Author Topic: NYC to Fargo  (Read 3698 times)

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Offline intoTHEwind

NYC to Fargo
« on: October 06, 2023, 12:35:01 pm »
Hi Community,

I hope this is the right place on ACC-Forum.

Our Trails since 2016 in US:

    1995 101 - Seattle to SF
    1998 101 - Vancouver to SF
    2016 Northern Tier from Anacortes top Bar Harbor
    2018 Transamerican Trail from Vancouver – Port Angeles to Yorktown
    2022 Louis & Clark Trail from St. Louis to Astoria

2024 we plan to bike once again in US: From New York to Fargo

So, we have some questions and need your help/support

Our route (approximate) --> NYC – Albany(NY) – Rochester – Fort Erie – Luther (Lake Erie Connector Section 1) – (Ludington – Manitowoc (Ferry) – Minneapolis – Albany – Fargo (alternative route NT).


When is the best time to travel from NYC to Fargo? Middle of April or to the beginning of May?
We're not sure, if we're starting from NYC or Albany (NY) or Rochester!
How does Amtrak (Empire Builder Train) Bicycle Transport work (hop on hop off) on this route - or only in a Box?


Lake Michigan Ferry
   
  • How do we get from Manitowoc to Stillwater, MN - Muscatine (NT) spur?
  • [Alternative: Biking from Manitowoc – Milwaukee; and then we have the following option with Amtrak – La Crosse (hop off)

    Is there a Bicycle Trail from Manitowoc to Milwaukee?
    I've seen there ist USBR from Milwaukee to La Crosse - U.S. Bike Route (USBR) 30 and USBR 230.
    Is this a good route for biking or have anybody experience with this route - There are services on the way?

    So, that should be the first question block - more later.

    Thank for all creative information.

    Rudolf from Germany/Freiburg
intoTHEwind
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Offline canalligators

Re: NYC to Fargo
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2023, 01:02:12 pm »
On the NY (state) parts, weather will be quite variable in April and early May.  Expect some days that are downright cold and rainy.  You're experienced, so you know how to deal with it.  Maybe allow a rain day or two.

There is no one train that follows your route.  There is a parallel route from NYC to Buffalo, but no other trains until you get to Minneapolis.  Greyhound (bus) has some services that cross your path, check them.  I would not plan on using Amtrak in a hop on/off manner.  Bike spaces and train seats must be reserved, and they often sell out.

I loved taking the SS Badger across Lake Michigan, and will go again someday.

For a route from Manitowoc to Stillwater, the Wisconsin Bike Federation has cycling maps for the state.

If you ride to Milwaukee, there are nice trails most of the way across the state, to Winona Minnesota.  See the Wisconsin DNR website.  Between St. Cloud MN and Moorhead MN (Fargo), there are also nice trails.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: NYC to Fargo
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2023, 01:32:06 pm »
Rudolf,
As to what is the "best time to travel" weather, check out WeatherSpark.com.  They have fantastic climate data for much of the world.  Once you review the data, you can decide what is best for you as what is best for me may be different.

Info regarding bikes and Amtrak is found here:  https://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard.  Since I assume you are flying into the USA, you will already have a boxed bike so if you want to keep your bike boxed until you get to riding departure city, be sure that town has "checked baggage" available.  Personally, if I were flying, I would try to fly all the way to the departure city as NYC would probably require an overnight stay ($$$$) and if you take a taxi with your boxed bike, you would have to get a large taxi (more $) from the airport, then still have to pay for the train (even more $).  The way I am reading the website is you have a choice between carry on (hop on/off) and checked baggage for the bike.  Unfortunately, Amtrak is not nearly as nice, efficient, etc. as Germany's wonderful train system.  Don't judge the US by its trains!

The Manitowoc ferry is basically in downtown Manitowoc.  It will not be an issue riding from the ferry to the start of the spur. 
I rode another option (reverse direction) in 2020 that goes from Manitowoc south to Milwaukee on low traffic county roads and/or bike paths then head west from Milwaukee to La Crosse using mostly bike paths.  At La Crosse, you would connect to the Northern Tier and take it to Fargo.  This route is very similar to USBR-30.  If you choose this route, I have routes I can send you with GPS data and most services listed if you want.  Just private message me.

Another option is to review Wisconsin's bike maps as Wisconsin (especially the southwest or "driftless region") is wonderful to ride in.   Lots of bike trails, bike routes, pretty good drivers, frequent services, etc. 

Whatever you choose, I wish you a wonderful trip.  Tailwinds, John

Offline intoTHEwind

Re: NYC to Fargo
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2023, 11:25:36 am »
Hallo,

thanks you both.
I know NYC is very expensive; We think, that the plan, when we will arriving NYC, we are looking for a Warmshower host near Amtrak Station  Yonkers and then we decide, if we are going with Amtrak to Albany or .... , or we  biking the bike-route (Hudson Valley) to Rochester. Our plan now (?)


