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  1. #1
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Springfield MA to Yellowstone WY (how long?)

    April 15, 2006 is the target date for departure (right after I pay my taxes).

    I'll be fully loaded - front panniers, beam rack with trunk bag (carrying stove and grub) and pulling a Burley Nomad.

    Most of the time I'll be battling the prevailing winds (heading east to west), but I hope to average 50 miles a day (averaging in 1 off day a week). Is there any quick way to guesstimated the time needed to make the trip?

    All the mapping websites use interstates, so I can't just divide the mileage by the daily avg.

  2. #2
    Knox Gardner
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    LOL! I am on the same idea! The day after Patriots Day, I am so out of here if all goes well and heading West! Right now I'm in the dreaming phase between heading toward Yellowstone or Mesa Verde and Reno, Nevada before going on for the tire dip somewhere...

  3. #3
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knoxg
    LOL! I am on the same idea! The day after Patriots Day, I am so out of here if all goes well and heading West! Right now I'm in the dreaming phase between heading toward Yellowstone or Mesa Verde and Reno, Nevada before going on for the tire dip somewhere...

    Hey.. well we should travel together!

    I'm looking to get a job at Yellowstone (I worked there back in '85 - and LOVED IT)
    And then when the season is over, I'll head south to the desert and pick up another job (with the same outfit) in one of the SW parks.

  4. #4
    Hooked on Touring
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    You should make it out somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks - it's about 2400 miles. If you average 50 miles per day it will be 8 weeks - 66 miles per day will be 6 weeks. Personally, I think you will find 50 miles per day too low. My guess is that you will average 60 - maybe 70 in the flats.

    The concessioners like to have staff on site by Memorial Day at the latest. Jobs after that are the leftovers. Also, they are bringing in lots of employees from Bulgaria and Poland and other Eastern Bloc countries where young people will work diligently for meager wages since there are few jobs over there.

    Make sure to look closely at state maps. There's the New Yrok State Barge Canal Trail across NY, the Northern Tier across the Midwest. You can safely pick almost any state highway (not U.S.) across the Great Plains and zoom. Be aware that weather can be iffy along the Great Lakes and in the Plains and especially in the Rockies. You are very likely to get a late season snowstorm in the high country in mid May.

    You can avoid the Big Horn Mountains by coming thru Casper and Shoshoni then up thru Thermopolis where you can soak for free in the hot springs. Be aware that they are doing mondo construction on the east entrance to Yellowstone.

    Best - J

    PS - Winds tend to prevail northerly or southerly in the plains - so you shouldn't have headwinds until you get to the Wyo border. BUT, it is a very rainy time of the year - even for Wyoming.

  5. #5
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    I've already contacted the Yellowstone company and gave them a July 1st start date... basically their main gripe is the folks that book before the end of commitment.

    They want workers that will hold out thru September (especially for season close-up)
    I have no problem with that.

    Basically I am making a life choice.
    Work my azz off for 7 months a year (summer 4, winter 3) and riding between 'gigs' for the other 5 months.

  6. #6
    Knox Gardner
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    Working in Yellowstone sounds cool, but who knows as I am tyring to stay fluid on a gig I have right now that may take me into April, but perhaps beyond. I was thinking of heading south for the cherry blossoms in DC and then across the Blue Ridge to start the trip West... When I get going I'm definitely going to be on the pokey plan.

  7. #7
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Well I gotta be in YS by July 1st. So that's 77 days to do about 3K miles. Is that Pokey enuf for ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by knoxg
    Working in Yellowstone sounds cool, but who knows as I am tyring to stay fluid on a gig I have right now that may take me into April, but perhaps beyond. I was thinking of heading south for the cherry blossoms in DC and then across the Blue Ridge to start the trip West... When I get going I'm definitely going to be on the pokey plan.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rogerinchrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67

    I'm looking to get a job at Yellowstone (I worked there back in '85 - and LOVED IT)
    And then when the season is over, I'll head south to the desert and pick up another job (with the same outfit) in one of the SW parks.
    Will you be able to keep us posted along the way & once you get there?

    I too am very interested in this since my visit to Yellowstone last year! Spoke with a few semi-retired folks who were livin' in thier RVs in a separate lot.
    Last edited by Rogerinchrist; 11-21-05 at 08:21 PM.

