MSP/NYC 2013

This topic contains 21 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of archiesturmer archiesturmer 1 year ago.

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  • #794048
    Avatar of archiesturmer
    archiesturmer
    Participant

    Now that I’ve been checked-out by my Doctor, who informed me the injury sustained on this year’s installment of the Drunken Bicycle “Race” won’t have a lasting detrimental effect on my ability to Bicycle the 3 (three) Tours I have planned for this year, I can get back to planning the 4th Annual MSP-NYC Bicycle Tour. This year’s plan is to cross Lake Michigan at Milwaukee/Muskegon, Ride to and through Detroit, somehow cross into Canada, meander to Lockport, NY, where the Erie Canal will by and large lead to Albany, and then follow the Hudson down to NYC. A wrinkle is leaving in early July to maximize daylight hours so I’m not forever arriving at a given campground in darkness.

    I know I’ve yet to finish writing about last year’s odyssey, but last Autumn my laptop (from the previous Century) quit doing many things most people take for granted, and I’m reduced to either taking advantage of stolen moments on work-computers, or doing this– typing everything out on the tiny screen & keyboard of a ‘smart’phone (it’s ‘smart’ because it can get me to endlessly peck away on this microscopic contraption, secretly laughing at me all the while!). Perhaps I’ll finish last year’s tale in time to go on this year’s Tour?

    Anyway, I give warning here, in case anyone would care to accompany me on this journey. The nuts & bolts: about 160-klicks a day (100-miles, give or take), camping every night, traveling entirely self-contained, completeing the Tour in about 2-weeks, 3-days or so in NYC staying at the HI-Hostel in Manhattan, and returning via AMTRAK on the Lakeshore Limited and the Empire Builder (I just like typing-out Train names). Joining warmshowers.org is recommended, as is HI-International.

    Plans/Itinerary to follow.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
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  • #794779
    Avatar of archiesturmer
    archiesturmer
    Participant

    Oh– you’ll need a Passport, too, and if you don’t already have one, it’s a long, (sometimes) costly, and convoluted process, so you should get cracking…

    #794780
    Avatar of pho
    pho
    Participant

    Passage into Canada will no doubt require a passport. And since you will be on a bike you will no doubt look like a terrorist and they will take an hour or so to go through your no doubt elaborate rig and to make sure you are not on the “no-bike” list.

    #794781
    Avatar of archiesturmer
    archiesturmer
    Participant

    Apparently the only Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada is privately owned; and even tho it has a ‘public’ (international) road on it, the Pedestrian/Bicycling walkway is closed until further notice. Serious. (While there appears to be a Truck Ferry, they haven’t answered my email, so I’m not sure if visiting the Ghost Town of Detroit is such a hot idea. Maybe I’ll phone them for the definitive answer before I reroute through Marine City en route to Niagara Falls and points East…)

    What would I expect from Motor City?

    #794782
    Avatar of archiesturmer
    archiesturmer
    Participant

    Apparently the only Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada is privately owned; and even tho it has a ‘public’ (international) road on it, the Pedestrian/Bicycling walkway is closed until further notice. Serious. (While there appears to be a Truck Ferry, they haven’t answered my email, so I’m not sure if visiting the Ghost Town of Detroit is such a hot idea. Maybe I’ll phone them for the definitive answer before I reroute through Marine City en route to Niagara Falls and points East…)

    What would I expect from Motor City?

    #794783
    Avatar of archiesturmer
    archiesturmer
    Participant

    Ahh, the joy of having an iphone as my sole computer and Missing Link as my ISP! At least it’ll boost my ‘Posts’ to a respectable number…

    #794784
    Avatar of TheStender
    TheStender
    Participant

    I’ll have to look into doing this since I’m hoping to be unemployed this summer.

    #794785
    Avatar of archiesturmer
    archiesturmer
    Participant

    So I’m on the horns of a dilemma:

    -It’s 3-days to Lake Mills, WI, and roughly another half a day to Milwaukee (about 50-miles, or 80-klicks).

    -At Milwaukee the High-Speed Ferry for Muskegon leaves at 6:00 and 12:30, arriving Michigan in 2 1/2-hours, plus (or minus) losing an hour crossing into the Eastern Time Zone.

    -As gaining Lake Mills will be at the end of a very long day, do I awake TOO early the following day and hustle to Milwaukee by half-past twelve, or do I basically throw away the 4th day, camping at a tiny County Park in or near Milwaukee, board the Ferry leisurely at Lunch Time and continue on my merry way at 4:30 in the afternoon in Michigan?

    -The wildcard is that there’re “no” campgrounds near Grand Rapids, which is where I’d logically make it to by sundown from Muskegon, where the Ferry docks. (Small County Campgrounds seem to exist, but how full and how sanguine are they likely to be towards Cyclists?)

    -It’s about 320-klicks to Detroit (200-miles), so I can’t throw away the Ferry-Day either, if I want to see the futuristic Ghost Town of Detroit in anything but Evening Light.

    So what should I do? Take 6-grueling days to Detroit, or 8-less angst-ridden ones? (Leaving perhaps as much as 10-days to NYC via Canada, Niagara Falls, the Erie Canal, Albany, and the Hudson South to the City…)

    And what about building in a Rest-Day or a Day for Weather or a Break-Down?

    #794788
    Avatar of archiesturmer
    archiesturmer
    Participant

    So I FINALLY phoned the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry, and they said they USED to take Bikes but the USCG (Coast Guard) made them stop (!). But before I could jump to the conclusion of wanting to give the CG a piece of what little’s left of mind, the guy on the phone said that the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel has regular Bus Service between the two cities, and that the Buses all have racks on the front (just like right here in River City!).

