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Old 08-09-17, 06:29 AM   #101
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east to Grand Rapids
Spent a night there in '99 during my Northern Tier tour. Did you visit the Judy Garland museum? (I did not.). And can you still camp in a park in town? I distinctly remember the shower there. The stall was crawling with mold.
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Old 08-09-17, 08:28 AM   #102
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Spent a night there in '99 during my Northern Tier tour. Did you visit the Judy Garland museum? (I did not.). And can you still camp in a park in town? I distinctly remember the shower there. The stall was crawling with mold.
We totally forgot to put the Judy Garland tour on our itinerary . We actually stayed behind a Lutheran church in town. That was our 125 mile day, so when we hit town we were pretty gassed. During dinner (Forest Lake Restaurant. I recommend it. We had breakfast there the next day as well.) I played the "pastor card" (I'm a Lutheran pastor in the Twin Cities) and called the local church to ask about hanging our hammocks on their grounds. Not only did we do that, but the pastor opened the church up for us so we could shower. It was great. Pretty little town.
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Old 08-09-17, 02:45 PM   #103
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Ty and I have another short one coming up! We'll spend a few days biking from our house in Portland to Long Beach, Washington to attend the annual Washington State International Kite Festival. It's ~115 miles there and will rent a car to drive back after camping for 3 nights. August 21-28ish.
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Old 08-11-17, 01:31 PM   #104
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My Eclipse Tour

On Friday, a week from now, I'm leaving my midtown Manhattan office with my loaded bike and getting on a bus that drives through the night to Greenville SC.

I will then do a three day tour, getting up into the Smokies, winding up back on a bus leaving Greenville Monday evening.

Monday afternoon I'll be somewhere in the path of the total eclipse. I haven't decided where I want to be for that.

I have to pack this weekend, decide what equipment I need....

I'd be happy to hear from anyone who knows the area (I do not).
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Old 08-11-17, 04:40 PM   #105
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Up on top of a mountain called, Hedgehog Mountain right now, just made camp. I'm solo. The ECR made the climb no sweat. Nothing but snowmobile trails to get here, so kind of ragged.

I toted a drippy bag of ice up here, some vodka, vermouth, and a lemon for a martini. Its a little hazy, but there's still a view. I should really be drinking some Nuun right now instead of vodka, but wtf you only live once, right!
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Old 08-11-17, 05:56 PM   #106
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Up on top of a mountain called, Hedgehog Mountain right now, just made camp. I'm solo. The ECR made the climb no sweat. Nothing but snowmobile trails to get here, so kind of ragged.juju

I toted a drippy bag of ice up here, some vodka, vermouth, and a lemon for a martini. Its a little hazy, but there's still a view. I should really be drinking some Nuun right now instead of vodka, but wtf you only live once, right!
Is that in the White Mts, NH?

Sounds idyllic. I'd definitely join you for a martini
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Old 08-12-17, 04:36 AM   #107
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Is that in the White Mts, NH?
No, its in the western mid-state area.
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Old 08-21-17, 12:13 AM   #108
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Up on top of a mountain called, Hedgehog Mountain right now, just made camp. I'm solo. The ECR made the climb no sweat. Nothing but snowmobile trails to get here, so kind of ragged.

I toted a drippy bag of ice up here, some vodka, vermouth, and a lemon for a martini. Its a little hazy, but there's still a view. I should really be drinking some Nuun right now instead of vodka, but wtf you only live once, right!

Sounds awesome but, how do you go about not freezing?
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Old 08-21-17, 05:36 AM   #109
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Sounds awesome but, how do you go about not freezing?
This time of year on the lesser mountain tops, the overnight temperatures are somewhere between 15-20C. Quite nice, really. I slept on top of my bag that night...

...the martinis helped.
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Old 08-28-17, 12:50 AM   #110
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Just an afternoon ride




Cycling Sumas Prairie

Today I took a break from painting and home renovations to get in a little ride around one of my favorite local cycling spots; Sumas Prairie. This flat region is situated just east of Abbotsford and nestled between Sumas Mountain to the north and the American border to the south, dominated by the snowy volcanic peak of Mt. Baker beyond. It is home to fertile farmland and quiet roads surrounded by drainage ditches and dike systems and fairly popular with the road cycling crowd. Although most roadies stick to the straight, low traffic stretches of the prairie to work on their form there are also a number of hidden jewels along the way for touring cyclists. The following is a description of today's route of mixed road and gravel terrain which I did to highlight some of them.



