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  1. #1
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Best Tours in North America?

    I have been thinking about what rides I want to do in the next several years. I started a list of places I wanted to go that were 1 week or more worth of riding. I am not much on touring for less than a week and prefer longer rides. I hope that others will pipe up with some more options for trips that should be on the must do list. Also feel free to comment on the choices already on my list.

    My prototype "must do" list, in no particular order:
    1. Pacific Coast Highway - Great scenery, great food, and readily available camping put this one on my must do list. I have ridden and driven pieces of this one, but really want to do the whole coast. Could possibly do this one in 2008.
    2. Baja Peninsula - Sounds like a great trip. Maybe combine it with the PCH trip? How much problem would it be for someone who speaks only a handful of words of Spanish?
    3. Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway - I will probably do this one in 2008. I saw just a bit of it while doing the TA in 2007 and was impressed.
    3. Colorado Rockies - Not sure what exact route, but I loved the part I saw on the TA and would like more.
    4. TransAmerica - Not really on the must do list, but it would be if I hadn't already done it in 2007.
    5. Northern Tier - I like the concept of coast to coast tours and this looks like a great one.
    6. Southern Tier - I like the concept of coast to coast tours and the idea of a southern winter tour sounds good.
    7. Great Parks North - Sounds amazing and I haven't seen much of the area.
    8. Great Parks South - Again, sounds amazing and I haven't seen a lot of the parks.
    9 Great Divide - Not sure if this is really on my list or not, but I like the idea in concept.
    10. Perimeter Tour - This one may be more in the crazy idea category than the must do category, but I am thinking that combining the Atlantic Coast, Northern Tier, Pacific Coast and Southern Tier would be a great way to spend 6 months or a bit more.

  2. #2
    mev
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    Those are all reasonable trips.

    Conspicously absent are some rides in Canada. I like both Atlantic Canada (e.g. Newfoundland, Nova Scotia) as well as the Northwest through Yukon. Alaska also has some nice rides. One of my favorite long trips was a three month crossing of Canada in 1997: http://www.mvermeulen.com/canada starting from Fairbanks, Alaska and ending in St. John's Newfoundland. Also still on my list is a ride along the Trans-Labrador Highway.

    In Alaska, the loop between Skagway and Haines is beautiful. Also enjoyed a ride down the Dalton Highway.

    A perimeter tour isn't crazy. I had thoughts of trying to ride to capitals & largest states in the lower 48 but then long overseas trips (around Australia, across Russia) took precidence and seemed at least as exciting. I have cycled in all 50 US states but not in a single ride.

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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    There is great riding in New England. A ride around Lake Champlain is very nice; we enjoyed it a lot.

    The Maine coast has a lot to offer, routing can be tricky a times. Find a Mainer to help with that. I want to do the Kancamangus highway sometime as part of a Portland to Burlington ride.
    Old Man Maine

  4. #4
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    My wish list (and actual list of completed trips) contains a lot of shorter trips. They would include:

    1. Hill Country, Texas
    2. Nova Scotia perimeter
    3. Jasper - Banff - Glacier National park
    4. San Juan Islands (Washington) + Whidbey Island + Victoria, Canada
    5. Sunshine Coast, B.C.
    6. Northern New Mexico/Southern Colorado (Albuquerque - Santa Fe - Taos - Mesa Verde)
    7. A number of trips in and around Central Oregon Coast + coastal range of mountains in Oregon (e.g., Eugene, Crater Lake, etc.)
    8. I recently read a couple of books about the Nez Pierce which also has now me thinking about a trip tracing their journey from the Nez Pierce homelands (southeast Washington/northeast Oregon) out through Idaho to Yellowstone and up to Montana.

    ...and many others!

    I highly recommend to anyone purchasing an old book called "bicycle Touring in the Western United States;" It's been out of print for years but frequently purchasable on Amazon.com as a used copy. I bought mine for a penny.

    It's a great reminder that there are many, many one and two weeks routes out there not covered by the big routes of the Adventure Cycling Association (for those of us w/out time for the longer trips).

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I'd be interested in journals, maps or other info on the trips mentioned if links are available.
    Late, How long was the Champlain loop?
    Mev, the trip in your link looked amazing. A really interesting and ambitious route.
    BengeBoy, I will see if I can find a copy of that book.

    My preferences run to longer trips, especially if it is somewhere I need to fly to. I really think it takes a couple weeks to even get into the right mindset, but like most folks my available time is somewhat limited until retirement, and that is probably still a few years off.

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    In Alaska, the loop between Skagway and Haines is beautiful. Also enjoyed a ride down the Dalton Highway.


