rushmore planning on cycling in the direction of the Deke Slayton Space and Bicycle Museum in Sparta,  Wisconsin.
Any advice on routes to take / routes to avoid / campsites and hostels etc would be brilliant.
Happy cycling

Offline jamawani

Re: Solo Trip Across America
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2017, 10:59:54 pm »
Hi Lucy -

When? Seasons do matter in the northern U.S.
Skill level? Planned daily distance? 4400 miles in 11 weeks could be tough for a novice.
Pavement? Bike trails? Some unpaved? Even a little flexibility allows you to escape busy roads.

I live in Wyoming, have biked nearly every road in the state. 7 times X-USA.
And many more times in the western U.S., Canada, Yukon & Alaska.
So, I have a few miles of experience. (Plus Europe long ago.)

There is an excellent route across northern Wyoming from Cody thru Ten Sleep and Buffalo to Devils Tower.

I take exception in a couple of places.
Instead of going thru Greybull, take the back road via Burlington (cafe, store, camping) and Otto to Basin.
From Manderson to Ten Sleep, take Hwy 31 and Nowood Road - shorter, low traffic, scenic.
If you are willing to do dirt - Crazy Woman Canyon to the Great Plains is spectacular.
From Hill City, SD - you can continue on the Mickleson Trail to Crazy Horse then back.

Will you be going thru Yellowstone - coming in from where?
I would strongly urge you to visit the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Hayden Valley.
On the eastern edge of Wyoming, Devils Tower is a famous landmark with nice riverside camping.

Be glad to share any info -


Pic - Bighorn Mountains in Late June

« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 06:27:03 pm by jamawani »

Offline LucyM

Re: Solo Trip Across America
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 03:28:00 am »
Hi J
Gorgeous picture and thanks for the tips - your link with the map Yellowstone to Keystone looks pretty similar to what I had in mind. 
Cycle mostly every day - varies from couple of miles commute to work up to 100+.   Not done a big trip for a couple of years though - Stirling in Scotland to the Dolomites in Italy was the last big one.
I'm setting off from Oregon 20th of July.
Mainly pavement - need to make sure I get this right - what I call pavement at home you call sidewalk.   Trails would be good though but definitely NO mountain biking.
Hoping to have at least a couple of days in Yellowstone - coming in at Gardiner in the North and leaving at Cody in the East.

Offline LucyM

Re: Solo Trip Across America
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2017, 04:55:43 am »
Hi J - hope you don't mind me bugging me - checked out the route you suggested - Otto,  Basin,  Ten Sleep,  etc - only Arlington I can find though in WY is well off course though??

Offline jamawani

Re: Solo Trip Across America
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2017, 09:09:39 am »
Arlington? Shoot me. And I do apologize.
Yes, Arlington is a tiny spot in southern Wyoming near Laramie - where I did grad work.
And BURLINGTON is the little community west of Otto.
Burlington - not Arlington. Sorry.


  • Guest
Re: Solo Trip Across America
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2017, 09:16:02 am »
I was in the Black Hills two years ago. If you to go through Devil's Tower and make your way to Spearfish, SD, this is how i got to Hill City:

(Ignore the frist couple of miles and head straight to U.S. 14 Atl. I had to make a run to a store for something.) Spearfish is a wonderful town with a great public campground.

As noted, you can continue on the Mickelson Trail from Hill City to Crazy Horse and back. The trail literally passes under the roads that leads to the monument, and you can see it from the trail.

From Hilly to City to Mt. Rushmore, you can take U.S. 385 to SD 244, but that's busy. I recommend this route instead:
That back road to Keystone is very pretty and lightly travelled. If you leave a while before the historic train from Hill City to Keystone you can wait for it to pass by. The train crosses that road several times.

Offline jamawani

Re: Solo Trip Across America
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2017, 11:00:29 am »
National Parks in Summer -

Be aware that Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore are both zoos in the summer.
Based on your departure date, they should be a little better by late Aug / early Sept.

Many people on touring websites diss Yellowstone - I do not agree.
But you have to plan carefully to avoid the worst traffic times.
Since there are hiker/biker campsites at every campground, you can ride fairly late.
I keep my distances low and ride early in the morning - then a little in the evening.
That way I ride when the roads have much less traffic and can also see more wildlife.

If you look at a map of Yellowstone, you can see that the main roads make a figure-8 loop.
The top loop is smaller than the bottom. Mammoth, near Gardiner, is on the NW of the top.
Canyon is on the E where the top and bottom meet.

I suggest a route from Mammoth to Norris to Canyon to Lake.
There will be some construction on the road to Norris - there is always construction going on.
(Millions of vehicles and only a few months each year of construction season)
Mammoth Campground sucks - in a loop in the road - noisy and not very scenic.

