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  1. #1
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Impact of Lake Champlain Flooding on Champlain Bikeways Route

    Does anyome know how the current Lake Champlain flooding has affected the Lake Champlain Bikeways route that circles the lake? We had been planning to ride the 330 mile loop (and some surrounding routes) in late July this year. We are interested in road/trail conditions and impact to camp grounds and lodging near the lake, ferries and bridges. Should we selelct a different place for our trip this year and maybe do Champlain another (dryer) year? Any first hand knowledge is appreciated!

    Here is our planned route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/27629204

    Thanks!

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    Its a mess here! The state parks in Vermont along the lake may not open until July. Right now many of the ferries can't run because the lake is too high. The causeway to the Champlain Island from Colchester/Milton has been closed at times due to high water. But they have managed to get it open, if only a single lane. From what I hear, the NY side is really bad, especially around Rouses Point and down along the lake in Port Henry, Minerva area. Mud slides and roads washed out.

    However, since you aren't going until the end of July, I would guess that most roads will be fixed by then. The state campgrounds should be open, but who knows. They must be a mess with drift wood and debris washing over them. Flood stage is 100ft, we hit 103, went down to 102.3, but we've had rain this week and the lake is going back up and is at 102.8 this morning. I've heard that it will take 20 days to drop the lake 1 ft, provided no/little rain in that period. So around 60 days to just get the lake down to flood stage or just below. Most roads aren't flooded at flood stage (100ft), just many homes along the shore.

    Given your route, I don't see any issues with roads come late July, but I would have backup plans in placeif you were going to camp in state parks.
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

  3. #3
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    This is a video of a local (Burlington)landmark along the Burlington Bikepath. We've stopped here many times to get ice cream and other treats in the summer . It gives a sense of the flooding.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=228k9R_n3xg

    Also, the Burlington Marathon on Memorial Day weekend uses the bikepath, but they have had to reroute it off the bikepath due to water and debris.

    http://www.necn.com/05/18/11/Flood-d...35&feedID=4206
    Last edited by VT_Speed_TR; 05-19-11 at 09:13 AM.
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

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    This was on the NY side, luckily no one hurt. The road has been fixed and the women who was in the stuck SUV was the first to drive across the repaired road!

    http://www.cbs6albany.com/sections/a...284697&db=wrgb
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

  5. #5
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Great information! Thanks guys. I hope you get some relief soon. We have had about 3 days of sun and 87 days of rain over the past three months here in Pittsburgh, and still more rain in the forecast this weekend. We have been sending all of our rain down the Ohio River to the Mississippi so really noone is happy about this mess...

  6. #6
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Yikes, it looks pretty bad. This thread is timely because my wife and I had planned a similar trip for the second week of June. I guess we have to come up with Plan B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rogerstg View Post
    Yikes, it looks pretty bad. This thread is timely because my wife and I had planned a similar trip for the second week of June. I guess we have to come up with Plan B.
    You could still ride that route, there are always other roads a little further from the lake. The big issue will be camping, if that was you intention. Don't want to scare you away. Besides, things are really greening up with all the rain :-) The Rouse Point bridge is still open in the north and I know that the temporary ferry at the bridge construction site of the former Crown Point Bridge is running, as is the Grand Isle ferry.
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

  8. #8
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    rogerstg - You are welcome to use any part of our route we posted on mapmyride above. Our route follows all mapped bike routes but stays on the Vermont side for the southern portion to avoid the busier roads in NY state. You can download the route to most GPS devices to make things easy to follow. If you just use paper maps you will have to catch about two hundred turns from road to road to stay on the Bikeways trails all the way around.

    I think we will wait until some time in June to decide if we are going to ride Champlain this year or seek an alternative...

    I am hoping the waters receed quickly for all of those unfortunate folks affected by this...

  9. #9
    djb
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    that area is really a pretty one to bike in, hope things get sorted out as I would like to return there this summer with my wife. Did a bit last summer with friends and kids.

  10. #10
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
    rogerstg - You are welcome to use any part of our route
    Thanks. Plan B may be to spend more time around Montreal. Our plan is mostly to camp. Maybe the flooding will just add to the adventure.

  11. #11
    djb
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    roger-just to mention that around the Richelieu River area, south of Montreal, they had a fair amount of flooding recently also, so do check up how camping is affected around that area. You would think that by July it will be cleaned up, but do keep it in mind for your planning. As I dont know anyone living in the flood areas, I didnt really keep track of the specific communities flooded but in the news here it was shown to be rather significant (the army came in to help).
    cheers

  12. #12
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    I can highly recommend the trail north of Montreal, petit Train du Nord. Rode it with my daughter a few years back and had a great time. Took a shuttle to the northern end and rode back toward Montreal. Great food along the way. Here's my trip report,

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=3746&v=2r
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

  13. #13
    djb
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    oh btw, just looked up info on Lake Champlain flooding and saw this photo report of the damage to the biking causeway (old rail line thing). More damage than I thought and who knows when the State will get around to fixing it, so definately needs to be kept track of before planning.

    http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/a...|mostpopphotos

  14. #14
    Which bike should I ride? bullwinkle's Avatar
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    Timely thread. I'm also planning to ride up thru Burlington and along the islands in mid-July. I've been planning to ride the old rail line (with its short ferry) up to the Alburg area (a B&B there), and then to continue through Rouses Point and along the Route Verte up to Montreal the next day. Is this gonna be do-able?

