Author Topic: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states  (Read 1728 times)

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Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2022, 09:24:06 pm »
If I may circle back to the question of "Do you count a state ...?"

How do you count states you've cycled in?

I met a couple on tour some years back; the lady was firmly of the opinion that it didn't count unless they had ridden at least 100 miles in that state.

I kept my mouth shut, but I was wondering, "What about Idaho?"  The only time I've cycled (or even been on the ground) in Idaho, we crossed the state up at Sandpoint.  I mean: We. Crossed. The. State.  But I've only cycled about 60 miles in Idaho -- so should it count?

Of course, an answer to that question might leave open Michigan (rode 1.5 miles off route into the U.P and back) and West Virginia (rode around Harpers Ferry and back across the river to Maryland).

Offline jamawani

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2022, 09:35:48 pm »
How do you count states?

One, Mississippi ... Two, Mississippi ... Three, Mississippi ...

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2022, 10:44:13 pm »
"How do you count states you've cycled in?"

For me, I try to count it as I had to sleep in the state for 2 nights, not necessarily back to back.  The only state this has not worked out for me is Rhode Island.  I guess I could do circles or take a rest day (cheating on the intent), but generally speaking, I have to be in the state for 2 nights.  The reason is then it is a full day in riding in it.  This is MY definition which does not have to be yours or vice versa (I don't want to get into another "what is crossing the state/country" thing.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2022, 02:01:16 am »
I try to count it as I had to sleep in the state for 2 nights

You have quite the strict definition. I'm more lax.

I cycled across the panhandle of Idaho on the Northern Tier without ever sleeping there. But since I rode border to border, I definitely count that. It's not my fault that it's such a narrow state.

Well, I did also sleep four nights in Idaho when crossing it at a wider point on the TransAm. But I would have counted it based on the Northern Tier alone.

Offline Nyimbo

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2022, 02:22:14 am »
If I were to only count states I have ridden in, or the even more difficult goal of having ridden across the state -- then that is an unobtainable goal for me. Its fun though to say I have visited all 50 states.  I can do that one and would like to.

Interesting story, I tried to visit 4 African countries in one day.  Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia. It didn't happen as border posts and ferries and bad roads prevented it but we made 3 and my kids still remember it as a fun adventure trying to do it.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2022, 09:04:28 am »
One, Mississippi ... Two, Mississippi ... Three, Mississippi ...

But But but...

When you get to fifty, you've still only counted one, Mississippi!  :D

For me, I try to count it as I had to sleep in the state for 2 nights, not necessarily back to back.  The only state this has not worked out for me is Rhode Island.  I guess I could do circles or take a rest day (cheating on the intent), but generally speaking, I have to be in the state for 2 nights.  The reason is then it is a full day in riding in it.

For the NT Idaho panhandle crossing I mentioned, the "full day" riding would still apply (since we camped in Clark Fork the night before), but I'd still fail the two nights because we crossed the border into Washington that afternoon.

The 2 nights makes sense, and it's an easily applied, concise criterion.  I guess my own is something like "substantial riding in a state" which I'll admit is a bit fuzzy.  Most states are clearcut, a few have a mental asterisk by them, and then there's a couple that I'm not sure how they fall in the ridden - not ridden characterization.


Offline staehpj1

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2022, 09:30:41 am »
There's a reason why so few people live in North Dakota.
I don't know much about North Dakota, but I have a friend who lived on various Air Force Bases arounrd the world.  He said his time on Minot AFB was hell on earth weather wise and didn't have anything else in the way of redeeming qualities.  I wouldn't count on his judgement about the other redeeming qualities, but the bad weather seemed to be something burned into his psyche.

Offline jamawani

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2022, 10:11:02 am »
Why not Minot?

Right now - 8 a.m., Jan. 19th - it's minus 12F in Minot,
22 mph west wind - for a windchill of minus 39F
Not the best cycling weather.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2022, 10:15:35 am »
How many nights would you have to sleep in RI? I live 16 miles away and ridden across a few times but come home to sleep in Massachusetts.
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Offline staehpj1

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2022, 10:24:45 am »
Why not Minot?

Right now - 8 a.m., Jan. 19th - it's minus 12F in Minot,
22 mph west wind - for a windchill of minus 39F
Not the best cycling weather.
At least it isn't snowing.  My friend claimed it "snowed sideways" all winter.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2022, 01:41:10 pm »
Last, is Mount Rushmore worth a detour to see on bicycle?
I paid a visit while touring in the Black Hills in 2015.  Made camp at the zoo that is the KOA on SD 244 near Hill City and rode a loop that took the very nice back way to Keystone (tacky tourist town complete with fake gunfights) then went up the (steep hill) to the site.  During my visit I nearly lost an eye a couple of times to selfie sticks, and it wasn't even the height of the summer season.  At least there is no entrance fee, and there were a lot of bike racks (which were empty).

Someone mentioned Spearfish. Loved it there. Nicest municipal campground I have ever stayed in, despite the poor choice of bathhouse floor tile.  Right next to a historic national fish hatchery complete with a reproduction of a train car that was used to stock waters with trout.  (Trout are not native to SD.)  That, in turn attracted visitors, many of whom arrived traveled by...you guessed it...rail and stayed in hotels owned by the railroads.  And the ride through Spearfish Canyon up 14A was terrific.  Very little traffic in mid-June. Stayed on 14A at Savoy through Cheyenne Crossing then eventually picked up the Mickelson Trail at the Englewood Trailhead via N. Rochford and Brownsville Rd.