    Only a couple hundred miles, but Insanely beautiful is an understatement. Also a lot nicer than fighting it out with traffic on some of the other Alaska/Canada trips

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    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    BengeBoy, I will see if I can find a copy of that book.

    My preferences run to longer trips, especially if it is somewhere I need to fly to. I really think it takes a couple weeks to even get into the right mindset, but like most folks my available time is somewhat limited until retirement, and that is probably still a few years off.
    Here's the link to listings of the book at Amazon. Availability fluctuates, but when I just checked there are copies for a penny.


    http://www.amazon.com/Bicycle-Tourin...3709387&sr=8-1

    I own other books w/touring guides in them, but I really like the way this covers all the states in the West...it also can be used to build interesting connector routes between various legs of the routes laid about by the folks at Adventure Cycling. So you could easily use it to build a number of long tours. It's about 20 years old, so obviously the specific routing advice should be cross-checked against more modern maps, but as a source of ideas it's terrific.

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    Great thread.

    http://tinyurl.com/2ouoay
    here is a route i did in colorado a couple of years ago - i mentioned this in another thread that i think you were participating in, it is "Ride all the paved continental divide crossings in Colorado" (the map excludes a few, because I didn't complete the mission)

    I would echo great parks south + north + canada (icefields parkway)

    I'm psyching up for some Utah riding next, i would recommend it except i haven't done it yet.
    ...

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    Here's the link to listings of the book at Amazon. Availability fluctuates, but when I just checked there are copies for a penny.


    http://www.amazon.com/Bicycle-Tourin...3709387&sr=8-1

    I own other books w/touring guides in them, but I really like the way this covers all the states in the West...it also can be used to build interesting connector routes between various legs of the routes laid about by the folks at Adventure Cycling. So you could easily use it to build a number of long tours. It's about 20 years old, so obviously the specific routing advice should be cross-checked against more modern maps, but as a source of ideas it's terrific.
    Thanks, but I already ordered it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Great thread.

    http://tinyurl.com/2ouoay
    here is a route i did in colorado a couple of years ago - i mentioned this in another thread that i think you were participating in, it is "Ride all the paved continental divide crossings in Colorado" (the map excludes a few, because I didn't complete the mission)

    I would echo great parks south + north + canada (icefields parkway)

    I'm psyching up for some Utah riding next, i would recommend it except i haven't done it yet.
    I did some mountain biking in Utah (Moab and surrounding area) and the area was quite beautiful. Never toured there though. Do you have a route planned yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I did some mountain biking in Utah (Moab and surrounding area) and the area was quite beautiful. Never toured there though. Do you have a route planned yet?
    No, I just got back from AAA with a pile of maps, though.

    I've spent a lot of time in the Moab area rock climbing, and the terrain is just stunning there. I'm going to try to plan either a loop from Moab or a Tucson or Phoenix to Moab trip. The starting point for planning is Grand Canyon Connector Phoenix to Cedar City to Western Express to Monticello to Moab.
    ...

  12. #12
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Divide Ride

    Pacific Coast

    Baja offroad

    Ice Fields Parkway/Banff to Jasper Parks

    San Juan Islands and Gulf Islands

    Hwy 89 Mt Shasta to Lassen NP to Lake Tahoe to end @ Hwy 395 [California]

    Hwy 191 South from Moab, Utah to Hwy 160 thru Monument Valley to Hwy 89 North to Alt Hwy 89 to Jacob Lake@ Hwy 67 North to dead end @ North Rim of Grand Canyon NP; return to Hwy 89 via Kanab and Mt Carmel heading North on 89 to Hwy 12 and Bryce Canyon NP; continue East and North on 12 to Torrey Junction with 24; East on 24 to Hanksville; Hwy 95 via Hite across the Colorado to rejoin Hwy 191 75 miles South of Moab; North to Moab to complete the loop.

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    On my must do list:

    1. Gaspe Peninsula
    2. Northern Ontario, on and off road (actually just about anywhere in Ontario except southern Ontario)
    3. BC rockies
    4. Atlantic Canada including Newfoundland
    5. I always wanted to check out Idaho
    6. The Yukon and NWT
    7. Alaska

  14. #14
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    arctos, your Utah route looks absolutely brilliant. What time of year did you do it? Were there any days with more than 60 miles between water locations? thank you for planning my vacation!
    ...

  15. #15
    40 yrs bike touring
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    valygrl:

    This is a late Spring or early Fall ride to avoid snow at the highest elevation 7500 to 8000 feet. Or just delete the North Rim segment if snow lingers later than usual.

