The First Four Days: Final

DAY ONE: Portland to Kennebunkport (40mi)

https://goo.gl/maps/Rm43x

DAY TWO: to Concord (67mi)

https://goo.gl/maps/xdHo7

DAY THREE: to Brattleboro (70mi)

https://goo.gl/maps/TYvo6

DAY FOUR: to Albany (78mi)

https://goo.gl/maps/bvUfG

 

…needless to say, all these calculations subject to change – such as when this takes me days longer than projected 🙂

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THE FIRST FOUR DAYS

A short Day One (like, after my last final) to Kennebunkport, & spend a goodbye evening at my mother’s house.
Day Two: 60 miles to Bear Brook State Park outside Manchester; camp out
Day Three: 65 miles to the Horatio Colony Trust near Keene; camp out
Day Four: 60 miles to the edge of Bennington/the Green Mountains; camp out.
Day Five: A bare 45 miles to the doorstep of my friend Alicia. A warm couch to sleep on, a warm meal or six to eat, a warm shower that takes so long the hot water runs out…
…then the next day I start fresh with the sprint to Ann Arbor, 600 miles in somewhere between 6 and 10 days.
#plan?
#plan.

DAYDREAM

A summer-of-bikes in northeastern Canada:

 

Portland to PEI vie Nova Scotia:

https://goo.gl/maps/iXMlg

(and then home… total: 2500 miles)

achievements unlocked: the coast of Maine; circumnavigating Nova Scotia and PEI; return trip powahhhh

 

circumnavigating New Brunswick, Labrador

https://goo.gl/maps/D3R94

(and then home… 3500 miles)

including a ferry from Kageshka to Blanc-Sablon

 

biking all the hell over Newfoundland:

https://goo.gl/maps/etJKi

(1500 miles self-inclusive)

 

Biking from Portland, Maine to Halifax, Nova Scotia; then around New Brunswick and to Quebec; then up to the end of the line at Kafeshka; then all the hell over Newfoundland; then up to the very tippy-top of Labrador; then down past that lake that looks really cool on Google Maps, back through Quebec, and home…

 

7500 miles

at a good clip, that is 2 1/2 months of riding. A rider in even fair shape could complete this route in a single summer.

And one will, in one swoop, have seen the entirety of maritime Canada.

 

THE RETURN

https://goo.gl/maps/dSC9i

 

SF -> Klamath Falls by means of the Tahoe and Modoc national forests

-> Blackroot past the Craters of the Moon

-> Grand Teton National Park and Jellystone

-> through Bighorn National Forest, skirting Thunder Basin grasslands

-> across Black Hills and the Badlands

-> some path across the Midwest heading towards the sunrise, to Ann Arbor

 

https://goo.gl/maps/xJkEp

 

Ann Arbor -> Buffalo

-> Syracuse

-> Albany

-> Northampton

-> Boston

-> Home

DAYDREAMS (with Google Maps)

This is a rough outline of my trip from Atlantic to Pacific:

https://goo.gl/maps/pR961

Here are some thoughts for the return trip, if undertaken:

https://goo.gl/maps/WnlsZ

https://goo.gl/maps/RwBbW

https://goo.gl/maps/HZPi4

Here’s the North-South (Deadhorse, AK to Ushala, Argentina):

https://goo.gl/maps/awYFA

…and, well, Google Maps starts sucking when you get south of the Darien Gap, but basically this:

https://goo.gl/maps/ND5rt

(AKA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan-American_Highway)

WHERE

Let us tell glad stories of the life of kings!

…I mean: let’s daydream about biking places.

1) THE STRICT GO-WEST

Portland, Me -> Ann Arbor, MI along the Northern Tier

Ann Arbor, MI to Minneapolis, MN along the North Lakes trail

Minneapolis, MN to Glendive, MT along the Northern Tier (resumed)

…Glendive is where the trail forks into three different trails.

A) The Northern Tier is the northernmost of them, going through Havre and Kalispell and Sandpoint, ID (about a day’s ride north of Spokane) and then coming to rest in Anacortes, WA.

PRO: Seattle! Get to visit Evan, Tati, Arielle, Stephen, Margaret!

B) The uppermost branch of the Lewis & Clark trail passes through Great Falls and Missoula, traces for days through Clearwater National Forest in Idaho, passes through Walla Walla Washington, then Other Portland and terminating at Astoria.

PRO: Portland! Get to visit my cousins there, maybe see if any Hampsters are hangin’ about. Also, Missoula is where the HQ of the Adventure Cycling 501 is located.

C) The lower branch of the L&C passes through Miles City and Billings and Butte, just a few days’ north of Jelleystone. You can then depart the path a bit to go south through Blackfoot, Mountain Home and Boise, picking up the TransAmerica at Baker City and heading through Eugene, Or to the sea.

