Author Topic: Modified Northern Tier  (Read 3937 times)

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Offline ghof

Modified Northern Tier
« on: February 20, 2023, 04:45:48 pm »

Tell me if this is a good plan.

My wife and I are starting the Northern Tier (W-E) around June 1. Zip over to Minneapolis, then deviate from the route to go to Madison (our hometown) to Chicagoland on trails, etc. Next we will work our way to Pittsburgh ... this is where I'm less sure to find a route (suggestions welcomed). From Pittsburgh we will take the GAP and C&O canal to DC. From DC we will meander to Rehoboth Beach and catch a lift across the Bay Bridge.

I'm trying to find a mapping tool which can piece all of this together so I can estimate distance (I think it's a touch over 3,200 miles). Any thoughts and ideas are welcome.

Thanks, George

PS I did the Southern Tier in 2021 and it was really fun, can't wait for the summer...melt snow, melt!

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Modified Northern Tier
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2023, 08:17:02 pm »
Looks like a nice tour. 

I personally would ride to La Crosse and then hook up with the trails there or take back roads (I love the Driftless region) to Madison.  After Chicago, why not just use the Chicago to NYC route and break off it at Williamsport, MD, and stay on the C&O.  The CNYC route is basically what you are looking for.

As far as estimating the distances, you could use RideWithGPS to trace the route.  Add a few miles for each day to get to/from the route and your lodging, restaurants, etc. 

Tailwinds, John

Offline jamawani

Re: Modified Northern Tier
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2023, 10:10:13 pm »
June 1 can be early.

Back in 1990, before the days of online weather, I was supposed to get mostly sunny for the Cascades.
I got a foot of wet snow the first weekend in June and almost froze to death.
Fast forward to June 1, 2022 and another June 1 start from Astoria.
Cold and wet for the first two weeks. Nearly froze on June 14th.
In the Pac NW it's called Juneuary. Course, y'all are from Wisconsin, so ...

Your mileage may vary. June 2021 was sizzling in the Pacific Northwest.


I much prefer a route utilizing the historic Lincoln Highway corridor from Chicago to Pitt.
From Plymouth, IN to Wooster, OH you can take super quiet back roads.
There were many different routings of the original Lincoln Highway.
Plus there's all kinds of history and kitsch along the way.

Indiana route from 2016 - might need a bit of updating
I'm not from the Great Lakes, so I had to hit Indiana Dunes.
Plus there are a good set of paved trails from south of Gary to the Dunes.
In eastern Indiana, the little town of Monroeville has excellent facilities for touring cyclists.
Ohio has multiple back road options - including a 1.5 mile brick stretch of the original Lincoln Highway.
(A bit tough to ride, but a great piece of transportation history.)

Pic - Old Trail Road between Pierceton and Columbia City


East of DC, if you plan a Chesapeake Bay crossing on the weekend -
you can take a passenger only ferry from Point Lookout to Smith Island to Crisfield.
Then wonderful riding on the Eastern Shore.

Another option is to take Amtrak from Union Station in DC down to Fredericksburg
then ride the Northern Neck out to Reedville and a ferry to Tangier Island then to Crisfield.
The Tangier connection is more reliable and runs more frequently.

The Bay Bridge sucks for cyclists.
No bike access, no public transportation, no state shuttle.
So you have to pay $40 per person for a private shuttle.
I have been on their case (Maryland DOT) about this for 20 years.
The Annapolis city bus run to Kent Island was dropped about 10 years ago.

Offline ghof

Re: Modified Northern Tier
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2023, 09:17:53 am »
Thanks for the ideas. My parents live close to the Bridge so I'll get a free lift over the Bay, as long as I don't piss them off!


Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Modified Northern Tier
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2023, 01:59:57 pm »
Don’t know where you plan to end, but If you’re going to be in Rehoboth you can take a short (and) nice ride to Lewes and then a nice ferry ride to Cape May, NJ.