Author Topic: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies  (Read 600 times)

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Offline tjdale

Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« on: January 04, 2022, 11:33:58 am »
Looking for information to decide between Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies routes headed east from Missoula area.  Planning on a W to E ride starting in Seattle and using the Great American Rail Trail to Missoula with the objective of getting to Iowa for RAGBRAI. Would be leaving early June.  Thanks.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2022, 11:47:33 am »
I personally prefer the PPP over the L&C.  The big reason is that I prefer the scenery of the PPP, especially if you do a loop inside Yellowstone before leaving Yellowstone.  I assume you are taking the L&C at Chamberlain, SC.

Whatever you decide, have a great trip!

Tailwinds, John

Offline jamawani

Re: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2022, 03:04:37 pm »
TJ -

I live in Wyoming and taught college in eastern Montana.
I've cycled all over both states plus the Dakotas.
And I helped develop the PPP.

You don't tell us much about yourself.
I'm not sure if you are a newbie with long-distance touring.
I don't think you have much experience in remote parts of the West.
I also noticed that firt you were looking at BR66 then the Western Express.

Why do I mention those thing?
Because the L&C is much easier to ride than the PPP - but far less scenic.
Crossing the Bighorn Mountains on a loaded bike is nothing to sneeze at.
Although, if you have already ridden from Seattle, you should be o.k.

I'm not sure what JN is referring to when he mentions a Yellowstone loop.
The PPP route has you riding from West Yellowstone to Fishing Bridge - from 10 to 4 on a clock.
To do a loop would entail doubling back on the northern segment.
I would to out-and-backs from the PPP route.
a) To Old Faithful via the Firehole River with some of the most famus thermal features.
b) To Gull Point for a hardly-used section of the olf Lake Road.
c) Maybe to Dunraven Pass for spectacular views if you are extra energy.
d) Towards the Northeast entrance for the least visited part of the park

Also, plan to give yourself some time on top of the Bighorns.
Magnificent meadows and mountain scenery with a fraction of the people at Yellowstone.

Pic - Soda Butte Creek in Northeast Yellowstone


Offline John Nettles

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Re: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2022, 03:21:49 pm »
I'm not sure what JN is referring to when he mentions a Yellowstone loop.
What I meant was enter in West Yellowstone and head southeast to Thumb/Grant Village; east to Fishing Bridge; north via Canyon Village to Tower Fall; west to Mammoth; south to Norris Canyon; east to Canyon Village; south to Fishing Bridge (this part is duplicated); and finally to Cody. Of course, if you prefer, you can always rejoin the PPP the first time you get to Fishing Bridge. 

Except for the stunning stretch between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge; nothing is duplicated and yet you see the vast majority of the Park. My proposed route is ~172 miles versus ~56 miles for the PPP.

The PPP official route misses a lot of the famous spots, i.e. Old Faithful and many geyers and pools, and I would personally like to see them if I never have before.

John
EDIT:  Added miles
« Last Edit: January 04, 2022, 03:25:45 pm by John Nettles »

Offline jamawani

Re: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2022, 03:26:15 pm »
PS - Palouse to Cascades Trail and Eastern Washington

I wouldn't start in Washington state before June 1 -
Which gives you about 7 1/2 weeks to make it to the Ragbrai start in western Iowa.
Wet, snowy weather can persist in the Cascades into mid June.
The closest I came to freezing to death was in the Cascades the first week of June 1990.
Unpredicted snowstorm overnight. Much colder, much wetter than forecast.

That said -
The western half of the P-to-C can be pretty mushy early in the season.
And the Milwaukee Tunnel damn cold and damn damp.
It's a relatively mild uphill grade, but your tires sink in - esp. carrying weight.
Kinda a tough slog for the start of a cros-country tour.
Another thing is that you are very enclosed with forest with limited views.
I think you wold be happier crossing White Pass or Chinook Pass if the latter is open.

The US 12 corridor from Centralia to Yakima has parallel old roads much of the way -
And good shoulders where you need to use the highway itself.
And, no, you don't want to ride the P-to-C east of the Columbia River.
But the paved county roads are totally empty.
And June in the Palouse is simply gorgeous.

Pic - Palouse Backroad in June

Offline tjdale

Re: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2022, 06:34:21 pm »
Why not the P&C east of the Columbia?

Offline tjdale

Re: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2022, 06:44:00 pm »
"You don't tell us much about yourself.
I'm not sure if you are a newbie with long-distance touring.
I don't think you have much experience in remote parts of the West.
I also noticed that firt you were looking at BR66 then the Western Express."

I am fairly new to touring, east coast and mid west so far.  Not been out west.  And yes I am looking at all options as I plan.  I'll be riding Surly Ogre with 29x2.5 tubeless in the west if I stick to the P&C and other trails as outlined on the GART.  I would then swap them out for 28X2 in Iowa for the remainder of the ride.


