Author Topic: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps  (Read 335 times)

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Offline eorogers

Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« on: November 23, 2022, 01:13:31 pm »
I am looking for the old northern tour routing maps that follow hwy 2 through Eastern Montana, North Dakota, into Minnesota for a potential tour next summer.

Thanks

Eric

Offline jamawani

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2022, 08:35:17 pm »
EO -

Don't have the old Northern Tier maps, but I want to share with you the reasons for the switch and my experiences.

ACA switched because the US Hwy 2 corridor had far too much traffic due to the Bakken oil boom.
And a lot of it was truck traffic with drivers going way too fast.
Although the Bakken boom has subsided, there is still a lot of traffic.

Even before the ACA switch, I preferred Hwy 200 to US 2 - less traffic, more scenic.
In Montana, Hwy 200 is more remote, rolling grasslands, no shoulders, but very little traffic.
However, there is a major 5-year construction project east of Circle.
(About 7-10 sections each year - pilot car)
US 2 in Montana has the county seats and often is in the Milk River Valley.
But it has moderate to moderate+ traffic moving at 70 mph with long sections without shoulders.
US 2 can be profoundly monotonous.

Montana Cycling Map with summer traffic counts:
https://mdt.mt.gov/other/webdata/external/planning/maps/bike-map.pdf

Also, you can head down from Glacier NP on US 89 along the Front Range - gorgeous ride.

<<<>>>

US 2 is mostly 4 lanes across North Dakota - with good shoulders, but deep rumble strips.
There are a few sections of Old Hwy 2 that are paved and have almost zero traffic.
If you are only interested in getting the miles in, the US 2 in ND is safe with a few back road sections.
You can connect to Hwy 200 in ND via the back gate to the North Unit of Teddy Roosevelt NP.
(Don't know if it's legit - NPS has not responded to multiple inquiries - so act dumb.)
US 85 down to the Hwy 200 junction has moderate+ traffic, fast, but with moderate shoulders.
Hwy 200 thru Zap has moderate/light traffic and o.k. services. Some shoulders.
The Knife River Villages and Fort Mandan are very important Native American centers.
Hwy 200 east of the Missouri is amazingly empty and easy riding.

So, it depends on where you are starting, where you are going in Minn., and what your riding style is.
I did not enjoy riding US 2, the shoulderless sections were scary and the scenery meh.





North Dakota Traffic Count Map - 2019 with pre-pandemic traffic counts:
https://www.dot.nd.gov/docs/maps/traffic/trafficstate_2019.pdf

Offline eorogers

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2022, 11:31:05 am »
Thanks Jamawami - the info really helps with decisions.  I know about the oil field boom in the Williston, the latest traffic counts I found for ND were from 2020 - Hight of corvid, so not sure how appropriate they are today :-)

US 89 south from glacier is a great ride :-)

The goal is to ride coast to coast emphasizing scenery & history, and staying north to avoid the worst of the summer heat / humidity.  I rode the TransAm from Colorado to Yorktown this year and almost melted in Kansas and Missouri. 

My current plan is to ride the TransAm east to Missoula, then Lewis and Clark (alternate?) to Great Falls and catch the Northern Tier from there.  In Minnesota I want to ride the north shore of Lake Superior from Duluth to Grand Portage and maybe into Canada along the northern shores to Niagara Falls and back to the Northern Tier.  Or ride from International Falls to Thunder Bay and south to Duluth, then the North Lakes and Lake Erie Connector. 

I like the Northern Tier from Anacortes through Glacier, but rode that part 4 years ago. 

I ride self-contained, almost all camping, and love touring in the west with all the public land for dispersed camping.  I ride a large bike with 29x2.6 tires so gravel and the occasional mellow single track are good. 

Thanks

Eric

Offline John Nelson

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2022, 12:48:37 am »
The goal is to ride coast to coast emphasizing scenery & history.



I like the Northern Tier from Anacortes through Glacier, but rode that part 4 years ago. 

IMO, the Northern Tier has very little great scenery east of Glacier National Park, with the exception of Niagara Falls and perhaps Theodore Roosevelt National Park. And very little history, unless you count the birthplace of the motor home in Brown City, Michigan.

