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Cross Country Route?

Old 01-27-16, 01:46 PM
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Cross Country Route?

I plan to cross the country this summer from Oregon back home to NY. Anybody have any route suggestions? I was thinking of starting in Astoria and following the Columbia river east. I really want to ride through Yellowstone Park in Wyoming.

Any little advice would be appreciated.
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Old 01-27-16, 02:37 PM
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Have you looked at Adventure Cycling Association's web site? They have an extensive collection of routes and the maps therefore. Once of their routes goes through Yellowstone. Another goes through Astoria and the gorge. It's possible to connect the two via a couple of ways. https://www.adventurecycling.org/
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Old 01-27-16, 02:53 PM
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What do you want to see? Make it your trip, not someone elses. Make a list of places you want to see/go and then route accordingly. Pretty easy isn't it.
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Old 01-27-16, 03:38 PM
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From Astoria You can see Columbia Gorge , following the river , or Go south, Down the Coast and then Inland to Eugene
And over the McKenzie Pass.

The Tire dip in the Pacific Ocean is done, Oregon Beaches are Publicly Owned..






:....

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Old 01-27-16, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh
What do you want to see? Make it your trip, not someone elses. Make a list of places you want to see/go and then route accordingly. Pretty easy isn't it.
Though some advice on using points of interest to create a route may be helpful. I created a custom Google Map with multiple layers. The first was cities/towns I wished to visit. The second was National/State Parks. The third - tenth were gpx's (bikegpx.us) of the ACA routes I was interested in. See how they link up and overlap, then go from there. Here is my example for a tour through the west https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...wo&usp=sharing

Hope this helps and let us know what you come up with.
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Old 01-27-16, 04:28 PM
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Years ago when I did a cross country trip by car (withhold your boohs, please), I attempted to bike in as many national parks as I could. Yellowstone was one that I wouldn't recommend as a cyclist due to: 1. Inattentive car drivers, 2. Possible danger from proximity to buffalo. Those things can kill you and even tho I stood and watched Moron #8409 walk way too close up to one just so she could get a pic and not get chased off by it (damn! Darwinism doesn't work), I wouldn't recommend it. Also, NP roads in general were never paved with cyclists in mind, so you wouldn't have much space to bike in. There are some parks/monuments where a bike is great (don't miss Craters of the Moon NP in Idaho), but not Yellowstone.
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Old 01-27-16, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
Years ago when I did a cross country trip by car (withhold your boohs, please), I attempted to bike in as many national parks as I could. Yellowstone was one that I wouldn't recommend as a cyclist due to: 1. Inattentive car drivers, 2. Possible danger from proximity to buffalo. Those things can kill you and even tho I stood and watched Moron #8409 walk way too close up to one just so she could get a pic and not get chased off by it (damn! Darwinism doesn't work), I wouldn't recommend it. Also, NP roads in general were never paved with cyclists in mind, so you wouldn't have much space to bike in. There are some parks/monuments where a bike is great (don't miss Craters of the Moon NP in Idaho), but not Yellowstone.
I would have to agree with all of that; vacations can bring out the NASCAR in folks behind the wheel. I would draw large circles around the crowded National Parks and avoid them. In my opinion, Smoky Mountain National Park is about the worst. Long narrow curvy roads with people in a hurry to get from Point A to Point B and cram as much in as possible. Large houses on wheels as big as a semi but drivers with zero training, suspect brakes and soundness of mind.
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Old 01-27-16, 06:49 PM
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Start at the North Head Lighthouse. The Oreos all want you to start in Astoria (for me, that's like inland) go south, then east towards the crazies in Harney, the Lewis and Clarkies up the Columbia, and Adventure cycling "their route".

And end at the Atlantic somewhere say north of New York.

Or you could do what I did & design your own route. We started with lots of ferries, Icefields, heck we didn't even get back into the US till Minnersoda.
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Old 01-27-16, 07:07 PM
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Here's the TransAmerica which is part of what you're interested in. You might want to use it as a starter.

BTW: I see @RedandBlack mentioned my site bikegpx.us that has a curated list of touring routes and many are rail-to-trail routes. But you might be most interested in looking at the Adventure Cycling routes.

1. goto bikegpx.us (no registration, no advertising, totally free!)

