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Northern US options, 300mi or so, August?

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Northern US options, 300mi or so, August?

Old 05-10-19, 05:29 AM
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KC8QVO
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Northern US options, 300mi or so, August?

I figured I would throw out to the group here to see what suggestions you may have for a touring location.

Criteria are:
Timeframe will be August - so with this in mind I realize it is generally a hot month so I want to keep the selection of locations to those that are less hot (that may pretty well exclude the south and midwest)

Mileage - around 300 as a ballpark to start in

Amenities - we would like to camp most nights, and have a chance to hunker down for 2-3 nights in the same place. Stealth camping isn't out of the question, though not necessarily ideal. We would be mostly self-supported, but if the option is there for a resupply half way through or more that would be nice. Water along the route would be nice - we're backpackers and filter from natural sources so I really don't think that will be an issue, but at least worth mentioning. We don't need city or well water, in other words - just a stream would work (so long as it is not downstream of too much population and pollution).

Road/trail conditions - we both have a version of an LHT. I will be running 42mm tires, I think my riding buddy is down in the mid to upper 30's. We're not opposed to some gravel or dirt, so long as it is dry and hard packed, and not a whole lot of miles of it. I've rode gravel roads before and for connecting 2 segments of the ride for a mile or two is OK, but I don't want to ride miles and miles of them for a whole day even.

We have tossed around the idea of some hilly/mountainous locations - around Appalachia - PA and GA. I think in August we get in to the heat problem, though, and we're dealing with heavier terrain. I am not sure I want to do much up/down with a loaded bike. Some is OK, but make that the whole trip...

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Old 05-10-19, 07:06 AM
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Lake Josephine at Many Glacier
KayCee -

You don't mention where you are from of how much time you have to get there.
Is is East Coast since you mention PA & GA or Kansas City, i.e. KC8?

There is no finer August ride than a 300 mile loop at Glacier National Park.
Amtrak offers easy on/off service with baggage stops at East and West Glacier.
Rather slow getting there, but bike boxing is a breeze.

Other options include flying into Kalispell or Great Falls - - but much more $$$.

Going to the Sun Road is, of course, the big enchilada, but great riding elsewhere.
Plus, there are hiker/biker campsites at all of the campgrounds so no camping worries.
Not to mention the opportunity to do some fine backcountry hiking.
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Old 05-10-19, 07:14 AM
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New England has plenty of options.
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Old 05-10-19, 07:19 AM
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So you want relatively easy terrain but not in the Midwest or South with its stifling August heat and humidity. Maybe ride around Lake Champlain on the VT and NY sides. Plenty of services. Google Champlain Bikeway. Or a ride around one of the Great Lakes. Michigan or Superior, although I don't know the mileages for those options.

Also, you don't say how far you are willing to travel.
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Old 05-10-19, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post



There is no finer August ride than a 300 mile loop at Glacier National Park.
Amtrak offers easy on/off service with baggage stops at East and West Glacier.
Rather slow getting there, but bike boxing is a breeze.
I was going to suggest something like that but did not because of the OP's aversion to much up and down.

BTW...The Empire Builder no longer requires boxing of bikes, at least to certain stations. It now offers Trainside Checked Bicycle Service. Bikes go in racks:

https://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard
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Old 05-10-19, 12:07 PM
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Oregon
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Old 05-10-19, 01:05 PM
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Where are you located? If you wanted to do the Glacier Waterton loop, that is a bit longer than 300 miles but the weather should be good in Aug.

But if you are out east, a lot of time gets consumed by traveling to and from Montana.
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Old 05-10-19, 01:37 PM
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There is no way to predict the weather for any week in August in New England. It can be blistering hot in the interior and cool on the immediate coast. If you are lucky, a cold front can come down from Canada and give you some gorgeous days. If you want something on the East Coast, consider Nova Scotia.
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Old 05-10-19, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
There is no way to predict the weather for any week in August in New England. It can be blistering hot in the interior and cool on the immediate coast. If you are lucky, a cold front can come down from Canada and give you some gorgeous days.
IKR. When I crossed to country we had all sorts of weather in VT, NH and ME in August. Warms and humid one day in VT. Quite chilly a few days later in Lincoln, NH as we started up Kangamagus. Day off near Conway mild, then warm again heading into ME.
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Old 05-12-19, 08:42 PM
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I am in Ohio and my riding partner is in Georgia. As far as locations - we would probably drive. I have thrown out the northern plains - somewhere in Montana even - as an option.

I did have the thought of doing a combination train/bike trip - ride out and train back, or train out and ride back.

We're already pretty far apart between where our home-bases are, so traveling isn't much of a concern there.