Offline Nyimbo

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2022, 01:53:30 pm »
Someone mentioned Spearfish. Loved it there. Nicest municipal campground I have ever stayed in, despite the poor choice of bathhouse floor tile.


Bathhouse floor tile - did you take a picture? 

I appreciate this post and the previous posters helpful posts regarding this route 8)  Thanks
« Last Edit: January 20, 2022, 01:55:20 pm by Nyimbo »

Offline John Nelson

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2022, 03:12:55 pm »
Last, is Mount Rushmore worth a detour to see on bicycle?

This opens up a whole topic worthy of a separate thread, not just specific to Mount Rushmore, but I'll give my thoughts here.

What constitutes a worthwhile detour? It depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is how much time you have:
  • If you have all the time in the world, go see everything. Why not? Most people, however, don't have unlimited time, so they have to be selective.
  • At the other end of the scale, if you have just barely enough time to get to your destination, go see nothing. Now I know that some people would say to just change your destination to give you more time, but completionists (like me) don't like to fall short of the natural endpoint of their route.
  • If you have "x" spare days, then make a list of all the attractions along your route, determine how much time it takes to see each one, sort them according to your priorities, and pick the top ones that fit into "x" days.
  • My general philosophy has two tenets:
    • With all my travels, I like to make the assumption that I will return to this area at another time, and hence I will be able to see anything I missed then. This keeps you from killing yourself trying to see everything.
    • On a long bicycle tour, I see good stuff over every hill and around every turn. So with a few exceptions, I figure I'll see enough on my route without detouring off it. Of course, I do make exceptions for significant things to see.
Back to Mount Rushmore specifically, yes, it's worth the time to go see it, especially if you're not sure you'll be back in this area. It doesn't take long to see, so it's not a big investment of time. I'd definitely go off route 3 miles to see it, but I wouldn't go off route 100 miles to see it.

Offline Ty0604

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2022, 12:35:17 pm »
I haven't chimed in for quite awhile but still here following the discussions. I'm thinking about tour ideas for next summers riding season.  There are 5 remaining states in the USA that I have never been to.  North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan.  I am thinking perhaps I might  incorporate these last 5 states into a tour. 


I have ridden through a couple states making up my own route with no problems but even so I would prefer to stay on established routes where I can take advantage of the ACA maps and more often encounter other riders to visit with.  Any ideas of a nice route.


I can see having two places to start depending on how much time I decide to take.  I have a son who lives in Kennewick, WA  I could start there. It wouldn't take much arm twisting to get my wife to go visit the grandkids and deliver me and my bicycle to a starting point pretty close to the Lewis and Clark route.  I could then ride east following the route to the Dakotas.  The shorter option if I can't budget as much time would be if I could take Amtrak's Empire Builder and depart at an appropriate station closer to North Dakota.  From there what do you think might be the a great route to enjoy Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan without too much backtracking.

Very cool! I’m working on bicycling across all 50 states but I only count the state if I spend 3+ days touring in the state and I enter/exit the state from opposite ends. I’m at 46 thus far with only North Dakota, Delaware, Alaska and Hawaii left. The first two I’ll be doing this year and the final two hopefully in 2023.

I can tell you how I got across the states you’ve mentioned but would probably be too much backtracking for you…

South Dakota: Entered near Edgemont on US 18 and made my way up to Rapid City via Custer/Keystone and rode Interstate 90 (legal in South Dakota) to Sioux Falls where I exited into Minnesota.

Wisconsin: Entered in Osceola on HWY 243 and rode US 8 to HWY 41 near Green Bay. Rode the shore of Lake Michigan south and exited into suburban Chicago

Michigan: Entered south of Niles (near North Bend, IN) and rode US 12 to Coldwater, HWY 233 to Adrian, and exited at Toledo, Ohio

Iowa: RAGBRAI! I started in Galena, Illinois and exited near Sioux City into Nebraska. RAGBRAI doesn’t leave the state so I had to add on a few extra days to officially cross it off. 

North Dakota: This June I’ll be riding the ACA’s Northern Tier from Glendive, Montana to Fargo. I’ll cross over into Minnesota to cross it off.
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Offline Ty0604

Re: Route ideas for touring in my 5 northern missing states
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2022, 12:42:08 pm »
Last, is Mount Rushmore worth a detour to see on bicycle?

The Black Hills of South Dakota are one of my favorite spots to tour. I’ve done the area a few times, once using roads and once using the George S. Mickelson Trail, which I’ve linked below.

Mt. Rushmore was fantastic and the climb to the monument was quite the workout. Wide shoulders mostly and traffic was great. It’s free to enter for bicyclist.

Check out the Needles Highway as well.

If you ride the Mickelson Trail I highway recommend continuing on from Deadwood to Spearfish via Spearfish Canyon. One of the prettiest rides you’ll ever do.

Lastly, Badlands NP is my second favorite NP to visit by bicycle (behind Glacier). If you’re in Rapid City you can do a nice loop through the remote town of Scenic, through Badlands and back to Rapid City via Interstate 90 and the small town of Wall.

https://gfp.sd.gov/parks/detail/george-s--mickelson-trail/
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WI—>WA—>CO