  15. #15
    djb
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    who knows Moose, I do hope they fix it as your route would be a very nice ride. We only went on the causeway from the south island along it to the "ferry" part (had lunch out there) but its quite pretty and neat going along it. Was quite surprised to see how high the water was up to the causeway bike path level, when we were there last summer the water was a good 3-4 feet lower it seemed than in the photos.

    In any case, using the interwebz you will be able to keep track and/or find out who to call to see what progress is being made.

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    Here is the NOAA page to monitor lake level:

    http://www.erh.noaa.gov/btv/html/lake.php

    As far as the old rail line causeway to the islands, who knows. The weekend ferry service needs to put in docks each year and with the high water level, that could be delayed, which may cause them to cancel the bike ferry service. I'd check in with Localmotion,org, as your trip time gets closer. No one will have an answer at this time, since its still flooding and FEMA is here to acccess damage and determine if the state will get any money.

    http://www.localmotion.org/

    They have a picture of the causeway bike path that is just so amazing.

    From Burlington, you could take the Burlington bike path into Colchester, then ride roads around Mallets Bay, and then on Rt7/2 (kind of busy, but a short stretch) to the RT2 causeway over to the islands. Again, not the rail trail, but it gets you to the islands. Or I could give you a shuttle over there if you need it.
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

  17. #17
    Which bike should I ride? bullwinkle's Avatar
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    Thx, VT_Speed_TR, I saw the localmotion pages and pix, where they say their ferry service may be postponed for the entire 2011 season. Thus, it doesn't look good at all for riding the railway causeway. I noticed the Ticonderoga ferry is also suspended (I'll be traveling north from Albany), but I suspect it will be back up and running by the time of my trip. If not, I can cross the lake at the temporary Crown Pt ferry based on your earlier post above.

    I appreciate the shuttle offer. I may want to get back in touch with you later to determine the best/safest route from South Burlington (where my hotel will be) to the Rte 2 causeway.

  18. #18
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    Be happy to help, just send me a message. I can also point you to great places to eat and also a must see, small bike shop in Burlington - oldspokehome.com
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

  19. #19
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Wow! It was not that long along, boat docks were left high and dry in the Great Lakes.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

  20. #20
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    This is great information! Thanks for the advice and links. I am not optimistic for the causeway this season as that looks time consuming and expensive to fix and I suspect initial resources will go to home, businesse and road repair. Are most of the on-road parts of the route around the lake in rideable condition?

    I cannot thank you all enough for the help.

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    You should have no issues with on road routes. I don't know of any road closures at this point and given that you won't be here for many weeks from now you'll have no issues with the Champlain route.
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

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    Thanks for the info.

    I'm planning a short tour in this area in August. I'll be starting in Meredith NH and meeting people in Quechee 6 days later. Haven't decided on a route (or a bike) yet, but was definitely planning to include the Champlain Valley.

    I have the ACA and Local Motion maps.

    Any input would be appreciated.

    VT Speed - How do you like that new Casseroll? How would it be in VT with a mid-sized load, say 30-40 lbs?

    Jay

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    I haven't had a chance to ride the Casseroll with that size load. My normal full load for touring is 25 -30 lbs on a Surly LHT. The Surly is certainly a heavier and stiffer frame, and I'm not sure how well the Casseroll would handle something like 40 lbs. I anticipate using the Casseroll when my loads are under 20 lbs. I've read some post on MTBR.com/salsa about the Casseroll and heavier loads. But I'm not sure those were from experiences with the new Casseroll or the last version.
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

  24. #24
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    VtT_Speed_TR - Have you toured on your Fargo? I just finished building a 2011 Fargo for touring (got it in Fun Guy Green, not pearl white) but have not tried it with a load yet. Supposedly the new 2011 frames are slightly more of a MTB geometry, but I think I might have preferred the older geometry more. I am riding 50mm Schwalbe Big Apple tires now and I find them really comfy to ride on all of the crap we deal with here in Pittsburgh.

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    I've only done some overnights camping trips with less then 15 lbs in some rear panniers and a handlebar bag. I was out riding last night along some beat up dirt roads filled with big rocks and potholes. The Fargo just sails along, I love it. I'm planning a longer weekend trip this fall in northern Maine, camping and exploring the dirt backroads there. The Fargo should be perfect for that type of ride. I hope to use it next year on a week trip along the Great Divide route. I run the stock WTB Vulpine's, which roll very well and with all that volume really smooth out the road. And of course, Fun Guy Green is the only color a Fargo should be, its the fastest ;-)

    Last edited by VT_Speed_TR; 05-25-11 at 05:17 AM.
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

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