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Old 11-09-10, 09:04 AM   #1
DnvrFox
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Planning a "Trail Sampler" Trip in about April?? Ideas and suggestions requested.

Ground rules:

1. Wife is 73, I am 71. She rides up to about 20 miles per day, maybe 25-30 on a relatively flat surface.

2. We will NOT be doing camping, nor credit card touring - unless - we had someone driving the car along with us, then it might be a possibility. However, I have no one interested in doing that.

3. Our current plan is to go to a town on an interesting trail, stay at a motel and ride out and back in one direction 10 miles or so and back, and then, perhaps the next day or whatever, 10 miles out and back the other direction if it is a worth while ride. Then drive on to another location on a trail. So, all you "gung ho" riders with hundreds of miles in your mind - this is not what we want to do.

We are thinking of leaving Colorado in April (is that a good time - we enjoy cool weather bicycling - 55F - 65F is great for us) and heading east, sampling trails as we go. Some trails that come to mind - Katy, Cuyahoga, Allegheny - but I am sure there are a LOT more along the way. Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, eastern PA, etc.?????????????????????

We think we would enjoy bicycling along a river, canal, etc.

Like to avoid loose dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will be riding a Spec Rock Hopper, she a Trek Hybrid.

Probably be gone several weeks or so????????????

So, all you great 50+'rs -

Any suggestions?

What other sights along the way that we shouldn't miss?

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Old 11-09-10, 09:41 AM   #2
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I'd say minn. or wi, however, those are bad times as far as the weather goes.
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Old 11-09-10, 09:41 AM   #3
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Since I live west of you, that is my suggestion for that time of year. In the Boulder City, Henderson, NV area you can find affordable casino/hotels like the Railroad Pass or Fiesta Henderson. The River Mountain Loop at Lake Mead is very popular. There is also a nice trail systems through the Henderson wetlands. From there you can head further west for riding @ Death Valley. April is when you would want to ride there. You can access California, if a westerly trip sounds good.
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Old 11-09-10, 09:48 AM   #4
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Tunnel Hill Trail in Southern Illinois. Beautiful. If you start in Vienna Ill you would be likely to have two nice days. The trail is an abandoned rail trail.. Hard packed earth when I rode a stretch of it last June, after a very rainy spring.
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Old 11-09-10, 09:49 AM   #5
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Ohio has a great system of rails-to-trails, pretty much all over the state. The nicest is probably the Little Miami Scenic Trail, which runs from Cincinnati to Xenia and over to Dayton and up to Yellow Springs if you can produce a voter registration card to prove you're a Democrat (Yellow Springs is the most in-your-face leftist town I've ever been in) . The state of Ohio will even send you one free map of the complex if you ask for it. Also, someone has catelogued the entire route on the Interwebs. All rails-to-trails are by definition pretty easy going.
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Old 11-09-10, 10:02 AM   #6
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The Great Allegheny Passage:

- stay at West Newton, ride from there north and south
- stay at Confluence, ride north to Ohiopyle and south to the two Pinkerton Bridges
- stay at Rockwood, ride north to the two Pinkerton bridges and south 11 miles to Meyersdale.
- stay at Meyersdale, ride north to the Eastern Continental Divide and south to Rockwood.

Pine Creek Rail Trail:
- stay in Wellsboro area, ride from Ansonia 17 miles through PA's 'Grand Canyon' and get picked up by a shuttle service. Ride ten miles north from Ansonia to Wellsboro Junction, and have lunch at the farmers' market.
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Old 11-09-10, 10:18 AM   #7
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Ohio has a great system of rails-to-trails, pretty much all over the state. The nicest is probably the Little Miami Scenic Trail, which runs from Cincinnati to Xenia and over to Dayton and up to Yellow Springs if you can produce a voter registration card to prove you're a Democrat (Yellow Springs is the most in-your-face leftist town I've ever been in) . The state of Ohio will even send you one free map of the complex if you ask for it. Also, someone has catelogued the entire route on the Interwebs. All rails-to-trails are by definition pretty easy going.
Thanks

Yes, we have one of thse cards. You need one around here to enter the Boulder City Limits
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Old 11-09-10, 10:23 AM   #8
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Thanks

