help me judge this west to east route
Starting in mid June
Vancouver, BC->Seattle, WA
Seattle, WA->Glacier Nat'l Park
Missoula->Denver, CO via Idaho Falls and Jackson, WY
Denver->Chicago, IL (I have friends in Denver and friends in Chicago but nothing in between so I plan on just hoofing it across the flats between the two)
Chicago->Buffalo via Cleveland
Buffalo->Boston, MA (home!)
The definite destinations are Vancouver, Seattle, Glacier, Missoula, Central NY, and Boston. The middle is pretty open for discussion and advice. Since I have friends in Denver, Chicago, and Cleveland I thought it would be nice to get a break from my solo tour to see folks. I am most skeptical of the route from Denver->Chicago.
If anyone has taken similar parts of this route or has recommended maps of parts of this route, please let me know. I've reviewed the crazyguy and adventure cycling. Before I invest in maps, I'm looking for some feedback here.
Last spring I toured from Denver to Iowa, mostly along the South Platte. It was a very nice ride.
From Denver to Fort Morgan, in order to avoid riding on I-76, (legal but noisy), you have to jog back and forth north and east. Then you take US-6 and CO-138 which are very pleasant. The route through Nebraska is old highway 30, which is the Emigrant Trail, the route of the Transcontinental Railroad, and the Lincoln Highway, first road across the U.S. Very Historic. Highway 30 is wide, smooth, and lightly travelled since most traffic uses I-80.
I camped where possible but due to weather, (Greenburg, Kansas blew away during my ride), and since many of the campgrounds are off the route, I stayed in several motels. US-30 in Iowa is lightly traveled but no shoulders. East of the Missouri to Chicago I haven't ridden so can't help there.
Food for thought:
1. If you are starting in Vancouver, rearrange your trip so you take the North Cascades Highway over the mountains (Highway 20). You could do something like:
- Vancouver, ferry to Victoria, ferry to Port Angeles (edited) Washington, ride through Kitsap County down to Bainbridge Island, ferry to Seattle...then ferry up to Whidby Island, to Anacortes, then from there catch Highway 20 across the Cascades.
2. When you get to Kansas, consider taking the route across the middle of the state (Highway 4) instead of the more Northerly route you've chosen. IMHO, the most scenic part of the state is along Highway 4, roughly starting in Ellsworth County (look at Kansas bike map reference earlier in this thread). Some highlights:
- Smoky River Valley, stopping in Lindsborg "Little Sweden"; then Gypsum Hills; then through the Flint Hills. Jog north to spend a day / night in Lawrence, a nice college town. (As you're crossing the state, If you're interested in history, take a slight detour when you get to Highway 15 and go up to Abilene for a day to visit Eisenhower Museum and (somewhat cheesy) old Abilene town.)
As you exit Kansas, consider connecting with the Katy Trail to cross Missouri...that dumps you out in Eastern Missouri and you're practically to Chicago...
Last edited by BengeBoy; 02-23-08 at 12:38 PM.
You should definitely hit the Katy Trail in Missouri. It's a limestone rock trail, so it's slower than pavement, but its a state-wide rails-to-trails bike/hiking path.
Also, if I were you I would swing over and ride through Yellowstone park.
For crossing Washington, the North Cascades Highway (WA 20) is definitely the most scenic of the mountain roads, and the least traffic as well. It's closed in winter and doesn't melt out until June some years (and occasionally as early as mid-April). You do need to be prepared for long distances between any services, but I think that's a positive aspect. BTW, the ferry from Victoria goes to Port Angeles, WA, and then you'd ride east on US 101 and then WA 20 to Port Townsend. Quite scenic, but a fair amount of traffic.
Originally Posted by BengeBoy
I'm not sure I agree with those suggesting the North Cascades Highway. I rode over that route last summer and it was tough! If you go that way, make sure you have really low gears. After you get over Washington and Rainy Passes, you still have to go over Loup-Loup, Wauconda, and Sherman passes. There's lots of traffic on those, little or no shoulder, and it gets hot!
I haven't ridden my bike over it, but I used to live on Stevens Pass in Skykomish. I think Stevens Pass is also quite pretty (though probably not as spectacular as the North Cascades - but close.) I also think that it's not quite as steep or as long. Plus, once you get to the east side I think the major climbing is over. It will be hot there too, however. I'm not sure if there are as many camping opportunities between Leavenworth and Spokane as there would be on the Northern Tier route, but I haven't done in-depth research to find out. I've contemplated a trip across Washington on Highway 2, next time I cross the state. I thought I would just get a motel room if there were nights with no campgrounds around. You might try looking at journals on CrazyGuy and see where others stayed and what their opinions of the route are.
Your trip sounds very ambitious, but totally awesome! Good luck!
i've revised the first half of my route a bit. Can people comment on the quality of rt 2 in Washington state and western Montana? What about routes 14 and 6 in Colorado and route 6 in Nebraska and then route 30 to Chicago?
Anyone with experience touring on these roads, please let me know what you thought of them.
Here is a link to the revised route.