Author Topic: Interstate Alternatives  (Read 1554 times)

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Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2021, 09:19:01 pm »
The trouble w commenting with anything one experiences on a route like this is your sample size is 1. I will defer to you as a local that I-84 at that stretch doesn’t always suck. The morning I was there it was nose to tail heavy truck traffic and the shoulder was covered in debris and the wind was howling out of the east. It’s not a long stretch but riding into a 30 mph headwind it wasn’t “fast” to get thru.

In this case it's more about tolerance to traffic. I can deal with busy like this in small bits, so 84 through here doesn't faze me as much as it would others. But I wouldn't choose it if there was a better alternative (and better than WA 14 on the other side, even though it's a two lane state route, shoulders are infrequent and truck traffic is high.) I will say that the shoulder of I-84 is often debris-strewn, and having to ride it into a headwind would not be fun (and yeah, I have done that too.)

I actually really liked the SC route, it was one of my favorite tours but it’s not for everyone. And I presume you're referring to the alternate route near crater lake, I did not take that.

Yep, that's the part. I planned on using that alternate, and once I found it unrideable I had to go to Crater Lake "the long way". This made me have to cut a day of riding on the tour, as I was on a tight timeline.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2021, 01:15:24 pm »
From what one can see on Street View, CR 139 looks like decent gravel.  The surface looks comparable to unpaved roads I suggested for the portion of the Tram Am route between Sheridan and Laurin, MT in order to avoid 8 miles of shoulderless MT 287 that has some sort of aggregates business that produces some trucks traffic.

Also, you have the Interstate close buy and there is not really anything out there on CR 139, so I would not expect much in the way of truck traffic, if any.

Offline jamawani

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2021, 10:42:28 am »
PS - Bentonite

Don't know where you are from, but there is a soil type called "bentonite" in the High Plains.
It's what they make absorbent kitty litter out of.
It is clay-based and turns into a slimy mess when wet.
You can't even stand up - let alone ride.
And it get's on all moving parts of the bike - nearly impossible to get off.
Most dirt road cyclists in the High Plains / Rockies have encountered it.
I have. The stuff of nightmares. 1950s horror movies.

I don't know whether the road in question has bentonite.
Rain totally changes the equation on dirt roads.
But bentonite is another story altogether.
You can expect to find pockets of bentonite west of the Missouri River.

Just FYI.  https://bikepacking.com/routes/maah-daah-hey/

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2021, 04:57:01 am »
On the southern tier, going west out of Baton Rouge on 190, you can connect with 90 into Houston. Here you can follow interstate 10 on the service road and 90 to San Antonio. Here you can take I - 10 all the way to Casa Grande, AZ. You must take alternate routes where available and they go along I - 10.You pick up I - 8 at Casa Grande as far just west as Yuma, AZ. From there the highway from hell will deposit you onto highway 78. Very much of it can be cycled on interstate highways. West of Ocotillo, CA you are on I - 8 again, and that to hysterical highway 80 and Pine Valley and San Diego.

Offline TCS

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2021, 01:37:54 pm »
Here you can take I - 10 all the way...

Some cycle tourists' idea of heaven.  Some cycle tourists' idea of hell.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2021, 06:34:21 am »
Here you can take I - 10 all the way...

Some cycle tourists' idea of heaven.  Some cycle tourists' idea of hell.

I am not sure it is hell anywhere, but there are reasons to take routes other than the side lanes of interstate highways. Some lengths are bumpy. There can be a lot of traffic noise. Ear buds with music or ear plugs can cancel that out. Services can be spaced out, and are posted on maps. You are much less likely to meet other long distance cyclists. I crossed the continent four times using interstates and saw only two. The conditions of the side lanes are the main problem in many extents. However, there is usually always much more than enough space for safe cycling. Often it is 8 to 10 feet. I liked it just fine except for the bumpity bump which was bad in New Mexico.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2021, 12:22:50 pm »
In my experience, you are much more likely on interstate shoulders to get flats from the wires from exploded truck tires. They are common, nearly impossible to see, and seldom stopped by even the best tires. Besides, nothing interesting ever happens on the interstate, and interesting things happening are one of the best reasons to tour. Few people do a bicycle tour just to get from point A to point B.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2021, 01:12:52 pm »
In my experience, you are much more likely on interstate shoulders to get flats from the wires from exploded truck tires. They are common, nearly impossible to see, and seldom stopped by even the best tires. Besides, nothing interesting ever happens on the interstate, and interesting things happening are one of the best reasons to tour. Few people do a bicycle tour just to get from point A to point B.

“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.”--Charles Kurault

As an aside, Kurault, who was already married, had a secret, nearly-30 year relationship with a woman from from Twin Bridges, MT, which is on the Trans Am route and home to the fabulous Bike Camp.  He eventually bought property overlooking the Big Hole River and later moved a dilapidated old schoolhouse there for renovation.  (The schoolhouse was located on the Trans Am route between Dillon and Twin Bridges.)   After his death, the portion of the property that had not already been deed to his mistress was ultimately awarded to her after litigation.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2021, 01:51:28 pm »
“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.”--Charles Kurault

Thanks for the quote. It's a good one (for those of us old enough to remember Charles Kuralt, who, IMO, was the highlight of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite).

