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ACA membership worth it?

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ACA membership worth it?

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Old 01-07-14, 01:02 PM
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budfan08
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ACA membership worth it?

Hey Lads, Been planning out my cycling trip from Portland Oregon to Grand Forks North Dakota. Started looking at mapping resources and came across the ACA site. Is the membership to that site worth it for the mapping purposes? I'm leaning towards following the lewis and clark route most of the way on the trip but I am not sure exactly what resource to use to map the route itself and from what I can tell, the ACA stuff seems to be pretty decent?

Came to my senses on the trip as well, extending it to a 28 day trip instead of the 2 weeks I was planning before. Cuts the daily mileage in half which I think will be much more manageable.
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Old 01-07-14, 01:43 PM
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fietsbob 
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as opposed to letting them shut down for lack of support? then no maps from them at all.

they mail you a Magazine too..
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Old 01-07-14, 02:30 PM
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indyfabz
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You don't have to be a member to buy the maps, but members receive a 20% diso**** for mamps sections and 25% off for entire route maps. And individual yearly membership is $40. You would have to buy a lot of map sections to make up the cost of membership. (E.g.,) If you bought the entire Trans Am route you would save $41.25 as a member.) In your case, the member discount would be less than the cost of membership.

That aside, you do get several issues of a nice magazine with your yearly membership, and you support a great cause. I joined in '99 as it was a requisite to taking one of their x-country tours. I have remained a member even though I have only bought maybe 6-7 maps from them since.
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Old 01-07-14, 02:58 PM
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The phrase "worth it" is hard to pin down. For me, absolutely. I like the magazine, I've used many of its maps, I post on its forums, and I fully support its drive to create national bike routes. I became a life member and there is no way any monetary benefits I receive will ever pay for that membership amount. But, I believe in what they are doing and want to make bicycle touring safer and easier for people like you.

If $40/year crimps your lifestyle, simply pay more for the maps and support them that way. If you are a bicycle tourist, it is hard to image that you won't get $40/year of benefit from joining them.

Either way, their maps are very useful for both route planning and riding.

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Old 01-07-14, 03:41 PM
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IMHO, the maps are well worth the cost. You don't have to spend weeks or months searching out good cycling routes, somebody has done it for you (especially if you're travelling an established route like the L&C). The maps will tell you where you can sleep, get water, find a library (surprisingly useful), and help you get packages from home.

ACA membership worth it? Maybe, maybe not. You can post on their forums for nothing. They have good advice on their web site, but it's also free. The magazine is entertaining, perhaps you might get a sample copy for free and check it out.
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Old 01-07-14, 09:26 PM
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Yes.
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Old 01-07-14, 10:06 PM
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It is to me.
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Old 01-08-14, 05:30 AM
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It is to me as well. If you don't care about supporting them or the magazine then it depends on whether you are buying enough maps for the member discount to save enough to offset the membership fee. To me it is worth supporting them regardless.
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Old 01-08-14, 12:30 PM
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I keep up my membership for the magazine - it is the only touring related one I'm aware of. I hang on to my back issues and used articles from 3 of them to piece together trip in Idaho last year. I only bought their maps once but they are well worth the price and I like to support their cause. I also had an opportunity to stop at their HQ in Missoula on my way out to ID last summer and they are a great bunch of people and very willing to help tourists who stop by.
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Old 01-08-14, 01:40 PM
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If you may be biking thru the area anywhere near Williston, be advised that there is a lot of traffic on the road, heavy trucks supporting the oil field work.

I am not familiar with the bike routes in that area but I think (could be wrong) that ACA changed their routing thru that area a few years ago because of the oil work. Might be a good idea to talk to them on the phone to see the latest on the area.

I rode the Amtrak Empire Builder westbound to Whitefish Montana and later eastbound out of Whitefish. Do not rule out taking the train part way, but if you do you would have to get on and off at luggage stops to get your bike onto the train.
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Old 01-08-14, 08:34 PM
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'nother yes. I support what they are doing. Interestingly enough I had a set of used maps that I got from a buddy of mine that rode the original Bike Centennial, I rode pretty much the same route in 1977.

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Old 01-09-14, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If you may be biking thru the area anywhere near Williston, be advised that there is a lot of traffic on the road, heavy trucks supporting the oil field work.

I am not familiar with the bike routes in that area but I think (could be wrong) that ACA changed their routing thru that area a few years ago because of the oil work. Might be a good idea to talk to them on the phone to see the latest on the area.
It did. The Lewis & Clark route goes between Glendive, MT and Dickinson, ND. There is a spur up to Wiliston should you want to go there, but from what I have read, you don't want to. It's a shame. I did the entire Northern Tier back in '99. We went through Wiliston and took Rte. 1804 (named in honor of the expedition) to Lewis and Clark State Park on the shore of Lake Sakakawea, which is part of the Missouri River. Very nice ride with virtually no traffic. The park was very nice, too. I understand that's the road is now very busy with oil related traffic, and there is no real shoulder.

OP: If you are in the area, Fort Union is worth a look as is the confluene of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers. Not sure if the L&C route goes through there. If it doesn't it probably isn't much of a detour.
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