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Old 01-22-09, 05:27 PM   #1
bikiola
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new york to minnesota via canada/lakes

has anyone does the route north, 17 through buffalo, 400 north into canada, then bear west in between huron and superior on 17 into wisconsin? how are those roads between buffalo and canada, bikeable? is the scenery and stealth camping available?
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Old 01-22-09, 05:31 PM   #2
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This is roughly what I was thinking: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2509036
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Old 01-23-09, 07:21 AM   #3
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I haven't done it. New York State Dept of Transportation is setting up a network of "bike routes" around the state; I think maps of three of these are now available, including a southern tier route and one of the Erie Canal, both of which look pretty attractive to me. You should probably try to get these maps at the very least. A lot of people have ridden the Erie Canal (myself not included) but if you search for threads on that, I think you'll find some.


Edit: Here's a link to the NYSDoT page where they tell about these maps.

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Old 01-23-09, 07:23 AM   #4
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Is that not the Trans Canada highway. Think I've read it has wide shoulder. Hundreds of miles of wilderness riding. Sounds good. Expect black flies.
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Old 01-23-09, 07:40 AM   #5
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I somehow can't see your pedometer map, but I've done 17 between Thunder Bay and Espanola. I took a ferry between South Beymouth and Tobermory and if 400 is too big/busy the ferry from Tobermory be an alternative to consider. The roads I was on between Owen Sound and close to Toronto had a fair amount of traffic and not very wide shoulders. They were ridable but less pleasant than the less busy roads I'd been used to further north in Ontario. My notes for that trip are here: http://www.mvermeulen.com/canada/ I stayed in motels but there are a bunch of woods out there where one should be able to camp.

Your notes about "between Huron and Superior" suggest you would cross back into US at Sault Ste Marie. On a different trip from the one above, I came across US2 along northern shores of Lake Michigan (after that crossed Straits of Macinac and continued across Michigan). Again US2 was good road with a fair amount of forest.

From the rides I've ridden, I prefer riding north of Lake Huron than south of it (and I also had a third trip different from the two above when I came across from Buffalo, rode across Michigan and then took the Ludington Ferry to Wisconsin).

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Old 01-23-09, 07:45 AM   #6
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I haven't done it. New York State Dept of Transportation is setting up a network of "bike routes" around the state; I think maps of three of these are now available, including a southern tier route and one of the Erie Canal, both of which look pretty attractive to me. You should probably try to get these maps at the very least. A lot of people have ridden the Erie Canal (myself not included) but if you search for threads on that, I think you'll find some.
The OP's link to the route isn't working for me but it seems like he's following one of the three NY State bike routes for a long stretch. I also haven't done them yet but hopefully will go along Route 17 from the Finger Lakes Region into NYC somewhen this summer. The maps for the bike routes are available here. Seems like they recently redesigned the website and turned it into something more usable and nice-looking.

Camping in NY is difficult as most land is privately owned and many campgrounds around here have silly 2-night minimum stay requirements.
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Old 01-23-09, 07:57 AM   #7
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The OP's link to the route isn't working for me...Route 17 from the Finger Lakes Region into NYC somewhen this summer.
Having his pedometer map would help here since there are two potential "route 17" roads.

One is the one you refer and the other one is part of the Trans-Canada Highway north of Lake Huron.
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Old 01-23-09, 09:04 AM   #8
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Let me organize my thoughts a little better:

(1) I assume you picking a cycle route from Buffalo to Minnesota.
(2) A big determinant for the macro level of the trip is what you do relative to the Great Lakes.
I've done three trips with different combinations relative to the Great Lakes:
(a) 1988 - Overall trip Boston to Rochester, MN. I went south of Lake Ontario, north of Lake Erie (by Buffalo),
south of Lake Huron, across Lake Michigan (Luddington ferry) and south of Lake Superior.
(b) 1992 - Overall trip Astoria to Portland, ME. I went south of Lake Superior, north of Lake Michigan, south
of Lake Huron, south of Lake Erie and south of Lake Ontario.
(c) 1997 - Overall trip Fairbanks to St John's, NE. I went north of Lake Superior, north of Lake Michigan,
north of Lake Huron, north of Lake Erie and north of Lake Ontario.

Your trip is proposing: north of Lake Huron, north of Lake Erie, north of Lake Michigan and south of Lake Superior?

At a macro level, this seems reasonable to me, based on rides I've done:
(a) I liked north of Huron through Ontario better than cutting across south through Michigan (& London Ontario)
(b) South of Superior and north of Michigan was reasonable on US2, I suspect northern road as well.
(c) I would definitely prefer north of Erie to south of it.
(d) North of Superior is also a nice ride and potential alternative to crossing at Sault Ste Marie but I have
no strong preferences.
(3) Without seeing your pedometer route, you are referring to a road 400 in Ontario. I haven't been on it, but maps
suggest a fairly major highway and also not too far from Toronto. I would be cautious here and potentially
seek out smaller roads. In general, I preferred seeing Canada more when I was away from the Trans-Canada
highway though in a few narrow spots there weren't many alternatives. An alternative I took that you might
want to look at is the ferry from Tobermory.

