Author Topic: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities  (Read 4421 times)

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Offline CanvasAndSteel

Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« on: August 06, 2018, 11:53:39 am »
Subject line says it all.  Wanted to to a front door to front door tour instead of flying to one coast, flying back from another coast.  Anyway.  The first leg of our summer 2019 journey will be from the Twin Cities to the Katy Trail north of Saint Louis.  The Katy Trail itself through Clinton, MO, is straightforward.  From Clinton we want to head through Flint Hills in Kansas as we make our way to Santa Fe, and then from Santa Fe to Yellowstone.  From Yellowstone to home we can figure out, as there aren't that many roads up there.

Anyway, wondering whether anyone who has ridden the Twin Cities to north of Saint Louis could recommend a good safe route.  Also, if anyone has done any of the other legs as well (Clinton, MO, area through Flint Hills to Santa Fe, Santa Fe to Yellowstone).

Offline aggie

Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2018, 12:59:33 pm »
From Clinton you could take hwy 18 west.  There are paved roads that will take you into Osawatomie.  In Osawatomie you can catch the Flint Hills Nature Trail.  That will take you into Ottawa.  (Not sure of the condition/completeness of the trail further west.)  From Ottawa there is another nice trail (Prairie Spirit) that will take you into Iola although since his trail is a state park you have to buy a pass for about $4/day.  (They do check.  I was stopped and asked for mine when I rode this trail.)  From Iola you could take hwy 50 west to hook up with the TransAm route. 

Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2018, 01:16:30 pm »
Thanks, Aggie.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2018, 09:29:36 am »
Why not just use sections of ACA's Northern Tier and Great River South?  It would take you from Minneapolis to Washington, MO.  Sure you miss a little bit of the Katy but that section is not overly scenic.

To get to the Santa Fe Trail from Clinton, email me privately and I can send you a cue sheet and/or GPS data from Clinton to Alexander (use until you cross the Santa Fe Trail).

As far as the Santa Fe Trail itself, I would look at Kansas' Bicycle Map and cross reference with an authoritative Santa Fe Trail map (multiple trails).  You should also look over at CrazyGuyonaBike.com and search journals for "Santa Fe Trail", i.e. https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/search/?main_type=journals&docs=tocs&query=%22santa+fe+trail%22

For the Santa Fe, NM, to Yellowstone section, you need to say what you want, i.e. high mountain scenery, desert/mesa scenery (a la Monument Valley), etc.  After that, I can give some thoughts.  Also, what time of year are you doing this?

Best, John

Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2018, 09:56:28 am »
Why not just use sections of ACA's Northern Tier and Great River South?  It would take you from Minneapolis to Washington, MO.  Sure you miss a little bit of the Katy but that section is not overly scenic.

To get to the Santa Fe Trail from Clinton, email me privately and I can send you a cue sheet and/or GPS data from Clinton to Alexander (use until you cross the Santa Fe Trail).

As far as the Santa Fe Trail itself, I would look at Kansas' Bicycle Map and cross reference with an authoritative Santa Fe Trail map (multiple trails).  You should also look over at CrazyGuyonaBike.com and search journals for "Santa Fe Trail", i.e. https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/search/?main_type=journals&docs=tocs&query=%22santa+fe+trail%22

For the Santa Fe, NM, to Yellowstone section, you need to say what you want, i.e. high mountain scenery, desert/mesa scenery (a la Monument Valley), etc.  After that, I can give some thoughts.  Also, what time of year are you doing this?

Best, John

Thanks, John.  I'm not sure the Santa Fe Trail is really what we're looking for, either location, not the Flint Hills, or "safety", being that it's a pretty well traveled road.  We're actually leaning more toward the Route 66 Trail at this point.  That would be more interesting that the Katy going through Missouri.  We would miss the Flint Hills, but from what I read it does appear to the a "safer" trail, i.e. we are less likely to get forced onto a heavily trafficked highway.

I'll PM you about Santa Fe to Yellowstone.  I think we're looking more for high mountain.  It looks like the TA is a good option.  Would it be 285 out of Santa Fe to pick up TA?  Anyway, I'll PM when I have more time.  We're looking at leaving late May in order to meet our wives for a week in Santa Fe the third week of June, and then to reconnect again for a week in or around Yellowstone.

Again, thanks for your response.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2018, 10:06:35 am »
Yes, Katy to Santa Fe via Kansas would probably be "safer" due to significantly less traffic.  However, as you said, BR66 would be more interesting.  If that is what you are leaning towards, I would just use the ACA maps from MSP to west of St. Louis then BR66 to Santa Fe.  The big negative to BR66 at that time of year is the heat and headwinds. Pick your poison.
From Sante Fe northward, there are lots of options.  After you write, I be able to help.  Best, John

Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2018, 10:34:14 am »
Yes, Katy to Santa Fe via Kansas would probably be "safer" due to significantly less traffic.  However, as you said, BR66 would be more interesting.  If that is what you are leaning towards, I would just use the ACA maps from MSP to west of St. Louis then BR66 to Santa Fe.  The big negative to BR66 at that time of year is the heat and headwinds. Pick your poison.
From Sante Fe northward, there are lots of options.  After you write, I be able to help.  Best, John

The headwinds would prepare us for the mountains.  The heat would make us appreciate crisp alpine weather.  But, yes, poison.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2018, 10:36:41 am »
 :D Great attitude!!

