Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 08-07-17, 01:53 PM   #1
Ridefreemc
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Ridefreemc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Western Florida
Bikes: 2017 Kona TI, 2016 Bike Friday Haul-A-Day, 2015 Bike Friday New World Tourist, 2013 Velo Orange Campeur, 2011 Mezzo D9, 2004 Marin Mount Vision Pro, 2014 Xtracycle Electric
Posts: 1,476
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
The GAP++ in November

I'm working towards a trip that involves taking the Amtrak train to DC (from Tampa FL), then up the C&O/GAP to Pittsburg, and then roadways (or other routes off-road?) to Ann Arbor MI to watch the Michigan Wolverines play that team from Ohio on November 25th, 2017. My guess is that it'll be cold, likely wet, etc., but what about hostels, hotels, camping along the way? Are they open, is the GAP open or closed, or any other information that might prove helpful. I normally camp, but thing it would be better this trip to stay indoors. Any advice would be appreciated.

Probably ride mid-month, as it'll take about 10 days and I'd like to get to Ann Arbor a day or two early.
Ridefreemc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 02:10 PM   #2
Rob_E
Senior Member
 
Rob_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Bikes: Surly World Troller, Downtube 8H
Posts: 2,179
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 104 Post(s)
There is potential for snow. I grew up in northeast Ohio, and one of the things I love about having moved south is that planning a bike ride in November doesn't sound crazy. I commute year round. In Ohio, the bikes got put a way at some point in October or November and came back out in March or April. Staying clear of Lake Erie until you pass Cleveland can lower your odds of snow. Typically areas close to the lake east of Cleveland have a higher chance of snowfall than west of Cleveland.

Stay warm and Go Buckeyes!
Rob_E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 02:21 PM   #3
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 14,840
Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3761 Post(s)
Checking the GAP official web site would be a good place to start, although I didn't see anything specific about when the tunnel is closed for the winter. (They also have a FB page.) There is no easy workaround once that happens.

Simple Google search produced this. Looks like Nov. should be o.k. tunnel-wise:

http://www.bike-the-gap.com/late-yea...gheny-passage/

It also provides info. re: services closing later in the season and notes that daylight is limited.

Last edited by indyfabz; 08-07-17 at 02:26 PM.
indyfabz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 02:24 PM   #4
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Bikes:
Posts: 5,565
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 652 Post(s)
NPS says the Big Savage Tunnel on the GAP is closed from November through April, so you might have to take a detour. I rode the C&O in November a couple years ago and it was below freezing at night. Be prepared for 20s if camping. Not sure when they take the pump handles off at the hiker/biker sites, but in case they are off, you will need to bring your own water.
alan s is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 02:41 PM   #5
Rob_E
Senior Member
 
Rob_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Bikes: Surly World Troller, Downtube 8H
Posts: 2,179
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 104 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by alan s View Post
NPS says the Big Savage Tunnel on the GAP is closed from November through April, so you might have to take a detour. I rode the C&O in November a couple years ago and it was below freezing at night. Be prepared for 20s if camping. Not sure when they take the pump handles off at the hiker/biker sites, but in case they are off, you will need to bring your own water.
This says December 15th: The big savage tunnel on the Great Allegheny Passage

So it's definitely something to keep an eye on and plan around.
Rob_E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 03:21 PM   #6
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora
Posts: 5,237
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1801 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridefreemc View Post
I'm working towards a trip that involves taking the Amtrak train to DC (from Tampa FL), then up the C&O/GAP to Pittsburg, and then roadways (or other routes off-road?) to Ann Arbor MI to watch the Michigan Wolverines play that team from Ohio on November 25th, 2017. My guess is that it'll be cold, likely wet, etc., but what about hostels, hotels, camping along the way? Are they open, is the GAP open or closed, or any other information that might prove helpful. I normally camp, but thing it would be better this trip to stay indoors. Any advice would be appreciated.

Probably ride mid-month, as it'll take about 10 days and I'd like to get to Ann Arbor a day or two early.

Frankly I would postpone this trip to a later date and warmer weather. I might plan a trip in November but I live just about a mile or two from the Montour Trail which is part of the GAP. I can change my plans at a moments notice. But I wouldn't be planning this is I had to travel.

November 25th you have a really good chance of getting snow in the Laurels. The issue with snow on the GAP is that it can really turn the trail to mush. As long as the trail is frozen you should be ok but if thinks warm up a bit then you will have problems.

And you mentioned Ann Arbor. Not sure if you ever experienced a lake effect snow storm but conditions along the lake can be brutal for several hundred miles from the lake front. and you will need to deal with Erie, Huron and Michigan. Cleveland is only 130 miles from here and they get a lot more snow than we do. Erie, PA gets it bad too and the storms stretch as far south as I80 only 100 miles or so form here. The lakes don't usually get snow till late December early January but you could still get one in late November.

