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Trans America to Denver

Old 05-30-18, 07:12 PM
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Trans America to Denver

Hello!

I am riding from TN to CO and will follow TAT for most of my route. Any suggestions on when/where to break off of TAT to head to Denver?
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Old 05-31-18, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by fischervol
Hello!

I am riding from TN to CO and will follow TAT for most of my route. Any suggestions on when/where to break off of TAT to head to Denver?
That depends on whether or not you want to ride in the mountains. If you want the quickest route, take this one. It's not terribly pretty and there is some riding on the I-25...it's allowed.

If you want to ride in the mountains, you could turn off at Hartsel and take US24 to Colorado Springs, then the northern part of the above route to Denver. You could take US285 out of Fairplay to Denver but that is a very busy road and I would suggest that you avoid Turkey Creek Canyon at the end of it. The Canyon is narrow and the people who drive it are stupid. Turn at Conifer and head towards Evergreen and down Bear Creek Canyon.

Or you could continue on to Breckenridge where you would follow the I-70 corridor...you won't ride on I-70 as there are alternative routes and bike paths...to Floyd Hill. You can't ride down US6 since there are a bunch of tunnels (6 of them) that you can't legally ride a bike through. The route is marked.

Or you could continue onto Kremmling and follow US34 through Rocky Mountain National Park over Trail Ridge Road. That includes a climb to 12,000 feet over Fall River Pass.

The quickest, and least pretty, is from Pueblo. The prettiest and hardest is Trail Ridge. The worst traffic would be US285.

A note on the Transam east of Pueblo: At Scott City or Sheridan, drop down to US50 rather than follow Colorado 96. CO96 is long and desolate. Sheridan, Eads, Arlington, and Sugar City are towns in name only. There are few services there. There are more towns with more services along US50 and the riding is just about the same.

Between Las Animas and La Junta, take a side trip on CO194 (you'll get to the intersection before you get to Las Animas on US50). 13 miles west of there is Bent's Old Fort. It's a reconstruction of Bent's trading fort built in the 1830s. It's worth visiting. Consider visiting the Koshare Museum in La Junta as well. It's a kiva built by the local Boy Scouts.

One final note: Avoid drinking the municipal water from Lamar to Pueblo. It won't make you sick but it tastes really, really, really bad. Buy bottle water like the locals do.
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Old 05-31-18, 11:02 AM
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In addition to the routes cyccommute mentions, I might also be tempted to play it by ear and if it turns out you have a day with strong tailwinds from the south, I might turn north even a little earlier at Lamar, Rocky Ford or even Granada. The US highways in that part of CO don't have huge shoulders but traffic is often lighter (US 287 is probably heavier than average though not necessarily worse than US 50).

I wouldn't necessarily turn north earlier if it weren't for wind, but if I were facing a choice between slogginga day against a 20-25mph wind from the SW and heading north for a bit, I would reserve the option to go north first. I've done the same thing though opposite direction when I went from Fort Collins eastwards to Wichita, pick my days to take advantage of the winds.
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Old 05-31-18, 11:23 PM
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Amen on the water. The dollar stores have lots of teas & pops, though, you just have to carry enough. Which is a little tricky, during this drought. 🙄 I'm in Holly now, the last town before Kansas, lol. 😉
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Old 06-03-18, 03:34 PM
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I definitely would not go north from Pueblo. The area has been greatly built up over the last few years. I would break off at Eads, go north to Kit Carson (CG, GS, HM) then NW to Limon. From there you could either take I-70 (not fun) to Agate then CO-40/frontage roads to Byers then CO-36 into Denver. Or from Limon head west on CO-66 and then the various bike paths & routes north into Denver.

All other non-Pueblo to Denver routes Cyccommute suggested are fine.

Have a great ride!
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Old 06-04-18, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by TulsaJohn
I definitely would not go north from Pueblo. The area has been greatly built up over the last few years. I would break off at Eads, go north to Kit Carson (CG, GS, HM) then NW to Limon. From there you could either take I-70 (not fun) to Agate then CO-40/frontage roads to Byers then CO-36 into Denver. Or from Limon head west on CO-66 and then the various bike paths & routes north into Denver.

