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Old 11-13-17, 07:53 AM   #126
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Short report on a credit card tour just north of Sydney, Australia- highly recommend the route!

Thanks for that ... sounds interesting.

I'm trying to think if I was in that area back in 2004. My cycling partner and I did go a little bit north of Sydney, but the memory is hazy.
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Old 11-13-17, 09:44 AM   #127
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Exploring the trails to Maine Huts

Friday morning I headed to Kingfield Maine (usa), to explore the routes to two of their 4 huts. Stratton Brook Hut and Poplar Falls Hut. I have previously biked to the other two huts (Flagstaff hut and Grand Falls Hut) and I was now curious what the trails are like for the rest of the trail had I one day decided to to to all 4 at once.

The forecast was for 'arctic blast' :-) - it doesn't get much better than that...

I arrived in Kingfield after 2 hours of driving and proceeded to head towards Sugarloaf ski area. The road in this section follows a river and the cold weather already started coating the road in ice. It is only the beginning of winter here in Maine and I have not yet switched to winter tires so I tried to take it easy peasy on this road.

I passed Sugarloaf ski area and soonafter found a sign to a trailhead for the Maine Huts. The parking lot had a during of snow and the temperatures hovered in teens (probably around 18F/-8C). I loaded my fat bike with a sleeping bag, extra clothing, food and hot tea and headed out on the trails.

My first destination was Stratton Brook hut. The ride to the hut was surprisingly uphill, in one to two inches of snow on top of soft/muddy base. I have not yet put my studded tires on this year ... it looks like I should do that soon. This was my first snow ride of the upcoming winter.


I arrived at the hut and met the caretaker, Benji. It was by coincidence that I actually knew him from his childhood and have not seen him for at least 10 years. He has now graduated college and seemed like a well rounded young man.

I drank some tea and ate a small snack and checked the map for choice of trails to the next hut. I chose a trail that was on a gradual downhill slope to the trailhead for Poplar Falls hut. Benji let me use his phone to make an overnight reservation at the Stratton Falls hut and then I was back on the bike.

The downhill ride was exhillirating. I was bombing down over brooks and rocks and snow...the fat bike is really an amazing vehicle for these conditions. When I arrived back down at the river I chose an uphill road that had a sign to the hut system. However after a few miles I came to a fork with confusing signage, checked the map and realized that I really took a wrong turn... :-) It would be too complicated to reach the hut from this junction. Instead I chose to to ride back down to the river.

Back at the river I found the correct trail and headed back up. The ride up to Poplar Falls hut was also fairly steep uphill venture. By comparison the trails on the Flagstaff and Grand Falls hut were slightly more forgiving.

I passed a few hikers on the way up before I arrived at the Poplar Falls hut sufficiently spent. The verdict for this ride was 1600 vert and about 14 miles.


I drank the rest of my hot tea, set up my sleeping bag in my bunk room and then cooked dinner. After dinner I thought I would be reading a book but I was invited to join a table with the caretaker and 4 other guests. We had a great conversation until about 9pm when my droopy eyes announced I'd be heading to bed soon.

The next morning I made oatmeal for breakfast and bid farewell to the hut. The ride down was mostly all downhill to the river - a thrilling experience on snow. At the river I joined a narrow gauge trail moderately uphill following the upstream of the river bank all the way back to my car.



A great short expedition.

Last edited by PedalingWalrus; 11-13-17 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 11-13-17, 11:49 PM   #128
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That ^^^^^ is awesome!
Wish that stuff was here in Missouri. It only has a little bit. Nothing like New England.
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Old 11-14-17, 06:00 AM   #129
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Old 11-14-17, 12:54 PM   #130
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Hope to hear how that Iron Range ride goes for you if you get a chance. That country is beautiful. Good luck!
We actually ended up being able to get our Iron Range tour completed in mid- October. Was a little chilly, but the leaves were still gorgeous. I remembered the Mesabi being a little hilly, but definitely didn't remember that the climbs were 9% plus in several places, lol. We met almost no one the entire weekend. Unlike some of our other short tours, and perhaps because we were technically "off season" there was not a whole lot for amenities in the little towns that we passed through, at least by and large. We had to bike through a few miles of Hibbing to get to our hotel, very pretty residential streets. Had a nice meal, a good room, rinse/repeat for day 2. Very enjoyable. I'd definitely like to do Hibbing east to the end of the Mesabi next time.
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Old 11-15-17, 06:56 AM   #131
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Cape Cod Rail Trai and beyond

Once in a while we have this weird effect where everywhere within reasonable driving direction has a bad weather forecast for the weekend but for an appendage called Cape Cod.

I don't usually like to drive through Boston area traffic but I can be open minded if the destination and the timing is just about right. Such was the case two weeks ago when Downeast, Northern, Western and Southern Maine forecast called for rain, New Hampshire and Vermont also had a rainy weather forecast. The tourist season was officially over at Cape Cod and therefore I would not have to swashbuckle drivers and pedestrians during my bike ride. Winter is coming. I decided to go.

I packed and overpacked with tent, sleeping bag, mat and food knowing fully that I probably will end up in a motel somewhere for a low off season rate.

