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Anyone with experience on a route N to S in America's heartland? MPLS to Austin TX

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Anyone with experience on a route N to S in America's heartland? MPLS to Austin TX

Old 12-18-14, 01:37 PM
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Anyone with experience on a route N to S in America's heartland? MPLS to Austin TX

It is probably a pipe dream for me until I retire but the thought has crossed my mind to ride from Minneapolis area to Austin TX. The Great River route makes the most sense as far as southern MO but from that point I'm wondering if anyone has any route tips to pass along. I could see going west on the Trans Am for a while and then dropping south or possibly cut down at an angle from MO after leaving the Great River route.

I've seen accounts on CGOAB and other sites for numerous east/west crossings and north/south along the coasts but nothing down the center of the US. Any info would be appreciated.
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Old 12-18-14, 02:58 PM
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Maybe do the Great Rivers Route almost all the way South and then head west on US 90 or the Southern Tier Route? When I did the ST I rode a lot of US 90, often rather than follow the ST and I got the impression that it (US 90) would probably be a decent route for that section.

If using US 90 I am not sure about the Houston area as I haven't been on it through Houston on US 90, but I do know that Houston area traffic in general can be pretty awful. so You might try to skirt Houston or at least look into how best to go through it.

If you aren't opposed to mixed mode and are in a hurry, you could ride to New Orleans and take a train or bus to the Austin Area.
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Old 12-18-14, 09:07 PM
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For route ideas you could look at crazyguyonabike.com: Bicycle Touring: A place for bicycle tourists and their journals and look for what toher people have done.
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Old 12-19-14, 02:42 PM
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About four years ago, I hosted a touring cyclist going from Austin to Minneapolis. He didn't blog about his trip, and I don't remember what his route was, but it went through Tulsa. If you do go through Oklahoma, I recommend that you check out Oklahoma Freewheel ? Oklahoma Bicycle Tour. This is large organized ride that goes S to N across Oklahoma, and there is a different route each year. They appear to have removed most of the old routes from their website, but if you Google "Oklahoma Freewheel [year]", you can usually find the routes elsewhere on the web.
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Old 12-19-14, 03:23 PM
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Oh my, no!
Don't do the Great Rivers route which is boring compared to what you might do in the Great Plains.
From SW Minnesota you can ride the Loess Hills of western Iowa -
Then take in some eastern Nebraska farm county on back roads -
And then - and then - ride the Flint Hills of Kansas.
There's Hwy 99 (best in south 1/2) and Hwy 177 (best in north 1/2)

If you ride thru Osage country in Okla bypassing Tulsa and OKC -
Then ride the Hill Country of Texas - west of FTW - to Austin.

You may want to consider south to north since summer winds tend to be southerly.
Late spring is the loveliest season for the grasslands - but is really stormy.
Summer is brutally hot - autumn is unpredictable but best for north to south.

Used to live in Lawrence and Topeka and have spent much time in the Flint Hills.
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Old 12-20-14, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Oh my, no!
Don't do the Great Rivers route which is boring compared to what you might do in the Great Plains.
From SW Minnesota you can ride the Loess Hills of western Iowa -
Then take in some eastern Nebraska farm county on back roads -
And then - and then - ride the Flint Hills of Kansas.
There's Hwy 99 (best in south 1/2) and Hwy 177 (best in north 1/2)

If you ride thru Osage country in Okla bypassing Tulsa and OKC -
Then ride the Hill Country of Texas - west of FTW - to Austin.

You may want to consider south to north since summer winds tend to be southerly.
Late spring is the loveliest season for the grasslands - but is really stormy.
Summer is brutally hot - autumn is unpredictable but best for north to south.

Used to live in Lawrence and Topeka and have spent much time in the Flint Hills.
This is a great rec. All of it. The Flint Hills are amazing and largely unknown. The Hill Country is better known and beautiful (MN riders go down there in early spring for training). I have lived in both KS and TX, spending time in both areas.
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Old 12-22-14, 09:50 AM
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Thanks for the info and suggestions. My son lives in Austin and we drove down to visit in late November. This time on the return trip we we pretty much followed I 35 and drove through parts of the Flint Hills grasslands the morning we left Wichita. It was an amazing area with the orange/brown hues of the grass stretching for miles. You could get a rough idea of how the pioneers felt when they encoutered the great midwest grasslands and I can imagine it would be even more of an experience on a bike.
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Old 12-22-14, 10:35 AM
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For things to see on the way, in the southeast corner of Kansas there is the largest electric shovel in the world, Big Brutus. Big Brutus, Inc.
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Old 12-22-14, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker View Post
drove through parts of the Flint Hills grasslands the morning we left Wichita. It was an amazing area with the orange/brown hues of the grass stretching for miles.
It is extremely green in the Spring and quite scenic then as well.
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Old 12-25-14, 12:11 PM
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IF you do the river down to MO; consider the Katy trail across MO to KC.
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Old 12-26-14, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
IF you do the river down to MO; consider the Katy trail across MO to KC.
That's a good idea. Actually the Katy Trail dips southwest before KC to Clinton, Missouri towards Texas. In fact the T in KATY is for Texas as the old rail line headed there.

99% of the Katy Trail is crushed limestone. I've seen people ride the whole thing with tires as skinny as 700x23's but I use 700x32s on it. 700x28s would be the narrowest I'd want to ride it especially if it rains.

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Old 12-26-14, 11:01 PM
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I have actually been to Big Brutus! Very cool, and worth the stop if you're driving through, if cycling, depends on how far out of your way you want to go.

I do randonneuring. An acquaintance of mine has mentioned having randonneuring permanents set up where she could ride from Minnesota (pretty much the Canadian border) to Texas (probably to San Antonio). One catch is some of those legs would be 400k or so.
Another friend has mentioned doing a similar thing going south to north. I know they've ridden from Sherman to Kansas City before. So there's been some thought put into this...
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