The Upper Terrace at Mammoth has an incredible view above the main springs -
And the Upper Terrace Loop makes a nice, quiet get-away.
Indian Creek is a very nice small campground with excellent hiking opportunities.
Still, you may want to overnight at Norris.

About Old Faithful - it is a carnival with a zillion cars in the parking lot.
They even have a highway interchange to accommodate the massive traffic.
Norris Geyser Basin is equally spectacular - but has moderate visitation.
If you camp at Norris, you can visit in the evening or early morning - best times.

If you must go to Old Faithful, I would base at Norris and do an out-and-back day ride.
The Gibbon River is pleasant and the road is good.
The the road along the Firehole River is beautiful - make sure to hit the other geyser basins.
The Old Faithful Inn is a landmark - but, yikes, the oodles of tourists.

From Norris there is a one-way back road via Virginia Falls which is quite nice - and uphill.
Then you coast down to Canyon Village - which has private hiker/biker sites, showers, and services.
Give yourself time to do some hiking along the canyon rim - esp. on the South Rim from Artist Point.

Next up is Hayden Valley - the Serengeti of America - you will see large herds of buffalo.
The views are expansive, but the road is old and narrow with a good deal of traffic.
Early morning would be the best time for this stretch.
Then you follow the Yellowstone River to Lake.

Lake / Fishing Bridge / Bridge Bay is the last developed area before heading east out of the park.
I love to sit on the benches on the lakeshore in front of the historic Lake Hotel looking out on the lake.
Bridge Bay campground is O.K., but it has about 400 campsites with huge RVs in most of them.
There is NO tent camping from Bridge Bay to Newton Creek because of grizzly bear restrictions.
(Remember - NEVER eat in your tent - for the entire trip - and store all food and scented items in bear boxes)


If you give yourself a few days in Yellowstone, you will enjoy it far more.
You will not need to rush or fight traffic and you can see so much more.

Best - J

Pic - Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

Offline LucyM

Re: Solo Trip Across America
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2017, 03:15:41 pm »
Cheers guys for all the information and J no need to apologise or shoot yourself.   Really useful info - I'm already thinking that one trip to the States won't be enough.

Offline jimbo

Re: Solo Trip Across America
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2017, 04:31:16 pm »

I did a route in 2008 that mirrors your destinations. Deke Slayton Museum...I didnt think anyone would have that on their list too.  I did part of it again in 2015
From Cody we went to Shell and over the Big Horns on 14..yes a big climb thru Granite Pass but great scenery. From Sheridan took 14/16 a lonely and scenic road to U Cross to Claremont (camping at General Store or near-by ranch) to Spotted Horse ( must stop) onto Gillette to Devils Monument ( worth it..nice roads as well).  Went to Sundance and then Black Hills on Michelson mostly..and went east on 44 (Scenic is worth a stop) Entered Iowa on 9 and went east to Lake Okoboji and north to my hometown of Jackson MN and across the southern edge of MN ( Spam Museum in Austin worth the stop) to the Root River Rail Trail which led us to LaCrosse and the Three Rivers Trail to the LaCrosse River State Trail onto the Elroy- Sparta Trail.  The tunnel is also a blast (without lights)  The two museums will delight.
The 2008 trip was written up and can be seen at "Coast to Coast for Conservation" by Brad Edmondson @ web site and the 2015 trip at :
I am a huge fan of the Big Horns...especially that Granite Pass route from Shell.

Offline PNWRider92

Re: Solo Trip Across America
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2017, 09:56:56 pm »
I didn't find the National Parks to be too bad in the summer. I was at Mt. Rushmore during Memorial Day weekend and passed through Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Badlands NP.

Hoping to go back this summer after completing the Southern Tier.

Traffic was heavy but nothing out of the ordinary and nothing that made me feel like I was in danger.
Instagram: Portland_2_Portland

Offline ggwbikemt

Re: Solo Trip Across America
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2017, 03:59:53 am »
As for the Black Hills, avoid the week of the Sturgis South Dakota Motorcycle Rally, August 7 to 13. Campground space, hotel rooms will either be very expensive or hard to get within 100+ miles. There will be thousands of Harley Davidson motorcycles on the roads. Another event on August 21 that is making campground and hotels in some areas hard to get but would be worth timing your trip to see is a total solar eclipse and parts of Wyoming including Grand Teton NP is in the path of totally.¬

Offline LucyM

Re: Solo Trip Across America
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2017, 06:44:29 am »
Not sure about exact dates and times yet - currently trying to piece bits of maps together.
Cheers for the reminder about the eclipse - that would be amazing to see.   It would also be great to see all the Harley's on mass as well but like you say will make accommodation tricky.