Okay, here I'm going to break down my list of where I'm going and why. It's an expansion of the basic list seen on my first post, so I apologize for redundancies.
Pacific Northwest (Coast to Rockies): The first segment takes April and I from our (soon to be former) apartment and head straight northward to Vancouver, BC. We'll make it in time for the first few days of Velopalooza, a bike festival that started last year and one I've wanted to experience. After Vancouver, we dip back south across the border and shoot eastward on Washington Route 20, the beautiful North Cascades Highway, which is part of the Northern Tier. This area is a region I've wanted to bike in for a long time! It'll carry us over the Cascades into eastern Washington, where we'll hit Spokane, a town I've also wanted to checck out. Then through the Idaho panhandle and onto Missoula, Montana, yet another town "on the list" and home to Adventure Cycling. Now we'll head north to Glacier National Park, a place I can never spend "too much" time in, and then our second crossing into Canada.
Canadian Praries and Rockies: This can be termed our "crazy" segment. Rather than head east across Montana and North Dakota to Minnesota (the shorter, logical route), we'll go north hundreds and hundreds of miles, THEN head east. Why? Well, I wanted to bike the beautiful Icefields Parkway for years. This road straddles the Rockies between Banff and Jasper national parks. Also, I wanted to check out the major cities of the Canadian Prairies where some of my friends live. If we simply took the Northern Tier, we would hit no real cities until Minneapolis. So now we can check out Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. Yes, this will add on probably several weeks. But we have the time.
The Midwest: After Regina, we'll dip southward back into the lower 48. First Fargo, then Duluth (a town I've wanted to check out for a long time), then of course Minneapolis, America's #1 bicycle city!* Then south along the Mississippi, the area where I took my first bike tour six years ago. We'll take the valley route all the way to Iowa City (home to 30th Century Bicycle), then east to Chicago while stopping to visit Brad along the way. Then a meandering path across Indiana (possibly hitting Fort Wayne) to Columbus and then onto Pittsburgh! I've only visited Pittsburgh a couple times way too many years ago, and really dug it. Plus a good friend from way back is living there. Columbus is actually a suprisingly cool town as well.
Appalachia and Mid-Atlantica: Between Pittsburgh and Washington DC, the 300 mile distance will be traveled almost exclusively on multi-use paths: The Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal. These are canal/rail paths, so we avoid the constant ups-and-downs of the Allegheny Mountains. And DC! Nation's capital and home to umpteen free cultural institutions and museums. From the nation's capitol we'll aim northward with a slight eastery lean. Baltimore, Philly, and NYC are on the list for obvious reasons, though maybe we'll route through central Pennsylvania to get to Philadelphia?
New England: The return to the homeland! Obviously I'll be returning to Connecticut, and I'll want to cover a lot of it. The irony: taking the longest possible route across one of the smallest states! After hitting up my folk's houses, New Haven and probably Hartford, it's north to Massachusetts, where depending on time/desire we may stop in Northampton/Holyoke or just head straight onto Boston. From Boston we want to take a general northwesterly track to Montreal via New Hampshire and Vermont. Don't know exactly where and how yet. (Tips? Advice?)
Quebec and Atlantic Canada: This is the tricky part. I hope to get to Montreal by the latest the beginning of October, as I don't want to be biking through this part of the continent in November. If the cards all align right, we'll cruise down the beautiful St-Laurent to Quebec City, then turn into New Brunswick (Fredericton, Moncton, Sackville) to get to Nova Scotia, and the ultimate end-point, Halifax. If the trip runs too long and the weather doesn't cooperate, we may have to stop riding at Montreal or Quebec City and take Via Rail the rest of the way.
Ok! That's our route! Any advice or suggestions?
*Are ya happy now, Minneapolis?