Last edited by spinnaker; 08-07-17 at 03:44 PM.
spinnaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 03:32 PM   #7
TimothyH
- Soli Deo Gloria -
 
TimothyH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Northwest Georgia
Bikes: 2017 Niner RLT 9 RDO, 2015 Bianchi Pista, 2002 Fuji Robaix
Posts: 7,523
Mentioned: 78 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2987 Post(s)
Contact the Benedictine monastary in Latrobe, PA.
Monastery of Saint Vincent Arch Abbey - Benedictine Monks OSB - United States
Benedictine monks practice hospitality as part of their lifestyle and many monasteries are open to travelers, bike tourists, etc.

The monastery of the Holy Spirit here in Atlanta often has a tent on the lawn outside the Abbey Church and the monks are glad to brew coffee and provide a hot shower.


-Tim-
TimothyH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 03:36 PM   #8
Altair 4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Along the Rivers of Pittsburgh
Bikes: 2011 Novara Forza Hybrid, 2005 Trek 820, 1989 Cannondale SR500 Black Lightning, 1975 Mundo Cycles Caloi Racer
Posts: 897
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
I'll only comment on my local area and the GAP. The Big Savage Tunnel closure dates really depend on the weather. It's closed to protect the tunnel from the freeze/thaw cycle as the tunnel has a lot of water seepage due to local geology. In 2016, it was scheduled to close on December 2nd, but it was moved to Dec. 9th. It reopened on March 21 this last spring, due to the mild weather. Generally speaking, the tunnel is closed from early December until early April. Check the website https://gaptrail.org/trail-info/trail-alerts for updated information.

The weather can be unpredictable at that time of the year. Running into snow would not be unheard of, in Pennsylvania's mountains in November. Here's a link to weather averages for Meyersdale, Ohiopyle, and Pittsburgh:
Climate Meyersdale - Pennsylvania and Weather averages Meyersdale
Climate Ohiopyle - Pennsylvania and Weather averages Ohiopyle
Climate Pittsburgh - Pennsylvania and Weather averages Pittsburgh

Weather Underground has good historical information, too. October is a drier month for us, but November starts getting wet again.

Many services close along the GAP during the off-season. You'll need to check specific B&Bs to see what is open at that time of year. Connellsville has an actual hotel now, Cobblestone Hotel and Suites Cobblestone Hotel and Suites in Connellsville, Pennsylvania - Hotel Accomodations Connellsville, Pennsylvania - Lodging Connellsville, Pennsylvania, so I'd guess its open regardless of season. It's new and I've never stayed there, so I can't attest to the facility.

You have an interesting plan in mind. Good luck with your planning and trip!
Altair 4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 05:00 PM   #9
Ridefreemc
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Ridefreemc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Western Florida
Bikes: 2017 Kona TI, 2016 Bike Friday Haul-A-Day, 2015 Bike Friday New World Tourist, 2013 Velo Orange Campeur, 2011 Mezzo D9, 2004 Marin Mount Vision Pro, 2014 Xtracycle Electric
Posts: 1,476
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Frankly I would postpone this trip to a later date and warmer weather. I might plan a trip in November but I live just about a mile or two from the Montour Trail which is part of the GAP. I can change my plans at a moments notice. But I wouldn't be planning this is I had to travel.

November 25th you have a really good chance of getting snow in the Laurels. The issue with snow on the GAP is that it can really turn the trail to mush. As long as the trail is frozen you should be ok but if thinks warm up a bit then you will have problems.

And you mentioned Ann Arbor. Not sure if you ever experienced a lake effect snow storm but conditions along the lake can be brutal for several hundred miles from the lake front. and you will need to deal with Erie, Huron and Michigan. Cleveland is only 130 miles from here and they get a lot more snow than we do. Erie, PA gets it bad too and the storms stretch as far south as I80 only 100 miles or so form here. The lakes don't usually get snow till late December early January but you could still get one in late November.
Doesn't sound so rosy. :0 Thanks Spinnaker, I was thinking you'd know a lot about this trip. Still plugging it in for now, and will have to fully commit at a certain point. If need be I could ride roads. What about typical summertime retail, food, and lodging? Do they stay open in the fall?

Edit - I didn't see Timothy and Altair's comments - thank you. That is helpful information.

I really don't mind riding in the cold or snow, as long as I'm not riding all day and camping in it at night (or if the snow accumulates, as I can't seem to stay upright!). So, although I normally camp to save $$, I think this trip will need to involve a heater (and indoors)!

