Author Topic: Northern Tier Mileage Reduction  (Read 3355 times)

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Offline wdolanaca

Northern Tier Mileage Reduction
« on: June 08, 2010, 09:14:24 pm »
I wonder if there are any opportunities to shave off miles by going off the Northern Tier ACA map at certain points.

FredHiltz

  • Guest
Re: Northern Tier Mileage Reduction
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2010, 10:56:28 pm »
Of course there are. If your purpose is to get from here to there faster, though, you may have chosen the wrong vehicle. Try Google Maps, selecting automobile and avoiding Interstate highways for shorter, uglier options.

The ACA mapped route was scouted and selected by experienced cycle tourists for interesting cycling and good scenery, not for speed. Your question comes up regularly; the common answer is to truncate the route, not straighten it, if your time is limited. Go back another year and do the rest.

Fred

Offline rvklassen

Re: Northern Tier Mileage Reduction
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2010, 09:30:37 am »
I wonder if there are any opportunities to shave off miles by going off the Northern Tier ACA map at certain points.
You can also shave off time in some stretches without necessarily changing the distance much.  The section from Ticonderoga to Orchard Park includes about 88 miles worth of ride on the Erie Canal tow path - stone dust for much of the way.  Scenic though that is, for substantial sections of the route you can ride on a road that runs on the other side of the canal, and get a quiet, paved ride, with essentially identical scenery.  It's not unusual for folks to shortcut sections of ACA maps in order to make a compromise between getting from A to B less slowly and enjoying the benefits of the ACA mapping.

"The common answer" (above) is fine if you don't mind the expense and additional carbon footprint implied. And it makes sense if you're trying to shorten the route by a factor of 2  - or even take off 1/3.   But if you're only a few days short of time,  you'll probably have a better time if you take a few shortcuts, rather than making longer days, or cutting down on the rest days.   Trick is to still research it well enough to miss any really nasty stretches that the ACA maps carefully avoided.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Northern Tier Mileage Reduction
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2010, 10:40:52 am »
Having done the entitre thing once and Anacortes to Glacier a second time, I wouldn't cut out anything west of the MT-ND border.  First of all, it's a pretty straight shot west to Cut Bank. And Waterton Village and the ride back in to the U.S. are worh the extra days and effort.  (Was just riding out there again last year.) Going north to Eureka to come south along the shore of lake Kookanusa is also worth the the extra miles.  The mountains in WA taking you through North Cascades N.P. are also not to be missed.

In short, what Carla said.

FredHiltz

  • Guest
Re: Northern Tier Mileage Reduction
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2010, 12:11:53 pm »
+1 on the Pacific Northwest. Definitely the highlight(s) of my NT experience.

Fred

Offline CMajernik

Re: Northern Tier Mileage Reduction
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2010, 06:16:02 pm »
You can cut off miles on map section 2 by using the Marias Alternate which saves 90 miles and on map section 5 by using the Little Falls Alternate which saves 117 miles.
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline Peaks

Re: Northern Tier Mileage Reduction
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2010, 05:50:18 pm »
Like any bike route, it all depends in part on what your goals and objectives are. 

Obviously, there are several alternate routes around the great lakes and Lake Erie. 

In the Northeast, if you didn't have your heart set on finishing in Bar Harbor, you might stop when you first hit the coast at Damrascotia.  Or, you could follow Route 113 or 302 in Fyreburg ME and finish in Portland, Or pick up Route 16 in Conway NH and finish in Portsmith.  Or once on the Erie Canal, continue east to Albany, and then on to either Boston or NYC. 

Plenty of pavement out there to explore.  However, as pointed out, ACA maps have it all figured out for you. 

Offline gary.alaska

Re: Northern Tier Mileage Reduction
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2010, 08:39:39 pm »
I'm just finishing up the Northern Tier east to west.  We took the shortcut from Buffalo New York through Ontario.  We also took the Badger ferry from Ludington Michigan to Manitowoc Wisconsin.  It saves time and is a great experience.  We deviated slightly in Wisconsin.  You can go on the Wisconsin DOT web site and obtain county maps which rate every road on its bike worthiness allowing you to create your own route.  Finally, If you really want to save time and avoid the Great Plains, grab an AMTRAK between Williston North Dakota and Cut Bank Montana.  Highway 2 through eastern Montana is monotonous and at times, dangerous.  I know a lot of people might disagree with me on this but I think you can see all of eastern Montana you need from a train window.