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  1. #1
    Junior Member NateCav's Avatar
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    Mid-June USA Tour Options



    Hello experts and gurus!! I have a question about a cross-USA routing for mid/late June. As you'll see, I'm pondering a couple different options for cross-USA routes, leaving from the Bay Area and ending in New York. They are both based on a combination of ACA maps, some routes I've seen on previous tours and adjustments based on some personal goals for places to visit on the trip.

    The northern option stitches together some routes through NE California (stunning country where I've always wanted to tour on a bike), the Trans-America ACA Route, Lewis & Clark, Northern Teir, North Lakes, etc.

    The southern is made up of ACA's Western Express, Trans-America Route and some improvising in the midwest.

    While I welcome any general thoughts about the route, I had a couple specific questions:

    1.) In mid-June will the northern route encounter much snow? (I know this sounds crazy, but traveling in NE Cal last year in July there was snow)

    2.) Are there a lot of bikers is the Trans-America or other ACA routes in mid-July? It seems like this would be the peak season for touring the US.

    3.) Based on any of y'alls experience, does anything strike you as particularly off about any of this routing?

    4.) I've read some people say the Northern Route can be a bit dull because of the unending plains. Anyone have thoughts on that?

    Many thanks for looking this over!

  2. #2
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    I have done the entirety of AC's Northern Tier route (the western portion to Glacier N.P. twice). What "unending plains?" You have about 1 week in ND and maybe 4-5 days of possibly similar terrain in MT. (I have ridden the "High Line" in northeast MT but never in the southeast part of the state.) Personally, I found ND to be interesting and later went back there for a week-long supported event. Lots of wide open space. Lakes and ponds filled with water fowl. Endless fields of sunflowers. Friendly people. Some kitsch. (Goes to Strausburg and take a tour of Lawrence Welk's homestead, which is a nicely preserved historical site complete with panneled sod house.) And it's not flat in a lot of places. Once you get into MN you start getting into more forested areas. I wouldn't be surpised if you'd encounter more days of plains on the TransAm in eastern CO and KS.

    It was my experience that the NT is much less popular than the TA. Saw almost no one on the part of the NT shown on your map the first time, although we did start early (around May 25th from Seattle). This summer I rode for a few days on the TA from Missoula heading "east." Started June 29th. Ran into at least 6 people, including one guy in the first 10 miles or so. Got off the TA for a few days and then stayed in a town (Twin Bridges, MT) that was on the route. Met 4 more people there. However, they were all heading east-west. Back in '00 I rode the portion of the TA between Missoula and Fairplay, CO. That was between the 3rd week of June and mid-July. Saw/met numerous people going in both directions.

    Don't think you will have to owrry about snow in/past OR.

    Looks like you route goes through Butte. Feel free to send me a PM is you would like some advice about that area. I was there this summer and can recommend some options heading out of Missoula.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    I'd say it's half a dozen one way or the other. They'll both be fun. Might decide by chosing which mix of geography/attractions along the way you'd find more interesting. You'll probably find that hard to do. I would. Best to do one this summer, another the next.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  4. #4
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    I noticed that your route on the Northern Tier takes you through what looks to be the Williston, ND area. I read somewhere that because of the explosion of traffic due to the oil boom in that part of North Dakota, the Adventure Cycling Association will be changing the Northern Tier route away from that area, so you might want to reconsider that part of your route and check in with them about that. News reports also indicate that motel rooms and lodging are extremely scarce in the Williston area due to overwhelming demand from employers and their employees.

    Also, your northern route goes via Duluth, MN, which is where I live, and if you have questions about that area, I can help, so private message me if you'd like to know more about roads, food, and lodging in the Duluth area. Are you a member of warmshowers?

    The riding through northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin can be really beautiful. I do see some long distance cyclists on US 2 in Wisconsin, but I don't think that's the best choice in this area -- there are less traveled, safer, and more pleasant alternatives. I'm pretty familiar with the stretch of US 2 between Superior and Ashland, and although the surface largely is good for that segment, US 2 between Superior and Ashland has pretty heavy traffic in the summer and minimal or no shoulders (except for a few places). Not fun at all, at least for me. Again, I can provide alternative routings if you'd like.

    Aaron
    Last edited by OldZephyr; 12-07-11 at 10:56 AM. Reason: Add thoughts about route

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZephyr View Post
    I noticed that your route on the Northern Tier takes you through what looks to be the Williston, ND area. I read somewhere that because of the explosion of traffic due to the oil boom in that part of North Dakota, the Adventure Cycling Association will be changing the Northern Tier route away from that area, so you might want to reconsider that part of your route and check in with them about that. News reports also indicate that motel rooms and lodging are extremely scarce in the Williston area due to overwhelming demand from employers and their employees.
    From what I have heard your are correct about the traffic in the area, including on Rte. 1804. (Don;t know either way about AC changing it's route, but it wouldn't surprise me. That's too bad. When I rode through there in '99 there was almost no traffic on 1804 east of town until you got to New Town. Someone familiar with current conditions suggested that U.S. 2 would be a more pleasant option to Minot since it at least has a good shoulder, which I think 1804 lacks. The big loss not going that way is Lewis & Clark State Park off of 1804 east of Williston. Nice place right on the lake.

    The NYT recently ran an article about the housing crisis. Some people are living in FEMA trailers. Some doubt that they are insulated enough for ND winters.

  6. #6
    Junior Member NateCav's Avatar
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    Extremely helpful guys. I really appreciate the information. I know that I'm quite late to the party with regards to diving deep on crazyguyonabike (I've always been a little underwhelmed by the site's Eastern Bloc feel - I mean, isn't there a cyclist/coder/designer out there who can hook that up?). But I'm amazed at the wealth of information on there - a person could literally look over photos of every stop of their tour through piecing together other's trip diaries! Amazing. Anyway, thanks particularly about the info about Willston - sounds like a place to bypass.

  7. #7
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    Here is the word direct from the ACA about rerouting the Northern Tier, see link below:

    *Section 3, Map BC-1123 Cut Bank, MT to Minot, ND and section 4, Map BC-1124 Minot, ND to Fargo, ND are on backorder, they have been discontinued due to increased traffic caused by oil and gas exploration in western North Dakota. We are re-routing these sections and the maps will not be available until late April of 2012. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and we thank you for your patience. You will automatically receive the new maps when they become available.*


    http://www.adventurecycling.org/stor...-section-3.cfm

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    I'd just detour through SD. Great cycling experience, SD. Roads seem to be designed to accomodate cycling, and traffic generally light.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  9. #9
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    Here's an option for a reroute through South Dakota. We rode east to west so I can't comment about the weather conditions leaving from the west coast. The route turned out to be quite nice. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...id=183586&v=M4

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