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Old 02-25-10, 01:04 AM   #1
gorshkov
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Down the Oklahoma Panhandle (route advice)

I'm planning a tour that will go past Black Mesa (highest point in OK, end of the panhandle) on the way to Tulsa, and I was wondering if anyone on here has ridden down the panhandle and can comment on highways 64 and 412. Which would be a better bike route? On Google maps, 412 looks like it has a bigger shoulder, but its hard to tell, and it also looks like it has heavier traffic. If you have ridden either (or both) of these highways down the panhandle, any feedback you can give would be appreciated. If there is another (mostly) paved route on back roads, that might be even better.
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Old 02-25-10, 06:52 AM   #2
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Can't comment on the highways, but thanks for the tip about Black Mesa.

I've got this urge to make a round thru 5 states in that area and Black Mesa SP looks like a nice diversion. Five states, seven days.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en...f4f62403c3&z=9
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Old 02-25-10, 07:17 AM   #3
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I hope you are considering riding form Raton, NM. Hwys 72 & 456.
The road is 95% paved with only a very short, hard-packed section.
Since it is the Upper Cimarron Valley, it would fit into your trip.

I road US 64 a number of years back and was quite pleased.
It had very light traffic and was one of the finest rides out there -
(That is - if you are headed east with tailwinds)

If you did US 64 you would have to ride US 54 from Guymon to Hooker.
That is a 4-lane highway with shoulders and pretty high traffic.
Or you could ride a back county road - paved - from US 56 to Hooker.
That means riding on US 56 about 24 miles northeast of Boise City.

US 412 has three to four times the amount of traffic than US 64.
I took US 64 all the way to Alva and continued east on Hwy 11.
Services are few and far between, but the ride was fabulous.


http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/public-info/index.htm
http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/aadtc...0-%20Statewide
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Old 02-25-10, 08:00 AM   #4
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I can't comment on those particular roads. I will say, based on my fairly limited experience in the area, that road maintenance in general is poor in Oklahoma so I would generally expect roads to be in a fairly poor state of repair.
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Old 02-25-10, 11:47 AM   #5
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I live in Oklahoma and have driven (a couple of years ago) but not ridden the western half of your requested route so take this as you want.

Coming from Boise City (Black Mesa), I would suggest US-64 to OK-11 (near Cherokee). Continue east on OK-11 to Blackwell. The AADT count is 1600 or less (except for the Guymon to Hooker section which can be avoided with extra miles).

From Blackwell, there are back roads to Ponca City. From Ponca City there is a county road to Fairfax. From there, take OK-18 to Ralston then OK-20 to Hominy. Again, all have low AADT. From Hominy, there are a couple of county road options or you can take OK-20 to Skiatook and then the Osage Prairie Rail Trail into Tulsa.

You should know that Oklahoma unfortunately does not put much money toward quality roads. Also, the above route has many "towns" (more like wide spots in the road) without ANY services between Boise City and Blackwell. If you go in the summer, carry plenty of water and always top off.

Winds are mainly out of the south during the summer. During the spring, you can expect extreme weather with strong winds out of all directions depending on the weather pattern.

If you have specific questions, feel free to email me at john at nettlesfamily com .

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Old 02-26-10, 01:39 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the feedback. It looks like I will be riding on 64 (mostly). Jamawami, the route through NM sounds fun, but it looks like getting down to Raton from US-160 (the current plan is to take the Western Express, but to drop down to Wolf Creek Pass instead of Monarch Pass) would require riding on I-25 from Trinidad to Raton. Are bicycles allowed on that stretch of interstate?
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Old 02-26-10, 10:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorshkov View Post
Are bicycles allowed on that stretch of interstate?
Yes. In Colorado, it's officially signed. In NM, not. But I rode it and was passed by two highway patrol. They just kept on truckin'. So did I.

From Raton, at the top of Raton Pass, it felt really great to see that bicycle route sign welcoming me and the magnificent veiw that went with it.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...=Az#pic_225374
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Old 02-26-10, 10:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorshkov View Post
Thanks for all the feedback. It looks like I will be riding on 64 (mostly). Jamawami, the route through NM sounds fun, but it looks like getting down to Raton from US-160 (the current plan is to take the Western Express, but to drop down to Wolf Creek Pass instead of Monarch Pass) would require riding on I-25 from Trinidad to Raton. Are bicycles allowed on that stretch of interstate?
Are you riding the Western Express from Delores, Colorado?
If so you have a number of options which avoid I-25.

1) You can ride the Western Express to Gunnison -
Then take CO 114 to Saguache
Then take county paved roads over to Great Sand Dunes -
Then take CO 150 to US 160 -

At La Veta take the CO 12 loop to Trinidad
Then take US 160 about 30 miles to CO 389/NM 551.
(The stretch east of Trinidad is VERY remote.)

2) Or you can take the Western Express to Cotopaxi -
Then take the paved county road to Hillside
Then take CO 69 to Walsenburg
Then backtrack west on US 160 a few miles to La Veta
Follow above from La Veta
(There's a wonderful old railroad grade trail from Sargents to Poncha Creek.)

3) Of if you are really daring you can cross Cinnamon Pass
From Ridgway head south on US 550 to Silverton
Take dirt road over Cinnamon Pass to Lake City
Then take CO 149 over Slumgullion Pass to US 160 at South Fork
From Del North, I would tkae county roads over to Great Sand Dunes
Follow #1 from GSD.

4) A fourth option is to head down to Taos, NM.
From Pagosa Springs on US 160 you can take US 84 and US 64.
From Monte Vista you can take CO 15* to La Jara and US 285 to US 64.
Both have you cross the High Bridge over the Rio Grande Gorge.
Then US 64 is a pleasant crossing over the Sangre de Cristo Mtns.
(Moderate to light traffic, but no shoulders)
You have to ride on I-25 for 5 miles into Raton.

BTW - It is legal to ride on interstates in most of the West.

<<>>

I've ridden US 160 in Colorado many times.
It has two parts - Mountains=Busy; Plains=Empty.
The mountain part keeps getting busier -
with great shoulders in some parts and none in others.
Still, Mesa Verde, Durango, and Pagosa Springs are all quite nice.
Wolf Creek Summit has been rebuilt.
I use it only when I have to.

If you decide to do Cinnamon Pass
Remember that is stays snowed in late and the snow comes early.
If you have the capability to do this dirt section - it is awesome.
You will huff and puff in the high altitude - probably stop often.
(But that's OK - remember to check your brakes coming down.)
The road west of Lake City has some of the finest mountain scenery and camping in Colorado.

If I wanted to do all pavement -
I would choose #1.
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