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Mississippi River, Missouri River

Old 07-27-17, 03:44 PM
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teacherlady
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Mississippi River, Missouri River

I'm just back from a 2000 km unsupported credit-card tour of the Danube River, and I'd like to cycle the great rivers of my own country. Has anyone ridden long distances along either the Mississippi or the Missouri Rivers? Could you get close enough to the rivers for long enough to get a feel of the river's life? My comfortable range is about 50 miles a day. Are the services close enough together? I mapped much of the Mississippi from Lake Itasca to the Iowa border, and streetview mostly showed little traffic and decent shoulders. Is that a coincidence of timing, or is that for real? If I start from Lake Itasca near the beginning of September, what's the prevailing wind direction? Are rains long and soaking, or do they blow over quickly? Has anyone done this ride?

It's way too late to ride the Missouri, and I know I'd have to be stronger, as services are much further apart. Is riding along the Missouri a crazy idea? Has anyone done it?

Why are there thousands of people riding the great rivers of Europe, and very few riding our rivers?
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Old 07-27-17, 03:51 PM
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Well Adventure cycling has the Lewis and Clarke route, https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...k/lewis-clark/

I want to do this route.

There was once an active bike route that ran along the Mississippi and many have done it. Lake Itasca to Iowa is very doable I think. Rains are not long and soaking in the midwest.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_River_Trail

Shouldn't you be busy teaching in September?
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Old 07-27-17, 03:53 PM
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Google Katy Trail, that runs close-ish to the Missouri, for around 200 miles. 🙂
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Old 07-27-17, 04:33 PM
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What is a river?
The Upper Mississippi is a series of lakes with railroads on both banks.
The Lower Mississippi has been dramatically channelized.
The Missouri south of Sioux City is free-flowing, but hard to get close to.
Above Yankton it is a series of massive reservoirs that have drowned the riparian environment.
The Missouri at Missouri Breaks is free-flowing, but roadless.
From Wolf Creek to Great Falls, Recreation Road generally follows the river.

The Yellowstone is the longest free-flowing river in the Lower 48.
The valley has a major interstate and a transcontinental railroad.
But, long stretches of Old US 10 are there for the taking.
Totally empty road with significant river stretches - cliffs, eagles, hawks.
And September is a magnificent month to do it.

Takes some planning.
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Old 07-27-17, 04:54 PM
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I would love to join you on that ride! I won't get to, but I would love to.... I live near the confluence of the Missouri, Mississippi and Illinois rivers, so maybe I can keep up with your plans and at least grab a few miles when you come through.

I think the katy trail would be the easy choice to parallel the Missouri River. For the Mississippi, you could look at the path for the Mississippi River Trail, or the closely associated Adventure Cycling Great Rivers South path.
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Old 07-27-17, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
Google Katy Trail, that runs close-ish to the Missouri, for around 200 miles. 🙂
Ditto on the Katy Trail. From Machens to Boonville, you are often close enough to the Missouri River that you have to worry about falling into it. I've done the entire Katy Trail the last 7 years and plan on doing it next year.

Here's a web site devoted to the Katy Trail.
Katy Trail Missouri Trail Maps, Businesses, Events, Mileage, and more

If you want to do it in 2018, I highly recommend this organized ride. It's the group that I go with. They should have a similar web site starting around January 2018 and signup usually starts on March 1st. Sign up early as it sometimes sells out quickly.

https://mostateparks.com/2017ktride
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Old 07-28-17, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by teacherlady View Post
Why are there thousands of people riding the great rivers of Europe, and very few riding our rivers?
Why do you believe that is the case?

BTW...Goes through Lake Itasca:

https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...northern-tier/
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Old 07-28-17, 09:54 AM
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In general in North (and South) Dakota, follow 1804 and 1806 along the Missouri. If those numbers sound vaguely familiar, they're the years the Lewis and Clark expedition started and ended. Traffic in western ND hasn't been kind to cyclists since the start of the current oil boom. The annual CANDISC ride had to drop 4-5 of the western routes because of it, including the popular "around Lake Sakakawea."

Distance between towns in both states can be vast. Population density in some areas is one or two people per square mile, if that. Roads don't hug the river valley, but you can get on top of hills and see for miles, including the river/reservoirs. It's a beautiful ride.
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Old 07-28-17, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by MNBikeCommuter View Post
Traffic in western ND hasn't been kind to cyclists since the start of the current oil boom. The annual CANDISC ride had to drop 4-5 of the western routes because of it, including the popular "around Lake Sakakawea."
Adventure Cycling re-routed its Northern Tier route for the same reason. It used to go through Williston and then take 1804. I did it in '99 and camped at the Sakakawea State Park on the lake. Pretty place. Now, the route drops south at Wolf Point, MT and goes through Dickinson and Bismarck on the way to Fargo, where the original route also went.


