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  1. #1
    Senior Member erikasberg's Avatar
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    Hwy 2 from west to east

    Hi!
    If one was to cross the US by bike, how would Hwy 2 stand up in the competition? Is it suitable for biking at all? It looks like it would be a pretty logical path from Seattle to the upper peninsula. I would be making some detours ofcourse (I wanna go back to Missoula!) and after Sault Ste Marie (upper peninsula) i canīt seem to find the 2. Iīd probably go through Canada all the way to New York and down through NH, MA etc to NYC. Thoughts? Is this route significantly different from the Northern Tier?

  2. #2
    Senior Member erikasberg's Avatar
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    Just looked over the Northern Tier route and it would be basically the same route up to Grand Rapids, wich is good news! After that I´d like to go past Duluth, and like I said UpPen. Question is, should i go down through Michigan or over Huron? This would probably be late september or so..

  3. #3
    Senior Member mudskipper99's Avatar
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    Ive driven Hwy 2 across Washington State and also N. Dakota. It can get pretty busy in places, but it looks ok for biking. Hwy 2 is the route I was thinking of taking to bike across the U.S. also.

    Hwy 2 disapears at St. Ignace in Michigan, but it starts up again in Northern Vermont.

    Riding along Lake Huron in Michigan is a nice route, but will add many miles. You are not aloud to ride your bike across the Mackinaw bridge, or across the Port Huron, MI-Sarnia, ON crossing, or the Detroit-Windsor crossing. Cant remember if you can ride across at Sault Ste. Marie.

    About 10 years ago I drove from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury (then South). Cant remember how wide the shoulders were, but I remember there seemed to be an awful lot of trucks and lots and lots of rocks on the road. From Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie(in Ontario), was full of trucks, logging trucks if I remember, and it was a very curvy, twisty road, but pretty.
    Last edited by mudskipper99; 10-26-06 at 08:24 AM.

  4. #4
    BF Risk Manager
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    In Snohomish County, where Highway 2 starts, we call Highway 2 the 'highway of death'. Exercise extreme caution when biking on that road. Most of us locals do not do so. It is generally a two-lane rural road with not much in the way of shoulders in parts, with a speed limit of 60 mph, slowing down to 25-35 as it goes through some towns and residential areas. Since it goes over Stevens Pass, one of the two major highway passes over the Cascade Mountains in Washington, Highway 2 has a great deal of commercial traffic, 18 wheelers and logging trucks.
    Regards, MillCreek
    Snohomish County, Washington USA

  5. #5
    Hooked on Touring
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    Erika -

    There are much better routes than US 2.

    Make sure to hit the San Juan Islands at the beginning.
    In Washington use WA 20.
    In Idaho use US 2
    In W. Montana use Yaak Valley Road, US 93, MT 40 & US 2 to West Glacier.
    Going to the Sun Road is an absolute MUST.
    In E. Montana take US 89 to Great Falls and then MT 200.
    In N, Dakota stay on ND 200.
    In Minnesota stay on MN 200.

    So, basically it's Highways 20 & 200 instead of US 2.

    There are some back roads along the Skagit River and in N. Idaho.
    Plus you should consider taking county roads to Carlton, MN and thru the beautiful St. Louis River valley.
    Unless you really need to hit Duluth.
    Take WI 13 along the lake shore east of Duluth. Go out to the Apostle Islands.
    The Upper Peninsula is fabulous. Late Sept may be chilly, but the leaves will be turning.
    The loop thru Porcupine Mountain, Ontonagon and L'Anse is super.
    If you are continuing on to the Lower Peninsula there are ferries to Mackinac Island.

    If you take a boat ride on one of the huge lakes in Glacier National Park you'll have an on-the-water feel for the trip in WA, MT, WI and MI - no bad, eh?
    I've ridden US 2, Hwy 20 & Hwy 200. Millcreek is right about some bad sections in WA.
    Same goes for MT and ND - US 2 has 2000 to 4000 vehicles per day while ND 200 has less than 1000.
    Also, US 2 has more trucks and more thru - thus faster - traffic. 20 & 200 have local traffic.

    There are risks with any bike touring, as you know. Definitely use a mirror. Be willing to go off the road if an overtaking car cannot or will not move over. There's no shame in it.

    Have a great trip - J

  6. #6
    Numbler Cornchops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MillCreek
    In Snohomish County, where Highway 2 starts, we call Highway 2 the 'highway of death'.
    The state sponsored "highway of death."

    I wouldn't want to ride on it. Much.

  7. #7
    Lanterne Rouge
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    My parents live very close to US 2 in Minnesota. I have also driven it from Grand Rapids, MN to Seattle, WA.