You can get much better scenery, without the excessive heat, on the Pacific Coast Route. And better history on either the Underground Railroad Route or Bicycle Route 66.

Offline jamawani

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2022, 10:31:12 am »
Eric -

It sounds like you have been bitten by the touring bug -
for which there is no cure - except more touring.
It also sounds like you have a good deal of experience -
so, you make want to consider striking out on your own routes.

As for history, I am a historian and have always ridden with an eye towards history.
Thr Northern Tier bypasses one of North America's greatest historical sites - the Mandan villages.
That is why I suggest Hwy 200 in ND and the Knife River villages / Fort Mandan, near Washburn.
The Mandan culture was is the focal point of the Northern Plains until decimated by the smallpox epidemic of 1837.
Lewis & Clark stayed there - Karl Bodmer's aquatints of Northern Plains peoples are irreplacable.

Bodmer - "Mato-Tope" - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/A_Mandan_chief_0046v.jpg

I have also found reading regional literature on a ride to be a great addition.
Montana's great writer Ivan Doig - many choices - "This House of Sky" is superb.
Native American writer James Welch, "Winter in the Blood" - powerful.
Ole Rolvaag's "Giants in the Earth" - a Dakota classic - Scandinavian settlement. (Tough read)
Kathleen Norris' "Dakota: A Spiritual Geography" is a gift

<<<>>>

What has been said above is what many riders experience on the Northern Tier - the Big Empty.
So you have to focus on other things - small towns, wildlife refuges, and as you saiis, the history.
If you don't have to get from Point A to Point B in a straight line, you have more options.
FWIW - US Highway 2 tends to be the straight line.

If you are going west-to-east, I'm guessing you will be starting in June.
I wouldn't start in May - I've been caught in heavy snow in the Cascades starting June 1.
This year, I started June 1 and was cold & wet all the way to the Idaho border.
If you haven't done the western segment of the TransAm, it really is beaituful.
But early/mid June is also when the Palouse is a carpet of green and empty back roads.
And Palouse Falls is roaring with snowmelt in June - almost dry by August.

If you haven't done the Lochsa River route in Idaho - US 12 over Lolo Pass - it is a "must"
Try to hit Jerry Johnson Hot Springs midweek to avoid the party crowds.
Unfortunately, it is a party spot for Missoula students on the weekends.
But the ride along the Lochsa River is simply gorgeous. A favorite of riders for 50 years.

The route from Missoula to Great Falls - Hwy 200 - is pleasant, but you miss most of the mountains.
For many people who don't bicycle, that would be a good thing.
But given how much prairie is ahead, you may want to get in a bit more mountain scenery.

Here is a suggested route east of Great Falls:
Kinda along the revised Northern Tier in Montana, but not in North Dakota.
(Actually, the central Montana section is closer to the Lewis & Clark ACA maps.)
It included sneaking in the back gate of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Which may be a no-no. ( I have NEVER done anything illegal in my entire life.)

BTW - Denton, MT was nearly destroyed by a wildfire last Dec. Some powerful history there.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/41503269

Pic - Palouse riding in mid-June, eastern Washington

Offline eorogers

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2022, 10:44:32 am »
Thanks John - I agree with you about the Northern Tier west of Browning and the Pacific Coast.  I have done both of those and the Pacific Coast north of San Luis Obispo is my all time favorite. 

I've driven the Minnesota woods (French Voyageurs), the shore of Lake Superior,  and the Michigan UP and enjoyed them all.  We used to live in upstate New York and liked Adirondack State Park and New England very much, although that was 50 years ago.  Eastern Montana, North Dakota, and Cleveland through Buffalo I am not so sure of, but that is the cost of going east :-)

Eric

Offline eorogers

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2022, 11:09:53 am »
Jamawani - I wasn't bitten by the touring bug, it swallowed me whole :-).  I started on my own routes, and in the west with all the public land to camp on I am very comfortable there.