Hudson Valley
Eric Canal West (NT 10)
Eric Canal Est (NT 10)
Lake Eric Connector 1
North Lakes 2
Manitowoc – Milwaukee
Milwaukee – La Crosse (Winona)
NT 7 La Crosse – Minneapolis
NT 6 Minneapolis – Bowlus
NT 5 Bowlus – Fargo
Minneapolis – Fargo USBR 20 MN westbound instead NT 6 NT 5

Suma sumarum  ~ 2.600 km

John, your "reverse route Manitowoc south to Milwaukee" sounds good.  Then  continues on the U.S. Bike Route (USBR) 30 and USBR 230 to La Crosse , right. There are a lot of unpaved parts on USBR 30 . There are smooth gravel parts?

Our Bicycle are
Ursula: Salsa Casaroll ; Tires always 622X25 (Schwalbe Durano Plus Performance Drahtreifen )
Rudolf: Surly Pacer; Tires 622x25 and 622x28 (Schwalbe Durano Plus Performance Drahtreifen )

Do you have GPS from Manitowoc to Milwaukee? For the GPS data contact look at profile

So, that should be all , today  ;)

Rudolf
« Last Edit: October 09, 2023, 08:49:04 am by intoTHEwind »
intoTHEwind
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Offline jwrushman

Re: NYC to Fargo
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2023, 12:43:44 pm »
I did a modified Northern Tier in 2019 and the first half of my route is very similar to yours.  I started at Sandy Hook in NJ - because I live in NJ and wanted to start at the Atlantic Ocean.  My route was:
    * Sandy Hook to Albany NJ along the Hudson River (crossing over at Bear Mountain bridge and at Albany).  Moderately heavy traffic.  Since my wife is from the mid-Hudson valley, I had places I wanted to visit and friends to see.
     * Albany to Niagara Falls along Erie Canal - Lovely.  Much of the time I stayed on the "parallel" highway.  I didn't like the dust/dirt from unpaved bike path, and the traffic was light.  Through Rochester, I stayed on the bike path to avoid city traffic.  I recommend the Muddy Water Cafe in Palymyra NY.  Owner was very helpful when I needed to attend to a medical issue.  Also, Palmyra was the home of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion.  Even though I'm not Mormon, I found it interesting to visit the significant sites of this religion.  Crossing into Canada was a non-issue, w.r.t. customs and bridge traffic.
* Niagara Falls to Algonac across southern Ontario via Lake Erie Connector. Lovely. 
* Modified route across Michigan to visit friends and relatives. Campground at Otter Lake Michigan was free to bicyclist (at that time). 
* Badger ferry from Ludington MI to Manitowoc WI.  I understand that the ferry is now closed due to mechanical problems.  Hopefully it will be available for you.
*  North Lakes from Manitowoc to Taylors Falls (just north of Minneapolis).  Lovely riding.
* Nothern Tier to Fargo via Fergus Falls leg, and then on to Anacortes.  Lovely riding throughout Minnesota.  Wonderful bike paths much of the way.  Courteous drivers (Wisconsin and North Dakota too).  Be sure to visit/use Donn Olsen's bicycle hostel in Dalbo.  Jordies Trailside Cafe in Bowlus was excellent.  Scandinavian Heritage Museum in Morehead MN (just across the river from Fargo is nice if you have the time.

I started my trip on June 1st and had comfortable weather.  Didn't have HOT weather until I reached North Dakota.  Had some cool mornings in Montana and Washington in July, but generally had great weather.  A few days had strong head winds which prompted me to shorten the route, but generally the wind was not a issue for me.  I mostly stayed in motels, WarmShowers (I don't particularly like camping!) so I can't comment much about campgrounds along the route. 

Offline John Nettles

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Re: NYC to Fargo
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2023, 12:52:42 pm »
Rudolf, first I would remove your email as the spam bots can find it.  Maybe "hide" it by spacing it out or only using capital letters and tell others to remove the lower case, i.e. Nd Am ME (only use cap letters) at Gmail.com.  Of course, the best way is to include your email under your profile and then people can contact you directly via your profile.  Look below your name or any name in the left side of the screen on a forum post for an email link.

Yes, the rail trails are either paved or finely crushed gravel.  I would say about 70% is finely crushed gravel.  While I rode it fine with 35mm tires and my wife rode it on her recumbent trike, 25mm might be susceptible with some soft spots in the trail so be careful.  Overall though the trail is quite nice.  I would suggest you use wider tires if possible, especially if carrying much gear. 

I will send you the GPS and route info to your updated email in the next couple of days. 

Out of curiosity, why are you doing USBR-20 instead of using ACA's route?  Just so you know, a USBR may not be as conducive for bike touring since they can be more for bike transportation, i.e. getting from one town to another quickly.  The roads may be higher traffic and/or no shoulder, services, etc.  While the USBR routes are usually pretty nice, there are some notable exceptions to this.  I am not familiar with USBR-20 so just trying to give you some background. 

