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  1. #1
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    Route questions about east coast tour/Questions about ACA maps

    Hi! I'm planning a tour right now from north florida to southeastern maine. I've got from fl to washington planned. From essentially richmond to philadelphia , and then from CT to maine, I want to follow the adventure cycling maps, but I have a few questions/ How detailed are they? On my past short tours, I've printed out step by step directions, and i'm worried that anything less detailed will be confusing. Also, we're going south to north, and the aca maps go the opposite direction. Will this be a problem? Lastly, are places to camp well marked on these maps?

    Just in general, if anyone has any excellent routes to take anywhere from Washington to philadelphia to new york to maine, I'm all ears! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Not much help and no offense but I do not see the east coast as a real attractive tour, unless of course you have some reason like a goal in mind. The east coast is one of the most populated areas in the US. Hence a lot of traffic and a lot of noise. The Carolinas might be kind of nice put other than that, the east coast would be last on my list of places to tour.

    Now if you wanted to go inland a bit. That might make for a really attractive tour. Most likely extremely pleasant. Less traffic and you will stand a much better chance of experiencing a lot more old quaint small towns.
    "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."

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    Senior Member bktourer1's Avatar
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    The only thing so far I don't like on Map 1 of the ACA route is that they take you into NH and not along R.t 1a & B from Kittery to Salisbury Beach MA. RT 1a is nice all the way to Ispwich, and you could head to the only campground in Glouceste rand then to Beverly / Salem Ma. Nice campground in Salem. You can ride to Revere Beach and catch the subway into Boston and head over to the Esplanade to the Charles River paths to Waltham and back roads towards Worcester and Springfield all the way to Conn

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    My experience with Adventure Cycling maps is that they're almost always sufficiently detailed to follow easily, except for that one time in Charlottesville. Urban maps are often easier than rural (e.g., turn right at Suchandsuch Road, unmarked). They have two sets of directions, one for northbound and one for southbound (for the Atlantic Coast route). You'll have to check when you run off a fold to make sure you ge tthe next one in sequence regardless of the direction you're going.

    Before you ask a general question like "Is there a great route?" it might be worthwhile to decide what parameters make a route great. Ease of access to support services (motels, B&Bs, stores)? Takes you right by tourist attractoins? Takes you through great scenery? Takes you down very low trafficed routes? Stays on well paved roads? Unfortunately, "all of the above" only exists between sunrise and 8:30 am Saturday and Sunday mornings.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    They're fine for the narrow strip they describe .. One thing few maps show is History .. why the things you see are there.

    advance reading would be helpful , and talking to the locals.

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    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    There is the east coast "greeway".

    East Coast Greenway Maps and Cue Sheets
    "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."

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    I just did part of the ACA's Atlantic Coast route this weekend. The maps do not go only north-south. They have turn by by turn cues for both directions.

    Places to camp are well marked. Because of the big void of camping around and north of the Philadelphia area, you will probably end up staying at Dogwood Haven in Upper Black Eddy, PA, just off route from NJ. I stayed there this weekend. It's a little rustic and devoid of grass, but the owner is a nice guy. $15 for cyclists. And Milford, NJ has all the services you need, including a nice oyster house if you want to treat yourself to a nice dinner.

    The route up the river from Lambertville to Port Jervis is fantastic. And much of it is car-free to car light. (There is a trail between L'Ville and close to Milford.) Further up, there is a nice campground along the river at Worthington State Forest near Delaware Water Gap, PA. Ask for the one group site with the bear box. There are a good number of bears up there. Here are some photos from last year's trip from Port Jervis to Philly (I stopped taking photos in Milford) with a detour off route to the Lakota Wolf Preserve.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/davez2...7633368316419/

    Send me a PM if you would like more info about this stretch. I am well familiar with it.
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    all this info is perfect! In response, to spinnaker, I live in north florida, and have family in Maine. So that pretty much dictates the tour.