2. select group
  • Adventure Cycling
  • Midwest
  • Multi State Routes
  • Northeast
  • Southern
  • Spoken Again (my own personal routes)
  • Western
3. then select a specific route
4. you can optionally download or have emailed the GPX files

Last edited by BigAura; 01-27-16 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 01-27-16, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
Yellowstone was one that I wouldn't recommend as a cyclist due to: 1. Inattentive car drivers, 2. Possible danger from proximity to buffalo.
I didn't find Yellowstone to be that bad to ride through. It helps if you ride at times traffic is lower. By Sunday afternoon the park is emptying out somewhat and Monday and Tuesday seemed like lighter traffic days, so riding through then is better than Thursday-Sunday morning. Also we found that early morning was lighter traffic so we tried to ride then as much as possible.

Bison didn't seem too hard to stay away from when we were there, but yeah you don't want to be up close and personal with them.
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Old 01-27-16, 08:59 PM
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I would do the TransAmerica route into Yellowstone and ride the northern loop (old faithful is a bore compared to the rest of the park) around and exit on the east side. (unless you want to add a portion of the Grand Tetons: use the south exit). Maybe ride highways and interstates to Mt Rushmore. (Wyoming allows bicycles on the interstate) Not sure after that.

Also, The worst thing about riding Yellowstone is when traffic stops for wildlife sightings in between hills. My lowest mile days were in Yellowstone.
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Old 01-27-16, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RedandBlack
I created a custom Google Map with multiple layers. Here is my example for a tour through the west https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...wo&usp=sharing
Very nice!!

Crap, something else to figure out how to do.......
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Old 01-27-16, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1

Bison didn't seem too hard to stay away from when we were there, but yeah you don't want to be up close and personal with them.
You are absolutely right. The following is an entry taken from our blog for a XC trip in 2007:
July 19 - Following Gibbon Creek north from Madison Junction. We saw our first buffalo in this stretch. He was on our side of the road up against a small rock wall so we got behind a pickup to put some space between us and him. Unfortunately, the truck gunned his engine after getting a picture and startled the buffalo. We got out of there FAST!
What my wife did not say in this post was the bison bolted right between us. She was in front of me by about 10-20'. My wife can really sprint at times like this. She sprinted and I braked. It all ended well, once the adrenaline jolt subsided.

Addition: Don't skip Yellowstone. On a bike you can stop anywhere to look around or take photos. You can't do that in a car.

Last edited by Doug64; 01-28-16 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 01-28-16, 06:11 AM
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I rode from Astoria up the Columbia River Gorge, on to Walla Walla, and then hit the Adventure Cyclist route at Lewiston. The Lolo Pass, as you ride towards Missoula is beautiful.
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Old 01-28-16, 06:11 AM
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Do not listen to the Yellowstone naysayers. I am from Wyoming.
I have cycled every mile of park road - paved and unpaved - many times.
I have cycled in the spring window after plowing but before roads are opened to cars.
(Which is truly a magical experience)

Yes, there are many visitors - and yes, one can see American car addiction on display.
But there are a number of ways to get around it that are not too difficult.
The most important of these is time of day - far more than day of the week.

The very best time to cycle is early in the morning - followed by evening.
Even though it is cold, even frosty, in mid-July, plan to ride right after sunrise.
That also happens to be the best time to see wildlife.
Similarly, ride in the evening, after 6 p.m., and traffic drops 50% or more.
Campgrounds have hiker/biker campsites, there is little worry about space.

Finally, take advantage of road segments with little traffic.
Some are short, but they allow you to escape the heavier traffic.
Gull Point, Firehole Canyon, Firehole Lake, Madison River, Virginia Cascades.
Lamar Valley Road is off the beaten track, but has exquisite scenery.
Blacktail Plateau Rd is unpaved with almost no traffic.

The choice is yours -
You can engage creatively and see a magnificent park -
Or you can just put in the miles and skip it.

Pic - Soda Butte Creek off Lamar Valley Road

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Old 01-28-16, 06:43 AM
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Buffalo? Meh. Don't menace them and you'll almost certainly have no problem. Custer S.P. in South Dakota:



Rode just as close to them in Yellowstone back in the day.
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Old 01-28-16, 06:50 AM
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I agree with a bit of what's been said already --

You're setting off for a few thousand miles of highway riding, already sharing the road with cars and big rigs in places. Yellowstone isn't significantly worse than other areas you'll ride through, but it is much more scenic. Follow the advice given here, ride during off-peak hours and be patient getting through the park.

ACA does route you past Old Faithful - I found this area and the associated roads to be busier and less impressive than the rest of the park. I would take the 'long-way round', try and work in Mammoth, Tower, and definitely stop at the Canyon area (shower, laundry, and some impressive day-hikes).

