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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Travelling Through the US

    Back in October 2012, I asked about some recommendations of where to visit and what to see on a 6-week trip around the US. This thread contains the advice we were given, as well as photos of the places we'd recommend visiting based on our experences there. We got to visit lots of great people, and saw lots of wonderful scenery.

    Feel free to continue to add your own recommendations and experiences about "must see" places in the US.






    In about 3 weeks time, we are planning to begin a drive from Calgary area down to Louisiana, which we estimate will take us a little over 2 weeks. We'd like to be in Louisiana for American Thanksgiving. It may be a fairly direct route, or it may meander here and there.

    Then we may do a little loop eastward, depending on how much time we have.

    And then we plan to drive back to Vancouver by heading west, and then north along the Pacific Coast, and again, that might take a little over 2 weeks.


    There's a good chance we could travel through the following states: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington, and possibly also Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Maybe some others, but those are the most likely candidates.



    Ideally, we would like to drive to a nice area, stop for 2-3 days and do a hub-and-spoke cycling tour, then drive to the next nice area, and repeat. A series of hub-and-spoke tours through the US.


    We'd like to take in some attractions ... maybe Logan's Pass if it isn't too snowy, maybe Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks, Grand Canyon, The Redwoods ...

    And if possible, we'd like to see some people along the way too.


    We're up for suggestions of good places to visit ... especially places with some great scenery and good cycling.

  2. #2
    Hooked on Touring
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    The west side of Going to the Sun in Glacier NP has already closed. There is still bicycle access on weekends only, but it will end with the first significant snowfall. Similarly, Yellowstone has begun closing its road network. All through roads will be closed by Nov 5 - earlier with significant snowfall. YNP no longer permits cycling on closed sections.

    If you are heading south from Calgary, I suggest continuing thru Cardston to US 89 (not I-15) if you want to see Glacier. You may still be able to get all the way to Logan Pass from St Mary - - and/or cycle to Many Glacier from Babb. Nearly all facilities will be closed. Likewise with Grand Teton - Jackson HOle can be beautiful in late fall or brutal. You would need to access via the Idaho side and come over Teton Pass. GTNP does permit cycling on its closed park roads.

    But both of these are iffy options. You don't have a great deal of time - - I would suggest heading down to the Utah parks which are spectacular - - then heading to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. (The North Rim is also closed.) Cycling the Taos loop in northern New Mexico is lovely - albeit on the cool side. But you are Canadian - albeit with thinned Aussie blood. One of the best possibilities is Big Bend NP - a fabulous ride this time of year - a big loop from Alpine, Texas - all services. Also, consider a loop in Cajun country in southwest Lousiana - Cameron, Abbeville, Bayou Teche. Remember that the area has experienced three major hurricanes in the past ten years - but there is no place with more welcoming folks or better food.

  3. #3
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    If you're coming through DFW, maybe contact Trinity Bicycles in Fort Worth. The owner does some randos so he might be able to recommend some good tours around the area. If nothing else, you could join our Wed or Sunday night pub crawl rides and take in some of the local culture (look for Night Riders on Facebook, if you have an account). I can't really recommend "scenery" rides around here, since almost all my miles are urban.
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    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

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    The Buffalo National River area in Northwest Arkansas is absolutely beautiful and you could be in the vicinity at peak fall colors! Lots of great camping, hiking, and canoeing. One thing, it's a pretty hilly region in the ozark mountains so be ready for that.

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Sequoia NP and the Yosemite Valley are well worth a visit. They are open year round, but many parts of the parks may become inaccessible. I personally have never visited during the winter, but have always wanted to. I think it typically gets to be winter conditions there in November. I also have always wanted to visit Yellowstone in winter. The pictures I have seen were amazing.

    Not sure about how cycling at any of those parks is in winter. They likely are not be all that suited to bicycling at that time. Even if they aren't, visiting them by car and possibly xc skiing or snoeshoeing might be worth looking in to. Perhaps Jamawani will pipe up with real life experience on these areas.