All other non-Pueblo to Denver routes Cyccommute suggested are fine.

Have a great ride!
The problem with going north from Eads is that there is a whole lot of nothing out there. Eads to Limon is a extremely sparsely populated part of Colorado. If you follow Google's suggestions for a bike route to Denver, that's 200 miles of very lonely road. Kit Carson is about a wide a wide spot on the road as Eads is. From Limon they suggest...and I concur...riding towards Calhan (another barely wide spot) then north to Denver. Not much out there for about 150 miles, including places to stay, places to get food and places to get water.

If you took the more direct route and followed I-70 from Limon to Denver would be every bit as unpleasant as riding north out of Pueblo without any bicycle infrastructure.

While I agree that Pueblo to Denver has been built up, that includes a lot of bicycle infrastructure. There are paths through Colorado Springs (starts in Fountain and goes all the way to Palmer Lake) that make dealing with traffic nonexistent. From just north of Castle Rock to Denver, there's another bike path (paved) all the way to downtown Denver. From Palmer Lake to Castle Rock there are fairly quiet side roads that parallel I-25.
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Old 06-04-18, 10:18 AM
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Actually having ridden this section, I agree there is a lot of nothing for much of the approximately 175 mile route but there are services in Kit Carson, Hugo, Limon, etc. Surpirisingly though, there are some scenic sections, i.e. wide open valley views, etc. As far as from Strasborg, it is much quieter the the Pueblo to Denver section and only becomes busy around west of Watkins. I rarely trust Google for long stretches. They are fine in town but anything over 30 miles quickly becomes suspect in my experience.

If you prefer lots of services and traffic, go north out of Pueblo. If you prefer less traffic less services but services each day, do the Eads to Denver route. Most of all, enjoy the ride! Best, John
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Old 06-04-18, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by TulsaJohn
Actually having ridden this section, I agree there is a lot of nothing for much of the approximately 175 mile route but there are services in Kit Carson, Hugo, Limon, etc. Surpirisingly though, there are some scenic sections, i.e. wide open valley views, etc. As far as from Strasborg, it is much quieter the the Pueblo to Denver section and only becomes busy around west of Watkins. I rarely trust Google for long stretches. They are fine in town but anything over 30 miles quickly becomes suspect in my experience.
I live in this area and have spent a fair amount of time wondering around out east of Denver...not something that many Denverites do. As I said, I wouldn't suggest following the 1-70 corridor into Denver from Limon. From Limon to Deer Trail, you either have to divert way north of the Interstate to Last Chance (about 70 miles) or you have to ride the shoulder of I-70 (44 miles). Riding shoulders of Interstates isn't a problem but it gets old very fast.

I don't know why people are so adverse to using Google Maps. Yes, you have to be smart about how you use it...don't follow it blindly...but I've found it highly useful for bicycle travel across most of the US. It has seldom suggested anything that I didn't (or couldn't) ride and all I did in those cases was follow the road I was on while remapping at regular intervals.

Originally Posted by TulsaJohn
If you prefer lots of services and traffic, go north out of Pueblo. If you prefer less traffic less services but services each day, do the Eads to Denver route. Most of all, enjoy the ride! Best, John
You are making the wrong assumption. It isn't a matter of "preferring traffic" along the Colorado Front Range. The bikeways that are available make that a non-issue. With the exception of Pueblo to Fountain and a very small section of I-25 just south of Castle Rock, you can ride quiet roads or bikeways along the entire distance. Most of it will be covered by bikeways without traffic.
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Old 06-04-18, 03:50 PM
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I'd turn right and head to Boise ID, and bypass the part that goes north to Missoula MT,
via the Mountains of central Idaho.

but I'm viewing the Trans Continental route from the western end, not from the east..





...

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-04-18 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 06-05-18, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by stardognine
Amen on the water. The dollar stores have lots of teas & pops, though, you just have to carry enough. Which is a little tricky, during this drought. 🙄 I'm in Holly now, the last town before Kansas, lol. 😉
Well, for better or worse, I changed my mind about leaving Colorado. 🤔 I was getting kinda frustrated with things, and the wild fires kinda convinced me to leave.
I'm back in La Junta now, lol, right on time for the "heat wave". 🤨
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