New ACA route - CycleBlaze

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New ACA route

Karen Cook

Does anyone know anything about the new Adventure Cycling route from Yellowstone to Minneapolis?  Looks like fun.  I hope the maps come out in time for summer 2020 touring.

It's certainly is doable without ACA maps, but it's more fun with them because you can stare at the route for hours by the fireplace in the winter, sipping hot cocoa, with a faithful dog curled up at your feet.

I really should to get a dog.....

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3 weeks ago
Jeff LeeTo Karen Cook

The references I've seen seem to imply that it's only a proposed route at this point, and that its creation depends on ACA receiving enough donations to support creating it, along with a new Atlantic Coast route. (See here.)

Assuming the new route actually goes through Yellowstone National Park, I think that's a negative: I haven't enjoyed Yellowstone National Park either time I've ridden there. Just too many people, and (I know this is an unpopular opinion) the scenery in the park is just not that impressive to make up for the heavy traffic and narrow roads.

West out of the park, though, is pretty great. I did a lot of that this summer, and enjoyed it.

Actually, the proposed Atlantic Coast route (the "Delmarva Route") might be more interesting to me, assuming they can stitch together enough bike paths and non-busy roads. The ACA Atlantic Coast Route, at least the version I did in 2008, keeps you pretty far inland much of the time. The new one looks like it stays closer to the ocean, which could be nice.

Jeff

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3 weeks ago
Jeff LeeTo Karen Cook

Sorry to hijack your post, Karen, but I learned something new today: Somehow I'd never heard of "Delmarva", the name of the other new route ACA is planning, along with the Yellowstone one. It's a peninsula made up of parts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Who knew?!

Well, probably everyone except uneducated me..

Random article I found about Delmarva on the internet here.

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3 weeks ago
Karen CookTo Jeff Lee

Hi,

I looks like it goes through Yellowstone park.  But that would be a small part of the ride.

I guess we will see what happens (or doesn't happen) eh? :-)

Karen

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3 weeks ago
Gregory GarceauTo Karen Cook

Hi Karen,

I let my Adventure Cycling subscription expire couple of years ago, but they still keep sending me reminders to re-subscribe every couple of weeks.  I used their detailed maps for a couple of years with great appreciation until  I found that they kind of took the adventure out of "adventure cycling."  

Even so, I AM interested in that Yellowstone-to-Minneapolis route.  I say that as a biased resident of the St. Paul side of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, AND as a big fan of the Great Plains.

I agree with Jeff that the scenery in Yellowstone isn't that great along the roads, but the ever present wildlife viewing possibilities make a trip through the park worthwhile.  I've never biked there, but the first time I drove through the park I saw two bears, a big herd of bison,  a pair of elk, a badger, marmots, and a moose.  The second time I drove through the park I saw no wildlife.  Taking some time to hike Yellowstone is the way to go.  The hiking trails are what make Yellowstone uniquely spectacular.

Beyond our first national park to the Minnesota prairie, there are some interesting things to see via bicycle:  frequently changing landscapes and the transition from the land of  mule deer,  jack rabbits and coyotes to the land of white-tailed deer, bunnies and grazing cattle. 

Oh my, I think I might have convinced myself to ride to Yellowstone some day.

 

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3 weeks ago
Karen CookTo Gregory Garceau

Hi,

I actually was not thinking much about Yellowstone at all.  Between dodging tourists in RV's, bison and bears I would rather blow through as fast as possible and come back another time (probably in a car) in the off season and enjoy it in more detail then.  Its not THAT long before I retire ;-)

But if I were to do that route (its one of many on my possibilities list for next summer) I would start in Oregon and ride the TA to Yellowstone, so the park would only be a blip on the route.

But ACA maps or no ACA maps, I am looking at it, and maybe even riding south-ish after the Badlands and testing out the Cowboy trail. 

So many possibilities and so little time.

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3 weeks ago
Kevin StevensTo Karen Cook

I would like to include a positive experience touring Yellowstone. My wife and I spent a week riding the Grand Loop in June 2012. Most campgrounds within the park have great hiker/biker sites. The roads are well-maintained. There's a ton to see, and it's all easier to access by bike than by car (no time spent circling parking lots looking for a free space). The Grand Loop provides a lot of variety for the road tourist, from lazy cruising to fairly challenging mountain passes. Drivers were courteous and predictable the entire time. Maybe we were just lucky, but 7 days is a pretty decent sample size.

While we have to face the fact that national parks are increasingly starting to resemble amusement parks, we can also be part of a counter-trend towards enjoying them in more responsible ways. If we give up and only tour the parks by car, we will lose what little traction we have in terms of bike-friendly policies. First, the hiker/biker sites will disappear, then they will start prohibiting bicycles on certain roads or at certain times (as they do at Glacier, for example). I'm not suggesting that anyone bike somewhere unsafe solely as a matter of principle, but I'm not convinced that Yellowstone is any more dangerous than, say, Pacific Coast Highway, yet thousands of bike tourists travel the latter route every year.

Another thing in favor of using Yellowstone as a nexus for bike touring routes is that it has neither train service to the park, nor shuttle bus service within it. People who can't or don't want to drive really have few options other than to sign up for a package tour. At least the ACA maps make it a little easier for some people who might otherwise never have seen Yellowstone's majesty, to catch a glimpse of it as part of a longer tour, without ever having to set foot inside a motor vehicle. That's pretty neat.

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3 weeks ago
Karen CookTo Kevin Stevens

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the input.  I will probably like it when I get there (whether that is next summer or a summer in the future).  Between you and me, my bigger "fear" is not so much traffic, it's getting run over by a bison while I am riding because some tourist does something stupid :-]   Or I find myself somehow alone while a herd is running across the road or something.  When I look at some people riding through it looks like the bison are right next to them.  I have a healthy respect for wild animals that are MUCH BIGGER THAN ME ;-) and like to give them a wide berth.


But, as so often is the case, I am probably imagining something that is worse than it is. ;-)

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3 weeks ago
Kevin StevensTo Karen Cook

Yeah, they're big, but they seem to be pretty good at ignoring humans. They see us as neither threat nor snack. This one calmly grazed her way past our campsite one morning.

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2 weeks ago
Karen CookTo Kevin Stevens

I have to admit that looks like fun. :-)

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2 weeks ago