    While it is mostly a two lane highway and for the most part in good repair, it carries a lot of traffic. Much of that traffic is large trucks hauling grain and timber.

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    Senior Member erikasberg's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input guys! I´m gonna sit down with a map and look it over abd then I report back!
    /Erik

  9. #9
    Hooked on Touring
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    So it's not Erika S. Berg - oops!

  10. #10
    Hooked on Touring
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    PS - If you head down to Missoula, you can take Hwy 200 from Sandpoint and Hwy 200 on to Great Falls - BUT - you will miss Glacier National Park and Going to the Sun Road. Many cyclists consider GTTS the best ride in America. There's a bus from Whitefish/Kalispell to Missoula. That way you can hit Missoula if you really want to go back, but also ride in Glacier N.P.

    Pic - Going to the Sun Road
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I used to live on Highway 2 in Skykomish. It is a busy road. I didn't ride when I was there, but it seems there was a good shoulder most of the way. Maybe I'm wrong. I did ride down from Chiwaukum Creek (east of the pass) into Leavenworth once when my VW bug broke down and I needed a mechanic. There was a good shoulder then.

    I've looked at this route as a possible return to Seattle on a loop - Start in Seattle (my old hometown), head up to Mukilteo, cross by ferry to Whidbey Island, ride up to the north end of the island and head east on Highway 20 (ACA's Northern Tier) over to Lake Pend Oreilles (my childhood summer vacation spot), then back to Seattle via Highway 2. It looked like there weren't any campgrounds between Spokane and the Columbia River, and it looked like I would have to ride a long way off the route to find a campground there. I know there's a nice little campground right outside of Skykomish (at least there was when I lived there 20 years ago.)

  12. #12
    GATC
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    I drove it from Duluth to maybe Couer D'Alene-ish... I intended to take it to I-5 (western WA) but I got lost in the woods of Idaho. Going to the Sun Road is spectacular. I drove it in 2nd gear, just gawking (and taking breaks to do some backcountry hiking/camping in the park). Let all the bikers pass me, they seemed to get a kick out of that. Teddy Roosevelt National Park in western ND is also not to be missed.

  13. #13
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    The Northern Tier does go on US 2 for much of Montana and the UP of Michigan. But it is on State Route 20 through Washington, and includes Glacier National Park/Going To The Sun road.

    Biking almost anywhere in Vermont and New Hampshire isn't a problem. Very biker friendly.

    One advantage of ACA's routes is that they have done the research to get you off the busy highways, and list the biker facilities (bike shops, campgrounds, etc). all the way. It makes you planning easy.

  14. #14
    Hooked on Touring
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    Adventure Cycling does have a route in the Upper Peninsula - the "North Lakes" - but it does not have a convenient connection with the "Northern Tier".

    Adventure Cycling routes are good, but not the best as far as traffic volume goes. Some, such as the original TransAm in Colorado, really need to be rethought - despite the nostalgic connections to Bikecentennial - because of extremely high traffic levels in the growing resort towns of the Rockies. There are two distinct advantages of Adventure Cycling routes - 1.) They have a good inventory of services with phone numbers and updates on their website. 2.) Communities along Adventure Cycling routes tend to be more bike friendly - i.e. cyclist rates in campgrounds.

    But as for traffic volume - they are not the greatest. With the Northern Tier in eastern Montana - between Havre and Chinook on US 2 the AADT (average annual daily traffic) is 3310 - on MT 200 between Lewiston and Grass Range it is 1460. Between Glasgow and Wolf Point on US 2 it is 2060, on MT 200 between Jordan and Circle it is 550. In North Dakota, although the Northern Tier routes you on the relatively quiet ND 1804 east of Williston, you have to take US 83 - a busy 4-lane highway (fair shoulders) with a good deal of truck traffic to get to Minot. East of Minot US 2 is four-lane with traffic volumes near or above 3000 AADT. ND 200 west and east of McClusky has about 500 AADT.

    Many little towns in the Dakotas have town parks where they will let you camp for the night. I have found towns in the Great Plains off the beaten track to be very welcoming. If you need bike services, you can always cut back up to Williston or Minot - but there are bike shops in Great Falls, Glendive, and Cooperstown - along Route 200.

    Anyhoo - those are my ideas.

  15. #15
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    I biked from Michigan to the Pacific (and beyond) three years ago. I traveled michigan highway 28 through the upper penninsula. I picked up highway 2 when I entered wisconsin and stayed on it all the way to Cut Bank Montana. I had no problems with the traffic. I largely stayed off of highway 2 after passing through Glacier national park, but that was largely because I was interested in the scenery that other routes offered, not because I considered the highway 2 to be a bad route.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  16. #16
    Senior Member erikasberg's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice guys, much appreciated!

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