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Biking the Great Northwest: 20 Tours in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana
By: Mountaineers Books
Multi-day tours, many of them loops, for great Northwest cycling vacations.
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Great Tours in the Northwest
by: on: 11-Jul 2010
This book has some spectacular tours in the Great Northwest, which in this book refers to Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The tours range from 90 miles in length to over 500 miles. Several are designed to be 2 to 3 day tours; others are recommended to be done over 9 days. I have personally done two of the tours: The Wallowas and Blue Mountains Loop (#13) and The Idaho Panhandle (#14). The maps and cue sheets in the book were helpful and accurate. However, since this book was published in 1995, it might be advisable to consult a recent state highway map or local road map to verify that there are no significant road closures or re-routings. When I did the Idaho Panhandle tour in 2008, there were one or two changes in local road names, but everything else was accurate.
Each of the 20 tour descriptions begins with information about distance, terrain, cumulative elevation gain, recommended time of year, recommended starting time (i.e., before noon on the first day), number of days to allow for the trip, and points of interest. In addition, there is information about public transportation to the starting point (airports, trains, etc.), practical information like contact information for local visitors bureaus, state parks, city or county parks, and chambers of commerce in the area. There are suggestions for where to park a car that you may plan to leave for the duration of your tour. For each tour there also is a brief description of sights you may expect to see on each day of the tour as well as suggestions for local museums that you want to set aside time to stop and visit.
Each daily cue sheet lists the route, turn by turn with information about where stores, restrooms, and drinking water is available. At the end of each day, there is a recommended camping spot. On our tours, we found it relatively easy to ride more miles, for example, and stay at a different location than the book recommended. Generally, it would be possible to stay at a nearly motel, for example, if one didn't want to camp.
For those new to bike touring, the beginning of the book has a section entitled: Introduction: Bicycle Touring Basics. It contains information about tour planning, physical preparation, route maps and mileage logs, route selection, sag wagons, bicycle selection, bicycle preparations and tools, bicycle racks and bags, cycling accessories, clothing, other gear, shipping your bike, safety, solo and group touring, ferryboat courtesy, food, water, emergency considerations, and the open road.
The range of tours in this book is vast. There are several tours along the Oregon and Washington coast and others that tour major national parks such as Glacier National Park and Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Many tours pass through heavily forested areas; others travel through arid plains. We certainly enjoyed our tours in northeastern Oregon (#13) and through the Idaho panhandle (#14). I definitely hope to do more tours from this book.
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