Yes, we have one of thse cards. You need one around here to enter the Boulder City Limits
I guess I shouldn't wear my Gadsden Flag jersey when I visit?
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Old 11-09-10, 10:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
Ohio has a great system of rails-to-trails, pretty much all over the state. The nicest is probably the Little Miami Scenic Trail, which runs from Cincinnati to Xenia and over to Dayton and up to Yellow Springs if you can produce a voter registration card to prove you're a Democrat (Yellow Springs is the most in-your-face leftist town I've ever been in) . The state of Ohio will even send you one free map of the complex if you ask for it. Also, someone has catelogued the entire route on the Interwebs. All rails-to-trails are by definition pretty easy going.
Doesn't Xenia bill itself as the bicycle capital of the world or something like that? I passed by there a while back and I seem to remember seeing a sign to that effect.
Edit: Ok, I just looked it up. I guess it's the midwest they claim to be the bicycle capital of, not the world.
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Old 11-09-10, 10:37 AM   #10
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Sounds like fun Denver! Here is a link to the top 100 trails from the Rails-to-Trails website, you may find something good here.

http://www.traillink.com/top/trails.aspx
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Old 11-09-10, 10:39 AM   #11
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I'll second The Weakest Link's recommendation for the Little Miami Scenic Trail; my wife and I do most of our riding on the southern end of the trail (I don't know about Yellow Springs, we've never gone that far north!). It's a railtrail, so there aren't any huge hills to climb. This link (http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/miami.htm) will let you check out various segments of the trail; each section's page has pictures taken along the trail along with lists of facilities available (parking, water, restrooms, restaurants, etc.). If you're going through Morrow, I can wholeheartedly recommend Miranda's Ice Cream - but you'll probably only want a single-dip code; the double dip was huge!

Another suggestion I'd make (I haven't tried it yet, but I want to!) would be to try riding the Cade's Cove loop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They close the loop to cars from sun up until 10:00AM from mid-May to late September. It's an 11 mile loop, but it's got some steep stretches, some with signs instructing bike riders to walk their bikes along them. Link: http://www.yoursmokies.com/smokiesbiking.html
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Old 11-09-10, 11:15 AM   #12
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Post a complete description of your trip when you get back (or during if you bring a laptop). My wife and I would like to do something similar. We would go with ~ 40 miles for a typical day rather than the 80+ a lot of people like. We did that on the Withlacoochee Trail in Florida, staying in Inverness and riding out and back -- it was a nice trail. Also did it on the Farmington Canal Greenway in CT staying at Linden House a very nice B&B. An option I would look for (based on the GAP thread going here) is the occasional shuttle service so you can ride one way on a trail back to your car. Tying a shuttle trip in with an overnight in a town on the way (light CC touring) would be a nice addition.
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Old 11-09-10, 11:34 AM   #13
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C & O Canal that ends in DC has a nice tow-path MUP. Ends in Cumberland, Maryland. http://bikewashington.org/canal/
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Old 11-09-10, 11:44 AM   #14
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I couldn't tell if you want road or mountain biking... if road I would suggest Fredericksberg TX and do roads around the town in the Hill Country. Miles and miles of lovely almost car free trails and you can stay put in town. There are lovely motels, not pricey and great places to eat.

The other place I suggest is Moab Utah. The town is great to stay in and you can ride in either direction along the Colorado River (the road is just 4 - 5 miles out of town but you can drive out and start there). Scenary is spectacular.

Of course all these trails are West as I figure April - east side is still cold especially in the states mentioned. If you want warmer weather in April I suggest driving out west. But jealous - wish I can take the time off to do several weeks anywhere!!!
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Old 11-09-10, 11:58 AM   #15
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I couldn't tell if you want road or mountain biking... if road I would suggest Fredericksberg TX and do roads around the town in the Hill Country. Miles and miles of lovely almost car free trails and you can stay put in town. There are lovely motels, not pricey and great places to eat.

The other place I suggest is Moab Utah. The town is great to stay in and you can ride in either direction along the Colorado River (the road is just 4 - 5 miles out of town but you can drive out and start there). Scenary is spectacular.

Of course all these trails are West as I figure April - east side is still cold especially in the states mentioned. If you want warmer weather in April I suggest driving out west. But jealous - wish I can take the time off to do several weeks anywhere!!!
SPECIFICALLY TRAILS - That's why the title is "Trail sampler" - but thanks. We don't mind a bit cold - in fact we prefer that!! No on-road biking - no real mtn biking. We think bicycling at 55 - 65F is great.

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Old 11-09-10, 01:10 PM   #16
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You could try the Greenbrier Trail in WVa and then maybe the New River Trail. Also the Virginia Creeper Trail in Damascus Va is a good one.
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Old 11-09-10, 01:22 PM   #17
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Go to Hermann, Missouri, ride up and down the Katy trail.

Didn't Tom Bombadil do that 18 months ago or so? You might find his thread on that if you search.

Hermann is a nice old brick town settled by German immigrants; lots of local wineries, restaurants, etc. Right on the Katy trail.

http://www.hermannmo.com/

Biking in Hermann:

http://www.visithermann.com/plan-your-visit/biking.php


If you're headed east from Denver on I70 toward Katy, you could also spend a night in Lawrence, Kansas, a very nice university town. There is an interesting trail system along the Kansas river, just on the edge of downtown.

