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Gone 2 Look 4 America - one month on the road

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Gone 2 Look 4 America - one month on the road

Old 05-27-23, 04:46 PM
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Gone 2 Look 4 America - one month on the road

One month ago, I started at the US Capitol in Washington DC on my ride visiting US State Capitols: https://mvermeulen.org/gone2look4america I am not planning on visiting all the lower 48 capitols, but doing it this way adds some structure to my wandering (where to next...) while also letting me adapt things as I go along. Some things I've noticed and learned:

1. I am surprised at how popular the Erie Canal route is with cycle tourists. I encounter multiple parties each day. The State of New York has a good job with signage (both route and history) and there is a book with maps. A good portion is off-street with some paved and a lot hard-packed gravel. Some parts are on roads and there is a corresponding all road alternative also marked (NY 5S). My experience is good so far and this is a route I'll recommend to others looking at a week trip or so. There is also designated "Empire State Trail" from NYC to the Canadian border but parts I rode did not have many other cyclists.

2. I'm experimenting with route finding using apps and it sometimes puts me on other roads than I did before. What I did before including twice crossing northern New York is get the state highway map and pick not too large roads and follow them via cities I picked. What I'm doing now is letting Komoot or RideWithGPS suggest a general route, adjusting with via points or the PC to create a default route and riding it. I'll do it a day at a time, but also figured out how to pick a new route part way through the day and ride it instead. I still prefer Komoot for the cross the huge metro area routing (e.g. Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston) but RideWithGPS does well in the less dense routing.

3. It has been fun so far. Reached 10 state capitols and traveled 1346 miles. I am still east of where I started but that should change in next days. One larger adjustment I made along the way was realize a default plan of cycling from Harrisburg PA to Charleston WV was going to cross a lot of steep Appalachia and while I could do it - it would be a slow slog with a lot of walking. I decided to skip those capitols and instead come across the Erie Canal. Glad I made that choice. I expect I'll make other adjustments in the future as well.

4. The East Coast Greenway parts I've seen come across as much more of a hodge podge than the Empire State Trail. Seems widely variable set of routes and while my routing from DC to Maine often overlapped, I wouldn't go out of my way to follow the ECG.

5. I crossed a good portion of New Hampshire on their Northern Rail Trail. Reasonable route though many parts were rougher than other non-paved routes I followed.

6. Vermont gets my prize for worst beat up roads, so far. A lot of the state has fine decent roads but the percentage of time I was watching and moving left to avoid rutted/potholed shoulders was highest in Vermont. My cycling mirror is valuable in those cases. I find the mirror so much of a habit, I'll even have it in places it doesn't make as much sense, e.g. riding an off road trail.

7. New York City was surprisingly easy to get to the middle. I let Komoot plot a reasonable route through New Jersey, across the Goethals Bridge and poof I was at the Staten Island Ferry and on my way to Times Square. It did help leaving very early on a Saturday morning to leave the city.
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Old 05-28-23, 04:39 AM
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That sounds like a great ride. As a Vermonter myself, I reluctantly agree that the pavement here is often bad. But the gravel roads, which far outnumber the paved ones( by something like four to one) are often good and less traveled. Even if they leave something to be desired, at least the potholes are rounded off rather that sharp-edged, as they are in pavement.
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