  6. #6
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    Sounds like the perfect time of year to visit Death Valley National Park in California! By the time you're there, snow skiing will probably have started in the Sierra mountains. Lake Tahoe probably has the largest number of ski areas to chose from. Joshua Tree National Park in southern California is popular for desert scenery and superb rock climbing. If you don't mind big cities San Diego and Los Angeles usually have nice weather and great cycling opportunities year 'round. The "Big Sur" area of the California coast, between Monterey and San Luis Obispo, is justifiably famous, though the weather may be dreary. If you're in the area, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is worth a visit. Hearst Castle, in San Simeon is also worth a visit if you're traveling along the coast. Don't bother staying in San Simeon, though; Cambria or San Luis Obispo are much better options.

    Depending on when you arrive, parks and destinations in the Sierra mountains may or may not be easily accessible. Yosemite National Park draws a lot of people in with spectacular scenery. It can be even more dramatic in winter, but also more difficult to access. I'm also a fan of Lassen Volcanic National Park, which is further north. I thought the cinder cone in the northeast corner of the park, near Butte Lake, was incredibly cool but it's only accessible via dirt road... which might not be passable in the winter. Further north, Redwood National Park and the Avenue of the Giants are great places to see redwood trees; expect lots of rain, though. Those aren't the only places, however. Muir Woods National Monument, for example, is easily accessible from San Francisco.

  7. #7
    The Rock Cycle eofelis's Avatar
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    Zion, in Utah, it is a few hundred miles from Death valley, so you will probably be in the area.

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...1&page_id=8606

  9. #9
    mev
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    Unless you are into Formula 1 Grand Prix racing and lots of crowds and high prices, best to avoid Austin November 16th-18th.

    However, Fredericksburg, TX is nice place in Texas Hill Country to consider for hub and spoke rides. This is not coincidentally also place where Texas Hell Week rides (www.hellweek.com) occur during wildflower season. Austin and San Antonio also potential for hub and spoke riding though both are much larger metropolitan areas with good/bad that comes with that.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    We do tend to like smaller centres. Larger places (like London, Paris, etc.) are OK for brief visits, but we're more 'country' than 'city'. A small town next to a natural attraction, like maybe Zion National Park, for example, is more appealing to us.

    That's one of the reasons the west coast of France appealed to us ... little towns with populations of just thousands (not even ten-thousands) and massive quantities of empty beaches.

  11. #11
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    Greatly depending on the type of winter we get on the Pacific Coast and your tolerance for riding in the rain, there are lots of nice rides in the hills of Napa and Sonoma Counties in NorCal. You might also consider a ride up Mt. Diablo and Mt. Tam while you pass through, especially if you get one of the many clear winter days to enjoy the view from Diablo.

    With the same rain caveat, you could park it near the Avenue of the Giants and explore the rather steep hills of the Lost Coast. There's a nice paved route from Ferndale through Honeydew and back (two choices, actually), or you can explore a bit of muddy gravel road if that's your thing. There's some sort of cabins that are rented out near Honeydew, but I don't remember the name of the place, other than that all the amenities are on the Hwy 101 side of the hill.

  12. #12
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    If you find yourself in the Phoenix area you might want to check out the Apache Trail. I did my first tour through there (Phoenix to Tucson) in 1995 and loved it. The trail can be steep in spots, and 22 miles of it is unpaved, but we had no trouble riding loaded bikes over it. It was smooth dirt for the most part. If you're doing any camping, Tortilla Flat would be a good spot to camp and ride from, as would Roosevelt Lake. Info on camping around there here. You could also motel it in Apache Junction or near the opposite end of the trail in Globe. Early November should be a great time to be there. By then the scorching heat of summer is waning, and most of the snowbirds probably haven't arrived yet. Once they get there, traffic can be an issue. Even then, most people seem to drive as far as Tortilla Flat (the paved section) and then turn back, so between there and Roosevelt Lake it could be very light traffic.
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  13. #13
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    If you come to Oregon, I'd be happy to ride with you and Rowan on some of my favorite rides. If it's not raining, I'm riding. Eugene would be a nice spot to linger for a few days.