Offline jamawani

Re: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2022, 10:03:31 pm »
P-to-C eastern half much rougher than the western half.
You won't cover many miles - sometimes you'll be singing, other times cursing.

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=3U8&page_id=580947&v=1k&src=page_next

Although it has had gradual improvements over the years.
Some sections with really large, chunky gravel - others very sandy. (Glop if wet)
Also, significant detours around closed sections that add a good deal of miles.
Not to mention no thru access via the stunning Rock Lake.

https://washingtongravelriding.home.blog/2021/06/08/palouse-to-cascades-trail-rock-lake/

Not to mention, you have some miles to cover to get to western Iowa.

Here's one suggestion:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/38296668

Nota Bene -
Landowners in eastern Washington have been hostile to the trail for 25+ years.
There are mulitple gaps - I would strongly suggest NOT trying to cross private land.
Even if it is only 1/4 mile. OSM Cycle maps are not your friend.

https://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/15120/Palouse-to-Cascades-Trail-map-with-detours-eastern-section


Offline tjdale

Re: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2022, 07:04:18 pm »
Thank you.  This are great links!

Offline jamawani

Re: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2022, 10:38:06 pm »
TJ -

I'm planning an X-USA starting from Oregon/Wash in early June.
I was look at snow maps from the National Water & Climate Center - -

Snoqualmie Pass already has 236 inches of snow - - 20 ft.
In the Cascades, they are already at 300% of normal snow depth.
Of course, the snow could stop for the rest of the season, but it usually does't work that way.
In fact, big early snow means even more snow; bad early snow means little snow later on.

https://www.nbcrightnow.com/news/snoqualmie-pass-sees-most-snow-in-two-decades/article_c5af0a36-6d8f-11ec-8386-7b729d2e5bad.html#:~:text=SNOQUALMIE%20PASS%20%2D%20The%20Washington%20State,and%202004%20(212%20inches).

So you may want to think about how you will cross the Cascades.
If the snow is really deep, the Snoqualmie Tunnel may open late.

https://www.parks.state.wa.us/AlertCenter.aspx?AID=2585

Deep snow takes a long time to melt - esp. in heavily forested mountains like the Cascades.
You may want to ask about P-to-C trail conditions in early June is snowy years.
I suspect it may be serious mud.

However, the Palouse Hills should be gloriousy green this coming June.
You Marylanders are used to green - for us dry country folks, it's special.

BTW - There is record snow depth from the Canadian border all the way down to Yosemite.
So, you'll need to plan accordingly whatever route you take.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2022, 06:27:01 am »
You may want to consider an eastern start since we have only seen a dusting of snow on Christmas Eve and the ground is still bare in Boston. We are supposed to get a few inches in the coming days but rain again on Sunday and 41 degrees. Yesterday was 50 and New Years Day was 60 degrees. Of course we have only seen the sun a few times in the past two weeks. I am riding cross country as well this year and hoping for a little less rain. We just had the warmest and third wettest year recorded.
Boston had its warmest summer on record as Southern New England reported extreme warm and wet weather from June to August 2021 according to the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/2021-has-been-warmer-and-wetter-boston-had-the-warmest-and-3rd-wettest-summer-on-record-worcester-had-4th-wettest-summer-11th-warmest-on-record/ar-AAObpzv

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/us-maps/ytd/202111#us-maps-select

Hoping for a little dryer and cooler for 2022.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2022, 06:39:04 am by HikeBikeCook »
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline EmilyG

Re: Lewis and Clark or Parks, Peaks, Prairies
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2022, 06:37:23 pm »
We did the L&C route in 2018 on our x-country trip, to connect Missoula to North Dakota.  We left Oregon on May 15, so did not want to do the Going to the Sun/Northern Tier route.    We deeply regretted our selection of the L&C, but also look back fondly. Kind of the way you do when you've been through a harrowing experience.  Survival makes you grateful!  We met so many wonderful people, and benefited from the kindness of strangers when we got in over our heads (massive lightening/thunder storm between Lincoln and Augusta MT, which left us stranded near dark with lightening striking all around and 20 more miles to shelter.  Thank you Hutterite farmers for the ride!!!). 

Yes, there are some desolate stretches, you need to carry extra food, and remember that the rest stops in MT are amazing shelters with great water.   I would be concerned about what is left after the pandemic, because some little places were barely holding on when we went through.  If we were to do it again, we'd go Missoula down through the Peaks/Parks/Prairies route, then from Minnesota on the Northern Tier, the North Lakes, and back to the Northern Tier to the east coast.  The North Lakes route is a true gem.