PRO: Lots of time in national parks. Get to depart the path well-traveled just a bit. Deposits one halfway to Cali!

Basically the only cons to be found in taking any of these paths is that they deny one the other paths. Not bad, really. 

2) THE SAN FRAN BOUNCE

This trip is the same as #1 (whatever it is decided to be), except adds another leg, taking one from Anacortes to San Francisco.

Even then, there are two paths one can take:

A) Anacortes -> Portland (“The Road Well Biked”)

Portland -> Bond, OR along the Sierra-Cascades trail

Bond -> Ashland

Ashland -> Reno

then inland past Lake Tahoe on the Western Express trail, through Sacramento, and coming to rest in San Fransisco

PRO: The Cascades are supposed to be magnificent. Also temperate, and easy on the camper.

OR

B) Seattle -> Astoria along the Pacific Coast trail

either go straight south OR bounce inland to Portland, then back to the coast

south past Coos Bay, OR and Eureka, CA

through the redwoods to Fort Bragg and Mendo and Manchester

arriving in SF just the same

PRO: The sea! The sea!

One might also note a lack of any negative to either route, outside of opportunity cost paid.

But maybe…

3) THE GREAT CIRCLE ROUTE

This is 1 and 2 combined.

On the way in, one goes from Portland, ME to Anacortes, WA, then south to SF. One – I!!! – would come in on the Northern Tier route, take the Pacific Coast trail to SF, then head out to Sac on the way home and follow the Cascades north to Portland, whence I’d turn homeward and head through Missoula and back to the Northern Tier.

PRO: Allows much more variation!

CON: Between Glendive, MT and home, the same route.

OR IS IT?

4) THE THEME: VARIATIONS

Between Glendive, MT and Portland, ME, there are still certain ways one can vary the route. All this while staying along the Adventure Cycling routes, I might add.

A) From Glendive, MT to Fargo, ND, the route will be the same. 500 miles of Big Sky, same as before.

B) Fargo, ND -> ~Little Falls, MN : two different routes to take. One is 175 miles, the other is 250 miles. Still, different things to see!

C) from Little Falls to the Twin Cities: a day’s ride the same, either way

D) at the Twin Cities, things get interesting. Instead of taking the North Lakes again, one could turn south and follow the Northern Tier through Iowa, cutting through Illinois and Indiana to about Toledo, OH. That’s about 1000 miles that’ll be completely different!

E) There are three ways to get from Ann Arbor (Markland! Pop.: MARK!) to Buffalo, NY. One is the Underground Railroad trail (and by going straight from London to Hamilton, one can cut out a 200+mi salient). One is to go south of Lake Erie through Cleveland. The third is to take the Lake Erie Connector through Detroit. Variance!

F) From ~Buffalo, one can also go north of Lake Superior, through Toronto, and catch up with the Northern Tier on the other side.

G) One could also break with the Adventure Cycling thing entirely, and follow the river north to Montreal. Then south along the Adirondack Park loop to the Northern Tier at Ticonderoga, OR loop clockwise on the Green Mountain Loop and pick up the NT near Haverhill.

H) Conversely, one could break with the NT at Rochester, NY; pass through Syracuse, Utica, and Troy (I could see Beyonce!); then either cut through MA via Pittsfield and NoHo (Bangers, Gwellz, Cpt. M!) to Boston (so many many friends!) and north on the Atlantic Coast through Portsmouth and Kbunk to Portland.

Let’s game these out.

1) THE STRICT GO-WEST: About 4200 miles, give or take

2) DOWN TO SF: 800mi

3) BACK TO THE TRANSAMERICA (at Eugene): 800mi

or, BACK TO THE LEWIS & CLARK (at Portland) 1000mi)

4) The NT instead of the LAKES: I think it’s about mileage-neutral

5) LAKE ERIE: 6 of one, 6 of another, 6 of yet another

6) Buffalo, NY to Portland, ME is ~600mi along the NT. To go through Albany and NoHo and Boston would add only about 100mi – a day’s ride.

 

SO, HERE’S A PROPOSED ROUTE:

1) Portland to Buffalo along the NT (600)

2) Buffalo to Detroit along the Erie Connector  (300)

3) around Detroit to Ann Arbor on the Underground Railroad Alternate (~)

4) Ann Arbor -> Cheboygan -> Minneapolis on the North Lakes (1100)

5) Minneapolis to Fargo via Bemidji (300)

6) Fargo to Bismarck via Cross Ranch State Park (350)

7) Glendive to Kalispell (1350)

8) Kalispell to Anacortes (included in above total)

9) Anacortes to Seattle (Twinsies!) (60)

10) Seattle to Astoria (160)

11) Astoria to Mendo (Shira!) (700)

12) Mendo to SF (Shirley! Dana and Rob!) (100)

13) SF to Tahoe (250)

14) Tahoe to Bend (700)