The Tim Hortons timhortons.com at the Whatcom Rd. exit of Hwy 1 (1) is a good starting point for riding the Sumas Prairie because there's coffee and donuts while you wait to meet up with others and a convenient large gravel lot across the road with free parking. From there I set off eastward along North Parallel Road until I reached the Atkinson Bridge (2) 5km's away. This bridge crosses the Sumas drainage canal that meanders all across the prairie. On weekdays this can be a busy road as there is an active gravel pit on Atkinson but on Sunday morning it is fairly quiet.



At this point the ride could take two directions. If I followed the drainage canal east I could ride the gravel dike trail or, I could cycle in the same general direction on pavement. This time I chose the second option simply to save a little time. The dike is very nice but it meanders a bit more than the road.

Continuing along N. Parallel Rd. for another 5km's I came to the Number 3 Rd. intersection (3) which crosses the Freeway (Hwy 1) on the right. Usually, if I were just putting in miles, I would take this road southward towards Yarrow but today I was looking for scenic so I continued still eastward on N. Parallel for another 3km's until I reached the Barrowtown (Sumas) Pumping Station (4).

This facility pumps water out of the prairie and into the Vedder drainage canal to eventually empty into the mighty (muddy) Fraser, a world heritage river. It (the pumping station) has been in operation since the shallow lake/prairie was drained in the early 1920's. Without this facility the whole area between Chillliwack and Abbotsford would slowly revert to a large shallow marsh.

If I had taken the earlier dike variant I would come out here as well. From here forward, the road east becomes a continuation of that dike trail. For a sneak peek at what the world would look like if humans left I dropped down onto an abandoned roadway for a stretch before reaching the junction of the Sumas and Vedder dykes. Then I turned south and followed that dike trail towards Yarrow (5).

At this point I met a group on a fundraising ride and one of them was a friend I hadn't seen in a while so I stopped for a bit to chat and then rode with them for a stretch of the 5km's of pleasant gravel riding along the dike.



This brought me to a short pathway leading to the right that ran down to pavement (Community Rd.) on the outskirts of Yarrow (6). Following this I came out into busting downtown Yarrow and a coffee and muffin break at the Chesnut Springs Organics Bakery chestnutsprings.ca (7) .

After being fed and watered I set off again, this time westward along Yarrow Central Rd. until I hit the T intersection of it and Boundary Rd. Turning south I followed a zig zag of quiet farm roads that led south then west then south etc... towards the low shoulder of Vedder Mountain that marks the CAN/US border. Specifically: Boundary (S), Towne (SW), Campbell (W), Interprovincial (S), Wells Line (W) and Powerhouse (S).



Eventually doing this I came to Vye Road and two points of interest; the old Arnold train station and large Hydro Electric Powerhouse (8). The train station is no longer in use but the old outhouse still stands beside this quaint structure and the Powerhouse has been restored as a private residence. The ride continues along the west side of the Powerhouse even though there's a sign that says no trespassing. However, in a short stretch of what looks like a gravel parking lot there is a 20m connecting path to Old Yale Rd. beyond. This is a little jewel of a road/lane that is part of the Yale Trail that connected prospectors from the US (crossing at Sumas) to the gold rush in Yale and follows along the base of the mountain westward until it comes out in Arnold (9). They actually created the border crossing there to regulate the massive flow of Americans northward that would make Yale one of the largest towns west of Chicago for a brief period in time.



Arnold is an old time farming community snugged up into one corner of the prairie in hopes that time and progress will pass by and forget about it all together. Little more than a hamlet, it represents an almost ideal buccolic splendor which is enhanced by the fact that it is shielded from the world by a high railroad berm that a few roads cross under, as if it were the towns very own castle wall. From the intersection of Old Yale and Arnold Rd's I ride north and come out again onto Vye.



Left on Vye Road and straight west for 4km's until I hit Fadden Rd. and turn left onto it. Ordinarily, if it were a training ride, one could go a bit further and turn right onto Whatcom but there is one more stop I wanted to make. Up Fadden a bit is Birchwood Dairy Farm birchwooddairy.com (10) and some of the best ice cream in town. I stop for Salted Caramel in a cone.



From there it is west on Nelles Rd. and then north on Whatcom and in no time I am across the Freeway and back at my start point at Tim Hortons. Total distance was 53km's which I did in 3 hours including chatting, coffee and ice cream.


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Old 08-28-17, 10:28 PM   #111
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Been commuting by bike for years and going on decently long (for my big 52-year old body) one-day rides of 40-60 miles pretty routinely; but I've been dreaming about doing multi-day tours for a couple years now for a little more adventure. I finally was able to go on a "mini" multi-day tour up Minnesota's Lake Superior North Shore from below Duluth to the Canadian border; this is the northern part of the new US Bike Route 41. Slacked off some and did a supported ride while my wife and daughter drove an RV to each campsite (many beautiful state parks). What a great ride and trip! Absolutely stunning scenery, a lot of hiking opportunities while at each campsite back to big waterfalls and up small mountains, campfires and grilling, iconic mom-and-pop restaurants, and even a craft brewery tasting room visit (why is it that beer and biking go so well together?).