  9. #9
    Knox Gardner
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    Well I gotta be in YS by July 1st. So that's 77 days to do about 3K miles. Is that Pokey enuf for ya?
    Yep, that certainly sounds pokey enough, but I am pretty sure I've got to head south to DC and Virginia becuase they must be so lovely in April and I've never been. But let's keep in touch as they days get closer and closer because of course plans change and are fluid for me depending on workload, and a ride across NY on the Erie Canal would be swell though it'll be mud season right?

    I generally like riding and touring solo becuase there is little compromise or collaboration and I am a Ruthless Dictator. Last year, was the first time I'd actually toured with folks. One fellow I met on the road for a day and then rode around touring with, which was a blast...(mainly becuase we chatted and then just met back up at camp later in the day, so no road decisions, but someone interesting to drink beer with). And then cycling for three weeks with my BF, which was also nice some of the time and then quite maddening part of the time becuase he'd wait at the top of hills for me, and want me do that same...of course, if and when I'd pass him going up the hill, I'd yell, "Going for the Pink Polka Dots! Eat my Dust scum! Tour d' France Tour d' France!" which made me feel better and is quite silly when you are both struggling up some backcountry grade on loaded touring bikes. He just always liked to be in-veiw with me, and it was not something I found necessary. So it was tough. And then things like having to jointly plan meals and grocery shopping etc and he didn't know all the rules, like "I Brake for Donuts".

    Knox Gardner
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  10. #10
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    You can use this to map out your route directly and get actual mileage.
    http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/

  11. #11
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Ruthless Dictator, eh?
    Well, I'm a nonconformist, enemy-of-the-state.

    I guess, if anything, the combination would be interesting!

    As for the southerly approach, I suppose I could be convinced to pick up the TransAmerica Trail in Yorktown VA.

    Now, one other thing we should discuss....
    I plan to do this on the cheap. I'll have access to plenty of emergency funds, but I'd much rather be frugal. Stealth camp when I can, "official" campsite when I can't, and only hit a motel once a week or so, for an intensive scrub down.
    Last edited by Bikepacker67; 11-22-05 at 08:07 AM.

  12. #12
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogerinchrist
    Will you be able to keep us posted along the way & once you get there?

    I too am very interested in this since my visit to Yellowstone last year! Spoke with a few semi-retired folks who were livin' in thier RVs in a separate lot.

    On my off days I'm sure I can find a public library with i-net access.
    I'm debating whether to purchase a laptop, and just finding wifi hotspots to post and surf.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by knoxg
    He just always liked to be in-veiw with me, and it was not something I found necessary. So it was tough. And then things like having to jointly plan meals and grocery shopping etc and he didn't know all the rules, like "I Brake for Donuts".
    ]
    Love the "I Brake for Donuts" rule . . . mine is "I Brake for Margaritas!"

    My SO doesn't understand my touring, either! He wants to cover 100+ miles per day with a sag vehicle and I want to just enjoy the ride, see the sights and meet the people. I doubt we will ever do a loaded tour together . . . I hate to have to compromise my trip!

    Cherry Bomb

  14. #14
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linds
    You can use this to map out your route directly and get actual mileage.
    http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/
    Although the pedometer site is good, it lacks information about the routes like places to stay, places to get food and places to get repairs if needed. Go to Adventure Cycling and look at the network. From Mass., you have a couple of options. You could take the Atlantic route south to Virginia and then go west on the TransAmerica. This route will take you way south and you would be doing a lot of climbing once you get to Colorado.

    Alternatively, take the same route to St. Louis and then follow the Lewis and Clark to Montana and then to Yellowstone.

    Or you could go north through Vermont and New Hampshire to the Nothern Tier and across. All are going to be around 2500 miles. The Adventure Cycling maps are very good and comprehensive (although I do carry a wider area map for those off route trips) and generally reliable.
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  15. #15
    Hooked on Touring
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    Highway 92 west of Broken Bow, Nebraska is just about the finest spring ride in the Great Plains. Little towns every 30 miles or so where you can camp - or you can just zig off a half-mile on a dirt road and camp on the shoulder. The highway has about 150 cars per day. It gently rolls over the sandhills which will be abloom and filled with birds. Other Plains routes tend to be straight on the section lines. Here the landscape is nearly unchanged from its natural state.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Although the pedometer site is good, it lacks information about the routes like places to stay, places to get food and places to get repairs if needed.
    I thought he just wanted to know how far it is. :shrug:

  17. #17
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linds
    I thought he just wanted to know how far it is. :shrug:

    Ya I did... thanks linds.
    I actually DON'T want too much info - it's better to discover things on your own.
    I just want a roundabout idea of how many days (realistically) an east to west tour will take.

