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Dec 24, 2020

It's the end of the season, but that doesn't mean we can't dream up new tours. In this edition, I open up my thought process and planning technique for a brand new tour I'm thinking about next year. Once upon a time Snake Plissken escaped from NY... my next tour turns the tables!

More tour wishcasting - Escape to NY

A potential spring 2021 tour to scratch a few itches
A bit of tour planning in lieu of touring
Some insight into how I come up with new tours
How I start
Come up with where to go and from where I'm starting (usually in that order)
Factor in limitations (i.e. money, COVID, time)
Reverse engineer things from there
I've always wanted to find touring on the east coast that satisfies me the same way riding on the west coast does
Might be worth rethinking that... the infrastructure just isn't the same
But, let's go with NYC
Starting point
I've tried to do a start from DC in planning before and I tend to get frustrated/dissatisfied with the route. New plan: start from the cabin and see how it goes
C&O, Google Maps, Ride With GPS, message boards and past research
My path
It seems like the C&O is a good gateway to get me east to a point that gives me a good path north
C&O to Williamsport, MD
From there it's trying to connect north into PA and hit one of its surprisingly robust bike routes.
Have I mentioned US highways are GREAT for bike touring? Hwy 101 makes up the bulk of the riding in Oregon and CA, and it has a good to great shoulder for many parts of the ride. 
Turns out, US Hwy 11 is an *excellent* gateway northbound into PA
From there, I go a bit less than 30 miles to Chambersburg to hook up with US Hwy 30 eastbound and PA Bike Route S which takes me essentially all the way to Philly
The lightbulb
That's when things get great and I realize there's a resource to tap into... the East Coast Greenway, a route I've been meaning to hit for years.
The gap between the end of Route S and Greenway is pretty minimal, and that gets me onto a trail in NJ and on my way through Trenton and then north to New Brunswick as I'd cut across the center of the state before turning north again to Elizabeth, Newark/Jersey City and then a quick ferry or PATH train to Manhattan!
Mileage? Timing?
That's the next step because that can determine whether this has camping possibilities before I'd have to look at hotels or Airbnbs later in the trip as things get decidedly less wildernessy
Generally, I figure it's 6 days or so? 
2 days to Trenton
2 days to NYC
Mixed bag - lots of up and down hills in parts
Good shoulders when on roads
Some trail riding
Almost assuredly the full-sized touring bike, but Brompton isn't out of the question if I decide not to camp
Not sure - that's next steps but I suspect the stealth camp option would be pretty compelling
Is this COVID-friendly?
Not sure. I'd probably have to consider hotels.
Worst case might be a good one for post-vaccination but too-early-to-consider-flying kind of a tour?
Getting back
Amtrak, one-way car-rental, bus - lots of options, some better than others from a COVID perspective
So... doing this?
I'm pretty interested. I've also always wanted to circumnavigate Manhattan as a day tour, so if timing allows, that could be the bonus add-on!