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Old 07-18-08, 06:06 PM   #1
brotherdan
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Highway 20 and Highway 30

I'll be leaving on a tour from Michigan to Wyoming and back, starting on Tuesday the 22 of July. I'll be taking US 12 from southeastern Michigan to Chicago, and picking up highway 30 on the west side of Chicago. I'll stay on 30 until I get to Nebraska, when I'll jump over to highway 20, using 275. 20 will carry me almost all the way to Lander, WY, which is my end point.

The only part of the route that appears to be tricky to me is the section of 20 that merges with interstate 25 near Douglas, WY, through Casper.

I'm familiar with the first leg of my trip, Ann Arbor, Michigan to Chicago on US 12. But from southwest Chicago on, it will be entirely new terrain for me until I reach western Wyoming.

If anybody has any experience with these roads or the area that I'll be touring through, any information that you can give me will be helpful. Having taken a train through much of this route last summer, I know that it is going to be some pretty boring countryside, so I'm going to push as hard as I can to get through this middle section of the tour as fast as possible. I'm just kind of winging this tour, without any info on camping or anything like that. I kind of like doing it that way, but just the same, I'd love to have some info on what to expect along the way.

Do you know any good camp grounds on this route? Is there anything that I should look out for? Do you know a good route between Douglas and Casper Wyoming? Are bicycles allowed on freeways in Wyoming?
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Old 07-18-08, 06:29 PM   #2
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I am on 20 in NE right now heading east. If you were here today you'd be in luck because I have headwinds. 20 in NE has been good. I came down from SD into Chadron and camped for free in the town park in Hay springs. Public bathroom that wasn't anything special but it was free. There are small towns every 20-30 miles but some have nothing more than a snack shop or a public well. Cody, NE also allows public camping but I chose to go on to Valentine instead. Don't know where I'll camp yet.
Rt 20 has a wide shoulder but sections of the shoulder have 1-3 inch cracks that run perpendicular to the road making for a bumpy ride if you have narrow or high pressure tires like me.
Check www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/rosey2008 when the site is back up. I'll have a play by play of my west to east across NE and IA.
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Old 07-18-08, 06:48 PM   #3
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I'll be leaving on a tour from Michigan to Wyoming and back, starting on Tuesday the 22 of July. I'll be taking US 12 from southeastern Michigan to Chicago, and picking up highway 30 on the west side of Chicago. I'll stay on 30 until I get to Nebraska, when I'll jump over to highway 20, using 275. 20 will carry me almost all the way to Lander, WY, which is my end point.

The only part of the route that appears to be tricky to me is the section of 20 that merges with interstate 25 near Douglas, WY, through Casper.

I'm familiar with the first leg of my trip, Ann Arbor, Michigan to Chicago on US 12. But from southwest Chicago on, it will be entirely new terrain for me until I reach western Wyoming.

If anybody has any experience with these roads or the area that I'll be touring through, any information that you can give me will be helpful. Having taken a train through much of this route last summer, I know that it is going to be some pretty boring countryside, so I'm going to push as hard as I can to get through this middle section of the tour as fast as possible. I'm just kind of winging this tour, without any info on camping or anything like that. I kind of like doing it that way, but just the same, I'd love to have some info on what to expect along the way.

Do you know any good camp grounds on this route? Is there anything that I should look out for? Do you know a good route between Douglas and Casper Wyoming? Are bicycles allowed on freeways in Wyoming?
My first advice... don't do it. Anything but a major US Highway. Granted, here in Illinois, I-88 picks up a lot of US 30 traffic, it's still not the best/safest bet.

I've ridden 30 from Morrison, IL to Clinton, IA. Not my favorite ride nor one I like to do, but it's the shortest ride to my Mom's house. Still lots of semi traffic. East of Morrison, the shoulder is gravel and there's too much traffic to not have a shoulder to ride on.