  18. #18
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    Ya I did... thanks linds.
    I actually DON'T want too much info - it's better to discover things on your own.
    I just want a roundabout idea of how many days (realistically) an east to west tour will take.
    You should look at the site anyway. If you look at the details of the maps you can get a good idea of the roads and routes to use. You could use the website to see where the routes go and then plot out the ideas on something like the pedometer map. Adventure Cycling has really done their homework and look for quiet backroads - sometimes too quiet It is a good resource to start with.

    Personally, while I like to discover things, discovering that you are 3 days from food in North Dakota when you only have 1 day in your bags is usually a bad thing

    As for mileage, the distance from Burlington VT to Denver CO is around 2200 miles by the I-70 corridor. From Denver to Yellowstone is around 500 miles. If you were to go along the Great Lakes route you'd cut off some distance, so I still think it's around 2500 miles.
    Stuart Black
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  19. #19
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Thanks CC

    I should have plenty of time to get to YS.

  20. #20
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    Thanks CC

    I should have plenty of time to get to YS.
    I would suggest looking at the route through the Sandhills that jamawani suggests. I've never ridden there but I went and canoed the Niobrara a few years ago and it is stunningly beautiful! Much better than western Kansas. Go through Fort Robinson and read Cheyenne Autumn by Mari Sandoz. It will change the way you look at the US during the "Indian Wars" years.
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  21. #21
    Knox Gardner
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    Bikepaker67,

    Cycling with a Ruthless Dicator who is scanning the horizon dejectedly for espresso stands is perhaps not the finest way to see the country.

    I'm not one for stealth camping, but I guess would give it a whirl in some places, though generally always camp. I have been getting a little, well a lot, bent out of shape about how much camping is on the East Coast. I try to remind myself that these campground owners only have a little bit of time to make money that is likely going to last them all winter and things like water, showers, etc cost money. I'll not go biking again in Maine due to camping costs during the summer, despite some friendly folks I met there for example.

    In a few months, once I know if my contract is getting extended or not, I'll have a better idea on exact time I'm leaving.

    Perhaps we can meet up for a shorter (long weekend) tour in the early Spring...or hell, even in the middle of the winter. I am very much wanting to ride aroud Fitchburg, the giant reservoir in the center of MA and Amherst (as I have never been). I would also not mind getting down to Litchburg. I am completely bummed that work is going to keep me off my bike most of the long weekend, I really am hankering for a little trip.

    Knox Gardner
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  22. #22
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knoxg
    Bikepaker67,

    Perhaps we can meet up for a shorter (long weekend) tour in the early Spring...or hell, even in the middle of the winter. I am very much wanting to ride aroud Fitchburg, the giant reservoir in the center of MA and Amherst (as I have never been).
    A ride around the Quabbin? We could do it counterclockwise and end up in the Amherst/Belchertown area for the evening.

    Amherst is OK - it's a bit too dominated by Zoomass for my tastes. But right across the bridge is Northampton, where I'm SURE you can find some of your fancy-shmancy coffee.

    Another great place in MA to ride is the Granville/Otis area a bit further west of me.
    Very big hills, very bucolic, but alas... no espresso.

  23. #23
    Knox Gardner
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    Well, let' see about a short ride around your neck of the woods. I've been wanting to get out Quiban since I've gotten to Boston. It's be tough for me to get a weekend in before the New Year due to work, but I'm certainly not opposed to cool weather riding. I could probably take the train out to Worcester or up to Fitchburg and then bike over... I'm sure Vic will want to come along, which would make things even cheaper to split up a cheap hotel for example.

    I could probably squeeze in a mid week overnighter, once I get caught up with some projects.

    I really can't imagine doing a long trip with some else! I don't know, I just like travelling solo so much.

    Knox Gardner
    www.bikenerd.blogspot.com

    Drop me a line a knoxg at hotmail and we can see if this is "reality" talk considering how hard it is to motivate in new england winter (I'd rather go skiing).

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