I've been reading the "touring" part of this forum for while now for tips and I'm glad I did. Here's why:

1) Tires: I love my 700c-32mm Continental Gator Hardshell tires for everyday use. Smooth as butter on pavement, relatively light, and pretty tough. However, there are tons of posts in this forum advocating the use of larger tires with at least some sort of tread for touring. Plus, my daughter brought her mountain bike on the trip and I figured we might need to hit some dirt trails. I had some cheap (I think) Kenda 38mm hybrid tires laying around that came with my bike used and decided to mount those. I was wary about using cheap tires because I've learned the hard way through commuting, but figured it would be OK with the short trip. In the end, I'm SO glad I mounted the bigger tires! On the first day, I was forced to take about a 10-mile stretch of road that was under construction and gravel. The hybrid tires did fine but I know my smooth Continentals would have sucked. All of the state parks had gravel roads leading to the campsites with some steep hills that would have had me walking with smooth tires. Plus, a lot of the pavement along the way was simply horrible at times with little to no shoulder and with the occasional bail-out onto the gravel shoulder due to traffic.

2) Big cassette: I replaced my 11-28 cassette with a 13-34 (50-40-30 front rings). Thank god I did! The North Shore is pretty rugged and some of those hills get tiring after hiking in the morning then riding 30-40 miles into a headwind (and that's without a big load other than my big body).

3) Fenders: I love fenders for commuting, especially in the wet Spring, but usually get tired of them for long summer rides in good weather. I put them back on for this little tour and am glad I did. It rained some along the way and there was a fair amount of mud from the campsite roads.

4) Pedals: Installed Shimano A530 pedals (SPD on one side, platform on the other) per many recommendations. Awesome for riding clipped in for longer distances then unclipped when messing around the campgrounds/parks.

I'm hoping to do the Mississippi Trail from Minneapolis to north of Bemidji on an unsupported tour next, so I'll be paying attention to loaded touring comments now!

Here's a link to a picture album. I hope it works!

https://goo.gl/photos/6EnZeCRNj3jKUUts7

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Old 09-13-17, 07:46 AM   #112
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I've got to read through these in more detail when I get a minute. Meanwhile Rowan and I are tossing around some ideas for tours as spring takes hold (if spring takes hold).
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Old 09-14-17, 06:58 AM   #113
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Happy Feet: that was a great and enjoyable report. An easy oversight, but could you mention what state this is? Can't assume everyone knows the local names. Apologies if I missed it.

I look forward to submitting my short tour reports.
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Old 09-14-17, 07:00 AM   #114
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Happy Feet: that was a great and enjoyable report. An easy oversight, but could you mention what state this is? Can't assume everyone knows the local names. Apologies if I missed it.

I look forward to submitting my short tour reports.
Province.

A province by the name of British Columbia. Beautiful area!
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Old 09-21-17, 02:41 PM   #115
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Been commuting by bike for years and going on decently long (for my big 52-year old body) one-day rides of 40-60 miles pretty routinely; but I've been dreaming about doing multi-day tours for a couple years now for a little more adventure. I finally was able to go on a "mini" multi-day tour up Minnesota's Lake Superior North Shore from below Duluth to the Canadian border; this is the northern part of the new US Bike Route 41. Slacked off some and did a supported ride while my wife and daughter drove an RV to each campsite (many beautiful state parks). What a great ride and trip! Absolutely stunning scenery, a lot of hiking opportunities while at each campsite back to big waterfalls and up small mountains, campfires and grilling, iconic mom-and-pop restaurants, and even a craft brewery tasting room visit (why is it that beer and biking go so well together?).

I've been reading the "touring" part of this forum for while now for tips and I'm glad I did. Here's why:

1) Tires: I love my 700c-32mm Continental Gator Hardshell tires for everyday use. Smooth as butter on pavement, relatively light, and pretty tough. However, there are tons of posts in this forum advocating the use of larger tires with at least some sort of tread for touring. Plus, my daughter brought her mountain bike on the trip and I figured we might need to hit some dirt trails. I had some cheap (I think) Kenda 38mm hybrid tires laying around that came with my bike used and decided to mount those. I was wary about using cheap tires because I've learned the hard way through commuting, but figured it would be OK with the short trip. In the end, I'm SO glad I mounted the bigger tires! On the first day, I was forced to take about a 10-mile stretch of road that was under construction and gravel. The hybrid tires did fine but I know my smooth Continentals would have sucked. All of the state parks had gravel roads leading to the campsites with some steep hills that would have had me walking with smooth tires. Plus, a lot of the pavement along the way was simply horrible at times with little to no shoulder and with the occasional bail-out onto the gravel shoulder due to traffic.

