i would like to plan a tour for this summer and would like to enlist the collective wisdom here. have about 11 or 12 days avail. toured baha and cuba solo but not all that proficient in bike repair and touring as these are my only tours. Want somewhere warm/hot but not to far from seattle where travel time would cut into touring. thanks for suggestions!
Take Amtrak to Whitefish, Montana -
Ride the Going-to-the-Sun Highway in Glacier N.P.
Explore up and down the east side - Many Glacier - maybe Waterton in Canada.
Ride out into the Great Plains as far as Havre and get your dose of summer heat.
Then catch Amtrak back from Havre.
Browning is the administrative center of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Like nearly all reservations in the United States - many of the people who live here are poor. Browning is no exception. But there are some exceptional things to see and do in Browning - - if you can see past the poverty - - which includes derelict houses, litter, and substance abuse.
First - the High Plains Museum on the west edge of town has some amazing items for such a tiny museum. It's certainly worth a visit. Second - if you can plan your trip during North American Indian Days - do so. It's an incredible opportunity. Third - there's a lovely campground on the west edge of town - well-maintained with stunning views of the mountains.
The Blackfeet people I have encountered have always treated me well - and I have biked nearly every road on the reservation. Pic - North American Indian Days in 2005
Browning aside, you should really avoid Kansas and Nebraska. My dear old dad decided we should do some touring there about 5 summers ago. "It's flat, he said, it will make nice riding."
Bah. Flat, yes. combined with huge distances between towns and nothing but cornfields to look at along the way. Lots to smell though. Specifically massive feedlots. God help you if you approach them from downwind--you'll be gagging for miles.
But they are warm. Warm and oppressively humid. 98+ degrees F every day of the week we were there, with extremely high humidity. This is an issue lots of places too, but drivers there are also completely un used to cyclists, and behave accordingly.
I tour on a Waterford Adventurecycle. It is a fabulous touring bike.
+1 for San Francisco to LA or even better San Diego.
If you do decide to ride out of San Francisco, I'd recommend doing a loop north first. I'd ride north to Samuel P. Taylor park (camp in the redwoods) near Fairfax. Then, north again to Bodega Bay (where Hitchcock's 'The Birds' was filmed), over to Santa Rosa (sleep in the regional park) and then back to Samuel P. Taylor and SF the next day.
If you haven't ridden around the SF Bay Area, don't miss it. It is much more than a place to start a tour.