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  1. #1
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    Foreigner (Oklahoman) needs route advice

    Hi all,
    I hope this an appropriate topic for this forum. I'm planning my first coast to coast bike tour this summer and am planning my route. I've never been to your part of the world so i'm in the dark as far as road/traffic conditions. We will begin in Maine on the ACA northern tier route but will quickly deviate and strike out on our own. I would appreciate someone taking a look at my proposed route and give me some feedback concerning suitability for bicycles along with any "must sees" along the way. Thanks in advance.
    Keith
    ME, NH, VT:http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...db59280b9f&z=7

    NY, ON, MI: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...165f91a71e&z=6

  2. #2
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    while in NY, you're going to be going through/over/around the high peaks so that will be pretty much enough to see along the way. Saranac Lake & Tupper Lake are beautiful areas. If you want to take the time, you can see the Olympic complexes while in/around Lake Placid. By the time you get to Watertown, the terrain is mostly flat and there is less in terms of scenery. All of it is pretty thinly populated so aside from some tourist traffic while in the Adirondack Park, you shouldn't have to contend with too much.

  3. #3
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    My god, that looks beautiful. I'm so envious!
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  4. #4
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    Did some of the VT portion last year. Careful getting to the start of the Rochester Gap climb. Rush hour traffic around Bethel can be bad. The climb itself is brutal in places. Two people with GPS devices said the grade maxed out at 30%. Traffic was not bad. Middlebury Gap is easier. Only the last mile or two is really steep. The good news is that they paved the west slope last summer. We rode it while paving was going on. It should be great now. I would check with the VT highway department to see if the are doing the east side this summer.

  5. #5
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    Good stuff! Keep it coming. Noglider, this is a trip of a lifetime for me. I'm already so excited i'm not sleeping much (and the trip is still 3.5 months out). Comments like yours are just like gasoline on a fire right now :-) Thanks!

  6. #6
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    Forgot to mention that VT 113 between Goose Green/Chelsea Rd. and the tow of Chelsea was also freshly paved last year just before we rode it in August. It a great descent that was as smooth as glass. But you will have to do some climbing to get there. Chelsea/Goose Green Rd. is pretty with very little traffic.

    Be careful going through Middlebury. I would not stay that long on U.S. 7/VT 125. Lots of traffic. Shortly after you merge with U.S. 7, bear right onto Lower Foote. Take that to Foote, bear left on Seminary then left on Washington. That will take you to the same place with much better riding conditions.

    Previously I mentioned traffic near Bethel. It was VT 12 that had a lot of rush hour traffic.

  7. #7
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    When i was drawing in your route suggestions, the Middlebury Inn popped up as a great place. Do you agree?
    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    Forgot to mention that VT 113 between Goose Green/Chelsea Rd. and the tow of Chelsea was also freshly paved last year just before we rode it in August. It a great descent that was as smooth as glass. But you will have to do some climbing to get there. Chelsea/Goose Green Rd. is pretty with very little traffic.

    Be careful going through Middlebury. I would not stay that long on U.S. 7/VT 125. Lots of traffic. Shortly after you merge with U.S. 7, bear right onto Lower Foote. Take that to Foote, bear left on Seminary then left on Washington. That will take you to the same place with much better riding conditions.

    Previously I mentioned traffic near Bethel. It was VT 12 that had a lot of rush hour traffic.

  8. #8
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    One last thing i failed to mention. This trip is becoming a sort of "ice cream odyssey" for my travel partner. Any top notch ice creams places close to the route?

  9. #9
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    You won't all that far away from Ben and Jerry's in Vermont in the Stowe area. A visit to their plant may be worth a relatively short diversion. It's all very pretty country.

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    There's a lot of Rt. 1 in Maine. Lots of traffic. It's doable, but best to avoid the weekends. You'll be crossing the Kankamangus Hwy in the White Mountains of NH-a serious, but beautiful climb. I was under the impression that Brandon Gap (Rochester, VT) was a little easier than Middlebury Gap. Both are tough, but doable. +1 for avoiding Rt. 7 in VT. There is usually some shoulder, but traffic is fast and can be heavy. There are smaller parallel roads you can take. Have a great trip-you'll be going through some very pretty country!

  11. #11
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    My suggestion: instead of going over the Thousand Islands bridge, ride to Cape Vincent, take the ferry over to Wolfe Island (it's $5 for bikers), ride across Wolfe Island, then take the free ferry into Kingston. It's a beautiful ride, you avoid the very very narrow walkways on the bridges; you avoid the long lines at the border (the ferry to Wolfe Island holds maybe 10 cars at the most, so the border crossing goes quickly) and while you wait, instead of being stuck in long lines of cars, you are right at the river's edge; and you save yourself something like 40 miles:

    Black River NY to Kingston ON via ferries

    Here's a link to Info on the ferry from Cape Vincent to Wolfe Island

    ANd the ferry from Wolfe Island to Kingston


    Looks like a great trip!
    Last edited by chipg5; 02-20-11 at 08:29 AM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Ice Cream: If you do take your original route, you will go through Gananoque. Down on the waterfront, just a few blocks from Rt 2, is an excellent ice cream place.