2) Big cassette: I replaced my 11-28 cassette with a 13-34 (50-40-30 front rings). Thank god I did! The North Shore is pretty rugged and some of those hills get tiring after hiking in the morning then riding 30-40 miles into a headwind (and that's without a big load other than my big body).

3) Fenders: I love fenders for commuting, especially in the wet Spring, but usually get tired of them for long summer rides in good weather. I put them back on for this little tour and am glad I did. It rained some along the way and there was a fair amount of mud from the campsite roads.

4) Pedals: Installed Shimano A530 pedals (SPD on one side, platform on the other) per many recommendations. Awesome for riding clipped in for longer distances then unclipped when messing around the campgrounds/parks.

I'm hoping to do the Mississippi Trail from Minneapolis to north of Bemidji on an unsupported tour next, so I'll be paying attention to loaded touring comments now!

Here's a link to a picture album. I hope it works!

https://goo.gl/photos/6EnZeCRNj3jKUUts7
Have biking around Duluth on my short list. So, was most of this riding the shoulders of old 61? Heavy traffic, or not so much? Part of that is supposed to also be the Gitchi-Gammi, though I hear that it isn't continuous.

We keep trying to get in one more weekend tour, but seems we're in the rain ever weekend loop for now. Moved the hotel reservations for a 3rd time...hoping for the first weekend in October now to do Grand Rapids, MN to Hibbing, MN on the Mesabi and back.
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Old 09-29-17, 08:18 PM   #116
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Have biking around Duluth on my short list. So, was most of this riding the shoulders of old 61? Heavy traffic, or not so much? Part of that is supposed to also be the Gitchi-Gammi, though I hear that it isn't continuous.

We keep trying to get in one more weekend tour, but seems we're in the rain ever weekend loop for now. Moved the hotel reservations for a 3rd time...hoping for the first weekend in October now to do Grand Rapids, MN to Hibbing, MN on the Mesabi and back.
Sorry, just saw your response. Yes, a majority of the ride between Duluth and Grand Portage is on the Hwy 61 shoulder with the remainder either on the Gitchi Gami trail or on parallel roads (mostly between Duluth and Two Harbors). Most of the shoulder is fair to good, but a couple of stretches were pretty hairy - very narrow and/or rough with no alternatives. If I recall correctly, there are two Hwy 61 stretches that really sucked and a third that kind of sucked 1) a stretch of Hwy 61 shoulder north of Two Harbors sucked with extremely narrow shoulder and broken pavement (from just south of Betty's Pies and then a few more miles north) 2) a similar sucky stretch about 5 miles between Crosby State Park and Temperence River State Park, and 3) a narrow, but decently paved stretch about 8-10 miles leading into Cascade River State Park from the south. I would NOT ride these stretches during a busy weekend if you can help it...plenty of trucks and RVs. I rose those mid-week and it was NOT enjoyable...and I'm used to traffic from commuting in Minneapolis for several years. Other than those stretches though, it was a GREAT little tour with many site seeing opportunities, great camping and lodging, and plenty of places to stop. If and when I do it again, I'll probably start at the Canadian border and go south instead of north from Duluth or St. Paul. It would be more fun to tackle Mount Josephine (just south of the border) on the first day instead of last, and there seemed to be a mostly a north to south prevailing wind.

Here's a link to a good map of the bike route from MNDOT: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/bike/usbr...size-pages.pdf
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Old 09-29-17, 08:37 PM   #117
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....hoping for the first weekend in October now to do Grand Rapids, MN to Hibbing, MN on the Mesabi and back.
Hope to hear how that Iron Range ride goes for you if you get a chance. That country is beautiful. Good luck!
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Old 10-02-17, 06:35 AM   #118
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Hello,

Thank you for this information about Hwy 61. I have many warm memories from trips to Isabella, MN and I was planning a future bike tour after seeing the 'North Shore' route (you linked to). Having traveled 61, your review matched my concerns. I am guessing traveling farther north requires carrying much more food (I would be self-support solo).
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Old 10-07-17, 10:35 PM   #119
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2017 short tour

Santa Barbara to Oceanside, CA, about 185 miles over four days in April. From the best (Santa Barbara to Pt. Mugu) to the worst (Pt. Mugu to Redondo Beach) in one trip, but all in all a wonderful time. Took the train to SB and rode home.
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Old 10-08-17, 11:55 AM   #120
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Route:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/25710594

Photos:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/105349...57685810338542

From my recent Erie to Philadelphia tour
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