Friday, May 11, 2012

Preliminary Route Outline

Adventure Cycling Association actually maintains a slew of cross-country bicycle routes that have been mapped out and tested over the years. Bob and I intend basically to start on ACA's Lewis & Clark route, out of Astoria, Oregon, and then segue north to follow their Northern Tier route. But we'll use their routes only as baselines. We are already planning a number of variations. 

In all, our plan calls for about 4200 miles over the course of three months. From Astoria, we intend to ride to Portland, OR, then on to Walla Walla, WA, across ID and into Missoula, MT (where both ACA and Climate Ride are headquartered), then up to Glacier National Park (and across the Continental Divide), then on to Cut Bank, MT and Dickinson, ND, then down to Badlands National Park in SD, then northeast to Minneapolis, MN, across WI, and into the Upper Peninsula of MI. After that, we probably will bike along the north shore of Lake Erie into Ontario and to Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. Then, finally, on to Albany, NY and the Big Apple.

Why West to East? Two reasons primarily. The first is hard to pin down as factual, but most accounts out there suggest that prevailing winds go in that direction more than they go East to West. We'll take any assist we can! Secondly, we both felt that, psychologically, starting out far from home and heading towards home, was more appealing and motivating. Finally (yeah, I know that's three reasons), we're pretty sure the best scenery will be West of, and crossing, the Continental Divide. If we were to bail on this trip after a month or so (although, for sure, we hope that doesn't happen), we'd already have some great riding in (conversely, leaving the best to the end didn't appeal as much to us instant-gratification bikers).

Preliminary maps of our possible route, generated by the fantastic site Ride with GPS, are below (if it's your first time here, they may take a while to load). But, technology willing, each day's post will have a map of the actual route we took and its related metrics. I'll be relying on my Garmin Edge 800 biking GPS unit which, while far from perfect (see my Amazon review here), will allow me to pre-load possible routes overlaid on actual maps of the relevant areas, and not need to rely on having cellular coverage. And it should also be able to record the days riding data for uploading to this blog. I hope.

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