  13. #13
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    Brandon Gap vs. Middlebury Gap going east to west:

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/MIDDLEBURY-GAP

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/BRANDON-GAP

    (Select "Show" to see the elevation profiles.)

    Brandon is more gradual, but also longer. it also dumps you way south of Middlebury. Look closely and the elevation graph for Brandon Gap where it starts to descend. The first part is super steep. I rode it in the other direction (west to east) when crossing the country. It was the only pitch I almost had to walk.

  14. #14
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    reed523, your route is spectacular, and I'm sure you'll see a great variety of scenery, and I'm sure much of it will be very different from what you've seen so far. This may be a can of worms, but are you sure you want to skip cities entirely? I know how difficult it can be to cycle through cities, especially when you have a loaded bike, but it can be worthwhile.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  15. #15
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    Valid point. Even though we will begin with a completed route, we will not hesitate to adjust if the mood strikes. Toronto may very well end up being one of those diversions. Thanks.

    Also appreciate the good bridge/ferry advice. Not something we tend to think about in our part of the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    reed523, your route is spectacular, and I'm sure you'll see a great variety of scenery, and I'm sure much of it will be very different from what you've seen so far. This may be a can of worms, but are you sure you want to skip cities entirely? I know how difficult it can be to cycle through cities, especially when you have a loaded bike, but it can be worthwhile.

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    As a native Texan, it makes me want to retch to say that I'm jealous of a Sooner -- but I am. I hope you really enjoy the ride -- it sounds like a great time.

    Oh, and Hook Em Horns.

  17. #17
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    Hey, Hook em Horns? You'll get no argument from me! Hart, Tx born and raised. Something just went terribly haywire a long time ago and i've been stuck here ever since. And as an OSU alum, you can call me lots of things, but sooner isn't one of them. Regardless, thanks for the encouragement.
    Quote Originally Posted by njlonghorn View Post
    As a native Texan, it makes me want to retch to say that I'm jealous of a Sooner -- but I am. I hope you really enjoy the ride -- it sounds like a great time.

    Oh, and Hook Em Horns.

  18. #18
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Toronto is a great city, but there ain't no city on earth like New York. If you want to visit New York City, I'll put you up, and I'll be your private tourguide. I love to show off my home town, and I've done it many times, often on bicycle.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  19. #19
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    What an offer. On first thought, i don't know how we could squeeze NYC into the trip, but that is quite a gesture. We're going to have to give this some serious thought. My son is preparing to audition at Eastman and Manhattan School of Music for Grad school and the results might influence our final routing. Don't be too surprised if we take you up on the deal!

    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Toronto is a great city, but there ain't no city on earth like New York. If you want to visit New York City, I'll put you up, and I'll be your private tourguide. I love to show off my home town, and I've done it many times, often on bicycle.

  20. #20
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    What highlights on your current route are mandatory for you? Maybe there are substitutes that would enable you to come to NYC.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Employer: Larry's Freewheeling, 301 W 110 St, New York, NY 10026
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    What highlights on your current route are mandatory for you? Maybe there are substitutes that would enable you to come to NYC.
    We are very excited about New England. Budget is also a concern as is the need to avg. 400 miles a week for 10-11 weeks. I've read alot about the improvements in bike friendliness to NYC but it's pretty hard to imagine riding a loaded touring bike right through the smack middle of the whole deal. Also, i think my travel partner kind of has her sights set on seeing the city as a marathon participant. But, as i said, it is intriguing so we are going to talk about it.

  22. #22
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    Re NYC, stay in new haven or west Chester and take the train into the city. Getting in and out of NY is difficult.

  23. #23
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    I agree the Wolfe Island route is more interesting.
    Wells

  24. #24
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    Hey, this is a little off topic, but since it's my thread.... My son got his Eastman graduate school acceptance letter last night. He has been to Rochester a few times but always in the dead of winter. Does anyone who's ridden in the area have a few inspirational cycling pics from the area they could shoot my way so i could forward to him? keithreed60@yahoo.com.

    Thanks again to everyone with all the help on the route planning. 74 days and counting!

  25. #25
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    There's a guy in the commuting section who rides year-round in Rochester. I don't remember his name.

    When do you embark on your trip?
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
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