Looking for ANY SUGGESTIONS for ~2 month American summer tour (maybe MT-Alaska?)

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by KevinSherm, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. KevinSherm

    KevinSherm New Member

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    I'm really dying to do around a two month tour this summer, and I'm looking for ANY suggestions ANYONE has as far as what route to take. I'd prefer North America, but I honestly could probably do just about anything.

    SO, if you have any suggestions about a great route to spend around two months on during the summer months, I'd love to hear it. I was originally doing the Southern Tier mid-Jan to mid-March, but my plans changed (obviously...why else would I be writing this now!), so now I'm looking at this summer instead.

    I remember reading a journal of someone who tried a Montana to Alaska route, which sounds amazing, but I'm wondering how practical this is, especially for two first time tourers...what issues we might face, and where in the world do we get maps or ideas about paths/routes to take.

    Please give any/all suggestions about your favorite two month summer tour routes. And if you have any ideas about a Montana to Alaska trip, please do let me know!

    Thanks for all your help!!!
     
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  2. EmmCeeBee

    EmmCeeBee New Member

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    I don't want to scare you off, but Montana to Alaska is ambitious for two months. Not to mention: not the stuff for first time tourers. We're talking hundreds of miles of remote wilderness. Sure, as long as there's some traffic, you won't be totally alone, but your life in that situation depends on your equipment and your experience.

    I like to think of cycle tours as "camping on wheels"; on the Alcan, it would be "wilderness camping on wheels", so if you're experienced at either wilderness camping, or maintaining your "wheels" over 3000 miles of rough roads with no bike shops, then I shouldn't discourage you...

    I've read a couple of journals of Alcan tours, and I'm dreaming of it one day, too. What I wouldn't give for a few months off...

    Two months:
    -- TransAmerica cycling route, Oregon to Virginia
    -- Continental divide (mountain bike) route, Montana to Arizona. Or, since it's summer, the reverse. The trail is also mostly wilderness, but you're never far from civilization.
    -- Lewis and Clark Trail (Missouri to Oregon)
    -- Pacific Coast (Washington to California)

    These are popular routes, for many reasons: good cycling, great scenery, established routes, cycling infrastructure. Adventure Cycling ( http://www.adventurecycling.org/ ) has mapped out these routes, but you don't have to use their maps.

    Or my favorite idea: ride circles through the Northwest -- Montana to Alberta to BC to Washington and Oregon, through Idaho and back. You could score a dozen National Parks. See glaciers and beaches, bears and waterfalls, wilderness and some of the best cities in North America. It would be easy to pick out some routes, and the idea of a circle gives you a lot of flexibility if you want to explore someplace different for a few days. Yeh, there's mountains, but there's also downhills.... And it'll give you an idea what to expect if you do the Alcan someday.

    -- Mark
     
  3. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    There is a book published about bicycle touring in the Maritimes in NE Canada. I read through it once, but I don't know the title.
    Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, New Foundland, Maine... including the National Park - Island can all be great places to ride where there is cooling from the ocean, great people... and not too much wilderness.
    There are some very nice costal roads there too.
    Otherwise, I would look into riding from north of SF California into Canada. Glacier National Park, Banf (sp?), Jasper and the Rockies in Northern Montana and into Canada make for some great riding.
    Riding around the southern half of Lake Superior and in Northern 2/3 of Lake Michigan ... and other parts of the Great Lakes can be fun. There are some nice peninsulas into Superior and Michigan that have some great routes and much less through car traffic.
    See what books you can borrow on the subject and especially look into ones written by bicyclist.
     
  4. byfred

    byfred New Member

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    Perhaps the book you are referring to is "The Canadian Cycling Association's Complete Guide to Bicycle Touring in Canada" by Elliott KATZ.
    It is a soft cover book of about 400 pages, and I paid $22.95 plus tax CAN. for my copy in 1998.
    As usual, I fully agree with your views of cycling in the Canadian Maritimes............byfred
     
  5. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    That may have been it, but I wish I bought it and could refer to it directly. It also could be :
    Nova Scotia & the Maritimes by Bike: 21 Tours Geared for Discovery
    Adventure Cycling Association has it as
    Product #: IS-286
    By Walter Sienko. Tours in Nova Scotia and other areas including New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. 15 loop tours.
    Our Price: $14.95
    Quantity: Nova Scotia & the Maritimes by Bike: 21 Tours Geared for Discovery

    Maybe you can be a bicycle embassador while visiting and enjoying Canada. We need to be more aware of what our neighboring nation to the north is all about. It is a rich and diverse nation with many unique values in it's people and lands.
    David Ornee, Western Springs, IL.... and a visitor to Canada on many enjoyable trips for business and pleasure.
     
  6. analogkid333

    analogkid333 New Member

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    My Rand-McNally atlas is festooned with fantasy routes in highlight marker, so I can share a couple of suggestions relating to your question. Montana-Alaska certainly sounds alluring; I've never done it, but if I did I would time it to arrive in Alaska early September (that's October for Montana). You would avoid the worst of the black flies this way and would probably avoid the crush of RV traffic heading up the ALCAN every summer (in September they're probably coming back the other way).

    If you're a Great Plains lover (like me), you could try cycling the entire length of the high plains between their geographic end points -- Edmonton, Alberta to Del Rio, Texas, approximately. This is a good 2,500 miles. To the sensitive eye the plains have great variety, from the titanic spaces of north central Montana to the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Sand Hills of Nebraska. Not only would you have two months of endless horizons, but the people -- where you can find them -- are darn friendly. And camping is dirt cheap, often free right in the towns themselves.

    But if you're after maximum variety, try a great big Western loop that connects the national parks in Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah. You can go from plain to mountain pass to desert to canyon, and see much of America's trademark scenery on the way.

    (Damn, it's time to hit the road again. . .)
     
  7. byfred

    byfred New Member

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    Hey, that's a GREAT suggestion, a tour of the Central Plains..........and where else can you see a complete train, with about 100 cars, and three engines, all at the same time. It is so clean out there and it always smells so nice. Give it some serious thought.

    Byfred.
     
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