Last edited by Ridefreemc; 08-07-17 at 05:19 PM.
Ridefreemc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 05:26 PM   #10
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora
Posts: 5,237
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1801 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridefreemc View Post
Doesn't sound so rosy. :0 Thanks Spinnaker, I was thinking you'd know a lot about this trip. Still plugging it in for now, and will have to fully commit at a certain point. If need be I could ride roads. What about typical summertime retail, food, and lodging? Do they stay open in the fall?

Edit - I didn't see Timothy and Altair's comments - thank you. That is helpful information.

I really don't mind riding in the cold or snow, as long as I'm not riding all day and camping in it at night (or if the snow accumulates, as I can't seem to stay upright!). So, although I normally camp to save $$, I think this trip will need to involve a heater (and indoors)!
Not sure about late November. Along the GAP places are certainly going to be open until late October for leaf peepers. Of course you will be competing with them for places to stay.

As for roads.. The GAP crosses some of the steepest mountains in the country. No where near the highest but they are right up there on the steepest. I wouldn't want to ride Route 40 in the best of weather let alone cold and possible snow.
spinnaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 05:35 PM   #11
Ridefreemc
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Ridefreemc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Western Florida
Bikes: 2017 Kona TI, 2016 Bike Friday Haul-A-Day, 2015 Bike Friday New World Tourist, 2013 Velo Orange Campeur, 2011 Mezzo D9, 2004 Marin Mount Vision Pro, 2014 Xtracycle Electric
Posts: 1,476
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
One option I have considered is going a few weeks early. Possibly start riding on the first. That gets me to MI a bit too early, but it would still be doable. Spinnaker I forgot about your mountains. I was just in the Rockies and they might be much taller, but definitely not as steep!
Ridefreemc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 06:19 PM   #12
BigAura
 
BigAura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chapin, SC
Bikes: all steel stable: surly world troller, paris sport fixed, fuji ss
Posts: 3,182
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 478 Post(s)
I like it! Sounds like a true adventure. Bring layers & a warm sleeping bag. A backup escape plan in case of big-snow, would make sense though.

Go Blue!
BigAura is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 06:33 PM   #13
axolotl
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 1,547
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
Nobody has addressed the C&O Canal towpath. In cooler temperatures, rain doesn't drain or evaporate as quickly as during hot weather. In November, if there has been any rain in the preceding days, the towpath is likely to be muddy.
axolotl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 06:52 PM   #14
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora
Posts: 5,237
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1801 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
Nobody has addressed the C&O Canal towpath. In cooler temperatures, rain doesn't drain or evaporate as quickly as during hot weather. In November, if there has been any rain in the preceding days, the towpath is likely to be muddy.

There are road options to the C&O that are at least doable. Still a bit steep but nothing like Route 40.

Plus there is the Western Maryland Rail Trail that gets you out of the mud. Even if it is just a little bit.
spinnaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 06:54 PM   #15
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Bikes:
Posts: 5,565
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 652 Post(s)
Here's the NPS link.

https://www.nps.gov/pohe/planyourvis...age_tunnel.htm
alan s is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 06:57 PM   #16
spinnaker
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora
Posts: 5,237
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1801 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridefreemc View Post
One option I have considered is going a few weeks early. Possibly start riding on the first. That gets me to MI a bit too early, but it would still be doable. Spinnaker I forgot about your mountains. I was just in the Rockies and they might be much taller, but definitely not as steep!

Just keep an eye on the leaf forecast. If you come through the GAP during peak season, finding a room last minute might be difficult.

If you need help or a place to stay in Pittsburgh let me know and I would be happy to help if I am around. If I have the day off I can give you a tour of the city and the largest bicycle museum in the world. Waring I live on top of a steep hill (as most people in Pittsburgh ). Not nearly as step where I used to live which was pretty close to the highest point in the county. Good for TV reception bad for bicycle riding into the city (one of the lowest points).
spinnaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 07:06 PM   #17
BigAura
 
BigAura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chapin, SC
Bikes: all steel stable: surly world troller, paris sport fixed, fuji ss
Posts: 3,182
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 478 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
In November, if there has been any rain in the preceding days, the towpath is likely to be muddy.
True. Fenders & rain gear will protect you. But I agree still could be a mess. True adventure!
BigAura is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 07:17 PM   #18
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, Perfekt 3 Speed of unknown age, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer for exercise. Several others are now gone.
Posts: 3,968
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 500 Post(s)
Pounding in tent stakes in frozen ground is not easy or fun. Good luck.
Tourist in MSN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 07:19 PM   #19
Mtroup
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Bikes: Jones Plus, Tern Verge Tour
Posts: 80
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Totally doable with the right gear. I rode the GAP in January this year and had a blast, despite temps below freezing. Didn't see one other biker the whole time (a few dog-walkers). I felt like I had the whole trail to myself. Not everybody's idea of fun, but it was a nice little adventure. Good gear, especially sleeping bag, a definite must.
Mtroup is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-17, 08:28 PM   #20
rm -rf
don't try this at home.
 
rm -rf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: N. KY
Bikes:
Posts: 4,369
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 338 Post(s)
Mid to late November in Ohio? Here, way down in SW Ohio, it can be warm, 50-60F, one day and cold and rainy the next. I have some nice rides in November, but have to pick the good days.