    Heat and water are the main issues in this often empty of services terrain. Grab the AAA <Indian Country> map which covers the area well. Lots of background detail about the area as well on the back of the map.

    My information about services is not current enough for your trip. Weather can be very fickle. I have had sleet and snow in the Moab region in April and May some years. Other times very hot weather. As usual plan for anything.

    Looking at the map reminds me of several optional routes that you may like to add:

    1) On hwy 191 just past Blanding take hwy 95 West to hwy 261 south. You pass the Grand Gulch Primitive area and the remnants of the old Mormon Trail. There is a gravel section with downhill switchbacks @ Mokee Dugway 6425 ft for a mile then a quick drop to the San Juan River and the connection with the Monument Valley highway 160 about 5 mles N of Mexican Hat. This 261 option is about 35-40 miles long.

    2) On hwy 12 near Boulder, Utah is the junction with the Burr Trail. I understand that this is blacktop now instead of fine gravel. A beautiful ride through Long Canyon with 1000 ft cliffs on both sides and then a section of soft sand as you cross the waterpocket fold area of Capital Reef NP and turn south on an unnamed route to reach Bullfrog Basin @ Lake Powell where the ferry takes you across to Halls Crossing hwy 276 for 50miles to hwy 95 junction @ Natural Bridges Nat Monument. This option is a bit rougher and less certain due to soft sand for as much as ten miles and no services but lovely. It is a shortcut if you need to cut off miles from what I originally described.

    There are many other options that are all of road but I assumed that you were interested mainly in paved routes.
    I hope that this help a bit.

  16. #16
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I heartily concur with your choice of the Pacific Coast route. I've done it twice and I intend to do it again in a couple of years. I don't see how it can get old. One of the nicest things both times was the people I met. It would be worth going again just to meet a different group. There are so many cyclists doing the route and staying in the same hiker/biker sites that you're bound to bump into the same people over and over. Of course, if you take a rest day and the others don't, when you start out again you'll be with a whole new crop of people. But if this happens there's a chance that several days later you'll bump into someone from your original crew who has taken a rest day a few days after you did. There were a few people I met that I'd bump into from time to time down the whole coast.

    The reason I think this is the best route I've ever taken, and one worthy of doing again, is because it has everything to make touring easy and fun and exciting, and very few hardships. There are campgrounds at regular intervals all the way from Canada to Mexico, and most of them have hiker/biker sites (and most of them have showers.) There are virtually no long stretches where you can't find a grocery store or sandwich shop or restaurant or gas station or water. There are tons of hills and you have to work to earn your mileage, but no passes to go over. Leggett Hill isn't much of a pass. The scenery is spectacular. The road is good with a suitable shoulder most of the way. You tend to meet tons of great, interesting fellow-tourers from all over the world. The predominant wind is at your back.

    The one possible fly in the ointment could be rain. It tends to rain a lot on the Pacific coast. However, both times I did it I went from around mid-July to mid-August, and I only got rained on a couple of days. The weather was excellent most of the time.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    My wish list (and actual list of completed trips) contains a lot of shorter trips. They would include:

    1 - 7 (snipped)
    8. I recently read a couple of books about the Nez Pierce which also has now me thinking about a trip tracing their journey from the Nez Pierce homelands (southeast Washington/northeast Oregon) out through Idaho to Yellowstone and up to Montana.

    ...and many others!

    I highly recommend to anyone purchasing an old book called "bicycle Touring in the Western United States;" It's been out of print for years but frequently purchasable on Amazon.com as a used copy. I bought mine for a penny.

    It's a great reminder that there are many, many one and two weeks routes out there not covered by the big routes of the Adventure Cycling Association (for those of us w/out time for the longer trips).
    Fun thread!

    I also have the book, Bicycle Touring in the Western U.S., and it has been especially helpful in plotting routes that are not on the ACA routes. One such section is thru the Flaming Gorge of Wyoming and Dinosaur Nat. Mon. in far western Colorado. The book is still very worthwhile, even though it is dated 1982

    BengeBoy mentioned the Nez Perce tribe of Native Americans, which brings me to some of the research for my upcoming summer's tour. Of special interest is the route from Missoula, MT and across Idaho in "Clearwater Country". There's a little-known book entitled "Clearwater Country! The Traveler's Historical and Recreational Guide", covering the history of the region including the Lewis and Clark Expeditions, the Nez Perce, gold rush, outlaw gangs, missionaries, etc. and offers a mile-by-mile guide thru the area. You might find it of interest HERE

    Other great tours in North America would have to include:

    • Eastern Canada, Gaspe Peninsula, and the Maritime Provinces.
    • The Western Express Route includes some of the most amazing cycling country anywhere, including the Sierra Mts., the basins and ridges of Nevada, unbelievable Southern Utah and the Rocky Mts. of Colorado.
    • Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine offer some wonderful touring opportunities.
    • The Finger Lakes region of New York state is beautiful bike touring country (also, include Watkins Glen!)
    • Northern Arizona, to include the Prescott Valley, Cottonwood, Sedona, Flagstaff, and Grand Canyon.
    • too many other more obvious routes to mention (they've already been covered by others!)