Tailwinds, John
« Last Edit: October 07, 2023, 12:55:38 pm by John Nettles »

Offline intoTHEwind

Re: NYC to Fargo
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2023, 09:54:17 am »
Hi John,
thanks for your information. I've done removed it.
Okay, the 

Minneapolis – Fargo USBR 20 MN westbound instead NT 6 NT 5
is alternative to NT 6 Minneapolis – Bowlus and NT 5 Bowlus – Fargo.
General I though USBR are routes with less traffic and are more comfortable for biking?

@ jwrushman
On Hudson Valley to Rochester is this a good ride - Albany to Rochester too. Is there Services on USBR ; Motels?

We prefer Motel, because we are getting older  :( . But we have to take our tent - as full back - on Bike.

We was 2016 on NT EB and we remember us, on very beautiful point - for example Donn Olsen's bicycle hostel. We have great Warmshower host and wonderful  encounters.

About USBR I thinks I open a new topic ?

Rudolf from Germany/Freiburg
intoTHEwind
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Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: NYC to Fargo
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2023, 11:05:15 am »
IIRC, you can piece together Adventure Cycling maps to get from Minneapolis to Fargo. Bring bug spray.  :D

Make sure you can board with a bike at the Amtrak station in Yonkers.  I think you can leave from Penn Station in Manhattan and take the Vermonter train to Springfield, MA (bike reservation required) to pick up the Lake Shore Limited to Albany.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: NYC to Fargo
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2023, 11:10:43 am »
What is interesting is that both ACA and USBR routes are managed by ACA if I understand correctly. The ACA has info on the USBR.  https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/us-bicycle-route-system/
Let me say that both ACA and USBR routes are usually pretty good.  However, ACA routes are mostly created in-house while USBR have public input in the creation of the route which may or may not be as beneficial to TOURING cyclists.  For instance, a USBR may take a higher traffic, more direct, and/or hillier route than ACA's, especially in metro areas. Or ACA may route to include services while USBR is more direct.  Occasionally, politics may get involved on USBR in that the local communities want it routed a certain way regardless of suitability.  I know it sounds like I am down on USBR; I am not.  I just think ACA routes are better for touring. Once huge advantage of USBR is that they may be signed (like Euro Velo routes) though not guaranteed to be signed while ACA routes usually are not signed though some do exist in places.

The vast majority of the time, ACA routes are suitable for the touring cyclist.  Sure there may be some "bad" spots but it is not very often.  If you ride across the country, you are bound to come across a "bad" spot occasionally.  Plus the ACA maps include service data geared for the touring cyclist, i.e. motels, campgrounds that accept tents (a LOT in the USA do not), grocery stores, convenience stores, bike shops, etc.

USBR are generally OK but again, seem to be geared more toward transportation than touring though frequently USBR & ACA routes share the same route.  Yes, they will typically have less traffic than a "car route" but not always as well as ACA routes in my experience.  USBRs maps on RWGPS typically do not have services listed.

Here is more info on USBR:  https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/us-bicycle-route-system/

Again, I am not putting down USBR, I just personally believe ACA routes are more suitable for touring cyclists.  As I said before, I know very little about USBR-20.

Offline intoTHEwind

Re: NYC to Fargo
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2023, 12:47:20 pm »
Hi,

thanks John. We know the ACA Maps are the best in US; and we used them for our big tours and we will use them for our 2024 Tour ; but Milwaukee  to La Crosse there are no ACA map.

About Start in Albany - we seen in Albany is a International Airport and Lufthansa offer a Fly from Frankfurt to Albany (NY) - we thinks it could be a good alternative. 

Se, you

Rudolf
intoTHEwind
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Offline John Nettles

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  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: NYC to Fargo
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2023, 01:50:42 pm »
Sorry it has taken me a few days to get this to you.  I will send you the GPS data with service info but note that at this time, I only have eastbound cue sheets available. Also, please note that this route was created about 3 years ago so be sure to confirm critical services in advance. 

Here are the RWGPS routes in order of Manitowoc to Milwaukee then Milwaukee to LaCrosse:

MWSW-S: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/33397827 
SCWI-S:  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/33365993 
CMWI-S: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/33334965 
JWMW-W:  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/44705480 
MWJW-W:  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/44705836 
MEBP-W (bypass route): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/33254968 
MWBP-W (bypass route):  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/44706006 
BWMW-N:  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/44706141 
EBWI-W: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/44706239 
LCEW-W: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/44721266 
RCBW-W (alternate route): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/44721358 
LCRC-W (alternate route): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/34537913 

Here is the overall route of the Heartland Express (westbound).  https://ridewithgps.com/collections/2205479?privacy_code=81M7pKSeWjSIVOnbBwoXyOHZaZuMQBxH

NOTE:  The westbound Collection is not complete as numerous westbound segments need to be created.  However, the eastbound Collection can be found here:  https://ridewithgps.com/collections/54989?privacy_code=3XmzOFv1x698fxdN   
 
I will email you the gps info directly to you.  If you have questions, feel free to email me directly via my profile email. 
Tailwinds, John
« Last Edit: October 12, 2023, 12:42:35 pm by John Nettles »