15) Meet up with the L&C in Kamiah (420 to missoula)

16) through Misoula and Great Falls (165)

17) Glendive to Dickinson (800 – overlap)

18) through Bismarck to Fargo (50 non-ov in addition to above)

19) via Fergus Falls to MN (175)

20) the NT to Toledo; perhaps up to Ann Arbor again (1050, 1100 iff AA)

21) the NT to Erie (300)

22) Erie to Binghamton off-the-path (250)

23) Binghamton to Troy off-the-path (140)

24) Pittsfield -> Noho -> Worcester -> Boston (180)

25) Boston -> Portsmouth -> Kennebunk (90)

26 Kbunk -> Start (30)

 

…the result will be 9670 miles, of which only 800 – about 8% – is repeat.

9670 miles, averaging a century per day, is 96 days. Add 2 days in Ann Arbor, 2 in Seattle, 1 in Oregon, 2 in Mendo, and 2 in SF, and we’ve hit 105 days – IE, only ten days shy of my whole summer.

That would seem an ideal use of my summer months.

That is, of course, assuming I can average 100 miles biked per day. That’s a lot of miles.

In order to complete this route, I will have to bike 85 miles per day. This will give me 1 day to shower and shave before start-of-term.

If I average only 80 miles per day, I’ll be 500 miles short: I’ll make it as far as Albany before having to  Amtrak through Springfield, Boston, and Home.

If I average 70 miles per day, I’ll be 1700 miles short: I’ll make it to Minneapolis and then have to catch a plane home.

If I average 65 miles per day – the most I’ve thusfar ever biked in a day – I’ll make it to Billings, MT, and then need to get my plane/train/airship on.

I am absolutely committed to getting to Ann Arbor.

I am pretty damned committed to getting to Seattle. I’d have to *hate* the whole thing in order to want to turn around.

I am rather committed to getting to SF. So many lovely friends to see along the way! But if I’m just plum worn out, I could see taking a powder. No shame in that.

I have no idea if, from there, I’ll want to turn about and do it all again. Maybe I’ll want to take a plane home. I don’t know.

But it would be such a thing, if I did do it!

WHERE

A sample itinerary, Right to Left, at 80 miles per day:

 

DAY ONE: Portland, ME → Plymouth, NH (85 miles)

2: → Ashland, NH (80 miles)

3: → Burlington, VT (80)

4: cross Lake Champlain; camp outside Harrietstown, NY (80)

5: Up to Brockville on the St. Lawrence (80)

6: Cross into Canada at Wellesley Island; end at Desoronto (85)

7: Follow the shore of Lake Ontario to Coburg (80)

8: Spend the night in Toronto (65)

9: Through Hamilton to Branford (80)

10: -> Watford (80)

11: Cross into the US at Sarnia; camp on Lake Orion (80)

12: ->Ann Arbor (55)

13-14: Mark!

15: → Battle Creek, MI (82)

16: → Cedar Springs (85)

17: → Cadillac (78)

18: → just shy of Petoskey (80)

19: Cross between two Great Lakes at St. Ignace; camp near Brevort Lake (76)

20: → Indian Lake State Park (74)

21: → Hermansville, WI (74)

22: → Crandom (80)

23: through the woods (80)

24: through the woods (80)

25: pass north of Minneapolis to Elk River, MN (82)

26: → Sauk Centre (82)

27: → Elizabeth (87)

28: through Fargo to Casselton, ND (76)

29: → Jamestown (80)

30: → near Sterling (83)

31: → near Glen Ullin (80)

32: → Theodore Roosevelt State Park (80)

33: → Glendive, MT (72)

34: → Brockway (84)

35: → Mosby (82)

36: → Lewistown (86)

37: → Belt (82)

38: through Great Falls to Choteau (82)

39: into Glacier National Park (80)

40: → Kalispell (76)

41: → Libby (88)

42: → Sandpoint, ID (87)

43: → Spokane, WA (82)

44: → Hartline (84)

45: → Wenatchee (89)

46: → Gold Bar (80)

47: → Seattle (62)

48-50: Evan, Tati, Arielle, Stephen, Margaret, amputating my legs at the waist!

…then down to Astoria, Portland, and back home, to hit Portland, ME after the passage of approximately 100 days; that is to say, August 15th.

It’s just an idea. There are a hundred things I’d want to plot out first. A hundred little variations: through Toronto, or Cleveland, or between the two (and their respective Lakes)? North through MI or south on the nominal Northern Tier through the plains? On this route – where are the bike shops? Will I ever go a day without passing a gas station to get water and at least some sort of food, or will there be places that I need to stock up for days on end?

And then, perhaps most importantly to me – where to sleep? How does that work in the not-coastal-New-England: how hard is it to find a place to pitch a tent? How about a hotel, if need be?

A thousand little questions to ask, the better route to plan.

But it can be done.

It can be done.