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Change in plans: Route suggestions Colorado/Wyoming/Yellowstone requested.

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Change in plans: Route suggestions Colorado/Wyoming/Yellowstone requested.

Old 02-27-19, 10:02 AM
  #1  
Sharpshin
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Change in plans: Route suggestions Colorado/Wyoming/Yellowstone requested.

I'm the guy who was asking about crossing Death Valley in July. Well, going over the route from San Antonio TX it weren't so much the prospect of Death Valley that was the problem, rather it was the getting there, including 250 miles along I 40 from Holbrook to Kingman AZ, and another 200 miles of awful after that just to get to Death Valley. Finally, 2,000 miles along at the Pacific Coast I would still be 1,000+ miles a good friend's house in Montana. I've done 2,000 mile in 33 days before, but that might not necessarily translate to 3,500+ miles in the 70 days at my disposal.

New Route; 600 miles to the Sacramento Mountains of SE New Mexico (good friend's house) , then north through New Mexico to Taos area (another good friend). From there meandering north through Colorado and Wyoming to include the Wind River Range (WY) and Yellowstone National Park. Ultimately ending in Great Falls Montana (a third good friend's house).

Google puts this TX/NM/CO/WY/MT route in the 2,000 mile ballpark, taking the pressure off and allowing me time to dawdle.

Looking for route suggestions I should consider for Colorado/Wyoming.

Thanks.

Mike

Last edited by Sharpshin; 02-27-19 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 02-27-19, 07:47 PM
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OK, I guess no one has traversed Colorado/Wyoming in a vertical direction. One thing that is apparent already, its real easy to find long stretches out West without water.
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Old 02-28-19, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
OK, I guess no one has traversed Colorado/Wyoming in a vertical direction.
Mike-

Thousands of us have traversed CO/WY vertically following the ACA "TransAmerica Trail". Poncha Springs CO is where you join the ACA "Great Parks South" route and is a straight shot north from Taos. Just above Poncha Springs you will intersect the TransAm at Fairplay. From Fairplay it's a fairly direct route NW to Yellowstone. You're on your own for the route from Yellowstone up to Great Falls.


https://goo.gl/SaK3iT

Last edited by BobG; 03-01-19 at 04:20 PM. Reason: Cottonwood Pass under construction into 2019 so I've deleted that suggestion
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Old 02-28-19, 08:14 AM
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A route I had suggested to me by Jamawani. From Taos, NM to Rock Springs, WY (image is below, here is the link to the ridewithgps map and access to gpx download. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28303915). Then from Rock Springs take US 191 north to Pinedale and Jackson. I had asked about this since a friend and I this summer will be doing Twin Cities to St Louis to Taos to Yellowstone to Twin Cities.

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Old 02-28-19, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
A route I had suggested to me by Jamawani. From Taos, NM to Rock Springs, WY (image is below, here is the link to the ridewithgps map and access to gpx download. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28303915). Then from Rock Springs take US 191 north to Pinedale and Jackson. I had asked about this since a friend and I this summer will be doing Twin Cities to St Louis to Taos to Yellowstone to Twin Cities.

Quibbles: While the route north out of Taos is fine, there is nothing wrong with using US64/US285 to Antonito and then to Alamosa. The roads have fairly low traffic but more support. Once you are in Alamosa, Colorado 17 is a better choice to Moffat and then go west to Saguache (pronounced Sawatch, for some reason). US285 from Monte Vista to Saguache is a very busy road, plus you get to visit the Alligator Farm if you stay on 17...yes, Alligators in Colorado!

Going north, you could take your route but, honestly, the route has a lot of warts that way. There's a reason that the ACA's TransAm and Great Parks South routes go through Walden. The Meeker to Rock Springs section is a whole lot of nothin'. Carry a water filter but good luck on finding water. Most of the "rivers" along the way are going to be riverbeds that only flow during thunderstorms. Turn west and go to Vernal or east and go to Steamboat.
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Old 02-28-19, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Quibbles: While the route north out of Taos is fine, there is nothing wrong with using US64/US285 to Antonito and then to Alamosa. The roads have fairly low traffic but more support. Once you are in Alamosa, Colorado 17 is a better choice to Moffat and then go west to Saguache (pronounced Sawatch, for some reason). US285 from Monte Vista to Saguache is a very busy road, plus you get to visit the Alligator Farm if you stay on 17...yes, Alligators in Colorado!

