Author Topic: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend  (Read 1807 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline HikeBikeCook

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 469
  • Touring for over 50 years and still learning
Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2022, 06:42:04 am »
As I recall I met them through an ad on the paper ACA magazine.
I really miss the old "magazine" when it was printed on newspaper print!  I think they should print the next milestone anniversary magazine on the newspaper print again.  ACA sure has come a long way since the old BikeCentennial early days.


I too miss the old style and find that true for all magazines these days. The glossy paper reflects light and makes it hard to read the page. I would think the newspaper style is more environmentally friendly as well, but who knows. Maybe the new papers are needed to hold the soy based inks they now use.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline BobG

Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2022, 09:06:55 am »
One summer Chief Joseph Pass in Montana was under construction. ACA recommended Gibbons Pass as an alternative. I enjoyed it so much I've taken it every trip since. (I've travelled that route four times now and still have not seen Chief Joseph Pass!). Best direction (mostly downhill) is for the westbounders on the TA. That said, I know that BikeliciousBabe has climbed it eastbound and had fun. Westbound it starts with a right hand turn off MT 43 onto fairly level hard packed dirt. When the descent to Sula begins the surface becomes looser. Cross-Top brake levers help on the downhill if you're using drop bars.

https://tinyurl.com/3ztynxs5


Gibbons Pass MT

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1604
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2022, 10:36:20 am »
Looks to be a beautiful alternate. 

I am surprised of the number of non-paved detours offered.  I thought I might get a little heat for proposing gravel.  All things being equal, I would prefer paved but sometimes things just aren't equal so you do to the next best thing which in some cases results in non-paved surfaces.


Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1604
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2022, 10:40:37 am »
Maybe the new papers are needed to hold the soy based inks they now use.
Good point.  As I know very very little about printing, this could be the case.  I just like the size (bigger IIRC) and feel. 

Offline BobG

Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2022, 10:51:54 am »
My comment regarding "the paper ACA magazine" was intended to mean the "print" version as opposed to the online version. But yes, I do vaguely remember the newsprint version of the Bike Report!

Offline Ty0604

Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2022, 11:02:24 am »
Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway east of Big Hole Pass in MT, skipping Badger Pass and the town of Dillon:

I don’t know much about the TA but I second this… We did a tour last summer that we called the Pioneer Mountains Loop. After a week bicycling around Glacier, we started in Darby and rode the unpaved Gibbons Pass instead of the paved Lost Trail/Chief Joseph Passes (US Highways 93 & 43) since we’d ridden the paved passes a few years prior. I’d ridden Gibbons the opposite direction on another ride. We loved the lack of cars on Gibbons Pass, both times we only saw one vehicle. If I recall correctly, it was much steeper going from Darby compared to going to Darby.

However, Gibbons Pass was mostly consumed by a large forest fire late in the Summer of 2021 and I do not know if it’s passable at this point.

From there we camped in Wisdom, over Big Hole Pass to Bannack, turned around and backtracked a little bit to the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway and state in Wise River for the night. We were supposed to take a zero day in Wise River but nothing was open on our zero day and the mosquitoes were eating us alive, even at 8 in the morning, so we packed up and headed to Anaconda for the night. From there we stayed at a free NFS campground outside of Philipsburg and then went over the mostly gravel Skalkaho Pass back to Darby.

If you ride the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, be sure to stop by Elkhorn Hot Springs (food and nice dip in the hot pool) and Crystal Park! The hot springs was a trek up the road but totally worth it.

Happy Touring!
Instagram: tyjames0604

WI—>WA—>CO

Offline jamawani

Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2022, 02:25:35 pm »
The Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway does not lend itslf well to the TransAm since it is north-south.

Eastbound - The best way to include it would be to head east from Missoula to Ovando on Hwy 200.
Then head south from Helmville ro Drummond on Hwy 271 wich has been paved all the way since about 2013.
From Drummond take the stunningly beautiful Hwy 1 thru Phillipsburg to Anaconda.
The head south on Hwy 569 to Hwy 43 and east on Hwy 43 to Wise River.

The Byway runs from Wise River via Elkhorn Hot Springs to Polaris and Hwy 278.
Continue on Hwy 278 to Dillon with a short detour to Bannack ghost town if you wish.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/38760346

260 vs 190 miles. 13000 ft gain vs 8200.
But what's a few miles and a few feet?

* For people who have zero self-respect -
You can take I-90 from Missoula to Drummond.

Offline BobG

Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2022, 07:22:38 am »
If you really want to stray from the yellow brick road and you like to climb, here's a looong TransAm side trip I took after dropping out of a 1983 Bikecentennial group tour called "Great Parks Odyssey" (Durango > Jasper). I continued to Jasper solo.

https://tinyurl.com/24e6wxub

Gravel from Grant MT to Tendoy ID. Gravel again from Shoup ID to just south of Darby MT. Rough in spots but I rode it on a loaded touring bike with 27x1.25" tires, pushing their limit. No flats, no damage.

pros? remote and scenic with paved stretch in the middle for services, Lemhi Pass, Lewis & Clark history, Salmon River, overnight at a fire lookout (?)

cons? bypasses a fun stretch of easier traditional TransAm. Maybe not rideable for all (as John requested). I rode this 38 years ago. I don't know its fire history and can't speak for conditions today.



correction: I was indeed using the fat, cutting edge 27x1 3/8" tire size that John mentions below. The wheels with mounted tires are still hanging in my cellar!
« Last Edit: March 13, 2022, 08:25:55 pm by BobG »

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1604
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: TransAm Alternate Routes You Would Recommend
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2022, 02:30:28 pm »
.... but I rode it on a loaded touring bike with 27x1.25" tires, pushing their limit. No flats, no damage.
I remember riding 27x1.25" tires.  When I switched to 1 3/8 width, I thought that was cutting edge. My how old we are getting  ;D .