Pick county roads that parallel US 30. For instance, from Sterling-Rock Falls to Morrison, you'd be much better off on Hazel Road than US 30. Take US 30 from Morrison to Hwy 136 and take the 136 bridge to Clinton from Fulton. The US 30 bridge has no pedestrian walkway, but the 136 bridge over the Mississippi does, albeit narrow. IDOT has some free bicycle maps you can request to be mailed to you. They color codes roads and also shows if there's a shoulder or not. Once you get west of Clinton, IA, US 30 opens up into a 4 lane 65mph highway. Not a good time. From Clinton, I'd much rather ride west on 13th Avenue toward Elvira and on toward DeWitt. When it goes back to 2 lanes west of DeWitt, I think the shoulder disappears again, and again, there's a lot of truck traffic between Clinton and Cedar Rapids. So again, find a parallel road. As you get past Mt Vernon and closer to Cedar Rapids, it becomes a 4 lane 65mph road again. Probably not a great ride once again.
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Old 07-18-08, 08:22 PM   #4
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Are bicycles allowed on freeways in Wyoming?
Yes. While I haven't ridden it, I wouldn't be too worried about the ~20 miles of I-25 between those two unless there somehow was road construction. Here is the WDOT page: http://map.wyoroad.info/construction/index.html and it is a little unclear what might be going on in that area but there is an email contact. Worst comes to worst, hitchhike with your bike past that stretch.

Over 4th of July weekend I cycled from Fort Collins to Casper - though avoided the particular stretches of I-25 you are thinking about. I had a brief stretch of I-80 between Cheyenne and Laramie. I came up from I-25 in Colorado into Cheyenne but there was road construction on I-25 just after the border so I took other routes.

Speed limits in Wyoming are high (~80mph) and interstates are noisy riding, but shoulders are wide, rumble strips not too often and not much in way of trees or other visual obstructions in that area.
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Old 07-19-08, 04:09 AM   #5
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The only part of the route that appears to be tricky to me is the section of 20 that merges with interstate 25 near Douglas, WY, through Casper.
By the way, I checked a bit further on my Wyoming Atlas and Gazetteer. It does look like there is an alternate route to I-25 for the Douglas to Casper stretch:

Out of Douglas go north on WY 93 for looks like ~15-20 miles.
Turn west onto WY 95 (Glenrock Ross Road) for looks like ~15-20 miles to Glenrock.
From Glenrock, US 20 continues as a separate road distinct from I-25.

So looks like you bypass 20 miles of I-25 + 5 miles of US 20 = 25 miles
with ~35-40 miles of Wyoming State highways instead so 10-15 miles further but avoiding the interstate.

I would probably still be tempted to do I-25 there but it does look like there is an alternative.
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Old 07-19-08, 09:14 AM   #6
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Why?
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Old 07-20-08, 02:07 PM   #7
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Why?
Because I want to go backpacking with some friends in the Wind River Range. I don't like to use motorized transportation when I can avoid it, and my job was willing to give me enough time off to make it to Wyoming and back and allow for a little wilderness travel as well.
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Old 07-20-08, 02:09 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info. I don't mind lots of high speed traffic, but gravel shoulders are enough of a deterrent to make me seek an alternate route. I'll try to avoid areas without shoulders.
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Old 07-20-08, 02:26 PM   #9
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Why US 20 and US 30?

I live in Wyoming.
I have spent time in all of the mountain ranges including the Wind Rivers.
And I have many thousands of miles of touring experience.

I just think that taking a major highway is hardly a pleasant way of getting to Wyoming.
There are plenty of other roads if you are willing to research on line.
It really blows my mind that so many people ride these brutal highways.

Iowa has a great bike map resource showing county roads.
Nebraska has the Cowboy Trail that parallels US 20.
(Although NE 12 across the top of the state is really awesome)
In Wyoming there are county roads and state highways that can keep you off I-25.

J
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Old 07-24-08, 09:24 AM   #10
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US30 through Iowa is NOT fun on a bike. Find some alternates...please. It's one of the busiest east/west hiways across the state. You can go to the Iowa DOT web page and they have a PDF downloadable bicycle map that color codes the roads based on trafic count. Take a look at that. US30 between Missouri Valley and Blair, NE is flat out dangerous on a bike. It's not that wide, gravel shoulders, and lots of semi traffic. The semi's are more farm semis pulling grain trailers since Cargil has a huge terminal in Blair, so many of the drivers aren't as experienced as most over the road drivers.
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