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    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmikesell View Post
    all this info is perfect! In response, to spinnaker, I live in north florida, and have family in Maine. So that pretty much dictates the tour.
    But nothing says you need to go straight up the coast. An inland route should not take you to far out of your way. Actually going to visit family by a tour is kind of a nice idea. I often thought of doing that with friends that are scattered about the country.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    But nothing says you need to go straight up the coast. An inland route should not take you to far out of your way.
    Thus the OP's stated desire in his opening post to follow the ACA Route makes a lot of sense. The only state where that route goes "straight up the coast" is Florida, plus one optional loop in North Carolina and one or two days in Maine. The rest of the way it is a winding route of inland back roads intended to avoid the noise and traffic. (See indyfabz's photos of NJ/PA section).

    The ACA Route does go through Richmond and Washington with close passes to Baltimore and Philadelphia. They can all be bypassed using supplemental state maps. But if the OP needs "step by step" directions, sticking to the ACA Route would be wise and, as previously noted, the maps can be followed in either direction of travel. Following the East Coast "Greenway" would likely take them to the most traffic and noise.
    Last edited by BobG; 04-22-14 at 05:20 AM.

  11. #11
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobG View Post
    Thus the OP's stated desire in his opening post to follow the ACA Route makes a lot of sense. The only state where that route goes "straight up the coast" is Florida, plus one optional loop in North Carolina and one day in Maine. The rest of the way it is a winding route of inland back roads intended to avoid the noise and traffic. (See indyfabz's photos of NJ/PA section).

    The ACA Route does go through Richmond and Washington with close passes to Baltimore and Philadelphia. They can all be bypassed using supplemental state maps. But if the OP needs "step by step" directions, sticking to the ACA Route would be wise and, as previously noted, the maps can be followed in either direction of travel. Following the East Coast "Greenway" would likely take them to the most traffic and noise.
    Ah cool. I guess I should have checked that route out.

    Yeah the "Greenway" doesn't seem to be much of a greenway. Kind of disappointing.
    "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."

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    Here's an update. We're starting in Durham, NC, which was not the original plan. So from Durham, we're going to Richmond, and following the ACA maps from Richmond to Conshohocken PA. From Conshohocken, we're going off the map through NYC, and getting back on the route from Windsor Locks, CT to the end of the map in Bar Harbour ME. I totally realize that riding through the most populous city in north america isn't a good idea, but we have friends there and things to do. I've heard of good routes through that area, but finding them isn't as easy. Any suggestions would help, from that section through philly, ncy, and up to ct.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I live on the east coast and generally avoid touring here. Maybe I am just jaded about it having lived here my whole life, but I have only ridden in the east when it was part of a coast to coast ride. I suspect that you will find the people less friendly and the camping and other accommodations generally very expensive. There is at least some lovely countryside to ride through. Still, it seems to me that there are much nicer places to tour.

    One option you might consider is to use a bus or train to get to places you want to go if they are less desirable for touring. That assuming that it doesn't feel too much like cheating to you.

    Personally, I prefer to plan tours based on places that I want to ride in rather than places I want to get to. Just me but if I lived in Florida and wanted to do a long tour and also to visit folks in Philadelphia and NYC, I'd probably do them as two different things. I think I'd fly to Philly and take the train to NYC skipping the bike altogether and then do a nice bike tour out west as an entirely different trip. I just mention that as food for thought.

    Whatever you decide, I hope you have a great trip (or trips).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmikesell View Post
    I totally realize that riding through the most populous city in north america isn't a good idea, but we have friends there and things to do. I've heard of good routes through that area, but finding them isn't as easy. Any suggestions would help, from that section through philly, ncy, and up to ct.
    A couple of things...

    1. Why is it such a bad idea? Thousands of people do it every day. In fact, the relatively new bike share program has been wildly successful.

