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  1. #1
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Any other off-road tours?

    Several of us did the San Juan Huts Tour a few years back. If you're not familiar, it's mostly fire roads that take you from Telluride, CO to Moab, UT with stops at stocked huts along the way. They even had a guy they worked with who would shuttle your car to the end for a reasonable price. It was a great trip and I'd like to get that group back together.

    Is anyone familiar with similar off-road/backroad/fire-road tours? I know they now have an additional route that starts in Durango, but it still ends in Moab, and it's a heck of of a lot more climbing. I'd like to do a similar trip in a different setting if anyone knows of any such thing. Not looking for a catered tour, I'm not into spending $2000 even if it means cooked meals and a sag wagon.

  2. #2
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    There are a number of rail trails in Canada that you can string together for a reasonable tour. The Erie Canal links Buffalo with New York City (almost). In Europe there are both rail trails and a great number of canal tow paths tours including Canal du Midi in the south of France.

    As with endevour, you can spend a little or a lot and it usually has little to do with the enjoyment. I started off budgeting $1,000 for a European trip including air. Now I'm up to about twice that, but for a longer period. The less you plan, the more you will pay.

  3. #3
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    In British Columbia you can do the Columbia Western Railway and Kettle Valley Railway. I did that one in 2001. That stretches 600km from Castlegar to Midway (Columbia Western) and Midway to Hope (Kettle Valley). It's almost all old abandoned rail grade with a maximum grade of 3%. There's a section out of Summerland that's not useable due to the fact that they're still running a tourist train on the railbed. A detour along local roads with some wicked grades is required. Coming down the Coquihalla section some parts of the railbed are washed away into deep and steep canyons but for the most parts trails have been built to get around those sections.

    Camping, including wild camping, is possible pretty much all the way. I camped most nights, including one beaver infested and sleepless night near Christina Lake.


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  4. #4
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I do a lot of fire road mixed tours and get single track in there when i can, but its tough to find single track that both goes somewhere and is open to bicycling here in the Northwest- most wilderness areas here are closed to all mechanized travel. and most trail systems here are loops.

    but touring on trails, two track and fire roads, both abandonded and still in use? yeahh...... I ride lots of great 2,3,4 day rides right from my place that lead to great fireroading it and trailwork...

    if you didn't mind mixing up some pavement with the fire roads and trails, i know you could ride a big loop out of Seattle, crossing the cascades midstate, and up into canada on the dry side of the mountains with less than 35 percent being pavement. There are LOTS of meandering, forest service road routes around Western Washington.

    Quality riding too. Screaming fast downhills, then UP, UP, UP. most of the roads are below treeline, its only into the North cascades and the Okanagon you'd get a lot of views like in colorado.

    Or, towards the south instead, Seattle across to Yakima on the Iron Horse trail, and back across the historic Natchez Trace wagon route, cross thru Mount Rainier National Park on the way to the DARK DIVIDE and a week of quality trail and FS road riding riding circumnavigating two large volcanoes, Mount Adams and Mount Saint Helens.

    Then, you could ride west and across to the Olympic Mountains, to ride a couple of fringe routes on the edges (there are no bike friendly trails or roads that 'biscect' the Olympics, it is too rugged. but there are plenty of long 'skirt the edge' rides out there too.....

    there's no summer hut systems that i know of in WA state except some destination huts. you have to be self contained for a couple to four days at a stretch, before a chance at a small town resupply.

    (I had to take the panniers off the bike on the left to do the portage over the washout)
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    Last edited by Bekologist; 10-11-06 at 11:57 PM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    There's the Great Divide Trail or, if you are feeling really adventurous there's always the Colorado Trail or even the Maah Daah Hey Trail in North Dakota. Other than those, there's not much that I can think of unless you want to count the 7 million miles of dirt roads and paths in the US Forest
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    The Maah Daah Hey is a good example since there's an outfit that will shuttle your gear from campsite to campsite, but we were there in '04. Unfortunately, we also ran into the most ticks I've ever seen. We got to the first campground and found, and I offer no exaggeration, probably 50 ticks on our stash of gear. Of course, we found ticks earlier in the day too when we stopped in the one spot of shade in 5 miles for a drink. That led to us combing over each other like monkeys and taking shoes and socks off in the heat. Of course, our shuttle driver had her days mixed up, so was late getting us to the trailhead, which meant a mid-day start in the North Dakota Badlands, bad news.
    Last edited by Shemp; 10-12-06 at 09:32 AM.

  7. #7
    Life is short Ride hard
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    Wow I love this thread talk about my two favorite sports in one package cycling plus backpacking wow I wonder if there is any thing in the east?
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  8. #8
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    ...there's not much that I can think of unless you want to count the 7 million miles of dirt roads and paths in the US Forest
    I know, I guess what I'm really looking for is a semi-sagged tour w/o all the luxury and expense. The hut-to-hut tour was an ideal set up. 2 panniers for clothes, toiletries and a sleeping bag liner were all we needed. We cooked our own food, were on our own for navigation, were on our own for repairs etc. They provided water, unprepared food, cooking gear and a hut.

  9. #9
    Hooked on Touring
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemp
    I know, I guess what I'm really looking for is a semi-sagged tour w/o all the luxury and expense. The hut-to-hut tour was an ideal set up.
    Too bad - you'll lose out on all the incredible forest roads in British Columbia. You can tour along the Elk and Bull Rivers and have all the beauty of Banff/Jasper without the hordes of people. There are free, rustic campsites every 15 or 20 km - or you can random camp. Plus there are incredible BC Parks like Elk Lakes. Not the last time but the time before - I was the ONLY person in the park as far as I could tell. No rangers or vehicles at the entrance station. No vehicles at all at the trailhead. No one on the trails or at any campsite. Just me and the grizzlies.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanparrish
    wow I wonder if there is any thing in the east?
    In WV, you can link the Greenbriar,West Fork and several other rails to trails with dirt roads like the one along the Cheat River for an epic excursion. If that's not enough mileage, connect with the Allegheny rails to trails in PA.

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