BTW...R.I.P. CANDISC. I think you may have been the one who told me this is its final year.
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Old 07-28-17, 04:14 PM
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OP here. I can ride in September because I am now retired teacher lady, but don't know how to change my user name!

I know thousands are riding the great rivers of Europe, because I rode the Rhine 3 years ago, and the Danube last week, and saw dozens every day on the Rhine, and dozens every day on the Danube (at least as far east as Budapest; we only saw a few a day after Budapest.) If I see dozens on any given day (mostly before high season), then there are 1000s riding each river every summer. I believe there aren't as many riding the Mississippi because there is no ACA route on the lower Mississippi. I know the Louis and Clark (bike) trail exists, but I hear very little about people riding it!

You've all given me food for thought, especially jamawani. I will ride the Katy trail some day, but I had in mind doing a very substantial part of the Mississippi, enough to see it grow and change. Free-flowing isn't essential, as I like watching the river traffic. But I do want to be able to get close enough to the river to see it a few times a day, perhaps take hotel rooms or campsites along the river. That looks like it will be difficult. Anyway, thanks for the answers.
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Old 07-28-17, 07:48 PM
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The vast majority of my tour from Duluth, MN to Memphis, TN was along the Mississippi. Sometimes I rode along the west bank and sometimes along the east bank, taking advantage of ferries along the way. For the most part the riding was good, services plentiful and on occasions mosquitos Gawdawful. I really liked riding through the river towns and cities along the way. I had few problems. Note that sometimes the "signed" portion of the Mississippi River Trail would lead along rough, unpaved roadways/tracks with weeds up to your knees. But this was many years ago and things may be better now.
See if you can track down a copy of the Bicycling Guide to the Mississippi River Trail, by Bob Robinson. It's a bit dated, but may still be helpful with planning your days.
On another note, I rode the Rhine in 2014 and also noticed the high numbers of cyclists riding along the route in both directions. Of course, the Rhine is also one of the premier rivers to ride, especially that beautiful section from Mainz to Koblenz with a castle or two just about every kilometer. Two weeks from now, I leave to ride along portions of the Elbe, Vltava and Danube, from Dresden, Germany to Budapest.
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Old 07-28-17, 07:50 PM
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I often had views of the Mississippi, especially through the Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa sections.
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Old 07-29-17, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Adventure Cycling re-routed its Northern Tier route for the same reason. It used to go through Williston and then take 1804. I did it in '99 and camped at the Sakakawea State Park on the lake. Pretty place. Now, the route drops south at Wolf Point, MT and goes through Dickinson and Bismarck on the way to Fargo, where the original route also went.


BTW...R.I.P. CANDISC. I think you may have been the one who told me this is its final year.
Yeah, it was probably me. :-) I haven't heard any rider numbers but my daughter registered two weeks ago and was accepted. They were going to cap it at 300. I'd hoped they'd reach that but it doesn't look like it. The final ride starts next weekend.

The last CANDISC ride around Sakakawea was in '04 and we camped at the same state park. A catering company from Williston was set up right across from where my dad and I were camping. They were roasting a pig and every time they had to "go check on Wilbur," the smell drifted over and caused some mouth watering. It was a long afternoon until the meal. :-)

As for the route along the Mississippi in MN, here's the official bike route:

Maps - Mississippi River Trail - MnDOT
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Old 07-29-17, 08:39 AM
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I just rode a portion of the Mississippi from Winona to the Quad Cities. Most of what you heard about the roads is true. Wind is predominately from the West, but this is the Midwest, you can't count on anything. I've ridden and seen most of the river but that section is by far the most beautiful and picturesque section. The ride from Praire Du Chien to Savanna Il. takes you over cliffs reaching 1000 feet above the valley. It's stunning, there are also 7 catagoriezed climbs in the 80 mile stretch. Here's a link to. my blog post
Last summer I rode from KC to St. Louis and most of that was on the Katy Trail which follows the river very closely. The Katy is one of the most enjoyable trails I've ridden.
Don't forget the CO trail down the Cumberland River to Washington. That is a nice little bit of history as well.
It's all

Marc
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