I have seen some videos of off-road touring. That is much more my style, from the backpacker in me, but from a bike perspective I don't think either of us have the right set up to attempt that. However, I don't want to exclude it - the more wilderness the better, if we can access it with the bikes we have = maintained trails/established roads that aren't too wet, rutted, or pot holed.
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Old 05-13-19, 04:26 AM
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With wilderness you usually get a lot of hills, which is something you don't seem to want. And it's pretty unrealistic to expect little rain outside of areas that are going to be hot and dry, which is also something you don't want.

Look at the Hinkley to Grand Portage option:

https://www.exploreminnesota.com/ped...ast-minnesota/
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Old 05-13-19, 09:59 AM
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Sounds like a trip along the coast of Lake Superior in Michigan would suit your needs. Water keeps the surrounding areas relatively cool, most of the shore roads are paved, and of course, you have water accessible. Campgrounds galore, and roughly 300 miles from Houghton to Sault Ste Marie (as an example trip). Some hills, but nothing too ridiculous. The parts that are state highway generally have nice wide shoulders to ride as well.

Although, you didn't mention if you were looking for a loop or point-to-point, unless I completely overlooked it.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
With wilderness you usually get a lot of hills, which is something you don't seem to want. And it's pretty unrealistic to expect little rain outside of areas that are going to be hot and dry, which is also something you don't want.

Look at the Hinkley to Grand Portage option:

https://www.exploreminnesota.com/ped...ast-minnesota/
I find the trail from Hinckley to Duluth to be interesting for about 15 miles. I actually think Hwy 23 northeast out of Sandstone is prettier. There are a few stretches with a narrow shoulder, but there is just so little traffic on that road. Duluth to Two Harbors is great with the Scenic Drive right on the lake. From Two Harbors to Grand Marais the trail is spotty, and there are sections where they shoulder is nearly non existent and the road surface is not the best. Add in logging trucks and inattentive tourists driving Wilderness Assault Vehicles, and it's not the best. Last summer we did Duluth to Grand Marais by riding gravel back roads where they trail along 61 didn't go through, but it's a lot of climbing... and gravel. Grand Maris to Grand Portage is gorgeous with a wide, wide, wide shoulder.

There are two other good circle tour options from the Twin Cities. The first would be the MRT up toward Itasca, east toward Grand Rapids and then back to the TC. The other would be to Superior, WI (Hardwood Creek Trail, Sunrise Prairie Trail, Munger Trail or Hwy 23) then east to Brule, WI, south to Hayward area, west to Danbury, south on the Gandy Dancer Trail (one of my favorites in the area) and then back west to TC. Plenty of state forests and parks for camping on both routes.
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Old 05-13-19, 10:40 AM
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I would vote for Wisconsin being a portion of your tour. Hilly enough to not be boring flat and no mountains. Good weather/temps in Aug. Ferry over to MI if you want to bag another state and/or have a nice break for part of a day but still be traveling. Check out Adventure Cycling maps. Andy
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Old 05-13-19, 11:57 AM
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One possibility.

Maine -- the East Coast Greenway, between Kittery (ME) northeast along the coastal areas to the Canadian border. <400mi total. Has portions that aren't paved/MUP.
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Old 05-13-19, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
I am in Ohio and my riding partner is in Georgia. As far as locations - we would probably drive. I have thrown out the northern plains - somewhere in Montana even - as an option.

I did have the thought of doing a combination train/bike trip - ride out and train back, or train out and ride back.

We're already pretty far apart between where our home-bases are, so traveling isn't much of a concern there.

I have seen some videos of off-road touring. That is much more my style, from the backpacker in me, but from a bike perspective I don't think either of us have the right set up to attempt that. However, I don't want to exclude it - the more wilderness the better, if we can access it with the bikes we have = maintained trails/established roads that aren't too wet, rutted, or pot holed.
Why not ride from Pittsburgh to Washington DC? You ride the GAP trail to Cumberland, Maryland, then the C&O Canal trail to DC. It's a great ride, on trails, with plenty to see along the way. You can also take detours along the way if you want. I've done it and camped all but one night. I stayed in a bed and breakfast one night in Little Orleans, but there is a campground along the trail there as well.

I did it on a LHT, with 35mm Continental City Contact tires, during Hurricane Irene, so very wet, and I had zero issues. A lot of people complain about the C&O trail, especially when it is wet, but I absolutely loved that part of the trip. I was arriving in DC about the time the hurricane was impacting the area. I got stuck outside of DC because there were no rental cars left to get me home, people couldn't fly due to the hurricane, so they rented cars, so I camped 35 miles outside the city and waited another day.

As for terrain, it is the best way to ride across Pennsylvania, the railroad chose the best terrain, and of course the C&O is flat since it was the donkey path for the canal.

Here is a nice writeup from someone who did it. http://www.simplycycling.org/blog/20...ttsburgh-to-dc

Last edited by phughes; 05-13-19 at 01:09 PM.
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