A little background on myself. I cycle frequently but have never done a bicycle touring trip before.
I intend to do a cycling trip in Oct and Nov. I have never been to Canada and the USA and thus not familiar with names of places, with the exception of big cities!
I will make San Francisco as my base (flights in and out) as I have a friend there.
I am open to taking the Amtrak or cycle. I will take the Amtrak when the routes are too tough.
Am doing research and need advice as I think I may have been too ambitious unknowingly!
My intent is -
San Francisco to Portland - Amtrak
Have friends in Portland that I would love to visit
Open to cycling if it's not too difficult (rolling hills) and on bicycle paths.
Portland to Seattle - Amtrak
Also open to cycling.
Seattle to Vancover - Cycle
Read that there is a bridge for cyclist and pedestrians. Can't find much info on this.
Research I've done suggest the Centennial Trail.
Vancover to Montreal - Cycle?
This is the part where I have absolute no idea if I should or can do.
I do not mind splitting the journey with a mix of trains and cycling.
Montreal to Niagara Falls - Cycle
The Waterfront Trail?
Niagara Falls to Buffalo - Walk + Cycle
Buffalo to Albany - Cycle
Albany to New York City
Open to cycle or train
New York City to SFO or LA - Amtrak
I have friends in DC, Maryland and Boston so I would like to try these places in if possible. Not the utmost priority though.
LA / Yosemite / Las Vegas back to San Francisco
I'm doing LA / Yosemite / Las Vegas last as a friend said the weather will be cooler in Nov.
I'm also open to doing the Grand Canyon, the Death Valley and other places though I'm not sure how I should slot them into the itinerary.
I have road and camping experience in Asia but as I have never been to Canada and the US, I don't think I want to be too ambitious. Safety is always my number one priority.
I am riding a Dahon Speed D8/P8.
Sounds like an exciting trip! I've never been to the west coast of the US, so I'm no help there, but I can tell you a bit about the Canadian portions.
Vancouver to Montreal: This is completely do-able, many have done it, and I'm hoping to as part of a cross-Canada tour next summer. There are probably a lot of people on here that could offer more advice than me. You probably already know this, but just in case: it's a distance of nearly 5000km, and if you cycle it, it will eat up a significant portion of your allotted 2 months (if not all). There's a major mountain range to contend with, and many long stretches without much in between. (I used to work as a tour guide and many tourists were amazed at just how far apart Canadian cities are compared to what they're used to.) If you plan on camping, familiarize yourself with bear safety, as some of the areas you'll be passing through are bear country. You'll likely encounter very variable weather conditions, including some snow. Also, the time of year you are planning for has shortened daylight (shorter the farther north you go). For example, in early November in Montreal the sun rises at about 6:30am and sets at about 4:30pm. If you plan on riding long distances each day, you'll likely be doing some of it in the dark. Still, it's a beautiful (if enormous) country, and would be great to see by bike.
Montreal to Niagara Falls, Waterfront Trail: I've done this route, some parts of it many times, and it's great! In October last year, the weather along this route was cool and rainy, dropping below 0 Celcius a few nights. Campgrounds weren't busy at all, so it was easy to find a place to sleep. If you plan on sticking purely to the Waterfront Trail (which is the Route Verte while you're in Quebec), you'll get to see not only Montreal and Niagara falls but also Kingston, Toronto and Niagara-On-The-Lake, as well as lots of other Canadian cities and towns. If you had the time, you could also take another few days and see Ottawa (Canada's capital). The trail is fairly straight-forward, though I'd make sure to have access to the maps as it's not always perfectly marked. It's a combination of paved trail, some road riding, and a bit of light gravel in areas. As the name implies, you're mostly riding along the water - first the Saint Lawrence River, and then the north shore of Lake Ontario, and then the Niagara River. There are areas that are less picturesque, though. My least favourite stretch is from Hamilton to Saint Catharines, when you are mainly on a service road riding next to a tall highway barrier without much to look at for about 60km. One of my favourite parts is the Long Sault Parkway - a manmade chain of islands connected by bridges. Overall, though, the ride is gorgeous, and the fall tree colours will be very impressive. If you're into art and music, both Montreal and Toronto are major cultural hubs. If you like food/wine, there are many wineries along the way, and depending on when you arrive there may still be grapes on the vines. If you're into history, the war of 1812 was fought largely along this route. If you have any other questions about this section of your trip, I'd be happy to help. I grew up in the Niagara region, and now live in Toronto, so I have lots to say (as I'm sure you can tell!)