Destination Moscow (Idaho!): Last minute freakout at Routing Central - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

April 30, 2011

Destination Moscow (Idaho!): Last minute freakout at Routing Central

Here;s the script: "Hi, I am getting ready to leave on a bicycle trip across the continent, and I was looking to pass through your (trail/state park/Interstate/ Forest Development Road). Can you tell me what the conditions are and whether I will be able to go that way?" "Oh, you (don't know/don't care/ are closed today/ are closed everyday until June/will transfer me to who knows where?" "Thanks, I'll hold".

Dodie spent 6 hours on the phone with that script. Finally one lady in the Washington Department of Transport laid it on the line. "The trails are under 4-10 feet of snow, the forestry roads won't even be plowed until June, I-90 has a construction zone that you can not pass." "Why don't you try (someplace warm and tropical), like Oregon!"

Big Blue Detour to the Deep South, away from Snoqualmie Pass
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That's how out last minute freak out plan to throw all previous maps, campground info, grocery store locations, trail names and locations in the woodstove and start over was born. So while we should have been savouring our last homemade lattes and watching Big Bang Theory, we have been frantically trying to figure how a cyclist can penetrate the Seattle urban jungle and safely get to the Columbia River, where the snow free Lewis and Clark highway heads East.

Routing Central (showing Routing Cat)
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Alison Pass in B.C. No Way!
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Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 No Way!
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Stevens Pass on Hwy 2 No Way!
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At first Google Maps gave us a 22 page cue sheet for cycle routing through Seattle. We gamely tried to see if we could understand and follow it. Spent about 8 hours doing that! We finally realized that even if could figure out the cryptic dipsy doodling, we would be very unlikely to stay on track out in the actual jungle. So we chose a pile of semi-deadly semi-north/south highways a little East of Seattle and plotted a course down to the River. It's still not simple, but we have a chance of doing it.

So that's Portland (or technically, Vancouver Washington) but why do we seem to also be headed for Moscow? Moscow, Idaho is on the way to Plummer, Idaho, and Plummer is where we will pick up the tattered threads of our previous route planning.

That is, if we ever leave here. Tracking and recording the list of waypoints, the possible places to stay and to find provisions is going to take until late tonight. In part it's our own burden, because we don't want to stay in motels, don't want to eat in restaurants, and are not that keen on stealth camping.

This does not mean we won't do those things. In fact we plan to track our use of motels, restaurants, stealth camps, among a pile of other things including water, money, pedaling time, wifi and 3G. If we manage to keep track of these facts on a daily basis, we may have some statistics that could help people who are doing their own planning for future trips. At least, we could give a laugh to anyone who avoids planning or who hates Statistics.

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