    With all of these afore mentioned touring locations in mind, this is what I have planned for about 3 months this summer: Tour outline, and Tour overview map.

    Can't wait!

    All the best,
    Ted
    Veg Cyclist

  18. #18
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    3. Jasper - Banff - Glacier National park
    4. San Juan Islands (Washington) + Whidbey Island + Victoria, Canada
    5. Sunshine Coast, B.C.
    6. Northern New Mexico/Southern Colorado (Albuquerque - Santa Fe - Taos - Mesa Verde)
    I'm considering the Jasper to Banff route this summer, but it's not set in stone yet. I'm thinking about taking the train to Jasper and then cycling to Banff/Lake Louise and home.

    I cycled the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island a few years ago. It's a beautiful ride and it's got its own unique culture to it. Summer is the best time for this loop since fall, winter and spring can be rainy.

    The northern New Mexico and southern Colorado route sounds like a lot of fun. I've been to some of those areas, but not by bike.
    Life is good.

  19. #19
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VeloVeg View Post
    With all of these afore mentioned touring locations in mind, this is what I have planned for about 3 months this summer: Tour outline, and Tour overview map.
    That looks like a terrific journey.

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    arctos, thanks so much for the additional info. I'm on vacation in Tucson right now, and might have some questions later, but for now, just want to say thanks!!!!

    ...

  21. #21
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Here is a detailed site about bike routes in British Columbia:

    http://www.vanc.igs.net/~roughley/bike_bc.html

  22. #22
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    I nominate Quebec City to Tadoussac, through an area called Charlevoix, which runs east of Quebec and ends just before Tadoussac. The region is extremely hilly -- 12% grades are not uncommon, and the steepest are 18% or 20% -- but riding is fantastic throughout Charlevoix. This is where the Laurentian Mountains meet the St. Lawrence River. Fjords... whales and seals... islands... a meteor crater... great food... friendly people...

    This is not a trip for the faint of heart. For much of the route there is only one road, and traffic can be intense. When I did the trip in 2002, there were a lot of trucks. However, I took a bus through Charlevoix last year, and noticed that there are now wide paved shoulders most of the way. I have also heard that there is a dedicated bicycle path at the east end of the route.

  23. #23
    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I'd be interested in journals, maps or other info on the trips mentioned if links are available.
    Late, How long was the Champlain loop?
    Mev, the trip in your link looked amazing. A really interesting and ambitious route.
    BengeBoy, I will see if I can find a copy of that book.

    My preferences run to longer trips, especially if it is somewhere I need to fly to. I really think it takes a couple weeks to even get into the right mindset, but like most folks my available time is somewhat limited until retirement, and that is probably still a few years off.
    The Champlain loop is approxmately 60 miles, if you use the Ferry. If not, I would say add another 30 miles or so.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Yes ... don't forget about Canada!!

    I would like to cycle in the following places here:

    1) Vancouver Island ... I've been there for a few days (cycling), and could easily spend a couple weeks touring.

    2) From the Grande Prairie area up through the NWT, Yukon, and into Alaska ... I lived in the Grande Prairie area for many years and drove (and cycled to a certain extent) all over that area, and I've been up into the NWT. I'd like to keep going with that!

    3) The Canadian Rockies ... I ride in them every year and just don't get tired of it.

    4) The Maritimes ... I've never been there, but have always wanted to go. One day.



    Just to name a few.

  25. #25
    Senior Member knoregs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xfimpg View Post
    The Champlain loop is approxmately 60 miles, if you use the Ferry. If not, I would say add another 30 miles or so.
    If you really want to loop around Lake Champlain, you're looking at about 200 miles. I'm doing this ride Saturday actually. At the north end of the lake I'll cross via bridge to Rouses Point, NY and I'll use another bridge near Crown Point, NY to cross back into VT. Or I might go clockwise instead. Haven't decided yet. According to my mapping software it'll be nearly 190 miles, so I might detour a little to make a double out of it. The loop could easily be shortened up by using one of the ferries.

    ~kn

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