|Trace The Mitten|
I just read an article chronicling a cycle tour across the state of Washington using the John Wayne Pioneer Trail and it reminded me of some of my rail trails.
If you have ridden rail trails you know there are several surfaces: cement, asphalt, chip rock ( or whatever you call it), crushed limestone, clay or whatever. The popular frequently used routes will be in the best shape. I am lucky with high quality trail in my community and when I traveled to new areas I found that not all trails are equal.
I remember taking the Polly Ann Trail and rode to the end in one county and across the road the trail was a single track. There was a clear track for several miles until a washout caused me to push the bike up the gully. Municipalities, states and non-profits. Just because the trail is marked on a map it does meet it is maintained. Do your research and don't be surprised.
On my second trace the mitten tour I found two rough trail areas. On the second day I planned to continue south on Interstate 275 path that shadows the expressway. On the first day the path was mowed shoulders, mile markers and smooth pavement. This new section did not have funding to keep up maintenance. My second day had enough good pavement and the bridges were nice concrete to make it very passable. I bet not many have done that feat.
About week later in TTM2 I wanted a change from the sandy roads through National Forest sandy roads and saw a rail trail on the map