Going north, you could take your route but, honestly, the route has a lot of warts that way. There's a reason that the ACA's TransAm and Great Parks South routes go through Walden. The Meeker to Rock Springs section is a whole lot of nothin'. Carry a water filter but good luck on finding water. Most of the "rivers" along the way are going to be riverbeds that only flow during thunderstorms. Turn west and go to Vernal or east and go to Steamboat.
Yes, all accurate. My riding partner and I actually gravitate toward the 'whole lot of nothin' option, so it works for us. ACA probably gets more "tourers" than riders adept at open country travel. Also, Saguache is pronounced Sawatch because, well, it's Spanish, and that's how it's pronounced (in the same way that Saguaro is pronounced Sawa'ro).
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Old 02-28-19, 11:24 AM
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Cyccommute has argued with practically everything I have ever posted here.
Simply put - I have 100,000 of riding - much of it in the West.
My routings are not for everyone - and certainly not for Cyccommute.

Oh - - - And I have ridden every inch of this route. More than once.
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/..._id=26399&v=Ou

Neither CO 17 nor US 285 is ideal - but those are the paved options.
Both are arrow-straight and have high speeds with moderate+ traffic.
The CO 17 option has 24 miles; the US 285 option has 17 miles. So fewer tough miles.
CO 17 has a shoulder inches wide with cracks into the main roadway.
About 1/3 of the US 285 section has wide shoulders, the rest 1-2 feet.
But hey, choose what you like.

The route north of Saguache is not for a beginner.
But if offers very little traffic in many stretches and great scenery.
Plus, it's far more direct than via Walden or Vernal, Utah.

US 24 thru Buena Vista is brutal with killer traffic.
ACA is beginning to rethink its route because of the traffic on Hwy 9.

Nobody is saying that you have to take any route that I suggest.
(Especially when it is offered second-hand without any of my route comments)
However, people who have have used my routes have been quite please.

Gracias!

(It's pronounced "Sawatch" because that approximates the Spanish.)
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Old 02-28-19, 03:28 PM
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For what it is worth, I took the following route going the other direction in 2016:
Yellowstone - Togwotee Pass - Dubois; reasonable cycling
Dubois - Lander; not a huge amount of traffic, otherwise fine
Lander - Jeffrey City - Rawlins; Adventure Cycling Route, windy when I went
Rawlins - Medicine Bow - Laramie - Went to Laramie to facilitate side trip to Front Range
Laramie - Walden; a few narrow stretches but otherwise fine
Walden - Kremmling; sometimes busy but otherwise fine
Kremmling - Copper Mountain; Summit county busy at times but also some separate bike routes
Copper Mountain - Leadville; snow on the summit but reasonable pass
Leadville - Salida - Great Sand Dunes Pool - Sand Dunes themselves interesting but I'd been there before; nice hot springs.
Great Sand Dunes Pool - Antonito; larger highways but ok shoulders
Antonito - Taos; few sections of narrow road with a lot of traffic
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Old 02-28-19, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
Yes, all accurate. My riding partner and I actually gravitate toward the 'whole lot of nothin' option, so it works for us. ACA probably gets more "tourers" than riders adept at open country travel. Also, Saguache is pronounced Sawatch because, well, it's Spanish, and that's how it's pronounced (in the same way that Saguaro is pronounced Sawa'ro).
First, your use of the term "tourers" could be interpreted as being derogatory. The ACA route was chosen from a number of different options to provide fairly low traffic routes with at least some regularity of services. That doesn't mean that those routes are well traveled or that they are somehow only for the inexperienced. Additionally, if you ask for help with routes, I assume that you aren't familiar with the territory so you might not know the lack of services.

Second, no, Sagauche isn't a Spanish word. It's derived from Ute meaning 'blue earth' or 'water at blue earth'. Since it's a phonetic pronunciation, Sawatch would be just as appropriate as trying to bastardize it into a Spanish like word. In fact, there is a mountain range that extends north that is actually called the Sawatch Range.

Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Cyccommute has argued with practically everything I have ever posted here.
Simply put - I have 100,000 of riding - much of it in the West.
My routings are not for everyone - and certainly not for Cyccommute.
So you have done 100,000 miles of riding. Many of the rest of us have done similarly.