Anyways, forgive me if I misunderstood or was confused where you were actually trying to ride.
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Old 01-23-09, 12:14 PM   #9
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hey guys, thanks for all the quick responses! the gmap doesn't seem to be working for me either, actually, i think they're buggy on larger distances. attached is an image of a VERY rough sketch of my thoughts. it would appear that i'm thinking of crossing thru sault st maria indeed. any more thoughts on this trip would be great! thanks again!
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File Type: jpg snip-biketrip.jpg (112.1 KB, 31 views)
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Old 01-23-09, 12:16 PM   #10
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i should add: i definitely don't want the trans-canada highway; are there no smaller roads that follow a similar path? i don't have *too* much time and would like not to add another 2 weeks to my trip if i can avoid it (i was thinking 5 weeks should do it)
thanks!
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Old 01-23-09, 03:22 PM   #11
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Canadian comment here, and bikes are not allowed on the 400 highways. They are busy freeways, and it wouldn't be fun anyway. You will have to find smaller roads that run more or less parallel to them.
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Old 01-23-09, 03:54 PM   #12
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Boudicca - are there roads that are parallel?
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Old 01-23-09, 06:36 PM   #13
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I would strongly consider riding up through Owen Sound, to Tobermory, the ferry crossing Lake Huron/Georgian Bay, to Manitoulin Island and up to Hwy. 17; a little shorter, quieter route. Just avoid Hwy.s 6 and 10 where possible. Hwy. 400 isn't rideable like others have said, but I'm pretty sure Hwy 400 isn't open up to Sudbury yet, only to Parry Sound. From P.S. north, is the current Hwy 69, which is rideable, just a few short sections of small to non existent shoulers. Quiet routes up to Orillia are fairly east to find, but from there to P.S. is a bit convoluted, yet ideal for cycling, i.e. Southwood Road (CR 13). Going that way is the closest thing to paralleling the 400. If you need more details, let me know, as I rode this last summer.

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Old 01-24-09, 07:05 AM   #14
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thecrunge, that sounds actually nicer and the shorter distance doesn't bother me - i just want a nicer ride. but according to the maps, you must take 6 from Manitoulin Island to get to 17, right? or are there small parallel routes along the way?
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Old 01-24-09, 11:43 AM   #15
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Your right, Hwy. 6 is really the only way (and quickest) to 17. It's fine as long as when you get off the ferry (bikes and motorcycles off first) and pull off to the side of the road in South Baymouth to let all of the traffic go by, you then almost have Hwy 6 to yourself (well for a little while, it gets busier around Little Current).
Hwy 6 doesn't have paved shoulders to L.C., but after the semi-decrepid single lane bridge at the N. edge of town, you'll be on a beautiful one ~8 ft wide. That shoulder will last to just north of the La Cloche mountains (not really mountains, big hills), after which will be ~20 kms (13 mi) of crappy narrow pavement into Espanola, at that point, it becomes 4 lanes.
Also, consider taking Lee Valley Rd. west from downtown Espanola. According to my map, it begins as Barber Street, then changes its name to Lee Valley. From the one photo I've seen on Crazyguy, it looks like a very nice respite from the busy Hwy 17, though unfortunately it doesn't last for long, only to the town of Massey. Hope that helps!

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Old 01-25-09, 08:24 PM   #16
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thecrunge, thanks for all your help. one last question; how do feel the camping would go up in those areas? sufficient space to stealth camp? helpful small town places where you can crash for a night?
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Old 01-25-09, 08:38 PM   #17
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Wave hi to my brother & his family, and my mom as you pass through West Seneca.
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Old 01-25-09, 09:32 PM   #18
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For camping on Manitoulin, there's Batman(!) campground in (or very near) Sheguindah; a tent/trailer park at Vanzant's Point on Lake Manitou, just off 6, near Manitouwaning; I think a campground in or near South Baymouth; there could be a couple more on or near Hwy 6, but I'm not sure. Last summer I stayed at a trailer park run by a cop in the community of Birch Island, ~20 kms N. of Little Current. He charged me $15. He said he was getting out of transient camping, but would make an exception for cyclists, presumably because we tourists are a behaved bunch. See www.manitoulin-island.com To the south, on the mainland at Tobermory, there are 3 campgrounds (I believe Lands' End is one); and Happy Hearts camp. 4 kms south of there. But wait, there's more! From what a local told me, 2 campgrounds on Miller Lake, 30 kms (18 mi.) S. of Tobermory, off #6 a bit. And one right in Wiarton, on the waterfront. Oh, and there's a KOA just to the east of the town of Owen Sound; $24.
Now, I think stealth camping is doable in places; maybe somewhere along the Bruce Trail (a ~700km hiking trail from Queenston to Tobermory), which you'll be close by on the Bruce Penninsula. Possibly on Manitoulin here and there. PM me for more info on that.
For places to crash, I suppose if you ask someone nicely, they might let you set up on their front yard. I've never tried this myself, but people up there seem very friendly.
If you need an accurate, direct and quiet route from Buffalo(?) to Tobermory, I'll help you with that too. Cheers!
Edit: I'm positive I saw something about legal wild camping on Great La Cloche Island which is just across the 1 lane bridge from Little Current.

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Old 01-29-09, 04:10 PM   #19
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Bikes aren't allowed on hwy 400. (and you wouldn't want to!)

A pleasant route between Niagara Falls and Toronto would be roughly following the waterfront trail (http://www.waterfronttrail.org)

This site can give you some good ideas for some routes from Toronto northwards - which are randonneurs club rides, ie. look at Maple to Barrie.
http://randonneursontario.ca/routes/torroutes.html

Once you hit northern Ontario you're on the trans Canada.
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