Spring North Cycling Tour

Spring North Tour LogoFor several years now, Rich has been talking about cycling through the Texas hill country to see the bluebonnets in bloom.  Itching for some warm spring weather, we decided this was the year to do it.  Even better, we could start there and follow the spring as the warm weather moves north.  The Spring North Cycling Tour was born!

Although we’ve had a poor snow year, and the roads are now clear enough for cycling in Northern Minnesota, finding days warm enough for cycling is still a challenge!  We will have a lot fewer miles under our belt when we begin this trip, so we will have to get that training en route.

Spring North Tour Map

Once again we are using Amtrak to provide us with a one-way itinerary.  We will leave our car in St. Louis and take an overnight sleeper to Dallas.  Starting in Granbury TX, we will swing south for the wildflowers. When we make our way north again, we will swing wide of the busy metropolis around Dallas and cut through a corner of Oklahoma.  In Arkansas and up into Missouri we will cycle through the Ozark Mountains.  The final stretch will take us 225 miles along the Katy Trail, a cycling trail that follows the Missouri River – Big Muddy.  That will take us all the way back to St. Louis.

The planned route is about 1400 miles, which we expect to take about a month.  However, this time we do not have a firm end date for our trip.  We have no firm commitments dictating when we have to be home – within reason – so we are free to slow down, take detours and change our route at will.  It will be interesting to see just how flexible and innovative we are willing to be once out on the road!

I will be blogging along the way, and will add to this page as I go.  I hope you enjoy following our tour!

Pre-Trip Planning and Travels:

Trip Announcement: Cyclists eager to Spring North
It’s all Marketing: Cycling…In the Pink
Necessary Preparations: Spring Training
Traveling to the Start: Signs of Spring
Our Train Journey: Becoming Amtrak Fans
Enjoying the Flavor of Texas: Texas Hospitality

Progress Reports from our trip:

Week 1 – Heading to the Texas Hill Country
First Day Challenges: Intro to Texas Cycling
Battling Headwinds: Cycling Plan B
Beautiful Scenery: Texas Roadside Sights
Endless Wildflowers: Bluebonnet Perfection
Fredericksburg: Hill Country Day Tripping

Week 2 – Moving back North
Visiting the Texas White House: A Day with LBJ
Two different morning experiences: The Morning Commute
Factors in Cycle Touring: The Enjoyment Equation
Davy Crockett National Forest: Molly’s Detour
Exploring the towns where we stay: Taking the time

Week 3 – From Texas into Oklahoma and Arkansas
Cheering remotely for our son in Boston: Marathon Miles
Joining in a jam session: Why we do this
Finding some real gems: Now that’s Service
Getting R&R in gracious host homes: Refreshing Warm Showers
Camping and a beautiful sunrise: Hello Arkansas

Week 4 – The Ozarks
Beauty in the foothills: Approaching the Big Climb
The quirks and bumps of cycle touring: Are We Crazy?
Cycling the Pig Trail Scenic Byway: Conquering the Ozarks
Cycle touring treats us well: An Indulgent Day
Beware of these when cycling:  Hazards of the Road
Some fun surprises: When Opportunity Knocks

Week 5 – The Katy Trail
Leaving roads behind: Heading Down the Katy Trail
Finding Minnesota connections: Friends on the Katy Trail
More than just riding a bike: On and Off the Katy Trail
Final day, in the rain: The Fender Finish

Post-Trip Thoughts
Now that we’re home, it sure feels good: The Joys of Home

Here are additional posts about our trip:

Molly’s blog posts – All blog posts related to the Spring North Cycling Tour, including those leading up to the trip and after thoughts.

Rich’s view of the trip – He posts to the Crazy Guy on a Bike website, which is a widely used portal for long distance cycling trips. Scroll down to the bottom of that page to Table of Contents to find the individual posts.

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