I wouldn't avoid your routes for myself but I wouldn't suggest many routes you have proposed for someone not familiar with the area. I have no problem going to remote places but I'm not going to suggest to someone that they go there without foreknowledge of what they are trying to do. I have no idea what revcp's abilities nor experience level is so I'm going to err on the side of a little bit of caution. The route you suggest does about 120 miles across the least populated part of the Red Desert. It's doable but I wouldn't suggest it to just anyone. Going through Walden also crosses part of the Red Desert but it is at least a little more populated.


Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Neither CO 17 nor US 285 is ideal - but those are the paved options.
Both are arrow-straight and have high speeds with moderate+ traffic.
The CO 17 option has 24 miles; the US 285 option has 17 miles. So fewer tough miles.
CO 17 has a shoulder inches wide with cracks into the main roadway.
About 1/3 of the US 285 section has wide shoulders, the rest 1-2 feet.
But hey, choose what you like.
CO17 has a bit less traffic.

Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
The route north of Saguache is not for a beginner.
But if offers very little traffic in many stretches and great scenery.
Plus, it's far more direct than via Walden or Vernal, Utah.
And therein lies my problem with your routes. You offer routes that aren't for beginners without apparently knowing whether the person is a beginner or not. I assume that someone doesn't have my level of knowledge of an area or they wouldn't be asking the question in the first place.

The most direct route isn't always the best route. Nor is the lest direct route always the best route. You seem to go out of your way to avoid traffic of any kind. That's your choice and opinion. I suggest routes that are still pretty low on traffic but at least have a bit more in terms of places to stop and/or obtain necessities. Different approaches. That doesn't make your choice better than mine. On the other hand, it doesn't make my suggestions wrong either.


Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
US 24 thru Buena Vista is brutal with killer traffic.
ACA is beginning to rethink its route because of the traffic on Hwy 9.
US24 doesn't go south of Buena Vista. US285 does. US24 goes north out of Buena Vista to Leadville or east towards Colorado Springs. But both have the same wide shoulders that you tout as great around Saguache. Riding through the Arkansas River Valley around Buena Vista is hardly a hellhole. And, if you want to avoid CO 9 north of Dillon, going north on US24 out of Leadville then going north at Walcott on CO131 is a good option. Tennessee Pass and the Yampa River Valleys are great rides.

Hey, wait a minute! I seem to recall having some chops being busted about riding on I-70. The only place in the entirety of Colorado where there isn’t a shoulder on I-70 to my knowledge occurs on the short little section of I-70 you are suggesting on that route. Curious that.

Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
(It's pronounced "Sawatch" because that approximates the Spanish.)
Not Spanish.
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Old 02-28-19, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
First, your use of the term "tourers" could be interpreted as being derogatory. The ACA route was chosen from a number of different options to provide fairly low traffic routes with at least some regularity of services. That doesn't mean that those routes are well traveled or that they are somehow only for the inexperienced. Additionally, if you ask for help with routes, I assume that you aren't familiar with the territory so you might not know the lack of services.

Second, no, Sagauche isn't a Spanish word. It's derived from Ute meaning 'blue earth' or 'water at blue earth'. Since it's a phonetic pronunciation, Sawatch would be just as appropriate as trying to bastardize it into a Spanish like word. In fact, there is a mountain range that extends north that is actually called the Sawatch Range.
Thanks for the correction on the derivation of Saguatch. Honestly. Still, however, why the "for some reason"? It's pronounced as the language pronounces it.

I didn't intend the word "tourer" as a pejorative. It was just a shorthand way of distinguishing between those who want to cycle closer to "civilization", which is fine, and those who don't mind or prefer more out of the way travel. As for not knowing someone's experience level, people need to be responsible for informing themselves. I didn't include all of jamwani's "marginal notes" on his route because if someone eyeballs a route and it interests them, it's then on them to more thoroughly check it out. I do the same with canoe routes. I'll eyeball a possible route and will then ask around to see whether it's doable and it fits what I want. It's "here's an option, do some homework." I can't imagine someone just taking a route suggestion and running with it, and if they don't already know that then I'm not sure whey they're on the road.
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Old 02-28-19, 04:43 PM
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From Yellowstone you could follow ACA's Trans Am route to Ennis and then take U.S. 287N and continue on from there. I rode 287N between Ennis to MT 2 back in 2016. Aside from the hellacious crosswind that picked up, it was quite nice. Rumble strips on the narrow shoulder as you proceed north are a pain, but there was so little traffic I never felt unsafe. There is a fish access campground in Ennis along the Madison River. No longer water there, but the Lions Club Park just across the road has good water (no camping allowed). There is a diner and cute country store in Harrison.
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Old 02-28-19, 05:10 PM
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If for some reason you were not going via Yellowstone but stayed further east, I can also note I did the following route between Great Falls and Laramie WY which I also found reasonable:

Great Falls, Geyser, Eddies Corner, Grass Range, Roundup, Billings,
Bridger, Crowley, Greybull, Worland, Shoshoni, Medicine Bow, Laramie
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Old 03-04-19, 05:44 PM
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I really appreciate all of the detailed information here, tks. Looks like the Wind River Range in en route in Wyoming. Presuming I make it that far, in Colorado I shall incorporate a crossing over Monarch Pass if doable. 35 years ago I crossed Monarch Pass on a motorcycle en route to Idaho from Texas, I remember the smell of antifreeze from laboring vehicles and the fact that my wrist got sore from twisting the throttle to get around successive lines of cars backed up behind slow-going RV's.
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Old 03-05-19, 08:06 AM
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Mike, If you ride directly north out of Taos to near Alamosa like Jamawani and I did you are already east of Monarch Pass. Monarch would be a fun side trip but will add several days to your trip and lots of climbing. From Alamosa...

77 miles to Poncha Springs direct... one stiff climb, no Monarch Pass...



161 miles taking Jamawani's route... Saguache, CO114 to Parlin, then leave his route and turn east over Monarch Pass...



224 miles over Slumgullion and Monarch Pass. I deleted this suggestion from my original post when I added up the miles. That said, either Slumgullion or CO114 options would be fun side trips if you have the time and energy.



Perhaps you have a totally different route planned north from Taos.

Last edited by BobG; 03-05-19 at 06:22 PM. Reason: Poncha not Pagosa!
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Old 03-05-19, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
Mike, If you ride directly north out of Taos to near Alamosa like Jamawani and I did you are already well east of Monarch Pass. Monarch would be a fun side trip but will add at least a couple of days to your trip and lots of climbing. From Alamosa...
You aren't really "well east of Monarch Pass" when in Alamosa. You are on the eastern side of Monarch Pass. Poncha Springs is only 18 miles from the top of the pass. If you go the CO114 route, you are 37 miles from the top of Monarch Pass.

Originally Posted by BobG View Post
77 miles to Poncha Springs direct... one stiff climb, no Monarch Pass...

Yep. Pretty straight shot. The climb to the top of Poncha Pass is fairly mild...1700 feet of climbing from Alamosa and it has a wonderfully fast downhill into the Arkansas River Valley.

Originally Posted by BobG View Post
161 miles taking Jamawani's route... Saguache, CO114 to Parlin, then leave his route and turn east over Monarch Pass...

While this route might be fun, it does add 90 miles and probably 2 days. It involves two pass crossing...Cochetopa and Monarch...with 7600' of climbing. You aren't going to pounding out 100 mile days with those climbs.

Originally Posted by BobG View Post
224 miles over Slumgullion and Monarch Pass. I deleted this suggestion from my original post when I added up the miles. That said, either Slumgullion or CO114 options would be fun side trips if you have the time and energy.



Perhaps you have a totally different route planned north from Taos.
Most people would consider that ride to be a tour on its own. Averaging 50 miles a day, that route is at least 5 days...and some of those days are going to be very hard days with a loaded bike.
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Old 03-05-19, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You aren't really "well east of Monarch Pass" when in Alamosa. You are on the eastern side of Monarch Pass. Poncha Springs is only 18 miles from the top of the pass. If you go the CO114 route, you are 37 miles from the top of Monarch Pass.
Yep. Just wanted to make sure Mike was aware that Monarch Pass was a side trip if he chooses the suggested direct route Taos to TransAm, be it 18 miles up and back or one of the longer alternate loops.