The drive took about 3 hours before I arrived at South Dennis Massachusetts. According to the map, this is where the Cape Cod Rail Trail begins. Cape Cod Rail Trail is a protected paved path that goes eastward for about 20 miles. I got my bike ready and started pedaling.

The ride was undulating, without any noticeable hills. I saw some bikers but also people walking their dogs and joggers. The trail crossed many roads and at many crossings I saw an opportunity to eat and drink and also several nice bike shops. I also passed nice lake beaches and properties. The weather was sunny and crisp.






It didn't take me too long to reach the end of the Rail Trail at Wayfleet. From there I took the bike route that weaved by nice beaches as well as nice lakes. I saw hardly anyone around. At this point I was also trying to take a note of spots that I could pitch a tent in case of need. (stealth camping





I kept on biking until the sun was starting to set. On route 6A in Truro I marvelled at rows of seasonal beach cottages and sand dunes in the distance.



I reached the civilized end of Cape Cod in Provincetown as the day was drawing to a close. Got a slice of pizza and a smoothie at a local cafe and found a nice room at a nearby inn. By the time I reached the inn it was getting dark.

I enjoyed a hot shower, read my book and fell asleep around 10PM.

At 7AM the next day I had a small breakfast at the inn, hopped on the bike and retraced my steps back to South Dennis. I saw cranberry harvest along the way - pretty cool.





This time the weather was windy but still crisp and sunny. All in all a great couple of days on fresh air.
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Old 11-15-17, 09:44 AM   #132
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Great write up
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Old 11-15-17, 12:27 PM   #133
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Old 11-15-17, 12:32 PM   #134
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Those green panniers sort of make we wish my red Ortlieb Packers would spontaneously disintegrate, forcing me to replace them.
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Old 11-17-17, 11:27 PM   #135
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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.
Actually, It was pretty interesting

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Old 11-25-17, 08:46 PM   #136
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Last summer, I took a ferry from Manhattan's East Side to Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Poked my way through the suburban sprawl of Red Bank, Matawan, and a slew of other towns, until I hit New Brunswick. There I hopped on the towpath of the Delaware and Raritan Canal, and took it to the end...past Princeton, Trenton, and thence up the Delaware River. Hooked a right in farm country, and rode on rail-trails mostly through Long Valley and eventually to Morristown. There I hopped a train to Hoboken, and the Ferry back to Manhattan. Four days total, about 280 miles. Camped in nearly deserted state campgrounds, a friend's vineyard, and one motel. New Jersey is soooo strange, always surprising. Often crazy dense, but then it turns into countryside. Worth a ride.
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Old 11-26-17, 09:04 AM   #137
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Last summer, I took a ferry from Manhattan's East Side to Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Poked my way through the suburban sprawl of Red Bank, Matawan, and a slew of other towns, until I hit New Brunswick. There I hopped on the towpath of the Delaware and Raritan Canal, and took it to the end...past Princeton, Trenton, and thence up the Delaware River. Hooked a right in farm country, and rode on rail-trails mostly through Long Valley and eventually to Morristown. There I hopped a train to Hoboken, and the Ferry back to Manhattan. Four days total, about 280 miles. Camped in nearly deserted state campgrounds, a friend's vineyard, and one motel. New Jersey is soooo strange, always surprising. Often crazy dense, but then it turns into countryside. Worth a ride.
So you must have been on the Columbia Trail from High Bridge. I have ridden it as far as Califon. I live in Philly and ride in Hunterdon, Warren and/or Somerset Counties several times a year. Despite the development being brought on by I-78, there are still some beautiful places to ride.

If you have more time next time, try taking the small roads along the river from Frenchtown through Phillipsburg (or you can take the D&L Canal Path on the PA side up to Easton then cross over into Phillipsburg) and up to Belvidere. From there, cross over to the PA side and head up to Delaware Water Gap. Then cross the bike-ped walkway along I-80 back into NJ and head through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area then local roads to Port Jervis, where you can catch a train back to Hoboken and change at Seacaucus for Manhattan. If you are interested, I can tell you where there is camping. Worthing State Forest across from Delaware Water Gap is particularly nice, and if you call the park directly they should hold a space for you. Apparently they have a few unadvertised spots for people arriving by water/bike/foot. If you take a day off there they rent canoes.
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Old 11-27-17, 10:52 PM   #138
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I recently rode the Virginia Capital Trail that goes 50 miles from Richmond to Jamestown from which there's an option to ride 10 miles to historic Williamsburg on the Colonial Parkway. Capital Trail is the nicest bike trail I've ever seen: very smooth & wide (completed in 2015) & even has porta-potties every so often including the rural stretches. Basically flat, a great trail for families or newbies; also might work well as part of a longer tour. Capital Trail would be a nice century route too. The Colonial Parkway had the best scenery with great fall colors & impressive James River views.

Camping & parking were surprisingly expensive: Chickahominy State Park charged $32 for a tent site w/elec, Richmond parking garage charged $30 for 2 days car parking. One can park in Richmond for free for a couple of days but AFAIK Chickahominy is the only convenient camping spot.
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