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Route recommendation in the North West

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Route recommendation in the North West

Old 06-03-13, 10:48 AM
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Route recommendation in the North West

Hi there everyone. Me and my girlfriend have 5 weeks free for bike touring in July and the first week of august this year. We will take the train from California and my initial plan was to take the train to Seattle (spend two days there and take another train to Glacier National Park, start biking down south through Missoula,pick up on the Transamerican Trail towards the Western entrance of Yellowstone, continue down south to Grand Tetons and then south in the borring desert of Wyoming and end some were in Colorado, possibly if we are fast, get all the way down to Pueblo.

Put since we now will use better bikes and I decided to bring my own touring bike from Sweden with low gears. We will bye a touring bike for my girl in California. We are beginning to think about starting in Portland instead, since we have friends there and it's less of a train ride. And just follow Columbia river the first couple of days to get our legs in to shape and then start climbing over the big passes and head in to Missoula and grab Transamerican trail from here and continue on the same route as I said before.
I've heard that west of Yellowstone is suppose to be beautiful. Is there a better route towards Colorado. I don't want to take the road to Salt Lake City and then past the mountains, I have done that before.

I have got some recommendations from Swedish communities but would like to hear from you americans to I know Missoula is a bit closer from Glacier by bike and the route from Portland will be tougher and longer. We have friends in Spokane to and could start from there! Any suggestions? How about campsites, gradient differences and differences on the routes when it comes to scenery?

I've heard about the legendary Montana mosquitos btw!

/Sebastian
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Old 06-04-13, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by bastian
Hi there everyone. Me and my girlfriend have 5 weeks free for bike touring in July and the first week of august this year. We will take the train from California and my initial plan was to take the train to Seattle (spend two days there and take another train to Glacier National Park, start biking down south through Missoula,pick up on the Transamerican Trail towards the Western entrance of Yellowstone, continue down south to Grand Tetons and then south in the borring desert of Wyoming and end some were in Colorado, possibly if we are fast, get all the way down to Pueblo.

Put since we now will use better bikes and I decided to bring my own touring bike from Sweden with low gears. We will bye a touring bike for my girl in California. We are beginning to think about starting in Portland instead, since we have friends there and it's less of a train ride. And just follow Columbia river the first couple of days to get our legs in to shape and then start climbing over the big passes and head in to Missoula and grab Transamerican trail from here and continue on the same route as I said before.
I've heard that west of Yellowstone is suppose to be beautiful. Is there a better route towards Colorado. I don't want to take the road to Salt Lake City and then past the mountains, I have done that before.

I have got some recommendations from Swedish communities but would like to hear from you americans to I know Missoula is a bit closer from Glacier by bike and the route from Portland will be tougher and longer. We have friends in Spokane to and could start from there! Any suggestions? How about campsites, gradient differences and differences on the routes when it comes to scenery?

I've heard about the legendary Montana mosquitos btw!

/Sebastian

I don't really have any information to share regarding your proposed trip, but I thought I'd point you toward the "Pacific Northwest" regional forum. There is a recent post there about riding along the Columbia river that probably has some good information for you. IIRC, for much of that route there are roads on both sides of the river, and there is good advice about which is better. Be aware though, that it is likely going to be pretty windy all along the Columbia river.

If you need any advice about the Seattle area, I could help there.

Good luck!


EDIT: here's the thread I was thinking of:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ia-River-Gorge
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Old 06-04-13, 05:48 AM
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Either of your choices is great.

Are you familiar with Adventure Cycling? I guess you are, since you mention the Transamerica Trail. You can buy some very useful maps, that have locations of services, camping suggestions (including lots of nice/inexpensive/free camping), elevation profiles, and detailed route planning so you are on better roads for cycling. You can also just look at their maps on line and figure out the general routing, or download GPS files for free (but time consuming to work with).

(Aside, they are located in Missoula, many tourists visit the headquarters during their trips.)

https://www.adventurecycling.org/rout...rview-map-pdf/

Your first route is basically Great Parks North to Transamerica
https://www.adventurecycling.org/rout...k/great-parks/
https://www.adventurecycling.org/rout...america-trail/

Your second route, you can take the Lewis and Clark route to Missoula, then get on the Transamerica route. (Edit, error removed)
https://www.adventurecycling.org/rout...k/lewis-clark/
(sections 6 &7)
https://www.adventurecycling.org/rout...america-trail/
(sections 4,5,6)

Either of these is great. I've ridden both as parts of other trips.