Offline John Nelson

Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2018, 10:41:39 am »
I loved BR66. If you like to travel into the past, you will too.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2018, 11:07:25 am »
As your trip is quite a ways off, can I suggest swapping destinations a bit?  Stay as far north in the summer for as long as possible: go west (for example, along the ACA Northern Tier and Lewis and Clark) to Livingston, MT, then go into Yellowstone.  From there you could head south to Santa Fe, missing the worst of Missouri and Kansas summer while staying in the mountains as much as possible.

Of course, this may not work depending on other commitments and goals (family reunion in Santa Fe, perhaps?).

Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2018, 03:03:52 pm »
As your trip is quite a ways off, can I suggest swapping destinations a bit?  Stay as far north in the summer for as long as possible: go west (for example, along the ACA Northern Tier and Lewis and Clark) to Livingston, MT, then go into Yellowstone.  From there you could head south to Santa Fe, missing the worst of Missouri and Kansas summer while staying in the mountains as much as possible.

Of course, this may not work depending on other commitments and goals (family reunion in Santa Fe, perhaps?).

Good suggestions, but we're putting the trip together in part around my wife's time off, which is already on the books for next summer.  Santa Fe is one of her favorite places (we've been there twice during our 24 years, including for anniversary #10), and she wants to see Yellowstone because she's never been there (my wife and Bill's wife will be flying out to Santa Fe and then to Yellowstone to join us for a week or so at each place).  Adding to that, we need to be back home by late August, so we're pretty locked into a clockwise route.  Lastly, leaving late May to early June (which is a must) and going counterclockwise, we could be hitting snowed in mountain passes.  Going clockwise, the passes should be clear by the time we get into Colorado.  I'm a bit confused too about how we would miss the summer heat of Missouri and Kansas, as the route you're suggesting would just put us there deeper into the summer.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2018, 04:36:06 pm »
leaving late May to early June (which is a must) and going counterclockwise, we could be hitting snowed in mountain passes.
Very unlikely. The mountain passes in Colorado are almost always open by June.

Offline jamawani

Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2018, 08:47:33 pm »
Quote
Very unlikely. The mountain passes in Colorado are almost always open by June.

No.

The major passes may be open - -
But if the OP wants to ride back roads, those are likely to still be closed.
Especially if the coming winter is a heavy snow winter.

I did a closed Schofield Pass in late June back a few years ago.
I had to chop my way thru multiple avalanche chutes.
Exhausting, scary, and not very smart.

<<<>>>

Not sure what the OP's time frame is -
But I would suspect needing 3 weeks for MSP-SFE, 2 1/2 weeks for SFE-YEL, and 2 1/2 weeks back to MSP.
Add a week in Santa Fe and another week in Yellowstone and that is 10 weeks.

So, either direction it will be late June for the Colorado Mountains.
Clockwise, it will be mid July for Yellowstone - - and very busy.
OP should expect some killer headwinds in western Kansas, Okla, and eastern NM.
Windwise - - probably better to ride counter-clockwise.

(Predicting winds is imprecise at best, crazymaking if you are counting on tailwinds.)

Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2018, 09:59:05 am »
Quote
Very unlikely. The mountain passes in Colorado are almost always open by June.

No.

The major passes may be open - -
But if the OP wants to ride back roads, those are likely to still be closed.
Especially if the coming winter is a heavy snow winter.

I did a closed Schofield Pass in late June back a few years ago.
I had to chop my way thru multiple avalanche chutes.
Exhausting, scary, and not very smart.

<<<>>>

Not sure what the OP's time frame is -
But I would suspect needing 3 weeks for MSP-SFE, 2 1/2 weeks for SFE-YEL, and 2 1/2 weeks back to MSP.
Add a week in Santa Fe and another week in Yellowstone and that is 10 weeks.

So, either direction it will be late June for the Colorado Mountains.
Clockwise, it will be mid July for Yellowstone - - and very busy.
OP should expect some killer headwinds in western Kansas, Okla, and eastern NM.
Windwise - - probably better to ride counter-clockwise.

(Predicting winds is imprecise at best, crazymaking if you are counting on tailwinds.)

Thanks to everyone for your input.

10 weeks is precisely what we’re looking at, including one week stopovers in Santa Fe and Yellowstone.  My wife’s calendar is such that Santa Fe needs to be the first layover, so we will be going clockwise.  I’m from Missouri, and I went to school in Central Kansas, so I understand that heat, humidity and wind just are what they are.  I’ve learned that trying to outsmart the weather usually leads to disappointment and frustration, and those two combined are often more exhausting than the actual conditions.  So we’ve picked our direction and we’ll just ride into whatever comes.

Also, because of what I’ve been reading, we are rethinking Route 66.  We are less into nostalgia than safety and scenery, and it seems R 66 is built around the former.  So, we’re looking again at Katy Trail east to west to Clinton, MO, then the Flint Hills through Kansas and on to Santa Fe.  Would be grateful for more tips for a safe and scenic route from that A to B.  Jamawani was kindly supplied us with a great route from Taos, NM, to Jackson, WY (and I’m assuming the only way to Yellowstone is to continue north on 191, but if anyone wishes to correct that assumption with a better alternative…).  Getting from Santa Fe to Taos is still a puzzle.  Getting from Yellowstone back home is pretty cut and dried.

Again, thanks so much for all your help!

Offline aggie

Re: Twin Cities to Santa Fe to Yellowstone to Twin Cities
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2018, 11:16:37 am »
I picked up this brochure while riding the Prairie Spirit trail.  You might be interested in it if you decide to use the trail.