    Also in Oregon the Old Columbia Gorge highway is a classic ride.
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  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    What about around Crater Lake ... or would that be snowed in?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    What about around Crater Lake ... or would that be snowed in?
    Snow will be a problem during winter. The Rim Visitor Center is closed from October through May along with most of the other lodging and campgrounds. Other roads/trails may be closed as well. The park's website should have up-to-date information on closures.

  16. #16
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    There are some great "hub and spoke" rides from Moab, UT. Combined with Eofelis' suggestion of Grand Junction, CO area, it would be a great week in Canyonlands of the Colorado River. The rides in Moab go into two National Parks, both are beautiful rides and very interesting. Given the time of year you are suggesting, this would be a good time to ride in this area.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  17. #17
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    Let me know if ya'll are going to come through Georgia, especially West Central GA (Macon - Columbus). With enough notice, I'll take some time off work if possible (can't Nov 9th) and plan a ride with ya'll.
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  18. #18
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    Joshia Tree National Park CA. Moab UT. Tuscon AZ. Grand Junction CO.
    ...

  19. #19
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    Machka, This probably doesn't fit in with your plans, but San Diego would be a great place for day rides/spoke rides. The weather is fabulous in December; you can cycle the coast, or bike in the moutains. Take your pick. Our house is open for you, including a hot tub, gorgeous sunsets, and plenty of wine and good conversation.

  20. #20
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    What about around Crater Lake ... or would that be snowed in?
    There is zero snow up there now (currently raining), but once it gets going it can really pile up in a hurry. It hadn't rained since July around here (I'm about 2 hours west of Crater Lake) until this weekend. Supposed to get colder with possible snow at the lake by next weekend.

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    We are in North America now.

    Do any of you know if people can get internet sticks so we can pick up the internet all over the US and not have to depend on wifi availability? We use one of these usb sticks in Australia for our internet, and used one in the UK as well. We were able to find one for Canada, but they seem to be rare here, or at least they were rare last year. So we're wondering if they are available in the US.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    We are in North America now.

    Do any of you know if people can get internet sticks so we can pick up the internet all over the US and not have to depend on wifi availability? We use one of these usb sticks in Australia for our internet, and used one in the UK as well. We were able to find one for Canada, but they seem to be rare here, or at least they were rare last year. So we're wondering if they are available in the US.
    You can get a no-contract mobile connection easily enough. Look for them in Target, Walmart, Best Buy, many shopping malls. They may not allow a load of bandwidth, but there's not much to do about that. You can also stop in at mobile phone stores, and see what they offer; you may get better coverage that way, and I believe you'll have better availability off the PCS network (though many pre-paid offerings such as Virgin Mobile will use PCS, which is also a bit slower but better than nothing).

    Also a lot of places have free wifi, though you'll often find these places are fast food locations. But if you come across a Panera Bread (as one example of a better place), you can find soups and other real foods with free internet access.
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  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    What about wifi in campgrounds in North America? Most of the campgrounds we stayed in during our time in Europe had wifi, and all but one of the hotels did.

  24. #24
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    maybe WiFi with your morning Cuppa, in the Cafe..

  25. #25
    mev
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    What about wifi in campgrounds in North America? Most of the campgrounds we stayed in during our time in Europe had wifi, and all but one of the hotels did.
    I wouldn't expect it in Forest Service/BLM type campgrounds. However, commercial campgrounds such as KOA I'd expect more of them to have it. Last weekend I did a mini-tour out to Bastrop State Park a little ways east of Austin and was surprised this TX state park had wifi accessible from near one of the toilets. It is also quite common in small motels I find when I'm touring in US (and elsewhere).

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