Once you are in Colorado, if you have extra time, you can just wander around in the mountains - a few years ago I spent 5 weeks just riding all the Continental Divide passes in Colorado, you can pretty much just use any of the numbered highways *in the mountains, not on the east side of the mountains* and you will be on good cycling roads. Once you try to get nearer to Denver, where all the people are, it's more complicated route finding and there are roads you don't want to ride on, but you'll have plenty of time to figure that out.

https://www.coloradodot.info/programs...bicycling-maps
https://www.dot.state.wy.us/files/liv...oute%20Map.pdf
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Old 06-04-13, 06:48 AM
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I rode the Lewis and Clark from Portland to Missoula. It was great! The wind was blowing me through the Columbia Gorge - no mountain passes there; the Columbia cuts right through the Cascades. There was one terrible climb - Old Winchester Grade Road. It was long and hot and steep! There was another long climb up to Alpowa Summit. I was worried about Lolo Pass, but I didn't think it was that bad. Sure, it was a long, slow, uphill climb, but not as grueling as others I've done, and I made it to the top before lunch.

I also rode the Northern Tier from Seattle to Glacier National Park. (The Northern Tier actually starts in Anacortes, Washington. I rode up Whidbey Island and joined the Northern Tier somewhere east of Sedro-Wooley.) This was one of my favorite tours ever. The route was beautiful. However, I had to climb the North Cascades Highway. I was on an unsuitable rig and carrying a too-heavy load, and I really suffered. There is a lot of climbing until you get to Colville, Washington. After that it's fairly easy.

I think either of these routes would be a great start to your trip.
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Old 06-05-13, 01:43 AM
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Thanks for all the info! Diden't know about the strong winds. I checked out the weather, looks like it's always winds at about 15 mph! Probably harder then it sounds! We are going west, so we will need to grind a bit! How is the campsites along the way, do we need to book in advance? Is there any particular section where we will need to fill up alot of water? Im tinking highway 12 when entering Idaho maybe?
We will follow mainly Lewis and Clark trail to Missoula and then TRANAM om to Yellowstone. Still don't know were to go after that! Would it maybe be better to head east from there on highway 14, through Cody, Sheridan and take the bus down to Denver when the time runs out? Im thinking Tetons then down to Rawlins, but consider we are coming through Yellowstone, is it as impressive as YS and is it worth it?
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Old 06-05-13, 02:05 AM
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I've done a bit of driving and cycling in the areas you're talking about and have a few comments ...

1. Use Google maps to add up the distances. You've got 5 weeks to do all of this and you're talking about quite a large area. Add up the distances, and make some calculations.

2. It is possible you may need to book campgrounds on weekends, especially in popular tourist areas.

3. If you want to take the bus, you'll need to pack your bicycles in boxes. So choose the point where you might catch a bus carefully ... you'll want a place with a bicycle shop or two.
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Old 06-05-13, 04:59 AM
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I know it's quiet a bit! About 1800 km to Yellowstone and 2300 to Denver. Thats why I think we would have to take the bus from maybe Cody since Denver is to far and we don't want to stress it. Thats a fairly big town to be in Wyoming, right?
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Old 06-05-13, 05:08 AM
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Cody is approx. 9000 people, not particularly large. It does appear to have at least 1 bicycle shop, but you might want to contact them in advance about holding cardboard bicycle boxes for you.
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Old 06-05-13, 05:30 AM
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Have you bikes from Glacier NP down or from Spokane, WA? Since Portland is much further away from Yellowstone, im still considering if will be to much of a "beat the clock-trip"! What would be your recommendation, please feel free to think outside of the box.. does not have to be my exact route that i pruposed!
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Old 06-05-13, 06:11 AM
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One of is misunderstanding something, if you start in Portland and go towards Missoula you are going east and will almost certainly have a strong *back* / *tail* wind.

Tetons are only a day ride from Yellowstone, and are beautiful. Both Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks have what is called "hiker biker" camp sites, which means it's a little cheaper if you come in on a bike and they won't turn you away if they are full, they will find something for you. Look on the nps.gov website for details. You'll see this in a few other places, mainly national parks. I don't think you have to book camping in advance, anywhere.

You should go thru Rawlins to CO, if you have time to ride in CO, but you don't have to decide now. If you have just a few extra days, I would spend it hiking in Yellowstone & Teton park rather than riding from Cody to Rawlins. If you have enough time to get to Buffalo/Sheridan, that is a nice ride.

Between Lovell/Shell/Greybull and Buffalo/Sheridan there is a huge mountain range, which is absolutely beautiful, but is a hard climb. The north pass out of Lovell is the really steep one, the south one out of Greybull is probably the prettier than Shell.