Thank you for the historical insight - I was thinking Hwy 2 in Montana to catch Ft Peck and follow the Missouri River, but you make great points.  I will add the Mandan villages to the route.  Thank you for the book recommendations too - I agree it adds a lot.  I grew up with Guthrie's "The Big Sky".

I spent 5 years living NE of Seattle in Monroe Washington (on Hwy 2) and Cascade weather can be very unpredictable - have not decided on a spring or fall trip yet.  Fall is nice to avoid the bugs (particularly the black flies), but New England can get cold and campgrounds start to close after labor day. 

I have family in Portland and can take Amtrak there to start.  I was going to ride to Astoria and do the western Lewis and Clark to ride the Columbia Gorge, but I think the Western TransAm looks over all prettier and have not ridden that yet. 

I have not done the Lochsa River yet - sounds wonderful. 

Thank Much

Eric

Offline jamawani

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2022, 01:49:03 pm »
Speaking of Monroe and US 2 - -

A friend and I rode thru towards the end of our all-summer tour of the West in 2019.
We rode down from Everett on Lower Snohomish and Snohomish-Monroe Roads.
Then to Carnation to camp. Hwy 203 was kinda busy and the trail was seriously muddy.
(Heavy rain in August - - can you believe it?)

I would love it if US 2 over Stevens Pass were a viable bike route.
It is absolutely gorgeous - - BUT - - Double BUT - -
It is a nightmare to cycle and seriously dangerous.
I was in touch with the past mayor of Skykomish about the Miller River Bridge.
Old Cascade Highway was a good alternate route for sections of US 2 -
but the bridge washed out and King County refused even to replace it -
even with a bike/ped bridge. There's a narrow tunnel on the parallel US 2 section.

There's a pretty good back road into Index - a little hilly, but safe.
But anywhere on US 2 from Sultan to Sky, you are taking your life in your hands.
Especially because the 6-7 bridges date back to the 1930s/early 1940s.
Unbelievable that WSDOT has allowed this major highway to become so outdated and dangerous.
(As you may guess - I am a trouble-maker at heart.)

<<<>>>

I started my 2022 trip from Astoria - I started my first X-USA trip back in 1987 from there, too.
Back then it was a pretty funky town - now, it's gotten yupped up.
But it's a good place to start from - 2 bus routes from PDX Union Station to Astoria.
Keep your wits about you and watch your stuff around Union Station.

You said you've done the Pacific Coast route already.
The TransAm used to go all the way down to Florence then cut over to Eugene.
Now, it cuts inland after Pacific City and thru Corvallis.
I think the best part of the coast is south of Newport thru Yachats.
There's the sweet one-lane section of the old highway hugging the cliffs.

Also, you know that McKenzie Pass over the Cascades sometime remains closed well into June.
You can alway use Santiam Pass. (Kinda busy but with shoulders)
They've also modified the route on the east side a bit.
Now, you go thru Terrebonne and right by Smith Rocks which has great walk-in camping.
Everything east of Smith Rocks is mellow.

Pic - Smith Rocks
(The park is singular but the geologic feature is plural - go figure.)

Offline eorogers

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2022, 06:32:23 pm »
Yeah Jamawani, we lived in Monroe from 1975 to 1980 - It was 3,000 people on the very leading edge of the bedroom community boom.  We were so proud we had our own Safeway store and a stop light at Main St and Hwy 2.  Traffic over Stevens Pass was a lot less.  Went back 2 years ago and what a difference.

Heard they open McKenzie Pass to bicycles for 2 weeks or more before open to cars - that would be the sweet spot for a spring trip.  I'm fairly flexible for timing.

I'll remember the camping next to Smith Rock :-)

Eric

Offline jamawani

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2022, 09:12:18 am »
1970s ??
I thought you were 30-something.  ;)

Offline eorogers

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2022, 11:27:43 am »
Nah, 75 :-)

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2022, 05:27:31 pm »
I have them if you still want them.  I don't know how to do this just between you and me so please advise.

Offline eorogers

Re: Wanted - old northern tour hwy 2 routing maps
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2022, 05:55:56 pm »
I sent you a private message with my email and address :-)

Eric