It's really getting to be winter farther north.

weatherspark.com has nice yearly climate charts.

Here's Fremont OH on the way to Toledo.
https://weatherspark.com/y/16477/Ave...-United-States

The average hourly temperatures chart is useful.
For mid November, a few hours of 45-55F in the afternoon, 32-45F the rest of the few daylight hours.
But this can vary widely from day to day, of course.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg fremont.JPG (44.0 KB, 84 views)
rm -rf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-17, 08:42 AM   #21
Ridefreemc
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Ridefreemc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Western Florida
Bikes: 2017 Kona TI, 2016 Bike Friday Haul-A-Day, 2015 Bike Friday New World Tourist, 2013 Velo Orange Campeur, 2011 Mezzo D9, 2004 Marin Mount Vision Pro, 2014 Xtracycle Electric
Posts: 1,476
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Thank you for the great information. I'm still working out the details, including costs. One thing that is a bit deterring though is the cost of a ticket to The Game. They are close to $400! to start, with many going higher than that. Of course I'd go with the least expensive, but I need to do more research on ticket buying.

Anyway, the Amtrak ticket is $107 + $20 for the bicycle. Hotels/lodging on top of that (~500), although I am a Warmshowers host and member so that may help out if I can utilize the generosity of others. I'd stay with family in Michigan and should be able to be dropped off close to the stadium, whilst my bicycle sits safe at their house. I don't usually add too much to my costs/budget for food because I'd be eating even if I didn't tour, albeit a bit cheaper. $400 for the game ticket. Then $180 to send the bicycle home, but add about $50 for sending my bike case (empty) up to MI. Lastly, while I haven't researched it the airplane ticket back is likely $200. So that would be around $1,500 for the trip, as I don't need any new gear. I give myself a $1,000 allowance each month (eating out, fuel for auto/boat/mc, bike stuff, etc.), so my budget would be blown for this sub 3 week adventure.

I have a second more convenient and less costly option I am considering though. A buddy and me are driving up to Asheville, NC in mid-october so he can ride the New Belgium Brewery Ramble. The weather should be decent, although likely still a bit warm and muggy. I am looking at starting a ride south towards Florida the day he starts the Ramble. Approximately the same distance to home as the DC to MI trip (600-650 miles) and would change things some. On this trip I'd help with fuel heading north (~$40) and we plan on one hotel shared on the way up (gotta stop in Athens for good food and a brew) (~$40 for the hotel share). I can camp (normally wild) and one or two hotels on the way south, so lower costs there (~$200). Wallah! So for less than $500 (saving $1000) I could get a great tour in and watch The Game on TV like I have since the 1960s. If I go light and use all hotels that would raise the price some, but not terribly. The convenience might just be worth the extra cost, and for the same effort could go a few more miles each day. Camping gear changing the entire bicycle configuration from just a seat bag (Dill Pickle!) and handlebar bag (same) to adding Tubus rear rack and at least rear panniers (Lone Peak) and handlebar bag. The bike does not allow for front low-rider racks.

I'll be riding a Kona Rove Ti with 41mm Clements, so I can take dirt roads as well as paved. I've been studying a few general routes using Google maps, but the default route for that program takes me south towards Jacksonville and then diagonally across the state to home. Of course it relies too heavily on US Highways like 301 and US17 (rode that in 1979 during a trip the day after high school graduation from Port Orange Florida to Savanna GA), but I see that there are parallel, sometimes a few miles longer, routes through Georgia. I know a lot of the backroads in Florida, but so far my experience on dirt roads has not been great due to thick sand that is hard to walk a bike through, let alone ride. Maybe someone with Florida dirt road experience can suggest a few alternatives.

So I was thinking of buying a Georgia Gazetteer to find parallel routes in some cases. I will study NC more too to see if I need to get off main roads.

Any thoughts or advice on this alternative?
Ridefreemc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-17, 10:40 PM   #22
DropBarFan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Bikes: 2013 Surly Disc Trucker, 2004 Novara Randonee , old fixie , etc
Posts: 2,330
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 307 Post(s)
GAP would be the easy part yet I'd guess a northern tour might work OK in November. Lash on a pair of studded tires, good to go.
DropBarFan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:43 AM.


 
  • Ask a Question
    get answers from real people!
Click to start entering your question.
I HAVE A QUESTION