In bigger towns you can rent a car one-way to Denver (check in advance!!!) it often can cost LESS than 2 bus tickets and is way less annoying, the bus in the USA is pretty bad and you have to put your bikes in boxes. I would guess you can rent a car in Cody, Sheridan, maybe Buffalo, and Rawlins -- and I have actually rented a car to CO in West Yellowstone.

You also may make friends and be able to hitchhike, but of course you can't count on that.

I've biked both the Glacier bit and the L&C bit, you can't go wrong with either, and I don't think there is anything much better than those 2 choices, so whatever you decide to do, you will be happy. If I was to pick w/o thinking of the timing, I would do L&C for a little more variety, but I haven't really done the time math.
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Old 06-05-13, 08:14 AM
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There's a guy who put part of this route on a site called mycycletour.com. You can see the details of the route here - https://www.mycycletour.com/displayro...RouteNumber=32 . It gets about half way to Missoula - but you could also define a route yourself on that site that goes all the way. When you look at the route try clicking on the "See it in 3D" button and it will actually show you what it's like riding the route - kind of like a helicopter ride along the roads. There are also other routes in mycycletour in Colorado and other places. Take a look yourself.

Personally - I'd like to see some routes of what you'd ride (and when) in Sweden.
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Old 06-05-13, 09:51 AM
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NB the Columbia Gorge at the Dalles, Hood River, is Popular for Wind Surfing on the River For a Reason..
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Old 06-06-13, 12:29 AM
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Valygrl: It looks like the winds are NW the whole summer and in the winter they are East. Look hear https://www.weather.com/weather/tenda...+USOR0344:1:US.
Every day for 10 days, wind will we going North West.
The reason we want to go to Denver is because we are meeting up with a friend in Las Vegas and were planning to take a flight from Denver, and leave our bikes in Denver. Since we will rent a car and go through Denver later with my friend, we will just pick up the bikes on the way later. I took the Greyhound once, I did not have to use a box! It's maybe different and other sections (this was Philly to NY). Cars though are really expensive if you are 24 as I am, and my friend. You pay an under 25 fee (it's about 25 dollas a day and if you are dropping the car off on another location you will pay a one way fee, this fee is usually really high (between 250-900 dollars, depending on company). This means, if your only using the car for maybe 1-2 days you will pay the same one way fee anyways...and it will end up quite expensive.
So I think I prefer bus to Denver Maybe it's different for americans to rent, because they got different rules for tourists and natives, but this is the rules for all renting companies we have found outside of the states of California and Nevada (they are exception to the rule because they got so much tourists renting cars that cars are always on the roads, never standing still)
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Old 06-06-13, 12:45 AM
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mycycletour: I don't ride around Sweden much, fairly boring since we just got forest north from were I live and it's huge distances, no mountains either, you will cover distances fast though. I have done some biking down here is the southern most tip of Sweden, along the coasts is pretty. You are also allowed to camp were ever you want, witch I think we are the only country with such a law It's beautiful here and you got alot more variety in the scenery around here, and since it's fairly populated ( for being Sweden), you will find restaurants and motels/hotels a bit everywere. I have never really traveled around Sweden that much, not to exiting when you live here I guess. There is other places that are much more tempting then your own country Parts of Sweden are beautiful though, the Northern part of Sweden is vast and huge.. it's like riding in Alaska! No villages for 300km in some places. Only period to ride around here is in the summer, otherwise it's a big chance you will ride in rain constantly, and it's cold. The mosquitos in the north are the worst in the summer between june and august. So the timing is crucial and a bit tricky
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Old 06-06-13, 01:32 AM
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bastian, when was the last time you used the Greyhound in the US?
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Old 06-06-13, 05:38 AM
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Machka: 2009!!
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Old 06-06-13, 05:52 AM
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Bus bike box rules could definitely be different in a big-city corridor, I know the Amtrak normally requires boxes on long distances buses, but you can roll your bike on on the pacific coast train.

Anyway, was just trying to indicate some other options you might want to explore, do whatever seems right to you.

I don't get your point about the wind, though -- if a wind is described as "Northwest" that it is blowing *from* northwest *to* southeast. And I've ridden the gorge, there is no question the prevailing wind is tail as you ride east in summer.
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Old 06-06-13, 06:21 AM
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Sorry, I misunderstood it totally, I though it meant that the wind was blowing in a NW direction. Then im happy! Thats great
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Old 06-06-13, 10:48 AM
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On the west coast in the summer the prevailing wind does come out of the NW.

Inland from there it may be different..

hot air rising is replaced by cooler air , that influences the wind direction somewhat..

I-5 corridor North of Eugene there are other trains for Commuting , they have as is Bike options.

Amtrak from further South Do Require Boxes.

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-06-13 at 10:52 AM.
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