Author Topic: Lewis & Clark Trail: What is it like?  (Read 3328 times)

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Offline mike perkins

Lewis & Clark Trail: What is it like?
« on: November 07, 2017, 10:00:38 pm »
I live in Missouri (Columbia), and for my first long bike touring ride am going to do a third of the Lewis & Clark trail.  However, it starts in Illinois, heads north, and then crosses the river into Missouri, before heading back down toward the city.  From what I know, and what I have seen, that is a pretty hairy ride. I have found that bridges across rivers are not usually a whole lot of fun, and are sometimes literally impossible.  I will, of course, be riding East to West. I am also looking at the possibility of other routes, but will scout this one out the best I can.  The ride along the MKT rails to trails route will not be problematic.

Does anyone have any experience on this trail?  I will be leaving early May and riding for a month before my wife comes to fetch me. Then head out again next year where I left off.  Mostly solo.

Mike

Offline Nyimbo

Re: Lewis & Clark Trail: What is it like?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 01:37:39 am »
I followed the Eastern Express Route across country from Colorado to Washington DC this past summer.  (My understanding is that the eastern express route duplicates the Lewis and Clark across the whole state of Missouri.  If that is incorrect then please ignore my comments.)  I was going W-E and when I arrived in St Charles I found the Katy Trail was closed due to trail repair after last years flooding just east of town so I took to the streets and went NE on some country roads to Alton and the bridge.  Then south on the east side of the Mississippi  river on some trails for a few miles before I headed out East to Edwardsville and picked up some rail trails from there.   

If you are in MO then I’m sure you are familiar with the Katy Trail, it was a delight to ride.  Then taking the back roads from St Charles up and around to the “Alton-bridge-crossing” the roads were mostly quiet and easy to navigate.  At the Alton bridge it had a wide lane or shoulder for bicycles on the side.  I felt it was safe and not hairy at all. 

There were a couple of spots where I felt uncomfortable on the western third of Missouri it seems like that area may have been between Marshall and Alma.  I’m not positive now which specific section but there was a day of riding sections that were pretty heavy with truck traffic and the edge of the road had rumble strip with 18 inches of shoulder to the right of the rumble before falling of the road.  Because of the heavy truck traffic I was afraid to take the lane and just took it pretty slow and carefully on the 18 inch edge - but did not enjoy that section.  I remember close to Marshall in a road construction area a dump truck passed me at full speed with no room to spare.  Hopefully that construction is finished but there is always construction somewhere that can be a pain.

BUT regarding you question about the bridge and from there to St Charles it was fine.  There is also a ferry across north-west of Alton but it wasn’t open when I crossed so took the Alton Bridge. 

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Lewis & Clark Trail: What is it like?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 03:11:14 pm »
I am pretty sure the Lewis & Clark trail follows the Missouri River from St. Louis out to Montana and the Rocky Mountains.  Then catches another river on the west side of the Rockies to get out to Oregon.  So I don't really follow your starting in Illinois and heading north comments.  I suppose technically that is the official route written in stone or something.  But believe it or not, no one gives you a medal or award for following every inch of the official maps.  Everyone is free and clear to ride whichever roads they want.  So you are free to start your ride at the beginning of the Katy trail in that town outside of St. Louis.  And if you want to ride in St. Louis, then you can drive over another weekend after the ride and go see the arch.  No one will chase you down and beat you and whip you because you did not follow the legal and official map.  And in case you did not know it, during the ride you are free to ride on a road that is not officially on the route and go see some other sites or towns.  Trump has not quite gotten around to making it illegal for people to ride off the route.  I am sure he is looking into sending these miscreants off to Guantanamo Bay, but he has not done it yet.

Personally, since you live in Columbia, MO, I'd suggest you just start from your front door and ride west on the Katy trail and follow the Missouri River and the route.  You can ride east to St. Louis on the Katy another year.  Make it a fun week long ride and meet your wife in St. Louis.  No one gives an F---ing Da-- if you ride the whole entire route in one go or not.  You can ride parts here and there until you finish it all.  Or not finish it all.  No one cares.

Offline Kitsap_Bill

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  • Many tours, some ACA, most not.
Re: Lewis & Clark Trail: What is it like?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 04:16:39 pm »
go for it. I rode from Astoria to the winter camp and I've ridden from St. Louis to KC. You will probably be fighting headwinds from time to time, particularly the Columbia River Gorge. Take some tunes for afternoon letdown and boredom. Do not worry about bridges and traffic and such.There's always a way and besides, it is an insignificant portion of your ride. If you do not have a rear view mirror, glasses, helmet or handlebar mounted, figure it out. RVM's are indispensable. Wool and cotton for clothes. Take a day off every 7-10 days or more often for bike stuff, laundry and to go see a movie. Get off the bike. Take side hikes and play tourist.  Some people are EFI's (every ...inch) some aren't, you will figure it out. You'll have the opportunity to meet and talk to people. Please take full advantage and spend a few more minutes pursuing such activities. BTW you can mail items home AND by using small town General Delivery, can have items sent ahead to you. This route has the advantage of AMTRAK for large portions. Great for setting your next part up. They sell bike boxes and all you have to do is turn your handlebars sideways and take your pedals off. if you are riding , you may not even have to do that, which saves your wife a drive if she chooses. Have a great time. I envy you -doing your first tour. Also, check out Crazyguyonabike.com if you are not familiar with it.

Offline CMajernik

Re: Lewis & Clark Trail: What is it like?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2017, 11:13:07 am »
Have you read about the route on the website page? I recommend you doing that and clicking on the tabs - Terrain, Logistics, etc. It gives a lot of general information about the route.
https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/lewis-clark/
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline Kitsap_Bill

  • Tourist
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  • Posts: 10
  • Many tours, some ACA, most not.
Re: Lewis & Clark Trail: What is it like?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 08:59:16 pm »
https://ridewithgps.com/find#search/0/search%5Boffset%5D=0&search%5Buser_id%5D=&search%5Bstart_distance%5D=50&search%5Bstart_location%5D=Port+Angeles&search%5Bkeywords%5D=Olympic+Discovery+Trail&search%5Blength_min%5D=0&search%5Blength_max%5D=500&search%5Belevation_min%5D=0&search%5Belevation_max%5D=10000&search%5Bhas_course_points%5D=on&search%5Bsort_by%5D=

The above stuff is Ride with GPS related to the Olympic Discovery Trail. There are a couple of routes you should view, including Day 1,2, and 3. You can load Ride with GPS (free) and do a search for Port Angeles (location) and key word Olympic Discovery Trail. If you are not familiar with this program it also allows you to download the route onto your cell phone. This means you do not have to have cell service to maintain your route and progress, real time, through SAT Nav. The maps also provide distance, cues and elevation, gratis.
Enjoy, Bill Abbey, Poulsbo