The Yellowstone experience left me awestruck, my cross country trip would not have had the same impact without.
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Old 01-28-16, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Bulette
ACA does route you past Old Faithful - I found this area and the associated roads to be busier and less impressive than the rest of the park.
Yeah we were less impressed with Old Faithful than other stuff in the park, but some of the other geothermal stuff was pretty great along the ACA route. We took a slight detour on a gravel bike path. The surface wasn't great but we took in Fairy Falls and got a great view of Gran Prismatic from the hill on the back side of GP.

I wouldn't dream of skipping Yellowstone if doing the TA.
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Old 01-28-16, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh
What do you want to see? Make it your trip, not someone elses. Make a list of places you want to see/go and then route accordingly. Pretty easy isn't it.
Actually not always. I have planned some routes out myself and there are sections where I would have benefitted from the help of someone who has taken a similar route. A by that I mean, I would have avoided those sections all together (do to traffic/road conditions/driveby shootings etc). There's more than one route to a destination. Maps can only tell you so much. Nothing can replace feedback from someone who has had boots on the ground. That is my cliché quota for the day.
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Old 01-28-16, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
Years ago when I did a cross country trip by car (withhold your boohs, please), I attempted to bike in as many national parks as I could. Yellowstone was one that I wouldn't recommend as a cyclist due to: 1. Inattentive car drivers, 2. Possible danger from proximity to buffalo. Those things can kill you and even tho I stood and watched Moron #8409 walk way too close up to one just so she could get a pic and not get chased off by it (damn! Darwinism doesn't work), I wouldn't recommend it. Also, NP roads in general were never paved with cyclists in mind, so you wouldn't have much space to bike in. There are some parks/monuments where a bike is great (don't miss Craters of the Moon NP in Idaho), but not Yellowstone.
I agree on the traffic and road condition. Not so much on the animals
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Old 01-28-16, 01:56 PM
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Yellowstone is beautiful but can get crowded if you stay near the main attractions. I rode Yellowstone and Grand Teton national park (right next door)and frankly Grand Teton is where its at. Much prettier views IMO and less car traffic. Oh and Old Faithful was underwhelming for me.
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Old 01-28-16, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by kaisersling
Actually not always. I have planned some routes out myself and there are sections where I would have benefitted from the help of someone who has taken a similar route. A by that I mean, I would have avoided those sections all together (do to traffic/road conditions/driveby shootings etc). There's more than one route to a destination. Maps can only tell you so much. Nothing can replace feedback from someone who has had boots on the ground. That is my cliché quota for the day.
And when you ride through a given area can make all the difference as well as to the experience that you have. Riding through a major city at rush hour on a Friday versus on the Sunday morning can make a really big difference. Same way riding through an area after dark versus during broad daylight can make all the difference. Just because an area is bad at one point in time(day of the week, month of the year) doesn't mean it's bad all the time.
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Old 01-28-16, 03:00 PM
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even if a campground says full in Yellowstone, stop and ask. Bicycle/hiker sites aren't included when they say that.
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Old 01-28-16, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh
And when you ride through a given area can make all the difference as well as to the experience that you have. Riding through a major city at rush hour on a Friday versus on the Sunday morning can make a really big difference. Same way riding through an area after dark versus during broad daylight can make all the difference. Just because an area is bad at one point in time(day of the week, month of the year) doesn't mean it's bad all the time.
+1 Also our experience comes from within, so there's a lot at play.
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Old 08-01-16, 09:56 AM
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thank you everyone for your advice. I just finished my cross country tour. I started in Astoria as i said i would and ended in Long Island, NY. i made my way down to seaside OR and then towards Portland. From there i went east towards Walla Walla and got on ACA's Trans america route until Muddy Gap Wyoming. I loved the National parks, the traffic was a little hazardous but not the biggest concern of my trip overall. I went up to Casper WY and then due east following highway 20 through Nebraska, Iowa, and ending in Rockford Illionose. (I've got family there). From Rockford i went up to Milwaukee and took the high speed ferry across Lake Michigan into Michigan. Then i made my way across and through Ontario via Google maps. when i got back to NY i followed the amazing Erie canal path all the way to Albany and then came south from there until i got home to Long island. It was great! check out the blog i kept and contact me if anyone has any questions or needs help following a similar route. Thanks again! Ethan And The Purple Crayon
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