Back when I was a young 40 something I rode from Gothic Campground above Crested Butte to Sand Dunes NP near Alamosa via Slumgullion Pass in 4-5 days. Probably take twice as long now! I likely camped at Sapinero, Lake City, Creede, Monte Vista and finally Sand Dunes... fairly short days.

I stand corrected. I've edited my post above to remove the word "well"!

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Old 03-05-19, 06:59 PM
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Thanks again gentlemen. I'll be running a 22 tooth granny in front and a 36 tooth big sprocket in back, so I can get pretty low. And with potentially 70 days to cover ~2,000 miles I might have time to wander off track.

I won't have any idea how its gonna go until I'm actually on the road tho.

From this distance my biggest concerns are long stretches without water and potential nighttime low temperatures at altitude.

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Old 03-05-19, 09:53 PM
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Sigh - -
I wish I were permitted my own opinion here.

I think Highway 17 in the San Luis Valley is a terrible route choice.
It has practically no shoulders, traffic going well over the speed limit, and moderate traffic.
Although US 285 has slightly more traffic and similar speeds, it has much better shoulders.
Plus you can use paved county roads for more miles and fewer miles on the highway.
If you want to ride it - fine - but I don't and I will share that view with others.

If you take Highway 17 all the way then US 285 over Poncha Pass
it puts you into the heavy traffic of the Arkansas Valley first via US 285, then US 24.

(BTW - US 24 does go thru Buena Vista.)
Traffic counts are 9500 north of Salida and 13000 south of Bueny!
Yeah, there are shoulders, but nonstop traffic, fumes & noise, too.

As I stated earlier, I did not initially post the routing above - someone else did.
The persons I did the route for were appraised of its challenges.
So, please, don't accuse me of misleading beginners.
What a bogus and asinine argument.
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Old 03-06-19, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Sigh - -
I wish I were permitted my own opinion here.
Oh, please. No one has kept you from voicing your opinion. But it's your opinion and we don't necessarily have to agree with it 100%...or even 1%. That's the nature of "discussions". I have a different opinion and I'm as entitled to voice it as you are. I don't expect you to agree with it 100% either.

Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
I think Highway 17 in the San Luis Valley is a terrible route choice.
It has practically no shoulders, traffic going well over the speed limit, and moderate traffic.
Although US 285 has slightly more traffic and similar speeds, it has much better shoulders.
Plus you can use paved county roads for more miles and fewer miles on the highway.
If you want to ride it - fine - but I don't and I will share that view with others.
​​​​​​​
Colorado 17 isn't all that bad. Even if it is, there are the same network of county roads that parallel it as parallel US285. On the other hand, following along CO17 route...on whatever route a rider feels comfortable with...sets a better route later on. Going over Cochetopa puts riders on a route to Glenwood and that dreaded 6 miles of riding on I-70 that you were chop busting me on in another thread.

Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
If you take Highway 17 all the way then US 285 over Poncha Pass
it puts you into the heavy traffic of the Arkansas Valley first via US 285, then US 24.

(BTW - US 24 does go thru Buena Vista.)
Traffic counts are 9500 north of Salida and 13000 south of Bueny!
Yeah, there are shoulders, but nonstop traffic, fumes & noise, too.
If the goal is to avoid every car in the world, you might as well stay home! On the other hand, US285 south of Buena Vista isn't as bad as you make it out to be. If it were so bad why does the ACA use it for the Great Divide and Great Parks South? It also happens to set riders up for a better connector to the ACA without going through the remotest areas of Colorado and southern Wyoming.

By the way, US24 doesn't go south of Buena Vista. US285 does but US24 turns east at Johnson's Village and goes north out of Buena Vista.

Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
As I stated earlier, I did not initially post the routing above - someone else did.
The persons I did the route for were appraised of its challenges.
So, please, don't accuse me of misleading beginners.
What a bogus and asinine argument.
And I didn't say anything to you about the route until you voiced your opinion. I was pointing out issues I had with the route to revcp and provided my own suggestions on what I think would be a better route. As far as I know, I'm allowed to disagree...as long as I'm not disagreeable. As far as I know I have called you any names nor done anything other than disagree.