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2021, 01:21:54 am »
On one trans continental trip east to west, Florida to California, using Schwalbe marathon tires, I had eight punctures total. That was using the interstates. There was a road that must’ve had many of those little wires on one trip because I had five or six punctures within 5 miles but that was a different matter. That was not an interstate highway that I remember. When it comes to noise, earbuds with music and earplugs eliminate that. When it comes to pollution it is a matter of which way the wind is blowing. If you are going west and the wind is blowing from the north to the south you get no pollution. If it’s blowing from the south to the north then you have to breathe it in. If you are going west and the wind is behind you you will probably not get much pollution at all. And the traffic is not really all that thick and fast until you get nearer the cities. I’ve used interstate Highways quite a few times. They are OK.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2021, 07:23:06 am »
“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.”--Charles Kurault

Thanks for the quote. It's a good one (for those of us old enough to remember Charles Kuralt, who, IMO, was the highlight of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite).

That was back when there was actually news on TV. I have not watched TV in several years now, nothing but opinions and crappy TV shows. Today news is shot on someone's cell phone and the news cycle is 2 hours and not 24 hours. "Newspapers" are only handy for puppies and parakeets, if you catch my meaning  ;). Like Ben Franklin said ''Believe none of what you hear, and half of what you see'' and he did not know at the time we would have TV.  I will add to that "and none of what you read in a newspaper."
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2021, 09:23:25 pm »
Kuralt's emotionalism lamenting the demise of small towns bypassed by interstate highways has its place in American nostalgia. Considering the tangible realities of the matter places it opposite of fact. Consider interstate 10. I have bicycled it a few times between Florida and California. Highway 90 west out of Beaumont runs near it. Many small towns are there to see and visit along the way. The I-10 service roads and 90  and other roadways can be cycled all the way from Huston to San Antonio. There are many towns along the way. I-10 going northwest out of San Antonio, TX goes through many small towns. There are hills and mountains and broad vistas, and very wide shoulders in many or most stretches. The climbs are gentler because the road cuts through the hills and does not go over their tops. Look at the map. You will see many interesting small towns along the way. I-10 also takes you to larger cities--- Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Las Cruces, Tucson. I-8 going west from Casa Grande, AZ has wide shoulders and excellent scenery. You must exit 8 approaching Yuma, AZ.

Going due west from Yuma, unfortunately, puts you on the highway from hell. It is terrible for quite a distance. I did not measure its decrepitude but whatever its distance, it is too far. It smooths out and runs you alongside I-8 to Ogilvy or Ogilby Road. It takes you north to highway 78 where you again go west. Follow my route and you get to Ocotillo, CA. Before getting to Ocotillo there is a worse road from hell. And even along this route there are quite a few cool little towns and agricultural communities.

Going west from Ocotillo, I-8 is a long steep climb to where you must exit to hysterical highway 80. 80 is hilly and a bit rough in places. It is a super highway compared to the fore mentioned roads from hell. It runs along the I-8 corridor. On 80 you can visit a gambling casino. There is the town of Jacumba with hot springs if you can afford it. You will go through the very pleasant little town of Pine Valley. Here is a small restaurant of American nostalgia. I love looking at old photos from the past and memorabilia. Get ready to climb a bit. When you get to Alpine you can get an espresso at Starbucks if it is still there. It on the side of the road in plain sight. After a while you enter the megalopolis and thread your way into San Diego.

When Charles Kuralt said taking the interstate you will see nothing at all, it should be understood for what it was, an emotionalism.

Offline jamawani

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2021, 12:02:24 am »
Different strokes for different folks - but for the life of me,
I have never understood why people would choose to bike tour on an interstate.

Kinda like -
A Big Mac at McDonalds vs. a fresh meatloaf sandwich at a mom & pop cafe in Beatrice.
Or a room at the Motel 6 just off I-95 vs. a little cottage on the Maine coast.
Or 45 minutes of muzak on hold with Verizon vs. a funky zydeco club in Lafayette.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2021, 12:48:08 am »
McDonald's? Motel 6? Muzak? Those are irrelevant to cycling the interstates on the southern tier. McDonald's only in emergency or coffee. Never slept in a motel 6. As for music, each to his own. As for privately owned restaurants, plenty are to be found. Mom and pop for the homey connotation. Nutrition is nutrition. Far better getting it at a real-food store. The interstate route is quite good. It is not perfect. In a world built for motorized transportation, what roads are ideal for cycling safely? Interstates are safer than back roads, highways and byways. Are there drawbacks? Of course there are. Everything has positive and negative values. Personally, I do not allow for being routed onto narrow two-lane roads with trucks and cars tearing along at break-neck speeds. If I had to use such roads I would, but I would not seek them. They cause stress after a while. On an interstate highway with wide shoulders, the chance some distracted motorist would veer into you at the precise point of your location would be almost nil. There were twelve cyclists in Texas recently who might see the point on that. And so would many others if they were alive. I never had any traffic stress on an interstate. I think that is perhaps a main advantage. It is stress-free.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Interstate Alternatives
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2021, 01:06:46 am »
In my experience, you are much more likely on interstate shoulders to get flats from the wires from exploded truck tires. They are common, nearly impossible to see, and seldom stopped by even the best tires. Besides, nothing interesting ever happens on the interstate, and interesting things happening are one of the best reasons to tour. Few people do a bicycle tour just to get from point A to point B.

A truck tire exploded in front of me once. It blasted shrapnel wires everywhere. It made one hell of a noise. It was about 200 feet away.