    The way is now clear again to the Motor City, fallen as it has into ruin (watched a Documentary “Detropia”, which, again, whet my appetite to Bike thru). From Muskegon to Grand Rapids, then East to just South of Flint, and on into Detroit.

    Once Windsor has been gained, it looks like about 2-days to Niagara Falls, or so. Tho in this scenic area between Erie and Ontario, maybe three is more like it. (Tho I’d prefer to save dawdling-time for the Erie Canal– last year’s surprise magical-experience.)

    #794789
    Avatar of archiesturmer
    archiesturmer
    Participant

    While Canada’s not the land of Milk and Honey, I got it from a (new) Native that there’re Campgrounds “everywhere” and that driver’s're very courteous, even when the shoulders aren’t particularly wide. Maybe it’ll be like Cycling in France. I hope.

    #794786
    Avatar of archiesturmer
    archiesturmer
    Participant

    So, it looks like:

    •3 1/2 days to Milwaukee, with the third-day being a long one, and the half-day being an early white-knuckle charge to make the Noon Ferry.

    •2 1/2 days from Muskegon to Detroit, the half-day being traveling as far as possible after the Ferry Ride from Milwaukee (the greater the distance, the more time in Detroit or easier days getting there).

    •3-days from Windsor to the Erie-Canal. Or so. I have high hopes for Canada and the Canal. (I’m sure the Border-Crossing’s will be as ugly and time-consuming as entry into the U S of A at an Intenational Airport: those guys are the most humorless government employes ever).

    •3 or 4 days to Albany, depending on how lost I get (I remember the path’s unceremonious end at Newark [NY] and cursing and asking Cops for guidance. And Firemen. And Postmen. And being lost again on the other side of Syracuse and meeting a fellow-Tourist heading West who told me I was going the wrong way [seemed right to me, but sure enough I was back at the cross-roads where we'd met, three-quarters of an hour later, back-tracking to where I'd screwed-up!].

    •2-days to Manhattan, this time crossing the Hudson below Po-Town instead of blindly Riding into the cauldron of excess auto-traffic on narrow roads leading to New York City; crossing back from New Jersey after the stunning vista from the George Washington Bridge, and Riding in along the Eastern shore of the Hudson.

    14 or 15 days of Riding– toss in a Rest Day or ‘Weather-Day’, 2 or 3-days of site-seeing and ‘White-Water’ (or ‘responsible’) Riding in NYC, and 2-days of AMTRAK back to the Twin Cities and it’s a good 3-week Tour.

    #794790
    Avatar of archiesturmer
    archiesturmer
    Participant

    In the continuing saga of getting from Detroit to Windsor, I called the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel (LLC) to make sure I could take a Bus through as the Bridge is closed to Bicycles and pedestrians, the Ferry doesn’t take Bikes due to some Coast Guard mumbo-jumbo, and now the local Buses apparently no longer sport Racks on their fronts (but will allow you to take your Bike on board if it’s ‘in a bag’, a tune I’m dead-sure they’d change on the spot when they see what a fully-loaded Touring Bicycle looks like). Their suggestion is to hire a Cab.

    This whole run-around smacks of “Business as Usual” for the Bicycle, coupled with an ‘America Under Siege’ mentality from our enemies who might be using our neighbor to the North to marshal forces to attack our way of life. Or whatever– I can’t figure out why this is so fucking difficult.

    I’m beginning to think that maybe Detroit itself is cursed, like all the bad stuff I read about the Motor City is penance for some previous sin– perhaps the sin of fostering the whole car-culture society that now threatens not only the delicate fabric of the traditional way-of-life in these now somewhat loosely United States, but of the life of the Planet itself.

    More as the situation develops.

    #794791
    Avatar of Reverborama
    Reverborama
    Moderator

    Even with all the horrible things I’ve read and seen about Detroit there has to be someone there with a bicycle that likes to go over to Canada for a ride and would know how to handle it. Maybe you can come up with a solution by looking at the problem from the other direction: Call Windsor and find out how you’d get through the tunnel or on the ferry to the US.

    #794792
    Avatar of tanknees
    tanknees
    Participant

    If you’re willing to skip Detroit, I took this route (back in 2005) and crossing with bikes wasn’t problem:

    http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/lakeerie.cfm?pg=detail&s=1

    It has you taking this ferry to cross into Canada at Marine City:

    http://www.bluewaterferry.com/ferry-services

    Good luck! You’ll love biking along Lake Erie, Canadians are so nice! We didn’t pay for a campground for the entire time we spent in Canada- people kept on spontaneously offering their yards/living room floors for us to sleep in.

    #794793
    Avatar of archiesturmer
    archiesturmer
    Participant

    Here’s another new wrinkle: Instead of plunging down the Hudson (where I ran in to trouble last year, tho I’ve yet to chronicle those misadventures), continuing on through Albany to Northampton, MA to pick up the Farmington Canal Heritage (Rail) Trail to New Haven, CT; then traveling 33-klicks East along the coast of Long Island Sound to Bridgeport (CT) and taking the Ferry across to Port Jefferson, NY, then Riding the 100-odd klicks, down Long Island, thru Queens, over the East River, to the HI Hostel on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. (The three Ferries plying the waves are the Park City, the Grand Republic, and the P.T.Barnum– never give a car-driver an even break: Bicycles travel FREE with a paid Adult [$18.00] on the hour-and-a-quarter, 17.1 nautical-mile excursion).

    #794794
    Avatar of patti-fundament
    patti-fundament
    Participant

    NYS west of & leading to Lockport is truly lovely that
    time of year.. worth taking a little time on a pretty
    route. Very gentle downhills for miles, through farms
    & vineyards.

    I like the canal a lot too, easy & fun. Here’s the 3
    speed I borrowed last time I was there, somewhere
    in Rochester:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/23181763@N05/6854274275/in/photostream/lightbox/

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