Author Topic: Northern Tier May 1 Departure  (Read 14870 times)

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Offline MaryK

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« on: April 02, 2007, 04:57:21 pm »
My husband and I are planning a Northern Tier trip (west to east), beginning on May 1st.  I'm a little concerned that this is too early and would appreciate any insight regarding weather conditions.  We've certainly ridden in cool, rainy weather in the past, but I'd hate to spend the first few weeks being only cold.  We'll be self-supported and plan to do a combination of camping and hotels.  Thanks!


FredHiltz

  • Guest
Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2007, 08:32:11 am »
Hi Mary,

You are cutting it close with that date. As you have seen on the Northern Tier maps, much of the high Cascades route is on SR 20, whose condition you can monitor at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/passinformation.aspx#northcascade.

I'll quote from today's posting, just to preserve it for future readers of this forum:

"NORTH CASCADE HWY
Elevation: 5477ft / 1669M
Temperature:N/A

"Conditions & Weather:
SR 20 is still closed for the season from mile post 134 to mile post 177.5, but WSDOT crews have started the process to re-open the pass. Initial estimates project that the pass should open in mid May as it has in years past. For further information, refer to the WSDOT Website on the Mountain Pass page under the Seasonal Closures tab and select North Cascades. //
Updated: 03:51 AM, Apr 03, 2007
This is the most current info available
and is promptly updated when conditions change."

I would expect poor cycling for a while after the plows open the road. Slush, icy spots, snowbanks covering the shoulders, etc.

For what it's worth, I found a foot of snow beside the road, but none on it, in Sherman Pass on July 14, 1999.

Fred


Offline ptaylor

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2007, 05:17:45 pm »
Hi Mary.  

I did the exact route you are planing last year, but I left a month later than you are planning. The 'Going To The Sun' highway was closed to us due to avalanches and/or rock-slides (depending on who is telling the story), so we took a Northern Tier alternate that was snow free.

You may want to take a look at my diary for some additional insight.

Paul
Paul

Offline MaryK

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2007, 08:52:46 am »
Paul,

Can you give me more information about your alternate route?  (I can't get the Washington page on your diary to open).  You can reach me at mary_kernan@yahoo.com.

Thanks,

  -Mary


Offline ptaylor

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2007, 05:24:26 pm »
I'm a bit distressed Mary, that you couldn't open my Washington - Idaho file. This is a rather large PDF file, and may take a while to download. In any event, I will e-mail you directly and see if I can share my experiences with you.

Paul
Paul

Offline rabbitoh

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2007, 03:57:25 am »
Hello Mary,

Unless your heart is truly set upon riding from west to east, have you considered the alternative?

Riding east to west has a few of advantages:-

1. The sun is mostly at your back and you are not riding into it. (Drivers behind you are also not glaring into it).

2. By the time you get to the Rockies and Northern Cascades, you are so fit that the climbs are relatively straight-forward.

4. You are not restricted timewise, when crossing the Continental Divide on Going-to-the-Sun highway, from the eastern side, as you are from the western side (or at least used to be, it may have changed)

3. Also, by that time, the passes over these mountains should be free of snow, unless there has been some exceptional weather.

I know that conventional wisdom says that you will get more headwinds by cycling west, but I didn't find that to be true. You will however, definitely get headwinds.

Anyway, just my thoughts. I hope you have a lovely ride. I know that you will enjoy it.

Good Cycling
Dennis Schluter
Good Cycling
Dennis

Offline Peaks

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2007, 05:56:40 pm »
The Maris Pass alternate follows Route 2 from West Glacier to East Glacier and on to Cut Bank.  It cuts about 90 miles off the route.  The climb is much easier than Going-To-The-Sun Road and the scenery is not as spectacular.  Traffic is light to moderate.  Get Norther Tier map #2 for all the details

Going-To-The-Sun Road is typically closed to all traffic September 30 to June 1.  The US - Canada boarder crossing on Chief Mountain (main route) is closed from mid-September through mid-May.  

This message was edited by Peaks on 4-6-07 @ 1:59 PM

Offline MaryK

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2007, 12:13:41 pm »
Thanks so much to everyone for your help.  The best link we found for road conditions is http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic/passes/northcascades.  It turns out that the route through the Cascades will not be open until mid-May 2007, the latest opening they've had in many years. This site gives you a day to day blow of the efforts to open the pass, including pictures.

We've decided to delay our departure and are now looking at a May 21 start, continuing with the plan to go west to east.  Dennis, thanks for your recommendations but we live in the Boston area and somehow the idea of riding from Seattle back to Boston seems like the right choice.

I'll keep everyone posted as our plans progress.

  -Mary




Offline BostonMc

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2007, 03:08:19 pm »
Hi Mary,

I also live in Boston and I am doing an early start trip, leaving from Boston on April 18th. For me it seemed like it would be fun to leave the familiar and ride out into the unfamiliar wilds of the West. I thought it might feel a bit of an anti-climactic end to the trip to be riding my way into New England and roads I know well.

I guess the flip side to that would be that you will have a great sense of accomplishment as you are nearing home.

Either way have a great trip and maybe I'll see you out there!

-Phil


Offline Stalls

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2007, 05:39:43 pm »
I'm with BostonMc on this one. I too will leave Boston and head to San Francisco.....and I get a buzz of leaving the known behind me and into the unknown ahead of me. BostonMc have you a daily diary or anything planned for your trip?


Offline BostonMc

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2007, 01:28:34 pm »
Stalls,

I am doing a journal at Crazy Guy on a Bike:

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/mcneil2007

When are you heading out?  Have you done and route planning for the trip out from Boston? I am still trying to figure out the best way across from here to Albany area.



Offline Stalls

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2007, 05:50:22 pm »
Although its not 100% I've decided against going via New Hampshire and Vermont. Still not sure about rte 2A towards Gardner? So i've planend Out of Boston Rte20 to Worchester
Rte9 to Amherst
Rte9 Pittsfield
Rte20 across NewYork then Rte5 down to Dunkirk
Rte5 into Penns.
The take Rte6 across 2 Ohioand and Indiana into Illinois...Its all up in the air for now

Thanks for the link!!

This message was edited by Stalls on 4-8-07 @ 1:51 PM

Offline dougstetson

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2007, 09:24:50 pm »
Stalls, BostonMc --

I'm heading east to west to San Francisco as well, leaving the Norfolk VA area about end of May, camping, motel when useful, some cooking. Planning the TransAm route to Pueblo CO, then the Western Express. Would like to correspond with you about the route, experience with the Western Express, and maybe we can travel part of the time together. My email is in my profile. I'd like to hear from you.

Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound
Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound

Offline Stalls

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2007, 08:43:15 am »
Sorry Doug my trip isn't till next May. So that leaves me out. Goodluck.


Offline dougstetson

Northern Tier May 1 Departure
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2007, 09:06:00 am »
Stalls -- May 2007 or 2008? I'm leaving in 2007.

Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound
Doug Stetson
San Francisco bound