Stop in Kansas City on your way east and tour the Steamshop Arabia museum (all the stuff that was buried when an 1850's steamship sank on the Missouri river):

http://www.1856.com/

...and the National World War I museum at the Liberty Memorial, overlooking downtown Kansas City. One of the best WWI museums in the world.

Grab some Arthur Bryant's barbecue on your way out of town.

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Old 11-09-10, 01:23 PM   #18
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C & O Canal that ends in DC has a nice tow-path MUP. Ends in Cumberland, Maryland. http://bikewashington.org/canal/
+1 on the DC area trails. You could spend a few days in the Nation's Capitol and ride portions of the C&O towpath, the Mt Vernon Trail, the W&OD rail trail, or the Capitol Crescent Trail (CCT). Come during the spring for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Lots of riding to chose from that is paved MUP (dirt/gravel on the C&O) and tons of stuff to do when you are not on the bikes.
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Old 11-09-10, 01:31 PM   #19
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Thanks SO MUCH for all the great ideas so far.

We are definitely going east, having explored places like the Las Vegas Red Rock Canyon trail previously and being from CA and doing the coastal trails in San Diego County, etc. Leaving about April 15 or so.

Likely we won't get as far as DC or the east coast. We have spent a fair amount of time in DC, and have walked some of the trails within the city (Rock Creek) and the canals in MD and VA. Would love to do those more, but not this trip, I would guess.

We want a typical rail trail - no steep hills - good surface, no cars.

It looks like one of our first stops may be this trail in Kansas - the prairie spirit rail trail:

KS
http://www.traillink.com/trail/prairie-spirit-rail-trail.aspx

Anyone been there?
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Old 11-09-10, 01:40 PM   #20
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It looks like one of our first stops may be this trail in Kansas - the prairie spirit rail trail:

Anyone been there?
I know the area, and a bit about Ottawa, but have not been on the trail. Remember that in Kansas the prevailing winds will be from the south -- since this trail runs north/south, plan on starting at the north end and riding south first thing in the morning. When the wind picks up it will blow you back home. When I lived in Kansas I always planned a 3 to 1 ratio for rides in the wind -- for every 3 hours riding south, I could retrace my steps home in an hour.

If I were driving east from Denver I'd stay in Lawrence (25 or 30 miles to the north) for the night, then drive down to Ottawa for the trail.
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Old 11-09-10, 01:45 PM   #21
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I know the area, and a bit about Ottawa, but have not been on the trail. Remember that in Kansas the prevailing winds will be from the south -- since this trail runs north/south, plan on starting at the north end and riding south first thing in the morning. When the wind picks up it will blow you back home. When I lived in Kansas I always planned a 3 to 1 ratio for rides in the wind -- for every 3 hours riding south, I could retrace my steps home in an hour.

If I were driving east from Denver I'd stay in Lawrence (25 or 30 miles to the north) for the night, then drive down to Ottawa for the trail.
I found several seemingly decent hotels in Ottawa - i.e., Best Western, Comfort Inn. I was thinking of driving to Garnett and starting the trail there. Is Ottawa a bad place to stay?
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Old 11-09-10, 01:47 PM   #22
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Is Ottawa a bad place to stay?
No, nothing wrong w/Ottawa at all. Nice older / small town. It's just that I am a big fan of Lawrence. Sort of like Boulder, Co., on the plains, maybe a little less dope smoking in public.

And a better football team, for once!
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Old 11-09-10, 01:50 PM   #23
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SPECIFICALLY TRAILS - That's why the title is "Trail sampler" - but thanks. We don't mind a bit cold - in fact we prefer that!! No on-road biking - no real mtn biking. We think bicycling at 55 - 65F is great.
I think 55 - 65 F is going to be very warm for the places you are considering... not an expert but most of the midwest east coast can still be in the 20 - 40 during spring.

But it has been a crazy weather pattern lately - you might get early summer temps in April...
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Old 11-09-10, 02:04 PM   #24
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I think 55 - 65 F is going to be very warm for the places you are considering... not an expert but most of the midwest east coast can still be in the 20 - 40 during spring.

But it has been a crazy weather pattern lately - you might get early summer temps in April...
http://countrystudies.us/united-stat...sas/ottawa.htm

Ottawa KS - possible first stop - shows Apr average of 68F high and 44F low with a mean of 57F. That would be great.
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Old 11-09-10, 02:45 PM   #25
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Dunno if you saw this thread or not. Beverly, rtool, and friend John drove up to my area to ride the Ohio-Erie Canal towpath through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park with me in October.
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...or-some-50-ers
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