As for "beginners", you are the one who brought that up. I'm not assuming anyone is a "beginner" only that they don't have intimate information on the area. Putting them on a route that is remote and isolated is probably not the best choice. If you did the route for someone else, perhaps you should have asked them not to share it.
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Old 03-06-19, 11:04 AM
  #20  
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Mercy -

Based on your posted journals at CGOAB, I have done much longer, much more remote touring.
I hardly think it accurate to suggest that I shouldn't leave my house.
I simply prefer quieter roads - which I consider more enjoyable and safer.

The most dangerous roads - according to the FHWA - are moderate traffic arterial highways.
Interstate highways - with their wide shoulders - are pretty safe for cyclists. But why?
Very low traffic roads - even without shoulders - are safer than arterials.

1 cent.
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Old 03-06-19, 12:36 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post

...The most dangerous roads - according to the FHWA - are moderate traffic arterial highways.
Interstate highways - with their wide shoulders - are pretty safe for cyclists. But why?
Very low traffic roads - even without shoulders - are safer than arterials...
I know nothing about the routes being discussed but can answer this one IMO.

For safety I always expect cars to do what they ordinarily do and that is to drive in the travel lane. On roads with sketchy or no shoulder where I have to also ride in the travel lane that means each car must a.) see me and b.) actively do something different to avoid hitting me. Everything rests with their attention and reaction.

Most do, but many hits, like Mike Hall's in Australia, are a result of cars not seeing or avoiding collision. On a low traffic road I can usually tell when a car approaches (why I use mirrors and don't wear ear buds and listen to music on such roads) but if I, or the driver, is distracted, it's a crap shoot because we both occupy the same space. Perhaps some of the worst situations I've encountered is when I am fatigued or day dreaming and weaving in and out on what I expect is an isolated remote road and a vehicle out of the blue passes me fast. One weave the wrong way...

I prefer wide shoulders, even on high traffic routes because vehicle avoidance does not depend on cars or me doing anything out of the ordinary. They neither need to see nor avoid me as I am out of their travel lane. In the shoulder I can zone out and log miles and look at the scenery without constantly looking in my mirror. For a hit to occur in that situation there needs to be a low statistical chance that a vehicle both moves into the shoulder area (often across rumble strips) and also doesn't see me. In most cases, drivers are looking when they go to the shoulder as they don't want to wind up in the ditch so they are naturally more aware (I assume).

Anyways, that's my theory.

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Old 03-09-19, 10:51 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Mercy -

Based on your posted journals at CGOAB, I have done much longer, much more remote touring.
I hardly think it accurate to suggest that I shouldn't leave my house.
I simply prefer quieter roads - which I consider more enjoyable and safer.

The most dangerous roads - according to the FHWA - are moderate traffic arterial highways.
Interstate highways - with their wide shoulders - are pretty safe for cyclists. But why?
Very low traffic roads - even without shoulders - are safer than arterials.

1 cent.
Please quit making stuff up. Who ever suggested that you shouldnít leave your house? It certainly wasnít me. I donít agree with some of your routes for people unfamiliar with the area. And I donít necessarily agree with all of your route suggestions because they tend to go way out of their way to avoid any kind of traffic.

I donít post everything I do on Crazy Guy. Donít assume. Iíve done many off-road tours over the years. I just havenít posted them. Some are old and I just donít want to convert the pictures. I havenít posted other for various reasons. I did a loop over Williams, Cumberland and Tincup Pass but never posted it because I lost my camera. No pictures makes for a very boring Crazy Guy post. I did a loop from Colorado Springs to Cripple to Canon City and back but havenít posted it yet. I generally donít post rather short weekend rides either.

As for traffic, thatís your personal choice. Some people, myself included, donít have a problem riding on a road with rather wide shoulders even with a slightly higher traffic load. Coloradoís mountains constrain traffic and roads into rather narrow corridors and are often the only way through an area without climbing...not cycling...over mountains.
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Old 03-09-19, 05:18 PM
  #23  
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One useful pointer:
- The Colorado Bicycling Map showing rough traffic counts and shoulders: https://www.codot.gov/programs/bikep...bicycling-maps

For calibration purposes, TxDot also publishes traffic count studies, the last one that included San Antonio was in 2015 - https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/d...rban-2015.html I think you will find on average the shoulder+traffic situation easier in the CO mountains than what you find in Central TX.