    2. Coming from the direction you will be coming from, you will not be able to actually ride your bike into Manhattan unless you are willing to go way north in NJ to cross the George Wasingthon Bridge. There are, however, train and ferry options. Every Labor Day Sunday the Philly bike club does a ride from New Hope, PA (which is on the ACA route) to Brooklyn, NY. It's a blast. We ride into Hoboken, catch the ferry to midtown and then ride down the Hudson River bike path to access the Brooklyn Bridge. I can give you the route if you swear on the souls of your grandchildren that you will not try it on a weekday. If you did, you would likely be squashed by a truck. Even if you survived it would be a miserable ride with all the traffic. The route is not the most direct as it was desitgned to be scenic and avoid busy roads where possible. It's about 90 miles from New Hope to the 14th St. ferry dock in Hoboken, which is now the only ferry dock that has weekend service to Manhattan. Another option is to take the PATH train from Hoboken to World Trade Center. (You would need to change trains at, IIRC, Exhange Place.)

    3. The ACA map has a NYC spur that also starts in New Hope. It's shorter. It ends in Summit, NJ, where you catch a train to NYC. I don't have my ACA map handy, but I am pretty sure it ends up crossing path with the Philly Bike Club route at some point. The Philly bike club route also passes by NJT train stations farther out from NYC (e.g. Somerville, and Lyons, NJ) f you want to ride part of the way there and then take the train the rest of the way to avoid the busier parts of the route. The line through Somerville goes to Newark, where you can change for Hoboken (PATH) or NYC (NJT). The line through Lyons goes to Hoboken, but you can change at Seacucus Jct. to get directly into NYC. Note that all train service has bike restrictions, most of which are in place during rush hours on weekdays.

    Mull all this over and send me a PM if you would like more details. At a minimum, I suggest that you plan to get through north Jersey and into NYC on a weekend. Fewer logistical problems and less traffic.

    Unless you have your heart set on riding as much as possible, I would probably keep on the ACA route to New Hope, follow the Philly bike club route to Somerviille (about 35 miles) or Lyons (about 45 miles) and take the trains from there. One reason for that is that you aren't going to find any legal camping up that way. There is a motel on U.S. 202 just south of New Hope. You could stay there and then make it to NYC the next day.

    Can't help much for getting north other than to suggest more train rides. The Metro-North service to Port Jervis, NY would put you right back on the ACA route. I believe you could also take Metro-North from Grand Central Terminal to Poughkeepise, NY which would also put you back on the ACA route.
    Last edited by indyfabz; 05-02-14 at 12:02 PM.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Bunch of East Coast haters here! I have cycled extensively on roads throughout the eastern parts of NC, SC, GA and VA. Once you get off the main highways (eg, I-95 and US 17), the East Coast can be very scenic with its own charms -- wetlands and swamps, historic towns, nice farmlands, coastal waterways. At the right time of year and with fortunate weather, the Outer Banks is unique and extremely scenic.

    The West has more spectacular scenery but drawbacks as well -- such as higher and more persistent winds, long distances between towns, difficulty finding water at times. Although I love traveling in the West, North and other parts of the USA, the East Coast is a worthy destination in itself. I have lots of family who live out West, and they are always amazed and thrilled by all of the lush vegetation, flowers, historic towns and gentle scenery in the East.

  16. #16
    An un-oiled squeaky wheel kaisersling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    Not much help and no offense but I do not see the east coast as a real attractive tour, unless of course you have some reason like a goal in mind. The east coast is one of the most populated areas in the US. Hence a lot of traffic and a lot of noise. The Carolinas might be kind of nice put other than that, the east coast would be last on my list of places to tour.

    Now if you wanted to go inland a bit. That might make for a really attractive tour. Most likely extremely pleasant. Less traffic and you will stand a much better chance of experiencing a lot more old quaint small towns.
    Offense taken.. Have you ever been anywhere on the east coast? There's plenty of beautiful touring to be had and, dare I say, rival some "western" areas.
    "Gravity is a harsh mistress."

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