For that reason, my recommendations on routes would be biased more towards interesting places to pass on your travels - since I do think you'll find reasonable (perhaps not optimal) routes between many of the spaces in-between. A slightly eclectic list of some I'd put on my recommend list (not sure if you'd get one route to visit all):
* The Great Sand Dunes is a cool place to visit and get some time to go out on the dunes. There is an nice hot springs/camping place close by near Hooper.
* Timberline is ~11,300ft +/- so it can make a difference where/how you cross the passes - since you'll still see trees near top of a lower pass like Hoosier Pass (~11,500ft) but clearly be above the trees on a higher pass like Independence Pass (~12,100ft), Trail Ridge (~12,200ft) or Loveland Pass (~12,000ft). Personally I like getting up higher for some of the views. Most of these passes have some long grades but aren't particularly steep. The official Colorado Highway Map has a section that lists grades for primary paved passes, perhaps also can be found online. Keebler Pass isn't all paved but is reasonable gravel road and among my more favorite lower passes.
* Resort towns; good and bad here. Accommodations are sometimes slightly more expensive, but there are also interesting things going on in the area. Personally I like little towns that aren't resorts (e.g. Paonia, Walden, Montrose) more than the biggest resort towns.
* If you are late in the summer and want to mix hiking/biking there are possibilities of climbing a 14er. These are going to vary from fairly easy ones (two you could bike to the top) to some that are more technical or longer.
* A few spots that are sometimes more off the beaten path, some interesting/some less so:
- Mesa Verde near Cortez has some impressive ruins. Slightly lower/warmer; and a fair amount of climbing to get in/out of the park.
- The westernmost parts of the state have some more canyons/mesas type region. Colorado National Monument has some fun riding with a moderate amount of climbing. Grand Mesa (~10000ft) has some longer grades from surrounding areas (e.g. +5000ft).
- Limited stakes gambling in Cripple Creek, Blackhawk and Central City; IMO a weird mix that took old mining towns and suddenly injected a bunch of new money.
- Rafting, particularly on Arkansas River; hot spots including near Buena Vista and then further downriver through the Royal Gorge; also some on the Colorado River at several points.

I grew up in CO and spent about half my adult life there including ~9 ride-the-rockies/BTC type rides and a lot of my own touring going closer to home (rest of time as adult in TX, OR, CA, MA). In my experience, there are multiple interesting routes - so I'd also suggest finding some of the stopover points that look interesting for what you might want to see/do/visit.
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Old 03-09-19, 08:57 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
A route I had suggested to me by Jamawani. From Taos, NM to Rock Springs, WY (image is below, here is the link to the ridewithgps map and access to gpx download. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28303915). Then from Rock Springs take US 191 north to Pinedale and Jackson. I had asked about this since a friend and I this summer will be doing Twin Cities to St Louis to Taos to Yellowstone to Twin Cities.

That looks like a fantastic route. Highway 114 is low traffic and a gorgeous road, but it is narrow and people are hauling ass. It would make me a bit nervous on a bike. From 114's intersection with 50 all the way to Glenwood Springs is perfect in my opinion. I have driven all of it many times and have ridden some of it.

Any idea when you are going to be passing through Crested Butte?
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Old 03-09-19, 09:06 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
Sigh - -
I wish I were permitted my own opinion here.

I think Highway 17 in the San Luis Valley is a terrible route choice.
It has practically no shoulders, traffic going well over the speed limit, and moderate traffic.
Although US 285 has slightly more traffic and similar speeds, it has much better shoulders.
Plus you can use paved county roads for more miles and fewer miles on the highway.
If you want to ride it - fine - but I don't and I will share that view with others.

If you take Highway 17 all the way then US 285 over Poncha Pass
it puts you into the heavy traffic of the Arkansas Valley first via US 285, then US 24.

(BTW - US 24 does go thru Buena Vista.)
Traffic counts are 9500 north of Salida and 13000 south of Bueny!
Yeah, there are shoulders, but nonstop traffic, fumes & noise, too.

As I stated earlier, I did not initially post the routing above - someone else did.
The persons I did the route for were appraised of its challenges.
So, please, don't accuse me of misleading beginners.
What a bogus and asinine argument.

Fortunately 17 and 285 have unobstructed sight lines through the flats of CO. Cyclists are a common sight. Those roads don't worry me too much although traffic is very fast there.
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